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Heroes vs Villains in UO

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Jhym, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. Jhym

    Jhym Guest

    This is long, so read at your peril....

    Morgana Lefay brought up this quote from Raph Koster:
    I started to write up a response in the thread, then thought, hm.. isn't this an interesting topic in general?

    The problem being, that if you don't provide the "good" and the "bad" folks with consistent ways to deal with their opposites, that allows everyone to be that "Hero" or "Villain", then you end up with everyone unhappy.

    The inherent belief is that people will band together to fight the Villains, or that Villains will lay careful plans to thwart the Heroes. IT NEVER HAPPENS THAT WAY WITH REAL HUMANS UNLESS IT IS "ROLE PLAYED" or "SCRIPTED", IN OUR CURRENT GAME.

    Instead, you get Heroes attempting to protect their friends and charges, who are beaten constantly by folks who aren't Villains, but just like to kill them for the thrill. And fighting them just lends to the killers' fun and excitement, not always for the protectors.

    You have to have overriding reasons for people to BECOME heroes and villains. Something they are striving for OR that they are told to do. Something that you can approve of and help, or disapprove of and thwart. And associated fame or infamy to go with it. A lot of the pking that goes on hasn't reflected that, but is just killing to get a kill shot or because they are bored or to pick up a flag or cash.

    Even the ones who role play the bandit or evil lord somewhat don't do it in an way that lets you decide whether to "play" or not.

    You are chopping wood in a forest, as you've done every day for weeks. All of a sudden, someone comes out of the blue and kills you. Doesn't bother doing anything else, says nothing, doesn't offer any reasoning. So.... I'm supposed to be upset? Angry? Hurt?

    Actually, I'm confused. Anytime a supposed "villain" pker kills a crafter, I have to really question their intent. Most times crafters have little on them these days. If they do, they are in Trammel anyway. The crafter has nothing to go on, no one she can contact to deal with the person... and no idea when or where to do anything about it anyway. So... no warning, no explanation, just random killing for nothing.

    That's supposed to be a villain or hero situation?

    And then there's the cold-war going on with items and skillsets. You may consider yourself a Hero. You may have good equipment, GM or better skills, know your way around a dungeon or two, and have protected some folks in many raids. But all it takes is some odd grouping of skills that gives someone a full on advantage and you are useless, no matter how good you are.

    Anyone that BECOMES powerful, a "hero" or "villain" as a skillset and playstyle tends to be nerfed to oblivion within a couple of patches.

    Those that have been around the game since the beginning all may have different ideas on what constitutes Heroism and Villainy, sometimes in the same household.


    There is also the underlying background for real Heroism and Villainy --- the inherent human problem that you might DIE. You can't be a Hero or Villain if you can just walk around the corner and lose the cape and go back to being normal Nancy. Heroes have a history, work hard, live hard, and evade the worst thrown at them with skill, bravery and hardness of character. It can be argued that Villains are the same, just working for alternate purposes.

    So, how does Heroism and Villainy meld into a world where you CAN'T truly die? We end up with kill points and people dancing around moongates showing off their fancy moves. Even if you counted skill and stat reduction as a restriction, no one keeps track of such things so that you could say "wow, Johnny has taken so much skill and stat reduction over his life, but still comes back to fight again... he is a real Hero".

    However, there is also the fact that Heroism (and villainism) tend to be given by others, not by the person doing the events in question. You jump in front of a dragon and take the brunt of it's attacks... but you have the best armor and skillset and are EXPECTED to do so. I think Heroism and Villainy is unexpected, unrequired, and given to others.

    What would everyone do if Heroism and Villainy were something added into the mix to be given by others? If certain actions and events led to you gaining in H or V from those around you and thus showing that your character was that sort of person? How would folks react to a character venue that allowed you to be a Hero or Villain, with major bonuses and capabilities, but that once your character dies, it is deleted?

    Most of what folks do in this game they consider being a hero or villain. However, it's small potatoes for the most part. What if you had to be careful, watch what you did, show people your bravery in the face of potential real loss, with the commensurate rewards and feelings?
     
  2. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    I fully agree with Raph Koster on this one.

    Today, most game designers know that the coexistence of good and evil in the same world is an essential feature of any MMORPG. It is what welds players together, forms communities, creates unlimited adventures. Implementing artificial PvP boundaries, like PvP switches or PvP zones, destroys all that and only proves that the game designer was not able to come up with realistic solutions.

    The original idea of UO was that players would govern themselves, and game mechanics should interfere as little as possible with the player's choice between good and evil. This would form communities, cause players to stick together and take sides. While the idea was great in theory, it didn't work out too well. UO was haunted by rampant player killing, griefing and cheating, causing many players to leave the game.

    Today, Felucca still allows unlimited mass-murdering and player griefing, while Trammel is home to players who want to play a risk-free item-based game. The splitting of the world caused a lot of communities to break apart and fade. It opened Felucca as a niche for players who had fun with mass-murdering and who could afford the necessary equipment, and banned the rest of the players into a world without risk and challenge and without the necessity of player interaction. The original concept had been destroyed for good.

    There are some ideas about how this could be changed. The point is, we all know that the Trammel/Felucca split was a bad idea, but we also don't want the days of unlimited player griefing back (except, maybe, the griefers). It is time for the game designers to come up with a good solution.
     
  3. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    The thing that Raph misses is that there are just games. Playing evil in a game is just that, playing. So the percentages of those willing to "play" evil shoot way up from RL evil.

    The other thing is a two sided coin.

    1) If you want people to play at societal things in a game, you need to give them societal things to build on. Games have yet to really find that. There's very little need that can't be found at the auction houses. There's no caravans that vastly increase productivity to protect. There's no bank robberies. There's no kingdoms to defend.

    2) There has to be a way not only to defeat "evil", but to prevent it's continuation. Players have to have the means to stop it, not just on a single incident basis, but in the long term.

    Lets take a look now at what happened in UO.
    PKers had no reason not to PK. It's easy to PK, there are too many ways to stack the deck for the "win". Let a player get down in hit points fighting a MOB then kill him/her. Gank. Scout for these two primary means to success. Use abuses (Wall of Fire inside Dungeon entrances, anyone?)
    Meanwhile, the "good" guys can fight back, but at the moment their odds are very low, and putting together a retaliation party often can't catch up to the "bad" guys.
    So, overall, the "evil" far outweighs the "good", and all the loot tends to end up in the hands of "evil". And loot=win for these players.
    On the other side of the coin, the good guys soon realize that they have no defense, and that evil will continue. They cannot win in either the loot aspect, or in the game play, as they are constantly assaulted and faced with evil in the game. Over and over again. Loss of reward, loss of game play, loss of what they want and work for. And it couldn't be stopped without a justice system that really worked.

    They tried various forms of Justice. But they always forgot that "evil" being played cannot be treated as the other end of the same scale. They always forgot that "evil" should not have the same rights as "good". Forgetting this, they forgot that PUNISHMENT is the only way to prevent the continuation of "evil". Just as meeting out punishment is the only way for a societal system to enforce it's defense.
     
  4. Evlar

    Evlar Guest

    The biggest single problem with UO now, is that it's not about good versus evil, it's not about causes, it's not about role-play...

