Requesting an Administrator for 5000 gold for Fixing Contracts

Alright, sarcastic title aside, I feel that with the latest grouping of postings in The Less Aggressive Menace, the player base would respectfully request some alterations with how the mark system currently operates.

The requested changes (from my perspective), mainly circulates around the following:

-All active contracts to appear in the CONTRACTS command. The details that should be present are the name of the person who hired (not the mark), the amount of time left, and the reason for the hire. This way illegal contracts can be challenged with the issue command (as we've been told) when they are created instead of when they are completed.

if anyone has any additional comments, feel free to respectfully add to mine. The goal is for the admin to consider this change, though, so be respectful.

The Divine voice of Twilight echoes in your head, "See that it is. I espy a tithe of potential in your mortal soul, Astarod Blackstone. Let us hope that it flourishes and does not falter as so many do."

Aegis, God of War says, "You are dismissed from My demense, Astarod. Go forth and fight well. Bleed fiercely, and climb the purpose you have sought to chase for."


  • I tend to agree. I never understood having to wait for the violation when it is sitting there in plain sight.

  • I wish you would stop presenting your ideas as "speaking for the playerbase." You don't speak for the playerbase; you speak for the playerbase that you associate with/interact with/notice/agrees with you. Statements like this only serve to alienate those players who have a gut reaction of "This fuck does NOT speak for me, and he can shut up." I am one of those players, and I typed an entire response in that mindset before double checking myself. Not everyone (myself included) is going to do that, and if you want to actually have a conversation about a change of this nature, you need to strive to present it in a way that captivates the most people.

    I do not think contracts need to be THIS transparent. If I pay the Quisalis or Ivory to take you out, I expect that these organisations, the EXPERTS in their craft, would be able to covertly assign a mark without the target knowing who took it. It makes no roleplay sense for the people I'm paying to kill you to tell you I'm paying to kill you. It just doesn't.

    Mechanically speaking, I agree that mark contracts should show on CONTRACTS, though not to the extent you present. I definitely don't think you need to know who hired on you, but knowing WHY someone hired might be important if it's an illegal hire. However, you can't provide a legitimate reason without at least heavily tipping off who hired. What SHOULD be shown, without a doubt, is the simple fact you HAVE contract out on you. A message is not enough, because messages aren't always seen. I see no downside to CONTRACTS tracking the information the game already gives me. I would go so far as to suggest we might even be okay to show an approximation of how much time is left on the contract. Most likely it would need to be vague thresholds, otherwise you could pretty easily track mark movement and see which marks being out and about lower your time noticeably while you're around.

    I have been on the receiving end of illegal hires, and it sucks because your only recourse is killing the mark (but you don't know who that is) and issuing or issuing over it after the mark kills you. At first, I thought adding this transparency would help alleviate that. After thinking more about it, however, I actually think it would do the OPPOSITE. Instead of alleviating the notably rare cases of mark abuse, this would instead create a undo burden on those people attempting to resolve issues. If you issue someone, the admin are not going to just "make a decision" and turn it around. It takes weeks to hear back on an issue because they go through logs, dig up chat details, look at combat details, and actually INVESTIGATE what's happening. Doing this would open the flood gates and let anyone and their uncle to issue everyone who hires on them because they think it's an illegal hire or they issue out of spite. This would be a net negative for the game, as issues should be serious instances that require an admin to step in. I'm not a gambling man (lol loot boxes okay maybe I am), but if I had to bet money on it, I would bet there would be more false issues or issues in bad faith if the mark system was MORE transparent.

    What should happen, though, is people should be issuing over each and every abuse of the mark system. Just because someone hired a mark on you does not mean you are going to die or get attacked. Most similarly, it is making a threat to you: Hey, you're going to die because someone paid to kill you. At any time, they could cancel that contract or the mark could just decided never to try to attack you. Is it still abuse of the system? Yea, for sure. But it was an abuse that was corrected by the system: either by the mark choosing not to complete the contract (which, admittedly, isn't going to happen often) or by the person who hired cancelling it (probably because they realized they shouldn't have hired in the first place).

    I agree that abuse of the mark system sucks, but I think those abuses happen because we - the people who the abuse it targeting - are not following the correct avenues: issuing each and every time that abuse happens. If those issues are not being upheld, I would think that's because there's something one of the parties has misunderstood; it is not a sign that the admin don't care about mark abuse. (I will also point out I am not suggesting you, Astarod, feel the admin don't care about mark abuse.)

  • edited April 2021

    @Caelan said:

    I tend to agree. I never understood having to wait for the violation when it is sitting there in plain sight.

