The Mordred Problem

So, a more serious look at Darkfall’s incipient release.

Most of the traffic on the boards and blogs recently seems to be doomcasting Darkfall pretty harshly. It’s not a AAA MMO, its ruleset is ridiculously hardcore, and it is doing its level best to minimize the number of people that actually *can* log in (no NA release, limited number of boxes sold, etc).

I actually disagree. I think it will have a groundswell of excitement, some people will be pumped about “a hardcore game not for carebears!!1!”, and we’ll see some ridiculous eBay auctions of Darkfall boxes.

For three months. Then… it will collapse upon itself.

Why this curve? Because every PvP-centric MMO released to date has seen this. Even PvP-specific servers, released to great fanfare with their users, see this curve. And the reason is pretty simple – because people enjoy hardcore PvP in the abstract. Or, to put another way, many more people believe they are ‘hardc0re’ than actually are. And they dislike being proved wrong pretty powerfully.

The best example of this in my experience were the free-for-all PvP servers in Dark Age of Camelot. They were eagerly anticipated. When the first one, “Mordred”, came out, it was the most popular server in the game. A second PvP server, “Andred”, was quickly pressed into service, which also was popular.

Then… they weren’t. Andred in particular became a ghost town and after a decent interval was merged back into Mordred. Mordred still exists, but only has a vestigal population at best.

Of course, if you talk to the players themselves, there were other issues. PvP in DAOC was an afterthought, levelling was too difficult, there were too many exploits, there were bugs, etc. etc. Much as in Shadowbane, one of the most highly anticipated MMOs ever judging from message board buzz – bugs, bad design, exploits, etc. etc.

All of which is true. But they are not unique to PvP servers, or PvP games. What *is* unique is the PvP ruleset – the sense of the hardcore. The Mordred problem is simply that a great majority of the people who believe they are hardcore are not, and after being violently disabused of the notion, will leave.

Thus, the curve. Servers that will be massively overpopulated one month, ghost towns the next.

Perhaps Darkfall’s developers are well aware of the Mordred problem, and are enforcing a rigid scarcity of availability to try to counter this. Personally I’m dubious of this, based on the PR coming from some of their spokespersons that would have made Todd Coleman in a GOD stripper booth blush. But in the end, it will definitely work in their favor. If they can ride that curve, they may find the true level of their niche.

And those people outside the niche will complain about bugs. And poor design. And poor polish. And a community of rabid weasels. And and and. All of which will probably be true. But very few will admit to a Mordred problem. And addressing that problem will be a key dilemma for any PvP-centric game.

Advertisements

130 Responses to The Mordred Problem

  1. D-0ne says:

    The problem with PvP is that it attracts sociopaths. Sociopaths don’t work and lay well with other normal people who attempt to tolerate them. Sociopaths love hurting people and normal people have a hard time understanding this behavior and are very forgiving of it and require several instances of bad behavior to be acted out upon them before they will give up.

    When you fill a server with sociopaths well, you get the curve Lum described because, sociopaths really hate dealing other sociopaths and they have zero tolerance for their own behaviors when they are reflected upon themselves. A sociopath will tolerate sociopathic behavior upon themselves until they discover they can’t gain 10X revenge… Once they learn they can’t humiliate others and are in fact the humiliated, they quit.

  2. DrewC says:

    I completely agree with your facts (three month popularity curve for PvP), but I disagree with your conclusion. In my opinion the reason that PvP games lose popularity so regularly is that it becomes impossible for new or casual players to compete.

    Playing in the early days of Mordred, I got killed a lot. I knew I wasn’t a very good PvPer, but I still had fun, running around, getting killed, talking smack, and getting a few kills of my own. I didn’t play very much (I was working as a CSR at the time and Dark Age very much felt like Work to me, so I limited my play time) and after a couple of weeks everyone had out leveled me. And not just by a couple of levels, I mean massively. It became impossible for me to compete in any way. At that point the server stopped being fun.

    Contrast that experience with Counter Strike. I have played Counter Strike on and off for years. I’m not very good at it, but with a little bit of luck I can get a couple kills in. Every once in a while I have a good round and feel like a badass. That keeps me coming back to play victim the 9 other rounds where someone shoots me in the head from across the map.

    Yes, large numbers of l33t d00dz are not nearly as good as they think they are, and quit real PvP servers because they lose. But, there are plenty of casual players out there willing to die 4 out of 5 times, as long as they feel like they have a chance that 5th time. In a system that strongly rewards time played, that’s not really possible.

  3. Takk says:

    Right now in Warhammer Online an open PvP ruleset server, Dark Crag is the most popular. Many players from my low population core server rerolled there. It’ll be interesting to see how the population trends in the coming months, especially as two MDPS classes that’d appeal to gankers are released with patch 1.2.

  4. Syncaine says:

    How do EVE, Lineage, AC-DT fit into that curve? Especially AC-DT, considering it closely mirrors what Mordred tried to do?

    I agree far more people ‘think’ they like a sandbox world (PvP being part of that) than actually do, but just like PvE MMOs have a long list of failures, PvP ones also have a history of success.

    The other factor you seem to continue to ignore is expectations. If DF was expecting to hold 200k+ players, it would be easy to call it an upcoming failure. If DF can maintain a profit at 50k+, do you still feel it will ‘fail’?

  5. Skystride says:

    Your argument doesn’t quiet make sense. You are saying all the complaints about FFA PvP are not unique to PvP games. PvP class balance is unique. If you design a PvE game and suddenly add a PvP server, it just doesn’t work. Will “Open servers” work in Warhammer which is a game that was designed for PvP? So far it’s the most popular server, we shall see what happens.

    Shadowbane was more buggy than your typical MMO. It was so buggy that sb.exe has become a sort of meme.

  6. yunk says:

    I am still waiting for an FFA Wizard101 server. I can’t wait to smack some little kids around, I mean hell when I play against my friend’s kids on his Wii they sure don’t hold back!

  7. Yeebo says:

    I think a big part of whether the game crashes and burns will be how well a new player can compete with some-one that has more time invested. In a situation where a new player is utterly outclassed by a vet, not just in terms of skill but also in terms of statistical effectiveness, you absolutely have to have a “safe area” where new players can learn the basics and get up to par for the arena they wish to compete in. EVE certainly doesn’t have vast tracts of safe space by accident.

    Put differently, if it is possible for a few idgits to ruin the experience of new players, they absolutely will. No question. So far I’m not seeing any systems in place in DF (based on previews) that will really prevent this.

    Of course, if a naked newbie using their one unlootable weapon has a decent chance versus a well geared vet..then it’s not an issue. Once the game launches I’ll be waiting to see how that aspect plays out more than anything. None of the previews I’ve read seemed to reflect a mature (in the sense of fully developed) community.

  8. Openedge1 says:

    You also do not mention the fact of alienating a large audience due to PvP centric play style with ZERO PvE…
    I mean YOU make the game and not the company. Seems pretty cheap and lame, no matter how Indie you are.
    If there was something else to occupy players during downtime (and I expect a lot of that in DF…and not servers down, but, dying, losing your gear and having to start over, empty zones to fight in, etc…), then maybe…just maybe it could get a respectable 50k subs.

    This game is going nowhere in my opinion!

    Good 10 year experiment though…

  9. Cedia says:

    I agree with you, Scott. Aside from seeing Mordred/Andred rise and fall while you were there, I also blame this phenomenon a bit for Age of Conan’s failure. Namely, the only RP servers for North America were RP-PvP. We begged and pleaded with Funcom for just one RP-PvE server, but were rebuffed by Gaute and his skewed view of what RP really was, I guess. My husband and I gamely played along on the Cimmeria server, and it was okay at first, but then the jerks dug in their heels, and roleplayers left in droves. I think the same thing happened in WoW with their RP-PvP servers, but thankfully I never gave those servers a second thought.

  10. chabuhi says:

    I am anything but hardcore – lucky to get two minutes playing time these days, and minute one is rarely hard, minute two … anything but core (sounded cooler in my head).

    The kind of PvP that appeals to the “hardcore” we’re talking about here is really just chaos/anarchy. Really, if that’s all you’re after as a player, then why not just stick with the FPS fragfests? If killing other players and being uber is your goal, then why waste bytes on classes, races, story, loot, etc.

  11. JZig says:

    I think DrewC is on to something. All of my friends who quit playing Shadowbane told me they quit because their guild got totally destroyed and had no chance of ever catching up to the established guilds. Power in PvP games tends to crystallize (in about 3 months) into a small set of powerful guilds, and the game mechanics often make rebellion impossible.

    I think a good solution to the 3-month problem is world resets. Every 3 months or so, they need to reset the world in some way that kills off the established power structures and brings it back to the free for all it was at launch. Lots of web-based PVP mmos, like travian or Utopia, do exactly this and it keeps the community fresh.

    After 3 months the PVP players not only realize they’re not hardcore enough to be awesome, they also realize that the game mechanics are such that they have NO THEORETICAL CHANCE of ever actually being awesome, because everyone else is too entrenched. World Resets break this vicious cycle.

  12. Lee Quillen says:

    Free for all PvP servers do not generally handle churn well for many reasons already outlined. You could make a completely bug free, perfectly balanced, PvP FFA server… and still decline over time if you don’t have a stream of new players ready to replace those moving on.

    Typically, most FFA PvP servers have not diffeentiated environments based on level. What you get at the start is an environment where the majority of the playe base is a particular level enjoying the game. As that average level continues to rise the barrier to new players rises as the things that decrease their fun grow, and the things that increase their fun decrease (number of like levelled opponents or places to travel with relative assurance of success).

    Warhammer addressed some of these concerns with their “chicken”, and has been seeing fairly equal population changes across both types of servers (Core and RvR) from all indications. Would Wars more PvP centric servers be seeing the same steady population if level 40s were camping low level areas? There is no way of knowing, but I doubt so… and RvR servers aren’t nearly as unforgiving to new players as a FFA server is.

