Draft: FAQ on Gameplay Affecting Mods

AlterEgo

Diabloii.Net Member
Draft: FAQ on Gameplay Affecting Mods

Over the past months a number of discussions have involved use of mods or commands that affect the D2 game experience. (One is in process as I write this post.) Cauthon graciously :thumbsup: drafted a SPF FAQ addressing this matter, and I edited to reflect the most recent discussions.

This is not a final draft, so if you have input, please offer it here.

[Some of you will notice this differs slightly from a statement I made in a thread yesterday. It's important to say here that however this FAQ turns out, it will reflect the concensus of the SPF, to the best of my ability. - AE]
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The SPF FAQ on Usage of Gameplay Affecting Mods
By: Cauthon

Q. Do we really need another FAQ?

A. Apparently, yes. Questions regarding the use of character editors, mods, and methods of influencing game play have been increasing in the SPF, and it was felt that a lack of a consistent answer to that question was leading to flames and the perception of the SPF as a hostile place to newcomers. This FAQ is an attempt to provide that consistent answer.

Q. OK then. What do you mean by Gameplay Affecting Mods?

A. For the purposes of this FAQ, a Gameplay Affecting Mod (GAM) any process that alters the fundamental play of Diablo II. Examples:

1) Usage of a program that allows you to create items that would not be created in the game of Diablo II as issued by Blizzard,

2) Methods that allow you to change character attributes or skills without leveling inside the game,

3) Modifications to the game code that change the frequency or type of item drops or monster spawning.

In short, anything that affects the play of Diablo II.

Q. What about things Blizzard left inside the game code, like the "-act5" or "-seed" commands that people use?

A. Those affect the in-game experience, and as such are considered to be GAMs.

"-act5" allows for the creation of a level 32 character with unspent skill and stat points with no effort on the part of the player.

"-seed" alters the random number generation process such that all drops are the same throughout the game, and it also affects the monster generation process.

Q. But Blizzard left them in…

A. Yes they did, but they still affect gameplay, and so meet the definition of GAM.

Q. So, I guess now you are going to say that I can’t use them?

A. Not at all. The stance on the SPF is that you are allowed to do whatever you want on your own computer, provided it doesn’t affect anybody else. Thus, feel free to mod, change settings, use character editors to your heart’s content. However, we ask that if you are using GAMs that you do not trade anything found from those games in the SPF. Most SPFers will also not want to play in MP games with such a character.

Q. Why don’t you want them? I found six uber-leet awesome uniques last night, and I want to trade!

A. The SPF economy thrives solely on trust. We have to believe that the items being traded are not the result of changes to the game - otherwise, the fundamental value of items becomes meaningless. Someone smart enough could create mods that enable elite uniques to drop with incredible frequency, which would destroy the value of items. For an example of the problems that exploits can create in an economy, note what has happened to the value of items on battle.net following the outbreak of new duping methods. We would like to prevent that here.

For more information on trading in the SPF, see the our FAQ on SPF trading.

Q. So I can use program XXXX to make my character an unkillable god?

A. Yes, go ahead. Just don’t expect to be able to trade what that character finds, or play in MP games with people from the SPF.

Q. Where can I find a character/item editor?

A. We can’t discuss that here due to forum rules; try a search on Google.

Q. What about bugged items and skills?

A. Bugged items and skills have existed in every version of the game. In 1.09, Eth runes were bugged, as were the skills that gave characters a chance at critical strikes. In 1.10, Marrowwalk boots have an exceptionally powerful bug for Necromancers. The SPF considers the use of such bugs/features as up to the individual player. However, if you are using known bugs like these, we ask that you be open about it; we won’t condemn you, but those players who feel strongly about such things may not wish to trade with you.

Once again, it is your computer, and we aren’t going to tell you what to do on it. Before you get mad at those who don’t accept the use of bugs or GAMs that you like, remember it is their computer, and they can do what they want on it.

Q. But what about ATMA?

A. ATMA is a program that does not affect gameplay. It allows for muling between single player characters, and is considered the best method of doing so (other methods do exist). It does not change the character, drops, or items, or any other facet of playing the game of Diablo II. What it does allow is quick and simple transferring of items between single player characters, much like characters created on battle.net enjoy. Some players here reject ATMA as a non-legit way to play; others embrace it; and others limit their usage of it. ATMA is the primary vehicle through which trades on the SPF are managed.

Similarly other non-gameplay affecting programs are around, including various spreadsheets for tracking items found and calculators for analyzing build strengths are allowable.
 

BeornWolf

Diabloii.Net Member
Looks nice AE! Though, I spotted one little mistake, the -act5 command creates level 33 chars, not 32. Not like it matters much or anything :D
 

RTB

Diabloii.Net Member
AlterEgo said:
"-seed" alters the random number generation process such that all drops are the same throughout the game, and it also affects the monster generation process.
You might want to add the possibility of only using it once to get a specific map seed back, and then restarting without it. That way the 'randomness' is back and drops are as unpredictable as they always had been...:rolleyes:

Edit: Is it typo-day?! I keep making them :grrr:
 

Icebird

Diabloii.Net Member
Gets a thumbs-up from me. Looks like a fairly clear conscise summary of the SPF position.

Chris
 

whomhead

Diabloii.Net Member
i like it. this way we can tell people to just read the FAQ about it when they come asking for item editors. :cool:
 

SabreCat

Diabloii.Net Member
AlterEgo said:
In short, anything that affects the play of Diablo II.

Q. What about things Blizzard left inside the game code, like the "-act5" or "-seed" commands that people use?

A. Those affect the in-game experience, and as such are considered to be GAMs.
Something perhaps to add to the discussion of this question: a reader may want to know how the distinction is made between things like -act5 or -seed and the widely accepted /players N command. After all, it affects gameplay, including frequency of drops and amount of XP gained...
 

Death_Dealer

Diabloii.Net Member
SabreCat said:
Something perhaps to add to the discussion of this question: a reader may want to know how the distinction is made between things like -act5 or -seed and the widely accepted /players N command. After all, it affects gameplay, including frequency of drops and amount of XP gained...

I have to agree here, under your definition AE, the players X command is a GAM.
 

lone_wolf

Diablo: IncGamers Member
great AE a question is things like runestats and such mods considered GAM???

really want to know that.

for your info they change the visual affects of the game

tex runes have another color and in runestats case the baal clone is named baal clone and a few other display changes
 

AlterEgo

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks, keep the comments coming :)

I'd again like to thank Cauthon for his effort here. :clap: His draft has passed the review so far, with these modifications:

@ Bjornwolf - Yes, lvl33.

@ RTB - I will build that caveat into the -seed section.

@ SabreCat - I will add that as its own question, and write the answer stating that /players X is an in-game command intentionally placed within the game code by blizzard for use in SP. It will be clearly distinguished from pre-load command-line parameters.

@ lone_wolf - Yes, those two mods are indeed mods/GAMs. :D If they had no effect on gameplay, they wouldn't have been written. It is a very slippery slope if I start saying some mods are ok, others are not. If you trade items found while using mods, please just state that in the trades.
 

lone_wolf

Diablo: IncGamers Member
AlterEgo said:
Thanks, keep the comments coming :)

I'd again like to thank Cauthon for his effort here. :clap: His draft has passed the review so far, with these modifications:

@ Bjornwolf - Yes, lvl33.

@ RTB - I will build that caveat into the -seed section.

@ SabreCat - I will add that as its own question, and write the answer stating that /players X is an in-game command intentionally placed within the game code by blizzard for use in SP. It will be clearly distinguished from pre-load command-line parameters.

@ lone_wolf - Yes, those two mods are indeed mods/GAMs. :D If they had no effect on gameplay, they wouldn't have been written. It is a very slippery slope if I start saying some mods are ok, others are not. If you trade items found while using mods, please just state that in the trades.
great i dont trade items found with mods.

havent decided yet if i should play mods at all.

have tested some in the past but always returned to vanilla LOD.

just wanted to know your stance, with i by the way assumed would be this:)
 

JohnWillkins

Diabloii.Net Member
I like it, but I really don't see any newcomer that is eager to find a decent 1.10 character editor willing to read through the mounting number of FAQ's.

I myself have never read a FAQ for msg boards... seems easy enough to look around that particular board and figure out what is scorned and what is seen as a question that people are willing to respond to.

I guess if it might help to lower the threads of pointless arguements made by the pro-GAM people who find it necessary to muddle up these delightful forums with their rambling's on about how if all they want to to is make a character to test for B.net and then ignores everyones urges to listen to the FAQ's or use Google, then I guess it is worth it :)

PS-Just so you all know, I really do like the FAQ's that are being made... Just wanted to make sure you knew that so you wouldn't think otherwise.
 

tragor

Diabloii.Net Member
JohnWillkins said:
...their rambling's on about how if all they want to to is make a character to test for B.net ...
A concept that I still can't quite wrap my brain around. :scratch:

Back on topic: Nice work, Cauthon and AE. :thumbsup:
 

loveratbaby

Diabloii.Net Member
Just a point - I knew nothing about the -act5 command and now I do - I don't know maybe you could mention it without telling people who don't know what it is what it does? People who didn't know and like to take advantage of such things may use it. Or, maybe I shouldn't worry about what other people do hehe =)

Anyway, I think its a great FAQ and especially for directing people who want game editor links etc to.
 

DurfBarian

Diabloii.Net Member
I agree that /players x and /fps and those other commands that are entered *in-game* are not GAMs. And I think we should make a note of that in the FAQ.
 

Kremtok

Diabloii.Net Member
I have to play "Devil's Advocate" here, and be a little more critical than others who have commented on this.

First, I don't think this should be a seperate FAQ. It would better serve its purpose as an addition to the regular SPF FAQ, especially since there are some things in this guide that are already in the SPF FAQ.

Second, loveratbaby had a great point - it would be better to tell people what the commands are without how to enter them. I didn't know about the "-act5" command until I read this FAQ, just like I didn't know about the "-seed" command until I read about it in one of the seed threads that was created.

Finally, I'm not sure that this is the appropriate way to address the "-seed" command. It seems to be a controversial topic of late, and this FAQ seems to make anofficial SPF stance on its use. Perhaps this should be addressed a little more delicately than it is, and so long as the members are at odds about this issue, there shouldn't be an official stance. In my opinion, this issue would be better placed in the trading FAQ, since the only time anyone seems to have a problem with it is when items found using the seed are traded.

I would apologize for the dissent I am showing by being so critical, but I don't think I need to. I do hope that I don't come off as being argumentative, or taking sides on any issues, because I am not. This FAQ is inappropriately timed, and most of its content has already been included in other FAQs.
 

Mage11

Diabloii.Net Member
You have brought up a number of interesting points, Kremtok, and I will try to address them (even if I should leave that to AE).

I expect that this will be either its own FAQ, linked in the main one to save space, or added in (which AE can do). That's a good point, though.

You have another good point about referring it, but I'm not sure of any way to get around the question of how do you refer to the "-act5" command without stating it.

In regards to the "-seed" command, from what I have read in the two main posts for this, there is a substantial majority of posters who are against trading for items found using this command. AE did mention that the FAQ will represent the SPF to the best of his ability, so you should probably become involved in the "-seed" command discussions, as he can only consider the opinions of those who post.

Finally, I don't see any problems with you voicing your opinion, as this is what threads like this are for, so well done. If you like, you can join me at the EMB for a quiet drink - the first one being on me. :drink:

Oh yeah, and I think it is a good idea to have commentary on this, AE, and I do agree with your proposed stance.
 

Borlag

Diabloii.Net Member
Hmm, what about trading? I see few parts that contradict in what's being said in the trading FAQ...

Basically, I've thought that the system is that aslong as you state that you're playing a mod, it's ok to post trade lists for that particular mod. No harm done to anyone by doing this, or am I assuming wrong?

Let's say for example that I would start playing the ME mod again, I'd find some real nice items that I'd like to trade for other items and post like this:

imaginary example post said:
1.10 ME mod items for trade:
Narsil
The one ring
Narya

Looking for Beleg's bow
would this still be ok? It clearly states that it's a mod I'd be playing. Same thing with the mod games, if I'd post this:

imaginary example post 2 said:
1.10 ME Hell diff game up at: 255.255.255.1
Would these be acceptable? If so, maybe there's need to refine the FAQ a bit...
 
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