I haven't come up with one of these in some while now, so here it is.
Usual caveats apply. I have little or no idea about programming issues. I fully expect 95% of my ideas to sink without trace due to technical difficulties or else because closer examination reveals that they will in fact shaft the game sideways. Of the 5% that make it, I know that CMJ's got a TO DO list with 200 ideas on it, 198 of which are better than this one. Here goes.
Council offices hand out jobs. These consist of delivering something (a generic parcel wrapped in brown paper say) to another outpost, and come with a difficulty rating and a pay packet, the size of which depends on distance and difficulty.
The player then has to deliver the parcel to the council office in the desired outpost to collect the pay.
Someone out there wants this parcel. For each square travelled carrying it, there's a 10% chance of meeting a beastie of the level of the difficulty level of the job. This is on top of normal encounter rates.
I'm thinking of a reward of about 5 req/difficulty level/square distance. The jobs would be commisioned by currently existing NPCs say. It would be nice if there were different names for the beasties than the normal ones that you meet so that it's clear that that's what they are, but that's not essential. If you get failboated, the parcel gets taken and you fail the job.
So far, so good. The numbers might need balancing a bit, but it's a nice little additional thing that's going on. Encouraging rookies to get out and about a bit more perhaps. There are extensions to the basic idea.
Each outpost only has four or five randomly generated jobs at a time. If a job goes undone for a game week then it disappears and is replaced. BUT extra jobs can be commissioned by players. The player has to pay the wage plus a 10% admin fee, perhaps a cig as well or something. The player of course picks the difficulty level and the destination. the destination doesn't have to be an outpost, it can be a Place of which they are a key holder. I think that this might be popular, because a lot of us builders want to show off our Places, and this would be an ideal way to lure people in.
This could be done with mementoes, so that the employer could get to choose what the parcel looks like. They could also set up a program in their Place to give a message when (if) the item is delivered.
This could also encourage interaction between rookies and veterans. Even more if the employer could choose the employee somehow. Imagine the RP that could revolve round this. I don't know how it might work in practice though.
A bit more problematic this one. I can see it being open to abuse. But I'll throw it out in the spirit of brainstorming anyway.
Doing jobs as groups. One person picks up a job as above. Now they can recruit other people to help them. This means that when attacked by parcel seeking beasties, everybody in the group who happens to be on that square can join in the fight ala the way Titans work. Also, if the original player gets failboated in a fight, then the parcel can go to any remaining player in the group to deliver. The job is only failed if everybody in the group gets failboated before the job gets completed. It's the player holding the parcel that gets attacked. Once the job is completed, then the payout gets split up between all the group depending on their level on completion.
This would encourage collaborative play, which I think would be a good thing. That was one of the original ideas behind titans, although it didn't quite work out that way.
If this happens, then difficulty levels can easily be set up above 15. There would need to be some cap, to stop req transfer. Otherwise jobs of a high enough level would could be commisioned where the payout significantly outweighs the cost of the one-shot it takes to get from NH to CC to complete the job. Also it would be possible for a high level veteran to take on a high level job and split the payout with a level one rookie, essentially giving them a nice wedge of free req. So there are problems.
Anyway. There's my idea for what it's worth.
I like this idea! It would be a nice way of a) getting new people out to explore the Island and possibly b) getting req when you feel like travelling. I can imagine someone being a sort of itinerant postie, going from outpost to outpost to outpost to outpost to outpost to ohfuckbreached.
A random thought: if these quests go to peoples' houses, how would they say the destination? Would you give the map coordinates, or the house name? Maybe with a link to the land registry? (I need to update that. It's been a while since my last full map-sweep.)
Also, the distance-for-req calculation - would that be a standard fee for each outpost-distance, or would you get extra (but with a higher monster risk) if you went a longer way around?
Another random thought: medals for completing these quests. One for completing one, another for completing ten, and another for completing fifty. Or something like that. Everybody likes medals.
I like this idea, but I freely admit my opinion does not matter, and isn't very informed.
Question: Would this package be a thing in one's inventory? How much would it weigh?
