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Let's Fix Pickpocket

ProfitProfit Member Posts: 21 ✭✭ - Stalwart
edited May 16 in Serpent
It's been a while.

Currently, theft via pickpocketing is pretty all right. When you're not targeting specific items, it can still be a fairly lucrative endeavor. But, to be lucrative, it requires you to do it all the time. After a while, this starts to feel exploitative in that you're just targeting people when they're vulnerable and moving on, over and over. There's virtually no incentive to target bigger fish because you're not going to get anything different and, even if you do, there's a limit to how much you can get. The driving mantra, then, is quantity over quality. I think everyone will agree that it's super boring and tedious to have a thief running around trying to rob the same people ten times per day.

So, the problem then is the lack of targetability. With the ability to target high-value items in people's inventory, the focus shifts from quantity (rob everyone) to quality (rob the rich). The current targeted pickpocket system is horrible. It lacks fundamental mechanics to make the interaction fair, predictable, preventable, or interesting for anyone involved. When it succeeds, it's a miracle and the target is pissed because there's not much they could've done to avoid it. When it fails, it's expected and there's nothing the thief could've done to make it succeed.

To be successful, a good theft system needs three things: fairness, predictability, and preventability. Here's an attempt at creating that.

Pickpocket (not targeting an item)


Remains unchanged.

Pickpocket (targeting an item)


Change the base success percentage to 1%, which I suspect is lower than the current success percent.

Case (new skill)


Syntax: CASE <target>
Balance: 2 seconds

Case your target, watching how they react to your presence and, more importantly, how they choose to safeguard their possessions.


When you case a target, you (roughly) double the percentage chance of pickpocketing a specific item. After one case, the chance is 2%. After two cases, it's 5%. After three cases, 10%. After seven, it's 85% and that's the maximum. Cases last for one real life day: at the serenade, they all automatically reset.

Targets receive a message for every case used against them. The first two cases have messages to the target. The next three have messages to the room. The next two might do something unique, like forcing the character to yell that they're being cased.

This system is fair in that it allows the target to avoid the thief: after they see the first case, they have 14 full seconds to avoid being fully cased. It is predictable in that it allows the thief to prepare for and depend upon the performance of their skills, while still having some element of randomness involved. It is preventable in that it it still relies on bypassing selfishness, rewear triggers, and so forth; moreso, it is preventable because the target is notified well in advance about what is happening.

Anyway, there's an idea.

Comments

  • ArchaeonArchaeon Ur mums house lolMember Posts: 418 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I like the idea, but I think it makes things a bit too obvious.  Theft should be a sneaky sneaky serpent endeavour.  How about instead of giving a message all the time, make it a percentage that goes up that the target will get a message? 
  • ProfitProfit Member Posts: 21 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    I think that interferes with the skill's fairness. Theft should be sneaky, in a perfect world, but in a game it needs to be avoidable to be fun. When it's over, the target should say, "Damn, I should've X, Y, or Z!" not "Damn, there's nothing I could've done!"

    A good way to make it sneaky might be to tie it in with Mesmerise, since that skill won't be necessary any more. Rather than increasing the percentage, Mesmerise could obscure the messages from Case. So, a non-Mesmerised target might see:

    Profit circles around you, slowly taking inventory of your possessions.

    A Mesmerised target might see:

    A shadowed figure circles around you, slowly taking inventory of your possessions.
  • ArchaeonArchaeon Ur mums house lolMember Posts: 418 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I'm no prolific thief, and I know you are, so I would defer to you in regards to the subject.  I do remember, way back in the day, being told to protect myself from you specifically by setting up all sorts of reflexes, putting my gold in a letter, doing inr gold on snap, all that stuff.  to me, thinking of ways to beat the thief, or on the flip side thinking of ways to beat an anti-theft system, is more fun than static syntaxes.  
  • ProfitProfit Member Posts: 21 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    edited May 16
    I definitely agree on that. I miss the old hypno system. But, it looks like pickpocket is here to stay, so it's a lemons into lemonade situation.
    I think there is a lot of room to improve the system but, as it is, there are some nuances that can be explored. It's not perfect but it's what we've got. Over time, it would be nice to see the system incrementally changed toward a system that required more active measures to prevent while also avoiding some of the pitfalls of the previous system.
  • LennLenn Member Posts: 600 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Although I agree the item pickpocket thing is a bit silly as-is, as for the things you want out of it, you may wish to explore the noble and fair art of burglary.

