jitsuin requested a dev response to the infamy questions. Its about time we addressed this and my response became so large it deserved its own Devblog.
Lets start with the logic behind infamy
One of the main goals of Hurtworld was to create a survival progression with something closer to that of an RPG. Where once you can handle the starting area, you get some more gear and move up in the world, find better stuff, keep going. What we have currently is a prototype of this progression, it works in some cases and not in others. Once we can get the formula right we plan to create many more tiers of loot and PVE challenges.
The more you let a player progress while still in full loot, the more they have to lose. Add on to that fact that in a PVP environment, a death can be caused by wrong place wrong time and there is nothing you can do about it.
So we have established that we have players carrying possibly weeks of progression that could be lost on death, and being killed could be caused by no fault of their own.
Lets look at ways that other games deal with progression loss
Rust: Materials for a full kit of gear can be farmed relatively quickly, the main progression here is blueprints. If you have the blueprints, even from a fresh spawn you can get back up to speed quickly. Towards end game, items you are holding generally don’t have any value, meaning a death doesn’t set you very far back. Being raided is a larger setback but still doesn’t take away your blueprints. Blueprints look to be replaced by MMO type levels soon. Levels will have the same effect as blueprints, progression that can’t be looted on death.
Day Z: Gear is easy come easy go, a lucky run through Cherno as a fresh spawn can kit you out completely. Death truly does lose everything but the progression ceiling isn’t very high here (based on my time playing the mod, not sure how it is now)
Ark: Though I have never actually played this, my understanding is much of your progression is tied to the level system. PVP seems to play out much like an MMO where higher level players will always win against lower level players. Gear doesn’t seem to hold a great deal of value.
Where does Hurtworld store progression value?
Currently in Hurtworld I would say on average 70% of progression value is stored in gear, 30% stored in your base. Nothing is bound to your character. The reason full loot sucks in Hurtworld, is that losing 70% of your progression (which could be weeks of work) in a single bullet to the back of the head isn’t fun. Its not hardcore, its just stupid. We store much more progression in gear than other games, nothing is secured in your character. Our progression is going to get much deeper and its already too much to lose in one death. Full loot is not the solution!
Lets separate the 2 parts of infamy as they are unrelated
Although these are tied together under one system, there is really no need for them to be related. Our two goals for infamy are:
Punishment for death
People should always fear death. Currently sometimes they do not, this needs to be fixed. However they should not fear death so much that there is no point to living. Investing in progression is pointless if you can’t secure it to a point.
Punishment for murder
The decision to kill someone should come at a cost, this cost should always be lower than death, but never become trivial. This is broken because the punishment for death is usually too low. The prospect of losing a core piece of gear is usually far worse than losing what you have gathered this farming run.
This is a consequence I didn’t foresee
Given the fact that the value of your gear constantly increases, a single farming run diminishes in relative value the further you progress. Meaning the cost of death with no infamy decreases vs the cost of losing a piece of gear due to gaining infamy. AKA Shooting someone sometimes costs more late game than death. This makes the formula above much harder to balance.
The second factor at play here is that with no infamy and all materials banked in your base, death has absolutely no punishment. This needs to be fixed first.
How do we fix it?
We have a few options here, we will probably require a mix of the following:
- Add more or an altogether different penalty for death so regardless of the situation, you don’t want to be killed. Ever.
- Change the penalty for murder to something that doesn’t benefit the person being killed. It was a nice perk that an infamous player would become a target to gain items from, in practice it rarely plays out like that. It would probably work better if the penalty didn’t benefit anybody else like it currently does.
- Reduce the penalty for murder late game, we aren’t trying to discourage PVP
- Shift some of the progression value from gear to another place like your base, then making players drop more items on death, as losing less progression value wouldn’t be as devastating. This would give players of a similar progression something to gain by killing each other that might outweigh the murder penalty. If balanced right, the murder penalty would be more expensive than what you stand to gain from killing fresh spawns. A problem this opens up is that progression invested in your base can be shared across teams (investment in production facilities etc), giving large clans a big advantage. We could add machines that can only be used by the owner, however as the reasoning for this isn’t clear to the average gamer, we would be barraged with “Why can’t I use my friends C&C machine, this is stupid!?”
The important thing to see from this isn’t that any of these things are the golden bullet to the problem, but that there are lots of complex elements at hand. Every choice a player makes in the game comes down to priorities. The questions we care about here are: “Is it worth shooting this person in the face?”, and “Death, am I too afraid of it or not afraid enough?”. Most of the suggestions I see are only valid for one scenario, and would be exploitable in another. A balance that works for early game will likely be totally broken late game and vise versa. Something that works for players with full gear will likely be broken if someone just runs around naked with a single weapon. Something that works in a 1v1 situation will likely be broken in a 1v5. Not everyone plays the game the same way you do.
We need good feedback on these systems, not knee jerk reactions to patch notes. See how something plays before giving your opinion, and please give it in a way that doesn’t make us dread reading feedback.
We will be adding in changes to address the above points over time, its not going to be perfect over night. Its an iterative process, good games take years to build, not weeks.