    ...it's about items and "winning".

    I'm fully aware that is a very sweeping statement, so no need to flame me for what it suggests.

    There are still pockets of good faction activity. I've seen as such on Great Lakes, where faction battles, capturing sigils and towns is still active. But on Europa though, it's non-existant. The main reason for joining a faction, is for items, or mass joining of the same faction, to PvP without stat-loss or consequence.

    The introduction of Trammel split communities, created niches (as has already been suggested) of players with completely different viewpoints and even widespread animosity towards the play-style of either of those groups. Instead of having causes that could bring communities together, that change drove them further apart.

    There are still active role-playing communities around different shards, but they too are deminishing. Roleplaying in an environment where others can ruin it so easily (see threads about EM events), is hardly condusive to it's growth or that of any "cause" they might be interested in supporting.

    The combination of extremely high strength "items", along with certain skills on templates, has made it possible for individuals to fight and win, against the toughest creatures, alone, without the aid or need for other players around them. This takes away a big chunk of the need to interact with other players and any sense of "community".

    In short, current UO doesn't seem to know either what it is, or what it really wants to be. It's a mixture of concepts which stem from original ideas, combined with those of other different games, including other genres. A sandbox game still, but one in need of a sense of direction.

    That needs to come from both the players and the developers.

    Sadly for me, interest in the game as it is has greatly deminished. I still enjoy spending time simply playing the game and adventuring with other players, yet I feel like there's nothing to aim for, no cause to participate in, other than gathering wealth and items. This is I'm afraid, where UO has failed.

    If I want to play as a PK/murderer, this should not be a decision I should take lightly. I should be aware that I should suffer severe consequences for my actions, (incremental) time in gaol (*cough* "jail" for my American friends ;) ), where my character is rendered unplayable until release, eventually even the threat of finality... permanent death or execution. I forget which town it's in, but there's a guillotine in one of the towns. What for? No npc or players will ever face this "final solution". If I'm to play such an "evil" character, then it certainly shouldn't be an easy path to tread.

    Same applies if I were to play as a thief. I should face consequences for my actions. Gaol time (incremental), fines, removal of stolen items if I'm caught... if I'm not caught, then I'm proficient in my chosen "trade". How should I be regarded though? Should I be viewed as "evil" for theiving, or just an unfortunate who's chosen path is enforced by poverty? Is my aim to steal from anyone and everyone, from rival guilds or factions, or for a greater "cause" (Robin Hood anyone... was he "evil"?). A grey area indeed, deserving a "grey" status. Only, this would change if I were to cause the death of one I had stolen from, thus becoming a PK/murderer, facing the aforementioned consequences.

    Would I play as either of these character types, knowing that they could face long periods of inactivity in prison, or even face the "final solution" of death as punishment?

    Yes... I might. Because they would be a challenge. Knowing the challenge of assuming those "roles" within game society, I would fully expect to be in a minority, because it wouldn't be the "easy" option to play.

    And so we come to the sterile, safe, flaccid world that UO has become, ever revolving around the aquisition of items. Where there are no real causes, systems of justice (because there's no real laws), reasons to participate fully, other than those in game fiction, over which we have no real control.
     
  5. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    Extremely well thought out post there Evlar (as an aside where have you been?)

    I don't like the item based world that UO has become either. I hate that to be "good" in this game the requirements now are a sampire and all the best artifacts.

    While I don't necessarily agree with your comments about pvp and thieves I do agree that the sense of community that made UO great seems to be shrinking faster than its subscription numbers.
     
  6. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    And that's the crux of the problem. How do you "Punish" players and keep them interested? Logic dictates that since this entire activity is one that is completely optional, eventually you reach a tipping point where there is no real reward to balance the punishment for an activity of leisure.

    So how do you make someone play a game that "Punishes" you for your activities?

    The short answer is you can't, unless they gain something that makes the punishment tolerable.

    You need to make a system of advantages and disadvantages, not rewards and punishments, as there is a marked difference. Access to specific types of content, "fluff" features such as titles, dies, housing sets, etc., and separate systems that are fairly balanced need to be available on both sides for the equation to balance out.

    Maybe something along the lines certain colors and cities or lands are only accessible if you are red, others only if you are blue, or if you have so many red kills, or so high a kill count.. Some kind of metric that you can easily measure, is easily understandable, elective, and can be reversed over time by the player..

    Not a simple problem, and there will be no simple answer. People who wish to stay "Neutral" are another issue.
     
  7. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    Personally I don't see why Reds cant enter Ilsh - the place is mostly deserted anyway. All they have to do is allow reds to enter ilsh who will show red but not be attackable by players nor able to attack other players. If some kind of consequence was needed make it so that they cant get ANY rewards from Champ spawns in ilsh and thus have to do the champs in fel to get anywhere.
     
  8. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    There's two ways to go here, and it depends entirely on what kind of game you want and how you see it.

    1) If you want the game to be simpler in social terms, like UO used to be (and it's pretty damning that that was "simple", and todays game is even less) then you need to accept that you are going to lose players from one side or another.
    1a) UO chose to lose players that weren't PKer griefers, and Trammel was the result.
    1b) The other option would be to lose PKer griefers. Those who can't live without PKing people who are at such a defensive disadvantage as I explained in my first post. And barring a drastic remake as I'm about to point out in (2), this is where UO needs to go at this point.

    2) By adding all the societal aspects as I pointed out in the first post...

    1) If you want people to play at societal things in a game, you need to give them societal things to build on. Games have yet to really find that. There's very little need that can't be found at the auction houses. There's no caravans that vastly increase productivity to protect. There's no bank robberies. There's no kingdoms to defend.
    .........

    you can expand this from a good vs. evil to a much better world with gray area between.
    A player built city might have a desperate need for resources (maybe they will lose some trained NPC hirelings for lack of food), and decide to raid another player city's warehouses. Even though knowing that it opens them up to a war. Even though they know that any murders committed in the act will not go unpunished.

    But this would take a really deep world system. It would take WoW like money to build. And require people with real vision, and that's something that's hard to come by.
     
  9. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    This sounds so much like WoW, raiding other towns and factions. Yes factions should be raided and sigils stolen etc but don't make the whole game about this. UO was never about raiding in the WoW sense of things. UO is freedom and community.

    As said previously there needs to be an integration of the community reds and blues involved together in some way that means the carebears (like me) can avoid the pvp while at the same time life is brought back to pvp and fel.

    Long time vets are fed up with the lack of community spirit in UO and part of the reason is its all item based and with the sampire template meaning groups are not needed for most things it takes away yet another reason to team up.
    The one good thing WoW does manage is the need for group play.
     
  10. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    Agreed it would take a really deep world system to fully realize a world that dynamic, but there are small ways to start.

    We have, what, 3 "Factions"? That's the starting point - It's not enough, be it involving, complex, or rewarding to partake in, especially since it's based soley on PvP.

