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There have been multiple complaints about "friendly" players joining a battle then stealing the ship another player had intended to capture.  The most recent complaint was in the Tribunal subforum (see http://forum.game-labs.net/index.php?/topic/10855-ships-joining-friendly-battle-and-griefing/) but there are others.


I posted a suggested solution in a thread in the General subform (see http://forum.game-labs.net/index.php?/topic/10854-friendly-players-sinking-the-ship-you-tagged-and-are-capturing/#entry192894) but I am reposting it here for extra visibility.


The core problem is that when another player joins a battle on your side, then participates in a way undesirable to you, you have no way to make them stop.  You cannot shoot or ram them because you will get negative XP and green on green damage is prohibited.  And yet, there are legitimate reasons to allow other players to join (such as when the players are on teams at war with each other, and they deliberately want to interfere with their opponents' gameplay).


My suggestion is this: Grant the initial attacker and defender a special role in a battle.  Let's call them the 'prime' attacker and 'prime' defender.  The prime attacker is the person who tagged the target on the open sea, and the prime defender is the specific captain who was targeted.


Within the battle, when people join the attacker's team, the prime attacker is allowed to redesignate them as 'neutral' instead of 'attacker'.  this makes them attackable by both the attacker and defender.  Likewise, when people join the defender's team, the prime defender is allowed to redesignate them as 'neutral' instead of 'defender', which again makes them attackable by both sides.  There should probably be some warning time before this takes effect, to allow players who find themselves declared 'neutral' time to retreat from the battle (or reposition themselves in preparation to be shot at).


Players may not join as 'neutral' directly, they must join as either the attacker or the defender (unless the attacker or defender is the same nation as the joining player, in which case the joining player *must* join as their own nation).  This is exactly the same joining mechanic we have now (players who join must declare themselves to be on one side or the other).


A time limit on how long "redesignation" may be done might be desirable to prevent players from accepting help for the beginning of a fight then declaring allies "neutral" when it comes time to capture prizes, but I think on balance redesignation needs to be permitted the entire time the prime attacker or defender remains in the battle, otherwise griefers may hide their intentions until the timer expires.


If the prime attacker or defender intends to leave a battle that's still in progress, they may hand off their role to the friendly player of their choice.  If they leave without designating a successor, the role may be passed to a random friendly player, or the one who has been in the battle the longest.  NPCs never take the role of prime attacker or prime defender (NPC's never refuse your help).


In this way, a player can decline help on either side, and enforce their decision without resorting to green on green damage.  I think this is what we really need -- an "official" way to say, "no, I do not want your help, go away or I'll consider it an act of war".

Edited by Taralin Snow
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A temporary fix until a proper system can be developed is to simply have people join as their faction.


Pirates vs British | With a French Faction joining if french players feel they want to compete for the ship. 


French vs British | With Pirates.


Basically it would be a three way battle between 3 teams.   This would not solve pirates vs pirates issues but it would solve most of the issues until later.


A more advanced system would be similar to snow's suggestion of having the initial attacker declare allies of some sort.  But that has it's own issues.

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so, here's an example of how this would work that's relevant to recent events on PVP2:


A Pirate attacks a British trader NPC with the intention to capture the ship.  French players (who are currently at war with the Pirates) want to prevent this.  When they approach the battle marker on the open sea, they have the option to "Join As Pirate" or "Join As British".  The French know that if they join as British they may not be able to prevent capture of the NPC (NPCs are not very smart and don't have good ideas on how to avoid being boarded) and they would rather sink the NPC than risk it falling into Pirate hands, so they elect to join as Pirate in the hopes that they can either board the NPC before the Pirate player does, and thereby claim the NPC ship as a French prize, or sink it before the Pirate can board it.


With the current game mechanics, the Pirate has very few options here except to try to complete the boarding action faster.  He cannot shoot at the French because the French joined as Pirates and are therefore green to him (and green on green damage is not allowed).


With this suggestion implemented, the Pirate can instead declare these new French players to be 'Neutral' for the battle, meaning that both the Pirate ships and the British ships may shoot at them.  There is still risk for the Pirate in that he may not be able to complete the boarding action without eliminating the French players first, or he might get sunk by the French players (who are now free to shoot at or ram the Pirate because, as neutral players, they are no longer constrained by the green on green rule), but he does have an opportunity to defend his desired prize, arguably a better opportunity than he has the way the game is now.

Edited by Taralin Snow
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Just to add that even if the pirate boards the ship first, I've had someone sink the ship after I've captured it but before the battle is officially over and thus still lost the cargo.  Which is fine, but the pirate or anyone should be able to retaliate. 

Edited by Captain Marell
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