    What has Darkfall’s developers done to solve this dilemna? well, basically nothing but idicate they aren’t concerned and want to make a server for those hardcore folks. Well that sounds good on paper, but like Lemm said, after a few months many will find out they ae not so hardcore and move on… and with high barriers to new subscribers it is extremely doubtful new subscriber retention will outweigh that of players leaving.

    There are ways to addrss that issue beyond the “Chicken” of Warhammer, and you could argue all day about which method would be best. To do nothing at all though appears pretty ignorant of the basic business model of needing to retain as large a fraction as possible of new subscribers to maintain your game.

  13. Jeremy Preacher says:

    Lineage 2 very much displayed this curve in NA/Europe – strong initial interest which dropped off fast, a long stagnant period until the developers made some changes to make it more noob-friendly and clear out some of the botting, and then a gradual rise to a more healthy plateau. I’m not sure what they’re up to now, but the above describes the first three years.

  14. Freakazoid says:

    Outside of making it easy for new players to get into pvp, I don’t think there’s any clear-cut way to maintain a curve. You just gotta try something different and hope something about it sticks to people, like how EVE managed.

  15. Banzai says:

    Putting SB and DAoC in the same category is silly – the goals for the games simply aren’t the same. SB was/is about building an alliance that would rule the world (and take down everyone else in the process), where DAoC open PvP was about…epeen maybe?

    Darkfall will be like SB, and it will follow the same pattern of massive initial activity followed by guilds being assimilated into the growing blob until one blob is the biggest of all. Then most players will quit because a PvP game without PvP is boring as hell. Then the guilds that got eaten earlier will come back, be able to fight off the remnants of the blob, and something approaching stability will happen. That’s when the endgame will start for darkfall. SB would have been a much greater success if not for sb.exe, which prevented many players from playing. Darkfall, from all reports, has been very stable in beta, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

  16. Paks says:

    @Cedia: You know one of the things I found really sad about all that was how Craig stated in a recent interview that RP was never a main focus of AoC. I followed the game since it was a pimple on the interwebs ass and remember how Gaute, LordOrion, their CM, and a couple devs who posted kinda regularly continually stated differently in posts, reviews, and in letters to the community.

    And I was kneedeep in asking for an RP-PvE server for the US (Pakhet from the AoC forums). Their failure in that area played a big part in why I think their community relations sucks so bad and why I left.

    On topic: I wouldn’t mind if DF succeeded, I just think AV’s track record with their long history of delays, the embellished comments from Tasos, having such a limited beta, the fanboi slaverings, the community their attracting, and this pre-order thing just makes the game ripe for many MANY problems.

    I’m just gonna sit here and hold on to my red flag and some salty popcorn while this PvP model hits the fan. If nothing else it’ll be a good source of info for future games and discussions.

    @JZig: SB tried a server that would reset after certain conditions were met. I’m not sure what the outcome was for that because I left soon after.

  17. Vetarnias says:

    @JZig
    As much as map resets can be a good thing, in the case of a grind-heavy MMO I think the result is just the opposite of what you seek. I don’t doubt that your friends left Shadowbane because of the loss of their city, and in fact it’s one of the major problems of that game: Once a guild starts winning the server, they’re unstoppable.

    But with map resets you get something entirely different. The grind appears futile if the aim towards which it goes is to be wiped away, not by actual military defeat (even if it’s a ninja attack at 4 AM) but by a server reset. And I’m not sure the resets change anything, because all that it does is restart a race the same guy will end up winning anyway.

    I did play Utopia, and stopped playing when I realized that the kingdoms themselves were two-tiered: First, the “old” kingdoms, made up of dedicated players who had been around the game for years, knew how to play, and certainly didn’t break up at each reset (because the makers gave kingdoms an option to remain together), and the “new” kingdoms, with new players who didn’t know how to play, thought the game was SimCity, or just bothered logging in on weekends for a month or two before going inactive. With the old kingdoms having the same dedicated members round after round, and new kingdoms having turnover rates to rival McDonald’s, guess which kingdoms always rose to the top, round after round?

    And since the kingdoms were allowed to remain together, what was your chance, as a new player, of landing in one of the better kingdoms if a spot ever became vacant? (I’ve even heard of cases where such a person was immediately attacked by other members of the kingdom who didn’t want somebody inexperienced around.) That’s how that played. Worse still, the better kingdoms set up alliances between them that they kept going round after round.

    Sure, everyone restarted from the same point after a reset, but guess who quickly rose to the top every single time?

    I know what you’re going to say, build up your own kingdom, get your members together, start being dedicated to the game and you’ll rise through the ranks. I can tell you, it’s impossible, not when you have maybe 5 or 6 members who know how to play (and would rather leave you because they see how pathetic you are), and the rest who either can’t play, don’t care, or both. At one point I ended up being king, apparently strictly on the ground that I posted a lot in the kingdom forums, because nobody else wanted the job. As such I could see the activity of other members and set diplomacy. In a nutshell: complete waste of time.

    A few weeks within the new round, the “old” kingdoms had so outgrown everyone else that they treated the puny kingdoms such as ours as their farms. Develop yourself just so that these guys can take it (a lesson even more apparent in Tribal Wars). Build your troops as much as you’d want, you simply can’t defend against a guy who’s 5 times your size.

    Consider also Pirates of the Burning Sea, which works on a similar idea. Once a nation wins X number of points, it wins the map, and the ports are reset to their original owners. Fine in theory. In practice, on almost every server it quickly led to a legacy of one side always winning the map, to the extent that I do remember reading something from a server I didn’t play, where the winning faction decided to take a break just to allow for some competition. On other servers, you had a more despicable variant of the same idea: Because the map win is useless and only gives junk rewards (rewards can’t be meaningful lest they build up and give the victor an advantage in the next rounds), take the other sides’ strategic ports and sit on them, while making absolutely no effort towards winning the map. On one server in particular, this led to one faction holding all the ports in which ships of the line — the most powerful vessels in the game — could be built.

    It also didn’t address the question: What am I grinding for if the developers make me lose the end result in a month or two?

    So, the idea of resets keeps a game dynamic in that it restarts the race. When people start figuring out that the same guys always win, the result will be almost identical to having a permanent world a la Shadowbane. Nobody can be expected to be content as Sisyphus in the knowledge that the boulder will be rolling back down the hill — especially if you can’t win the consolation prize of knowing you’ve pushed it higher than anyone else before it rolled down.

  18. Klaitu says:

    Am I the only person who has less than zero interest in Darkfall? From what I’ve seen of it, they’ve managed to design and produce the world’s crappiest MMO.

    It actually reminds me a lot of shadowbane.. not neccessarily the actual game, but people were all “Shadowbane is for the hardcores and it will be awesome”

    And we all know how awesome shadowbane turned out to be.

  19. Akjosch says:

    Lineage II (I’m playing on the EU Teon server) is showing a steady decline in all established markets (NCSoft licensed out the server software for a localised SEA and RU versions, though, and those are still on the rise, more or less). That’s more or less expected of a game its age, and NCSoft Korea is both busy promoting its next big game (Aion) as well as putting ArenaNet’s people in charge of NCSoft US in preparetions for GuildWars 2 sometime in the next two years.

    Having played the game for the last few years, the last two of them being in nearly-constant war against people who out-level, out-gear and out-number my own clan significantly, I don’t think it’s the self-proclaimed whiny “hardcore” crowd which is a PvP server’s worst enemy. Neither are griefers, scammers and general assholes. Instead, it’s the cheaters. With preservance, politics and organisation skill, you can beat even the worst odds eventually. The only way to beat a cheater is to cheat yourself, which makes the game meaningless and dull. Unfortunatedly (for L2), that’s something NCSoft still isn’t able to fully grasp. Let’s hope Darkfall fares better here.

    Darkfall looks like it might be a good game, though some downright silly decisions (like … one character per server and account? That’ll make planting a spy in an enemy clan that much harder, which works AGAINST a significant part of what the high-level organised PvP typically looks like …) need fixing, of course. In particular, I like the fact there is no level or item creep (… yet).

  20. Guido Jones says:

    D-0ne :The problem with PvP is that it attracts sociopaths.

    Why is it everytime someone talks about griefers or hardcore PvPers someone always says they’re sociopaths? While I’m sure theres a few in there, I’m pretty sure you’d be surprised at how many normal people would be mixed in there too.

  21. xzzy says:

    I’d like a pvp situation where the actual combat is a tool for when other methods of mediation fail. “I want this candy bar, you want the candy bar, can we work something out? No? Okay, let’s fight!”

    But most people on “hardcore” pvp servers see it as a means to humiliate. Owning people is the sole motivation, the concept of glaring at each other from a distance never enters the equation. This is where I think the “sociopath” comments come from.

    To me, the option to kill someone is far more engaging than actually doing it.. which is why I always sign up to new pvp servers and am later one of the people who disappear, disappointed that the thing has been reduced to a typical “king of the hill” scenario.

    “You should play EvE” is the most common response to this type of comments, which I tried for a while, but it has the same basic problem.. enough of the population is there with the sole objective of humiliation that it saps all the fun out of it.

  22. You could look at the same data and say the demand for a PvP server/mmo is high, but so far the industry has failed to deliver. The problem of what to do once the initial population has leveled can account for the curve since new players will have a much harder time to match level. ShadowBane was best in beta, when there were regular server wipes to reset the playing field. Also, to gloss over ShadowBane’s launch troubles is to use rose tinted glasses indeed, since it wasn’t so much of a curve as it was a cliff.

  23. Apache says:

    pure pvp servers are best enjoyed in brief doses unless you’re a psychopath

  24. Tremayne says:

    Would you say EVE has a Mordred problem? It’s a game with pretty free PvP… on the other hand the game doesn’t reward solo gankers (of the ‘true hardcore’ or ‘wannabe hardcore’ variety) all that well.