    Why not have loyalty ratings for ALL cities? Each city would have some sort of benefit for being loyal to it, with lots of fun fluff stuff (Titles, clothing, dye colors, character-specific use only like Talismans, or Bind on Pickup in general MMO terms). Why not have upkeeps that must be paid in ways that compliment other styles besides PvP? Why not turn in resources for loyalty rating? (Cap the allowable amount per day/account/character/whatever to avoid scripting). Killing players of other cities gives points towards upkeep as well as smart turn-ins, and if you don't upkeep? Well.. Say goodbye to the NPC vendors and titles that the upkeep ensured. You just gave purpose and a goal for all forms of activity in UO that will have the added benefit of strengthening a community.

    There is plenty of vision for simple things that can be done to build towards more involving, detailed worlds with choices, consequences, Heroes and Villains... Lack of vision is hardly ever the problem...

    The problems are implementation of those ideas, the money to do it (either from your corporation or other investors), and player acceptance. Population is another concern..
     
  11. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Kayne, what I'm talking about is nothing like WoW. That game has lousy social aspects beyond a message board with points, and controls every aspect of what you do.

    This is all about freedom, of choice, and with implications of consequences that again, depend on player choice through a societal mechanism simulating real life choices and history.
     
  12. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    Actually, I think we're both referring to something much deeper than WoW ever offered.

    There really wasn't much of a benefit to invading other towns and factions aside from grinding honor back in the day, or achievements these days.

    We want something that people bond together to do for the long term, to take ownership of the world we live in some small way, with consequences and choices to make.

    Raiding in WoW is basically meaningless aside from the two reasons above.. Oh, and just to **** off the other faction by killing their quest NPC's of course. :)
     
  13. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Coldren, I think you're on to something. Yes, staging it up to the end result might just work. And that would help a lot in the "vision" department, due to the stages.

    I might go through all your ideas and think it through and participate. But to be honest, this sort of thing has always been a waste of time, and it likely would be again. I just don't have faith anymore, I guess. So I might not get too involved because of this.
     
  14. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    I fully appreciate what both of you are aiming at, its similarity to WoW does appear to stop at raiding since as you correctly state in WoW its all about the honor points or achievements - if i wanted to show off achievements I would do that on Call of Duty or the Xbox where every game has achievements.

    While I also like what you guys are suggesting the scripters will script it regardless, also some players will complain that they have limited game time to worry about the upkeep of towns etc. Of course your idea appears to include pvp and while im not against it I don't do it and so would need a meaningful way to particpate too.

    An idea to expand on your suggestion is to have an invasion system for the carebears where if town loyalty drops an invasion will come in - nothing major like the town invasions we had as part of events. But a visual sign that loyalty was dropping. No items to be gained from killing the monsters since we have enough items dropping everywhere else. If the loyalty drops further - because people cant be bothered to fight - then NPC's in that town vanish until the loyalty is restored. This would affect EVERY town except Haven since thats the new player town.
    The invasion would kind of be along the idea that the villains think "ah this town is empty/disloyal etc we will invade" that way it satisfies the need for some kind of story to it. Rather than just a random happening
     
  15. Evlar

    Evlar Guest

    See, I can't compare UO to other MMO's, simply because I've not played any others. None have appealed to me enough I'm afraid.

    The potential is what kept me playing UO. The lack of realisation of that potential, is what's pretty much stopped me playing :(

    Sadly, UO has become more and more like the other MMO's that didn't appeal to me in the first place.
     
  16. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    I gave up on the idea a long time ago, but it's an interesting topic to discuss.

    In the end, it's not up to us what UO does or becomes - It's up to the devs, and they think it's just dandy, or they are bound and can't change it in such ways.

    So when all is said and done, it is what it is and it's whatever we make of the experience. No sense in stressing over something we can't change.
     
  17. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    Again, in the end, scripters are a problem now, and people complain now.. This won't ever change.

    That's not to say the impact of them can't be minimized, it's just that the devs have yet to really do it in a way that doesn't harm legit players at the same time. Time caps are really the only solution to it, especially since they limited trial accounts. And since benefits wouldn't necessarily be able to be sold in the first place, and would be bound to the character that receives them..

    Well, there are ways. But I'm not going to dwell on it.

    Also, the whole point of the upkeep is a collective issue, not the actions of just one player, but a host of them. Individual play time and contribution is secondary to the actions of the collective community. But as stated, crafters and PvE'ers would be able to contribute too. It's all about how it's implemented, and Factions as it stands is almost solely PvP driven.. Which is why it isn't as popular as it could be.
     
  18. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    I think the ideas presented are interesting but the devs are the ones we need to convince, but what happens if we manage to convince them and they think they have a better idea and we hate it, we are stuck with it.

    Well they reckon they have a solution to speedhacking in the works so maybe the whole scripter problem is going to be attacked soon too (ofc I'm not holding my breath)
     
  19. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    And that's why I don't dwell on it too much. Fun to discuss, but it'd never happen. We can't drive the Devs, the Devs drive us. That's the way it's always been, with small exceptions on even smaller scale.
     
  20. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    Sorry, didn't comment on this last time, but that is also an excellent idea.. NPC invasions tied to upkeep (Loyalty is player rating, and dictates what a player can get for being involved). But yeah, read my link in my response to Trebr.. I'd add this to it, but the thread is pretty much dead.

    And Hawkeye also had a lot of great ideas... Just once again, they're never going to happen.
     
  21. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    The ideas in that thread are certainly interesting, again I don't necessarily agree with all of them but its clear from reading that and your comments in this thread that you are passionate about UO.

    Your auction house idea is one I'm against, purely because this would destroy the community created auction houses and events that have traditionally been tied to them.
     
  22. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    I think I might have never happened... :lol:

    "We've all been laughed at one time in our lives. We've all been jealous of someone. We have felt pain and suffered, just as he has suffered. And we've all longed - just once - for the power to crush our enemies. We pity him. We hate him. We fear him - all because there is a little of him in each of us, though we admit it to ourselves only in the darkest part of the night."

    -Justarius
     
  23. Mark_Mythic

    Mark_Mythic UO Legend
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    This thread is near and dear to my heart and I wanted to chime in.

    The problem with “bad” in video games is that it always ends up being more interesting than “good.” There is more “game” in bad.

    For example, a friend and I participated in a play test of a new alpha game last week, for the sake of this story I will call my friend James. James made the observation that the most fun he had in the alpha was at a point where there was this lever that opened the gate to the next room. Another play tester would pull the lever and open the door, then the guy would walk to the door and James would pull the lever and close the door before he could get through. The guy wasn’t making the connection and thought he just wasn’t being quick enough so he kept running back and forth and it was cracking James up.

    Another example, there was a puzzle that involved stepping on these buttons in the floor in a certain order. Another tester with me figured out that if he stood on one particular square no one could complete the puzzle so he parked there and sat back and laughed. In this particular game, no one could push him off the square. I just stood there and acted like I was hitting him with my mace because I knew he was doing it just because it was funny. I was only slightly annoyed because I knew the guy and if I really wanted him off I could walk over and push the buttons on his keyboard.

    Those two ways of ‘screwing with people’ were way more fun than anything else in the game. I like to say, “Power that can’t be abused is not really power.”

    Traditional MMO wisdom would be some kind of artificial way to “block griefing” but in fact that would be removing the only 2 fun things that we discovered about the game. I would much prefer a *****-slap maneuver that allowed my character to go up to James or the other guy and “*****-slap” him across the screen. Pull the lever and run like hell for the gate before he can get back and pull the lever to close it. I don't even need to be able to kill his character... smacking him across the room would actually be more fun. Now we would be making our own game called “run to the door before James can close it” or "smack each other into the spike trap."

