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Ununited for the sake of moles

Discussion in 'Office of Strategic Influence' started by LightWolf, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. LightWolf

    LightWolf lightwoof
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    One of the problems with most games this days is that many games make small factions ununited, only for the sake of creating moles.

    Means of unification or the very high chance of a teams being moled due to the smallness of teams is usually not taken into account when they make the game. The smaller the team, the more likely that a decent looking role gets in the list of known, especially with the main unification methode being each ember sending in the list of members, which if done wrong gives the mole the whole teams list. Smaller faction also means that another guy comming into the open risks that two members are now known.

    Future games should really take this into account if they decide to use small ununited factions. If this problem is not solved, then don't use it, sure you can ask a mod to help come up with ideas, but for me I only have one idea for this, and it'd get boring to see the same idea being used.

    Multifaction with ununited teams just leaves too much up to chance, to start with it's a bad idea, unless the chance of moling is changed to leader decision, and not the mole getting lucky by the nature of the game. Moles should be fooling the leader, and not just being put into the right position thanks to concept.
  2. Daenym

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    I think the unification system in RPS, modified slightly, could be made into something solid. RPS was pretty well designed for factions to unite quickly, but if you tweak it a little it'd be more what the ununited faction games are looking for.

    Also, something like what FF5 did. Everyone only has 1 or 2 letters, tho, and when the whole faction's letters are all used they can be made into a word, which then you're PMing to the host. You just have to make sure you can't make too many words out of the same letters.
  3. Yeti

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    As someone who has played in and hosted such games.......... they suck.

    I can say nothing on EXPERTS sans "moles everywhere" and "ununited is the worst". RotS' moles were all killed veeeeeeery quickly so they had little to no impact on anything.

    The problem with ununited multifactions is, even if you give factions good players, or strong roles, or the weakest mole(s) to infiltrate, if a faction is simply inactive, or their clutch player doesn't do a whole lot, they're kind of screwed. (actually not saying anything about LW and his naggy faction rn)

    Ununited becomes a large chore for whatever faction has problems assembling - if all other factors are equal and someone goes hunting early on for their team and is very active, that faction will get pulled together and start doing work a lot sooner than any other, and the ununited faction will likely take ages to catch up, or, more than likely, NEVER come close to winning.

    tl;dr inactivity in ununited games literally kills teams' chances, or allows the moles to spread like a wildfire and dictate things way more than the intent was. If one person on the entire team does not claim and talk to the team, the team is in dire straights.

    Other M is a perfect example of where there's just stupid crap going on - the Galactic Feds were completely unrelated to the 3 (multi)factions and it's just ?_? don't do stupid crap like that. n/o to its hosts but that was the weirdest design to have half the game cut off from the other, the WCs didn't overlap at all.

    Unfortunately I've found that the faction leader system is the same as the village leader system in that, if the team is ununited, until they are united, you are probably just told orders and left in the dark unless, like the village, you have a relevant/probably-not-missing role like hooker or BG, or you are a mole yourself for your team and they assume you must be legit. So until the team is united, faction leader doesn't particularly differentiate itself from village leader as you still have the untrusted outskirts of the faction kept in the dark from the vital-role inside circle, of course, this is minimized when the team is just plain too small to either have superfluous roles or really keep anyone in the dark.

    Anyway ununited factions kind of work out really poorly in actual play. In MP2, the idiout Light Aether sat around with a mole and a recruit and they couldn't figure either out, or even clue in they HAD a mole, for eons, until they were wiped out. Everyone else was p alright but the LA were really complete tools.

    Basically inactivity in ununited allows the moles, who are usually active people b/c of the role description, to sweep through a faction, and the faction leader, well, in one game you could VOTE for the mole as the leader and that did happen, p sure I went off on a rant at that game about how "voting for leaders when the faction is ununited is the worst ever omg you are all horrible people diaf". In that instance, the mole did gain the entire faction's trust enough to get the team to vote them for leader, or at least, told the "faction leader" actual member to vote them for whatever reason and because of the leader system, the outskirts faction members obeyed orders and bam mole.

    tl;dr if you want to do multifaction, unite the factions from the start ~_~ you will be a lot less pissed, and instead of just "kill w/e" give the factions some interesting/tricky WCs to achieve, so while united, they still have a bit of an uphill struggle (like the temples in MP2 or finding the non-troll, actually-useful ALLCAPS). Faction leader is just as easily moled from the games I've played and is: still boring for those of you who don't have convincing-enough roles until inspected.

    Unless you have strong failsafes to prevent the mole from becoming the faction leader as voted upon, it's just going to result in a lot of the same until the mole is found out regardless of how the uniting system works. I admit RotS' was a lot better than EXPERTS' in that you could partially unite and at least get, you know, SOME of the team assembled, but even then they came in sets of 2/2/1 so it was a lot easier to determine who is molesauce.

    @Daenym the letter idea is good, but, once again - if someone is inactive, never claims, etc. or does just ENOUGH to send in actions and BE active you can't fairly sub them, it will delay their faction sooo badly and severely mess them up. Even expert games suffer from inactivity (in fact, EXPERTS has the worst activity record of any of my games), so while using letters or something similar to unite is a good concept (ours are all linked by PRs which lets the moles in as well), if someone doesn't step up to the plate, their faction just unfairly fell behind, and unless people ignore them (in favor of killing the active people off, which was the problem in MUDS as anyone who seemed to lynch and be in the channel was killed due to 'big threat') they will likely never catch up.

    Actually p sure the Really Bad Artists had this as "story of our life" and then nobody cared so they lived to the end.

    ok I'm done but yeah ununited is problematic having played and hosted plz avoid this just be INVENTIVE with your WCs so they can start united and have fun stuff to do while they kill enemies!!
  4. zorbees

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    I like the way mp2 was set up in regards to uniting. All of the team abilities were accessible from the getgo, so no send list of teammates was needed, and it was also a way of cleaning/finding moles. Moles weren't entirely out of the picture, but they had to work harder to do their moling. I didn't really like RPS' unification system because imo it made it too hard to mole. Moling is a basic element of smogon mafia and I believe it should exist and be similar to how moling goes in village-based games. I'll probably post more thoughts later but I just felt like contributing to this topic.
  5. askaninjask

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    Well, RPS wasn't meant to have mole-able factions. The factions were ununited in order to make sure everyone had some part to play in the first few cycles of the game. I feel that moleable factions can add fun to a game, but are definitely not for every game! Make sure each faction has the means they need to be able to check everyone.
  6. Accent

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    TBH I don't get why moling is such an important element still. To me it feels like people are going "well, this is mafia, we can't really have everyone united from the start" but the thing is, games on smogon are not mafia, and this has been said countless times, but no one seems to be acting upon it.

    If people want to play a game of mafia, with diplomacy and info gathering as the main elements, then the game must be designed for that, and include the possibility of moling. But even then, successfully moling should be a feat, not something that's embedded in a role like you're "supposed" to do it... Hosts should facilitate moling by having a better-suited role PM pattern (so that they don't have to provide possibly faulty fakes), and build their game around the idea that no one can be 100% guaranteed to be a teammate.

    If, on the other hand, you want to play something that's more like we tend to see on smogon, ie something with management and tactics rather and as little luck as possible, then why not get rid of moling? I mean, diplomacy can still be a huge part of the game, and betrayal can obviously happen, but can anyone honestly claim that they enjoyed a game more before their faction was united and they started getting shit done?
  7. Blue_Tornado

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    Mirroring stuff that's already been said. Accent's post also summarizes things nicely.

    Basically, don't stuff everything you can come up with into a single game. This applies to useless 'mole' roles and any other game mechanic that just shouldn't be there and makes the game less fun.
  8. jumpluff

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    This is a sidenote in response to Yeti's excellent post -- forgive me for the tangent, but I feel like games, in particular expert games, need to be designed a lot smaller.

    Our playerbase is smaller than it was, especially the main expert players. As a result, with games being designed on such a large scale as they currently are, hosts end up finding players then running out of desirable substitutes straight away. That makes inactivity hurt even worse, especially when it's the most experienced player in a faction. There's not much you can do about inactivity because it's always been a problem and always will be, but it can be minimised a little by quick and early substitutions... except you can't, because all the players you want in your game already signed up and everyone else is saying no.

    As for moling, like zorbees, I still think it's an important element. It's one of the main things that sets Smogon mafia apart from mafia on other sites / NOC: the emphasis on the night. I agree with Yeti that ununited is usually bad, though. I also don't like conversions much... good games have been made with conversions, but I like feeling like my teammates can be trusted if I've taken sufficient steps to ensure they're clean, and even before I 'retired', I rarely signed up for games with rules that hinted at them. I know it's just a matter of taste but I don't like role-based moling and that includes conversions. By all means provide things that facilitate it, like safe claims -- that's something that helps balance out the village leader system (and the faction leader system, which is rather parallel as has been pointed out), by spreading the element of distrust. If you're heavily relying on role-based moling to balance out a faction (either being moled or having a mole), you're balancing a lot on that one precarious possibility.

    There are two angles from which I'd like to look at its effects on the games:

    - 2v1 (or 1v1, I bet it's really dumb in 1v1 but have never thought about it). Obviously the village should not be united*. I have played ununited mafia before; two examples that stick out were Absolution Mafia and Pokémon Mafia, both of which my team ended up winning xD, uniting first night and not even being remotely threatened by moles. It's hard to want to throw yourself out on a limb, but any decent player will know you have to make a sacrifice. And (admittedly with some helpful things in our favour...) we still managed to carry it out nearly secretly, except for Gmax xD, someone has to make a sacrifice. All I had to do was compare stuff with Gmax and I concluded the risk of him being a non-Megalo at that stage was minimal, then I had to compare with Bass (whom Gmax had found, I think), and, bam, united. Easy, the lag was minimal. And in Pokémon Mafia I don't even remember what happened, iirc the only one we were remotely concerned about was Kumar though, and we got a reward to confirm our uniting.

    While I enjoyed both games (when I wasn't bitching about Raikage / freaking out about the Strong and Fishin), I don't like the idea that the 'informed minority' is ununited, it just doesn't make much sense to me. But I can't argue that actually has much of an effect because, well... it's not that hard to unite a mafia early on, making the inclusion of an ununited mafia kind of pointless. It's very easy to find your allies, even in anonymous, as long as your faction isn't 9x LightWolfy-tier paranoid players.

    In reality all ununited mafia does is slow them down and make N0 more of an advantage. Villagers rarely try in a remotely effective manner to mole an ununited mafia, anyway, if it's even known they're united, so I didn't particularly feel paranoid about Absolution Mafia. There's one big game exception, but I'm not naming it, and anyway that faction should not have been separated into so many 'groups'. As such, I feel like ununited mafia does not really have much of a point unless you publicise stuff to allow the village to mole and give a good reward for uniting. I wouldn't do it in non-anonymous mafia since the village is too strong there anyway. I feel like slowing the mafia down probably isn't a great idea anyway if you want them to get their shit together and mole the village.

    * I really liked the mason system in MM2, though it needed to be tweaked a lot to not be broken, but I guess that's not really relevant here.

    - Multifaction. Depends on the game since multifaction games are exceptionally diverse and hard to categorise as a lump, but basically, what Yeti said. I can't possibly express it better than she did. With inactivity eliminating at least one faction's chances from the very start in like every multifaction game we've had recently, don't compound the inevitable by setting up a faction to lag from the start. Inactivity is one of those things that multiplies as the game progresses, because the harder a game gets when everyone else is united, the less likely a faction is to catch up... if it doesn't just lose hope completely. As for conversions, probably a necessary part of some game designs, but again, I feel like people's ability to effectively work is hampered both by the threat of it and by the reality of it. Too much of a wildcard imo.

    'But jumpluff, you don't play anymore!' Whatever, I read every postgame / watch almost every game anyway :v
  9. wickdaggler

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    my personal solution to this problem would be giving everyone in the ununited faction something like one, single use inspect. maybe the designated "faction leader" could have more? whatever.

    doing this, in addition to "clues" (like the ones in EXPERTS) creates a choice for users; "do I use my inspect to make sure this person is my teammate, or do I save it to use on some other person later".

    this could also make moling a bit more difficult; you would have to convince the players in each faction that you are totally trustworthy etc.

    idk maybe this sounds really stupid but that's my take on it.
  10. Da Letter El

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    This thread bothered me, so I figured I'd weigh in. I also want to procrastinate on homework...

    Anyway

    The way I see it is that games that allow for moling reward teams who can get their shit together early and weed out obvious moles. And believe me, most moling attempts are pretty damn obvious if there is anyone on the team who is giving two shits about the game other than said mole.

    The teams that can get organized the fastest should be rewarded; the teams that are dumb enough to get moled should lose. Allowing for moling in some way, shape, or form keeps from Corleone situations from happening as often. It provides a direct incentive to give a shit about the game and not to just play weak.

    That being said...

    I don't think that moling should be the focus of most games. In games like Billymills's lynch mafia, there were very few ways to ensure that someone was a teammate of yours, as there were almost no forms of inspection. It led to most teams just simply not caring, which is something you never want in a game (ps Billymills is a terrible stealth lyncher. This needs saying.). My ideal multifaction game would make it so that it's not impossible to mole, yet there's simple ways to clear people to lead by, say, night 2. Not like Yeti's game where you are guaranteed to have everyone united really soon (seriously Lightwolf, uniting in EXPERTS was ridiculously easy).

    But finding ways to encourage people to step up for their own teams, as well as rewarding those teams that are active enough to unite well, should be something that all games look for.

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