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Reader Comments (96)

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 9:20AM fallwind said

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@Draq "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"

I'm reminded of the lvl 19 WoW twinks when the XP-OFF battlegrounds came out. Prior to that, all you would see from the capped honour 19's was lines like "we do it to compete with each other, not scrubs" and "it is more about fighting the pros on the other team"

Then, battleground XP comes out and what happens? the 19 twink BGs totally dry up. Seems that they weren't just interested in fighting each other, and it WAS all about smashing non-twinks who had 1/5th their hp.

If the most commonly seen PVPer is the ganker, maybe it is because they are the most common? If destroying gankers is as much fun as your post made it out to be, why are there so few PK-Hunters in the wild?
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 9:24PM Draq said

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@fallwind My guild often is anti-pk, however how a game is designed can change that point of view. You are talking about arena combat and battle grounds and again I cannot stress this enough that is the worst type of pvp for many reasons aside from those you listed. Gankers are those most new pvpers encounter, however more importantly is to point out you answered your own question.

When the noobs stopped going to those battle grounds the gankers had no one they could fight and left too, thus the more skilled pvpers left as well because all the gankers were gone. It's a tree of life, food chain type relationship. If you remove healthy population growth at the bottom of the food chain then there is no reason for gankers and scrubs to stay, and thus no reason for skilled pvpers to stay to hunt the gankers.
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 6:43PM Hipster said

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I am in the minority on this. I enjoy harsher death penalties and therefore play mmo's that have them versus ones that dont. Im proud to give my money to companies that wont cave and cater to players like myself.

Nice to see the Mortal Online death screenshot also.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 7:02PM oohwakakaka said

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"But some of us want our actions to have meaning and influence"

most of us don't have the privilege of getting paid to play games...

and most of us are already having trouble trying to find meaning and influence in real life... we can't afford to do it while playing video games.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 7:04PM Sente said

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I am definitely on the side that would like to see more consequences from actions in MMOs, but that is a much broader topic than just commenting on death penalties for PvP.

Consequences could be that if you kill all the wolves in an area, the area will become infested with lots of rabbits who will eat up the crops of a farmer (which could be other players). This could also reduce the ability for players to get food in that area and perhaps raise prices if bought from an NPC.

Designing more consequences into a game is not an isolated activity and one would have to question and review how progression should work in such a game - typical DIKU style leveling might not be a good option here.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 7:44PM Platapus said

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For me I enjoy the fact that my risks do not destroy what I have already worked hard to obtain. Hence my dislike of hardcore modes. But what I would like to see is that working towards a hefty goal such as becoming a king, would be possible and not only effect MY game play but the game play of other. That is the sort of thing I see missing from games today. Punishment can't be too harsh or risks themselves may never be taken but add in the possibility of incredible success and even the worst punishment may become bearable.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 11:42AM ElfLove said

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@Platapus

I agree completely!

I'd rather see a far away lofty goal than have some kind of sadistic punishment for simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Sure some would say "it'll make for better players' but it really wont...it'll make for frustrated normal players that quit in a month, and haughty elitist players that 'never lose' and have everything.

Not the kinda MMO I want to play.
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Posted: Jul 19th 2011 9:54PM thebillyman said

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I'm with you.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 10:14PM Yukon Sam said

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Good luck in your quest, but I think you're going to have more success getting what you're looking for from fan-run mods/emulators and small independents than from the AAA publishers. The market exists for what you're talking about, but it's a very specialized niche.

Personally, I'll stick with games that let me play the way I want, when I want, whether that's some frenetic arena PvP or toiling away unmolested in the mines.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 10:22PM Jade Effect said

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All I see in the article is abstract talk about "risk" and "reward". It's like the talk about debt reduction. Everyone agrees that costs need to be cut, but balk the instant actual cost-cutting figures are proposed.

How much of a risk do you think is appropriate for each character death? A setback worth 4 hours worth of gaming? 4 days? 4 weeks?

Similarly, how much of a reward should be given for killing another player? 4 hours worth of gaming? 4 days? 4 weeks?