    If you were hired on, it's because you did something wrong (if you did not, it's abuse of the system; see above). If you break the law, you don't get flashing warning signs saying "A COP IS COMING FOR YOU, YOU BETTER HIDE."

    If the mark system's intention is to help people who don't fight seek retribution for wrongs against them, then those people deserve both the benefit of the doubt and the upper hand in the situation. Anonymity is possibly the easiest and cleanest way to allow that.

  • Clearly, Achaea needs to have an admin whose job it is to preside over Small Claims Court.

  • To note:

    You don't get a message if you are logged in.

    You get 1 line of text if it's Ivory. If it's Quisalis you don't even get that.

    If you are LOGGED OUT you get a message.

    This is kind of dumb, since it very easily can get lost in all of the spam. At least you guys aren't getting issued for asking to duel the mark who has the contract on you for "Abuse of the Mark system".

  • I think in most cases people are competent enough to know who hired on them. Not if you caused a group to hire, obviously, but on an individual basis it isn't hard figuring it out. You can also just ask.

  • @Eryl

    The RP of the Ivory Mark is that of a duelist organization, which is why there is a notification in game when you get one taken out on you. RP-wise the expectation is that if you want to gank someone you join Quisalis. If you want to duel 'honourably' you join Ivory. That has become much less functional these days but that is the core integral concepts and difference between them.

    I actually do agree though that some of this information is too much. As a Mark, it really annoys me when I go see the board and the reason is like 4 words and the rest is just cut off. Why can't I see the reason so I can determine if that situation makes sense for me to care about as a Mark? 'Killed my mount' is not a contract I really care to do, but 'attacked me without reasons 823 AF' is a lot more palatable. I can't know that often because the reason is cut off.

    I also do think the CONTRACTS should show you all contracts that are out on you, regardless of organization, and their remaining time. Ideally, the reason as well, so you can investigate/reason if it is a legitimate contract or not. The situation outlined where you really only get to know why if you die, not if you cancel or otherwise, is pretty annoying.

    Penwize has cowardly forfeited the challenge to mortal combat issued by Atalkez.
  • I'd like to see the target be sent a message regardless of if they're online when the contract is accepted, so I don't have people asking me why I'm attacking them and forcing me to say I have a contract.

  • edited April 2021

    @Eryl I'm glad that you were able to move past your mindset and onto the issue. I shall try to phrase things so that your perspective is not clouded (am I reading this right?) in future discussions.

    @Atalkez I feel like that could be solved by a character limit or a simple board fix, really.

    I think that some of the issues brought up have merit, which is why I posted this so that people could add their ideas and opinions.

    I think a baseline that would be appropriate is just the contract #, Quisalis or Ivory, perhaps reasoning. Though, honestly, if we're being completely transparent here, that'd give it away, right? So I suppose the 'hirer' does not need to be labeled. It would be nice to see the remaining time though, as we are allotted with bounties.

    I'm also working from the viewpoint that most of the issues with hiring that I've encountered (and those who have hired on me), are simple misunderstandings. I think an official compilation of contract rules derived from issue responses would help since I think (especially with newer combatants to the field) less butthurt is generally good.

    The Divine voice of Twilight echoes in your head, "See that it is. I espy a tithe of potential in your mortal soul, Astarod Blackstone. Let us hope that it flourishes and does not falter as so many do."

    Aegis, God of War says, "You are dismissed from My demense, Astarod. Go forth and fight well. Bleed fiercely, and climb the purpose you have sought to chase for."
  • I can't imagine hiring on you involves any misunderstanding the way to constantly skirt the rules and act like a child.

    I think all we need here, and I idea'd this ages ago and got sufficient support, is a clear notification when you are hired on. You don't need to know which Mark organisation (as it makes it easier to avoid) but it will stop the situation that Amranu mentioned.

    I also agree with Eryl we shouldn't be guilted into not issuing, we certainly should be doing this for contracts we feel are not valid.

    I was Mark way before the current system went in at a time you could pick and choose and negotiate personally. I miss those days as you could set a self made standard on why you took a contract., but understand why it was changed. Maybe more information for the Marks before accepting the contract would be beneficial?

    (Party): Mezghar says, "Stop."
  • No, @Astarod, you are not reading that right.

    @Atalkez, I 100% would not say that is how the two organizations are presented in the world today, at least on the surface. The Quisalis is presented to the average Achaean as an assassin organization, whereas the Ivory Mark is presented as an organization that seeks to defend those who could not defend themselves.

    What is an Assassin?
    The Quisalis Mark is an organisation of assassins named in honour of Thoth's
    chosen who died at Nishnatoba. Though their core denizen membership is
    headquartered in the vicinity of New Thera, they also recognise a number of
    adventurers as part of their ranks. An assassin accepts paid contracts from
    adventurers to ruthlessly and efficiently take out a target.

