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Rift - Why AFK Reporting in Warfronts is Flawed

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By raptorakDate: Oct 24 2016 Views:

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PvP in Rift is a fairly large part of the end-game content for a lot of players. It usually takes place within the game’s warfront system, bringing about battlegrounds that pit two teams up against one another. As part of this, there are some fairly good rewards given out to the winners (and losers, though to a much lesser degree), such as armor and weapons that can help push you closer to being ready for raiding. As you might expect, this also leads to players attempting to leech the system so that they can progress without having to put forth any time or effort, essentially running around or just standing still somewhere. While Rift does work to combat this with an automatic AFK kicker if you do not move, it is inefficient if a player is running in place or hiding in a closed-off area and moving around (such as spinning). To help with this, it is possible to manually report players as AFK. And here is where the issues lie.

Rift AFK

How it Works

When you find a player that is AFK but is not being kicked automatically, you have an option when you right-click their portrait that allows you to report them. If enough players do this, they then get a debuff, which is called “Ascended Notice.” This lets you know that you have been reported AFK by teammates and you must either take a PvP-based action within the next 60 seconds or be kicked from the match.

In theory, this is a great setup, but in reality, it actually comes with two complications: it is very easy to circumvent and it can be used to sabotage teammates.

Circumvention

No matter what map you are on, it should not take more than 10-15 seconds to find an enemy player that you can attack. In most cases, if you are not sitting at the spawn, it should be far less than that even. For a player that is mostly AFK, just watching for this debuff to pop up gives plenty of time to jump in, get in a PvP action, and go back to whatever it is they were doing. So rather than being used to kick AFK players, it is actually just there as a sort of notice that their team is on to them – which really has no penalty attached to it other than forcing them to quickly help for a second.

Rift AFK

Sabotage

In a lot of cases, this is where the usage ends up coming in. Players will get irritated at one another for various reasons, including sometimes verbally attacking their whole team, and will do what they can to force everyone else to lose as well. The important part to remember about how this debuff works is that it requires a PvP action. But in many scenarios, you may not be able to, while still being a large contributor to the match and your team’s chances of success. For example:

In The Codex, Domination: The Black Garden, and Domination: Karthan Ridge, holding a flag that has no attackers has its merit. While there may not be attackers at that second, ensuring that nobody can sneak up and just take it with no resistance is giving your team points while only utilizing one player (yourself). This is of great value, and if you are marked, that means moving away from the flag and leaving it undefended while you look for someone to hit real quick

In Escalation: Whitefall Steppes, defending your team’s Sourcestones is important. Once they have been snagged by your teammates, they can be stolen by the enemies. And in most matches, this happens, and I can not count the number of times that a team has won simply by stealing all of the enemy’s Sourcestones. Being marked AFK while trying to defend these is counter-productive, as it lets the thieves walk right in and grab them while you go out and try to find players to attack. And in the case of this warfront, it is even more dangerous, because the map is so large and players are almost always pooled up at a specific area fighting

Rift AFK

Fixing the System

There is only one real fix to this system that I can think of, which would be to use the reporting mechanism as a way to request a replay/video review of that player’s actions, such that you could easily gauge whether or not they were actually trying to leech the match or not. In the case where they were, they could then be penalized outside of just warfronts, in a way that helps deter this action from others going into the future. And while using reports as a way to grief is a somewhat common thing with some players, this would also be a great way to essentially “flag” them as being illegitimate reports, thereby opening the doors to punishing those who continually abuse the system for false reports. And while this would take some GM intervention, it would do a great service to all players within the game, decreasing the occurrences significantly and bringing about a more enjoyable battlefield.

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