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  1. With the bounty system being the next stretch goal, I thought it was high time we take a look at what it could mean to "set the bounty and put a price on somebody's head". For me at least, there are three factors that are important in a bounty system: Fun: That bounty hunting *feels* like bounty hunting, not an unlucrative fetch quest. That it is challenging to succeed at collecting a bounty and the bounty provides a suitable reward. Fair: The average player is (relatively) safe. The system should ensure that the game does not devolve into a gank fest. Less abusable: Ideally a system should *not* be abusable at all, but in an MMO setting where alt's are cheap, this is very difficult to achieve. So minimizing abuse is the goal here. First, I will go through how MMO's in the past, present and future will have done their bounty system and then give a suggestion of one that could work in Dual Universe. This might get a little long, so strap in or just skip to the suggested system at the end. Past: Ultima Online I have fond memories of my years spent in this fantasy MMORPG in the early 2000's. PvP was changed multiple times over the course of the game and a bounty system was one aspect of PvP. This was "justice system" which could be triggered when a player was murdered by a player killer. Usually after a number of murders, a bounty from the victims own pocket could be placed on the murderers head. A list of bounties could be looked up at a nearest bank. If the murder could be found, killed, butchered and his head returned to a guard, the full bounty would be awarded. In some cases the head could be ransomed back to the murder or the murder would suffer a stat decrease for a defined period. In other cases, the murderer would lose his own money from the bank and it would be placed on his head as a bounty. In yet other cases the murderer would suffer stat penalties for dying at the hands of a "blue" player. In short, there were many different variations, but most revolved around the concept of a justice system specifically targeting perpetual player killers. Present: EVE Online There is no justice here: only money. Bounties in EVE can by placed on anyone, by anyone. And everyone can see all the bounties. But a player having a bounty does not give all other players the right to kill that player anywhere, for example a bounty hunter attempting to collect in high-sec will still be attacked by the ever vigilant defenders, CONCORD. Although any where else, all bets are off. The bounty is not paid to the bounty hunter in full, but is instead based on the value of the bounty targets destroyed ship starting at 20% of the actual bounty value. While this system reduces collusion to split the bounty between the bounty hunter and target, it also reduces the potential earnings of a bounty hunter, making bounty hunting less viable. Future: Star Citizen I say "future" because the game is not technically released yet. The idea is that the bounty system is a justice system: bad guys (both PC and NPC) could have a bounty and good guys attempt to collect it. That's it. Moving on. But wait, you say, surely there is more? Well yes. But at this point it is conjecture. For example some bounties may be "capture alive" some may be "dead or alive" perhaps depending on their misdeeds. Star Citizen plans to have a legacy system where, after a random amount of lives , characters are permanently killed and replaced with their offspring. The offspring do get a bit of inheritance (and/or debt) and there is a slight neutralizing of reputation. The bounties will probably simply disappear on death. The take home point here is that this is a justice system. A note on abusing bounty systems The simplest way to abuse a bounty system in a free trade game is to have the bounty target and the bounty hunter collude. The bounty hunter brings in the target and they split the bounty 50/50. In Ultima Online, there was an inherent loss of skills at death and skills are really difficult to increase. In EVE the target must lose more than the bounty but bounties are so unlucrative that they no longer feel like bounty hunting. In Star Citizen, a character will have limited number of lives (for that character at least), so death may mean losing that incarnation of your character. But why collusion is not an issue is that it requires trust. Trust that the bounty hunter will not just take all the money after the bounty target rolls over. I am sure there are other ways to abuse a bounty system but these I leave for another post. Suggestion for Dual Universe Dual Universe is about giving players tools to run systems, not to have systems run the players. That said, none of the above example bounty systems really tick all the boxes. So a suggestion is as follows: Create a bounty: A bounty can be placed on anyone by anyone (minimum amounts on the bounty apply). This moves the bounty system away from being a justice system tied to reputation and makes it another useful tool in the DU belt. This, on its own, does break the "fair" goal, since anyone can be targeted but a single point does not a system make. Read on. Get the contract: A bounty contract can only be picked up at a special terminal and is chosen from a randomly generated list of say 10 nameless bounties with a last known location (with a possibility of a reroll within a set time frame). Only those with the correct bounty contract can claim the bounty. This means a list of bounties may be optionally published, but they will have no effect since only allowed bounty hunters with the correct contracts will be able to collect. This makes investing into bounty hunting skills viable as it would be possible to tier bounties. But why contracts? This means the game won't devolve into a griefer gank-fest. Accept the contract: Once a contract is accepted, the bounty's name is revealed can track the target, the name remains unknown. A bounty hunter can only have a set number of bounty contracts active at one time and this does not preclude others from gaining the same contract. There should be some potential for competition after all. Also there is no auto tracking built in at best a proximity beep. Completing the bounty: The bounty hunter kills the target and gains the full bounty amount. A bounty should be completed within a time frame (say a month) of being accepted or the bounty hunter will suffer a penalty (e.g. monetary loss and/or temporary loss of skills). Likewise the target could suffer a temporary loss of skills. This is a broad outline of a system and definitely still needs details filled in, but as you can see from the earlier examples, a bounty system is far from easy and straight forward. Do you like what you see here? Do you have ideas for a bounty system? Feel free to discuss. P.S. A further insightful video on the subject.
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