Penalties for quitting/AFKing

I was thinking that we need some sort of punishment when people AFK out of games, or quit as soon a stronger player attacks them. Now I know Jay is working on making the AI more fun to play with, but ideally we want as many real people playing as possible, right?

So, I propose a kind of temporary ban from joining games after AFKing or quitting. For AFKs- life happens, so on the first offense there should be little to no punishment. After that the punishment could be a week of being unable to join a game, and it would scale upwards each offense. Same thing with quitters, although the first offense of quitting should be punishable. I’ve been in many games where lifetime members quit the minute I attack them because they know eventually I’ll beat them. They have no reason to quit since they paid to be in multiple games.

The bans could operate on a ratio of games completed to games left early. Say a player quits a game, and completed 4 games. He’s at an 80% completion rate- not that good. On his second offense he would get a longer ban. However, If he completes 5 more games without leaving early he’s up to 90% completed. This is a decent rate, and his ban times reset to the lowest level in the next time he has to quit.

This system would generally prevent people from quitting because they’re losing, but when life happens and you do AFK it’s not the end of the road for you.

Every online game I play- Lol, Halo, etc had a quit ban system, and they are VERY effective at keeping me in games I know I’ll lose. After I got an 8 hour ban from halo for quitting too many games in a short time, I haven’t quit since. Since Halo matched are 10 minutes and NP goes on for weeks, the band should start longer.

Anyways, thanks for reading this disorganized wall of text. I think it’s a great idea, though I’m open to changing the ratio needed to get back into good graces, ban lengths, etc… Let me know what you think!


There are problems that come to mind where everyone decides the game is done and the winner certain and quit in reverse leaderboard order.

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Crud, I actually thought about that but forgot to mention it in my post.

Jay would need to add a new feature where a winner could be declared if every remaining player voted to declare him winner and he was in the lead. That was nobody would have to quit and the game could still end early if needed. If the winner is ony declared is every player hits accept on the vote then that prevents people trying to win very early in the game.

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I think the problem Jay had with that was players ‘bullying’ the guy who didn’t want to end the game.

I’m totally with you though. Something needs to be done. It’s just it’s going to have to be as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University in order to fit all or even most situations.

What if the system looked for players who had a “habit” of AFKing or quitting, more so than delivering a punishment right away, and based the severity of the punishment/censure based on how out of the ordinary the action was.

Case Study 1: While it’s probably a pretty regular occurrence that people quit during the first or second cycle, it’s probably NOT because of an endgame scenario. Instead, it’s probably because the player found him or herself in a non-preferred starting position, and didn’t want to put the effort into improving that position. In that case, since there’s not a good reason (usually) to quit that early, the penalty would be more severe.

Case Study 2: Quitting 35 cycles deep into a game is more likely a result of an end-game scenario than it is giving up at the first sign of a fight, so the penalty would be less severe, and wouldn’t discourage players from ditching a game that has a clear winner.

Perhaps the system keeps track of these actions like a credit report, but in reverse. If I quit during cycle one I earn 8 points (just an arbitrary number) while quitting during cycle 35 earns me 1 point. More points is bad, and if I hit a certain limit over a certain rolling time period (say, a month), then I’m banned (or otherwise punished) until my point total is recalculated and drops below a certain limit. That way if I need to quit 2 or 3 games at once because of outside issues, I’ll take a hit, but will heal from it quickly as the rolling time period moves on and I don’t continue to quit games, but the player who consistently ditches games will always carry more points and will be in greater danger of a ban. A player’s “habit” of quitting or AFKing from games would follow him until he cleaned up his act over a longer period of time.

Maybe too, you could get rid of points from your account by playing a game to completion, or by playing until you’re completely eliminated from the game, showing your commitment to game completion.

If there was data to be had about how often players quit or AFK, at what cycles they tend to do so, and the average length of a game, we could probably build a pretty fair system to discourage quitting. I think this system would give Jay a leg to stand on when it comes to pay players saying “I paid for the game, I should get to do whatever I want”, since you need to demonstrate a pattern of damaging the experience of other players.

Signed Praxus Fox
Professor of Cunning
Oxford University

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AFK will always be with us. The only options are to improve game mechanics for arresting leader momentum, plus making better AI. Wormholes are a great example of the former, as leaders will always have edges on maps, and wormholes will give opposing alliances more optionality, thereby increasing incentives for alliances to form to counter the leader.

First, totally agree that AFK/QUIT’s (unless legit at the end-game) are the scourge of NP. wfmcgillicuddy correctly points out that ideally the game mechanics would have some method of arresting runaway leaders, so there would be some “point” for weaker players to stay in.

Ditto TheLastHero’s suggestions that there should be a voting mechanism to “anoint” a winner since often times games reach a point where it’s obvious who is going to win, but one has to just grind through the slog of the end game, which is boring for all.