    In my observation, many designers neuter their game by doing something like… “the lever now just opens the door and then goes back by itself after 1 minute.” They try to control/manage the player experience to the point that they make the player feel powerless and manipulated by the developer.

    Making a game where players get to be “bad” is kind of simple because imposing your will on other people is always interesting. The real challenge is making a game where the player is challenged to be "good" and it is actually fun. This is one of the reasons I don’t want to make evil paladins…. Paladin is the only class in UO that actually rewards being good. If it were up to me, I would restrict it further in that if you become a murderer your Karma can’t get above 0. Of course, even as a designer of the game it is never just "up to me" which is why this hasn't happened.

    One of the challenges of designing for UO is that there is 12+ years of inertia. In many cases, "fixing" something is also destroying something that some paying customer likes and so you obviously risk losing people. There is always a big question of how risky a change would be and would it make the game more fun or less fun. The answer to that question is not always obvious. Of course, sometimes doing nothing is not a solution either so you just have to use your best judgement and see what happens.

    In the spectrum of good and evil and gray areas. I would LOVE to design a game where there was actually a stand off situation. Like a Jon Woo movie where everyone is standing around pointing guns at each other and no one really wants to pull the trigger. In modern games, death has so little consequence and murder has so little consequence that it is easier to just murder the other player and loot their corpse than bluff or intimidate.

    IMO, this is the main reason that the original moral mechanic in UO didn't work. Ask yourself for a moment why more people don't just murder each other in real life and loot the corpse.... First, if I attack you, I might get hurt or killed. If I get hurt it will take me a long time to get better and it will... well... hurt. Second, if I kill you you ain't coming back in 5 minutes... you are just gone and I don't really want that to happen. Third, I think I might get sent to prison for more than half of my remaining time on this earth and I have heard bad things about life in prison. Finally, I would probably go to Hell... which I hear is a bit like prison but hotter and more permanent.

    Now, what happens in video games? Almost nothing except you get pissed off and I get your stuff. Should it be worse? Should the murderer be punished? Well, I would say, "Would that make your game more fun or are you removing the the only part of your game that truly scales with player skill gain?"

    Here is an idea that I would like to put in a game some day. What if players did a LOT of damage to each other? Like, what if every PVP attack had a 10% chance to 1-shot the opponent, a 20% chance to do 2/3 of their life and a 70% chance to do 1/3. Now, we have a very different play experience. I might attack you and get a lousy roll and do 1/3 of your hp and then you just get lucky and 1-shot me. If that were true I would think very carefully before I attack you and am much more likely to try a hold-up or bluff. I can't say this is the perfect solution or even better than what we do now... at the end of the day it just depends on what kind of game you are making.

    -Shade
     
  24. Specialshoes

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    I would pee myself with joy daily. That would make things so freakin cool! Let me add though that NO! item should be introduced to increase the chance
     
  25. There is a lengthy discussion running that is similar to this (or there was before we got bogged down in details about numbers of lockdowns, etc.) in the Classic Shard Thread.

    I always thought that UO had it right in the beginning, but something important was missing. Deterrence. As you rightly point out here, in real life, if you kill me, there would likely be consequences...most of those being bad for you, and not really mattering too much to me...because I am, well, dead. In old school UO, there was nothing of any real consequence to keep players from just killing and looting one another...but take a moment, and consider some of the ideas I am going to post here:

    - Witnesses and Forensics: In UO, there was always the skill forensic evaluation. It never really served any purpose. Imagine if this skill had been implemented properly. A player could kill another player, then run off with the dead player's loot. If there was no one around to witness it, the killer shouldn't get a count. However...if someone, a detective, used forensic eval and to discover who killed the player...then a count would be given. Same as if there was a witness. Rather than the player that was killed reporting the murderer, a witness or detective would need to do it. In old UO, this would have made the Forensic Eval skill very useful and added a whole new diminsion to PK hunting. Of course, corpses would need to have decayed much slower...but that's in the details.

    - Stronger consequences for murder: Since murder counts would be less easy to come by, and there would be a chance of 'getting away with it', then why not make murder a much more serious offense. 1st count, you go red for 48 hours. You are freely attackable by anyone, and certain NPCs would attack on sight. Call this the 'laying low' or 'on the lamb' period. 2nd count, 7 days red...same as above applies. 3rd count, 30 days. 4th, 60 days. 5th 90 days. 6th, 180 days. No burning off counts as a ghost allowed in this scenario...because if you die, you go to jail for the duration of your time. In jail, you can work on skills, etc...but you cannot leave. (on a side note, this lends itself to jailbreak scenarios, etc.)

    - Roving bands of NPCs that attack reds: Tough NPC paladins, rangers, etc. could have been added that attack reds on sight. It only makes sense that the King would have sent people looking for notorious murderers.

    - Bounty System that works!: Create an NPC that registers you as a bounty hunter. For each count a red gets, a certain bounty is added to that person. Bounties are not paid out in cash, but rather points. These points work like faction points...but they are tied to the character. So, if bounty hunter X kills murderer X, and murderer X had 2000 points on his head, bounty hunter X can then choose from a menu of weapons and armor that are slightly different than standard weapons and armor...nothing unbalancing...these should be more like status symbols...perhaps they have no extra damage or protection, they could be a special color, for example. But they can only be used by the player that earned them. If that player dies, the weapon is lootable, and can become a nice trophy for the person that kills the bounty hunter. Bounty Hunters cannot become red, and are freely attackable by reds...no counts given. This sets up a good vs. evil situation, and it creates some incentive for players to police PKs. It also creates incentive for reds to go after these people.


    In the end, the idea is that there should be incentives to fight those that are worth it, and disincentives to fight those that aren't. If you were a random player under the above conditions, would you stop to kill a miner or lumberjack? You would know that you would become a wanted man/woman...and that if you died red, you wouldn't be able to use your character for a little while...or are you slick enough to get away with it?? This would be the challenge for the 'evil' player...to see if they were good enough to get away with murder...meanwhile, seeing if they could survive those that were hunting them. I think a system like this would have seriously curtailed the random PKing, and would have allowed players that wished only to play PvE a chance to do so in relative safety...but with some risk and challenge.

    Both 'good' and 'evil' would have a reason to seek one another out, and to do combat...and neither would really have an incentive to attack the innocent bystanders...but they could if they wanted! Sometimes, it is nice to have the option to "*****-slap" someone, even if it means you face the consequences for your actions.
     
  26. Jhym

    Jhym Guest

    But the point is that change doesn't happen unless people demand it.

    And whether we like it or not, we need to speak up if we feel x is better than y, or that pkers are such cool gods, or that pkers are just gits, or that pve and exploration is a waste of time, or that making little bunny slippers with felt is way more fun than everything else.

    I like to bring up topics like this now and then because I love UO and what it SHOULD be. I want it to be a real world, and in many ways it is.

    However, we have the power to demand change to it, in a real and structural way. If we continue to demand it, at some point someone will take up our banner and make it happen.

