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Reader Comments (18)

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 12:09PM (Unverified) said

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Even though I played UO a number of times over the years, the episode that still stands out in my mind is a very small but poignant one.

It was still in the early days where open world PvP was allowed, and I had made a throwaway toon to show a friend of mine just how lawless the MMO version of Britannia was. I happened upon a pair of miners in a cave outside of Minoc, and I immediately fell upon one of them, attacking and slaying him for no other reason than because I could.

Thinking I would have to deal with the other miner, either as he ran off to get help or attacked me opportunistically, I steeled myself. Instead, he simply turned to me and said, regarding the dead and now dismembered miner on the ground, "I want his apron.".

Though now that I think about it, I do remember the time I went adventuring with someone I met, and after a couple of hours we met up with another friend of his, and they both attacked and killed me, then split up my loot, stole my teleportation runes and robbed my house.

Good times!

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 6:11PM Aardvarkk said

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@(Unverified)

I remember a similar instance, I was the one farming wood, and a red named PKer walked up to me. I knew I was done for, my woodchopper was only level 2 or 3. Instead he chatted me up and we talked for about 20 minutes, after which he just walked away.
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Posted: Mar 8th 2011 12:41PM RayneZ said

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haha ..all those WoW fanatics should read this interview ..maybe then they wouldn't keep saying that every mmo is a WOW clone ..

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 12:46PM Pingles said

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I think nowadays open-PvP is a bit different especially when a game is genre-bending.

In the past year I have leveled high-level toons in Zentia and Iris Online, both of which are open-world PvP (Zentia just recently opened a PvE server) and NEVER even SAW an attack, much less was the victim of one.

If you check the forums the only complaints come from folks who are either heavily into PvP and upset with being targeted or with people who are in Heavy PvP Guild combatants.

It's a very different mindset nowadays.

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 1:07PM Rindon said

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@Pingles
I think the problem with most "open pvp" games now adays is that the punishments are very very extreme for PKing. Most times if you go red you take a huge stat loss, have higher chance of dropping loot (if the game isn't a full looter), etc, etc.
In UO there was also no "uber gear". The best items you could get were easily replaced by your mule blacksmith/tailor. You would still be weary of most people you came across that you did not know, but getting ganked and losing everything was not that big of a deal since it was extremely easy to replace everything in a matter of minutes.
I think most open pvp/full looters drop the ball in making it a chore to replace the items you lost as well as putting in much to severe of punishments for going "red" or being a thief.
Players should govern themselves in an open pvp/full looter game, not the rules of the game.

Speaking of the different midset now adays: With WoW brought a lot younger players into the world of MMOs. With the younger players brought the terrible griefers who would spawn camp a person for hours, harass people verbally for hours, etc, etc. Yes there was griefing in UO, but as soon as a red/group of reds were spotted, my ICQ would blow up with the area and number of reds and they were swiftly dealt with. This led to the huge epic pvp battles that a lot of people remember and loved with UO.
I'm not saying WoW ruined games, but it sure did lower the expectations of maturity in almost every game that has been released since..
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Posted: Mar 8th 2011 1:25PM Slayblaze said

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I recall being much more accepting of the lawlessness in UO back then than I would be now by today's standards. I certainly don't think that it is something that should be duplicated in the current era as Vogel implies when he says:

"...many people talk about their experiences in UO. The experience there, no one's ever been able to duplicate today"

Thank god for that! Even though I mostly enjoyed much of my time spent in UO and M59 (and even EQ for that matter) those mmo's were more like a bridge betwwen the old, single player, pre-mmo games (or the multi-player muds) and what would be considered a modern mmo by today's standards. Yes those first early mmo's paved the way for the modern era by having a ton of things go wrong and then figuring out a way to fix them as Vogel says:

...the ability to manipulate the game world to your advantage, was a recipe for griefing that caught the game's developers completely off guard"

By no means would I like to see mmo's such as UO or M59 "duplicated today" as those games were mostly horrible and badly designed and not really thought-out very well by the developers. The part we remember and look back fondly on about thiose early attempts at open, persistant world games was just the ability to exist in such a virtual place where you can make friends and enemies and obtain wealth - or lose it - and basically do whatever you want with few boundaries. But we all quickly came to realize that no boundries whatsoever plainly sucks in the long term!

