Swirlby

The Karma System's Flaws and Possible Solutions

Recommended Posts

I've been playing on this server for almost a month now. So far, I've really enjoyed my time on this server. The only thing I've really got any major gripes with is the Karma system. I know it was implemented to prevent inexperienced players from playing species or jobs that require a higher level of roleplay. I do think that the system does this fairly well, but it also has some glaring flaws.

 

The Problems

It Has No Consistency

My biggest issue with the system is that there is no consistent way to get Karma. You could have a great round, play your job well, and leave a positive impression on people, but receive no Karma. It's up to the whims of whoever is in your general vicinity. You could potentially play ten rounds and not get a single point of Karma, despite following the rules and being a good roleplayer. While you are more likely to get Karma if you do this, it's not guaranteed. There could be someone who left a slightly bigger impression on people than you, and he ends up getting the karma points from the people you were playing with that round.

It Restricts Rule-Abiding Players

Another issue I have with the Karma system is that it arbitrarily prevents people who follow the rules and play the game properly from playing jobs and species. Someone told me that they've been playing on the server for two years, but still haven't unlocked everything with the Karma system. This seems incredibly unfair. There is absolutely no reason to restrict someone who has been on the server for years, followed the rules, and played the game consistently from playing any jobs or species that they want.

It Can Be Difficult to Give Karma

There is also a restriction on who you can give Karma to that is based on who your character can see. If you can't see someone, you can't give them Karma. You could play a whole round with a new character someone made that you really like, but get separated at the end of the round by circumstances beyond your control, and be unable to give them your Karma for the round. Some people will just abstain from giving Karma in that situation, but others will just give Karma to a random person nearby, which goes against the system's entire purpose of rewarding good players.

 

Possible Solutions

Replace It With a Different System

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I think that the Karma system should be replaced with a system that rewards people based on the number of full rounds played. Every time a player starts a round from the beginning, meaning from the ready up screen, and plays all the way to the end round report, it counts towards their total rounds played. Even if they die before the round ends and don't get revived somehow, they will still get a point as long as they are not AFK or disconnected when the round end report comes. Once this total reaches a certain threshold, they become eligible to unlock something.

I think that this could be done by giving people the opportunity to unlock something once they reach a certain number of rounds played. The things they could unlock could be organized into tiers, with the player being required to unlock everything on one tier before being allowed to unlock things on the next one. Or they could simply unlock an entire tier once a rounds played count has been reached. If a player breaks the rules, they could be punished by reducing their rounds played count, or bumping them back a tier. This way, people who have been on the server for a long time and follow the rules are not restricted in what jobs and species they can play.

During the change to this system, everyone will retain everything that they have unlocked with the Karma system, and all of their current Karma points would be converted into rounds played. The Karma total could be converted into two or three rounds played per Karma point, depending on how the new system will value how many rounds need to be played to unlock tiers.

Make the Current System Slightly Less Bad

I understand that completely overhauling the system that people use to unlock things is probably difficult. There are some ways that the current system could be improved. The most obvious ways that I see are to allow people to give Karma any time during the round, give people three points instead of one (but still restrict the amount of Karma someone can give to one person to one point), and let people give Karma to any mob on the map. Maybe there could be a separate verb for giving Karma to nearby mobs and a verb for giving Karma to mobs all over the map.

 

I know I'm fairly new to this server, and my word doesn't hold much weight around here, but I just wanted to state my problems with the Karma system and how it could be replaced or improved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

while there are certainly problems with karma system, its is because any karma system by itself can never be perfect. 

If i am correct, then the karma system is a system that rewards people for good, intersting or unique roleplay with interesting roles and species. So one player can be a good engineer ten, hundred, even thousand of rounds and never get karma because... well, noone notices him. And not because noone notices engineers in general, but because the person is... just an engineer. Of course certain jobs tend to get karma more than other, that is a problem, but even as an engineer you can renovate kitchen, build fun or interesting room, or just talk with people and involve yourself in RP. 

 

Karma system should certainly not be a grind system. While it has its flaws, its better the way it is. I think we need to improve it, not remake. Of course its only my opinion. 

 

 

If you have problems earning karma here are a few tips for the time being: 

1 - get known. People tend to give karma to people they know.

