RDKP: Refined

| Monday, June 25, 2012
Last week I proposed adding a currency, called RDKP, to groups which would be spent when winning need rolls.  It was meant to reduce two problems: perceived unfairness and ninjaing.  Since the first one is a perception problem, it is going to be tricky to convince anyone that there is a problem and even then, that there is any solution or even a way to reduce the problem.  Ninjaing, while seemingly so easy to define: taking unneeded items from those who need it, is not so easy, in fact.  There are many grey areas: relative upgrades, sidegrades, offspecs, and so on, and it is unlikely that we'll see developers implement a feature which perfectly blocks ninjaing.  After a great number of helpful comments I think I've gotten a better grasp on how the system should work.

While it is implied, I want to clarify that if I say  "roll need" or "win a need roll" or anything like that and mention spending RDKP, what I mean is the following.  Picking "need" has no cost.  Winning an item has no cost.  Picking need and winning the need roll costs a set amount of RDKP (or none if the player has none)

All characters start with enough RDKP to roll need on two items.  The exact number isn't something I'm tied to, it's just meant to be enough to get the system moving.  Because it's zero-sum and players cannot go into debt, there needs to be some initial amount.

In the previous post I noted that if someone has insufficient RDKP they can still roll need, but will automatically lose to someone who spends RDKP.  This still stands, however,  RDKP would only be gained if people roll need and spent RDKP.

The amount of RDKP gained is based on the ratio of spending to group members.  The goal is that the income matches the spending.  For example, in a typical 5-man group, if two items drop and both are needed on, then each group member will get the following: (10 RDKP x2)/5 or 4 RDKP, so that altogether, there are 20 RDKP spent and 20 RDKP gained.  In implementation, it is likely that all RDKP values would be increased tenfold, in order to avoid decimals and to make it seem more lucrative.  If this sounds complex, it can be thought of like this: winning a need roll causes the winner to automatically split some RDKP with group members.  This equalizes spending and earning and also explains the situation when the winner has no RDKP.  You might have noticed that I divide the RDKP among five people despite one of those five being the one who won the need roll: it's just accounting and could be done just dividing among the four, with a corresponding reduction in the RDKP cost of rolling.

Because the system is close to zero-sum, it is not necessary to worry much about inflation.  Someone running an instance for no loot with other people who need no loot will not gain any RDKP, so farming is not an issue.  If players are running when they don't need loot, the amount they gain still does not exceed the amount spent, so even farming cannot cause inflation.

Because inflation is not an issue, RDKP can be safely traded without creating adverse incentives because it cannot be farmed except by joining groups that spend it, so that instance running transfers RDKP without creating it, just as player-to-player trade would.  The rule exception is that a character must be at least level 60 before they can trade, to ensure that players do not make new characters just to trade the free initial RDKP.  Again, the exact level isn't something I think is important, just so that it is high enough that no sane person would spam characters just to farm RDKP.

The benefit to having a trading system is that it would allow for market flows to even out the irregularities of distribution which would likely be created by instances.  Some classes and roles are likely to get more from instances than others, so they will need more RDKP while others need less.  A trading system allows this imbalance to be corrected.  This could also provide some useful information to developers: if they notice that a particular class or role is buying or selling a high amount of RDKP, it would indicate that they are too dependent on instances for gearing, relative to other classes, or are finding little useful loot in instances

The downside to a trading system is that it could create the impression that players are getting loot because they bought RDKP, despite the amount of RDKP a player has not influencing rolls.  It is irrational, but given that one of my goals for this system was to reduce a potentially irrational sense of unfairness, creating a different sense of unfairness is not productive.

For consistency, RDKP would be used in all non-raid instances (though it could be extended to raids).  This includes pre-made groups and partially pre-made.  Due to the ability to trade RDKP, friends can undo any redistribution the system causes.  By making RDKP a constant feature, there is no ambiguity or confusion when forming partial groups.

As before, comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Diablokls said...

The only issue that I see with this system is that guild members could potentially all roll need and trade the item to the guildie in need for any RDKP that they spent. The items would have to be soulbound and not able to be traded within 2 hours like they are now.

Rohan said...

Very interesting. Looks pretty good overall. Concerns:

1. Hoarding. I think you try to alleviate this with trading, but especially as new content approaches, the tendency will be to stockpile as much RDKP as possible.

2. No consideration for varying levels of RDKP? If Jane has 400 RDKP, and Mary has 40 RDKP, is it fair for Mary to win the item over Jane?

This situation is important for the case where one player is chasing her last set item, or BiS weapon.

3. Passing on minor upgrades. Since you are using Fixed-Cost DKP, will people roll need on a marginal upgrade, instead saving for BiS items? Or does it not matter since they can roll greed.

4. What about roles? Can Jane spend RDKP on offset DPS gear when she is a healer?

5. Removal of points from the system. Let's say a player with a large amount of RDKP quits. Those points are effectively lost from the system. I think you will need some mechanism to combat this.

Klepsacovic said...

1) Hoarding would mean players are avoiding rolling need in order to not spend, but if they do not spend, they do not earn, and nor does anyone else. I can see how this could essentially create a 'recession' within the dungeon finder, with players afraid to spend, therefore not earning, and the entire process of using a cost to improve distribution falls apart. You just brought up a big problem!

2) Both have done the effort needed to get the RDKP for the item and therefore it is fair for either to get it.

I should have mentioned that RDKP would only be visible to the player, not others. If you lose an item, all you know is that they had the RDKP to spend and do not know if they had enough for one item or a hundred.

3) I think this is one of the good things about it, that it encourages people to economize. People would greed on small upgrades, leaving them open to people to need them more.

Alternatively, it may be a good idea to have an entirely different roll. At the very top is the RDKP roll, which costs RDKP to win. Next is the need roll, which costs nothing and follows the rules already in games. This would eliminate the need for a 0 RDKP rolling mechanic (which I predict would be terribly buggy early on) and would help to reduce the hoarding problems, since it would allow for some need-based distribution without spending.

4) Sure, she can use it and earned the RDKP.

5) New mechanic: Any character inactive for a month begins to have RDKP decay: one item worth the first week, two the second, four the third, eight the fourth, and so on (meaning that a character that you had to set down during finals week doesn't lose much, but when you quit for a year, much more). Any RDKP which decays is then randomly given out to chracters which have been active for a month, in one-item lots, until all decayed RDKP has been recycled. This will mean that there is still some inactive RDKP when alts are abandoned or players quit, but it will eventually be brought back in. If that makes the overall pool too low, then the RDKP for new characters could be boosted and active characters could be given RDKP in order to maintain the supply of active RDKP relative to active characters.

Rohan said...

I think your mechanic 5 is a little complicated. Also, players really hate decay. They like to come back to the game with their character just the way they left it.

I've also thought of another concern. What happens when 5 geared players get put into the same instance group? Will they drop immediately because there's really no chance of RDKP being spent? I'm sort of reminded of Stonecore when Cata came out, and you'd have people (tanks usually) drop group as soon as they saw the loading screen.

Klepsacovic said...

I failed to mention that decay would have a limit: characters cannot go to zero, but to some multiple of the item cost, somewhere between 2-5 items. This creates a middle ground between the system losing RDKP when players go inactive and returning players feeling like they've been cheated. They can still come out rolling.

I think that's just a risk they'd have to take. If they want a particular item they should queue for that dungeon.g.

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