Reputation System Uses

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by JoelMarler, Apr 1, 2019.

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  1. JoelMarler

    JoelMarler Veteran Veteran

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    I've created a reputation system for my game where villainous actions decrease your rep and heroic actions increase it. Any ideas on what I should do with that? At the moment some quests are only available with a positive/negative influence and some npcs won't talk to you if your rep is bad.
     
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  2. Eurgh

    Eurgh Lord of the Reapers Veteran

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    Depends what you want from your game.

    You could make it so they can enter the seedy underbelly of cities with low rep which grants them access to rare and illegal goods. However they must sneak into towns otherwise they will be apprehended by guards.

    Good rep could mean that they are targeted more by bandits and assassins but they get a discount from shops in cities?
     
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  3. Johnboy

    Johnboy Veteran Veteran

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    Good ideas above.

    Also depending on your game, you could have some sort of super weapons/armor locked into specific rep. Something like a life stealing relic for bad rep or say armor that resists evil attacks for a good rep.
     
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  4. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @JoelMarler Please note that Game Mechanics Design is not for giving feedback on individual, specific projects. If that is what you want, then this will need to be moved to Ideas and Prototypes.

    If, on the other hand, you want a general discussion around the the mechanic, it can stay here. That means, though, that replies might be irrelevant to your game. As long as they are on topic, that's fine.

    Please post to clarify what it is you want.
     
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  5. JoelMarler

    JoelMarler Veteran Veteran

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    No problem, the discussion can be about reputation systems in general.
     
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  6. Harosata

    Harosata Dramatic Lightning's BFF Veteran

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    Quest: Meet with the Archbishop of Light Temple to discuss plans on fighting the Demon Lord.

    Rep Levels (Light Temple):
    Honored- You will be allowed to walk in.
    Neutral- For the Archbishop's safety, you're not allowed to bring your weapon in.
    Enemy- You're not allowed to wear anything except the basics for the Archbishop's safety (and not for childish vengeance).

    Then during the meeting, demons attack, and winning or losing this battle may affect the story.

    ---

    In Warcraft, choosing a Loa (dino-god) for the Troll city in the early parts can either give more speed or quicker shortcuts.

    ---

    Or perhaps you can start with 6 Honored factions inherited by your late father, the king. Some choices will please one faction while lowering the other, and at a point in the game, a bad guy will convince the low-rep factions to quit your kingdom and do war.
     
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  7. JoelMarler

    JoelMarler Veteran Veteran

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    All great ideas! Another one I thought of is having party members leave you if you trash your rep. Characters could offer to join you if your rep's high too.
     
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  8. Johnboy

    Johnboy Veteran Veteran

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    Or you could have certain party members only join if your rep is good or bad enough.
     
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  9. kairi_key

    kairi_key Veteran Veteran

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    The idea from Octopath Traveler is good too. The idea I think should be taken from is the "stable vs risk/reward" approach. The more honorable characters can use their skill interact with NPCs very stably, without risking bad reputation but are not opened to every option which is limited by their levels. On the other hand, the more rogue-ish character can use their skill to interact with NPCs more freely without level limitation but with a risk of ruining their own reputation. (For example, stealing items vs buying items in discount price.) If you fancy this kind of approach then do try..


    Another idea is that... there could be a flip event. Reputation of people in society depend on how media painted them or how people decide to look upon them. Some event might happen in the city that resulted in sudden flip in reputation from famous to infamous in an instant like a scandal expose. It is risky to pull it off, but it could be intereesting method to throw players out of their balance and learning the opposite side of what the game system has to offer.
     
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  10. Benevolentwanderer

    Benevolentwanderer Veteran Veteran

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    I think faction rep is usually a more realistic way of handling NPC encounters. If it's a general godliness to sinner scale, I would go as far as to have everything that has dialogue change depending on the player's current rating, but that might be a bit much if you didn't plan for that from the beginning of a project.
     
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  11. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I'd say the most interesting use for a reputation system I've seen was in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. It let you skip the plot.

    Basically, the main quest line normally had the player go all over the place, talk to a bunch of people, and do a bunch of things that more or less fit with an ancient prophecy. But as this was an open world game (with virtually no hand-holding at all) it was possible for the player to kill someone important to the plot before their quests were finished. Towards the end of the quest the player meets with Lord Vivec, a living God worshipped by the people of the land and a central figure in the conflict that started everything. He gives the player some exposition and an item called Wraithguard which allows them to safely wield the tools needed to finish off the Big Bad.

    Reputation was like a backdoor to the plot. Complete enough quests or do things to become famous or infamous in the land and the player would get the attention of Lord Vivec anyway who would invite the player to meet with him regardless of how much of the main quest the player did (you don't even need to start the main quest even). He still lets the player know what is really going on and gives the player Wraithguard because he still recognizes the player to be the one mentioned by prophecy, even if you didn't get around to fulfilling it yet. It's more of a safety net than anything but it's a fun alternative to still resolve things without going through all the hoops of the main quest.

    Fun fact: There are even more safety nets to make sure the game can still be beaten. The player can break into Vivec's temple and potentially kill him to take Wraithguard, and there is another NPC that can activate it since Vivec normally does it for you. Or the player can just ignore absolutely everything and just get the tools and bring them to the final dungeon without Wraithguard. They kill anyone without Wraithguard, but this isn't a scripted kill, it's just a ton of damage, so it is possible to use magic to boost your health enough to tank to hit and equip the tools anyway when you need to use them.
     
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  12. kirbwarrior

    kirbwarrior Veteran Veteran

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    For a simple good vs bad system, I'd definitely lean towards pushing it into mechanics. Pokemon has Return and Frustration, which deal damage based on how high or low your relationship with that pokemon is. You could have "Justice Strike" and "Backstab" for a similar feel. You could have certain characters and shops only available if you are good vs bad. There's also the question of if being "neutral' and/or "unknown" is useful or if the character should hard lean one way.

    However, the idea I like for a morality system lines up with "reputation", where certain acts modify the relationship with other npcs based on their personal ethics and morals. It helps with characterization because it shows you what they think a hero is or what they think is the right or correct actions to take. This will in turn affect conversations, party choices, affect dual techs, etc.

    In Skyrim (and likely a lot of other games) reputation is applied per region (city, faction, whatever works for the game). Observable actions affect reputation. Good reputation in an area is generally optimal, especially since it gets you in good standing with the people in charge. Bad reputation can turn into bounties or otherwise make people eventually attack you. One cool upside here is that looting corpses isn't illegal but stealing is; kill someone, take what you want, then go to jail to get rid of the penalties, and you keep your "stolen" gear.

    What you define as each of those sets a tone for the game, and how you get villainy or heroism to go up matters a lot. For instance, look at how wonky Fallout 3's system is; You can walk into a bar, shoot someone who's doing nothing but relaxing, and your moral system goes up because they were "evil". If your actions have to observed and plausibly spread information, then it's a reputation, but if it's instantaneous and doesn't have to be observed, it's likely "divine" (or similar like The Force in Star Wars).

    There's also a point of what the goal is with the reputation system. Is it to push players to do good and/or punish them for doing evil? Is it to do the reverse (there's a quote I hear a lot "No good deed goes unpunished")? Is it to explore the ramifications of both? Is it to sway the story and/or endings? Is it to lock/unlock areas, characters, etc? Is it to explore the meaning of heroism and villainy? The answers to these questions can leads you to different ideas.

    Some tangible thoughts;
    I've always loved the idea of the "underworld" where criminals come together in a sort of "merchant's fair". There's a specific one that comes up in roleplaying a lot where the players will only ever find it if they show they are the kind of cutthroat the underworld likes. If I were to put it into a game, I could see good reputation lowering prices in shops but bad reputation letting you go to (overpriced) stolen goods shops, making it a matter of "good prices vs more options".
    For random encounters, a good reputation could have soldiers/guards/etc show up mid battle and give help (even just as single actions) while a bad reputation would add said guards to the possible enemy tables.
    If the MC has damage and healing, better reputation makes healing better but damage worse and worse reputation vice versa.
    "Random" loot could be determined by reputation, and it's especially a choice if weapons comes from bad reputation.
     
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  13. Restart

    Restart Veteran Veteran

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    Tyranny has one of the better reputation systems I've seen.

    If you're unfamiliar with the game, basically you're playing as one of the mid-level minions of the evil overlord, helping conquer a new region. For each of the factions, you have two scores, respect and wrath.

    Individual actions can shift either those around in either direction - defeating a faction in a very clever and brutal way might get you both respect and wrath at the same time, for instance.

    You get new abilities for increasing either of them, and different conversation options are gated appropriately.


    A few individual notable people have their personal wrath/respect tracked as well (including your party members).
     
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  14. CountofArath

    CountofArath Villager Member

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    Smite Good, Blackguards are cool.
     
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  15. Eschaton

    Eschaton Hack Fraud Veteran

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    I think it best to keep things simple. There is a way to factor karma into item prices, for example, or quest rewards.

    Perhaps karma can be a separate currency the player can redeem for prizes.

    Playing Mass Effect has taught me that I as a player do not like the idea of not having enough karma to make a story decision, especially if the game is explicitly telling me I cannot make that decision by graying it out.
     
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