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How the server fails to encourage roleplay over money


TinPan

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On 5/6/2021 at 2:19 AM, Ink said:

The problem is definitely there, but we can walk it back a little bit more. 

 

So yes, the vast majority of people are uninterested in roleplaying poor, lower class workers. You definitely see some people playing these characters, but it's usually either A) a temporary alt to take a break from their "main" or B) a character intended already to join a faction. Very few people want to play entry level positions for long, and this makes it really difficult for those of us who are running more complex multi-faceted businesses with high RP quality because we need these people, and it takes us a lot of work to hire them, train them, and get them spun up to speed--and that work is wasted quickly when these people "trade up" for a sexier sounding job, or turn more of their character's focus on their development in an illegal faction, or just get bored of that character and move on to the next.

 

There's really not much we can usefully change about that. People roleplay what sounds and feels fun for them. We can't reasonably expect people to roleplay stuff they don't enjoy, as much as the GTA RP community has led itself to believe over the last 15 years that you should force people into unpleasant, aggressive, violent, and confrontational RP without cue, consent, warning, or an opportunity to escape.

We can, however, turn this discussion to something a little more immediately useful. This topic brings up the lust people have for getting money. This virtual money is the best carrot on a stick that we have to get people to RP roles which otherwise might not be too sexy or appealing.

 

What's the issue? The issue is that there are many sources for earning this money which require no real roleplay, and more importantly, that the prevalence of all these ways to make money means that the value of a character's labor is really expensive when it's not being paid for by the script.

 

For instance, I've hired personal assistant characters, office workers, janitors, and other such services in the past. GTA:W's fair market value for an hour of labor is approximately $4,000, give or take a little bit. An hour of work in a 24/7 (which requires only running in and hitting /bjoin) yields $4,000 plus 30% of all sales as commission--the sale of a large dufflebag means a bonus of $400 and if they're lucky enough to sell a mask or boombox they makes a cool $1600 bonus. An hour of entry-level trucking easily yields over $5,000 an hour. The problem comes in if someone wants to hire a character for a job which doesn't benefit from the startshift bonus, or which doesn't have any tangible profit behind it. 

 

This is the more harmful way the server's current economy hurts. This is where the IC and OOC issues really clash in the subject of money. You see plenty of people on this server who care more about RP than money and who are willing to do RP jobs for free or for "realistic" amounts of money ("Just pay me like $200 an hour it's fine") -- and that's all well and good, commendable even, but it's actually breaking character. The $4,000/hour payments are declared to be IC. The $40,000 openbusiness bonuses are IC. The fact that this character can go and get a dead-end job at a 24/7 and make $12,000 in a day is IC. The rules specifically say we must remain IC at all times, and all of these payments are ICly logged by the IC government and presented as being an IC disbursement of social welfare. These aren't OOC abstractions.

 

So why is a character willing to work for $200/hour? And more importantly, if it comes out that your character is paying someone $200 an hour for labor, it can be ICly taken as your character exploiting a poor sap for cheap labor. 

 

I ran a restaurant where it cost me $50,000 in labor expenses per opening because we didn't have a /startshift auto-pay script. We'd make about $5,000 in revenue. Technically, anyone could call my character out on how stupid she was for running such a poor business model, even though it was a perfectly realistic restaurant venue and it was fun roleplay. Fact still stood ICly my character was losing the equivalent of a family sedan every single time she opened the place up. 

 

When I hired a personal assistant or any other number of IC services (such as janitors, handymen, and so on), I'd pay about the same amount of money because it was only ICly and OOCly fair to do so. Now someone might point out "what's the big problem? You make a lot of money, so spending an occasional 4k here and there shouldn't be a big deal." The issue comes in with repeat employment. To start, it costs about 40k and up per week to have an employee (that's 10 hours of labor over 7 days of the week). Factions like Aurum tout paying 80k+ a week. A person willing to do 3 hours of /startshift pay every day of the week makes 84k. If I want to hire even just 3 employees, I need to be willing to pay at least 150k a week to support this. That's 600k a month. Just for 3 employees. 