    There are times that major changes become neccessary for a society to continue, and there are times that minor changes will do. Whether anyone likes it or not, UO is a global society with rules, interactions, demands, and expectations.

    Truthfully, it doesn't hurt to bring up ideas and evangelize them. What hurts is when the idea that you worked so hard for comes to fruition and fails. Thus, talking about them constantly lets others chime in and help the developers build something better.

    Plus it's nice to berate folks for thinking differently sometimes.

    :party:
     
  27. Jhym

    Jhym Guest

    Exactly... everyone makes this game into what they want of it, which is why it is still here.

    The developer team has worked very well with us, allowing us more and more freedom to build the visions WE want. However, sometimes it's hard to decide what those visions are.

    I am very much a fan of controlled murder in games. By that, I mean allow people to be killers if they wish so, allow them to go crazy and do the mayhem and foolishness if that's their interest. But everything has to have a price, and the more expensive your habits the higher the pricing.

    I like Morgana's take on "murder tyme", but jailing in and of itself isn't useful. The simple answer is, if you get past enough time (say over a month) then you either delete the character, don't log in, or otherwise do something else to circumvent the punishments. Perhaps if the punishments involved the entire account of the player -- or the character needs to do certain major questing to reverse his/her "problem activity". If you are an evil character, that might mean you have to kill or do certain things to make up for killing all those monsters you killed to gain honor, hm?

    How do you deal with folks that don't care about their characters anyway? Who just push hard to get to a point when they can blow their wad and go crazy? In books and real life, characters just don't do that. They work hard, build themselves up to take on events that are sometimes more than they can handle.

    But in games it's far easier for people to say the characters mean nothing to them, and thus they can do all sorts of things that people wouldn't normally do.

    So how do you change the playing field so that people don't WANT to do that? or... do you give others ways to deal with such players, so that as the player pushes the envelope outside of what others will accept, SOMEONE can deal with them?

    I am also speaking about the grand storyline that we really don't have. People pop their characters in at random points in the worlds, run into the grand Plots at random, and either stick with it or get bored and do other things.

    What if the players were more involved in building their plots and their own heroes and villains? Questing in books is a series of tests that lead to an eventual "good" or "bad" ending. It molds and tests the heroes or villains until they can solve the overriding problems that put them in these positions.

    How do we build our own Heroes and Villains, and give players the willingness to see them to their conclusion? Or is this an inherent problem with gaming today -- the grass is greener proposition?
     
  28. Gheed

    Gheed Certifiable
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    Interesting thread. (I see) heroes and villains as lifestyle choices. In most of the stories we read and see in the movies, villains are not so much murdering lunatics who walk out of their house and start butchering people. The true villains are cool calculating evil doers that spend years developing their evil schemes. The devise twisted plots that eventually affect the lives of millions. World domination, mass death, great wealth.

    It would be hard replicate that in game (that wants to be profitable). First, everyone can't be a hero or a villain in an mmo. At best there is room for a few villains/heroes. The best of those will dedicate their game time to developing the specific skills they need to reach their goal. The rest have to be part of the "helpless victims to be saved/enslaved/killed" category or the "we must band together or perish" category. When tram was introduced, most said to hell with that. Even though the communities were great and that experience was a new and cherished dimension for the fledgling online community. In the end, folks just did not want to round up a pose to step out the front door.

    Second, for heroes and villains, the plot involves a journey. It can be incremented through chance environmental influences and small battles that test those involved leading to the very short climax finally an end.... ride off to the sunset. In an mmo the sun would come up the next day. A hero and a victim has lost or won. The rest of us are just pissed. From that point forward the best the game can do is start again. As for the "helpless victims to be saved/enslaved/killed" category... insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. Been there, done that... insanity is over rated.

    As for rewards... Rewards turn evil folks in to good and good to evil... if they are good/evil enough rewards. We prove that in every game while we slaughter thousands of helpless innocent creatures in order to build skills to defeat their oppressor... Are we villainous heroes? But rewards are incentive. However the rewards must have intrinsic value or must not be marketable to others.

    In the real world we are selfish even in our sacrifice. We do nothing good or evil without our benefit in mind. The villain forms through years of doing mostly mostly evil things for their benefit. The hero comes to light by doing mostly good things. The fame/karma system mimics this but is flawed. Am I truly losing karma because I killed a pixie who tried to kill my evil brother? A brother who wanted nothing to do with that pixie... who was maybe on the path to good and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    With this in mind, It would be easy to build a system that rewarded the hero for spending their time in game doing good things to benefit other real players. It would not be so easy to reward a villain for doing bad things to other real players. That would be a bad idea. In the end (for a designer) the bad folks have to rely on harassing npcs for bad juju. And there are plenty of those in fel.... yet it still seems unpopular.
     
  29. bjornef

    bjornef Guest

    well i seem to be getting all i need for free this days so some thing id rong for sure.

    used to have to buy or steel all i wanted befor
     
  30. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Here's the problem, and it's always the problem with any PvP game.
    If players can kill, they will do it in a way that sets them up for the win.
    In this scenario, it's really no different than early UO. In a evenly matched fight, anyone can win. But what PKers would do is gank, wait for a target to have their hit points down from a MOB, or otherwise look for easy kills. This scenario would have the same problem. All PvP games would have the same problem. Having the PKer face a possible heavy punishment is the only solution.

    Now the reverse....

    If every time player A went into that lever room and had some other player (player B) closing the gate/door on them repeatedly, they would get upset for good reason. If they can't do anything about it, it's far worse. Therefore, in this case, you need to allow the player to do something to the other player who's playing with them, and that usually means some sort of attack. But if that attack leads to killing that player B, and if that leads to a heavy punishment for player A, then it leaves a problem.
    So the solution here is to either allow players to have limited kills before they go into a punishment scenario, or to allow knock outs or some other disabling temporary attack.
    But disabling the other player then can lead to more problems. Can a wondering MOB kill them while disabled? Can a player who's already marked for punishment come along and kill them? Can these things be abused by players to get away with "murder"? Yes they can. MOBs can be trained onto the disable player, and no murder count/punishment. Guilds of PKers can work together to disable players, and have just one character taking all the punishment rules do all the actual killing.
    In the case of the "griefer" being disbled, he is then able to keep coming back at player A, causing more grief, waiting for an opportunity to "win" the conflict.

    So disabling seems like something that wouldn't work too well.
     

  31. I think the disincentive would be having to start their characters over from scratch (assuming they deleted them to avoid the jail time). At first (like first few days of the game) that's not really a big problem...but after a certain period of time, these people would no longer be competitive because everyone else would have fully developed characters. Of course, I am speaking of the old UO, before skills could just be bought via jewels etc. In today's UO, your are probably right.
     
  32. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    Thats a great analysis Treb... and wow what wonderful ideas Morgana, you should be the queen, not Dawn... and I'm being totally serious here. Feels like a soul marriage you got with our beloved sandbox, and I speak out of experience.

    I don't exactly know if I should be sad or rejoice about the situation all games seem to be in.

    You can't find being good fun if you can't really have the power to make the evil player eat their socks. Killing them is one thing, watching them eat their socks is another.

    I have a solution so simple, that it hurts me to keep it to myself, I think it might even be killing me softly. Yet it's so original and applicable easily in many modern games, that I'd be a fool to give it to someone who is not ready for it.

    The concept already rules many sector of social interactions, hidden, yet very palpable ; many already feel for it, some have felt for it a looong time. There is no way you can rob those memories from them either, they'll hold unto them dearer than a man lost in a jungle would a lighter.

    They are few, but they are true.

    One thing for certain, I don't want no money for it, nor favors, nor fame.

    I just need to trust who will implement it, in an intimate way, because its power is greater than anything this world has ever witnessed, and its potential for those social vectors I despise herein is scary to say the least. But it is inevitable a conclusion...

    Either it will bloom in the consciousness of a firm and true community and be judged for what it is ; or it will grow sneaky and eventually rule us all. There is no middle path with evil, either it will creep up to your kids, or it will be slain. So a concensus must be formed and become strong enough to inspire leadership...

    The choice is yours Avatar, that is what you are, on both sides of the veil, I shall add. I have done my work.
     
  33. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    I agree about many things you said, and I would like to comment on the following and make a reference to Ultima Online as it is today:

    Absolutely true. The biggest challenge is to find the balance. "Bad" should be fun, but also dangerous. In the first years of UO, "bad" was fun and had no consequence. That's why the concept failed. There was no balance.

    Good point! But UO today totally lacks this feature. Because in Felucca, there's no point or challenge in being good, and there's no consequence for being bad. In Trammel it doesn't matter anyway what you are. I wouldn't pick Chivalry as an example, cause it is merely game mechanics that have no impact on social interaction.

    Exactly. So why don't you try to change that? Why not add that to UO and thus improve the social aspect of the game? I think we all agree that being evil should be both rewarding and risky. Today it is neither nor. When I can kill 10,000 players, being "evil" is degraded to an equipment/combat challenge. In this case I prefer monsters, cause they don't smack talk.
     
  34. hawkeye_pike

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    You're almost quoting what I wrote in my column about a new good and evil system. :) I'm happy to see that other people come up with similar ideas!

    I really believe that there are solutions that will improve UO greatly, without chasing away a noteworthy number of players.
     
  35. Coldren

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    Thank you for joining the thread, Shade. You make some very good points. I'm going to do my best to repeat my previous post, as apparently it was lost last night when the forums went down... Must be my real life luck is tied to the UO Luck RNG...

    I would like to discuss a few small points, if I may.

    This is my first point - No one should be imposing a "will", especially in a sandbox like UO. What should occur is that, players are presented with a problem, they are given the parameters and scope of the problem, and then given a set of tools by which to solve said problem.

    Let's take Trebrs idea about a city that needs resources for upkeep. This is an excellent example of a problem with several choices that are not straight forward and easy. Here are a few examples:

    1) Take them at a point of sword. This is by far the most "fun" option for most, and it can be highly effective - Just take them from someone else. But there is a serious problem to this solution: Blowback. The people you take it from aren't going to go away.

    2) Trade. It's not hard to imagine trade occurring between cities. This seems like a win-win for everyone, but if you think about it, it can be detrimental. If you trade a resource you have a surplus of to someone else, you are making them stronger, and in a way, making yourself weaker. You don't often trade for something you don't have a need for, and what you trade matters. You could be bolstering a future foe.

    3) Harvest it yourself. This is the hardest, dullest solution. But in the end, it's the best for your own communities interest. The more independent you are, the less enemies you make, and the more able and prepared you are to stand up for your own needs.

    This is a simple scenario, and these are a few possible, basic solutions, but it's in these areas where there is no perfect solution, where everything is a gray area, that Heroes and Villains are born. A clever, silver-tongued negotiator.. A brilliant general... A back-stabbing double-crosser. Good and bad doesn't always mean Red and Blue. One man's hero is another man's villain.


    The problem I see with this statement is, there is PLENTY of room for change and to try new things with UO.

    I spend a vast majority of my time in Trinsic, Trammel. I basically port to Garg city for imbuing when I have to, Painted Caves to farm, and my house is right outside the city walls, around which I harvest lumber. Maybe I'll go to the Fel side to harvest lumber around the city, or to take advantage of double resource mining, but that's about it.

    At best, in any given play sessions (Although mine are brief and sporadic, I admit), I may be fortunate enough to cross ONE other person who might be recalling in and out of a bank in Trinsic Tram or Fel.. But they never talk. Trinsic used to be heavily populated, even after the Tram/Fel split. By comparison, it used to be a megalopolis. In my time, I would think it would have been at least STATISTICALLY plausible to see 3-5 people in that city at least once a year.. But this simply hasn't happened yet.

    The old cities in Tram and Fel are practically VACANT, occupied by nothing more than NPC's waiting for a player to get close enough to kick off their subroutines so they can move again.

    UO has ample space to try new and daring things, with a minimal impact on anyone's current "playstyle". The volume of land, area, and resources is high, and player density is crazy low. Vacant cities. Dungeons that are rarely used. Caves that do nothing more than shelter scripters. Land with nothing more on it than player housing that is visited only on rare occasion.

    Please - I beg of the devs to use this to their advantage and take some chances. Try new systems, make them available, just don't force participation in them. What have you really got to lose?

    Surely fear of punishment isn't the ONLY reason not to do bad things, in real life or in a game.. But assuming this is true, why not MAKE them fear doing bad things? MAKE them understand that for every action, there is a reaction, even in a virtual world? You go on to say..

    First off, I would argue that PvP doesn't scale with skill, at least not to the degree most think it does. It scales with time (Time to learn, practice, gather resources, plan, etc.), resources and equipment (Especially post AoS-UO), and social connections (Fight me, you fight my 20 other friends).

    Second, PUNISHMENT never scales. Ever. In any MMO. I have never seen a game that employs mechanics that actually makes a habitual griefer stop and think, "Man, griefing that guy the first 5 times was great, but I gotta cut this out, because it's just not going to be worth it anymore".

    Even in reality, punishment scales. Drive a car to fast for thrills, or you were up to late last night playing games and partying? Here's a speeding ticket and a fine. DUI? Big fine, insurance increases, possible suspension. 3 DUI's? 6 months in the clink, big fine, no license. Now getting a job and keeping one is getting harder. So they might resort to bigger crimes, bigger punishments. Kill someone? Say hello to Bubba, your new cell mate for what is left of your life and he wants to dance with you.. Slow..

    At this point, it's not about the thrills, it's about survival. But it's not immediate, it's a build up of choices where if you continue down the wrong path, it will come back to bite you.

    But punishment for harassing and griefing never works this way in an MMO. Can you imagine an MMO where punishment scaled? Sure, you can be fairly frivolous in your first 49 blue kills, but once you kill that 50th, your bank box is closed for a week to ALL your characters, and your housing space goes down by 25% for a month. After 75? Slasher will spawn in pairs in your house randomly for a year and won't leave, and say goodbye to access to any city on any character except Bucs Den, as the guards will kill you on site. 100? Not even Bucs will take you, and you're on you own. But then again, if each city is it's own faction, you would be able to always access your city if you only killed blues who were not in your faction, and the city would always let you in, but that's another topic....

