Rewarding "murder hobos"

Hatox
Level 7
Kickstarter Backer Weaponsmith (Bronze)
4 months ago

I´ve already talked about this topic quite a while ago, but after doing both options of A. Talking Mardracht out of Fighting and B. Fighting Mardracht I need to talk about it again.

Please stop rewarding murder hobos.

If I do A:
- I dont have to fight him (arguably an upside?)

If I do B:

- I get a LOT of experience (about 1/4 from level 5 to 6)
- I get gold from the loot of all the enemies (armour, weapons etc. which is worth at least some gold)
- I get to search his private room where I find more loot and some lore


Now dont get me wrong, it is absolutely realistic that I dont get the loot from their bodies if I dont fight them and that I cant loot his private room. Maybe even that I get less experience (even so if I remember correctly the dmg says to give exp for "overcoming" a combat, so IMO I should get exactly the same exp as if I were fighting him).
BUT..
...you need to have some kind of Reward for the people that talk their way out of things.
If its a fight that leads up to the boss, not having to fight is totally an upside because you dont spend resources which you might need later.
But even then there should be another incentive and this just gets even more important if it IS the final boss of a dungeon.
What I would change:
-Give the Combat exp not matter if I fought the enemy, or talked my way out of it.
-Give some other kind of reward for not fighting.
Atm the "murder hobos" get: More Gold, more items AND more information.
Maybe make it so that if I talked to him, I can also go into his private room, but instead of looting it, I can talk to him and he gives me more information or even is like "here I hid this item in a super secret place where you wouldve never found it if you killed me, I want to give it to you to aid you in your quests" of course this is super cheesy but currently, talking your way out of any combat feels punishing (this might not be a big problem now, since the game is rather easy in EA, but if there are difficulty settings later, I really dont want to have the situation were I practically screw my self over if I´m not an absolute killer)


3 months ago

Agree with this.  It was very disappointing that I took the talkey path and couldn't investigate the map any further (there are obviously other areas as you can see from the map).

C&C - okay, but I don't think major rewards should be that disparate, especially for the climax of a long dungeon.

Kalshane
Level 7
Kickstarter Backer
3 months ago

Yeah, this was definitely noticable for me as well. I'm on my second play-through and my current "murder hobo" party has better gear and is a level ahead of where my "diplomatic" party was at the same point of the story. I'm okay with the game locking you out of attacking someone if you managed a peaceful resolution with them (as it currently does) but I should still receive some amount of XP for "overcoming the challenge."

Riggs
Level 3
3 months ago

+1

Skills are far less relevant when killing everything is more rewarding.


Maybe the XP does not have to be exactly the same (passing s single skill check is far easier than a full combat) - but certainly something comparable. say 75%?


Also getting XP for any successful skill checks whether dialogue or encounters will provide and incentive and reward for focusing on more than just combat abilities in a group.

goumindong
Level 8
3 months ago

Definitely should get xp and loot for bypassing most (especially important) fights.

Especially if you intimidate the fight

ekimami
Level 6
3 months ago (edited)

And then, there's also the angle that talking your way out of certain encounters is meant to alleviate your resources. Sure, you could always go back and take a long rest at the last "resting" spot you found (which, IMO should implement a chance of random encounters as a risk factor within dungeons), but the idea here is that they're trying to limit how many rests you can take at any given point in the game. 

I've never understood the logic behind "Hey look, I just talked my way out of fighting the evil vampire, and suddenly, I'm now better at swinging my sword and/or have just developed a more powerful spell." Should your party get some EXP for knowing how to talk your away out of certain situations? Sure, the existence of a pacifist route is, IMO, the mark of a well written story and game design. But should it be the same amount as an engagement with the possible risk of death (and not a risk of an encounter if you fail a speech check)? I don' think it should.Maybe half or a quarter of what the creature you convinced to not fight is worth would be appropriate.

But in the end, TA are the DMs here, and they definitely should implement rewards for people who pass their speech checks (maybe give them unique rewards? or quests you can only get if you prevent the encounter?)


Hatox
Level 7
Kickstarter Backer Weaponsmith (Bronze)
3 months ago

My problem is absolutely not with logic but 100% with game design.
I think we cant really argue with logic here since Combat exp isnt logical anyway. My wizard usually takes multiple hours and a spellscroll to learn new spells? Well he just hit a skeleton over there with his quarterstaff until it died so he suddenly has the arcane knowledge to cast fly and fireball.
I really dont think we can apply "logic" to a system as abstract as "exp".
So is it weird that a character gains as much exp for killing an enemy as for talking his way out of fighting it? Well if exp were 100% a measurement of Combat experience yes, but they arent. And even if thex were, I think it would be wrong from a game development viewpoint to give more experience just because you FAILED a social check or simply because you wanted to murder everything. So I dont think they should settle at any less than the same amount of exp (especially when you dont even have ANY profit from "not using resources" because you can simply take a long rest before and/or afterwards) 

Galadan
Level 7
Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer
3 months ago


 I agree with ekimami.