    I only played a couple of months on EVE when it first launched, and in that time I saw players driven away by being ganked – but EVE has turned around and grown its player base. Maybe its possible for other PVP games to do the same thing if they can give some structure to the senseless carnage?

  25. Rich Weil says:

    The Siege Perilous server in UO also had this dynamic. UO was a game that attracted “sheep” and tolerated “wolves”. But when there were no sheep, the majority of the wolves didn’t like playing solely with the other wolves.

  26. lax says:

    If you look at eq1 pvp servers vallon zek and tallon zek you find (or would have found at least) two drastically different servers.

    Vallon had pvp as a mean to an end – zone control and right to pve bosses. Very little random ganking coupled with player enforced policies of play nice.

    Tallon on the other hand was a gankfest and completly retarded.

    The difference? Beats me. Maybe Vallon was lucky….

  27. Melf_Himself says:

    Hi,

    Try not to illogically jump to conclusions. Here is my response:

    http://word-of-shadow.blogspot.com/2009/02/pvp-qq-problem.html

    All the best.

  28. hitnrun says:

    Guido Jones :
    Why is it everytime someone talks about griefers or hardcore PvPers someone always says they’re sociopaths?

    I’ve noticed that too, and if memory serves it was the same line bandied about back in ’00 when Lum ruled the world or at least a minuscule part of the Internet.

    I see it sometimes in Olde Blogs like these, among people who clearly have never let their EQ1 or DAOC subscription lapse and are mildly resentful of South Park lampooning that new “flashy” MMO of Blizzard’s instead of their old-school haunts.

    Speaking of which, this backward terminology and way of thinking is also what sabotages the PvP discussion in general. PvP is fine. PvP is great. PvP has won the great debate.

    What people are talking about here – for the most part – is a different animal, what Syncaine (above) called Sandbox PvP. As a former member of the slavering Shadowbane forums in my youth, I look back and honestly have no idea what the heck I was thinking. The idea that you could mix MMO advancement mechanisms with the social rules of a FPS is nuts. No doubt it truly would be the Best Game Ever if executed properly, but that would require a level of limited release that would make it commercially unviable. Heck, maybe Darkfall has a chance after all.

  29. Melf_Himself :
    Hi,
    Try not to illogically jump to conclusions. Here is my response:
    http://word-of-shadow.blogspot.com/2009/02/pvp-qq-problem.html
    All the best.

    Your response illogically jumps to the conclusion that I asserted that “a PvP MMO can’t work”. Which, of course, I did not say, merely that there was a very specific bell curve of early adopters that flush early, and very specifically in reference to ‘hardcore’ ruleset PvP games.

    Thanks for using the usual “qq go back to wow carebare n00b” retort, though. Well played, sirrah.

  30. @hitnrun
    I’ve noticed that too, and if memory serves it was the same line bandied about back in ‘00 when Lum ruled the world or at least a minuscule part of the Internet.
    I see it sometimes in Olde Blogs like these, among people who clearly have never let their EQ1 or DAOC subscription lapse and are mildly resentful of South Park lampooning that new “flashy” MMO of Blizzard’s instead of their old-school haunts.

    You’re right! I still do have an open DAOC subscription! Mainly because it’s comped, because I worked on it. Which, ironically, was one of the most successful PvP-centric MMOs released to date. Go figure. I should hate it, by your logic.

  31. Nerd Rage says:

    I have to agree with DrewC as well. I know from my own Mordred experience that the reason I stopped is not because I didn’t like it, but because I couldn’t play every day and eventually fell behind the level curve. Once that gap reaches a certain point it’s more trouble than it’s worth to try to close it. Continuing with DAoC as the example – sure the other guys cap out at level 50, but if I’m stuck at level 30 and have to fight those level 50 guys everywhere I go, I’m never going to get enough xp to make level 31.

    Hardcore is not just about how you like your PvP rules, it’s also about how much time you spend maximizing your ability to take advantage of those rules.

    I honestly wish the best for Darkfall and its players, but unless they’ve made the first RPG to effectively handle the issue of character skill (and equipment) vs player skill (and equipment), I probably won’t be one of them. Maybe a month or two just to check it out, but based on experience with other PvP games I doubt I’d stay. I just don’t have the time required to actually enjoy that anymore.

  32. Viz says:

    Guido Jones :

    D-0ne :The problem with PvP is that it attracts sociopaths.

    Why is it everytime someone talks about griefers or hardcore PvPers someone always says they’re sociopaths? While I’m sure theres a few in there, I’m pretty sure you’d be surprised at how many normal people would be mixed in there too.

    Doesn’t the term griefer refer specifically to a person who in-game does things just to inconvenience other people?

  33. Akjosch says:

    Viz :
    Doesn’t the term griefer refer specifically to a person who in-game does things just to inconvenience other people?

    Yes, and passionate griefers are a great asset to any organisation when allowed to work according to their strength – that is, denying the enemy new recruits by destroying their will to fight, killing them early and often, while shielding and defending your own “newbies” from enemy griefers trying to do the same.

  34. Lee Quillen says:

    “Why is it everytime someone talks about griefers or hardcore PvPers someone always says they’re sociopaths? While I’m sure there’s a few in there, I’m pretty sure you’d be surprised at how many normal people would be mixed in there too.”

    Internet Syndrome. Anytime a polite discussion is started the thread does not last long. When it gets into a huge arguement involving the vocal minority from both sides of the issue (Anyone PvPing is a Sociopath! Anyone PvEing is a Carebear!) the thread gets huge and people start checking it out. The result most people only remembering the long, fairly pointless, insult laden, ranting of two groups with little interest other than insulting each other.

    If most people start remembering only those rants, you start getting most people thinking PvPers are all anti-social/overweight/sociopaths and that all PvEers are lonely/nail polished 20 year olds living with their moms.

    “Doesn’t the term griefer refer specifically to a person who in-game does things just to inconvenience other people?”

    Depending on the gaming background, pretty much every term can have multiple meanings… though I agree with yours. Well, I probably think of griefers as players whose primary gaming enjoyment comes from inconveniencing others to be more specific.

    For a better example of how differently a word can hold meaning to different crowds ask advice on how to make a macro from both the WoW and Asheron’s Call communities. 😉

  35. Saylah says:

    No big game thinker here but I’ve always thought the problem with hardcore PVP is that killers need to kill, not BE KILLED. When they have to assume the role as sheep (bottom performers within their own hardcore PVP society) then what? Well killers don’t wanna be sheep, they need other sheep and care-bares aren’t there to offset them being killed so they start leaving their hardcore PVP dream world. True hardcore PVP is definitely niche. Even in EVE Online only a small percentage of the players are out there roughing it up in 0.0.

  36. Akjosch says:

    There are actually two kinds of “hardcore” PvPers: Those who want to kill, and those who want to fight. You want as many as possible of the latter, not the former.

  37. Fraeg says:

    I am sure I am misquoting someone, but:

    Hardcore pvp = 5% wolves, 95% sheep

    And nobody wants to admit in the end that they are a sheep.

  38. Arthur_Parker says:

    AC1 Darktide did quite well, numbers grew for a long time, EvE does quite well today. It’s not as simple as saying it doesn’t work for longer than 3 months, little things like item looting (too little is as bad as too much) and safe zones have a massive effect on how well the overall system works. Not to mention the whole levels being a stupid idea for a pvp game thing.

  39. Merusk says:

    It’s amusing how the same old discussions always come back around. The faces change, but the arguments are always the same.

    End result always winds up that the PKs are still out in the cold awaiting the light of the messiah MMO and really bitter.

  40. Mist says:

    Darkfall has no content, horrible animations, horrible ‘Benny Hill’ combat, and the worst UI to grace an MMO ever since… ever. That’s why it will fail, not because its a PvP game. No one has ever really MADE a AAA PvP game since UO, so you can’t point to the failures of so called PvP games as anything other than the fact that non AAA MMos fail.

  41. Viz says:

    Akjosch :

    Viz :Doesn’t the term griefer refer specifically to a person who in-game does things just to inconvenience other people?

    Yes, and passionate griefers are a great asset to any organisation when allowed to work according to their strength – that is, denying the enemy new recruits by destroying their will to fight, killing them early and often, while shielding and defending your own “newbies” from enemy griefers trying to do the same.

    Sociopaths can be organizationally useful. That doesn’t mean they’re not sociopaths.

  42. Mist says:

    FFA PvP servers in games that aren’t built around FFA PvP do not count as AAA PvP games either, becuase those rulesets never have AAA polish. DAoC/Mordred would still be popular if they had supported and expanded the ruleset.

  43. Arthur_Parker says:

    No harm to you all, but some of the comments in here are pretty embarrassing considering it’s 2009. If Darkfall only gets 3 months, let them have their fun, it’s 3 months more than anyone expected them to get.

  44. Gx1080 says:

    The Mordred problem happened because of the fact that was a level based game, meaning that rewarded having no life and get experience as fast as possible. It was a f**ing race and people dont like to race like that (aka not having lives).

    In a game where the high levels get more shiny stuff but arent much more powerful like EVE or Darkfall it can work. But Darkfall its going to have to adjust to the fact that most of their time will be eliminating exploits. If they dont they will FAIL. No one stay too long in a PvP game with “I Win” buttons. Period.

    And, although i know that is a moot point saying it, gankers are the natural result of http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/3/19/ and carebears are the guys who take too seriously being ganked.

  45. […] a Comment Scott Jennings on his blog, Broken Toys, brought up an interesting observation about the new MMO, Darkfall. Darkfall is an unrestricted PvP […]

  46. VPellen says:

    I strongly believe that trying to shoehorn PvP into a PvE game is just as bad as trying to shoehorn PvE into a PvP game.

  47. EpicSquirt says:

    @Gx1080
    Servers like Mordred died because the fresh blood could be and was ganked by one level 50 guy. Introduction of level caps in dungeons and later of instances was too late.

    Every game where being slightly higher level means winning is just idiotic and everyone participating in the development of a game where the majority of the players levels to level cap first so that they can go and have end game PvP should be shot, hung and then decapitated; just to make sure.