    It is impossible to burgle someone who takes the proper precautions, and yet it still happens. I'm convinced it doesn't happen more only because thieving tends to make one targeted by a lot of very angry people.
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,122 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    The problem with that suggestion is that burglary only works on people with subdivision homes or stockrooms where they leave stuff. That's not the majority of people.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United StatesMember Posts: 6,307 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I've always wondered why theft wasn't (seemingly) tied to the Vision skill in some way, which essentially is Perception. It seems as if that would be an obvious counter. Make Theft it's individual skill tree and have it directly opposed by the target's Vision skill. The lower an individual's Vision compared to the thief's Theft skill, the higher percentage change of success and perhaps even a longer delay in them realizing something was taken.


  • ProfitProfit Member Posts: 21 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    edited May 16
    Kresslack said:
    I've always wondered why theft wasn't (seemingly) tied to the Vision skill in some way, which essentially is Perception. It seems as if that would be an obvious counter. Make Theft it's individual skill tree and have it directly opposed by the target's Vision skill. The lower an individual's Vision compared to the thief's Theft skill, the higher percentage change of success and perhaps even a longer delay in them realizing something was taken.
    This largely transforms theft into a passive game of numbers, which isn't particularly interesting to anyone involved. When a major determining factor between who wins between Thief A and Player B is just comparing two numbers that can't be modified by the situation, preparation, skill, preventative measures, study, or anything else... it's just boring. It's basically a game of War, at that point, with two players just randomly flipping cards and hoping to come out on top.
    It also doesn't do anything but increase the divide between targeting unskilled players and skilled players. If skilled players are able to better resist theft attempts just by dint of having spent more lessons, then there's no reason to target them. Thieves will continue to target lower skilled players, new players, etc.


    JiraishinLennCailin
  • KorrokKorrok Member Posts: 45 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    I agree about the stealth aspect.

    What if casing is a channeled ability that requires you be in the room with the person and the percentage goes up overtime, doing checks against Vision regularly (With Vigilance drastically increasing victim success rate).

    Successes for the serpent mean the theft chance goes up 1%.

    Successes by the victim means a message alerts the victim. You could do the scaling based on the cased item's current success rate like mentioned. (0-25 second person message, 26-50 third person, 50-75 different third person and stops the channeling).

    Failed theft alerts the person to the attempt and resets the percentage to 0 and adds a defense against theft (per item, maybe?)for a duration. 

  • TorinnTorinn Member Posts: 1,281 @ - Epic Achaean
    Consider that any defense requiring input will be automated!
    Deucalion says, "Torinn is quite nice."
    Lenn
  • KorrokKorrok Member Posts: 45 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    Oh, and cased items success rate should stay until the next serenade and then diminish over time. And the serpent could have CASELIST to see what items they have cased and who has them,  so you could work multiple targets at a time and work the long game of slowly raising that success rate until circumstances are such that you're comfortable pulling the trigger. 

  • KaedanKaedan Member Posts: 44 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    edited May 16
    Good theft will never return to Achaea. I don't know how many people here were around back in the "good old days" when even a half-decent thief could literally steal everything on you. Selfishness was really high in Survival (and Survival wasn't automatically learned) so the number of people who had it was fairly low. You could be forced to hand over anything you weren't wearing or was put away, and the thief could change that. There were a dozen different ways for the thief to try to bypass your triggers, so you had to really go overboard with them to be safe (giving a gold bar for "put gold in pack" was always fun). If you lagged at all, your triggers couldn't keep up with the speed at which you took out your gold and then gave it to the thief. Or the unique jewellery, or clothing, or your whole damned pack. It was really bad, and this is from someone who actually took part in it. People hated it. Some of the reactions to be stolen from on the forums were horrifyingly toxic, and the thief responses equally so. Some people flat quit the game if they were robbed.
    There's a reason player theft sucks now, and it will never change back to something that a thief will believe to be worth the time. Just be glad we can still get into sub houses or stockrooms.

    EDIT: To be clear, I liked theft. I liked how it affected the way people played. I think things are too safe now, and I would love for proper theft to return to the game. I'm just saying, it's not gonna happen.
    LennJiraishinEvanston
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,122 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    edited May 17
    I miss theft. RIP. Stealing gold was never that interesting to me. You can bash for gold, or quest. You can't get strange or rare or important items, or interesting letters or journals, by doing PvE*.  Theft put things in circulation that would never otherwise get there, and gave the chance of same, which is just as important. And yes, I was robbed of all my stuff more than once in the old days.

    *Except by killing things that rob adventurer corpses and claiming whatever random thing -they- stole.


    But @Kaedan's right, theft's never coming back. Too many people used or reacted to it badly.

    Oh, and I kind of feel like pickpocket is the worst of both worlds. It makes people feel cheated and frustrated while not having any impact on the game world.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    KaedanLennIllarion
  • AccipiterAccipiter Member Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Idea: You can steal items again but all items go to the 'Thieves Guild' for X months where they can be pawned back by the target.
    CailinKrizal
  • TorinnTorinn Member Posts: 1,281 @ - Epic Achaean
    The stealer gets a portion of the gold?  What about interesting Intel like letters and such?  What if items that were stolen are only in the game world for X amount of time after stealing before they go to the thieves guild?  
    Deucalion says, "Torinn is quite nice."
  • AccipiterAccipiter Member Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I meant it like a pawn shop, if they pay for it you get the gold, if they don't you get the item. Can just be a short period of time like 1 month because you have to be online to be stolen from.
  • DynosDynos Member Posts: 25 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    edited May 17

    Building on Skye’s idea of being able to potentially buy back the items- which I think sounds like a good idea- highlighted in these discussions, there has been pointed out the worry about prized possessions (non-resetting) or a valuable diary being stolen, which seems to drive much of the vitriol that follows. This leads to fear, negativity, ect, towards any sort of aggressive theft mechanics as you can never be sure if your reflexes will work properly or if some novel clever way has been developed to trick your reflexes into screwing up and handing over the goods. Currently, one of the safest ways (to my knowledge) to store stuff long term is- if you have a house or boat, you can obtain magically locked containers to keep much of your prized possessions quite safe -which is good and allows you to relax that those shouldn’t get lost and they can hold quite a bit. However, obtaining these can be a little cost prohibitive and I’d be curious to see the theft statistics, but they likely skew towards the newer and/or middle of the road progressed player in terms of what they’ve been able to buy and achieve so far, meaning they’re less likely to have boats and houses yet. 

     

    -What if you added a safe deposit box mechanic to banks? Limit it to be a very small space, say no more than 3 items total across all banks- this isn't meant to be your personal storage unit! Included would be a small per item, IG year gold fee- say 1500 gold/year/item. Three items would equate to per RL year (365/12)*(3 items*1500 gold) = ~137,000 gold or roughly 10 market credits. I don’t know the global gold economics of the game so this could be adjusted to make more sense if needed, but it would provide the whole player base some way to store at least a few items with relative care free concern of losing them doing day-to-day stuff, and means be vigilant when the item is on you. Just a thought on how to settle the whole fear around losing some prized item across the broad player base skill level. And if you’re thinking- well they’ll just sit in the bank and steal before I can even get it safe?- I don’t know- temporary cool down on being forced after lock box interaction?

    JiraishinCailin
  • ShirszaeShirszae Santo DomingoMember Posts: 3,265 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Thieving is fine where it is and should definitely not be brought back in any way whatsoever. As someone else pointed out, it will always be a net negative experience, and having box deposits is not really going to make anything any better. 

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


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

  • MroxylMroxyl Member Posts: 158 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I can understand someone wanting to use their abilities for things they consider fun. I'm not sure where I see this building the game up anywhere. Having your gold stolen is a pain, but it's more easily dealt with than losing something that means something personal to your character, especially if the thief immediately makes their way to the nearest humgii to make a deposit of it.

