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This topic means to propose the Rumor Gathering system, the developers have discussed this briefly before and I'm bringing it back up.  This is for Phase II/Phase III.

Q: What is Rumor Gathering?

A: It is a system we will put in place to help with two things mainly:
1. Dynamic Quest requirements, helps quests be different every time while also being able to hide certain types of requirements.
2. Workload, we want dynamic quests without too much work.

Basically, in summary, it allows certain dynamic NPCs conversation trees to only be explored if enough Rumor has been gathered, instead of specific bits of 'rumor' we just give out generic rumor "points" in different categories, and require a certain amount per category to allow the dialogue option to appear, otherwise the player will not see it until enough rumors have been collected.  There are several possible "sources" of rumors: npcs, holocrons, holonet, books, certain quest objects, etc...it might even be possible to let players spread rumors for us!

The System

There are a total of 4 main categories (I could think of), that we could have rumors for:

  • Skill Rumor Knowledge
  • Faction Rumor Knowledge
  • People Rumor Knowledge
  • Places Rumor Knowledge

Each of these contains subcategories of their own. eg:

  • Skill: Force, Weapons, Armor, Miscellaneous
  • Faction: Imperial, Rebel, Local factions, Black Sun, SorruSub, Jedi Exiles, Smugglers, Miscellaneous Groups
  • People: Local Persons, Notable Persons (ie: Emperor Palpatine, Grand Moff Tarkin, Senator Organa, etc...)
  • Places: Tatooine, Dantooine, Taris, Korriban, Miscellaneous Locations (instances, etc)

How to acquire Rumor Knowledge
Find a "source of rumor" (ie: barkeeper, book, drunkard, terminal, etc...), and then begin using it or conversing with it.  Eventually after exploring the correct dialogue choices, or merely by interacting with it it will increase your rumor points (usually in specific categories, but this could be randomized as well).  Mostly likely implemented via a luascript/cmd.

Rumor Points
Rumor Points are a way of keeping track of the total amount of Rumor Gathering the player has done.  Rumor Points are added each time you obtain a rumor.  They can be found on one's datapad.  By looking at the datapad a big list of rumors that the player has uncovered will pull up.   Only special rumors will actually be listed here.  Most rumors, simply give you rumor "points" and won't actually have a rumor entry in the datapad.  These special rumors will be organized by date, by default or category.  Often times rumors don't in themselves contain anything, but generic information that the player already knew.  The player may sometimes acquire duplicate rumors, but never from the same source.  We may wish to also have a large list of generic rumors by subject for all possible rumors, similar to treasure classes which could be assigned to as a list for the game to pick from when a rumor source tries to generate rumors from a certain category.  Rumor points can also be negative.

-Example of Rumor Point format for a "special" rumor (these are separate from just general rumors, that simply give you points):
Rumor: "Heard a rumor that there are no Jedi's left in the galaxy, and the force can no longer be used."
Category: Faction Knowledge, Jedi Exiles.
Source: NPC Jankins, Tatooine
Rumor Points: -2 Jedi Exiles

Rumor: "There is a mad hermit with supposed magic powers, near Mos Eisely".
Category: Faction Knowledge, Jedi Exiles
Rumor Points: +5 Jedi Exiles

As you can see rumors can provide positive or negative values of rumor points, so picking up rumors from the wrong sources (consulting Imperials that don't believe in Jedi's, when you are trying to find one), will hurt your overall point score in that subject (however it may be boosted in others, such as your increase in knowledge about Imperials).  Players cannot see what the actual point values are for each category, this is a mystery to them.  However, they see bars for each section go up and down, but without actual values presented and just a general indicator that a rumor may have made a change to their overall knowledge in that category.  Having a full bar in a particular category typically means that the player knows all there is to know about that rumor subject.

So let's see a whole example, without "special" rumors.  Player A is trying to find more information about the Jedi Exiles faction.  First he talks to an Imperial officer asking about an Imperial outpost.  The Imperial knows nothing useful about the Jedi Exiles:

Imperial: "How can I help you, citizen?"
Player A: "How big is the garrison here?"
I: "*sigh* "Almost 200 strong, we badly need reinforcements."
P: "Why, been attacked?"
I: "No...*sigh* smugglers, thieves, slavers, they all slip through we've never been attacked since all the Jedi Rebellion years ago during the end of the Clone Wars.  We have nothing to fear.  But smugglers are certainly frustrating."
P: "Well I wish I could help, but I haven't the time right now.  Good luck."

This NPC then gives out some rumor points (objects will need some function added to them to incorporate this).
What factors into the rumor point distribution:
1. How long the player conversed with the source.  (How many total tree nodes we're explored from the total branches)?
2. Random Factor.
3. Limits set on what kind of rumor points the source can give out.
4. Amounts of rumor points already given out to this player from this source, as well as certain special rumors may require special cases.

So in this example the Imperial could have given out any rumors pertaining to Local Imperial Knowledge, or give negative points for the Jedi Exile.

ie: +1-2 points in Imperial, +3-4 Imperial, +4-5 Imperial, -1 Jedi Exiles, or +1Local Tatooine.  You would likely get the +4-5 Imperial if all tree branches of that NPC had been explored.  However, the random factor may still make you unlucky and give you something worse (-1 Jedi Exiles).  Typically we'll only do this type of rumor point generation on npcs who do not have tree dialog (eg: they say one thing when you interact, but that's it).  NPCs with dialogue trees will probably have custom rumor points given when certain dialog trees are explored.


How Rumor Points will be Used
Certain NPCs may only begin certain dynamic dialogue options, when the persons rumor points in a certain category are a minimal amount.  Quest creators can then set certain dialog trees as being locked until the player has enough of certain rumors.  Rumors represent the players efforts to essential uncover truth and will go up (or down) as they learn and gather information in the world.

For example, our Imperial gives out negative Jedi Exile points because he is under the wrong and false impression that there are no more Jedi left, since Order 66, despite the fact that there are still Jed out there.  Hence by denying the Jedi Exiles existence to do so, because the player may or may not be effected by the belief (simulated by a random selection).  Merely by consulting a untrustworthy rumor source, the player runs the risk of decreasing his faith and belief that the rumors he has heard about that topic are actually true.


Rumor Source Format
Most rumors don't get put in the datapad, only special ones the writers actually want to bother writing and attaching to a particular source (quest NPC).  The rest of the rumors simply add rumor points to your rumor knowledge or take it away.

So again with an example with the Imperial his object file would go something like this (using pseudo json):

//Example Imperial #245
//Location of NPC: Tatooine, Mos Eisely, coord: 2, 5550, 323

"Name": "npc_imp_245_ex",            //name of the object using the rumor property
"Source": true,                    //Is this a source of rumors? true/false
"Special": true,                //Is this a special rumor source?
"Multiple": 0,                    //Can this source give out more than one category rumor point at once?
"Timeout": 1440,                //How many minutes does it take for this source to-
                        //-time out before it can give out rumor points again?
"Categories":                //start of category definition section
    "Type": ["Imperial"],    //What type of rumor point category is the first type?
   "Max": 5,            //What is the maximum amount of points to give out?
   "Min": 1,            //Minimum?
   "Weight": 50                 //0-100% How often should this choice be chosen?  (50% of the time).

    "Type": ["Jedi Exile"],
    "Max": 0,
    "Min: -1,
    "Weight": 25

     "Type: ["Tatooine"],
     "Max": 2,
     "Min: "0,
     "Weight": 25


Other Specifications
The system would also in addition to previous information, need to track to see if that "rumor" has been given already and if not allow the player to basically spam mine rumors unless it has already been given to the player.  For example once Player A has spoken with Imperial_245 he is not going to give the player any more rumor points until after the 1440 minutes are up (24 hours).  Some rumor sources never timeout and are only found once.  Other NPCs give out multiple vague rumors and have timeouts so the player can collect new rumors from them after coming back latter.  Likely these timeouts would be between 8-48 hours, this will prevent the grinding or mass spam "mining of rumors", at least from one rumor source.

Some NPCs can even have multiple requirements for dialogue options to appear.  ie: More than one category, or total overall rumor points.  Others may require special rumors to be found from specific sources (ie: holocrons, instance npcs, etc...)

[ b]Further Development Ideas (please respond with your own ideas!)[/b]
- allow players to spread their own rumors?  ie: if player is part of a certain faction, speaking to that player basically via chat will allow a chance to pick up rumor points covering that faction.  Could run into problems if players start advertising they can give out rumor points or something and then stand all day in the city spamming everyone and giving them rumor points.

-Every rumor point adds some bit of random Starwars lore in the datapad that slowly gets unlocked?

-Allow player to know that rumor knowledge has been acquired.  For example a, "rumor" sound effect, or a popup dialogue box similar to the darkside/lightside point boxes in KoToR.  We could also in the quest log add a piece of info that says something like, ""Obtained hearsay from npcs so & so, about Jedi Exiles".

-Bonus from rumor points in that skill.  For example if you have lots of rumor points in Skills: Force, you get increased force points, regeneration of force points, etc..?

-Skill that can be learned to increase the rate or amount of rumor points you can receive from npcs.  ie: X2 Rumor points, etc...

-Allow players to 'share' rumors.  So for example Player A can select one player to share a rumor with.  Once the rumor is shared it cannot be shared with anyone else, however, Player A can still share other rumors he hasn't already shared with the same, or different players.

JKG Developer

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