2 - stick to jobs that require more interactions with others, like medbay, cargo or command. Especially medbay, since people sometime karma doctors who revive them.

3 - play pets

4 - do interesting stuff (like, as a chef, make a sushi restaurant, or build a pet shop as an engineer and sell kittens, goldfish and dogs), wear memorable outfit.

5 - be very robust as an antagonist 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to make a suggestion to disable the ability to receive karma a few months ago (which has been implemented!) because at the time I started playing a new character named ANGELICA, who was quite literally racking up karma like crazy from random players... about thirty or so within the span of a few days. Karma I didn't need or want, although it was quite uplifting to see so many people enjoying the character. 

Perhaps I'm one of a few, but I've never had issues getting karma. I unlocked everything in the shop years ago before even becoming an admin, and have a rather hefty surplus. 

I'm not saying the system is perfect nor do I intend to brag; I can see many players do struggle to gain karma... but I don't quite feel the problem is as bad as its made out to be. Minor tweaks and changes to the system overall would be beneficial, but I don't support a full rework. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can sympathize as someone who has been around a while and has only 3-4 things unlocked. Unfortunately, more memey characters or oddly social characters get karma.

Either way, it's a struggle but there really isnt much in the way of correcting that can be done.

  • explodyparrot 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, McRamon said:

while there are certainly problems with karma system, its is because any karma system by itself can never be perfect. 

If i am correct, then the karma system is a system that rewards people for good, intersting or unique roleplay with interesting roles and species. So one player can be a good engineer ten, hundred, even thousand of rounds and never get karma because... well, noone notices him. And not because noone notices engineers in general, but because the person is... just an engineer. Of course certain jobs tend to get karma more than other, that is a problem, but even as an engineer you can renovate kitchen, build fun or interesting room, or just talk with people and involve yourself in RP. 

If someone spends a lot of time on the server and doesn't break the rules, then he should be allowed to play any role or species they want. If he's been on the server that long without breaking the rules, he is clearly here to play the game properly. There's no reason to restrict him just because he doesn't leave a significant impression on people.

23 hours ago, McRamon said:

Karma system should certainly not be a grind system. While it has its flaws, its better the way it is. I think we need to improve it, not remake. Of course its only my opinion. 

The Karma system is already a grind system. It's very similar to how loot in MMOs works with how you repeatedly do a quest or dungeon until you hopefully get the desired item. If there was just one way to consistently get Karma, it would be leagues better than it already is.

14 hours ago, Spacemanspark said:

Perhaps I'm one of a few, but I've never had issues getting karma. I unlocked everything in the shop years ago before even becoming an admin, and have a rather hefty surplus. 

I'm not saying the system is perfect nor do I intend to brag; I can see many players do struggle to gain karma... but I don't quite feel the problem is as bad as its made out to be. Minor tweaks and changes to the system overall would be beneficial, but I don't support a full rework. 

There are people who have been on the server for years and have barely unlocked anything. That fact by itself means the system is fundamentally flawed.

12 hours ago, Medi said:

I can sympathize as someone who has been around a while and has only 3-4 things unlocked. Unfortunately, more memey characters or oddly social characters get karma.

Either way, it's a struggle but there really isnt much in the way of correcting that can be done.

What about the solution I proposed? What was wrong with it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In response to what you see as a problem.

  • Karma isn't meant to be something you receive consistently, its something you earn because someone felt you deserved it. Being able to consistently earn Karma actually makes a worse system because its now no longer something rewarded its something handed out because you did x,y,z. It makes it less meaningful to receive it.
  • Players are not entitled to play Karma Jobs/Races because X amount of time has been played. Much like the Karma Points themselves these items are rewards for accumulating Karma. We always appreciate players who follow rules and play the game properly, however you really shouldn't need to be rewarded for doing what you're expected to do to begin with.
  • I can agree with the difficulty in giving karma sometimes, especially if you're holding on to your karma until round end and if you want to reward it to someone earlier it can be a bit of a challenge to find them.

