Recorded Theft Plan Cre Posts

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This is an extract of posts made by Dasquian, Sojan, Wodan and Carmine relating to Dasquian's Plans for Theft. I have tried to make sure all the comments retain their original meanings, although in some cases have removed context and comments relating directly to the context.

Dasquian

Post 1

I'm by no means condemning any five-fingered discount of some trivial item with a cheeky smile and no hard feelings as some malicious act of griefing. Obviously a lot of inventory items aren't that valuable, are easily replaced, and therefore their theft isn't a huge deal.

However your inventory is - as a collection - often time-consuming or expensive to bring together, and several items in it may have sentimental value, or be particularly hard work to create (faith rods, deludes, etc). And even if no one object in your inventory is particularly valuable, there's great potential for annoyance in losing it through death by a thousand cuts.

So many of the nastiest PK incidents that cause complaints, or escalate badly, eventually involve some poor bugger getting killed, their corpse dragged and buried, or some other fairly significant act of malice. This is no longer stealing trinkets for profit, or "doing your job as a thief", this is a deliberate attempt to hurt the other player in as significant way as possible. We implicitly allow this behaviour by making it possible, and having a laissez-faire attitude to PK culture[0]. As such, there's a strong "take it as it comes, you know what you're getting and it ain't nice" attitude to the whole thing.

Now, although these incidents are dealt with as fairly as possible, the fact remains that pretty much every PK player on the disc with the right skills[1] can, at little cost or risk to their own inventory, seriously hurt other people's, should they choose. So where should the line be drawn? The code, and rules, have to be consistent and as clear as possible, and there's no way to clearly evaluate the difference between a "fun" occasional steal, and more aggravating theft. Indeed, the victim is likely to enjoy the whole experience rather less than the thief thinks they should, so even in one incident perspectives will differ.

Thus although I'm not saying all item theft is blanket griefing, I am saying that it's anti-social and that preventing it entirely is the right place to draw the line.

Post 2

I'm not intending there to be a time limit - I'm expecting that your stolen item receipts will be functionally very similar to missing item receipts, except instead of kissing them you do something IC like buy your item back from one of several NPC fences around the Disc.

Post 3

There can't be a compromise on a policy shift to "don't allow items to be stolen".

I'm sorry, but we just don't want a mud where signing up to the PK game is forfeiting everything you own or care about. Yes, that might be "what you signed up for" then but it doesn't mean it it's good, or immune to change.

It also doesn't mean that this change is going to make things worse; we're seeing the usual End-of-Days doomsaying about the implications of this change but thieves are still going to be rich as Creosote and be able to make their opponents' items "not there", however temporarily. Theft from NPCs and shops will also be left unaffected.

Post 4

Let's have an example (With madeup numbers).

Your cheap wozzit with priceless sentimental value is worth $5 new. It gets nicked.

EITHER

Thief fences it for $4.

You buy it back from a fence for $6 (and it's your real object, not a fresh clone).

OR

Thief sells it back to you for $5, a better deal for both of you.

OR

You find and kill the thief before he fences/buries it, and get it back that way.

Post 5

It would have to be objective "MUD value", because we can't quantify actual perceived worth by definition. That said, affecting actual value of an item via things like deludes/enchantments/etc isn't unreasonable.

However, yeah - it'd have to be a closed loop of a single-value theft, and that number will probably be lower than what the item might go for on the player market.

The goal is to fix up theft from players - NPCs should probably have to play by the same rules when they steal from players, but that's a secondary concern for now.

Post 6

> From what I can see, the point of the changes being discussed are that items can be stolen as per usual except:
> - Stolen items can not be trashed, there is always away to recover it by some means
> - Stolen items can not be used by the thief, it becomes an item with value but not function

> The mechanism for thief is, broadly, that:
> - When an item is stolen, it becomes split into two parts, a non-functional clone, and a 'receipt', held by the thief and the victim, respectively
> - If the clone and the receipt are rejoined by the victim, they become the original item
> - If the receipt is exchanged by the victim with a designated fence, the original item is returned
> - The clone may be fenced for profit, or trashed, and it is still possible for the victim to receive the original item at some later point

> The key things that have not changed in any way are:
> - A thief can deprive someone of their item during an interaction, which may be a hindrance to the victim, benefit to the thief, and wards are still useful
> - A thief can still make money with the item
> - Thief is still anonymous unless, caught

> On the other side of the coin, though:
> - A thief can not steal equipment and use them against the victim
> - A thief can not steal equipment and trade it to another player for their use
> - The thief can not permenantly destroy the stolen item (why would they really want to?)

This is an excellent summary, quoted in full for that reason.

> Obviously there's fine detail, somewhere. If this is about right, I do wonder how cloned items will be identifiable. I presume that the clone doesn't need to be fenced/buried for the receipt to be exchanged for the original item?

No, it's "matched" to the receipt for purposes of destroying both to make the original object, but you are correct that the fate of the receipt and original item does not depend on the fate of the clone.

This is a bit weird - how does the stolen object conceptually get back to the victim via a fence if "it" was buried? Well, it just does, OK? ;p Equally the clone and actual item could conceivably co-exist if for some reason the thief held onto it forever and the victim claimed their item back.

So yes there is potential for causal anomalies, but it's a necessity to protect the item; control *must* be taken away from the item-taker.

> Are stolen items actually going to be unhold/wearable?

No, they're completely non-functional.

> Also, how do you plan to get around things like fumble rituals,

Needs to be looked at.

> or stealing the IC receipt counterpart of the item?

Clones and receipts are Special.

- Clones can be freely stolen and looted without generating further receipts (this allows the thief to trade, or the victim to reclaim their item by force, or for people to play pass the parcel with it)

- Receipts are fully unstealable (because it has almost no IC presence - imagine it's not a receipt, it's called a "lingering sense of loss").

Once a theft has occurred, the item can only be truely stolen again after it's been reclaimed.

Post 7

1) We don't want to artificially limit the number of things you can "ward", or force people to do it manually. It'd be extra overhead on the MUD to track it as it is and the goal isn't to cherry-pick what to protect, to allow thieves to take some other stuff. The goal is to protect everything.

So we make it automatic... and now we're talking about a new way theft of player property works.

2) We don't want to run into any problems about dupping an item, or dealing with people going idle/afk/logging off long-time/etc. What if a player steals something, passes it to a disposeable alt, then logs off forever? We have to deal with that.

We *could* have a handler tracking every theft ever, storing information about stolen items, destroying them should the thief ever log back on, etc, etc. This is a very large amount of work, it has many ways to go wrong, and doesn't scale well - it may fill up with an unuseable amount of data we can't shed.

The proposed system however requires no data that will last over, say, a week, as it allows the thief and victim to go their separate ways. It also keeps the item in the victim's possession (in code terms), albeit in a deactivated state, which means since it never really leaves, it's definitely "safe".

Hope that explains my approach some more.

Sojan

Post 1

It's simply a case of some of us are absolutely fed up dealing with the constant stream of "WAAAAAAH XXX did YYY to me, tell him off" or "WAAAAAH, XXX stole YYY from me and it took me months to get that and I want it back" and so on and so forth.

Frankly it gets tiring and depressing to the lengths where at one point I was seriously considering removing PK from the game altogether.

No alternative is perfect unfortunately but Dasquian put together a fully thought through proposal covering all aspects and it was a better option than my preferred solution at the time. Other people agreed additionally so it got put on the to be implemented queue.

Post 2

To people suggesting alternatives I would point out that vague handwaving and principles are not going to be enough, whats needed is a complete proposal that's been fully thought through to cover all the basis because from past experience I'm positive that there are a whole group of people out there that will instantly try and work out every single bug in any system put in so that they can cause grief to people for the sheer hell of it, which ultimately has been the problem with PK for some time.

Post 3

This isn't just about events of recent but events occuring over a decade and a half.

We're making a change that affects some people who never cause any grief to reduce the grief we have to deal with. If it reduces the amount of time I have to sink into dealing with issues like that it leaves me with more time [and since time==money more cash] to invest in DW as a whole.

Post 4

At the end of the day there will always be people who disagree with practically any decision or change to the way they play the game or have come to know the game and we're never going to please everybody since I suspect there are those that would object to a lever in the drum that handed out XP on demand.

Post 5

Actually, the correlation between large scale changes and a drop in player numbers is not the nice linear function people always claim it is. I've been here long enough to observe it all and heres a little hint - our peak player point was reached in the late 90's/early 2000s just as people were getting online en-masse and through the whole dotcom boom. Our player decline, not so coincidentally, almost directly correlates to the rise of the MMO - WoW in particular - from around 2003 onwards.

It's also worth noting that the player numbers always boost after a Pratchett book launch which have been rarer and rarer of recent times.

Of course, we all know that's bunkum and it's the changes to the game that cause players to leave in droves.

Wodan

Post 1

Why would a system that always worked perfectly make multiple admins consider removing PK entirely?

Post 2

Just pointing out that current discussions do NOTHING to get me on the 'keep pk around' side of things.

Post 3

Considering the argument was basically between this kind of change and removing PK entirely, are you sure you want to argue against the change?

I'd concentrate on suggestions to make it better instead!

Carmine

Post 1

I'll also take this opportunity to voice my full support for these proposals, in case there was any doubt.

Additionally, I will be taking on the development of these (with some able assistance).

Post 2

Alternative suggestions that are cropping up and have previously cropped up just don't offer the fully thought out solution outlined by the proposals as they stand.