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View Full Version : Spreading rumors as a social stealth feature?



SixKeys
10-13-2015, 11:08 PM
I'm actually surprised I've never thought about this before, but spreading rumors could be turned into a social stealth/crowd manipulation mechanic. I'm thinking it could be initiated by bribing some street urchins, who would spread rumors about you throughout the city. These would activate special groups of citizens around the district (similar to the vigilantes in AC1, who would only activate after saving citizens). This could have a number of random outcomes, such as: citizens coming to your aid in a fight, citizens approaching you to offer you money ("I hear you're the one who saved my daughter, please take this as a token of my gratitude"), citizens in a bar inviting you to join their game or buying you a drink, newspaper boys either singing your praises or warning the public about you ("Mysterious vigilante - friend or foe? Read all about it!"), citizens randomly opening their doors or windows for you to hide in while being chased, and even negative outcomes like thugs appearing to beat you up, merchants raising their prices for you or troublemakers dispersing your current blend group. Maybe we'd even see the return of troubadours in the form of over-eager reporters hounding you for an interview or aspiring poets reciting bad poetry about you. :p

I realize that this is basically an amalgamation of features we already have or have had in the past, but it could be fun not knowing what kind of outcome you will initiate. Maybe you'll get something positive out of it, maybe something negative. Like rolling a dice, really.

Thoughts?

booty_fiend
10-13-2015, 11:26 PM
there are so many ideas out there like this that could reeeally improve the social stealthy and make it more enjoyable and it's sad that ubisoft isn't bright enough to implement any of them.

i can really imagine someone like jacob using this tactic, especially in victorian london.

EmbodyingSeven5
10-14-2015, 12:25 AM
Maybe good/bad reps will each have benefits. If the people fear you some guards will run in terror, but if they love you citizens will help out when you are being chased or if your in a fight.

ze_topazio
10-14-2015, 12:37 AM
Not a bad idea.

SpiritOfNevaeh
10-14-2015, 03:50 AM
Now that you mention it, thats not a bad idea.

They kinda implicated this in AC3 where Sam Adams said something about bribing the town criers/newspaper stories to "start your own propaganda."

So why not have it as a feature in game? :)

LoyalACFan
10-14-2015, 04:46 AM
Sounds cool, but I'm not sold on the random outcomes idea... In a stealth scenario you want to have total mastery over the situation before going in, and setting yourself up for potential unpredictable interruption by the results of the rumor mechanic sounds kind of iffy. Maybe there could be a situation where, as you build your cred/legend, you can get away with spreading more and more outrageous rumors. Like, for example, maybe in the very beginning, get people to believe that there's a parade or festival scheduled for that evening or something so you have a little more foot traffic (and therefore more crowds to blend with) in the streets. But as you get more well-known and your voice has more gravitas and credibility, the effects are magnified, so the streets are packed. And maybe you would unlock new, more outrageous rumors as you play, like spreading the word among guard ranks that the Assassins are coming to town, and get some of the noobier guards to flee before you get there.

I-Like-Pie45
10-14-2015, 05:13 AM
why would you spread rumors you big bully

that's mean

HDinHB
10-14-2015, 05:17 AM
Good concept. For example, with the heralds in previous games, or newspapers, or urchins, instead of just bribing them to stop saying negative things, you could bribe them to say positive things...even different flavors of messages. Want to be loved by the people? Spread stories of your generosity, or the people you saved, or the hospital you built. Want the enemies to fear you? Spread stories of your latest assassination, or plot you have foiled. Of course the Templars will have their own propaganda machine, so you will have to counter those stories, too.


It's not exactly related, but it just occurred to me that, instead of just bribing bartenders for information, Edward should have been able to bribe the "dancers" to get pillow talk info on ship movements and such.

strigoi1958
10-14-2015, 06:27 AM
Yes I liked it when Ezio had to cause unrest to get the gates open to the harbour.

VestigialLlama4
10-14-2015, 07:04 AM
I'm actually surprised I've never thought about this before, but spreading rumors could be turned into a social stealth/crowd manipulation mechanic. I'm thinking it could be initiated by bribing some street urchins, who would spread rumors about you throughout the city. These would activate special groups of citizens around the district (similar to the vigilantes in AC1, who would only activate after saving citizens). This could have a number of random outcomes, such as: citizens coming to your aid in a fight, citizens approaching you to offer you money ("I hear you're the one who saved my daughter, please take this as a token of my gratitude"), citizens in a bar inviting you to join their game or buying you a drink, newspaper boys either singing your praises or warning the public about you ("Mysterious vigilante - friend or foe? Read all about it!"), citizens randomly opening their doors or windows for you to hide in while being chased, and even negative outcomes like thugs appearing to beat you up, merchants raising their prices for you or troublemakers dispersing your current blend group. Maybe we'd even see the return of troubadours in the form of over-eager reporters hounding you for an interview or aspiring poets reciting bad poetry about you. :p

I realize that this is basically an amalgamation of features we already have or have had in the past, but it could be fun not knowing what kind of outcome you will initiate. Maybe you'll get something positive out of it, maybe something negative. Like rolling a dice, really.

Thoughts?

Spreading rumors about the Assassins seems to defeat the purpose of the whole hide-in-plain-sight and be hidden in the shadows no? It strikes me as being more interesting to build alliances by actions, by mutual trust and confidence. If the Assasins help the poor and oppressed of the city, also persecuted by Templars and their puppets, that strikes me as more logical for why these factions would help the Assassins and why they would hide them from the authorities.

And you know it strikes me as being more satisfying in that it's more earned than simply buying off a bunch of urchins to spread rumors and stuff, after all if you can build trust and alliances with a few coins than ''anyone'' can do it. But if you're the guy with the interest and desire to help people and you renovate businesses, make friends and influence people, that seems more like something special to the character you play.

Besides, spreading rumors about you is more of a Templar d--k move, especially these days with cyber-bullying and all that.

I-Like-Pie45
10-14-2015, 08:15 AM
I bet you're all secretly advocates of cyberbullyings and gamergates! sniffle wiffle, I think targeting Ubisoft targeting this segment of the fanbase is the real reason why AC series has gone down in quality

Mr.Black24
10-14-2015, 05:20 PM
Spreading rumors about the Assassins seems to defeat the purpose of the whole hide-in-plain-sight and be hidden in the shadows no? It strikes me as being more interesting to build alliances by actions, by mutual trust and confidence. If the Assasins help the poor and oppressed of the city, also persecuted by Templars and their puppets, that strikes me as more logical for why these factions would help the Assassins and why they would hide them from the authorities.

And you know it strikes me as being more satisfying in that it's more earned than simply buying off a bunch of urchins to spread rumors and stuff, after all if you can build trust and alliances with a few coins than ''anyone'' can do it. But if you're the guy with the interest and desire to help people and you renovate businesses, make friends and influence people, that seems more like something special to the character you play.

Besides, spreading rumors about you is more of a Templar d--k move, especially these days with cyber-bullying and all that.
Well the Assassins had use this tactic of spreading rumors for quite some time. I mean you can use the rumors to distract from the fact that you are part of an ancient order, and make yourself a solidified vigilante hero, especially with your actions serving as proof. Sell them with pazaz if you will, woo the customers! A shadow to hide your real identity. Like Spirit says, making your own propaganda.

Plus historically and in the game lore, the Assassins of Syria had spread the rumors that they are cannabis eaters and do a bunch of crazy stuff to make their enemies fear them, like how the Batman lore, there was a bunch of stories told to criminal by criminal on what or who Batman really is, which ends up fearing him due to his incredible skill and ability. A demoralization tactic is just as effective to soften up a target.

I mean your not going to tell them the fact that your a Master Assassin for an ancient order after and risk endangering or scaring them off right?

SixKeys
10-14-2015, 05:34 PM
Maybe good/bad reps will each have benefits. If the people fear you some guards will run in terror, but if they love you citizens will help out when you are being chased or if your in a fight.

I would love this, but if it were easy to implement, they already would have done it long ago. My idea is simpler as it doesn't require a complex reputation system.


Now that you mention it, thats not a bad idea.

They kinda implicated this in AC3 where Sam Adams said something about bribing the town criers/newspaper stories to "start your own propaganda."

So why not have it as a feature in game? :)

Exactly! I always thought that was a missed opportunity in AC3.

In ACR the town criers will actually talk about your accomplishments after each sequence, like: "The city's beloved benefactor XYZ has been murdered! What fiend could be behind this crime? Are your children safe?" etc. Even if it doesn't affect gameplay, it's great for immersion. Makes you feel like your actions are really changing the city.


Sounds cool, but I'm not sold on the random outcomes idea... In a stealth scenario you want to have total mastery over the situation before going in, and setting yourself up for potential unpredictable interruption by the results of the rumor mechanic sounds kind of iffy. Maybe there could be a situation where, as you build your cred/legend, you can get away with spreading more and more outrageous rumors. Like, for example, maybe in the very beginning, get people to believe that there's a parade or festival scheduled for that evening or something so you have a little more foot traffic (and therefore more crowds to blend with) in the streets. But as you get more well-known and your voice has more gravitas and credibility, the effects are magnified, so the streets are packed. And maybe you would unlock new, more outrageous rumors as you play, like spreading the word among guard ranks that the Assassins are coming to town, and get some of the noobier guards to flee before you get there.

I thought about this as well. I can see how it would be annoying in certain situations, but it should be easy enough (correct me if I'm wrong, game designers, I don't know much about the technicalities) to set a few rules that would eliminate the possibility of a random event messing up your carefully planned assault. Like make it impossible for those events to spawn inside restricted zones. We already have something similar with Unity's crowd events.

I love the idea of growing influence and credibility, but I suspect it would be hard to implement. The reason I went with the "random dice roll" idea is because - in theory, at least - it sounds easy to code. The bigger and more ambitious you make the cred system, the more difficult it will be to implement for a huge, crowded open world.


Spreading rumors about the Assassins seems to defeat the purpose of the whole hide-in-plain-sight and be hidden in the shadows no? It strikes me as being more interesting to build alliances by actions, by mutual trust and confidence. If the Assasins help the poor and oppressed of the city, also persecuted by Templars and their puppets, that strikes me as more logical for why these factions would help the Assassins and why they would hide them from the authorities.

I'm not suggesting the rumor system have huge ripple effects throughout the plot and the world. You could choose to use it or not use it, same as walking up to a group of thieves and hiring them in past games.

Let's be honest, the games already allow you to disobey the Creed in a million ways. The player is free to start whatever chaos they desire on the streets as often as they like and the plot still treats them as if they're a master of stealth. It's all about suspension of disbelief. ;)

Plus we know this is already happening in the stories themselves, it just hasn't been turned into a player-controlled feature yet. In ACB Ezio often comes across citizens who will say stuff like "I've heard about you, you're the one that helps the oppressed" and then give you a mission. So people are already spreading rumors about the assassins, it just hasn't been a real gameplay feature. In ACR there's a mission where Ezio has to incite a riot to break open the gates. That's probably the closest to my idea, albeit in a small, walled-off area where it was mission-specific. There are even a few brotherhood missions (the mini-game in ACB, ACR and AC3) literally called "Start rumors". So it's already something the assassins do.

LoyalACFan
10-14-2015, 05:52 PM
I thought about this as well. I can see how it would be annoying in certain situations, but it should be easy enough (correct me if I'm wrong, game designers, I don't know much about the technicalities) to set a few rules that would eliminate the possibility of a random event messing up your carefully planned assault. Like make it impossible for those events to spawn inside restricted zones. We already have something similar with Unity's crowd events.

It would be fairly simple to give a set of restrictions to keep the events from spawning in certain missions or areas (though please note, I'm not a coding specialist by any means), but the problem is that the game doesn't always know what you're up to if you're in free roam. Ideally, I want this series' gameplay to be much more fluid, dynamic, and planning-based (like MGS5) instead of just hard-defined criteria and objectives (i.e. instead of "you just triggered a mission, go to this point and kill this guy," it would be more like "this is the area your target will be in; explore it, create opportunities, and wait for the right moment") and having random events appear in the thick of that would be a little irritating.


I love the idea of growing influence and credibility, but I suspect it would be hard to implement. The reason I went with the "random dice roll" idea is because - in theory, at least - it sounds easy to code. The bigger and more ambitious you make the cred system, the more difficult it will be to implement for a huge, crowded open world.

Sorry if I keep beating the MGS5 drum, but the way I was picturing it was like it is in that game, where you unlock new commands for your dog as your bond level with him grows (like at 20% bond you can get him to bark and attract enemies, at 50% he can bite guards and keep them busy, then at 75% you can equip him with a knife that lets him stab and kill enemies). Only instead of new commands, you just unlock new and grander lies to tell as your reputation grows (and reputation is actually really easy to implement, almost every open world game has some kind of cred/fame/heroism/XP tracker). Actually coding the events that happen as a result of the lies would be harder of course, but these are pros, and tying crowd/guard density to a simple variable of whether or not the lie was told wouldn't be hard.

cawatrooper9
10-14-2015, 10:45 PM
Honestly, this is somewhat similar to a mechanic from the first game (though your version is significantly more flushed out and would be more appropriate for current gen hardware).

Remember how you could save civilians in AC1, and then civilians would then offer their assistance in that area of the city in the future? It doesn't necessarily stay in line with the "rumor" aspect of your idea (which is, in my opinion, less important than the actual effect of the city rising up to help you), but it otherwise similar.

booty_fiend
10-14-2015, 11:02 PM
Honestly, this is somewhat similar to a mechanic from the first game (though your version is significantly more flushed out and would be more appropriate for current gen hardware).

Remember how you could save civilians in AC1, and then civilians would then offer their assistance in that area of the city in the future? It doesn't necessarily stay in line with the "rumor" aspect of your idea (which is, in my opinion, less important than the actual effect of the city rising up to help you), but it otherwise similar.
ac1 had the best social stealth

wtf ubisoft?

ze_topazio
10-14-2015, 11:02 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4tuPo4jCoA

strigoi1958
10-15-2015, 12:44 AM
I think it could be used to good effect in certain situations... Perhaps to draw out an assassination target or incite a street brawl to draw guards away from a doorway. It has a lot of potential.

RVSage
10-15-2015, 03:48 AM
I like this idea, It could lead to interesting possibilities

cawatrooper9
10-15-2015, 04:42 PM
ac1 had the best social stealth

wtf ubisoft?

I wouldn't necessarily say that- I think every game has built off of what AC1 did in its own way...
I just think that AC1 is closest to OP's vision of the city joining you by helping out in various ways.