The Karma system is in place to allow players to reward other players for a multitude of reasons. Maybe the player being rewarded was the doctor who saved someone's life in a quick fashion and prevented the player from having to wait out time in death until being cloned. Maybe it was someone who did a silly prank and got a few laughs. Maybe it was someone who created something exceptionally complex and interesting. The reasons for being rewarded Karma can vary greatly since its at the whim of the players. Your proposal of replacing the system would remove a system that rewards players and implement one that just hands out goodies via checklist.(eg Player plays round until end, gets 1 point. Player has played X amount of rounds, unlock this job!). As for improving the current system, we actually have a verb that lets you award it to anyone, its called the Award Karma verb. If you use Award Karma to Player it only selects from those around you. Award Karma selects everyone eligible to receive Karma during the round.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2019 at 12:26 AM, Swirlby said:

There is also a restriction on who you can give Karma to that is based on who your character can see. If you can't see someone, you can't give them Karma.

You can give karma to people you can't see. Under the "Special Verbs" tab there's "Award Karma to Player" verb that opens a pop-up with all chars you can see, and an "Award Karma" verb that opens a pop-up with all chars on the map.


I don't really have problems with the karma system, but it's completly surprising how much karma varies by role. Antags gets lots of karma probably because they have ghosts attention. I get tons of karma from medbay and robotics, just by doing the job, almost none from eng even if i do something incredible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only problem i really see with karma system is not a big amount of karma unlocks. While it is really stupid to have million jobs and species, some minor karma lucked stuff would be good, like cosmetic items

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to chime in.
 

Spoiler

It Restricts Rule-Abiding Players

Another issue I have with the Karma system is that it arbitrarily prevents people who follow the rules and play the game properly from playing jobs and species. Someone told me that they've been playing on the server for two years, but still haven't unlocked everything with the Karma system. This seems incredibly unfair. There is absolutely no reason to restrict someone who has been on the server for years, followed the rules, and played the game consistently from playing any jobs or species that they want.

I remember a very very VERY similar discord conversation where said person said they haven't unlocked anything yes. but that wasn't due to lack of Karma, it was something along the lines of they were not interested in doing so.

KARMA unlocks are really optional. They aren't required for normal game flow. And there is a LARGE variety (imagine vulp costing karma to unlock, half of the server would go mad) of races that you can play. And with the upcoming rework to races they wont even be that different from no karma races.

Its a reward from the community, you don't really "deserve" "earn" or "should receive" karma. You just get it. Or not. Personally, I find meme characters cringey and never give any karma towards them as they appear like they were made just to attract attention in order to get karma. (but yeah i get it. sometimes they gain a lot of popularity.)

If you just do your job and don't utter a word, have no character and nobody knows you, no wonder nobody ever rewards you karma. Playtime has nothing to do with it - join community of the server, and once people start to know and like your characters you wont have much issue with getting Karma. 

I wouldn't think I deserve any Karma and yet i somehow managed to unlock almost all jobs (part for magistrate), and IPC & Vox. And all of it just by interacting with people. Both in game, here or on discord.

 

I don't really see a problem with the Karma system, and definitely dont think it needs fixing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, BryanR said:

Your proposal of replacing the system would remove a system that rewards players and implement one that just hands out goodies via checklist.(eg Player plays round until end, gets 1 point. Player has played X amount of rounds, unlock this job!).

What is wrong with handing out goodies via a checklist? It gives people a consistent way of unlocking things, instead of being at the whims of random people around them at the round end. People who break the rules can just have those goodies revoked, or be disqualified from receiving them. The current system doesn't feel rewarding to me at all. I play a fun round with some nice people, we all make it to the shuttle, and I get no Karma. Another round I'm alone for most of the shift, and then someone randomly gives me a Karma point.

1 hour ago, procdrone said:

KARMA unlocks are really optional. They aren't required for normal game flow. And there is a LARGE variety (imagine vulp costing karma to unlock, half of the server would go mad) of races that you can play. And with the upcoming rework to races they wont even be that different from no karma races.

Then why bother restricting these minor roles behind the Karma system if they are so inconsequential? And if they are reworking the Karma -locked races to be hardly any different from regular races, why would you have to purchase them?

 

I'm going to be honest. All I want to do is play a Vox. It's been almost a month, but I only have four Karma points. Just now, I played a fun round as a roboticist. I interacted with people in a fun way. I had the other roboticist put my brain into an IPC's body that was borged. I saved a pAI from being unjustly reset. I got no Karma points from that round.

