XP Rollover

  • Pitcrew

    Ooops! I always forget that the new format means that no matter what you're looking at, the post at the bottom of the screen stays to it's original purpose!


    I think that XP rollover, especially full XP rollover, is something that has significant negative impacts on a game for several different (and probably unintended) reasons. I understand that the purpose of it was to "lessen the blow" for losing a PC, but I'm wondering if others feel similarly that it doesn't really do that and creates even more problems over time.

    I think I support XP rollover for PCs that are killed off when that was not the player's original intent.

    In all other cases after seeing some of the ramifications on TR, I think I'd be leery of allowing it otherwise.

  • @mietze


  • Pitcrew

    Sorry @Thenomain, I'm still occasionally inattentive to how this new site works. I edited my post above, will comment below to reflect some of my thoughts more fully.

    I am in a very slow process of developing a non-WoD game (very slow, may not happen, this is like a year+ out) but it's gotten me thinking about it. Since XP rollover from oldPC to newPC seems to be something of a par for the course expectation these days.

  • For others: the post was originally a reply to someone in another thread. Ha ha.

    Could you start by defining xp rollover?

  • Pitcrew

    By XP Rollover I mean the player's ability to apply the XP from another one of their PCs to a new one. Maybe transfer is a better term.

    In particular after seeing it in practice for awhile I'm pretty sure I am 100 percent dead set against 100 percent XP rollover/transfer in any circumstance.

  • So in your instance, you mean xp to an unplayed character.

    In tabletop, this is a house rule but one I think is critical. You play as a group, so troupe play supported by someone saying something like "you start at one level lower than the lowest party member" is a nod to that.

    Online, this is tied up into the question of the power level or levels of the game, IMO. That is a discussion I haven't seen often and never at length. So to me, the question is: Are players losing out in your system if they can't participate at the level of the rest of the group?

  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain said:

    Online, this is tied up into the question of the power level or levels of the game, IMO. That is a discussion I haven't seen often and never at length. So to me, the question is: Are players losing out in your system if they can't participate at the level of the rest of the group?

    I think this policy on a MUSH has the unintended consequences of doing just that, though from several different ways.

    When you have full XP transfer, it means that very soon you're likely to have a very min/maxed playerbase (this will depend on the size/how much turnover of players you have though). The people who have been around for 6 months or whatever the catchup is, and then the newbies--who are crippled not only by the fact of being newbies but also then by the power differential. There are ways to deal with that (social RP, rewarding top of the heap people who run things for lowbies, leadership requirements, ect) that are great on paper, but I'm not sure how they truly work out long term.

    I also think that coming in to a new sphere with a new PC at max XP seems to be problematic for the players that do that as well, especially if they're unconnected. By stats there can be an expectation of them being useful/essential/easily incorporated but that's not always the case either. And then if you have an XP system like TR you have no flexibility to amend things unless you respec.

    I think the expectation that the only way to have fun/be effective is to never fail has been detrimental to other games. (I've seen this elsewhere, where folks will not get out and do anything because "well, I only have a dice pool of 8, I can't do anything.") I do think that there's something lost when you can be effectively isolated from ever feeling that noobish level of PC again.

    I have noticed people taking more stupid risks (outside of ICness) and behaving in ways they probably would not otherwise, because they know that a PC loss isn't a loss, they can just bounce right back into a sphere at the same level as before.

    And after a time staff often must focus on the high enders, because they're the the most difficult to challenge. Or conversely, they might be ignored because they don't know how.

    All of these things can be addressed, but it's a lot of work. I don't know that for me these issues are outweighed by the advantages of allowing everyone to rollover full XP at will.

  • Pitcrew

    Honestly, I dislike XP transfers in general.

    I am willing to make some leeway for people who lose their character contrary to their wishes (PK, death by plot, etc.), but if you get bored with your PC, I don't particularly think you should be able to just flip all that XP onto another character.

    But I do think that there should be a difference between Character XP and Player XP. If I run plots, it shouldn't matter who I run it as, the XP is for me, the player. This should be awarded separately and be available for any of my characters, including new ones I decide to make. But once I spend it, it's spent.

    So if you run a lot of stuff and are active, you get to make an elder vampire, a legendary werewolf, a Renaissance psychic... but at the same time, by accruing that much player XP you've kind of proven you can be active as a storyteller and make plot happen, which is often the sort of thing one expects from high-tiered players like that.

    In theory, it works out. We'll see how it works in practice, since this is the type of system we'll be using at the game I'm spearheading.

  • Admin

    @Coin said:

    Honestly, I dislike XP transfers in general.

    I am willing to make some leeway for people who lose their character contrary to their wishes (PK, death by plot, etc.), but if you get bored with your PC, I don't particularly think you should be able to just flip all that XP onto another character.

    I like transfers if only because they allow a process of continued, ongoing renewal. For example if you're in Mage but you're dreadfully bored of your character you're probably going to be little good for anyone; especially if there are sphere caps and you might be hogging a spot, in which case idlying (but remaining just 'active' enough to not be frozen) is actually harming the sphere.

    So what's the downside in allowing you to jump ship? You leave Mage to roll a Werewolf instead, the latter sphere gains some activity since people are more likely to be involved when the PC is still shiny and fresh out of CG, the former sphere loses next to nothing, it's a win/win.

    As for the issue of min/maxing that might have been true on TR - where you can spend it overnight - but it wouldn't have been with other policies like say SHH has for delayed spending. There's no vastly different process then since, whether you have 5 or 50+ XP to spend it's still going to be expended quite gradually.

  • Pitcrew

    XP Creep is indeed a thing, and so long as there is no character turn-over and removal of XP from the game- your going to have a lot of power creep. The reason for having xp Rollover is to lessen the sense of loss for players who feel they have nothing more to gain from the game, or who have been put into situations where they have died.

    One of the better systems I have seen is this-

    1,If you want to rollover XP just because? 25% of total- no exceptions.
    2.If your character dies because of a pk? (Variable percentages set due to extenuating circumstances)
    3. 50% If your character dies from a PRP/Execution/Similar situations
    4.51-75% if combining with other incentive programs such as activity/Roleplay quality, blah blah blah. (Such as a character with a position of power dieing but having done their job to provide hooks and rp)

    While there are some problems with this system in general, I think that the philosophy is right. Roll over xp is not a right, its a gift from games to players to make the idea of losing a character more palatable, or to encourage activity by helping players play what they want. It is not by any means a right of a player who has played for 3 years and is an old dinosaur to get what he wants just because he is loyal- which no doubt coincides with the fact that he is one of the strongest players on the game and wants to keep that position.

    Tangentially related- one way to help with the process of helping players cope with danger- yet at the same time preventing creep is to replace the use of recommendations as bonus xp.. with.. either bonus xp if you die, or an increase of the percentages above (For the purposes of number 2 or 4)

  • Pitcrew

    I don't like the idea of being down on whole demographics of people:

    1. People in a timezone that have trouble finding RP are being punished.
    2. Shy people who have trouble getting into the game are being punished.
    3. People who feel like the scenario unfolding within the given area they play (such as Spider joining their Cabal suddenly) is unpalatable are being punished.

    The list goes on. I dislike the idea of punishing people for wanting to switch. Sometimes you take a role, like Prince, and it just isn't working, in fact, the whole Sphere isn't working for you, and someone just invited you to join their higher-powered Werewolf Pack, why should you be the baby of the Pack? Why are we punishing you?

    Even WOW I can throw money at the issue. I can just x-fer an old char from Server/Faction A to Server/Faction B if my cousin finally becomes active again.

    Sometimes you want the grind, you want to level-up, and sometimes you just don't. Gaming, in general, isn't about starting over on the same game. Could you imagine how well Assassin's Creed would sell if you had to make a new char every time you turned the console off?

    So, if you are going to talk about this kind of a system, imo it should talk less about "That's too powerful" and more about "how can I provide fairness in as many circumstances as possible"?

    You could earn a rollover. You could save one up over time and make a choice whether to use it on your vampire or your psychic. This way you have at least a chance of not having to start at scratch on a bugger off situation. I put in my time, it didn't work out, ok, try again. But if I want a do-over the very next week, I have to wait on that, at least until I have earned a new rollover opportunity.

  • Every D&D game I've played in where I've lost a character (read: all of them), the DM had me roll up as same level as the party. Then again, the main DM I played under was notably sadistic, so if everyone had to roll a level under the lowest player, we would all soon be lower level than the encounter we were playing. :sweat_smile:

    That said, I'll admit to fully taking advantage of the 100% xp rollover on TR. I don't always use all of the xp up front, but it lets me start at a level I'm comfortable with being at while still leaving me a cache of xp I can dip into if I realize I forgot something or need to pick up something quick to cover whatever it is that needs doing at the moment.

  • Pitcrew

    @Bennie said:

    Could you imagine how well Assassin's Creed would sell if you had to make a new char every time you turned the console off?

    I'm sorry, this was just the absolute dumbest comparison you could have made. In fact, turning off the console is more akin to logging off for the night. You save the game and you go to bed and then you pick up where you left off later.

    Consider this: when you play the following Assassin's Creed game, don't you have to learn a whole bunch of tricks again, go through the tutorial again, gain bonuses and moves and items all over again? You don't start AC2 with all the shit you gained during your entire playthrough of AC1, do you?

  • Pitcrew

    @Coin missed my perfectly valid point, obviously.

    If video games today - such as AC - had no discreet method of saving progress, like games were in the arcade oh so many years ago, fueled by nothing but coins, much of the most popular games, most laden with story formats, would not be so popular.

    The average player does not wish to start in the tutorial every time they sit down to play a game that has a form of progress. Nobody wants to start each AC game in the tutorial, every single time they play, no matter what you say. There is far too much exploration, map opening, far too many puzzles, far too much currency management, equipment upgrading, and so forth, that goes into most AC stories, for you to turn the game off and start in the tutorial in the morning, hoping to beat your record time to the place you left off before lunch. Worse, is if you had a random power outage, or someone who kicked the cord out, after you just spent the morning getting to where you were last night, and oh yay, you get to start in the tutorial again, sux to be u.

    If you did have to beat yourself to get to where you were, every time you played, AC would not have the popularity it holds tonight, because finishing a story like that is too complicated in such a system with no saved progress.

    It is different when you are playing basketball in the driveway and start at no points, but for the record I also don't see anyone mid game saying we should reset the points to zero just cuz it'll be funner if we do.

    Most people like to have a way to preserve progress in anything they do. We like to have a place to pause. Yes, sometimes you want to grind out that old game, dusting it off and putting it in, starting without a saved game, but this is why we call that nostalgia. I don't see anyone complaining about how unfair it is they get to save so often. I also don't see most painters complaining when they reuse an old canvas as opposed to spending a few days mounting a fresh one every time they get the urge to do some painting. As human beings, we like the convenience of our conveniences.

    Next time you want to try out how fun it is to start at 0, go to a hockey game and suggest at the half that they start with 0 after some goals were scored. See where you get. I'm betting they would look at you like you were a fool.

    I stand by my statement: You could earn a rollover. You could save one up, and use it when you think it is appropriate, but you could also have a few enough rollovers available, that you have to make hard choices between when you want to start over completely, and when you want to not start over. Just having some sort of option available is something nobody is going to ultimately turn up their nose at, even if they never use it. It's just nice to have it available.

    This is doubly so in a MU* environment. It is just nice not to start over when where you are headed is peopled by friends who are so much more advanced than you are.

  • Pitcrew


    Your analogy is a bad one because you're comparing two very different types of video game while applying both to the same type of roleplaying. Alas.

  • Pitcrew

    Our groups have been bringing folks in after character death or retirement at the same level, in tabletop, for quite some time now. Key word: tabletop

    I'm not entirely keen on the whole 100% (or 50% even) rollover to a new char. What Ark said about it not being good for anyone if someone isn't having fun but clinging because they don't want to start over, but I feel like the unlimited do-overs on TR have led to people just hopping around between characters on a whim, especially with the catchup the way it is there. Unlike some of the assholes on this board, I rather want people to get invested in their characters, and want to continue playing them for long stretches. I enjoy the sense of continuity, and when folks will drop and swap chars because they had a bad day or week of it, because there's very little reason not to just get a clean slate whenever you want it, you don't really get that.

    Also, yeah, what Coin said. Video games aren't a MU*. MMOs aren't even a MU*. Using any comparison between them and how to deal with new characters on a MU* is pretty terribad.

  • Pitcrew

    That's largely what I've noticed, HR. Though I think people who are inclined to cling are likely to do so regardless of rollover. Just like there are some people that frankly are always going to be altoholics whether or not they keep their PC. It's just that I have noticed the "disposable" thing creeping into more and more people and more expectations elsewhere, and I personally wish that wasn't so.

    Of course I also think it's problematic when top tier/leadership PCs roll back in to the sphere they left and because of their connections and backed up by their sheet there's no room for movement up the chain for other people. Some people handle that better than others, though.

  • Pitcrew

    In my own table top games I let players whose character died (or may as well have -- imprisoned etc) keep all their UNSPENT XP to add to their next character and 1/5 of their earned and spent XP in games where there are no clear levels... like say WoD or GURPS.

    In games with a level system -- they get to come in one level lower than the rest of the party/players.

    I suppose such a system could work on a MU depending on the XP was awarded. I think some sort of carry over is fair and lets you open potentially new door for character creation. What I personally loath though is Respecs. Even with becomings I'm of the -- take off what you can't have, refund, put on new what you're supposed to have now -- everything else stays school. You may end up with skills/abilities/etc that just don't make sense to your new direction... but that is why its called starting over. Small refund and swapping with the sanctify of merits thing in GMC, I can live with that. "Barry the retainer moved away, but I was lonely so I bought a companion animal from a rescue program." 2 dot Retainer for 2 dot Animal Companion. "I no longer am the best Chef in all the land, but I am a brutal Martial Artist now" Crafts 4 (Cooking) for Brawl 4 (Knucklepunch), no. YMMV

  • I tend to treat my characters more like I'm playing D&D than anything. I try not to get too attached to them so that when they DO that most awesome/stupid/funny/ballsy/crazy/cool thing and it gets them killed? I can be satisfied that they died well and move on to the next one. I don't WANT to cling or be that invested into my characters... that way lies HM & TR madness. I want to be able to acknowledge that nWoD/GMC is a lethal world to play in and accept the fact that my character will likely die (or get boring, or have the sphere go dead, etc.) and be okay with dropping them in favor of something shinier.

    Mind, this does not mean I would suggest 100% xp rollover. But I do like that its easy to drop a character and pick up a new one without wondering if I'll retain interest/stay alive/whatever long enough to make starting from scratch worth it.

  • Pitcrew

    What's interesting to me is that on a mush we really could do a 'average' xp of pcs on the grid. Code could take all totals and average them out and that is how much you get to start with. Or a Mean.

    such a system would work best with a mush with slow xp gain, and high PC turnover. Either with a lot of PC death, or xp caps that when someone gets so strong they move on from this area. Or other methods of pcs being retired frequently for more than just players hopping concepts.

    I think that would be a fair system, so that you aren't tempted to just reroll anytime you get gas, but you aren't punished by having to start completely over.

    Of course, you'd also need a steady input of low xp characters. Newbies who have to start at cgen or cgen+10, or only restrict such roll overs to pc death or retirement (permanent)

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