  48. UnSub says:

    Mist :
    Darkfall has no content, horrible animations, horrible ‘Benny Hill’ combat, and the worst UI to grace an MMO ever since… ever. That’s why it will fail, not because its a PvP game. No one has ever really MADE a AAA PvP game since UO, so you can’t point to the failures of so called PvP games as anything other than the fact that non AAA MMos fail.

    UO’s FFA PvP model failed in the most important way: to keep players p(l)aying. Even when the option was play UO or play nothing else (sorry, all other MMOs that existed around the same time as UO), players preferred to play nothing else than get ganked, full-looted and have their house key stolen.

    Darkfall is very much in this legacy, so it will be interesting to see if hardcore PvPers like being in a world populated entirely by people like themselves. Yes, the execution of the concept is one thing, but at some point the actual issue that hardcore FFA PvP doesn’t have a long shelf life has to be accepted.

  49. Mist says:

    UO also had a huge lack of content, that’s something that no one seems to remember. A lot of people quit playing because there wasn’t much to do besides grind your skills up in the most boring ways possible.

    EQ really invented structured content and somewhat by accident. Until WoW, no one really knew what well structured content should really look like. We haven’t really seen a game that has both decent PvP and AAA quality content since DAoC. EVE almost counts, but missions and plexes only barely count as quality game content.

    I think Scott said it best a long time ago, one of the most important features of a PvP game should be that the game actually has fun things to do/fight over.

  50. EpicSquirt says:

    I think Scott said it best a long time ago, one of the most important features of a PvP game should be that the game actually has fun things to do/fight over.

    And that would be what in DAoC? A keep/relic I snatch back at 5 am in the morning?

  51. Bonedead says:

    You make me feel warm inside Mr. Jennings, I thank you for that.

  52. geldonyetich says:

    Personally, I see the PvP MMORPG collapse problem as being indicative of specific flaws in the products:

    Shadowbane was a game that couldn’t support the massively multiplayer PvP that was its whole thing. The moment you got a few hundred players together, the server would overload and crash, and this was an insurmountable problem.

    Fury simply was far too obtuse and this killed the fun. The game design was built around a weird mechanic most players couldn’t get into. Many couldn’t even figure out how to get to a fight.

    Darkfall was never AAA, and it’s clear from many decisions that the developers are new at this. The idea to have full loot on death is a step backwards: making ganking players more lucrative than fair play is as much suicide today as it was in old school UO.

    Because the problems are unique to each game, the idea of having a PvP centric MMORPG is not necessarily a bad thing, and we know this because there are PvP centric games that have managed to turn it into a successful business model:

    Guild Wars – You could argue this isn’t exactly an MMORPG (and the developers are fine with that) but Guild Wars brilliantly arranges PvP into matches that emphasize the fair play sorely absent on an open PvP game.

    EVE Online – An interesting example in that (as was belabored extensively over the BoB ordeal) it proves that ‘spectacle value’ is a fair substitute for ‘fair gameplay value.’

    Warhammer Online/World of Warcraft/Age of Conan – I’m not mentioning these so much because theres’ a certain line in which a game stops being “a PvP game” and starts being “a PvE game with an optional PvP side activity” and these are certainly there.

  53. GTB says:

    I’m sort of looking forward to seeing how this works out as a kind of social experiment. I may even play a month. I hope it works, but I doubt it will.

  54. Cayle says:

    Guido Jones :

    D-0ne :The problem with PvP is that it attracts sociopaths.

    Why is it everytime someone talks about griefers or hardcore PvPers someone always says they’re sociopaths? While I’m sure theres a few in there, I’m pretty sure you’d be surprised at how many normal people would be mixed in there too.

    You would be surprised by how many “normal” people are sociopaths. They keep their offline greifing to a minimum because there are consequenes. There are no real consequences online and they are free to be how they really are.

  55. Daniel says:

    “because people enjoy hardcore PvP in the abstract. Or, to put another way, many more people believe they are ‘hardc0re’ then actually are. And they dislike being proved wrong pretty powerfully.”

    I agree 100%. You actually see this all the time in the world of sports. People like to identify with people bigger and more powerful than themselves. But take any armchair QB and put him in Peyton Manning’s place and watch him run like a little girlie for the sidelines. It is no fun and all work to stand in front of a dozen grown men who are paid millions to beat you up for a living. And that’s what PvP is: getting out there among lots of people who want to beat you up for a living. It sounds awesome in the abstract, but most people can’t handle it.

  56. Mezoth says:

    Akjosch :
    Yes, and passionate griefers are a great asset to any organisation when allowed to work according to their strength – that is, denying the enemy new recruits by destroying their will to fight, killing them early and often, while shielding and defending your own “newbies” from enemy griefers trying to do the same.

    Carter: Do you understand your value to the organization, Resnick?
    [pause]
    Carter: You’re a sadist. You lack compunction. That comes in handy.

  57. Elbows says:

    All I gotta say is, wow, it’s actually coming out. Sounds like it has problems, but……wow, I can’t believe it.

  58. Icefang says:

    Mordred lasted for a lot longer than 3 months and it wasnt that hard to level. Yes there will always be more people who think they are more hardcore than they actually are and when faced with reality they won’t tough it out. You also have the problem that if the primary focus of the game is pvp, then some people will leave because they will lose more often then they win. Mobs in general don’t mind getting their ass kicked and seldom get discouraged. People on the other hand do tend to get discouraged.
    There are more issues that PvP centric games face than PvE centric games but I don’t agree with the blanket statement that they cant work or are doomed to failure. There will be a smaller population base but I think you can keep enough of them around to keep your game going as long as you dont try to force the people who want a FFA PvP server to suddenly have to do a bunch of drawn out structured PvE in order to compete.

    However what I think killed Mordred was the ToA expansion. Before ToA you had a game that didnt take that long to get to max level, had gear you could craft that you could pvp in. PvE was not a requirement to PvP effectively. The problem was that when ToA came out now there were all these PvE things you needed to do for gear, and quests you needed to do to get abilities that turned out to be required for PvP. The people who didnt mind dying and liked the chaotic FFA experience of Mordred didnt want to have to go camp rare spawns and do long quests to get new skills that were now required for PvP, like bodyguard.
    If Mordred could have been frozen in time pre-ToA and with the old style realm keeps, I think most of the population would have stayed. Once the big mammoth keeps came out in their own instanced zones, keep warfare ended. Maybe the new keeps were good for the big RvR servers, but once they came out on Mordred all keep warfare stopped.

  59. Mike Darga says:

    I’ve seen so many subjective arguments lately about Casual/Hardcore and PvE/PvP. Everyone who likes one has a pretty hard time describing why they like it except for the fact that it’s just “better.”

    I think what all of this boils down to is a sliding scale of a few different values that the player has:

    “I enjoy feeling like the underdog” (1-10)
    “Losing badly makes me feel more motivated” (1-10)
    “A world has to feel very dangerous to be interesting” (1-10)
    “Enemies should be very unpredictable and devious” (1-10)

    To a player who scores a 4 on this test, I’d recommend God of War.
    To a player who scores a 10, I’d recommend a WoW PvE server.
    To a player who scores a 20, I’d recommend a WoW PvP server.
    To a player who scores a 30, I’d recommend EVE.
    To a player who scores a 40, I’d recommend a “hardcore” PvP ruleset.

    Now Scott, without trying to put words in his mouth, seems to specifically be pointing out that players are not good at accurately measuring their own fitness for this sort of ruleset. I agree with this. There’s likely to be a very low percentage of players at any given time who fit the 35-40 score profile.

    I do think there are players out there who love this sort of thing and the bigger the market gets, the larger that tiny niche will grow. It’s just a bell curve like anything else. Dismissing the whole thing as “for sociopaths” isn’t very productive, I don’t think.

    This is just a sliding scale like anything else. Compare it to a discussion about a book where the main character dies halfway through, or a movie where the badguy wins. These are very jarring for most audiences, but some people think stuff like that is absolutely great.

    Mike

    mikedarga.blogspot.com

  60. Mike Darga says:

    One more thought:

    If the real problem is that players don’t know what they like, how can we design a game that allows them to find out their own tolerances a little bit more accurately?

    I think EVE has done a great job of this, with a sliding scale of danger and PvP, rather than just a flag to flip on or off.

    In order to keep from exhibiting this burnout curve that Scott is talking about, my suggestion would be to make server transfers to a place like Mordred by invitation only.

    Establish some criteria that can predict how well-suited a player is for this type of environment, and require a certain profile of player kills, keep takedowns in normal gameplay.

    Also, giving normal players a watered-down version of hardcore rules that they could try out for a week before making the switch might also help. When players apply for transer to Mordred, have them play for 20 hours in a special mode where if they die they respawn naked. If they hate that, they’ll bail out early and prevent bloat/death of the special server. Players who do make it through that “trial period” are more likely to be the ones who actually have fun in the special ruleset.

    What this really boils down to is that players are constantly trying to do things that they don’t find fun, but since designers are responsible for their fun, we need to find ways to try and keep people on track for gameplay they actually enjoy.

    Mike

    mikedarga.blogspot.com

  61. Akjosch says:

    EpicSquirt :

    I think Scott said it best a long time ago, one of the most important features of a PvP game should be that the game actually has fun things to do/fight over.

    And that would be what in DAoC? A keep/relic I snatch back at 5 am in the morning?

    Structured. That’s why castle sieges in Lineage II are on a fixed schedule every two weeks (and you have to sign up to one at least 24 hours in advance). Fortress sieges aren’t, but fortresses are understood to be temporary (you lose them anyway after three days even if no-one takes it from you – they revert to NPC control), but fortress ownership carries no prestige and allows for no monetary gain.

    No idea why DAoC developers didn’t implement this one.