 

That's where the problem kicks in. That's one of the most harmful parts of our economy at the moment. That's how this economy really kills a lot of roleplay.

 

People are willing to RP these roles. Not tons and tons of people, but a solid amount. But why would they, ICly or OOCly, want to RP doing a job which is challenging and gets their character no actual gain when they have many hundreds of options to make their 4-5k/hour for much less effort? These players deserve having their characters make a return, and they deserve having the options to develop their characters. It makes no sense that a character who is a personal assistant to a successful person, for instance, would make less than a 24/7 employee, and even without buying Elegy Retros or Mirror Park houses they still will face day-to-day expenses in their IC adventures through Los Santos which require script money. 

 

That, to me, is the biggest way how this server poorly incentivizes the money/roleplay balance.

I'll bring this back from the dead because this is just facts. I personally would wanted to be your employee. Why? Because driving a truck 50 times over or sitting afk at a 24/7 waiting for people is just fucking boring. I always looked for jobs that requires RP and character development. I personally never had characters who are filthy rich or has a business. Why? Because it's way more fun for me to RP in a realistic manner. I like my character being sick and tired of his job, I like my character looking at other peoples wealth and wanting that but knowing he can never achieve it. Yes money in this server, any server to be honest is king. You have people that won't talk to you because you drive a 30k car. Honestly I wish more businesses get workers that actually care to RP a employee not there just to make money. Like you see 3000 characters roleplaying a bartender, without actually knowing what the fuck on rocks means ( it's a joke ). Anyways I hope that people understand that money is not the key to good roleplay, you can be a broke ass hobo, but if you find someone that is enjoying your RP and is willing to RP with you and give you a chance to develop, that to me is everything. Thank you.

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Time to get rid of the scripted jobs or severely slash the pay.  We should be encouraging people into player run jobs thesedays.  There should also be more attacks on accumulated wealth.  People shouldn't be able to farm a job and then just live in an expensive house with three sportscars forever without any further effort  (higher taxes, costly repairs for vehicle damage, higher insurance costs etc.).  The wealthy life should require some effort to maintain.

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38 minutes ago, Paenymion said:

We should be encouraging people into player run jobs thesedays.

Definitely. We already have a few logistics companies in operation. Seeing the sort of trade those guys bring in and the reliance the components system has on them, relying on player-operated companies to run the job market could only be a positive move.

 

It would be great to see something like this implemented alongside the suggestions you posted on my Import/Export thread. It would make the legal faction scene a necessity rather than an afterthought.

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On 5/5/2021 at 9:35 PM, mj2002 said:

So what are the proposed solutions? I'm not seeing many of those yet. Players mentalities are not so easily changed.

I see reducing paychecks based on age helping here. People simply can't RP being rich if they aren't.

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On 5/6/2021 at 12:35 PM, Smilesville said:

GTAW is a MMO in its current state.

 

Player numbers and grinding net you far more rewards than a story ever will. These rewards also allow you an outsized impact on the stories of others - the stories we pretend to cherish. Fact of the matter is that there's no incentive to roleplay beyond the bare minimum.

This is the question we should all be asking.

 

I can put forth a few concepts that've worked exceptionally well on other servers. Most of them doubtlessly unpopular - but solutions nonetheless.

  1. Introduce an RP rating system. For example, every player is assigned a variable 0 to 4.
    0) You're new, and/or have difficulty staying in character. Any admin can give you this.
    1) You stay in character. Any admin can give you this.
    2) You've built a solid, believable character. Any admin can give you this.
    3) Not only is your character believable, but you regularly enhance the play of those around you. Three admins must agree to give/remove this.
    4) The style of play the server idolizes. A majority of admins must agree to give/remove this.

    Throw players more cash the higher their rating goes, if that's what you think will motivate them. Lock particular activities to a particular rating - for example, you're not permitted to perform robberies or own a business unless you have a 2 or higher. You can even change the levels required based on whether you want activities to be more or less common, since the RP rating distribution will end up looking like a bell curve.
     
  2. Forbid staff members from actively playing characters. We're beyond the need for this, frankly - even if we pretend we can quash all bias (we can't,) the mere appearance of bias combined with a general lack of transparency tends to do you more harm than good. Much harder to make a case for bias when you don't have a dog in the fight.

    Recognize that I don't make this suggestion without having done this myself for an extended period, for another server - it sucks at first, but you rapidly get used to it, especially since this is supposed to be considered in conjunction with my next suggestion.

    This (and my next suggestion) would also begin to address the issue of reports/requests going unanswered for hours with multiple staff members online. I understand you're volunteers, but I would propose that occupying a volunteer slot without actually doing the job is worse than never having taken the position at all. You're doubtlessly aware of how much I despise the state of burglary RP, but waiting several hours for a request is just not reasonable. My understanding is that most of you are involved in your own roleplay scenarios, and it's perfectly understandable not to put things on hold at the drop of a hat.

    Personal investment is kept to a minimum, and that frees you up for my next suggestion.
     
  3. Free staff members to host small events and instances while assuming the role of NPCs. There are some things beyond the ken of the player base - I never expect to see a bank robbery, for instance. However, if we'd like to drum up roleplay for the LSPD, who better to take on the role of the robbers than a staff-controlled NPC who can go to prison for life and/or disappear from the city at the drop of a hat? This doesn't have to be a large scale event - could be as condensed or as broad as the creative freedom you're willing to lend to staff members.

    At present, we seem to be caught in an overly restrictive loop in which we don't ask what a reasonable person would do when considering whether to permit something or not, but rather what the usual person would do. It's entire reasonable to fight back at gunpoint, for instance - but we don't permit it under the assumption that if it were permitted, everyone would do it.

    Incorrect as I think that assumption is, allowing staff members to take on uncommon roles the server doesn't trust the average player with allows others to react to a much more dynamic landscape of roleplay.
     

I've seen these in action, and they achieve results. I don't expect them to come anywhere near implementation, but hey - proposing a solution when you outline a flaw should become a more regular thing.

Sure, have admins be DMs. It's a great idea, but it doesn't address the fact that the issue lies with the majority of the players.

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1 hour ago, maramizo said:

I see reducing paychecks based on age helping here. People simply can't RP being rich if they aren't.

Reducing paychecks sure. But based on age? I don't see any scenario where that works out alright.

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To me, the 200k starting bonus is perfectly fine, and there's really no reason to remove that. I think it'd just create more people grinding jobs that don't fit their characters. The 200k is obviously designed to help get you started in properly roleplaying your character, getting a car and a home/whatever so you can get to playing. When I first joined the server this was a breath of fresh air, having come from communities where you HAD to grind, or AFK-paycheck farm to get what you wanted, this was great.

 

I personally hate grinding, and couldn't imagine spending hours a day fishing or truck driving, or anything else with minimal RP effort. Of course people want to cut these jobs and encourage players to join player-ran businesses, and that's great but I think trying to make it harder to earn money will only lead into an increase in robotic characters that'll do anything to gain more.

 

At the end of the day GTAW's economy doesn't matter, it's a sandbox (imo) and all the money I've accrued across my characters isn't always IC, but there to help supplement my roleplay and encourage it for others. Some of my characters are dirt poor, and others are rich through IC means. I honestly wouldn't have fun being FORCED to roleplay being dirt poor every time I made a new character. It's less of a server-side, admin issue, and more of a playerbase one. If you're here to see a number go up instead of making an interesting character to develop/have fun roleplaying, you're probably on the server for all the wrong reasons. There's nothing wrong with people wanting to roleplay a rich character, what becomes a problem is how they roleplay that wealth (20 year old girl with 4 businesses and 10 cars) but that's a RPQM issue. 

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6 hours ago, maramizo said:

Sure, have admins be DMs. It's a great idea, but it doesn't address the fact that the issue lies with the majority of the players.

If you believe the issue lies with the mentality of the majority of players, the argument proves a bit too much, doesn't it? Doesn't that mean that the server itself attracts those sorts of people, as opposed to good roleplayers?

 

My position has always been that the stated purpose of the server (heavy RP) conflicts with its server mechanics on a wide variety of fronts.

 

Roleplay is collaborative by nature, and yet adversarial play wins the day in a great number of ways - from the obvious robberies to more subtle concepts like the market's natural inclination toward the same two or three types of businesses. Cash and assets are the only measure of progress a player can attain at present

 

There's no incentive to roleplay robberies well, because quality takes time - and time increases the risk of capture.
 

There's no incentive to create businesses apart from low-maintenance social hubs; even if you bring in customers, clubs and bars will win out.

 

By introducing RP ratings, you attach value to roleplay. Create a bakery instead of a night club, and you may not be bringing in tons of cash on every opening - but you'll be viewed much more favorably as a candidate for the next RP rating (and all the benefits it entails, perhaps even a multiplier on passive income) that will range across all of your characters.

 

Take time to roleplay out a robbery well, and you may get caught, true - but again, you're that much more favored for the next RP rating. The immediate rewards you would glean from hamstringing the quality of your play wouldn't measure up to the benefit of attaining a new RP rating (or keeping your present rating, as the case may be.)

 

It is not enough to tell players to report the bad ones. We must actively provide incentives to the good ones - not only to retain them, but to demonstrate to others exactly what we're looking for. I earnestly believe that the majority of players are capable of quality RP if they're given the incentive to produce it; this idea that "roleplay is its own reward" is well and good, but it won't help us retain quality writers.

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2 hours ago, Smilesville said:

If you believe the issue lies with the mentality of the majority of players, the argument proves a bit too much, doesn't it? Doesn't that mean that the server itself attracts those sorts of people, as opposed to good roleplayers?

 

My position has always been that the stated purpose of the server (heavy RP) conflicts with its server mechanics on a wide variety of fronts.

 

Roleplay is collaborative by nature, and yet adversarial play wins the day in a great number of ways - from the obvious robberies to more subtle concepts like the market's natural inclination toward the same two or three types of businesses. Cash and assets are the only measure of progress a player can attain at present

 

There's no incentive to roleplay robberies well, because quality takes time - and time increases the risk of capture.
 

There's no incentive to create businesses apart from low-maintenance social hubs; even if you bring in customers, clubs and bars will win out.

 

By introducing RP ratings, you attach value to roleplay. Create a bakery instead of a night club, and you may not be bringing in tons of cash on every opening - but you'll be viewed much more favorably as a candidate for the next RP rating (and all the benefits it entails, perhaps even a multiplier on passive income) that will range across all of your characters.

 

Take time to roleplay out a robbery well, and you may get caught, true - but again, you're that much more favored for the next RP rating. The immediate rewards you would glean from hamstringing the quality of your play wouldn't measure up to the benefit of attaining a new RP rating (or keeping your present rating, as the case may be.)

 

It is not enough to tell players to report the bad ones. We must actively provide incentives to the good ones - not only to retain them, but to demonstrate to others exactly what we're looking for. I earnestly believe that the majority of players are capable of quality RP if they're given the incentive to produce it; this idea that "roleplay is its own reward" is well and good, but it won't help us retain quality writers.

I agree, but I don't see a way to put it into effect without a system that fails to acknowledge all players. How do you get boosted? Do you get recommended by X amount of players (meta becomes to make friends)? Or do you have to wait until an admin acknowledges you (meta becomes to do specific types of RP where you're more likely to get recognition)?

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