Probably should be unanimous … since this prevents shenanigans like everybody anointing someone besides the leader … and maybe you can only vote for the leader. Note that you should be able to cancel/modify your vote. And if everyone agrees someone should win, but there is one stubborn holdout, they can decide to gang up on that person.

In turn based games, the action often speeds up after people have gone AFK or Quit. If they are forced to stay in they might continue to slow down the action by only Submitting at the last hour each time. Other than that I think it’s a good idea.

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I may have made this worse with new versions of Banking and Experimentation that scale in the same way as Manufacturing. If you banking is a little better its now a lot better.

Right now in Proteus you get $1 for each economy at a star for every banking tech level.

I pushed all starting techs to 3 to lessen the impacts at the start of the game.

So say two players both have total economy of 20, but player A is tech 4 and player B is tech 5, A player is getting 80, B is getting 100. Cash is paid out thought the day so there is no such thing as a Production tick anymore.

But science works the same way, so falling behind of science is going to hurt a lot as well. Probably more.

It may have complety broken the game and I’m finding it almost impossible to predict in my head how it will all scale.

Should we set up a test game now, before I do the wormholes?

I’d love to play in a test game, sounds really interesting. I’m glad you scaled banking like that because it really rolls off mid game and is pretty useless as is.

I predict it will make it harder to take down leaders, although once we get wormholes going that might balance it. Give more players the opportunity to attack leaders together.

Done some more thought on the quitting situation.

Yep, the vote to anoint a winner should definitely be unanimous. Just like how someone can’t accept a victory until every play had quit or AFK, and he’s in the lead.

True, AFK’s will always be here. But we can work on reducing the amount of them. After a weeklong ban, someone will definitely think a bit more about whether their schedule will permit them to play a game, and also keep them watching more closely for the game start.

I still stand by what I said where the level of punishment is determined by a games completed/games joined ratio. Where a person who’s 28/29 AFKs he gets a 3 day ban from joining, but if a person is 4/9 then they could get a several week ban. This way, the system promotes good behavior, as that is the only way to get your penalties back down for when you screw up. If the players record is reset monthly then they can keep AFKing and quitting and tanking minor penalties each month with no real consequences. I think I covered all the points everyone addressed, but let me know if there are still more questions. Interested in Jays opinion.

I’m unlikely to ever do anything to punish AFK players becuase I don’t think it will change players behaviour, they’ll just create multiple accounts.

What I would much rather do is create some “in game” social features so you can get to know a small group of players, build a small trusted community, invite only those players to games.

Oh, the other thing I can do is create a tournament like blight where it costs a credit to join. That should keep the casual AFKers out.

Only players who take the game seriously will join.

That makes sense. I tossed around the idea of banning the IP instead of the account, but that doesn’t work with office games or family that play. I’ll keep thinking on this.

I do like the sound of this. I’ve done this before by creating a private game and sending the link to in game friends, but it would be nice to have it all set up nicely with more social features.

Is there still a possibility of a leaderboard of some sorts? Perhaps you could sort by rank, renown, or victories, and see who’s on top. I like that idea, but the only thing I suggest is that on the leaderboard it shows the true alias as well as an in game alias, because most people don’t play as their true alias.

Maybe make m an elite game of sorts. Lifetime members get in free, and everyone else has to pay a credit to get in with the big time players.

there are plenty of Lifetime Premiums that AFK too :slight_smile:

Multiple accounts is likely to happen for non-premium members but surely premium members will take the possibility of a ban seriously. If you put a premium only normal game on the list of game options with the time ban stuff from above on I think it would work.

I’m also all for the 2nd paragraph. Any sort of ability to build a friend’s list would be good, but I worry about teams starting to creep in if people always play together. I don’t even think it would necessarily be a conscious decision, but if you see someone is reliable one game, then you’ll likely be kindly indisposed to them next game and it will self perpetuate. That’s why I like the above, the system is taking care of selecting the non-AFK players and the sytem, although probably not quite as good at it, will provide a bigger pool of players than I can by myself building a friend list.

Also - I’d love to be in the test game. I promise not to AFK…

I think any leaderboard should be based on a Elo rating system (used for Chess, your ranking increases more the better your opponent). We’d have to do some work to adapt it for multiplayer but there’s loads of people who’ve done it already so it’s just a case of stealing the one we want and tweeking constants for NP.

This stops anyone boosting their ranking using games against lesser players (for example by setting up insta-wins vs the AI).

I’d only show the true alias, I don’t see the reason behind showing the in-game alias which I generally change everytime?

Oh, you evil bastard! Sign me up.

I guess you are improving those techs to keep them relevant throughout the game. Fair enough.

Reminds me though about other game mechanics to arrest leader momentum. Perhaps decay rates on ship count, for example?

Or favored trading arrangements among weaker players (federations)/

Or vassalage?

I can feel my long dormant NP endorphin receptors firing back up…___