  62. Mist says:

    There really isn’t interesting content in the frontiers aside from other players. That’s where DAoC failed in the large part, but in the lesser part they had DF which was both good content and good content to fight over. It’s also why the ~1.5 years when DF was both important and could change hands often were the most popular years for that game.

  63. Gx1080 says:

    DF is a skill based game, so “level cap” is not an issue. But as ive said if they dont give people a reason to fight (aka putting all the cool crafting materials and other cool stuff in the dangerous places) and realize that they are gonna have to fight against their players: they fixing exploits and their players finding them.

    Because the only motivation for exlpoiting bigger than PvP, is RL cash.

    Besides that UI solutions for problems are lazy, and lazy solutions will be hacked, pharmed or macroed.

    If they do that, DarkFall will succeed, if they dont it will fail. Just as simple. None of us can predict the future. And all the coments of “they took too long” and “no one has done a pvp game since UO” or “mmo pvp cant exist” are just wrong.

    Well if you dont have a big studio behind you you are going to take a lot of time. And EVE proved that pvp mmos can exist wihout being “all gank, all the time”.

    And content can be added with something as simple as sending you to kill different enemies. It needs to look like imaginative content, not be imaginative content. Besides in EvE you see people talking of missions besides a way of making cash and special events?. No.

  64. sinij says:

    D-0ne :
    The problem with PvP is that it attracts sociopaths.

    I heard video games turn people into sociopaths…

    Just like typical “why don’t you think of the children” mouth breather crowd you make cardinal mistake of confusing correlation and causation.

  65. Lurb says:

    I’m a pretty tame person, both in RL and games, yet the high times of my online playing are Mordred and EVE. I find themeparkish PvE a soul crushing pointless chore and just can’t do it. My first MMOG was DAoC. I made it to level 20 or 21 in a year and was ready to leave when Mordred was announced. I played there for two years and got three characters to 50 enjoying every kill & death (plenty of deaths are even more memorable).

    These are games. I find it funny that playing in an enviroment that requires accepting that you might lose more than you win is considered pathological versus needing to have the skinner box perfectly tuned so you can play some ever happy hero high on kool-aid all the time.

  66. Kemor says:

    While I do agree to the Mordred effect for most MMOs going PVP, I don’t think Darkfall will be in this category for 2 key reasons:
    – No leveling system
    – Full looting

    Mordred was designed to fail. The very concept of full PVP in a game relying so much on items and levels is stupid I think.
    Shadowbane had way too much design flaws for a PVP game, including leveling, items and no set factions (to prevent total supremacy).

    For Darkfall, it has pretty much all the base ingredients that made UO the game it was (missing some “community stuff” though). The fact that all items can be looted is the best thing that can happen in a PVP game as it means very little use for this or that “uber loot” making most combats based on the actual player and character, not the items he/she wears. No leveling system but a soft skill system is also a very good way to allow for a smooth beginner/long timer curve that can avoid the newbie ganking phenomena.

    Personally I’ve been out of the MMO stuff for some time since they are all the frikking same nowdays but if they can pull this off with a little professionalism, Darkfall seems interesting enough for me to play it.

  67. dartwick says:

    Mythic and most other makers of hardcore servers never understood one thing about PVP servers.

    You need a logical meta purpose, the gamer diviner of morality, the virtual god, – for any game society to work well.

    On Morderd the “game god” rewarded you for random killing. That simply doesnt work long term.

  68. JuJutsu says:

    @Sinij

    No, D-One never even implied any causation…that was you. Which game dou you think will attract the sociopaths, Darkfall or hello Kitty Online?

  69. Twanni says:

    Add to this that when your average hardcore PVP player considers Impact PVP with consequences and all the buzzwords, he sees himself standing on a pile of the corpses of his vanguished victims. The reality is that ninety percent of the players end up being part of that pile of corpses rather than the one standing on top. Being a corpse in the pile isn’t nearly as much fun. I think that’s called the Trammel effect. Impact PvP is fun mostly for the top 10 percent. The other 90% tend to leave within three months.

  70. Mercury says:

    I agree with Twanni, but I’d venture a bit further and say that the other 90% won’t even show up. How many other MMO options did the original UO players have? Assuming the average player does not like being screwed and is playing the game in a constant state of fear, what are his other options at the time? Not a whole lot.

    Today is quite a bit different. That guy who wants to test the waters for hardcore PVP has a lot of choices. He’ll go back to WoW or Warhammer or Guild Wars. Or he’ll just read the description of the game and say “wait, when I get killed in PVP, I lose all my stuff?”. And that’ll be that.

    You can’t have a forest with all wolves.

    I’m not saying such a game can’t be fun, but it has to move further away from the “build n hoard” method of MMO’s. It might be a hell of a lot of fun if it’s closer to an FPS. Or your gear doesn’t matter that much, can be easily replaced, and has no real value. I’m not sure where the stickiness would come from (skillups?), but it seems workable.

    However, the game sounds like a regular DikuMUD with severe PVP impact from what I’ve seen. And that is going to suck. I disagree with Scott, I say it’s obvious as a flop within 30 days.

  71. D-0ne says:

    We all know normal people who are just seeking a challenge and who would enjoy a “good fight” are attracted to PvP. I also mentioned that normal players are more tolerant of the behaviors exhibited by sociopaths.

    Anyway, Wiki does a much better job explaining why sociopaths are a problem where ever they go than I can here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

  72. Gx1080 says:

    “Skill based system”, “items arent that important”, “you can choose up to 3 weapons that cant be taken from you”, “since beta it saids that 2-3 lowbies can kill a high level”, Christ try reading what others say first, this is basically the EVE gameplay with fantasy and more active combat.

    And that can work if they do their job. It isnt “doomed to fail” and it isnt a DikuMUD. Im not a fanboy but the lack of reading skill that shows some posts is depressing.

    And people in the internet arent sociopaths, they just can do wherever they want with no consequences see “internet fuckwad theory” for the scientific explanation ;).

  73. dartwick says:

    Also this game is probably going to be hax heaven – but when that drives people to quit Lum will say “See hardcore PVP doesnt work.”

  74. Bodak says:

    D-0ne :
    We all know normal people who are just seeking a challenge and who would enjoy a “good fight” are attracted to PvP. I also mentioned that normal players are more tolerant of the behaviors exhibited by sociopaths.
    Anyway, Wiki does a much better job explaining why sociopaths are a problem where ever they go than I can here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

    From that article you linked:

    Characteristics of people with antisocial personality disorder may include:
    Persistent lying or stealing
    Superficial charm
    Apparent lack of remorse or empathy; inability to care about hurting others
    Inability to keep jobs or stay in school
    Impulsivity and/or recklessness
    Lack of realistic, long-term goals — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals
    Inability to make or keep friends, or maintain relationships such as marriage
    Poor behavioral controls — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper
    Narcissism, elevated self-appraisal or a sense of extreme entitlement
    A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
    A history of childhood conduct disorders
    Recurring difficulties with the law
    Tendency to violate the boundaries and “rights” of others
    Substance abuse
    Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
    Inability to tolerate boredom
    Disregard for the safety of self or others
    People with a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder often experience difficulties with authority figures.
    ———-

    As I read over that list, I was reminded of the thousands of calls I took as a GM for UO (1999-2001). Those criteria pretty accurately describe most of the scammers and griefers I dealt with. They saw nothing wrong with their behavior, and rarely apologized to the victim. One of these people in your game can scare off an alarming number of “good” customers. If your game caters to these people, well…. good luck with it 😉

  75. […] Jennings makes a great point about why Darkfall won’t make it in the […]

  76. Nice ideas in your post. It seems however you forgot about Asheron’s call / Darktide.

    It s been played for years, with evolving pvp, politics making it a very nice game and server.

    K

  77. Davide says:

    How do you win a PvP game?

    You crush your opponent’s spirit. You kill them repeatedly, you hunt them mercilously, you take all their stuff, even their crappy stuff. You corpse camp them. You corpse camp them at level one. You leave them no safe haven.

    Best quote comes from Conan the Barbarian:

    “Mongol General: Hao! Dai ye! We won again! This is good, but what is best in life?
    Mongol: The open steppe, fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair.
    Mongol General: Wrong! Conan! What is best in life?
    Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.
    Mongol General: That is good! That is good.”

    You win by making everyone quit. Sounds like a winning recipe to me.

  78. Algaran says:

    Icefang,

    Scott’s memory is right on. Mordred and Andred absolutely exploded at first with 3+k population on either server in all but the most off-peak hours.

    Server popluations dropped dramatically within the first 2 weeks settling to very low population at the 2-3 month mark. This was well in advance of ToA. Yes, ToA was a horrible expansion within the context of DAoC, but it wasnt what killed Andred and wounded Mordred. The hardcore PvP ruleset did that all on its own.

  79. dartwick says:

    Or maybe it was that the rule set actively encouraged random ganking rather than simply allowing it.

    It was as if in the real world God pronounced you would get cool supernatural rewards for killing anyone you happened to meet.

  80. […] Don’t bitch and say I’m wrong.  Once you play the game for too long, you’ll know it. […]

  81. DaveN says:

    I posit that, at the end of the day, BG-style PVP and world-PVP are only fun for most players if you get something out of them that you get to keep for yourself. That is what MMOs are about: progressing your character in some fashion (items, skills, faction, or whatever).

    In any game based on character progression, taking away all of the things you can put at risk (items, XP earned a la EQ1, what have you) means taking away the reason people play MMOs instead of FPSs.

  82. sinij says:

    JuJutsu :
    @Sinij
    No, D-One never even implied any causation…that was you. Which game dou you think will attract the sociopaths, Darkfall or hello Kitty Online?

    Both in equal proportions. Show me any data that suggests otherwise.

  83. sinij says:

    Bodak :

    As I read over that list, I was reminded of the thousands of calls I took as a GM for UO (1999-2001). Those criteria pretty accurately describe most of the scammers and griefers I dealt with.

    Those criteria are so broad and imprecise (as the rest of psychology) that it won’t be a stretch to apply it to 2 out 3 gamers out there.

    Ever lost a job? Ever told a lie? Ever felt at a loss what to do next in your life? Ever had couple too many beers? Ever felt bored? All these things can qualify you as a sociopath.

  84. Akjosch says:

    Davide :
    How do you win a PvP game?
    You win by making everyone quit. Sounds like a winning recipe to me.

    The trick is, then, to make a game nobody can win. But also, a game you can “own” a part of.

    By the way – Conan is citing another magnificent bastard here, Genghis Khan.

  85. Votan says:

    I think it is something else all together. Open PVP servers/game will be fun off the bat as people are all clustered together often griefers will not be prevalent during this phase of the game because there is almost immediate retaliation by others for that type of behavior but as the server matures that will change. New accounts, trial accounts, people leveling alts (not in darkfalls case as you are only allowed 1 per server) once the mass’s have left the newbe grounds, you will have the leet folks with the maxxed out gear and skills in the newbe zone, quest spots, popular low level skill up spots that will kill off the any chance of growing the server population once the game matures. These types of players cannot compete in fair fights with appropriate level/skill so they will opt to grief others. With games now you usually have a 2-5 month maturity time to get the majority of your game population in the “max” level skill range you have the bored factor that will also further encourages this type of behavior.

    Most people do not mind a fair fight or the rush of fighting other players, what they mind is the griefing and abuse exploits in the game that promote this behavior. I am going by past experiences in other games (once server matures) where these people go through extra ordinary measures to ensure griefing. It happened in Ultima, it happened in EQ1 pvp server, EQ2 pvp servers, it happened in DAOC Mordred, it happened in Lineage 2 with constant noob griefing that stopped almost all new players from playing the game beyond the free time, and I sure had a lot of griefing in AOC as I did not play off the bat and was a decent amount behind the curve, with all the leet kiddies sending me I pwnd’ you tells after much higher levels one or 2 shotted me while solo; do not ever under estimate the drive of the leet to grief. Take you pick of other griefing from these games zone camping, portal camping, quest mob camping, graveyard camping, corpse camping, pvp flag baiting with a lower level toon to flag you pvp and then getting ganked by a near by max level….and lets not even talk about the wide spread nonstop fun Shadowbane was.

    I no longer have the patience, nor willing to invest the amount of time these games take to play in this kind of sandbox. Past history has shown that it only takes a small percentage of people who find it more enjoyable to ruin others fun (only those that have no chance of beating them) as the highlight of their gaming experience. And this small percentage of folk as pointed out unchecked will have devastating effect on the average gamers and any chance of growing the game population to replace those that will leave.

    If people played these games as intended then open pvp would be the most fun, I have never played a game where the open server/game was played that way or in the long term was “fun” and did not end up being on the short end of the stick with player population and most pvp games long term fun is keeping a robust player population and if you cut off new players from coming into your game then it is only a matter of time before the server game bleeds players that will in the end make the games fun for anyone.

    I hope they attract the correct player mix if the do not it will be a short lived game.

  86. Melf_Himself says:

    Scott Jennings :

    Melf_Himself :
    Hi,
    Try not to illogically jump to conclusions. Here is my response:
    http://word-of-shadow.blogspot.com/2009/02/pvp-qq-problem.html
    All the best.

    Your response illogically jumps to the conclusion that I asserted that “a PvP MMO can’t work”. Which, of course, I did not say, merely that there was a very specific bell curve of early adopters that flush early, and very specifically in reference to ‘hardcore’ ruleset PvP games.
    Thanks for using the usual “qq go back to wow carebare n00b” retort, though. Well played, sirrah.

    Sorry about my logic there, it was probably misguided by the part that was in bold:

    “…every PvP-centric MMO released to date has seen this”

    So, I seem to have mis-understood you. Clearly you believe that we have not had a well-made PvP MMO to date, and so therefore can not judge the merit of making future PvP MMO’s?

    (Yes, I agree that hardcore FFA PvP is a bad idea, and I probably won’t bother with Darkfall… but PvP-centric MMO’s in general? Come on)

  87. Having a bubble of users at a game’s launch does not mean the game itself is not well-made (in fact the entire point of the post is that the bubble at launch is a result of misplaced user expectations), or a long-term failure.

  88. Viz says:

    sinij :

    Bodak :
    As I read over that list, I was reminded of the thousands of calls I took as a GM for UO (1999-2001). Those criteria pretty accurately describe most of the scammers and griefers I dealt with.

    Those criteria are so broad and imprecise (as the rest of psychology) that it won’t be a stretch to apply it to 2 out 3 gamers out there.
    Ever lost a job? Ever told a lie? Ever felt at a loss what to do next in your life? Ever had couple too many beers? Ever felt bored? All these things can qualify you as a sociopath.

    Er, no. That list of symptoms doesn’t refer to one-off things. Nobody argues that getting drunk at that party that one time means you’re an alcoholic.

  89. Spitt says:

    Well written, I agree 100.3%

    When Asheron’s Call was at it’s peak, servers would have an average of 2000-3000 online. Darktide on the other hand had 200-300.

    Unfortunately, WoW players who happen to make up 90% of the gaming population, already feel they are hardcore PvP players. They do not realize that they actually play RvR, with little or no consequences. A 10% durability loss, is nothing, until all your gear even your pet polar bear, is wiped from your corpse and they are killed over and over, until absolutely NOTHING drops.

    I miss PvP servers such as Darktide, for a little adventuring into them, but PvP rules remain… Level fast, and avoid all others until you are the highest level possible. Bring a friend, or better yet, a group of friends when you level. And constantly mule your riches.

    I will of course check out Darkfall, but fear I will try out the PvE aspects, as I know I am not a hardcore PvP player.

    On the other hand, I am sure I will have an impact in the design of the game, just as I have had in many mmo’s with my special skill sets.

    rpg-exploiters.com

  90. Raph says:

    “Because every PvP-centric MMO released to date has seen this.”

    Except EVE. And Lineage. And…

    A lot really does depend on the details here.

  91. D-0ne says:

    sinij :

    JuJutsu :
    @Sinij
    No, D-One never even implied any causation…that was you. Which game dou you think will attract the sociopaths, Darkfall or hello Kitty Online?

    Both in equal proportions. Show me any data that suggests otherwise.

    Sorry. I can’t find a published dissertation on the subject. Would a study showing that anti-social people prefer and thrive in chaotic situations work?

  92. gyrus says:

    DaveN :
    … at the end of the day, BG-style PVP and world-PVP are only fun for most players if you get something out of them that you get to keep for yourself. That is what MMOs are about: progressing your character in some fashion (items, skills, faction, or whatever).
    In any game based on character progression, taking away all of the things you can put at risk (items, XP earned a la EQ1, what have you) means taking away the reason people play MMOs instead of FPSs.

    &
    Akjosch :

    Davide :
    How do you win a PvP game?
    You win by making everyone quit. Sounds like a winning recipe to me.

    The trick is, then, to make a game nobody can win. But also, a game you can “own” a part of.

    Interesting… so how do you explain World War II Online?
    (as a sub note I am waiting for one of the WWIIoL Devs to post – I know they visit here)
    I would suggest this theory on how to make PvP work in an MMO:
    MMO PvP depends on ‘player density’. Players need to be separated by time and space. IOW you need a ‘big world’ to prevent ‘ganksquads’ running riot. Ganksquads can be present – but if the world is too small to avoid them most of the time you are in trouble.
    PvP works best when combined with meaningful RvR (Realm vs Realm)
    Ownership and / or Character Progression can be a part of that – but does not have to be. In WWIIoL players play for the prestige of ‘winning the map’. In that case a win results in a map reset – but it is worth noting that that win is made up of many small victories (capturing towns) along the way so there is a temporary ‘ownership’ of sorts. But it is collective not individual.
    The last ingredient is the Community. PvP communities can be quite civil – adhering to honor codes which operate outside the mechanics of the game. But a bad community can cause an awful lot of damage to the point of destroying the game.

    And I agree with comments on the so-called ‘hardcore PvPers’.
    You should read OliverkfsoneSmith’s comments here http://www.brokentoys.org/2007/07/23/see-you-in-ultima-online-no-shadowbane-uh-daoc-hey-swg-wait-horizons-vanguard-darkfall-yeah-totally-see-you-in-darkfall-newb/comment-page-1/#comments
    WWIIoL is real Hardcore – one shot kills. You can die to some guy you never even saw. Maybe to some guy you never even stood a chance of fighting back against.
    But most ‘hardcore’ players don’t like that. They want a chance to react and fight back. But if you provide that then you lose an element of ‘realisim’ (whatever that is?) and hardcore.

    I think PvP can exist and work in MMOs (a number of Browser Based MMOs have working PvP and RvR too) but the more ‘hardcore’ you make it the more you have to include other elements to prevent mindless ganking.

    I also agree that a game that allows PvP is very different to a game which makes it the only way to play.

    As for Darkfall? Large world by all accounts? Races providing ‘realms’ of sorts? Player cities and towns which can be captured and owned?
    It might actually work… pity the community is so terrible.

  93. gyrus says:

    Oh and I should mention that making RvR work requires some kind of Population Balance mechanism – but that is a whole separate subject… although Darkfall does not appear to have this?
    Another strike against it.

  94. Vetarnias says:

    @gyrus
    Never tried WWII Online, but I find that concept of the one-shot intriguing. However, the hardcore seem to me that they love the idea of one-shots in fights — as long as they do it to others. Depends on whether you’re a PvPer or RvRer — based on what I’ve seen, the RvR guys love PvP because it comes with the territory (awful pun, I know), but I don’t see every PvPer bothering with the intricacies of factions beyond “can I attack him?”. RvR guys would probably love a game like WWII Online where it seems to be about actual group strategy. PvPers? Some might, some might not.

    But I have no idea how WWII Online manages the idea of levels and classes, or indeed if it has any.

    By the way, glad to see you around here.