On a similar note with 'tax reasons' I wouldn't think it too difficult to cause teleporters to be a bad idea for deliveries. Maybe the contents are fragile, and even indirect exposure to nothingness will somehow bring irreparable damage. Or the special packaging is, among other things, teleportation proof. To prevent sneaky thefts, you see. Things like that to force people to slog through it the hard way, at least on the more difficult assignments.
My ponderings aside, it seems like a good idea.
FML, do you mean in-character or out-of-character, for the point of these packages? If CMJ thinks this is a good enough idea to code up, we could come up with any rationalisation in-character. Taking supplies, news, information from one council office to another - like the freebie supplies to Newhome, or details on threat levels, or Titan sightings, or updating the clan rosters, or maybe the details of bank balances and transfers, or the Gifting system, or the post (Distractions), or for eBoy to know what stocks are available where, or sending building supplies to outposts that need more walls to be built up, or ammunition for their guards, or supplies for the restaurants or hospital tent, or restocking/repairing the cameras ... anything that needs to be moved or shared around!
Out of character - it looks to me like this system would be another way to encourage people to explore the map and go to other outposts while earning req.
As for how much req you'd earn ... I made a table of the straight-line distances between outposts.
Using Hairy Mary's figures of 5 req per square, that would earn you between 30 and 170 req per delivery (plus the cash from the heightened monster encounters, but minus the stamina and healing from dealing with them). That looks a little low to me; you'd have to do several of these quests to even earn a cheeseburger, and a NewHome to CyberCity delivery might take a rookie two gamedays (or more if they get lost!) so would not even pay them back for the stamina spent. It certainly wouldn't get anywhere near the price of a one-shot unless the figures were very different from that. (OSTs vary wildly in price. Depending on crate drops, which depend on donations, I've seen them as cheap as 2,000 req and more expensive than 20,000.) Perhaps a flat rate of e.g. 200req plus a distance factor?
Another thought: if the req payout is high enough to be a significant source of earnings, perhaps there should be a maximum of so many of these deliverequests per character per gameday, to prevent people req-farming by shuttling back and forth between SQ and NP or similar? Or, each person can only do one Mission:Impostable from each town per gameday?
I'm a strong believer that things like this need to be considered in terms of how good it is as a game mechanic. If it's bad for the game, then it doesn't matter how good the in character justification is, it shouldn't go in. If it adds something to the game, then as Buddleia implied, an IC justification can be dreamt up with enough imagination. Brains in NP has ordered in some kitchen equipment from Maiko's side business. Whatever. In this case, we don't even need much of a justification. All you need to know is that somebody's willing to pay cash for delivering a parcel to 'Cake or Death Joker - AceHigh', to be dropped off at the council offices for collection. If it's a player commissioned delivery, then the player can come up with whatever story they choose.
What I think that it might add. It's something else to do, a slightly different way to play, to be able to get such jobs. It will encourage moving about more. As FML observes, Dan's quests already do that, but having a different way is no bad thing. And this is more travel, rather than 'IC to outpost, stay there for some days, back to IC'. Also, there's extra decisions to be made. With Dan quests, you just take the quest. If you don't want to go to that particular outpost then put it on hold until you have some time. With this, there's an element of risk involved. Is it a good idea to take up this job or not?
If the player commissioned jobs idea is part of it, then that encourages travel to Places and not just outposts, which will be more varied, and encourage exploration of some of the Places that have been built. A lot of builders will like it because it gives them a great way to encourage people to come and look at their Places (and I'm sure that a lot of us want to show them off.) It might also encourage interaction between veteran and newer players, possibly. Also, it's something for higher level players to spend their req on.
If the 'group jobs' idea is incorporated, then it will encourage collaborative play, which I think would be a good thing. It will encourage people to get together and work together and get to know each other, interacting and role playing, and I think some people need help with this, a good excuse. This sort of touches on the other thread that's going on at the moment about New Home. You have to work together, which soon implies roleplay, but you won't just be able to 'pull solutions out of your ass' because you're working to some extent within a controlled framework.
The point about teleports is a good one. Actually, my pricing scheme idea was 5req/square distance/per level of difficulty, so that if you were to deliver a level 5 difficulty package from Squathole to Pleasantville say, then you would get 10 squares x level 5 difficulty x 5 req = 250 req for it. And you'd be facing extra lvl 5 monsters. This is of course subject to tweeking. Maybe a lvl 5 difficulty job would have lvl 6 monsters come looking for it. Perhaps these 'bandit beasties' wouldn't get you any req, just experience. So under this scheme, the most you could get is CC to NH lvl 15 which gives 2250 req. Slightly more if a player commissions a delivery from CC to somewhere right on the south coast. Maybe enough to buy a teleport if you're very lucky, but only just. That's not going to happen very often, and when it does you're not going to make much money from it. If teleports are that cheap somewhere, then you're probably better off making money as a merchant, buying cheap and selling more expensively elsewhere.
I was thinking of only having a limited number of jobs in each outpost at any one time. Maybe 5? or 3 game generated ones and up to 3 player commissioned ones? Something like that. So you can't count on getting a job going to the right place at the right level. You have to see what's going and then decide if it's worth it or not.
Still, if you're going somewhere by teleport anyway, then nipping into the council office and taking the highest difficulty level job to that outpost going would be an attractive option. Perhaps, as you say, the parcels are destroyed in the Nothingness. Or maybe they blow up, causing you hp damage as well. Maybe the office won't give you another job until you've paid back for the lost parcel (at a rate dependent on difficulty level). Non-use of teleports (even to run away from monsters) might be an extra consideration you have to make when deciding whether to take on a job or not.
The problems that I can see are -
1) If you're going to an outpost anyway, then take a job on for free extra req. But the extra risk involved means that this isn't quite so straight forward. If you take on a job that's too easy for you, then the amount of req that you get in return is so small compared to what you get just jungle fighting, that it's not really worth your while. If you take on a job that's too hard, then you'll just get hammered.
2) Also, people using this to farm exp. You get extra monsters to fight without having to spend stam hunting for them in the jungle. But you have to spend the stam travelling instead. It would take some careful balancing maybe, but I reckon that it's doable.
Perhaps there's a time limit. If you travel more than twice the theoretical distance as the crow flies, then the parcel perishes for some reason which I can't dream up at the moment. It's perishable foodstuffs or something. The receiver wanted this quickly, you're too late.
3) If group jobs are taken on, a high level player taking on a (for them) easy job and sharing it with a low level player, thus giving them more req than is good for them. Maybe don't let the initial job-taking player recruit anybody more than two levels in difference from them.
I also think that Buddleia's idea of limiting how many jobs can be done in a day is probably a good one. Certainly don't let anybody take on more than one job at once, or commission more than one job at once.
I seem to have missed the 'daft' aspect.
If it's practicable from CMJ's coding (and workload) point of view then I'd vote for it as "An Very Good Idea".
There's nothing that helps your travel. Coffee and White Spring Water reduce your stamina costs for everything by 20% Crimson Pitbull and Red Spring Water reduce Fighting costs by 50%. Turquoise Spring Water reduces Hunting for Trouble costs by 50%!
Also, as long as the requisition price for this is low enough, it's not really exploitable, I think.
P.S. Nice idea!
Done! I've had some free time (makes a change for me) and I've created it in the counciloffices.php module. It doesn't include everything that has been suggested, but you can get a parcel to be delivered to another outpost. Find it at https://github.com/Cousjava/Improbable-Island. It just works on straight-line distances, but that can be changed in the code as to the values used.
Not included are: actually putting the parcel in your inventory as an iitem; altering monster chance; not working with OSTs. They also persist through a DK, and cannot yet be lost (although there is a bit in there to count how many have been lost).
I really, really like the idea! Not the extensions though, unless #1 suggests that each player can get the 4-5 jobs/day, otherwise hardly anyone will get to do jobs, and it'll us Americans who live further back in time from the world will see fewer jobs. Also, if we get any people who start delivering tons of packages, and become island fixie riding, package delivering hipsters drinking PBR and visiting Petra's everyday, then I don't know what I'll do.
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