Existing in a virtual world while novel at first, is quite commonplace today and no longer is burdened by the unconstrained lawless nature of UO (well, you can still play on private servers of course but I digress) Open world persistant games are great, but the novelty of it is gone and can never be duplicated, any more than you can duplicate your first kiss or your first breakup or first loss of a loved one. Some thing's can't be duplicated. nor should they be.

Those early mmos like UO and M59 can still be fondly looked back upon, but mostly in the sense of being a measure of how far we've come since those first horrible cludgy attempts rather than something that is somehow missing from current offerings.

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 1:37PM Samael said

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I hope for the people that want the open world, risk at every corner MMO, they get something that they love.

For me, I hope I never have to play in any of them. Simply because being ganked when I don't want to is not something I like. Fighting PvP when I don't want to is not something I like. Even if after I get PKed, the wrath of a thousand gods fall upon the PKer, I would not want it. I like playing these games as distractions, as fun things to do. Not having my heart beat at 1000 bpm when stepping out into the world. I can do that when I go play actual physical sports, or when I go play a round of paintballing. I do not like that in my video games.

But that is just me, I seriously hope you guys yearning for the good ol'days, get what you guys want. EvE I hear is a lot like that, and I could never get into that game.

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 2:31PM Pingles said

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@Samael

When I played DarkAgeofCamelot I had no interest in PvP.

But the thrill of hunting/questing (PvE) in a PvP zone was great. In that game only certain zones had PvP. So if you didn't want to, just don't go into those zones. But teh rewards for questing/PvEing in those zones were great so it was very tempting.

And when you DID hunt there you were always on the lookout for enemies. It was VERY thrilling.

Probably the best implementation of PvP I've ever seen in a game.
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Posted: Mar 8th 2011 5:06PM Samael said

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@Pingles

The thing is what you might have thrilling was not something I would find thrilling. I find roller coaster rides thrilling, the bigger the fall and twists the more I seem to enjoy it. But for my brother, its a lesson in fear management. He hates going on rides, he hates that feeling. So he never goes to the parks with me.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, we are all different in what we like and dislike. I love reading stories, like the ones that come out of EvE, or like the first comment here. They are really fun to read, but its not something I would enjoy.

That being said, I really hope that someone comes up with an open world sandbox game that people enjoy and have fun in. That is the point at the end of the day. Having fun. We all enjoy different things, and I want everyone to have their niche and enjoy it. And I would someday like to try out a game like that and hope I enjoy it or in the very least just see how it actually feels. EvE was way too complicated for me, and I did not feel like putting in the effort. Though I am looking forward to The World of Darkness. Maybe if I start early, I would learn enough to make it enjoyable for me.

Here is to hoping we all get what we want!
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Posted: Mar 8th 2011 2:20PM Ohhlaawd said

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I lost my first 2 or 3 houses to PKs before I wised up (became jaded and evil), figured out the game (got a DSL connection and had my 14th birthday), and became one myself. Part of the adventure was never knowing where the pain train was coming from! Games these days are much more relaxed, which can be a mixed blessing at times.

I think part of what made UO so amazing for me was the server community. Vogel blasts the east coast servers, but that's where I cut my MMO teeth. One thing about MMOs today is that most of the action occurs in instances. You know Pandemic is an amazing guild because... you see them wearing cool gear at the bank. That's it, that's your only interaction with the best guild on your server. A lot of "engame" stuff these days is instanced, and you can conceivably go days without interacting with someone outside your guild.

In UO you knew everyone who mattered because they had a real presence. My guild, for example, hung out almost exclusively in the Minoc Penninsula. If a rival guild wanted to find us, that's where we were. We knew, however, that if we ventured to Deceit or Covetous we were encroaching on someone else's turf. When I was the most active I knew all the different guilds on the server and where I stood with all of them. It being a sandbox there was just a lot more "community" stuff that could happen.

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 3:48PM Jim Cricket said

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WoW wasn't the problem, it was the symptom.

The internet went mainstream the same time that WoW was released.

UO/EQ/M59, in the days of the counter-culture internet, had self-selecting communities. The bar was high, because the bar of the internet-at-large was high. The mainstreaming of the internet is the reason we can't go back to those days.

As an aside, there's a theory about why Korean/Asian games have more open PvP than western ones. In these regimes, no one is anonymous on the internet. If you behave badly online, someone might come to your house and punch you in the face.

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 3:59PM StClair said

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@Jim Cricket:
Uhhh, I think the net went mainstream a little bit before 2004. You may recall something about five years earlier, called the "dot com boom."
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Posted: Mar 8th 2011 9:36PM Space Cobra said

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@Jim Cricket

Also, knowing about Asian culture, I would say that theory is wrong on several levels, not even counting how one can get multiple accounts under different names with game-time cards.
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Posted: Mar 8th 2011 9:33PM Space Cobra said

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Great interview and many points I agree with.

As for PvP, I saw the mess it would turn into long before Beta was over, even though I played after Beta.

While there are many players in my camp, it is always interesting that I see posts of people waxing fondly over the love of PvP in UO whenever the subject is brought up. There may have been support systems in gangs, but I did notice that the game "forced" you into one type of gameplaying/mindset that I didn't care for.

I like ;'the thrill", but only in small doses that modern MMO's, even those with PvP/PvE, provide. At launch, I could argue there was only one server: The Hardcore PvP one, even though there were the same servers. Garriott's philosophy at the time was to "give freedom" and "trust the players" and I saw the writing on the wall. I wanted a "virtual world" and it had become "keep looking over your shoulder and trust no one" all the time. I know about the PK-Killer vengance groups and all, but I just wanted to do some of my own things casually enough that UO unintentionally did not cater to.

I mean, it is nice to hear stories about the other side, but many people quit UO besides me. Lots of the "early hope" on fansites of folks were dashed (I remember one gent, on the forums, wanting to be the best bread maker on his server when the game launched).

And really, some of the RP moments were nice and magical. I had some of the finest graphical-MMO RP experiences on UO, even with devs RPing with players like me (which rarely happens in modern MMOs now). So, the game wasn't all "bad", but I left and I know many others did that put a sizable dent in the server population. As Bartle found out, "Wolves hate hunting Wolves" for the most part. Sure, there are players that like equal challenges, but many go in for easy kills or tricks/exploits.

And really, the lessons of UO do carry into today, even with shifts in the pro-PVe or pro-PvP camps over the years, it still is not as lawless as UO. And, I feel, that is for the best for the majority of game players.

Posted: Mar 8th 2011 11:54PM Locus said

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But the first MMO wasn't Meridian 59. Even if you disqualify MUDs, Neverwinter Nights precedes it by at least 3 years. -_-

Posted: Mar 9th 2011 12:49AM DiscoJer said

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Yeah, that's what I was thinking. There was also a game on Sierra's Network, Shadows over Yserbius. It was basically a first person (like Wizardry or Bard's Tale) MMORPG

Posted: Mar 9th 2011 10:17AM Space Cobra said

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@Locus & @DiscoJer

Yeah, and I could bring up Drakkar but that's not the point.

If you read closely, he said the first 3D graphical MMO that was available over the free internet and not tied to a closed internet gateway such as AOL or Sierra Network!

Posted: Mar 9th 2011 12:44PM Locus said

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@Space Cobra

How is that distinction important? Justify it.
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