Game Devs Don’t Understand Players – Aion and Medals

Recently announced in Aion is a new reward system. A player distributed reward system. Taken off the announcement:

“3) The most recent patch notes for 1.5.1 show that defending legions can now gain medals for successfully holding a fortress but many people feel this will not be enough incentive for fortress defense. Can you clarify if only the controlling legion gains medals for defense, or is it the entire race? How can one legion be expected to defend against an entire race?

  • For the medals, once a fortress has been successfully defended, the Brigade General of the fortress will receive the medals via in game mail, and will be responsible for distributing accordingly. This allows the Brigade General the ability to award those who actively participated in defending the fortress, both inside and out of his/her own legion.”

I’ve bolded the important parts. After a successful fortress defence, medals are sent to one player to distribute to other players based on their contribution. How does anyone not see the potential abuse of this mechanic? Of Brigade Generals distributing medals based on guild affiliation and personal favouritism rather than actual participation?

Obviously any kind of reward system can be gamed, but a system that actively hands the rewards to one single player and then tasks them with handing them out ‘fairly’ seems to ignore everything game designers should know about how players behave: with self-interest.

3 thoughts on “Game Devs Don’t Understand Players – Aion and Medals

  1. Not being an Aion player, I’m missing some context here. How is the Brigade General selected? Does the system rely on structured groups (parties) to operate? Assuming its something that people can choose, I don’t see how this is all that much different than Master Looter option in most MMOs. The master looter could just grab all the loot and run or award it to their friends, just like in this situation. If the master looter does that, then the rest of the group does their best to inform others and that person doesn’t get more runs.

    Again, assuming people can choose which Brigade General to run with, then this is something the community could handle. That said, it probably would be better to have different looting options that were set before a fortress defense, if a formal party structure is involved. Otherwise, this is probably the best of an unstructured situation.

  2. Brigade Generals are the sole leader of a legion (guild). It would appear they wouldn’t even need to be online to receive the medals, which also raises issues of fair distribution.

    Medals are needed to buy top level PvP gear. Under this system only large legions / guilds would be driven to try to defend fortresses in order to obtain the medals because they will know who will get them. There is no reason for another legion to come to the aid of the fortress-controlling legion (without a pre-existing relationship) because they know they probably won’t get any key rewards out of it – better that legion wait for the fortress to be taken, then try to win it back because the rewards will be better (and some are saying the new system won’t change the fact it is more rewarding to attack a fortress than defend it).

    I think it is a poor decision – especially in a 2 opposing side PvP set-up – to have a system that discourages players / guilds on one side from helping each other by handing out rewards to only one guild and relies on their goodwill to hand those rewards out to others.

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