Saturday, 27 February 2021

An AFK PUG Solution

[Part of the Design Folder]

Roger once asked if in MMORPGs, you should have expectations of other players - especially when it comes to PUG (randomly grouping player) instances. In his example, the event in Star Trek Online required a minimal effort from everyone to cover all the objectives but since the rewards were based on repeated attendance and not actual participation this encourages a lot of people to just AFK / let the others do the work for them. This is a rampant problem that exists in pretty much every MMO.

Since it boils down to being a social problem, I think the easiest way to handle this is simply via vote system which already exists in many games. The only difference is that this one will only show up if you fail or don't complete all the objectives in a random queue, and it simply asks "in your opinion, which of your team mates performed the worst?". An option to select no one will always be present.

Then, these votes are simply tallied per character/account. Otherwise, if the average of their votes/fails exceeds a particular threshold, they earn some sort of "shit" badge. People with a "shit" badge will only be paired with other "shit" badge holders. There is a way to get rid of that hindrance though - every time they fail a instance/event in a random queue and are NOT voted worst by anyone, the vote count drops by one and eventually the average will sway them back into the good books. 

Note: This is only for failed random queues/instances. If your team wins or you group up with others intentionally (not a random grouping), nothing happens vote wise positive or negative.

That's my idea anyway. Let me know what you think!


  1. I like the core idea, and definitely the thought that there could be some sort of system to "punish" the ones that abuse the system. But it's tricky. Who decides what constitutes as "bad" playing? Maybe just not playing perfectly or having someone annoyed with you for other reasons could make them vote for you, even though it wasn't actually your fault that the group failed. It also of course unfairly punishes those who have more trouble learning, interacting or playing for whatever reasons, leading them to unintentionally fail. The goal here is to punish the people who abuse the system, not the people who are just not that good at the game yet (or ever). Unfortunately if the rest of the internet is something to go by people can be very harsh and unforgiving.
    Maybe it would be better to fix the issue that causes people to behave that way?
    It's definitely not an easy task either way...

    1. Yeah, I didn't consider people still learning the game. Maybe it should include a grace period for new characters (say a month or two?) where they are immune to the vote results? Hrm... food for thought.

  2. It's an interesting idea, but I think it would lead to too much negativity in the losing team. They might devolve into trying to shift blame and calling people out instead of trying to win, to ensure that they aren't the ones voted out.

    I can see people faking a disconnect if they start losing. But maybe you could still vote for them if they disconnect?

    Also consider what happens in a hard-fought loss where everybody tries hard. Sometimes you still lose, even when you try. Now you can blame someone, and I think that will be an unpleasant experience all around.

    I think it's super-important to differentiate "try, but fail" from "did not try at all", but I think that's somewhat hard.

    The positive commendation systems like in FFXIV or Overwatch are probably a better fit all around, even if you have to infer who isn't trying.

    1. Hmm or maybe if every team member votes for themselves as the worst performer, then no one is punished. That's how true heroes would do it.

      Haven't heard of the positive commendation thing in FFXIV as I've not played it - I'll have to go take a look! I just hope its not something someone can get some friends to spam for them.