Fighting has, or should have, great risks, characters can die and resources certainly get used up, that may be required later. (Potions, scrolls, daily use abilities etc.)

In my opinion, that should have a greater reward in fights than passing a skill check, in terms of both experience and loot in most cases.

This is also a billed (I think) as a tactical combat D&D 5e game, and the developers have been quite open about this, so I suspect that combat will be front and centre.

(It would be awesome if the makers of games like pillars of eternity and games like the Original Sin series would release some of their copious data on how many people do that talky path as opposed to the fighty path so game developers cold get an idea of the relative value of resource allocation.)


That said, most of the insightful posts above seem to agree that equal rewards for one skill check vs x rounds of combat, use of items/spells/powers etc. is not ideal. 

Currently the reward disparity for that final fight is too great, however, we do not know what. if any consequences may arise from leaving the mage alive, I like to think he could become a vendor/source of advice/ally etc. later on.

The earlier fights that can be avoided (Necromancer and Aksha) are good examples of how the talky path should work in my opinion, you can save your abilities for the main fight. This is mostly ruined by the too available long rest spots, that is a matter of pacing and will hopefully be resolved in the final game as it is tuned and difficulty levels are added. Thanks to threads like this.

Cheers



Miles to go before I sleep

ekimami
Level 6
3 months ago

My problem is absolutely not with logic but 100% with game design.
I think we cant really argue with logic here since Combat exp isnt logical anyway. My wizard usually takes multiple hours and a spellscroll to learn new spells? Well he just hit a skeleton over there with his quarterstaff until it died so he suddenly has the arcane knowledge to cast fly and fireball.
I really dont think we can apply "logic" to a system as abstract as "exp".
So is it weird that a character gains as much exp for killing an enemy as for talking his way out of fighting it? Well if exp were 100% a measurement of Combat experience yes, but they arent. And even if thex were, I think it would be wrong from a game development viewpoint to give more experience just because you FAILED a social check or simply because you wanted to murder everything. So I dont think they should settle at any less than the same amount of exp (especially when you dont even have ANY profit from "not using resources" because you can simply take a long rest before and/or afterwards) 

I think you missed the point of the "logic" argument. Hitting a skeleton with a quarterstaff as a wizard is more a sign of desperation on the part of the wizard or, he's actively risking his frail health and poor defenses for the sake of exploiting the skeleton's weakness to bludgeoning damage. The point is, there's sense in him becoming a better warrior overall by participating in battle, and developing new spells based on these experiences gleaned from it. Saying that drinking tea with the vampire OR fighting it and its minions should give the same amount of experience is what I take issue with, from a design and logical perspective. 

But I agree with you when you say the interpretation of "exp" is really vague, and I would extend that to every other stat, since, logically, people's lives aren't measured by health bars. I would say though, from a mechanical perspective, that the risk factors involved and the likely expenditure of additional resources should be sufficient factors to at least attempt to dissuade an encounter in the first place, expecting those to be rewards in and of themselves, and perhaps getting some exclusive material reward such as a rare item or a key to a locked off area of a zone, or perhaps even a spell buff. It doesn't make sense to me that talking your way out of a problem would give the exact same rewards as fighting through it.

I'm hoping they make the long rest spots in dungeons usable only once, or at least that they pose an increasingly higher chance that you will be ambushed when taking one as a balancing factor. If long rests can be abused, then there's really no point in having combat at all when you can save tons of time simply by having a jacked up party face dissuade everyone and get the same amount of EXP and Items for absolutely no risk whatsoever.

picklesgrr
Level 9
3 months ago (edited)

EXP are not an in world simulation of how characters improve; they are an out of game method of encouraging certain player behaviour and at the moment that player behaviour is Murder Hobo.

Whether this would be fixed by giving some reward for negotiated solutions (I believe you can still loot the chests) or making the benefits of negotiation more appealing, something needs to be done if the "optimal" party is not all 8 CHA with no social skills.
They said the reason for the darkvision change was player behaviour in extremis and this would be the same sort of thing.

Locking other quests behind social skill checks is not a great solution. The chances are rarely above 50% (that I have seen) so you will punish a lot of nice parties as well as the most hobo ish. Save scumming is another detriment to anything that relies on just one or two dice rolls.
Richer series of negotiations might reward having skills - you are much more likely to make 3 out of 5 checks than 1 out of 1 if you are good and much less likely if you are bad. Something mechanically like the romance paths in other games where you have to develop relationships over several rolls.