  95. Longasc says:

    I could not agree more to this article. To some people, hardcore PvP means they kill everyone else without much danger. So they really need some “sheep” to feed on, which unfortunately will not agree on playing such a game. And if Killers have to kill Killers, the lamentations begin. Getting killed almost as often as killing someone else yourself and our cool kid turns into a whiny kid…^^

  96. sinij says:

    @ D-One

    Why do you think PvP in general could be described as “chaotic situation”? Most games I have PvPed in required great deal of team coordination, organization and practice to succeed. It might not seem this way looking from the outside in, but top EvE corps, top WoW arena teams, top SB guilds, top UO PK squads have lots in common – they are all highly organized and team-driven group of players. A lot of PvPers are aggressive in nature, but trying to misrepresent this as sociopathic behavior is intellectually dishonest.

  97. Akjosch says:

    WW2O is interesting in that “winning the game” also ends it. This is where it deviates from one of the more common feature of MMOs: It doesn’t have a persistent world.

    “Ownership of part of the world” doesn’t mean “personal ownership”, by the way. For a PvP game, it’s better to only allow organisations to own significant parts of it. Though player housing is nice and all, owning a whole city or any other structure with significant in-game benefits should be better left to a guild, clan, corporation or similar. That way, people have to band together to achieve end-game goals; cliques form, politics between them develop, and (gang) wars start to be the dominating PvP of the game instead of petty griefing.

    And yes, a PvP world should be downright huge. So you can walk away from the griefer and have a good chance never to see him again … but you still can’t walk away with your castle to avoid it getting captured by your enemies. Again, promote group vs. group warfare for desirable resources. Give the players something to fight for.

  98. EpicSquirt says:

    @sinij
    Thank you for defining the nature of PvP so nicely:

    (1) Highly organized group of players, with voice communications, forums, beta experience, spending a lot of time in game, etc.

    vs.

    (2) unorganized causals, communicating via in game chat.

    (1) wins vs. (2) most of the time, and does some chest clapping, if they lose, they blame (2) with zerging and will then try to zerg (2) each time (eternally) they meet them. On the rare occasion of (1) vs (1), the losing party will use denegation (e.g. see SirMolle & BoB getting their ass kicked each time in EVE when they meet a proper opponent and the following meta-gaming to keep the reputation as fearsome PvP’ers up). The ones who are organized and who will bow down to an enemy of the same class when they lost are the minority.

    In my opinion competitive PvP only happens in electronic sport leagues and only in games where everybody has access to the same stuff.

    I laughed often about people who thought that they were the Michael Jordans of DAoC, EVE or whatever.

    I never saw Michael Jordan signing up for the Paralympics and claiming that he kicked everybody’s ass there :o.

    As for Darkfall, I was interested in it, but I am not so sure now, the combat looks too fast paced to me, but in a negative way. Either I just saw speeded up videos or it’s all about perma-running and swinging your weapon into your enemy’s back.

    Movement and collision detection look broken.

  99. Akjosch says:

    @EpicSquirt
    Alle the unorganised causals from your group (2) need is a few people to lead and organise things to become one of group (1). And the willingness to be followers instead of order-givers, of course. It works quite well – especially in east Asian communities.

  100. Ethan says:

    I don’t think the fundamental problems that keep popping up in PvP MMOs will be solved until somebody introduces a PvP game designed around eventual permanent character death. (a certain number of lives)

  101. EpicSquirt says:

    @Akjosch
    I agree, though many don’t have the endurance to try it out and wait for the benefits.

    @Ethan
    Interesting, but I don’t see this happening due to lag/connection/crash to desktop problems.

  102. Twanni says:

    I would have to concur with Raph on Lineage as well as on ‘…’ which is unarguable, but Eve…
    Eve with most of the playerbase staying in the safe zones with very little PvP isn’t really an example of a PvP centric game. Unless you take centric to mean where is most of the drama coming from? But most drama comes from PvP servers in non PvP centric MMO’s as well. Eve is more a case for showing that full impact PvP can exist next to more carebear gameplay in a single game.

    Permadeath is another of those features that a lot of people only think they want, until they get what they wished for.

  103. Informis says:

    “A 10% durability loss, is nothing, until all your gear even your pet polar bear, is wiped from your corpse and they are killed over and over, until absolutely NOTHING drops.”

    That’s weaksauce. My personal vision for a hardcore PVP game is one that has no subscription fee, but charges the player’s credit card $5 for every respawn after death. You want consequences? How about not being able to pay your rent?

  104. Davide says:

    Interesting… so how do you explain World War II Online?

    MMORPG/FPS, the one shot kills make it much closer to an FPS.

    I’ve never played, never had an interest in it. I still recall Lum’s insanely funny transcript of trying to fire a gun in it.

    No levels, no investment in time, no attachment to the character. Low subscription numbers (around 10,000 from what i can tell), its a niche game.

  105. gyrus says:

    Davide :
    Interesting… so how do you explain World War II Online?
    MMORPG/FPS, the one shot kills make it much closer to an FPS.
    ….
    No levels, no investment in time, no attachment to the character. Low subscription numbers (around 10,000 from what i can tell), its a niche game.

    In some ways it is closer to an FPS…. but that depends on your definition really doesn’t it?
    I could argue that Tabula Rasa is a FPS too.
    Not to mention the number of recent ‘MMORPGs’ which I class as “Graphical Lobby Games”*
    There IS an investment in time and character advancement in WWIIoL – just not the norm of ‘levels’.
    Oh, and please define ‘niche’?
    Every MMO that is released now-a-days seems to be niche?
    PotBS, AoC, WAR, EvE and now Darkfall Fanbois are claiming niche status?

    * A GLG (Graphical Lobby Game) is one in which the players only meet in a Graphical Lobby which allows minimal interaction – like chat for example.
    All other interactions. Dueling, PvP and actual game play are conducted in instances. PotBS and The Agency would be examples of this style of game.

  106. Triforcer says:

    Are people still flogging the “PvP=sociopath irl” stuff? The SWG 2001 pre-beta boards called, they would like their rage-fueled, poorly reasoned meme back.

    I might as well say that PvEers play MMOs because they have to retreat into fantasy because they can’t handle real people in real life because they are all autistic, or that if you read manga you secretly lust for “women” of an illegal age.

    Can we just stop assuming every playstyle we don’t like has sekret crippling psychological issues? Maybe, just maybe, like any other hobby on the earth, people like doing different stuff. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to accuse my neighbor of fantasizing about stabbing people since he likes to mow his lawn, and lawnmowers have blades.

  107. Sullee says:

    I love these topics that really bring the experts out.

    Spot on Lum.

    I’ve observed the delusions of PvP grandeur shattered by wolves not getting off on killing wolves cycle since before Mordred.

    I don’t think we should be surprised that there are devs willing to dive head-first when you look at the number of players who despite having repeated the cycle themselves before insist it won’t be that way ‘this time’.

  108. Vetarnias says:

    Sullee :
    I love these topics that really bring the experts out.
    Spot on Lum.
    I’ve observed the delusions of PvP grandeur shattered by wolves not getting off on killing wolves cycle since before Mordred.
    I don’t think we should be surprised that there are devs willing to dive head-first when you look at the number of players who despite having repeated the cycle themselves before insist it won’t be that way ‘this time’.

    At the same time, I’m quite glad in a way that there are still developers out there who don’t have the “let’s make the next WoW” motto written on a Post-It note glued to their monitor.

  109. Dan Gray says:

    I can’t say I agree, Scott. I think there are legions of people out there who could enjoy a PvP oriented MMO, as soon as someone releases one that isn’t terrible.

    It’s to justify your blanket statements regarding PvP when you can look at the RTS and FPS genres, which are almost entirely PvP when it comes to online play. Different genre, yes, but I think it just goes further to prove my point that MMOs simply haven’t done it right yet.

    I’d say most MMOs simply do not work well with PvP mechanics. They have been designed from the ground up for a fun PvE experience with PvP as an afterthought, and it is obvious. Neither are the development team prepared to support them like a PvP game needs to be supported, with constant balance updates, tournaments, prizes… etc.

    I played Guild Wars for nearly four years, and 90% of my time was spent participating in PvP. I was no anomaly either, there was a huge chunk of the player base who spent most of their time PvPing. I’ve bounced around other MMOs for a similar experience, but have yet to find any that are up to par.

    Guild Wars certainly wasn’t amazing, but the development team had made the right decisions on some very tough choices to make the PvP work. In how many other MMOs can you roll a max level character of any class, with maxed out gear and any skills, from day one? How many other MMOs have set up their own Automated Tournament system, and held championships with $500,000 cash prizes? How many others have done an emergency patch on a sunday at 4:00 am for a single imbalanced skill?

    Sure, it’s not the classic UO/Darkfall definition of hardcore PvP, though I believe it is in fact a more accurate reflection of what hardcore PvP should be. It doesn’t have ganking, looting, or much griefing, but it’s the only version of PvP that I have seen work as a major asset of an MMO.

  110. Guido Jones says:

    Cayle :

    You would be surprised by how many “normal” people are sociopaths. They keep their offline greifing to a minimum because there are consequenes. There are no real consequences online and they are free to be how they really are.

    Not really, sine “sociopath” isn’t really a defined term. Just becuase you don’t feel remorse for killing a online avatar doesn’t make you a “sociopath” – they are after all games.

  111. Todd Ogrin says:

    It’s something of a shame that, for many MMO PVPers, good old-fashioned “losing” is no longer a consequence severe enough to be considered worthy of their attention. Losers must not only lose, but also suffer in some tangible, “meaningful” way. Thank you, persistent world!

  112. JuJutsu says:

    “Losers must not only lose, but also suffer in some tangible, “meaningful” way.”

    Gee, if there were only a term to describe a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others. Something that captures lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

  113. Nakki says:

    Darkfall is awful and it’ll lose subscriptions. Not only because of what the blog post said is atleast somewhat true, but because the best analogy for the game would be a gold nugget under hundreds of meters of mud.

    It is possible the gold nugget will be uncovered some day, but it is more likely that people will get bored digging or won’t find it at all.

  114. Nakki says:

    Oh, yes, by the way, I got banned from the beta and game forums after giving constructive criticism on public boards (after the NDA dropped) so I am probably quite biased now.

  115. gyrus says:

    JuJutsu :
    “Losers must not only lose, but also suffer in some tangible, “meaningful” way.”
    Gee, if there were only a term to describe a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others. Something that captures lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

    I think the whole ‘death penalty’ is misunderstood.
    The trick is – in any game – to make the penalty meaningful yet not completely debilitating and demoralizing.
    As an example – consider Chess.
    When you capture a piece you get that piece and that piece only. You do NOT get all the pieces on adjacent squares as well. If chess had been designed that way it would have died a quick death.
    On the other hand, when a piece is captured it is removed from the board for the rest of the game – it is not returned to its initial placement square. Again, had the game been designed that way it would also have failed.
    The loss of one piece does not have to mean the end of the game. But, at the same time it hurts and has a real tangible effect on the remainder of the game.
    I think the problem with many PvP MMOs is that there is no ‘death penalty’. The loser simply re-spawns and returns to the fight. In some games there is a loss of time although the recent trend is to reduce even this to a minimum? This leaves the ‘winner’ without a victory and the ‘loser’ with no penalty.
    The trick is to find a balance players are prepared to accept as fair.

  116. Tom says:

    Todd Ogrin :
    It’s something of a shame that, for many MMO PVPers, good old-fashioned “losing” is no longer a consequence severe enough to be considered worthy of their attention. Losers must not only lose, but also suffer in some tangible, “meaningful” way. Thank you, persistent world!

    Good old-fashioned for many people going into Darkfall is “Losers must not only lose, but also suffer in some tangible, “meaningful” way.”

    Welcome to a game that is going to be full of people from Great Lakes, Lake Superior, Atlantic, Origin and Europa servers in UO as well as many from Shadowbane and AC.

  117. Psycle says:

    “pvp in daoc was an after thought.”

    Stopped reading right there

    Way to throw your credibility right out the window.

  118. Viz says:

    @Dan Gray
    Except that I bought Guild Wars when it first came out, and it most certainly did not let you roll a max level character with any skills. Either playing the PVE parts or tons of grinding was required to obtain skills a la carte. You could enter battles with a skill kit designed by some very good PVPers, but the trouble was that those kits were designed to work with specific partners, with the result being that you got randomly matched with people who invariably did not have complementary skill sets, and there was nothing you could do (short of playing from level 1 or the aforementioned massive amount of PVP grinding) to make a more “neutral” build that would work satisfactorily with some unknown teammate.

  119. Hatch says:

    Todd Ogrin :
    It’s something of a shame that, for many MMO PVPers, good old-fashioned “losing” is no longer a consequence severe enough to be considered worthy of their attention. Losers must not only lose, but also suffer in some tangible, “meaningful” way. Thank you, persistent world!

    You do need something more, otherwise you are just playing halflife. In which case why are you paying $15/month?

    In DAOC I didn’t enjoy destroying new or bad players unless the odds were ridiculous. 8v50+ was about the minimum before I would enjoy destroying a zerg of bad players, and I would chalk up the challenge to the “look how many people they had” thing. The embarrassment of them having the entire zerg killed by our 2 or 3 DPSers was enough. When it came to good players I could collect more points for them (because they were higher rank and died less).

    Honestly, nothing ever replaced a good old fashioned looting like we had in UO. I miss the days of finding a small guild down in a really tough dungeon and helping them out by dragging the worst monsters in the dungeon to them. Actually, looting accomplished two things… it made sure you were fighting a person and not his gear (hello WOW!) and it also made sure there was a risk/reward. Too many games out there have none of this.

  120. Hawken says:

    I knew the minute this game was about to come out and I haven’t said a word about it even though I have been testing it for 2 years now, is that it would be quite hysterical.

    I am not a spokesman for the company, or the game. What I can tell you is that none of the feedback or what people think about the game will EVER matter to the people who designed it. This is how they want it, they don’t want 8 million users. They were a bunch of old time UO scrappers.(man there was a lot of euro-programmers that played uo, the only ones I ever remembered that hated dying so much were the Germans)

    This game has been made for the people who enjoyed watching and looking over there shoulders in UO, enjoyed the heart pounding, no rules, lose your stuff, lose your house, start over, get some friends come back and kill, vigilante style, open world, fuck you pvp.

    Many of us will play it, many will try it, many will whine about it, many will try and change it. But seriously no one gives a shit what you think. And the funny thing is the game is more stable and has been more stable for a year now than Warhammer has been after almost a year.

    Pretty sad considering the budgets of the 2 games.

    Its ALOT easier to build and add to a stable engine, then to some daoc2 clone that can barely handle 60 on 60 battles in this day and age when EQ could put a hundred in a zone a decade ago and have the same lag.

  121. JuJutsu says:

    @Hawken

    Did they use their own money or someone elses money? If it’s someone elses money then what the designers want becomes secondary to what the owners want. Owners are generally interested in making money.

  122. Rekuul says:

    Hit the brakes. Back up. Lets try not to look at Mordred/Andred’s initial popularity as though everyone was sporting rose colored glasses. A lot of people understood that DAoC was in *no way* designed to be an FFA game. On top of this, nearly everyone understood that there were vast class imbalances and even more significant level advantages that would come into play on an FFA ruleset server.

    Sure, people gave it a shot because it *might* have been cool, but anyone who paused to think about it should have realized that grinding levels in an FFA PvP in a game where levels meant everything was going to be a hellacious experience for anyone who wasn’t rolling deep 24/7. The fact is the hardcore community has been so desperate for a game catered to us that we will take nearly anything offered, and that includes abortions like DAoC Mordred.

    The comparison you’re making, while not entirely misguided, has flaws as at a very basic level. There will always be those that can’t handle losing loot or having their e-progress otherwise halted; but with the options that exist in the market today their needs are almost entirely sated by titles like WoW.

    On the other side of the fence Eve has very substantial penalties for death and they have continued to grow slowly but surely, year after year. Will there be some initial Darkfall bloat and fall-off? Definitely. But the ability of the devs to address major issues is what long term success will hinge on, just like any other game.

    Short Version: Don’t confuse what hardcore players are willing to try for what they’ve been looking for all along.

  123. chimp says:

    3 months until DF implodes on itself? Pretty sweeping statement. I bet a lot of people will play the game and realise it isnt to their tastes. But there are a lot of people out there who do enjoy the game.

    Speaking from beta experience, the game is awesome sauce. Everything has a sense of achievement and reward due to the ease of which it can be lost – but its not a 24/7 gank fest. The world is huge, and there are lengthy runs to get to various interest zones, which spreads players out.

  124. Siege says:

    Gotta agree with Scott….most people think they want the kind of hardcore ruleset Darkfall represents but reality sets in pretty quickly once they’re actually playing it. And the reality is…most people aren’t going to pay $15 a month to be subjected to abuse.

    I’ll always have a special fondness for UO but the age of innocence in which it first appeared is long since past. Many who played recall it fondly but they also swear never again.

    I think PvP centric games can be made to work but developers are still experimenting with the rulesets and trying to find that elusive combination that has broad appeal and makes for a great game. There have been games with some interesting ideas but none have hit the mark yet the way World of Warcraft hit the PvE mark. Someday a developer will stumble upon that magic combination but I doubt anarchistic free for all pvp games will be it.

  125. @Psycle:

    I suppose with PvP in that context Scott did not refer to RvR but exclusively to the DAoC PvP Dred servers, and Camlann in the case of Europe.

    I did play on Camlann for nearly a year and my impression was that players left the server mainly because of a combination of issues such as regular camping of teleport spots, regular bashing of low level toons, and probably mostly due to the absence of any remotely meaningful PvP, which on standard DAoC servers would have been the wonderful RvR concept, relic raids included. So yes, (free-for-all) PvP in DAoC was an afterthought and poorly implemented indeed.

    Free-for-all PvP is a completely different thing than the consensual PvP you’ve got on DAoC standard servers, or even WoW for that matter.

    In NA/Europe there are some MMOs that have a PvP system that do work on a consensual basis, and successful ones it seems. Free-for-all PvP on the other hand so far only seems to work great in Asia and maybe okay in a couple of other countries such as Greece or Russia (which is both, Europe and Asia).

    Shadowbane had other issues than the PvP concept, poor movement options (which the absence of WASD or other keyboard movement options is; in NA/Europe) and major stability issues to say the least. Actually the game needed major improvements on almost every level, so in the case of Shadowbane I couldn’t blame the PvP concept.

    Mourning/Realms of Krel/Whatever… was a whole different story anyway.

    Dedicated PvP servers in most other modern MMOs are just the same as in DAoC, meaningless afterthoughts.

    Fury was a different story, more like Guild Wars and with consensual PvP, but unfortunately it was just… boring, so it failed.

    I still see plenty of room for a well done PvP centric MMO, but it has to be done right, and with goals to go for (just like in any successful FPS). Some interesting PvE options would definitely come beneficial in an MMO as well. Maybe in such a game even character death could be made fun or satisfying in some way (think high score lists or TF2 death screenies!).

  126. Erm, actually Russia “is part of” to Europe and of Asia and isn’t Europe and Asia. Had to correct this before someone else comments on that… 🙂

  127. Martin Schoch says:

    Dan Gray :
    I can’t say I agree, Scott. I think there are legions of people out there who could enjoy a PvP oriented MMO, as soon as someone releases one that isn’t terrible.

    I guess EVE Online qualifies – it has both PvE and PvP, with the most attractive resources in areas where PvP is completely open. Last published subscriber numbers were around 230k, and based on the somewhat higher server populations I guess it is 250k or more today.

%d bloggers like this: