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Infiltration and why it sucks horribly

DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,280 @@ - Legendary Achaean
Basically, there's a few problems with anyone who wants to play a dedicated infiltrator/spy type. Namely, they are:
  • Speaking in city languages instantly destroys any chance of eavesdropping someone. That's it. You're done, nothing you can do about it. You hinge on catching two people talking about something important at the right time when nobody would think to talk to you, and one simple security precaution completely ruins any chances you have of catching anything interesting.
  • Ships are 100% private. If they're docked, they're essentially a house instance with innate no-prism and absolutely no way to get in to listen to people speak there. You're totally screwed. Smart people will do this if they're talking about anything of import.

Thus, the optimal method for gaining legitimate information for use in politics or whatever is either clans, connections or flat out metagaming via OOC channels. There is no role for people who want to legitimately play a spymaster/information merchant role without sticking your fingers in so many pies that you may as well be Sapience's first masterchef, or idling at the Membrane for 200 hours hoping to find some information you can connect back to someone meaningful.

To fix this, I suggest that city languages be given a feature where a hostile/non-citizen person can learn a "fleeting understanding" of the tongue from another citizen of CR2+. This would impart the ability to understand city languages from any source (be it through a pet or something else) for a nominal period of time, fading entirely once the duration has lapsed.

As for ships, well, a fix is supposedly in the works, but given that it is ships that we are talking about, I am not hedging my bets on this being added in the next 5 years or so.

Would love to hear thoughts on any other issues/prospective solutions on the topic
HaldonShirszae
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Comments

  • KyrraKyrra AustraliaMember Posts: 4,846 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    You do have the option of joining the Orgs you want to spy on. Unless you don't want to go stepping on @Twilight's toes. @Aegoth is a pretty good example of true infiltration.

    Subs houses have options like noprisms and privacy, which greatly reduces the odds of gaining access and listening in. 

    Mhaldor's really about the only city where it's basically mandatory for citizens to speak in their city language. So that leaves about four other cities that are still optional. I really don't see a reason to punish the people that actually take precautions against being spied upon. There's a large percentage of the population that is purely lazy, and there's a fraction of that comprised of people who are happy to sell out the city they belong to if you need info.

    (D.M.A.): Cooper says, "Kyrra is either the most innocent person in the world, or the girl who uses the most innuendo seemingly unintentionally but really on purpose."

    EilonaAegoth
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean

    Level 4 listening thingy.

  • StrataStrata United States of DerpMember Posts: 1,753 @ - Epic Achaean

    Would be cool if something like this was put into a new trade-skill that has all sorts of other watered down espionage type stuff not found in subterfuge. (like the ability to send enciphered letters, make letters self destruct, be able to make people hear "this is your mission should you choose to accept it" in their heads from afar, etc.)

    If it were made into an artefact, there would be no point. Make the price too low, and everyone will have it. Make the price too high, and people will just make new characters in the target org like they already do. Doesn't seem like there would be a comfortable mid-range price either.

    image
    Wei
  • JulesJules Member Posts: 2,169 @ - Epic Achaean

    I was totally kidding, although I empathize with those wanting to spy, especially as having people join to infiltrate sort of sucks in most cases.

  • AlcinaeAlcinae AFKMember Posts: 627 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited May 2014

    Couldn't one obtain a necklace of comprehension from a magi to understand city languages and such? I believe I've used one before to bypass city languages, but I potentially am mistaken.

    edit: not disagreeing with your points, though.

    image
  • AlcinaeAlcinae AFKMember Posts: 627 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    Ahh, ok. Disregard my previous post then.
    image
  • NemutaurNemutaur GermanyMember Posts: 1,068

    You should be able to learn a city language from someone who is CR6 of that city (so you have to find someone who is stupid or not very loyal). It should cost a lot of language lessons. A few lessons would get you 3/4 words still garbled, medium lessons means you get 50% of the language understood and then at full lessons you get 8/10 words properly understood. But because of rng you could either understand the whole sentence that someone says or none of it even with 8/10 chance to understand a word.

    Shirszae
  • DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,280 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The ball is in your park to provide some sort of incentive to make players share information ICly more often. Players can't do a damn thing about that.
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    That's not really a goal for us.

    Hasar
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited May 2014
    > @Daeir said:
    > The ball is in your park to provide some sort of incentive to make players share information ICly more often. Players can't do a damn thing about that.

    Well, one can't do much about random individuals choosing to discuss things via ooc means, but I certainly would expect org leaders (who should be the main targets of espionage) to RP responsibly and not just always play it safe for the sake of it. Even without incentives. If they cannot do that, they're not fit to be major figures in a roleplaying game.

    It's not incentives that are required here, but clearly voiced expectations.
    Nim
  • StrataStrata United States of DerpMember Posts: 1,753 @ - Epic Achaean
    Kafziel said:

    On the topic of infiltration, can we get a standardised policy re: Househall vendors? I know it's 'up to the patron' but some Houses have had the request turned down for their vendors to not sell to enemies/only to members, and currently it's pretty inconsistent in game. I don't think enemies having House items if they break into your Househall is game-breaking so I am going to hijack this thread and ask that all House vendors be made to sell to everyone.

    But.... but.... then we'll get grieeeeeeeeeeeefed!!!!! Heavens forbid someone breaks into our house hall and BUYS ALL OUR STUFF!!!! 

    image
    TharvisAlcinaeNimSylvance
  • AalmAalm Member Posts: 206 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited May 2014

    I've found espionage "rp" to be exceedingly toxic the few times I've dealt with it. So now, I simply have sensitive conversations either in PT, IC surroundings such as beds, (though when I publicly suggested beds with the pillow can be good conference rooms, I got literally avalanched with laughter and innuendo,) or I simply take it OOC to Skype or AIM. I don't use tells anymore for anything I wouldn't want heard on public channels.

    I don't really want to go into it beyond that, but I will say there is this basic yet totally inaccurate expectation that your tells should only be read by you and the person you're talking to. After getting hit with eavesdropping serpents or treacherous citymates selling Angel Mindread to the highest bidder a few times, you'll learn to take it to Skype instead of trying to deal with the problem with IC methods.

  • TeshaTesha Member Posts: 2,930 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    Some of your stuff is just wrong, heh. Language doesn't matter, many people are far too lazy to change it anyways. It doesn't destroy any chance of espionage - that's what mind sapience is for. This isn't a one person thing, have a support network with a creative, positive attitude and you'll find ways around the blocks. Otherwise you'll just end up whining.

     i'm a rebel

    VansittartBorran
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,506 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    But if things like mind sapience become the only ways of spying, that makes things like eavesdropping, hiding, and positioning pointless. We end up with "melee espionage" becoming useless, despite it being more "balanced" due to its inherent risk (i.e. if you actually have to sneak up to your target to spy, you can be much more easily found and killed than if you hide in the subdivision and just use telepathy).

    Don't take me wrong: I agree that it's good that not every form of espionage works in every situation and that collaboration may be needed, but there should still be a point in "classical eavesdropping" outside of stalking mudsexers - which it sadly mostly seems to be used for.
  • SarapisSarapis Member, Administrator Posts: 3,398 Achaean staff
    edited May 2014
    It'll never be a major thing, because as soon as it started getting used effectively, people would just move their conversations to places you can't eavesdrop on. It has to be something used rarely and that's hard to use, else you're just driving people off one communications platform onto a more secure one.

    PrimroseJhaeliEilona
  • AalmAalm Member Posts: 206 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited May 2014
    Sarapis said:
    It'll never be a major thing, because as soon as it started getting used effectively, people would just move their conversations to places you can't eavesdrop on. It has to be something used rarely and that's hard to use, else you're just driving people off one communications platform onto a more secure one.

    @Sarapis : I agree, but when it DOES work properly, it can be a total disaster to the person it worked against. Also, some of the really expert ones manage to be creepers and really get under the target's skin. I had a mysterious serpent follow me around to the most unlikely places, wait in hiding till I went AFK, and then he'd drop flamed cube sigils -- which *I* made. Then, he'd leave, leaving me to find the cubes when I returned. Creepy as hell. I never did find out who it was.

  • WeiWei Monterey, CaliforniaMember Posts: 139 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Kafziel said:

    On the topic of infiltration, can we get a standardised policy re: Househall vendors? I know it's 'up to the patron' but some Houses have had the request turned down for their vendors to not sell to enemies/only to members, and currently it's pretty inconsistent in game. I don't think enemies having House items if they break into your Househall is game-breaking so I am going to hijack this thread and ask that all House vendors be made to sell to everyone.

    Not all house vendors stay inside the house hall all the time.

  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United StatesMember Posts: 6,239 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    IIRC, the Membrane provides spoken words on a basis of anonymity, and I -think- it even conveys them in the common tongue. Not completely sure on that, but Membrane is Always been a viable option for spying if you're patient and don't mind piecing things together. There are also other ways, if you're dedicated enough to discover them. The issue with the ships thing is that ships work on a permissions based boarding system unless forceboarded, and it really won't be very balanced to allow people to break into ships and then be able to run off without permission outside of forceboard. People store stuff on their ships they don't want people stealing a lot of the time. Some people have rooms on their ships added, but at double the credit cost, a lot of people don't. You'd  also most likely run into the issue of dealing with roaming swashbucklers whose specific job is to keep unwanted people off the ship, and work much like guards in cities. You -can- however, though it will take some work, find yourself on the boarding list for a great different many ships, from which you can then stowaway and wait for someone to come on board. Basically, infiltration isn't meant to be easy, but it's still very viable if you put the time and work into it and be a bit creative.



    Alcinae
  • NimNim Member Posts: 2,015 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    I disagree that overhearing conversation should somehow be more effective than having actual information sources willing to tell you things.

    As far as being able to control information leaks, that should be completely possible with enough care. Actual information leaks should come as a result of carelessness. We could add in kidnapping and torturing for information as an alternative source, but that's probably a bit too hardcore for Achaea, and historically not considered too effective anyway.

    I agree, though, that there should be a stigmata (if it doesn't already exist) against taking IC communication to OOC media. I mean, I'll talk about things my characters get up to with friends, but it's usually as a purely OOC subject - never to actually relay information from my character to theirs. That sort of gameplay feels very metagame-y to me, and a bit too... overly serious, I guess?

  • DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,280 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    So much for a roleplay enforced environment. The validity of any infiltrator/spy type of play is contingent on the people you are spying on having any form of character integrity, and that is apparently an OK and acceptable thing as per the responses from Sarapis and the rest in this thread.

    How disappointing.
    ShirszaeNim
  • ShirszaeShirszae Santo DomingoMember Posts: 3,219 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Aalm said:

    I've found espionage "rp" to be exceedingly toxic the few times I've dealt with it. So now, I simply have sensitive conversations either in PT, IC surroundings such as beds, (though when I publicly suggested beds with the pillow can be good conference rooms, I got literally avalanched with laughter and innuendo,) or I simply take it OOC to Skype or AIM. I don't use tells anymore for anything I wouldn't want heard on public channels.

    I don't really want to go into it beyond that, but I will say there is this basic yet totally inaccurate expectation that your tells should only be read by you and the person you're talking to. After getting hit with eavesdropping serpents or treacherous citymates selling Angel Mindread to the highest bidder a few times, you'll learn to take it to Skype instead of trying to deal with the problem with IC methods.

    So basically, you want all the good with no risk whatsoever to yourself? Must be fun.

    And you won't understand the cause of your grief...


    ...But you'll always follow the voices beneath.

  • KuyKuy Member Posts: 1,497 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Daeir said:
    So much for a roleplay enforced environment. The validity of any infiltrator/spy type of play is contingent on the people you are spying on having any form of character integrity, and that is apparently an OK and acceptable thing as per the responses from Sarapis and the rest in this thread.

    How disappointing.

    I don't really think anyone's trying to say that's OK or acceptable.

    You can't really enforce people's OOC communication methods.

    [2:41:24 AM] Kenway: I bet you smell like evergreen trees and you could wrestle boreal mammals but they'd rather just cuddle you
    Alcinae
  • AalmAalm Member Posts: 206 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    edited May 2014
    never mind, delete.
  • DaeirDaeir AustraliaMember Posts: 6,280 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    You either have a world with consequences, or you don't. If you're getting involved in shit that is going to culminate in "having your gameplay experience ruined" by talking about things with people privately and having someone overhear it and use it to their advantage, then that is how the cookie crumbles - and it is supposedly part of the "living and vibrant world of Achaea" in that regard. You don't get to evade that just because it is potentially uncomfortable or untenable to your current position in the game. This is why Achaea's politics are largely a gigantic joke, because people cannot seem to understand this concept. They equate IC stress to OOC stress and are seemingly incapable of splitting the two.

    All I am seeing from this thread otherwise is people supporting the concept of a world without consequences by agreeing that these changes are unfeasible simply because players will shift to an OOC environment to discuss things otherwise. Be that as it may, you are supporting that notion by not condemning it, and the only thing that suffers for its loss is the credibility and life of the world that our characters otherwise live in.

    I cordially point you all to HELP ROLEPOINTS. Divine should be docking them frequently for offenses of this nature.

    ShirszaeNim
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