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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 3:41PM Draq said

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I have been preaching these concepts for years, the main problem is that MMORPG's have been replaced with MMO's and the role playing element has been dropped with games today having little in common with the paper and pencil role playing games they were inspired by. Many of the current systems are watered down for the masses who have a very single minded, selfish perspective where instant satisfaction is held above the challenges and the journey toward a reward is taken for granted. The risk/reward systems in MMO's these days are a trick or treat style where players are given points, badges, or tokens to turn in much like UPC Cereal box tops for a new captain obvious decoder ring, and this puts a funnel on how much and how fast a person receives these rewards and takes the real meaning right out of obtaining them.

The journey is half the fun, and the risk needs to be there, as a self professed social mechanic and pvp engineer I pride myself on my ability to exist in a dangerous world with real risk and when I get a awesome sword off of some poor unfortunate I pride myself on the skill, prowess and strength of arms it took to obtain it, the risk I took, the glory, respect, and virtual immortality my guild and I earned in the fight. I have seen player driven conflict which has more immersion and epic story then the best game designed content you can imagine, my war stories fill libraries, my guilds legacy established, the battlefields I have seen, the wars I have fought put to shame some theme park, raid ready, towny with his special Christmas mount and fancy glitter peak gear which never sees real combat and he earned having a knife fight in a phone booth which is what battle grounds or arena combat surmounts to.

Without a risk to your gaming the world feels artificial, and unrealistic. It becomes a huge simulation or arcade game like donkey kong it lacks a dynamic element, a uncertainty that lulls people into this warm vacume of dull boredom, which I guess those who are new to online gaming don't even realize they are playing in.

There are few of us, very few who live outside these pleasure palaces in the cold harsh realms of pvp, sometimes you might meet a few of us as we crave your flesh to cross into the boarder areas and engage you on your field in a battle ground or arena, but often we keep to ourselves. Why because you can't handle it, you can't understand it, and you fear us. That's right you have been indoctrinated to fear us, told horror stories by the few brave souls to pvp with us, game design teaches you pvp is bad and scary and that you should only do it within the safe confines of a battleground. But don't listen to them, don't believe the lies, there are good pvp'ers and evil ones they are as varied as the stars and there you can find rewards beyond the theme park, beyond gear, your legend can be heard if you are strong enough and the glory you can earn is not counted in gold.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 5:05PM fallwind said

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@Draq My question would be then: how much "risk" do you actually take?

Do you take on players several levels higher than you?
Do you give them several minutes to buff up to they are ready?
Do you give them the chance to call in for guildmates if they feel you out gear them?

Or, do you pop up from the shadows and melt some unsuspecting nubs face off?

Oh sure, they "could do it to me too!" but that is just the risk of being outside a major city, not risk in attacking someone.

High risk games always seem to devolve into boring snipe-fests. You wait around until you see someone you know you have the overwhelming firepower to take down and you do, if you see a fair fight, or, gods forbid, someone who has the upper hand, you hightail it.

That isn't risk taking.
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 8:14PM Krelian said

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@Draq

Excellent post.
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 9:18PM antagonistyahoocom said

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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 9:52PM Draq said

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@fallwind I have taken more then my fair share of risk, in fact I have risked more than just my own character or his reputation, I have risked and failed too, but that is part of my own epic story founded within the crucible of war which my guild maintains. As a guild we have made decisions and taken risks to do things other would deem suicidal or impossible as well, and we have bought our identity and brought glory to our name from the guilds that know us in the circles we operate in as well doing so since 1997. Sometimes it's not the winning but the effort and that is the story or events people will remember.

I have taken on players 1-20 lvls higher then myself, I have marched in great numbers against superior foes, I have sieged unbreakable city fortresses, defended by hardened defenders, I have held the line in as many guild battles as I was able to muster for.

I have played in various formats from stealth and guile to noble single combat, I have even been bested by lower levels who out skilled me, or took me by surprise but regardless I take no shame, and instead learn from my mistakes I adapt, I over come, I survive, and I come back stronger, I am the energizer bunny on crack, I won't quit a fight as long as I have the time and ability to compete in it.