I work six days a week, and my internet is really poor. It only works until about 5 PM. After that, it becomes almost useless. When I try to play SS13 after that time, I get insane amounts of ping, something like 800-2000ms. I usually get home from my job around 5:30-6:00 PM, so I can almost never play during the weekdays. Saturday is my only free day. At the current rate that I get Karma, it will take almost a year to unlock Vox.

I asked around, and there's no way to circumvent this. If I ask for Karma, I get banned from the Karma system, and I can't unlock anything in it. I can't get whitelisted for the race, either.

I follow the rules of the server, and I am willing to put in the extra effort to roleplay a Vox properly. I don't understand why I have to be restricted like this. Everyone tells me I should just be patient and not worry about it, and I'll get Karma, but the more people defend the system, the more flaws I see in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well to be fair, it took me almost a year to unlock vox. 

All I can suggest you, try to enjoy the game flow as it is without kinsies. Getting into karma gathering mindset is not one bit enjoyable. I was there. 
(also if you are so desperate to roleplay voxxy, you can always ask for smutagen transformation.) 

Yes. trying to game the karma system will only get you blacklisted from it. 

Karma system might not be ideal, but I don't think its inherently wrong either. Newcomers rarely catch enough eyes to accumulate karma which is correct, but if you become a person that community can recognise you will have it much easier.

Spoiler

Then why bother restricting these minor roles behind the Karma system if they are so inconsequential?

 

To have bonus things not everyone has access to and need to be unlocked? My remark to reworks was rather a displeased note to say I don't like them, but that is not the subject of this conversation.

Good luck in being recognised!

As for checklists, I dont agree. Karma is not about "you did your job you deserve a reward", because the system doesn't allow progression unlocks (you unlock ability for playing heads/command just for playtime), they are extras, RP roles and Unique bonus races.

So it says that Paradise doesn't let you in to shiny extra bonus stuff before you're part of the recognised community and get recognised by community with karma.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, short and simple, the karma system in my opinion supports those with the bigger friend circles.

If you have a party of like 5-7 people that meme with you every round? Violá, there's your karma laundering coming from.

Just how I feel about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I've always preferred the idea of time-locked things over karma, but I don't really see that happening. You can't change the feelings of what make people want to give karma, so I'm afraid you may just have to try new things until you find something that works. Myself? I've never really been the kind of person to get a lot of karma; even with following the tips like playing doctor. Unfortunately the only actual advice I can give for earning karma is to play a character that's easily noticed (See: spark's friendly robot person, or gimmicky/meme'y characters) or playing a noticeably good antag; I recall getting the most karma at once by being a pretty good shadowling after taking over an SSD one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On 8/23/2019 at 11:32 PM, BryanR said:

Players are not entitled to play Karma Jobs/Races because X amount of time has been played. Much like the Karma Points themselves these items are rewards for accumulating Karma. We always appreciate players who follow rules and play the game properly, however you really shouldn't need to be rewarded for doing what you're expected to do to begin with.

I do want to bring up a very important part of this that has affected a lot of us who end up wanting to invest in Karma collection to get unlock more options to really just gain more freedom as roleplayers and characters within Paradise. Because whenever I get to play, I am reminded of my goals in mind, I end up deciding to roleplay in a way that is conducive to a Karma-gaining standpoint and take part in behavior that would do the same. 

I don't have a ton of time to play like others, and SS13 as a whole can be a very tiring experience when you're really TRYING for something. This includes engaging in heavy RP and entertaining behaviors, and when you're learning or working a real difficult job. A dream of mine has always been to actually learn how to properly construct and deconstruct the station, which usually means working in one of the least Karma-productive roles on the station, like Atmospherics. I am in turn pre-disposed to never properly spend the energy and time to learn how to learn this kind of job since my goals and sights are currently set on playing as a roleplay conducive role for the next 30+ hours of gameplay to hopefully rack up enough Karma to unlock another race or two. 

I'm not saying that Karma doesn't make sense as a productive system for rewarding good behavior, interesting interaction, and generally a more 'fun' experience. But because my options of how I can interact with others is so limited by the role I choose, I rarely will play a productive role in the station or learn anything else new. Only thing I may do now is play Virology, finish my work as quickly as possible, and then quit once there is adequate resources for medical staff so I can follow some Karma-driven dream.

I definitely enjoy being a character, having my ideas come to light, and entertaining others as I go on mad pursuits of crazy ideas that end up moreover having a decent Karma flow compared to others. But that's really just me, and not everyone benefits from this system like I do. I get rewarded for becoming an inspired yet unproductive role and getting radical with my ideas, but many others find roles that provide no Karma to be significantly more entertaining, and find themselves in a rut.

On 8/23/2019 at 9:34 PM, Swirlby said:

The Karma system is already a grind system. It's very similar to how loot in MMOs works with how you repeatedly do a quest or dungeon until you hopefully get the desired item. If there was just one way to consistently get Karma, it would be leagues better than it already is.

I find this is most applicable to people who enjoy other aspects to the game outside of roleplaying their way throughout an entire round to hope that someone took enough notice to reward them. You are less likely to reward those who don't end up trying to make banter or talk to you, trying to get noticed, yet many of us who end up in Medical like being out of Medical as soon as possible. It may be an interaction chance, but the Nurse who fixes you up faster than a Medical Doctor can see you doesn't get much from the Karma system. 

I don't think the system is broken, but this is clearly a fair topic to debate further on. The only valid thing you take between each and every round you enter into is Karma, and those who keep the rounds alive end up having nothing to show for it most of the time. Shout out to the Atmospheric Bros.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel like this might need to be said for a nice reminder.

 

While it's great to have a set goal for anything, such as in here for getting the right amount of Karam for a species.   You shouldn't get too fixed or worked up about it, I feel as though the more thought you put into it the more likely you might find yourself burning out faster and that wouldn't be good! 

 

At the end of the day, it's a game,  and you should try to just enjoy the time you spend on it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the karma system, despite its notorious inconsistency, but I do feel some changes can be made to it.

Having races locked behind it doesn't make sense to me. If we are trying to use the argument that having karma = being a better RP player (or player in general), it doesn't. So someone with a lot of karma who unlocks Vox doesn't mean they'll play that race with more aptitude for it. With the upcoming changes to races as a whole, it makes even less sense to lock them behind a gated grindy system. I could make the opposing argument that having a race karma locked may encourage the player who is gunning for that race, to look up its lore, read more about it before they decide to dump 30/45 karma onto it. There is actually sound logic to that, and it makes sense - just don't think its enough to warrant it. I'm generally a fan that all races should be open to play from start.

Same goes for certain jobs. I have both Blueshield and Sec Pod Pilot unlocked as karma roles, and none of them make sense as to why they are gated. Blueshield could be time locked to command instead. It is a fairly trusted role, but no more than say Captain or HOP. Sec pod pilot makes the least sense to be placed behind a gate. Considering all it is, is a security role with access to a pod. That could be time locked again, tied to security for 6 hours (which equates to 3 full rounds as security) and considering how security often gets overwhelmed, having what essentially is another security job slot behind the karma system makes no logical sense.

Other jobs on the other hand, Barber and NT Rep. Having played both, they are fairly RP focused. Barber is an odd one in that you are essentially an assistant with scissors, a dye pack and given a public accessible place to cut the throats hair of your patrons, but it is fairly cheap in the karma system so I don't see an issue there. NT Rep requires interacting with the crew, and on some level, with the admin staff, and I think it is fine where it is in the karma system considering it isn't of vital importance, but can be a fun role to play from an RP perspective.

I would like to see more stuff added to the karma system though; item cosmetic fluff stuff that isn't essential but would be nice to have, that isn't available through other normal means. Except no one really has the time to do new sprites, new cosmetics for that, but there is quite a lot of old unused fluff items in the code just sitting around, at least I think so.

When it comes to races and certain jobs though, some changes need to be made there in my opinion.

Edited by Xyd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Xyd said:

If we are trying to use the argument that having karma = being a better RP player (or player in general), it doesn't.

Yeah, given my experiences with plasmamen are consistently terrible i guess having karma = being a shithead

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only time ive ever gotten a lot of karma at once is when i was a clown that caused a 2 man mutiny and got chucked in perma. (we mutinied because security tased me on code green)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites