I think we can all agree that the morale mechanics in Cataclysm are handled pretty awkwardly. No matter what we do, representing something as nuanced and complex as mood with a single quantitative value will be at least a little bit unrealistic, but I certainly think we could do better than we’re doing now.
The biggest problem I see is the way morale modifiers stack, both positive and negative. Standing out in the rain for too long results in crushing depression… but then you can binge on junk food and you’re all better. If you binge on junk food when your mood is neutral, you end up with a sugar high that rivals some drug highs. As I see it, this is a problem.
I propose two changes:
- Collapse different morale modifiers of the same type into one modifier. For example, instead of having separate “enjoyed potato chips” and “enjoyed chocolate bar”, you would have a single “enjoyed junk food” modifier, or even just an “enjoyed food” modifier. Similarly, reading five different boring textbooks should not make you bored for five different reasons – you’re just bored from reading stuffy books.
- Logarithmically diminish the returns on each individual morale modifier. Snacking on some junk food should give you a moderate, short-term boost to morale, but binging on junk food should not result in intense euphoria. Similarly, after standing out in the rain for ten minutes without any rain gear on, you should be soaked through. Staying out in the rain for another hour shouldn’t lower your morale all that much further. To model this, we take the sum of the enjoyability (i.e. what is, under the current system, the final morale modifier) and pass it through a logarithmic function to get the final morale modifier. When further stimulus is introduced (e.g. you get wetter or eat more junk food) the enjoyability is incremented, not the final result of the morale modifier. We can adjust the coefficient of the logarithmic function to more heavily or more lightly weight a given type of morale modifier (e.g. junk food or coldness and wetness).
Different types of morale modifiers might also wear off at different rates. Again, eating junk food ought to afford a short-term morale boost, but shouldn’t last all day. Eating a hearty and healthy meal might grant a longer-term morale bonus (thus providing one possible reason to put junk food morale modifiers into their own category).
What do you guys think? Good idea? Bad idea? OK idea, but not as good as some other idea?