Hi there! The name's Nenicirene, and I'm a fictional character in the World of Warcraft on the Argent Dawn server. I talk a lot, and since, like most warlocks, I'm an egomaniac, I operate under the delusion that the public at large is interested in my mad babbling. To that extent, I have collected it here in the form of several essays-by-accretion. Enjoy!

New entries are listed below by date, while the complete contents are organized by topic in the sidebar.

An Addendum

On further examination, it occurs to me that the system I proposed is not immune to abusive behavior. Specifically, an individual can place a bid they know has no chance of winning on an item they don't really want simply to siphon off some of the winning bid into their own account. That is, if Blades of Sashimi go for between 0.4 and 0.6 normally, a person would can't make use of it could still bid 0.3 on one in order to increase his priority.

Additionally, there is a positive feedback problem in that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Specifically, an individual with a priority of zero can never get it to increase. More generally, if a subgroup winds up with high priority scores, they can place inflated bids on items that will get redistributed preferentially to members of that group, keeping them wealthy.

Thus, it looks like I have to toss the proportional redistribution part, and simply distribute the winner's bid evenly among all participants. However, that means there can be inflation and deflation in certain categories. In the example I gave with equal drop rates for class-specific gear and twice as many rogues as priests, there will be a net flow of points from priests to rogues, which will impact other classes that compete with them at times. The end result is that rogue items will become more expensive than priest items, which makes sense if there is greater relative demand. This looks like it calls for some simulation to test long-term behavior of the system.

Reward Normalization System: A Zero-Sum Second Sealed-Bid Loot Distribution Mechanic

Nearly every dedicated raiding guild uses a DKP system to award loot, but most such systems are seriously flawed from the point of view of fairness. (However, since they're always biased towards the implementors of the system, they live on.)

Most DKP systems award points to players for all matter of participatory activities, which are then spent on the acquisition of items. This is fundamentally flawed. Since the amount of participatory activities such as showing up and killing bosses does not correlate one-to-one with the items obtained, any such system will either be inflationary or deflationary over time, in that the points generated by the participants over time will either be more or less than the points required to purchase the items obtained over that same time span. Thus, points should only be given to players based on the actual items that they help to obtain. Any other option will cause problems over time.

As to the value of items, assigning arbitrary values to the utility of items, taking into account potentially varying rarities, is very difficult. The best way to assign such values is by letting the participants decide through a bidding system. Since the system needs to be zero-sum, the cost paid by the winner needs to be distributed to the losers. As to the auction itself, it should be a second sealed-bid auction, as this is provably Pareto-optimal.

Thus, I propose the following system:

All participants begin with a priority of 1.0.

Whenever an items drops that participants desire, everyone who wants it secretly makes a bid between 0 and their current priority.

The highest bidder receives the item. His priority is reduced by the second-highest bid. Everyone else's priority is increased by that second-highest bid times their own bid divided by the sum of all the non-winning bids.

Note that in cases where only one participant desires an item, that participant's priority does not change.

Example: The Blade of Sashimi, an uber-rare weapon, drops for a raid group. Arcadio, Bob, Camilla, and Detritus all desire it, so they secretly make bids. This is their first raid, so they all have priorities of 1.0, and bid 1.0, 0.6, 0.5, and 0.4, respectively. Arcadio wins and pays 0.6, the second place bid. His new priority is 0.4. Bob's priority goes up by 0.6*0.6/(0.6+0.5+0.4) = 0.24. Similarly, Camilla goes up by 0.6*0.5/(0.6+0.5+0.4) = 0.20 and Detritus by 0.6*0.4/(0.6+0.5+0.4) = 0.16. Note that total priority is still 0.4+1.24+1.2+1.16 = 4.0.

Thus, intuitively, individuals are rewarded with increased future considerations every time an item that they want goes to someone else in the group. The points for a given item only flow between the individuals who actually want that item, preventing a net flow of points from groups whose desired rewards are more common relative to the number of members who want them. (That is, if priest and rogue items are equally common but there are twice as many rogues as priests, it is not the case that points will flow over time from priests to rogues, which would matter if rogues also had to compete with warriors for some items or priests had to compete with mages.)

Why DKP systems are evil

All I see in this 'DKP Points' threads are people whining about not earning the same as other people that put in more work.

How can you whine about that?

A points system rewards you for what you put in.

How can anything be fairer then that?
You put nothing in, you get nothing out.
You put in a lot, you get out a lot.

What fairer system could their possibly be, why do you think that almost EVERY raid guild bar the very rare ones in EQ used this system? because it is the fairest means to reward people, you reward people for the work they put in.

No, DKP systems are a scam to retain loot within the most hardcore circle of the group that implements them. They way they work is:

You put a little in, you get nothing out.
You put in a lot, you get out a lot.

Rolling for items within the group rewards people based on the work they put in, because every raid you go on corresponds to a chance to win what you want. Go on twice as many raids, get twice as many chances.

On the other hand, a DKP system serves to lock out the people who go on less raids. They never get enough points to compete with the people that go on more raids, and thus the loot stays within the inner circle. However, fairness doesn't matter, as it's the inner circle that sets the rules, and they will naturally come up with a system that grossly favors them and then argue that it's "fair". Thus, the DKP systems won't go away.

I disagree with this...Niveus Lepus uses DKP, and items get doled out pretty fairly IMO.

I jumped in late and can't do Onyxia, so I lose out on two sources of DKP, yet I still manage to pull a fairly regular amount of items. I don't get them FIRST, but I get them pretty often. And I like to spend my points on silly things. ("What? Awesome sword when I already have an Arcanite Reaper? 'kay!")

We have people who gets stuff on their first run because so much of a certain class set has dropped that EVERYONE IN THE RAID of that class is in negative points.

Sure, there's the eventual inflation as everyone picks up what they need and nobody needs X or Y, but all that leads to is that newcomers get that stuff with no hassle...it drops them into negative DKP like mad, but they work out of it and don't get first crack on the next new stuff, whereas the people who've been around forever do get first shot at it. Which I consider fair.

Maybe our DKP system is different than ones you've seen, I have no idea, but it works out nicely for us. I've seen more than one first-timer get a nice Epic piece out of Molten Core.

It sounds like NL system is actually deflationary—that is, the points coming in are less than those going out, leading to most people being in the negative, and thus favoring new folks. I didn't address such cases in my original rant, mostly because I doubted they actually existed in the wild, as they work against those in charge of maintaining the system, and the my cynical self finds it hard to believe people would support power structures that harm them.

I did fail to take into account the loot-wave phenomenon, in which there's a finite number of items suitable for any given character, and people fill up on these, then move on to higher tiers of loot, and are thus not competing with newcomers for the entry-level loot, allowing the newcomers to get those comparatively quickly. My analysis was taking a more open-ended view, which assumes that all players retain interest in all appropriate items, as opposed to having a finite capacity to use loot.

All that said, I'm still opposed to any systems that are not zero-sum, as they're elegantly self-balacing without administrative tinkering.

Well, considering we rate at very low points-per-hour and give out shares of the items that drop...a single item can wipe you out for a good two weeks of raid gains.

My very first raid I got a necklace, and I was paying back for it three weeks from being in the hole, and it was cheap as some of our items go.

A winner is me!

So, last night, at the first Battle of the Bards, I presented my contact juggling / head-mounted light show act that I used to do for my friends at the all-night dance parties in the Gnomeregan Launch Room. I won the best Physical Feat / Stunt category! Woo-hoo! Now I need to get ready for the next Battle of the Bards, and I think I even have a partner lined up already…

I am gnome; hear me squeak!

I am proud to be a gnome. While intelligence is a stereotype, I have no problem with it, as I am, in fact, a genius. Modesty is for non-warlocks.

I am an engineer, but I am also a sorceress, as well as a charming conversationalist. I don't artificially limit myself.

I do not, in fact, like sweet things. I have a sophisticated palate, and am a master chef unsurpassed in skill. That I personally murder most of the things I cook and eat is a source of pride for me.

I do not like pink. I am cute, but not sickeningly so. Pigtails are stylish, but also practical, as you don't want your hair falling in your face during a fight. My hair is grey because I am privy to secrets that would drive lesser mortals mad with terror at the thought of the things that lurk in the outer dark. I do not deign to dye it, bearing it as a badge of wisdom and a warning to others, both about my own power and the price of getting such power.

I have friends among all the races of the Alliance, but I never forget that I am a gnome. Being amongst the scattered remnants of our people still fills me with a warm comforting feeling. I shall never forget what we have suffered and never stop fighting for our future.

Out of the silence, one voice carries on.

Over on the Argent Dawn forum, Crytin said:

Damnit Neni, you need to move that link into your sig. Everytime I click on it, without looking, I expect it to be something pertinent to the topic at hand. And everytime I go there, i'm compelled to read every damn thing you have to say.

MAKE IT STOP!

I wish I could, but the stupid sig is limited to only 52 characters total. (Despite the fact that the form on which one enters it claims that the limit is 128 characters—liars!) In order to put the URL down there, I'd have to take out the memorial to my fallen people, and that's just unacceptable. Their voices may have been silenced by radioactive fallout, madness-inducing leprosy, and rampaging troggs, but I will not be silenced for your convenience!

Give a hoot, don't commute!

I suggest the gnome mounts be made a little more silent. I feel almost ashamed bringing out my mount in night elf lands; it ruins the atmosphere. It really doesn't seem fair that our mounts are the number one cause of sound and air pollution.

My mount doesn't pollute. It's powered by clean-burning demonic essence that merely taints everything around it, including souls, for all eternity, but that's technically not pollution.

heh heh thats funny i was thinkign the same thing a while back alot of the enginering stuff is like that but the mechstriders are the worst, im a warlock to and i do love my mount (the level 40 one) i cant wait till 60 for the epic one but the quest is near impossiable

How to be yourself

As the topic says, do you draw on your experiences or parts of you personality to design you character?

Everyone does, whether they realize it or not. Characters you play can't help but be viewed through the lens made up of your own personality.

Playing Neni is easy for me. She's basically me, but more so. Take my exhuberance, my cuteness, my mania, my arrogance, my skill, my things to live for, and my things that try to make me sad, and turn them all up to an eleven. I'm playing myself, but I'm badly overacting the part and hamming it up.

I simply rock.

Ashyra said:

I can't really say that any Gnome is cute. But if I had to choose the least repellent, then…

*ponders*

…hmm… well, just through sheer force of personality it would have to go to Nenicerene. She's sexy in spite of her Gnome status.

Woot!

/me engages in a Gnomish Victory Dance.

I'm not sure... there's something mildly disquieting about knowing the gnome you're checking out is, at that very moment, perhaps plotting the downfall of the world as you know it.

...er, not that a night elf would check out a gnome.

Choose the people who play your friends carefully

Role playing on a forum is a load of rubbish!

The fundamental problem is that most people do not have a clue how to contribute to collaborative storytelling in a constructive, non-hijacking manner. Also, most people can't write anything worth reading. Both take a little training and a lot of practice.

This is particularly exacerbated when any fool can drive by and wreck things, both unintentionally (due to a lack of skill) or intentionally (due to maliciousness). Far too many people are too invested in the accomplishments of their own character as opposed to the furthering the overall story in an interesting manner. Audience participation improv suffers from much the same problem. Even when taking suggestions, you generally need to specify that you want something non-sexual and non-scatological, because far too many people think that the only way to make a funny scene is between a proctologist and his gay lover.

In general, I don't find MMORPGs to be very conducive to good role-playing. They suffer from most of the drawbacks of LARPs with few of the benefits. You're stuck operating in real-time, meaning that boring travel and such cannot be abstracted away, so meaningful inter-character interaction is generally confined to a tight physical location. On the other hand, your ability to express yourself is both highly limited and painfully slow compared to actual physical interaction. Since there is no GM to create NPCs as needed, you're limited to interacting in a meaningful fashion with just the other players.

Personally, I think that long-term LARPs are unsustainable and nonsensical, but one-shots (which, due to the constraints of reality, usually involve about a dozen people who may or may not know each other trapped in a house during a dangerous situation) work well. For proper collaborative storytelling, nothing beats sitting around a table with good friends, a designated referee, and a few hours to kill. It doesn't produce an end product, but that's okay, because it's a unique art form in that the creators and the audience are one and the same, and it's very much a self-indulgent "you had to be there" sort of thing that does not lend itself to be watched, only done (kinda like how I feel about sex, but that's another matter).