Free for All World PvP

I've seen several articles cropping up on various sites recently from people bemoaning the fact that today's MMOs are lacking what Ultima Online had. I.E. You could kill other players and take their stuff.

Of course, the responses are very accurate. It's not fun to get ganked and have your things taken. As there are many more players who do not like this sort of gameplay, the developers of games cater to them and are creating games where PvP is strictly opt-in and limited in some cases to battlegrounds and other forms of competition. I remember the first character I rolled on a PvP realm in WoW. I reached level 25 or so, and couldn't go anywhere near a contested territory because there was always three or so level 60 rogues stealthed at the border, waiting to kill me all at the same time. All I wanted to do was go and see some new scenery (and later would discover that most of these horde areas had very little to see anyways). So I went and rolled on a PvE server.

It's gotten me on the thought train though. Would it be possible to create a game where free for all PvP was possible, and not a niche game by default?

Imagine: You can kill any player or NPC you can see. If the player is of an enemy faction, you gain infamy with that player's faction. You also gain a slightly lesser amount with that faction's allies, depending on how friendly those factions are. If the player is of your own faction, you gain a large amount of infamy with your own faction. The more infamy you have, the more likely you are to be attacked by NPC guards, soldiers, and police of the maligned faction. When you reach a certain amount of infamy, a large reward bounty could go up where any player who belongs to a faction different than yours (or to factions you belong to if you killed one of your own factionmates) could kill or capture you and gain a large reward.

The basic idea that I like for a game is that everything is allowed. However, actions such as ninja looting, ganking, spamming chat channels, acting out of character on an RP realm, speeding through quest text completely ignoring any and all instructions, and other actions which could be seen as undesirable (depending on the particular game and the atmosphere desired by Developers) should have in game consequences to discourage them actively. There would always be other alternatives for these players to continue playing. For example, players who are hated with officials could be able to obtain the same services as others through back door and black market sellers (at a slight premium of course). Players could also earn their way back up through the ranks to good standing if so desired, or they could go as far down as they wanted and eventually meet terrible punishments from getting caught (possibly even permanent death?).

Posted by Glyph, the Architect | at 2/23/2010 08:01:00 PM


Garumoo said...

One of the reasons put forward why people don't like open PvP is the idea of losing all your stuff. Another reason is that unbalanced PvP is a horrible experience (eg. you vs three high level rogues at the border).

I'm working on a design that addresses both of those concerns without trivialising gear entirely. The basic idea is that gear isn't so personalised, but is instead readily available from your guild, which is in turn allotted gear from the regional factions based on guild reknown, and the wealth of the regional faction is driven by what resources it in turn controls (eg. mines).

So, if you get ganked and lose your Sword of Uber +3 it is of no matter, because you can go to your guild and just get another one - they have plenty. Furthermore, if you've just rolled a new toon and joined a guild, you can quickly gear up from the guild armory and be ready to face down opponents with confidence.

As the faction you are with grows stronger, they'll become stingier and stingier towards any allied guilds. Afterall, why pay ruffian adventurers when they can employ their own military. Additionally, what resources they do share will be split amongst all allied guilds. These two factors combined will act as counter-balance against simply aligning your guild with the biggest and strongest factions, which would otherwise set up a dominating feedback loop.

Glyph, the Architect said...

"So, if you get ganked and lose your Sword of Uber +3 it is of no matter, because you can go to your guild and just get another one - they have plenty."

Wouldn't this trivialize crafting professions in any game that had them? What about people who are unguilded?

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