Since there have been some decently well worded posts in the thread, I will entertain the discussion.
The old LP system had a number of flaws
- The game rewarded you for completing meaningless tasks. It effectively gave you learning points first for digging a hole, and then gave you yet more for filling said hole back in.
- The game rewarded you for completing trivial tasks that required no planning and no thought what so ever. This made it extremely prone to botting, and also extremely boring. Before there was bone glue I remember making bone saws with excess bones, and then throwing them away immediately, simply because I didn't need them.
- Character advancement was not in any deliberate way tied into the resource tree. This ruined the economics of leveling, and also disproportionately favored tasks like hunting over more peaceful tasks.
The counter-argument that "well we still use bots" is meaningless, as you do not use them for the same things. There is a bunch of hunger bots running, but that is precisely because the hunger model presently suffers from the exact same problem as the old LP system did. Hunger in H&H is presently effectively a reward, as it allows you to consume more food. This reward his handed out, again, for completing meaningless and trivial tasks, like running back and forth. The reason hunger can be botted effectively is, indeed, that it suffers from the exact same design flaw that the old LP system had.
There are, however, a number of problems with the present curiosity system.
- It encourages alting in that character development is entirely passive.
- Passive character development leads to a passive style of play. You don't actually have to play in order to advance in the game.
way forward is to find a system that doesn't suffer from any of these problems, and the only way we can hope to arrive at a system like that is by trying new things, as we did with the curiosity system, which I consider to be one of the greatest discoveries we've made in our game design careers. We considered a whole bunch of alternative systems before we arrived at the present curiosity system, and when we did it was in many ways a bit of a eureka moment. In ways its kind of strange that it took us so long, considering the FEP-system was already there (One of the few systems that has really held up over time, btw, and incidentally one of the very first we implemented) staring us in the face, but it's always easy in hindsight.
While I will not claim that Salem's Inspirational system is perfect, I think I can safely say that it does not suffer from any of the above mentioned problems, that is:
- The game does not reward trivial tasks, but rather correct sequences of tasks that are in themselves trivial. Identifying correct sequences requires resource management, which computers are relatively poor at performing, as they can't really act teleologically. Writing a bot that plays the game would thus be far from trivial.
- You have to play in order to advance your character, thus there is little incentive to alt as your playing time is presumably limited.
- Character development is entirely integrated with the resource tree, which presumably gives decent incentives for trade and whatnot.
- No particular task in the game is excessively rewarded at the expense of any other.
We would not have been able to design this system had we not first designed the curiosity system for Haven. Salem's character development systems are when considered as a whole -- while they could perhaps be more intuitive -- mechanically speaking decidedly superior to Haven's in nigh on every way.
Pointing out flaws in the present curiosity system -- it encourages an over-reliance on alts, for example -- is all fine, but jumping from an observation like that to the conclusion that we should thus return to the old LP system is a complete non sequitur, as it flatly ignores and refuses to recognize the problems that the old system had. Doing that is, quite simply, poor game design, something that I don't think we've made ourselves known for.
TLDR: I can discuss and even admit that the present curiosity system has some unwanted side effects -- we are well aware of this, and often discuss it -- but anyone who suggests a step backwards is a fool who is blind to the very real problems that the old system had. Any discussion about the present LP system should start with a frank recognition of the fact that there is no going back.