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 11:43PM Graill440 said

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Plenty of folks that view Massively have already addressed the need for competently done consequence, myself included.

The subject is old news that devs do not want to address. The devs are either to scared or simply limited in their imagination. I feel its the lack of imagination and common sense combined.

Posted: Jul 19th 2011 11:57PM Palebane said

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I like consequences such as if you kill someone, then they tell their friends or the zone, and the player is hunted, or perhaps labeled as a pariah, such as in EQ's Rallos Zek server. If you were a known PK, you didn't get groups. People avoided you and actively hunted you down. The consequence was that you didn't get to progress very quickly, if at all. PKs would join PK guilds to progress, but that also meant they were easier to spot.

What I do not like is consequences such as in AoC where players "go red" for killing other players and eventually risk losing an item or not being able to go into a town to sell stuff. Game mechanics that put players "in jail" is a silly consequence to me. These penalties are band-aid solutions for players who don't have the social grace or willingness to put for any effort to police the community themselves.

On the one hand, you have to practice PvP to get good at it. Most players don't like non-consentual PvP, such as getting ganked, but my argument to them is that it was their decision, in the first place, to put themselves at such risk by playing a game, or on a server, that allows that to happen.

The reason, in my opinion, that real consequence has fallen out of favor in modern Online RPG communities, is because the players have little value to one another. Sure, you have to group up to kill the big bosses and raid dungeons, but little else. Other players have become a means to an end; loot. Harsh death penalties, difficult corpse runs, and frequent down time were remedied by player value. Knowing the right people, or simply being a nice person made the harsh consequences and slower progression of the older Online RPGs more bearable. But that wasn't enough. Most modern Online RPGs have eschewed player value for streamline mechanics which make it easier and more efficient to progress. Until the players themselves hold more value than higher statistics, I don't believe these games can ever reach their full potential.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 8:12AM N620AA said

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@Palebane See, but this is incredibly hypocritical. Why's it silly that if you act like a subhuman, NPCs hunt you down and are downright hostile? It's really, really hard to take the consequences crowd seriously when they want to be a sociopath but expect to not become an outlaw.

That said, people who want this are a minority to say the least. And a game that was like this would be empty as hell, negating any semblance of community response because there would be only a handful of you on at any given time. Developers seem to agree with this assessment, which is why they don't make them like this anymore. Darkfall might be up your alley, though.

Saying that people who do not want this are somehow less or cowardly, which several responders here imply, is just as short-sighted as saying that anyone who PvPs is a serial killer in the making. You want different things from games than you do from real life. For some of us, that's being able to feel heroic without constantly fearing that if we take the slightest risk and fail, we'll have to spend hours trying to remedy the mistake (or misfortune, since lots of times you die due to circumstances beyond your control).

I truly don't expect any of you to agree with the perspective being presented here, but stop trying to make it sound like a game without risk isn't a game just because YOU don't have fun. Many people (most) can have fun without being nervous or seeking thrills. Some of us don't need, or want, to validate ourselves in a videogame. We play them to unwind, or to temporarily escape reality and its nastiness, which includes harsh consequences for mistakes.

This may not be your point of view, but it's a valid one. You can self-impose harsh penalties... we can't not be held to the draconian systems some of you seem to enjoy. So it's no surprise that going easy is what developers do. My suggestion is that if you fancy a harsh death penalty, you delete your character when you die. Or delete your gear. Ignore gear repairs.
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 10:33AM Transientmind said

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@Palebane

"On the one hand, you have to practice PvP to get good at it. Most players don't like non-consentual PvP, such as getting ganked, but my argument to them is that it was their decision, in the first place, to put themselves at such risk by playing a game, or on a server, that allows that to happen."

That kind of sociopathic behavior is exactly why that kind of game is so scarce. Because normal, well-adjusted people who don't want to get ganked do EXACTLY what you told them to do.
They don't play on a server or game that does that to them.

When the only people who are left are the ones complaining that the place is a ghost town, common sense should surely give them a hint about why this is. Sadly, most folks are of the opinion that it is the rest of the world who are unfair or stupid or acting irrationally... They innately believe that their own thought process is common and sensible, then extrapolate others' motives based on what they would be thinking to make them behave the same way. And often they can't think of what would make others think/feel that way, so they write it off as stupid or whiny. So they'll likely never understand. Especially since most PKers lack the basic empathy required to understand someone else's motivation properly.

"Wah, the noobs stopped letting me grief them now there's no-one left to grief except other griefers! And that's no fun!"

You have got =exactly= what you deserved.
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 12:13AM Borick said

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The only harsh death penalties should be PVP death penalties for gankers. Permadeath seems a proper tool for socializing those of a murderous mindset.

Consequence tends to make a game more appreciable for the competitive-minded, but fortunately human beings tend to be more cooperative than competitive.

That's the divide. Folks who crave competition want penalties. Folks who do not wish to compete are turned away by harsh consequences.

For my part, I'd drop the 'G' entirely from MMOGs. I want an alternate-life simulator.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 12:34AM Celtar said

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I'd love to see a return to game mechanics systems that have decent risk/reward mechanics. I pretty much feel like the author the article. Burn out for me is because there is no longer a decent risk/reward system.

Whether its pvp or pve, the mechanics are fluff and mean little due to that. There are "enough" Lite-mmorpgs out there these days, I'd love to see someone put out a mmorpg with some real guts and meat to it.

Graphical mmorpgs are so bad anymore that for the past year or so I've been seriously considering returning to a non graphical online multi-player rpg. I won't say MMO since no text OMPRPG rates the numbers that equal "Massive". lol.

Posted: Jul 20th 2011 1:25AM JanChel said

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When I started reading this column, I thought, "hey, maybe this article isn't what I thought it was gonna be." But then it turned out I was wrong and it was all about what I thought it was going be.

Because you started talking about persistence and consequences of your actions and how they affected the world, I thought you were going to talk about the level of interactivity an MMO world should have. But then your whole rant was just about wanting to be punished in games again like "back in the days." Making games less accessible and the like.

But I do want games to be more persistent and player actions should have more weight. But I want it more in the way that the world becomes actually dynamic and robust. Changing and being molded by player actions. Every success and failure another pockmark on the land. Interactivity going to the next level. Becoming more than they are now: silly threadmills with alternating backgrounds. 2004 called and she said, "that's so five minutes ago."

So no, I guess I'm not with you. I want my MMO to be just more rather than just be more limiting. But grats on your first soapbox. (Ding!)

Posted: Jul 21st 2011 7:33AM blackcat7k said

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“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 … 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.”

Hmmm… I’ll challenge that because I’ve stayed in these communities off and on for years. I’ve been playing MMOs that tout some kind of FFA PvP from UO, EQ, Darkfall, DAoC, WoW, WAR, Planetside, Anarchy Online… etc. Yes, those deep long FFA skirmishes do happen, but definitely not the norm as you need coordination for them to kick off. They’re not a result of the game itself being geared for that style of play.

The PvP guilds or at least the guilds I’ve been in have to either coordinate with our opponents or we have spies on the other side that let us know when the other side is moving. The combat arena and small skirmishes happen much more frequently and are what most of the customers are going to see and be a part of.

Those fresh customers keep the game rolling, not we tired hacks that are jumping around the game’s limitations to get something started. When I’m doing massive end game PvP, we’re waiting to PvP, and preparing to PvP instead of PvPing. The PvP in many of these games is an afterthought and not something any developer spends time on because it only benefits the few of us who tough it out.

How can I expect to encourage new players? I would be straight up lying to them. I’ve tried to get my friends into high end PvP, but their experience is definitely NOT what I had moving up the ranks. I can’t blame them really for getting bored of the foolishness it takes to get PvP ready.

They come into a game where they have to have someone babysitting them in order for them to really advance. My guild mates are not going to be on at all times to watch them and during those times that’s when the massive gulf between them and where they have to be is going to kick them right in the eye.

The only game I’ve not had to babysit new members is Planetside since item progression is flat and I don’t have to worry about babysitting since they’re just as powerful as I am, but with fewer options. I’ve yet to see that kind of concept hit PvP in an MMORPG. New players are right to slam a game’s PvP when only veterans can circumvent the horrendous nonsense between them and getting some decent PvP action going.


“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 … 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.”

I really want you to name an example MMORPG that requires a vet to chuck their stuff and get back down to the bottom with the fresh player. I haven’t met one that requires that kind of reset. I’ve always had my previous stash and/or guild mates to speed me to the past the BS that new players have to deal with.

I want to know what pie in the sky you’re talking about there. Most of the encounters in FFA PVP DON’T matter to scope of the game. Even major encounters have limited effect on anything in the game world. We get a zerg going and smash all the key points in world. Ok fine, the losers log off then and get it back when we log out. That’s the experience I see the majority of the time.

Unless you orchestrate it, the systems in these games have nothing to promote or support their FFA PvP. A few memorable skirmishes don’t make a FFA PvP system. When the ganking far exceeds true skirmishes, that’s what people are going to take away from game. Telling people that they have to be masochists in order to enjoy a game isn’t a selling point.


“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.”

If gaming is just a waste of time, then why in the world are companies trying to get blood from a stone? These systems for their FFA PvP are tedious and don’t promote fresh blood into their system. Constantly trying to find ways to grab money from existing customers instead of expanding to new players is a sure way of ensuring your game dries up.
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Posted: Jul 23rd 2011 10:24PM Draq said

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@blackcat7k I never said pvping was easy, I am not advocating pvp for all, as not everyone is suited to that type of gaming. I agree that the harsh reality of pvp is something you will never sell people on. The entire purpose of my diatribes has more to do with trying to keep people from bad mouthing something they either don't know about or have been indoctrinated to speak out against purely based on popular opinion and the industry trends or standards.

I am totally against the idea that pvp is a bad design element just because someone lost their special unicorn mount on their first day. To discount something based purely on say of less sophisticated or experienced gamers is a sign of a lack of imagination, a lack of mechanical aptitude and application.

If a person dislikes pvp, fine stay away I beg you. However keep your hate to yourself over it I don't want to hear your crying drama over it any more then you want to hear me heralding it's praise.

My Pie in the Sky is only every MMO ever made. Every MMO has done a shake down. I never said that you there has been complete restarts, and only to varying degrees do you see it happen. AOC had balancing issues which had profound influences on pvp, thus requiring retooling of skill specs, or sometimes forcing players to give up with the current class and start a new one because of nerfs. There were seige re-balances, issues with armors, and gemmed equipment. Basically a whole host of issues which changed on a daily basis. WAR had class imbalances in the beginning too, my build changed three times in two weeks. DFO is currently rereleasing the game with possible character wipes. You pick the game I can point out the changes and rebalancing issues and start overs, or build wipes.

The point is here that you might walk away with some part of your character that hasn't changed, but more often a large part that did. It happens and that was what I was implying. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough, it's not always a complete wipe, but there are times when those at the elite tier have to rebuild or tighten up the screws on their character. That is all the breathing room people need sometimes.

You make good points, which I agree on, however attacking my experiences or gaming ideologies doesn't discredit the whole of pvp and that's the beauty of it. PvP is different for each person, one persons view from within the pvp structure may not mirror anothers.
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Posted: Jul 20th 2011 2:28AM ClassicCrime said

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lolz the first game i played was eternal lands, which is a really poorly made game, but its the only one i've ever played where you lost gear that you had equipped upon death, and that along with the fact that gear was difficult to get (at least in the noob levels) honestly made it really immersive. There was actually danger involved with fighting monsters.
Now all you do in mmos is stare at your stats, try to maximize your dps/heals/tanking ability or whatever the most you can with the gear available to you, die like 5 dozen times (or not, maybe you wont die because you're good at the game but in the end you'll be in the exact same place as a person who has died 5 dozen times), and then you get that new gear, or that level up, and then you maximize your dps/heals/tanking... aaand just keep going and going and thats basically all there is to it now. I really wouldn't mind a game with some consequences. not *huge* consequences like permadeath, but at least something to make things feel a bit less mundane and predictable

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