I once continuously respawned and attacked the same individual that kept killing me over and over again until I beat him simply because I refused to be dismissed as a threat, it bought my guild time and forced the battle to turn as I became a disruption to the enemies rear guard, and later received a tell from that person giving me credit for never quitting. Respect earned from ones enemies is the sweetest victory of all.

Those who fear to make a move are held in place by that fear, if you don't risk anything you don't gain anything, and being the first is better than being the last in a game where last means death. Do stalemates happen? Sure but that is where you work together as a guild to force a favorable outcome, and that is the hallmark of a guild built on respect, and reputation. Not all Legacy clans are created equal, but those still in operation that we know of and fight along side of or against deserve the same from us.

My guild has rode to the defense of allies outnumbered 10-1 or better and though we fell we were heralded by all as the fight turned bloody and held to the last, for DFO we were known as Seige Specialists, in AOC we held entire zones down, and in various other games we all have done our part to claim victories in whatever manner possible.

A good fighter knows when to take risks or at least learn from the risks he takes, the rewards depend entirely upon what you as a player are looking for.

@Krelain, thanx
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 9:59PM Draq said

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@antagonistyahoocom

we all have our passions, I am sure even you have something in your life your passionate about.
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 9:07AM fallwind said

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@Draq "I once continuously respawned and attacked the same individual that kept killing me over and over again until I beat him simply because I refused to be dismissed as a threat"

couldn't have been that much risk involved or you would have had nothing left by the end.

I meant, had you ever done any of those things in perma-death or similarly punishing games? Have you ever thrown battleship after battleship at a superior force in Eve? Or toon after toon in hardcore Diablo? Or is it only in the low risk games like WoW where you feel safe enough to die over and over just as a distraction?
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 9:15PM Draq said

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@fallwind It happened in DFO, and each time I died, I had to regear, so yes I lost quite a bit, I lost nothing but pixels though, and time, however time is irrelevent because I would have wasted that anyhow. The problem with people is they are too possessive, too needy, too attatched and forget that this is just a game, people say I am too serious about pvp, when the reality is that I wouldn't even be here arguing the point if it wasn't for others who are more obsessive then I about their dislike of pvp and how important their game is to them. It is the irony that those people are the ones in need of a reality check not I, for to lose or fail the game in some way or have my precious digital loot taken from me means nothing, because it is nothing. The person behind the screen is more important then what's on the screen to me and that speaks volumes from a pvp perspective, your qualities are measured by your in game skill, I don't give two shakes about your loot. In game items come and go, and ultimately get replaced by better quality anyways. That's the difference between a true pvper and a ganker. The Ganker worries about gear, the pvper could care less.
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 9:18PM Kalex716 said

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@Draq

Nice post!
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 3:44PM pancho72 said

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A game without consequence is not a game, but merely an interactive narrative. This goes much further than MMOs, because even single player games trend towards shielding the player against consequence these days.

Consequence does not need to be hard penalties though, it's important to strike a good balance. In a PvP game if penalties are too harsh people will simply stop PvP'ing. In PvE penalties that are too harsh will make people stop taking any risks and focus on farming easy things.
A lot of MMOs have reached the point where failure has no meaning due to lack of consequence and that simply results in grindy games.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 3:47PM The Ogre said

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3 paragraphs in and it becomes yet another "I wanna gank!" whine. Not worth reading the rest of the article.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 4:43PM Issmir said

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@The Ogre

Had you read the rest of the article, you might have formed a different impression as to what Matt was actually saying.
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 10:58AM Transientmind said

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@Issmir

Nah, The Ogre is pretty much bang-on. I read the rest of the article. It really did sound like a very poorly-veiled 'I wanna gank' whine. The first part talks persistence in the way I like, the building of sandcastles. The rest pretty much focuses on kicking them down.

I can pretty much garauntee most 'pro consequence' supporters of Permadeath in an MMO would disappear instantly if it were revealed that game had NO PVP and everyone had to work together against the game to survive instead of robbing and murdering each other for delicious nerdrage tears.
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 4:00PM dndhatcher said

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Having harsh consequences for dying sounds like a good way to make people play better, but thats not how people think. Its really no different than players going for survivor titles. Those people dont play better, they just play in safer areas. The real effect of harsh death penalties is that people stop trying to be heroic and stick to running their level 20 characters around the level 10 starter area where there is no risk.

If you want make a heroic fantasy game then you need to encourage players to be heroic, which means taking the big risks and going up against seemingly hopeless odds. Make defeat not a big deal and players are more likely to attempt hard things and will likely learn how to play better by making multiple attempts at something difficult and figuring out tactics that work.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 4:02PM godot9 said

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I'm with the author about needing more consequence, but I don't think going all the way to permadeath is the way to go. Instead, something similar to either Diablo2 (loss of xp and cash for each death, bottom-capped at current level starting xp, corpse run required for gear) or EQ1 (loss of xp, too bad if you lost a level, all the way down to level 1; corpse run required for gear; rez replaces some of the lost xp) would be nice. This would keep the idiots (cf. Leroy Jenkins) down who don't know how to play their class and/or say, "It's no biggie to wipe, you just have to run back to the instance and pay some pocket change to repair gear."

Perhaps permadeath could be saved for people who, via a wiki/feedback type system, are tagged as the cause of multiple wipes.

-Godot

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 11:11AM Link064 said

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Floop, I'm not sure if you're trolling or what, but I'm floored that you managed to read (at least in theory) my entire post and all you were able to extrapolate was "corpse runs are expensive".

I was trying to get the point across that time is a very valuable commodity. I never said that using time in an mmo is "wasteful". I merely stated that time is the most valuable commodity that a developer can take from you. Everything else is replaceable. Time is not replaceable, only consumable. Even permadeath is "merely a setback".

Also, I never said that corpse runs are expensive, I was merely pointing out that corpse runs and permadeath are (generally speaking) the same penalty but of different magnitudes. Imagine, if you will, if a developer made a "leveling" minigame in order to rez after a corpse run. Then, expand that idea to "grind from level 1 to the level cap and get all your gear back". What then would be the difference between permadeath and a corpse run? Negligibly little. The difference between a corpse run and permadeath is length of time (and arguably effort). That was my point.
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 4:53PM C Rose said

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Great article Matt. Funny and thought provoking.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 4:53PM KDolo said

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"So that's my inaugural soapbox rant. Who's with me?"

Clearly, not a lot of people. otherwise, there would be more games with harsher penalties for death.

Though, if you really want a challenge you could always play Battletoads.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 5:07PM blackcat7k said

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I'm not with you at all. MMOs are a game. One thing games have is governing factor of some kind. Some real rules in place that take into account the predicted behavior in the game’s arena.

Several of these MMO that offer free for all PvP, are unregulated. It doesn't make any sense. Not from a game perspective and it certainly doesn’t make any sense from a role playing perspective.

You go and kill some random person, for their stuff and that's it? Then you get to log off and all is fine the next day? Sorry, but that’s just unregulated bedlam. That fosters bottom feeding on the weakest player and makes sure the amount of fresh blood you get into the game stays minimal.

All in all it’s a waste. A game that allows this high consequence PvP becomes a pyramid scheme in some fashion because players who came before were able to abuse systems/bugs that are no longer in place when newer players join.

Veterans are able to sit on past victories and that doesn’t fit the spirit of a game at all. All decent games RESET at some point. They don’t allow compounding of previous victories to factor into new seasons/play sessions. Are you a bad ass? Have you proved that you’re the king of the hill? GOOD! Now do it again next season, when you’re on the starting block with everyone else.

Now if you killed someone, and every NPC/Player and their dog could turn you in for a bounty and report your movements to other players that are looking for you. If EVERY thing you had in the game was confiscated by your faction when they learned of you murdering someone, then I would totally understand high consequence FFA PvP.

If the game would throw you in virtual jail for your crimes when you’re caught, and if your character would STAY in the world when you logged off then I could understand having more penalties in PVP/PVE.

However, I guess that would be too hardcore for most and it would a monster of a design for a developer to tackle. You can’t have the advantages of being psychopath with none of the consequences. Sorry, that just doesn’t fly. You’re talking about some weird kind of life simulator (and not even a good one at that). Not a game.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 2:00AM Draq said

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@blackcat7k

Where have you been playing? First off your opening statement is incomplete, MMO's are a SOCIAL game. Which means interaction with people, and all true pvp'ers know that you cannot have a FFA PvP game if you do not support the community and encourage new players otherwise in the end you'll be playing the game by yourself.

The truth is everyone who claims to know what FFA PvP is all about or says they have PvP'ed has either heard the stories second hand or only participated in battle grounds or arena combat which is not even in the same classification. You cannot judge that which you have not experienced first hand or that which is a pale shadow of the actual event. Even if a person actually dipped their toes into a FFA PvP game, if they quit after a couple of days or a a week they barely scratched the surface of the style of game play to understand how to operate their GUI let alone navigate the perplexing factions and attitudes of the game.

There are varying types of pvp'ers and most often the uninitiated encounter the pvp jackals and scavengers first, these exploiters, hacks, scrubs, and opportunistic bottom feeding PK's are the worst variety of pvp'er because these are the guys who care only about themselves and are not looking for a challenge verses someone of skill, they are not looking for respect or recognition, they just want your stuff and to insult you any way they can. This first impression is the only argument people have against pvp and a sadly regurgitated one at that. Those are the people you must rise above to see the real game at play, and a good pvp guild and some common sense can help in this area.

Most new players make the dumbest of mistakes get killed by these low life pk's and then curse all of pvp for their misfortune. Maybe if you weren't walking on that path/road, maybe if you weren't carrying your life savings on you, maybe if you took the time to learn your GUI and abilities. However all that aside what is most ironic is that people don't realize that those bottom feeders only seem more powerful because they have a little more game time in then you by a week or so and that in reality these guys are just like you.......new, and they are preying on the only people they know they can fight, other new players. Once you realize that they are NOT better then you, and that you CAN beat them the game changes, it's a state of mind really. Get 10 of your friends together or join a guild and then nothing can stop you, but if you go in cold, it's like predicting the sun will rise and set tomorrow, your going to going to have it hard.

Search the internet, studies have been done on MMO's with special attention to pvp, and many people have made this comment over the years but it sums everything nicely. Players get what they expect, but not expect what they get. If you go to a market to buy eggs but all that the market sells is rotten eggs, so when the eggs come up rotten how can you expect good eggs when all you've ever known is rotten eggs? When you finally get a good egg, that's a lightning rod moment in time when you look back and realized you've been missing out on the best thing.

Stay comfortable in pve I encourage you to and I won't knock it down for you, however not everyone was born to be a true warrior, not everyone has the grit to fight for or earn his accolades in game, a raid is just a dance step memorized to perfection, where the consequences are tolerable.

A lot of these games do reset, and game mechanics are constantly being tweaked and re-balanced, so starting over does happen and the old saying everyone starts from somewhere applies all across the board for pvp, no one is master of the universe from the very get go, and those who achieve any level of game play only do so through great effort and a good supporting cast of friends, guild mates and intimate knowledge of the game they play and possessing of the best player skill in well built spec groups. Even then after all of that, one shot, one up and comer could change the entire playing field and bring down such a pvp God of men. Nothing is certain in pvp, it is not black and white or cut and dry as so many detractors like to make it look.

There are penalties enough to the game already what people are really saying when they want a "jail" or "Lock out" mechanic is that they want that often cited safety net again, the same thing that games currently offer. What they really want is the uncertainty and the risk to be accounted for which is something that doesn't even happen in real life.

Does anyone really think that the scrub that just ganked you is going to get very far with your goods, (at least far enough to drool and fawn over them) before he in turn is "punished" for what he did by being ganked himself, and so on down the line until some jackal makes a big mistake and crosses the path of a notable player with real skill? Everyone is punished sooner or later, the trick is not to be so emotional over a game.

The only investment is time and regardless of what people say the truth is even that isn't a real investment because you are not receiving something tangible in the real world for it, it isn't being converted to money to pay your bills is it? Gaming is not a investment, it's a waste of time, it's a hobby, it's entertainment yes, and it can be a business, but it is not a investment unless you are the game company.
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