Currently the strength of the game is tactical combats and the rest supports that. 

ovelteen
Level 7
3 months ago

Yup! It looks like its time to go on a killing spree.

Galadan
Level 7
Newsletter Link Kickstarter Backer
3 months ago



I'm hoping they make the long rest spots in dungeons usable only once, or at least that they pose an increasingly higher chance that you will be ambushed when taking one as a balancing factor. If long rests can be abused, then there's really no point in having combat at all when you can save tons of time simply by having a jacked up party face dissuade everyone and get the same amount of EXP and Items for absolutely no risk whatsoever.

This is what I am hoping for as well, at least on core or higher difficulty, it rewards negotiation and good tactics (have more resources etc. available for the really big fights or the ones where luck simply runs against you).

The point about saving tons of time by having one face and making one roll is also well made and bears repeating, in a tactical combat game the optimal solution should not be negotiation every time, at least in my opinion.

Also, fighting every major battle at full power would really cheapen the experience and favour per long rest ability users over encounter/short rest ability users, not to mention making each battle become very rote as you spam all your most powerful abilities.


Cheers


Miles to go before I sleep

ekimami
Level 6
3 months ago

EXP are not an in world simulation of how characters improve; they are an out of game method of encouraging certain player behaviour and at the moment that player behaviour is Murder Hobo.

It is *a* method of encouraging player behavior that can be balanced by offering different rewards for different choices. Let's take our vampire tea party. If I sat to have tea with the vampire, thus avoiding the encounter, and as thanks for actually sitting down and listening to its concerns, the vampire gifts the party a Sun Sword +2, which once belonged to another party of foolish adventurers who dared challenge it. This magical weapon can only be accessed by the vampire, since it hid the sword in a pocket dimension of its own creation. My point is, now I can choose what I value most, either more EXP and the renown of having killed a vampire, or the very powerful Sun Sword and having a vampire a potential ally. Both of these things incentivize behavior, and that's my argument. More EXP for fights, some more esoteric rewards for non-combat resolutions. As it stands, sure, the balance is tipped towards combat (as it probably should be) but the solution isn't to just out and give players who succeed on a check the full rewards as those that had to get to the same conclusion at much more risk and expense.

Locking other quests behind social skill checks is not a great solution. The chances are rarely above 50% (that I have seen) so you will punish a lot of nice parties as well as the most hobo ish. Save scumming is another detriment to anything that relies on just one or two dice rolls.

So we shouldn't have background quests because they're locked behind backgrounds. We shouldn't have personality quests because they're locked behind your personality aggregate. We shouldn't have class quests because they're locked behind classes. See where this goes? You should be rewarded for investing in a party face, but not at the expense of content. If you focus on combat grunts, then you'll probably miss out on a few adventuring opportunities, and there's nothing wrong with that. Saying content shouldn't exist because it isn't accessible to every class and archetype is bad game design and discourages what keeps these games going years after they are finished - replay value.

Richer series of negotiations might reward having skills - you are much more likely to make 3 out of 5 checks than 1 out of 1 if you are good and much less likely if you are bad. Something mechanically like the romance paths in other games where you have to develop relationships over several rolls.

Currently the strength of the game is tactical combats and the rest supports that. 

Agreed, though I think you are allowed a roll with another character if you fail an initial check - can't be sure at the moment, and agreed again with your last point - this game's strength is definitely its faithful approach to 5e combat.

goumindong
Level 8
3 months ago

The most important aspect of making sure that experience and loot is commensurate between fighting and not is that it allows the game to be more effectively designed for the intentioned difficulty

3 months ago

Absolutely agree with this, you shouldn't be given more experience for resolving an encounter with combat. You should be given experience for resolving the encounter by any means necessary, no matter what that approach may be. If I can only fight my way out, then I'll get experience for it. If I can sneak around or talk my way out, I should get the same amount of experience.

Make combat an incentive by allowing players to loot the corpses or providing unique gear bonuses. But also give players who take the alternative options fitting rewards as well; for example, if I sneak my way around an encounter I should still have access to the secret room beyond unless it's something that can only be reached by alerting the enemies and removing them from the equation.


For a game based on role-playing and alternative methods of solving a problem, it feels really bad to get significantly fewer rewards because I didn't go down the "murder-hobo" route.

Scarelock
Level 1
3 months ago

Personnaly i think that the xp points should have be give no matter the way you resolve the encounter. After all you have succeed ! But if every encounter have to finish with a fight ... what the point to have the dialogs ?
Another option is to give another reward after the dialog : take the money for a successful intimidation ? have a little heal for persuade ? maybe a little side quest (for example "i dont like X on the second floor go kill him") for more xp. The point is to not penalize the successful dialogs.
And personnaly i like the idea of a group intimidating who almost never fight but frightening everyone. ^^