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"Free Parking" and Undead Legions in Crowfall

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I know the title is bit obscure but hang in there, there is no TL;DR but I promise a short read for the potential scope of this idea. As a side note, this was inspired by player gravestones which currently hang out a little too long for my liking. Honestly, it will probably be unlikely that these sit around too long in live before players loot them completely but I digress.

Okay, so this idea is proposed as either its own campaign ruleset or as a component of campaign rulesets.

For added context, Free Parking is a square on the board in the game Monopoly where economic losses through taxation etc accumulate on the board for one lucky player to take when they land on it. This idea is expanded in the context of Crowfall's campaign worlds below.

First, imagine the undead having a hierarchy not too dissimilar from the current factions, ideally being their own NPC faction. That's a rabbit hole, so let's dismiss going into the specifics on that for now. It's just meant to aid throughout the explanation of this concept.

Essentially, if players don't fully loot a body or a player takes too long to retrieve their corpse, their goods "end up" in various undead strongholds. "End up" in quotes because I am not saying these items are literally picked up by a specific NPC and walked to the nearest undead grouping but that anything left unlooted will funnel into the hypothetical undead "cloud".

These strongholds would not be as simple as "overwhelm a single point on map to unlock all lost goods" but rather act as a well of treasure to reward players a portion of forlorn goods once defeating some type of boss mob nested within these theoretical strongholds. The boss essentially would drop a cache that treats the "free parking" goods as its loot table.

In the winter season, season of death, or apocolypse, or w.e the final season is called, player deaths could trigger an undead uprising at that location. Undead would flood to areas of activity, seemingly drawn by the disturbance to act as a vacuum for the dead players. They would also act as an additional danger when trying to loot fallen corpses. Presumably because the undead forces have come to use the bodies of fallen corpses to strengthen their army. Maybe even growing in overall strength as players perish in the world, strength or numbers or even visible encampments around the map.

Admittedly, this is a bit all over the place but I believe it is best to lay the idea out with many different directions to theorize. What are your thoughts?

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In general I've always liked the idea of "trashed" or "abandoned" loot in an MMO going somewhere (or just perpetually remaining in place) to be found again. Doubly so in games with named crafted items with maker's marks like crowfall.

If you're commuting loot that was "left" in the world, chances are that the vast majority of that loot is garbage players didn't want in the first place. This means that your undead boss mob is going to have, most of the time, a really poorly made socksty drop table. Occasionally there might be a few legendary rocks or something from the guy that died in a weird place and  couldn't retrieve his stuff for whatever reason but the vast majority of loot in the system is going to be basic picks, slag, and other such thing that people just don't value.

Using a giant pile of loot that people already don't want with an extremely rare (more rare than farming it normally) appearance of something valuable seems like a bad incentive to go kill a boss monster. Using the loot pool as just an add to nearby monsters or gravedigging would be a better way to handle this and spice up the loot tables by adding a little unpredictability. Sure those zombies usually have some gold and maybe a hand, and now maybe they have a pick or something, but very rarely perhaps you kill an R2 zombie and hey, look, a stack of 20 blue iron, neat!

There's also the question of long term loot metrics. How much of that stuff people trash or leave actually affects the in/out mechanisms of the resource economy? My instinct tells me its a negligable amount as the stuff people leave on the ground is literally not valuable because they have or can easily get it already. However you do face the potential for some types of items where you could have an unintended resource paradigm. One that comes to mind is crates of timber/ore/boulders for structure repair. These are useful, though common items specifically designed to be difficult to bank and require players to pick up and mostly use immediately due to their size. What happens when an item like that starts moving to other drop tables, gets left again, etc. In some cases with a system like this you might end up with a "common" item that actually becomes so super-common that it could break game flow so you'd have to pay a lot of attention to that on a case by case basis.

Honestly I rather like the graves as they are. Someone died, there's a marker (perhaps after a certain timeframe we should scrub the name from it as "remains" may become unidentifiable after a time) and anything you don't pick up simply remains in place. In an ideal world it would stay there indefinately in my opinion unless acted upon by an outside force. For example, in minecraft if you dump a bunch of poorly made socks on the floor under the right server config, it stays there on the floor indefinately unless it needs to be cleaned up for server stability Generally servers set for this have a cap of floor items and use a FIFO system to delete items on the ground that are oldest once he cap is reached. The stuff can be acted upon by outside forces, it can be washed down a hill by water, destroyed in a fire, or picked up by zombies (and if its armor and weapons actually equipped by them, and if its another type of item they'll visually carry it around and ATTEMPT to use it as a weapon because they're dumb) so in a multiplayer context it adds these nice little environmental stories that build themselves where you see, maybe a crater and a bunch of items scattered around and you go "yeh look like a creeper blew someone up here." or a crater with water running in to it and think "maybe I should check downstream for items" or you enter a cave and find a group of zombies where one has a shovel, one has some pants, one has a helmet, and one is just trying to brain you with a bowl of soup the guy was carting around to eat. Now you're looking for the zombie with the chestpiece. More importantly, in minecraft there isn't a "delete" item function so when you dumb inventory it literally just sticks around.

Obviously Crowfall isn't built with that level of interactive fidelity in mind but I think that endeavoring to leave graves in place for as long as possible if they contain items is a better idea, and if we're going to move those items I'd rather they be explicitly moved in the most logical way. if we have to clean up a grave with stuff on it, I'd prefer whatever mobs or containers that happen to be nearby to contain them rather than somehow moving the whole stack to a world boss that only makes one tiny part of the map interesting. We can already make those world bosses interesting by giving them unique loot, and the copy/paste mobs that inhabit most of the world are the ones that need more jazzing up IMO.

Edited by PopeUrban


Rub rock on face and say "Yes food is eaten now time for fight"

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Right, I think in the current state of the game it would appear that anyone that died is looted fairly quickly and loot left behind is either unwanted or glitched and unreachable. 

The idea is more based on players dying very far from spawn, or dying on a map where the environmental threats are far greater and significantly more common than they appear now, or alternatively, have far less than two day+ windows to retrieve loot from a corpse.

Optionally, having a map dominated by undead would support this concept further. A sense of conciousness or drive for the undead NPCs, causing them to seek out the fallen for their own gain adding to environmental threats to reduce the likeliness that you could leisurely walk up to the corpse in a contested area. Having an expectation that in such scenarios or within proximity of undead territories the undead would spawn at the site of player corpses and linger for a duration. If left uncontested, they would just make away with all of the goods left behind.

As for some of the lower tier loot disincentives, you could reasonably flush out the disproportionately larger trash tier if it exceeded a threshold, or needed to be lost by the system and perhaps only spawn a boss mob when there is a reasonable quantity of valuable items accumalated by the "free parking"concept.

Edited by Lightsig

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