Wednesday, November 21, 2007

AFK in AV

I think that while the steps Blizzard has taken to combat people who enter Alterac Valley and then sit in the cave and go Away From Keyboard are a start, there's still a ways to go to fully solve that problem. The central issue is that a person who is AFK in battle either ends up with a gain in honor, or at worst, they stay level. There is no actual penalty for being AFK.

Sure, there is an opportunity cost involved. The AFKer doesn't gain as much honor as she could. But most likely she is doing something else, a non-WoW activity such as watching TV or surfing the net, that would prevent her from actively participating. The potential scenarios are:

1. Watch TV, don't have WoW running.
2. Watch TV, sit AFK in Alterac Valley.

In the worst case, the rewards for the second scenario are equal to the rewards for the first scenario. So there is essentially no reason not to AFK while watching TV if you can.

It all comes back to Coriel's First Law of Skill:

If the metric used to measure skill cannot decrease, you are not measuring skill, but time.

Honor cannot decrease. Thus it measures time, and people will come up with ways to make it look like they are putting in the time.

The AFK Debuff needs teeth to be useful. It needs to have an actual honor penalty in order to make scenario 1 preferrable to scenario 2. Unfortunately, this might open the doors to griefing as sub-groups in AV try and declare other people AFK when they are not. An example might be a group of 70s trying to declare any non-70 in AV as AFK, in order to force them out.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why we have to report people at all. The game can tell if you are doing something. If you don't do anything for, say, 3 minutes, it should pop up a box that says "Hey, I think you are afk. Are you really there?" And if the user doesn't click "yes" within, say, another minute, then boot them from the battleground immediately.

They are never going to implement a negative honor penalty, because then people would complain about being kicked out when they weren't really afk. Why start that whole mess? Just aggressively and automatically kick out anyone who appears afk, and don't penalize them. That way, you don't get complainers, but its not worth it to go afk either.

RJ said...

I'm pretty sure that you'd still get complainers from that. But even if we assume that the setup is fair and acceptable, why shouldn't it also impose a penalty? It wouldn't really change the tracking and removal system any to do that; it works the same way in both cases.

In any case, I question the validity of using the AFK reporting tool as a griefer, as from what I understand of it's functionality, it would hardly be possible to catch an active player with it.

Daddy Gamer said...

I go AFK once in a while. Not from choice but from real lige intervention. And no, I sometimes dont even have time to log out/leave BG. This is kid related, the only time spans are now and at once w small kids.
Well. To the point. I like that they are harder to afk'ers. When I play I don't wanna loose because 10 losers are hanging in the cave. But every time I have gone afk I have been autokicked. The must be doing something - like som autojump etc. Autorunning into a wall will do I suppose.

But I am against penalizing afk'ers. We're not all leechers - just blokes w lives =)

Wow Panda said...

The only reason whey the auto afk kick is not working, is you can write very simple anti afk bots. It is very easy to write a bot to just go forward x steps then backward x steps every minute. So it is impossible for the software to detect if you are afk.

Light Of The Sun said...

i agree.even though i have never even been to a real full AV i have heard deadly tales abotu the infamous AFK. it will need teeth as you say.and about that bot. i dont know what to do abotu that bot problem

Dazanna said...

If you see someone using a botting program you should report it to a GM as quickly as possible. Its against the game rules and is a permaban offense.

One of the biggest problems with the reporting feature is how it is implemented. It requires multiple people to check and mark people, then has a long period of time where the player has a "countdown" to the debuff. In that time period a lot of bonus honor can be obtained. Obviously it was put in to prevent griefing, but in the end it also makes the tool less effective. I think this should be addressed before any other changes are made.

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Daddy Gamer. AFKers need to be punished harshly. I really doubt there are any problems short of death or serious injury that can prevent someone from taking the second and a half to type /afk to leave a battleground. When you are AFK in a battleground,no matter the reason, you are taking the spot of someone who actually wants to play. And in general, cavers are not "blokes with lives", they are lazy people who want free epics but aren't willing to put the work in for them. I know because I've done it before. Its very tempting to simply pop in a DVD and just hit the space bar every 3 minutes and still profit.

Anonymous said...

Basically in AV you do either of three things - deal damage, take damage or heal damage. So why not code it such that players who do less than a fixed limit, lets say 10,000 damage done, taken or healed get zero honor from that AV.

A much neater and more elegant solution. The limit value can be raised/dropped to defeat the bots, too.

Anonymous said...

You can't base it on damage, because another legitimate thing to do is guard a tower. I might take a tower without hurting anyone, and then stand there for 4 minutes scaring off the horde with /flex. That's just as useful as killing troggs in the mines (actually, its about 100x more useful than wasting time in the mines).

Elistana said...

A lot of people have come forward with suggestions to improve their penalty, but sadly nothing has been said to be in the workds "officially" yet :(

I also think the current state of things isn't up to par and needs a stronger penalty, but everyone else and I will have to post our concerns on the suggestion forum, or nothing will change :(

jrodman said...

You seem against systems that measure time instead of skill, but the whole honor-marks system measures time instead of skill. The old peak-system *also* measured time instead of skill but measured how much time you spent in a single week instead of cumulatively.

Skill will modulo the time necessary to achieve your goals, and this is the reward/penalty, such as it exists. It's not a strong reward/penalty.

Heck, even arena with its rankings still rewards time spent irrespective of skill, it just rewards skilled players *more*.

I think this approach to an MMO rewards system is smart, and your more or less implied goal of punishing bad/griefy players is fundamentally the wrong approach.

I would love to see every player in a battleground actually trying. But sometimes they're obviously not trying *and* obviously not AFK. Why did that guy run back to the graveyard and hang out there for 2 minutes in arathi basin? He doesn't care about winning, or doesn't understand the game. Whispering him that there aren't any flags at the graveyards doesn't change his behavior.. he's afk-equivalent in an unfixable way.

In short, accept that the problem can be reduced but not eliminated, and try to enjoy the game despite the flaws, be they bugs, run-on warsongs, or flawed players.

Doeg said...

"If the metric used to measure skill cannot decrease, you are not measuring skill, but time."

Leading to the big question...
What *can* decrease in WoW?

Not XP nor level nor attunements nor gear - nor even honor anymore (honor was redefined as a currency in patch 2.0).
Reputation is essentially safe from decrease as well.
You can endlessly re-attempt a quest until you are successful. You can try an instance or a raid over and over as well.
Gold and honor are simply currency.
(I don't think we can include life or mana in this discussion; they are combat elements.)

The only decrease that I can think of is gold for repairs for dying, but that expense is more and more trivial with each patch (daily quests, for example). Thus gold is ultimately a measure of time spent, and anything that can be bought with gold is in reality a time measure.

Therefore, is WoW is simply measuring time spent?

Rohan said...

Arena rating can decrease. That's a good measure of PvP skill.

Ability to kill a boss can decrease. I'm sure we've all had raids where we've wiped again and again on a boss that we normal kill in our sleep. So you can argue that the skill of the raid has decreased.

You can't just defeat bosses by putting in time. You have to actually learn the fight. And that is skill.

You can measure a raid's skill by the bosses it can defeat. A raid which beats Kael is more skilled than one which wipes to Gruul.

It is a little bit more complicated, because the rewards are gained from repeated killings of the boss, which seems more like time, but you need the initial skill to "unlock" the time-based reward, I guess.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHA you guys need to quit being pansies and learn to afk av...ESPECIALLY on afk av weekend. Alliance isnt gonna win anyway. Snitches should be killed. Oh but seriously, yeah afk is bad they need to fix it so you cant do that anymore. I agree.

Shal said...

I believe that "I don't understand why we have to report people at all. The game can tell if you are doing something. If you don't do anything for, say, 3 minutes, it should pop up a box that says "Hey, I think you are afk. Are you really there?" And if the user doesn't click "yes" within, say, another minute, then boot them from the battleground immediately." is the best way. If they complain, tell 'em to shut up. It's simple. Follow the rules. There's no way to not see a pop-up box in the middle of the screen if you're sincerely not AFK.

Also, if an AFK botter is reported to a GM, is their account TRULY permanently banned? Because that would suck. And, could they ever get that character back? I agree that AFK botters are stupid, but getting their toon banned forever is quite harsh. Maybe a different penalty could suffice, such as a 12-hour deserter debuff.

Anonymous said...

To the "I don't understand why we have to report people at all. The game can tell if you are doing something. If you don't do anything for, say, 3 minutes, it should pop up a box that says "Hey, I think you are afk. Are you really there?" And if the user doesn't click "yes" within, say, another minute, then boot them from the battleground immediately." guy. If blizz did that, Pplz could simply make a bot click "Yes" by itself, Not a good idea in other words