    What is a Champion?
    Champions are members of the Ivory Mark, an organisation dedicated to helping
    to avenge those who are unable to do it themselves. The headquarters of the
    Ivory Mark is located in a tower in the Sangre Plains, but many members are
    adventurers who make their homes in the various city-states of the realm. A
    Champion is an avenging combatant who enters into a contract with an adventurer
    to slay his or her enemies.

    It makes sense for a duelist to be a member of the Ivory Mark, but it also makes sense for a ruthless killer that has morals to also be a member. Both of those people are going to have very different core values and contract-fulfilling behaviors, and I think that's way more interesting for a organization anyway.

  • Maybe it's time for PK cause to be hard-coded, with the notable exception of RP cause. Given the complexity of the different classes and how water lord's attacks are different based on what afflictions you have, the sources, the phase of the moon, and whether the number of rooms to the nearest natural river is an odd or even number, I refuse to believe that PK cause would be too complicated to hard-code.

     i'm a rebel

  • Marks aren't interesting orgs. They are just an honors line that enables more PK opportunities.

  • CHANGES NEWS #66                    (04/28/2021 at 00:38)  

    From  : The Achaean Coder Team

    To   : Everyone

    Subject: Updates


    It is Wednesday, the 28th of April, and the following changes have been implemented:

     - Accepted contracts will now always leave a message, in addition to the in-game notification for

    targets who are logged into the game.

     - Cancelling a contract will now notify the target of who filed the contract and why it was filed.

     - Nullifying a contract by slaying a champion or an assassin now show the reason that contract was


    Published by my decree on the 1st of Valnuary, in the year 857 AF.

  • Perfect.

  • edited April 2021

    A quick and awesome change, thanks to those involved in making it happen.

    I hope a more expansive re-design of the mark system isn't off the table for the future. So many things have changed dramatically since this system was designed, including the community itself, meta, fast travel, and very significantly - the mark system, that have all led to major problems with how Marks/Contracts currently work.

    I made a strong case that the "Open PK" thing should be done away with, and that Marks should only be Open PK to other Marks / Dauntless, via email. I won't rehash the whole thing (there are many reasons for this suggestion) but it boils down to the fact that currently the best way to be a Mark is to not be a Mark, and just use bounties. You get all the pros, none of the cons - and then a load more pros added on top, by just using bounties (e.g. not open pk, a lot more gold payout, contracts don't fail on death particularly in raids, you actually know who you're contracted on before you accept it, etc).

    I look at examples like @Astarod who PK pretty much constantly including a huge volume of bounties and "unofficial" contracts, due to the fact that going Mark these days pretty much guarantees that you're going to get 4v1 lamed constantly with no recourse other than 4v1ing them back). I would also like to continue playing as a Mark, but being honest other than the line in Honors it's totally useless compared to Bounties. I get very little out of it, even in the off chance I get a target that doesn't sit on guards all day and complete the contract, while the downsides of being Open PK to teamkillers are pretty noticeable compared to Bounties, which has no downside at all.

    Also feels like the mark ranking system and whole mechanism of accepting contracts is highly abusable, and is regularly abused. There are a lot of ways to game this system that screw over the hirer, the target, and/or other marks.

    • You can accept contracts you don't intend to complete, then cancel them or sit on them indefinitely.
    • You can accept contracts on members of a city then join that city.
    • You can go to Market (or Discord) and cheat on the anonymity aspect rendering any benefit of it useless.
    • You can communicate with marks you know to give them a heads up when you're about to hire on easy targets, giving them free "Mark score" not accessible to other Marks who get stuck with the chaf for weeks at a time, and skewing the ranking system.
    • You can put a pet at the board to see who accepts contracts, also canceling out any supposed benefits of anonimity
    • You can attack people using a Contract and kill them as many times as you want as long as you ensure someone else, or an NPC including guards, secures the kill - which is ostensibly griefing (which USED to be illegal but evidently isn't anymore).
    • Hirers have to basically gamble when hiring, as they have no way (other than cheating the system) to choose which mark accepts, which heavily decentivizes them from putting gold on the contract. This results in gold offered on contracts to be consistently at minimum level. In fact, I usually spend more in herbs/consumables than I get even from Quisalis contracts (with Ivory being much worse).
    • Marks can't tell who they're targeting when reading boards, so they have no way to know if they can realistically complete it, frequently resulting in idle/failed contracts. Assuming the hirer has a legitimate reason to hire, they get screwed here very often.
    • Other times, the contracts just never get accepted at all, as there just aren't enough marks - mainly because very few people actually want to play Marks, particularly in cities that aren't dominating the PK scene. For example, right now Targossas pretty much just has Atalkez - so if he's backed up, taking a week off, off time zone with the target, or just can't kill the guy, you're out of luck.

    There must be a better way to do this. The old system was way better, I'd say, so that'd be a start.

  • I'm sometimes a target and never a Mark, but I like the anonymity and longevity of contracts, how they interact with Order writs, and how deadly you have to be to be effective in one of these organisations. The changes made seem like a good compromise.

    Reaching down with a massive hand, Sartan lifts your head and draws a taloned finger across your throat, the wound closing as He does so.

  • still wish it would show on contracts

  • edited April 2021

    There are also tons of PK rule problems with the anonymity. The game admin seem to be extremely religious sometimes to the point of going over the top when it comes to anti-circular PK, but then they set up a system where you're attacked by people you may have never even heard of, and have absolutely no way of knowing if it is a legal contract or just some dude being an ass. They have no obligation to tell you, and no obligation to tell the truth if they do, and even if they do tell you, that just counters the mechanic of the system so why have that system in the first place? In fact, it's not even illegal to tell someone you have a contract on them when you don't - which opens up a whole other realm of nonsense.

    In a game where PK is heavily regulated it simply doesn't make sense to have anonymous people attacking you, especially when you don't even know why most of the time.

    And staying true to theme, I will also mention that earrings pretty much break the contract system as well. Pretty hard to complete a contract on a person who can global fast travel off a channel that's shorter than every ability in my kit.

    Meanwhile you can just take bounties and get kills in teamfights and arbitrarily get paid 40,000 gold for it, and doesn't matter if you die 5 times in the process, you still get paid.

  • well one way to make it more interesting/rewarding for marks would be to add a currency similar to the combat rankings.

    Each completed contract, depending on rank/strength/might blah blah = couple of special coins

    Trade said special coins for Org specific talismans which require you to be an active mark to use, one could be something that block earring/wings/other types of fast travel to or from the person but can only be used on a person if you have a active contract on them. Or something similar to the monk standard, get a branding iron and brand your target, while this brand lasts the target cant move more then 5-10 rooms away from the mark or cross area borders etc there's endless of posibilities!

    on 5 IG years basis each spent coin gives you progress on a "for the cycle" permanent buff with increased gold gain from contracts/denizens, increased exp gain from pk/denizens or whatever suits it the best, probably the pk related things considering the nature of those organisations, each rank could potentially unlock a new ability of some sort related to the organisation like bribe guards not too attack you when you are in pursuit of your target or forcefully eject them from the city similar to deckhands in seafaring.

    Make the progressed buff increase from something like 1% --> 15%/20% max, stacking with all other similar buffs and now you have a way to motivate people who usually wouldnt care about the marks to one rejoin the marks for the new talismans and exp/gold boost.

    Just some random ideas, I've never been a mark nor strived to become one so cant say I'm familiar with the struggles it causes

  • edited April 2021

    My char has RP'd a mark since the early days and still does. I just killed Sobriquet for 10,000g a couple days ago. I just don't join the Ivory / Quisalis purely because the system and rules surrounding it suck. Same is true for most other would-be marks, even if they won't say so publicly.

    Perhaps it isn't so bad if you're willing to sit on guard stacks 99.5% of the time you are logged in, but I prefer playing the actual game - which isn't possible when any legal target gets dogpiled by pk hungry non-mark deathsquads, but that ain't me. It's worse when you're in an underdog city and don't have 8 artied out earring buddies to call when you get ganked.

    I wonder if IRE would consider direct gold payment a legit reason to PK someone. I don't see why it wouldn't be as long as the "hirer" doesn't double dip.

  • Using the Market channel to offer gold to have someone killed is specifically disallowed (it happens all the time, but any punishments for violating market channel rules aren't shared publicly, so presumably those people are getting punished for it). The reason given is that people should be using the bounty/contract systems instead. Given that, I would -assume- that direct gold payments are -not- legit reasons for pk, but then again we all know what assuming does. You could always use ISSUE ME to ask and find out.

  • With Shecks example above though, I was "open" for him to attack as I held a Relic, a Relic i'd just taken from the person paying him to kill me. I see no issue with that and a nice avenue of RP. Shame i was ignored when trying to follow it up.

    That aside I see those types of situations, which can be pretty cool, are quite niche unless the target is Mark or Dauntless, or you catch them on a Treacherous plane.

    (Party): Mezghar says, "Stop."
  • I've taken personal contracts before for credit or gold payments. The two or three I've done I explained afterwards who "hired" and why and it went about as smooth as using the mark system. Or well better really because I knew who the target was and why instead of a lottery pull without a name or reason as an assassin.


  • edited April 2021

    Just finally got this @Arcturus contract off my back after 3-ish days of being chased around by an angry Psion. Finally ended it, only to find it was some newbie who hired because I snap emoted him while in Monk to get him to leave a dangerous room. (which I later explained to him, but didn't stop him from hiring anyways).

    Beyond the fact that that's absurd and I didn't even know about it until the moment the mark died, what is extra silly is that I'm not even allowed to retaliate for 3 days of being attacked and not being able to bash, without any justification. The only recourse that's legal here (other than nothing at all) is issues, as retalation would be "circular".

    Ironically he also issued me for it back when it happened, and proceeded to also hire, apparently - but that's not really relevant to how silly the system is (aside from the fact that I would have mentioned to him that you're also not allowed issue and hire, even if the complaint was legitimate).

    Meanwhile @Astarod just canceled a contract on a mark hired for him legitimately killing someone without provocation. Now that victim gets nothing - purely because he randomly got assigned a weak-ass Mark, and Astarod gets exp + renown etc for not just the first kill, but two.

    Stupid, stupid system.

  • Always interesting to get a glimpse into the Mark world. Whenever I would even have an reason to hire all I can think of is:

  • edited April 2021

    I get pretty disillusioned with the whole Mark system too as the resolution sometimes not only feels deflating, but like you've been screwed over twice.

    I get dogpiled 6v1 for no reason other than my faction alignment and response to OTHER PEOPLE's actions. Instead of going to issue for their clearly inappropriate behavior, I take the only real IC route I can and hire. I have no say on the Mark as anyone over level 30 (might be 50?) can join up and might just be even worse then me, those Marks can then be legally teamed 12v1 until the right person gets the kill. You then find out the bloodthirsty rule breaker has got exactly what they want in 1 - Another fight, 2 - Their name on the right side of deathsight for the ego boost, 3 - Renown. Not only do they not get punished for being a Dick in the first place, they get actively rewarded for it. (See Astarod and pretty much everything he ever does)

    Now i've been teamed once by Eleusis and hired on all of them who took part, any further actions will be issued citing that as my previous attempts at IC resolution, because otherwise their circle of reward only increases and not only is it no discouragement, it's an active encouragement to go out and skirt the rules. This is bad for the game and not how I really want to play it but sometimes feel we are left with little choice.

    The last time I was legally hired on, I intentionally let the Mark kill me so the wronged person felt the exchange was a positive experience in some part (I emptied her shop stockroom) otherwise they might have felt even worse, potentially losing a player. I know that's a single instance and down to me, as a player, but I felt it was the "right" outcome as a RP experience.

    Edit - I agree with Shecks in that I've been suggesting Marks are not Open PK to everyone but get shot down by the hardcore PK brigade at every moment because it's their only real outlet. And as it stands, I see no real difference between Dauntless and Mark because the repercussions are exactly the same (Open PK to everyone) you just don't have to take contracts to keep the status.

    (Party): Mezghar says, "Stop."
  • edited April 2021

    And the max of 5 contracts is a bit silly too, considering they can stay there for 1+ months (I've had them not even be accepted for weeks at a time, at which point the timer starts). So after 5 contracts you just can't respond IC at all? Are you just supposed to skip straight to issues...? Just cancel the contracts voiding all retribution for the illegal attacks, along with the money you apparently have to pay for being illegally attacked?

    I'm sorry, the system just sucks for literally all parties involved, probably including admin who have to deal with the myriad of flippant issues and/or legitimately confused people this system creates.


    I also don't think contracts should be completed during sanctioned raids, because 1) it's purely incidental and you would have killed them anyways, and 2) depending on sanction, they may not even lose exp for the death - although at the same time I'm keenly aware that raiding is the only way to possibly have a chance of completing a contract vs some people.

  • Getting jumped by a group has way less to do with marks and being mark and way more to do with jackasses who would gank you with a group for any tenuous reason.

    As for getting hired on for illusioning a snap, well, that’s probably a fair recourse. A serpent snapping is an aggressive action, and illusioning an aggressive action is considered an aggressive action.

  • edited April 2021

    I only really use Marks now as an audit trail, and to skip the triage stage of any future issues.

    Edit - Allow Marks to be Open PK to the opposing Mark Faction, and anyone who has the message to say a contract had been taken out and let the bloodthirsty PK goon squad go Dauntless.

    (Party): Mezghar says, "Stop."
This discussion has been closed.