    On the other hand, if you're trying to build everyone into a state of constant paranoia and hyper vigilance, always making sure they have every possible defence, this would likely do that. For those that would like to see theft expanded, would you put forward some thoughts on what it would bring to the game, as opposed to bringing entertainment to the person playing the thief? 
    Maajida
  • LennLenn Member Posts: 600 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I'd like to see more expanded PvE theft, personally, though I don't know what that'd actually entail.
    Cailin
  • ArchaeonArchaeon Ur mums house lolMember Posts: 418 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I was going to write out a well thought-out response to the whole 'theft sucks for the victim' thing but I realized that I could't be bothered, so I found a .gif that sums it up great. 
    AdrikMaajida
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,122 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Mroxyl said:
    I can understand someone wanting to use their abilities for things they consider fun. I'm not sure where I see this building the game up anywhere. Having your gold stolen is a pain, but it's more easily dealt with than losing something that means something personal to your character, especially if the thief immediately makes their way to the nearest humgii to make a deposit of it.

    On the other hand, if you're trying to build everyone into a state of constant paranoia and hyper vigilance, always making sure they have every possible defence, this would likely do that. For those that would like to see theft expanded, would you put forward some thoughts on what it would bring to the game, as opposed to bringing entertainment to the person playing the thief? 
    Intrigue over intel gained from journals/letters, RP surrounding the study of foreign objects, RP surrounding the theft and possible subversion of sacred items (that big Caefir/Babel event a while back centered on an item passed to us by a traitor to Babel's Order, for example), blackmarket commercial circulation of interesting items otherwise limited to a very few people.
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    Mroxyl
  • CailinCailin Member Posts: 350 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Jiraishin said:
    Mroxyl said:
    I can understand someone wanting to use their abilities for things they consider fun. I'm not sure where I see this building the game up anywhere. Having your gold stolen is a pain, but it's more easily dealt with than losing something that means something personal to your character, especially if the thief immediately makes their way to the nearest humgii to make a deposit of it.

    On the other hand, if you're trying to build everyone into a state of constant paranoia and hyper vigilance, always making sure they have every possible defence, this would likely do that. For those that would like to see theft expanded, would you put forward some thoughts on what it would bring to the game, as opposed to bringing entertainment to the person playing the thief? 
    Intrigue over intel gained from journals/letters, RP surrounding the study of foreign objects, RP surrounding the theft and possible subversion of sacred items (that big Caefir/Babel event a while back centered on an item passed to us by a traitor to Babel's Order, for example), blackmarket commercial circulation of interesting items otherwise limited to a very few people.
    I thought this myself. If I were a thief, the possibility of obtaining unique items/history would be really cool. But on the other hand, as a victim, the prospect of losing a treasured journal is a very depressing one. I think the pawn shop could be a good solution, if done right. The thief would get an amount of time to examine the item, before it would be handed over to the Thieves Guild. The victim would then be guaranteed to be able to buy back their item (perhaps with a time limit), and not have to worry about being charged an unaffordable amount for an item they can't bear to lose. The thief would also get proceeds from the pawn, of course.

    Some are saying shop robbing is better or something, and if it really is 100% preventable I suppose that's legitimate - I'm super paranoid about it but I seem to be doing all right. But any huge loss (like the contents of a stockroom) is really difficult to take in stride. I'm a mostly f2p player, and a lot of my enjoyment comes from carefully saving up a few gold coins at a time, spending hours and hours working away at it, all with the hope of a shiny new artefact I'll be able to buy, maybe soon! And to have that wiped away in the blink of an eye is a bit hard to swallow. 

    So yeah it's hard to balance theft. It can be devastating. But I sympathize with the desire to make it into something better, something that works for both sides, especially something that creates better RP and not just hurt feelings.
    LennMroxylJiraishin
  • AccipiterAccipiter Member Posts: 472 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Yay, they implemented my idea!
    Torinn
  • JiraishinJiraishin skulkingMember Posts: 2,122 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I am excited (and full of dread) (but mainly excited)
    ________________________
    The soul of Ashmond says, "Always with the sniping."
    TorinnAccipiter
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