    A wise man would be very careful about choosing those he kills from the start, but even a damned fool is going to be VERY careful about that 50th kill, even if the punishment for that is temporary, because it's building to something far, far worse.

    But more than that, even PUNISHMENT can build community. Once you reach the tipping point of 100, you need a support network. It will likely consist of others who are like minded and haven't reached that tipping point. Reds can kill Reds all day long without penalty. Go nuts! And they'll likely congregate in areas together. You now have "bad" players all in one place, with ample opportunity for those who followed the rules (or those who are red and just want people to kill without raising their count)to go there and kill others, WHO BY THEIR OWN ACTIONS ARE NOW VULNERABLE, and can be killed with impunity.

    Right now, what happens when you go red? Not much, really. You have 1 character who might be at a disadvantage in some regards, but there are always alts. It used to be at least you could loot someone, but now most of the time you get gold unless they forgot their insurance. What's the point now? Faction silver? The thrill of it? If the Tram/Fel split proved ANYTHING, it's that when people believe themselves to be wolves, once you remove the sheep, most are not the killers they thought they were. Finding a fair fight where the other person WANTS to fight, and you have a good chance of losing, is a lot less desirable to those who did nothing more than grief players who never stood a chance.

    And back to the opposite end of the spectrum, what happens when you are "good"? NOT getting penalized - LITERALLY nothing.

    You can't have risk without reward, you can't have punishment without redemption, and you can't have ying without a yang. Unless you are prepared to truly punish "bad" behavior, how can you ever reward "good" behavior to the point where it is more fun and advantageous to be "good"?

    BUSHIDO BLADE! Badass game.

    The problem with that is, if you can kill or be killed that quickly, you best not lose much, or people will get frustrated quickly and leave in droves. But then again, if nothing of any significance can be really gained, why bother? What do you get?

    Fel.

    More than that, that would go a LONG way to discouraging the activity entirely. I wouldn't say that is a good thing either. PvP should be possible for those who enjoy it, but it should not be done in such a way that those who do are separated from those who don't, or it is forced upon those who don't. That is, if you want the biggest base possible. Diversity is always a good thing.


    Again, thank you for participating in this thread. I do hope that you and other devs continue to do so. Please don't take anything I posted personally, and tell your friends to come and watch the show! Bring popcorn. :popcorn:
     
  36. Gheed

    Gheed Certifiable
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    There are already stronger consequences for murder. The ultimate consequence.... they call it tram. fel is the prison...and it is as permanent as you can get.
     
  37. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    I may be taking this in the wrong context, but are you saying this because you are another wolf without sheep? Or simply not enough other wolves?

    Or are you saying it from the perspective of someone who never goes to Fel?
     
  38. Gheed

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    I'd say I am a sheep more than a wolf. I go to fel to do champs and mine/chop in peace. I definitely have no ill feelings toward fel and do not want to start a tram/fel debate.

    Anyway the point was actually an honest one about harsher punishment for murderers. I was reading some of the ideas about eventual perma death and it kind of popped in my head.

    But with the current rule set, punishment should actually go both ways for murderer and victim. After all, the victim has the choice to play in a rule set that they can not be pk'd in.

    If there was a classic shard, perhaps a murder suffers a small chance (1-5%) on every kill of being prompted to make a choice:

    a. repent - turned blue and suffer a 48 hour ban to tram
    b. regress - stay red, all items on them transferred to their bank box, all skills sent to a one use skill stone and suffer a 48 hour ban to the classic shard. After 48 hours they can choose to stay there permanently.

    As for the victim - the same chance of suffering a 48 hour ban to tram.

    This is sort of a "separate the fighting kids" logic. And with things like scripting resources it offers a harsher punishment to true scripting as well as a consequence to the self imposed shard police hunting and killing them.
     
  39. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    That's what I had thought. I'm the same way, although I do occasionally like to PvP. Well, at least in other games these days... LOVED PvP in DAoC, WoW less so, WAR somewhat... But for some reason, just can't get into it in UO like I used to. Just doesn't feel like there is any point or reward in it to make me bother with it.
     
  40. Mark_Mythic

    Mark_Mythic UO Legend
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    This would crack me up:

    You should have seen the Slasher during beta... he didn't need to be in pairs. He just rolled up on people and *KA-POW!* If you recalled away he would follow you.

    Before I get into this further, I need to make it clear that no ideas I discuss or support here is a commitment to implement in UO or any other game I may work on, I'm just hanging with you all and talking about game design concepts; Specifically the challenges of making "good" and "evil" an interesting game. Also, if people start going, "Mark promised this and that." All that is going to happen is that EA will no longer let me post on the boards. That said, I certainly care what you all think and that is why I read the boards.

    OK, one more thing to clear up with Coldren. You commented that there should be more reasons that people don't murder each other than the ones I listed. I totally agree, but I was referring to deterrents for people who would otherwise be murdering and looting corpses. In no way do I condone murder in real life. Video game murder is something else entirely... it's more like a gory version of "got you last."

    Regarding Morgana suggestions about forensics and witnesses. I really like that idea. In fact, I have discussed it before in the office but it is moot in a system where a ghost can report you for murder. We could remove the ability for players to report their own murder, but removing that feature would be considered a nerf by many players.

    Roving bands of guards is more doable in the current UO game. We could make them do circles from certain crafting spots to certain crafting spots. I'll throw it onto the white board that is our wish list of features.

    Ok, here is the thing about punishment. Punishment makes total sense in the real world for real "being bad" but in designing a MMO you don't get very far punishing the people who pay you unless being punished is just another way to have fun. In an online game, people just log out when it stops being fun. If someone is really being a problem, we just ban their account which is a different thing entirely.

    I've been kicking around an idea about some kind of magic ball and chain. Like, let's say that in game you murder someone. If you are caught, you get shackled with a magic ball and chain. You now have some kind of sentence. Like, the next 100,000 gold you get is paid to the state in restitution. (In the current UO economy it would be like 1,000,000,000 gold but you get the idea) Any wealth that comes into your possession is magically removed from you every time you get it until the debt to society is paid. When you are paid up, the shackle magically disappears. If you just want to keep looting, you can pay your debt with ill gotten gains but if you are caught your sentence lengthens.

    You might say, "Make them give the stuff they looted back" but the problem with that is tracking it. You can track it, obviously, but there is a cost to that. Every item that they stole would need a "hot" flag with some kind of timer on it to determine that it is still "hot" and all those timers would pound on the server. They could also sell the "hot" goods and then you get into this weird situation where the person who bought it had no way of knowing it was "hot".

    If you make the restitution go to another player, you just end up opening a new way to grief.

    I am all about trying new stuff in the name of making the game better. I designed the gargoyle racial ability revamp and the changes to their armor slots. The quest that is starting on [edited because I am not sure I can tell you when the patch is] to give away housing plots in the Stygian Abyss required two new features added to the quest system. Of course, many other people in art, engineering, and design worked on it too, but my point is that I do not block change in UO. I'm hoping I can get a crack at the virtue system later this year but we'll see. If they let me I would make some pretty big changes to that system. If that comment scares you, it probably scares my producer too and now you understand why it isn't likely to happen. Heh. Designers working on a game like UO are kind of like a wild fire looking for something to burn. Producers are the people who have to pay for the firewood... and the curtains... and the lawyers.

    I can't say too much right now, but the new faction stuff that Mike Moore, Heather Cerlan and I designed is about to go to a test server and I will be very interested to see how this impacts PVP. Factions are our "consensual" pvp system as opposed to the murderer "non-consensual" pvp system and we figured it was high time for it to see some love. There are several choices that we made in that system revamp that are very relevant to this discussion.
     
  41. Coldren

    Coldren Sage
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    I was in the beta.. And I saw.. Very briefly before I went gray. I just figured two would drive the point home more :)

    I'm sure the sane among us know not to take what is posted by EA Devs in a thread as holy writ until it is in the patch notes, but I understand this disclaimer. Hell, some devs HAVE explicitly stated something will happen, but the pessimist in some of us knows it won't. It's all good conversation, and it would be nice if you guys were mandated to visited and and post in the forums for an hour.. During work hours, of course.. Hey, a guy can dream!

    I understood that, but the point was the same. If the commonly held belief is that fear deters wrong action in the most efficient manner, then put the fear into them. Just gradually, over time.


    But by that logic, if the game is FUN enough that people WANT to keep playing it the way they do, they will actively avoid doing the things that would PREVENT them from having fun. Basically, just about everyone is a min/maxer in that they want to maximize their character to best enjoy an aspect of the MMO experience that they favor most. Make it so that is done best through "good" channels, and you have a built in deterrent. Killing people at random is fun, but killing people and gaining a reward or reputation by only killing certain types or people is better if the gain is there.

    And being a bad guy CAN be fun, but that is a design consideration that must be understood and accounted for at implementation. For everything bad I suggested happen after murder counts, there are ways to twist the perspective into an advantage to promote another aspect of game play that some could find enjoyable.

    In my example, murders can't enter towns, can't use banks, have to stay "off the grid" as it where, and some have to stay out of a house, right? Who makes better mercenaries?

    Make blues pay you to take out their rivals. Make a faction of mercenaries that is at war with everyone (As apposed to other Faction vs. Faction - Mercenaries are against EVERYONE) and they'll find plenty of combat. And as long as the reds are being contract killers... Make actual contracts the only way thy murderers can kill a given blue, and take a percentage off the top as a money sink with a minimum amount required.

    Can it be exploited? Sure it can. I can already think of a way.. But again, if you take that into account, you can help curb it. Every time someone puts a contract on a blue, the contract fee for that blue goes up by X amount for Y time. So does the money sink.

    And now you have a mercenary ranking ladder with PvP based gameplay. Rankings for mercenaries not only is a source of reputation, but the cost for their contracts can go up no matter what blue the contract is for. You have to pay for the best. Can this be exploited? Again, yes. UNLESS you bind the mercenary ranking to the whole account rather than a single character, so they can't just make alts. If they want to pay 15 bucks a month more to be able to kill (specifically) blues at a lower cost, and only for a short while, as that accounts ranking will go up, that's their business.

    Just an example.

    This is a fine idea, really it is. But again, I see a problem with alts. They can go out and make whatever wealth they want, keep it all, and just never go PvE hunting with their ball and chain character. The people this would punish most are chronic PK'ers and griefers, and they're not in it for the money, and likely (unless it's siege) do this anyway. But again, if you tie it to the entire account, that would work.

    This is awesome to hear, and I hope they let you take a crack at it. I'm the same way at my job, and my boss is always afraid to let me go do what I do best - Shake things up. I don't do bad work, but I just am a bit too out of the box given my company's situation. More than that, they outright say, "If you did this and left, we'd have no way to support it because no one here knows it like you do.".. That doesn't help me control myself very much. :)

    I also can't wait to see what the new faction stuff is, even though I don't actively PvP. Hopefully the new factions will involve others besides PvP'ers to directly contribute to the success of the faction..

    Again, thanks for participating! Please keep doing it! MORE POPCORN!:popcorn:

    P.S., Mark, please notice where I put X's.. May wish to do the same :)
     
  42. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    If you don't punish the PKers, then they will punish the rest of the players. There is no way around this.

    And as to the idea your kicking around...PKers travel with blue buddies, kill and loot, give to blue buddies (or let their blue buddies do the looting). Blue buddies later give loot to PKer's blue alt.

    No matter what you do, PKers will work around it to PK and loot the rest of the players dry, and drive them away, because it's even less fun losing hours worth of work/loot to PKers.
     
  43. I was actually speaking in terms of the way the game used to work...more like a 'what SHOULD have been done in the first place' sort of way. I don't see this being useful at all in today's game. An easy in-game fictional explanation of why the ghost could not report the murder: memory loss from resurection...or even, lack of evidence. Anyone could die to a polar bear and claim they were PKed, but without evidence (forensics) or witnesses to back it up, the authorities can't act on it.

    I wouldn't consider it a 'nerf' per se...not if the penalties for being red were higher. But again, it doesn't matter much in the current game. As someone else pointed out here...the punishment for being murderers was being condemned to Felucca. (that brings to mind a really interesting concept since we now have the Abyss...but I can save that for another thread/post...but it shouldn't take a massive logical leap to figure out where I am going with it).

    Unless you allowed reds to access Tram ruleset areas, what would be the point?

    If this had been done in '98...it would have been awesome...now, just an area the people running around pvp'ing each other (like in Battlefield 2/Call of Duty,etc.) will avoid.

    Let's try a different word other than punishment.

    Challenge. As a PK back in the old days, the only challenge you had was lag and sever crashes. That's not a challenge. Playing a PK (murderer) in a world with laws that are enforced...that's a challenge.

    Is it punishment that Necro was added to Lich Lords? Is it punishment that some NPCs can poison you? No, it's just added challenge. And I think most old school PKs would have either welcomed the challenge, stopped PKing so much, or just moved on. Most of them moved on after Trammel was introduced anyway, so what's the difference?

    Excellent!! This game has gotten rather stale as of the last few years. It has turned into a rote A+B=C experience. I'd like to see some innovation beyond 'oooooh, look...uber powerful items and even more uber powerful creatures to fight...and btw, everything from before this expansion...now useless'.

    Well, unless Tram ruleset areas are opened to reds...and players are freely attackable again, there isn't much in the way of "non-consensual" pvp that can take place. Being in a Fel ruleset area IS consent by default.
     
  44. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    I like the restitution idea! Keep working on that one!

    I think it is clear that there must be some kind of punishment or risk in being a criminal. Otherwise we'll be back to rampant player griefing. The point is, the punishment should not destroy a murderer's or thief's play style, but make it more challenging. A criminal should have a chance to avoid punishment, as well as a potential victim should always have a chance to avoid being murdered. Put more thought into that! There are ways to solve this.
     
  45. Zyon Rockler

    Zyon Rockler Guest

    This is a very difficult topic to just answer because it only covers a small part of why. I believe we have much more to learn and understand before we realize what is good and what is bad. Everything happens for a reason but it is those we do not understand. Again we must ask why? Let me go off topic and not concentrate on UO but more on who we are, so it might better answer what is good and what is bad and how it might help us to build a better world.

    First off, a personal thing I have trouble with is when people say UO is just a game. That's true but this statement seems to try to undermind the fact that real people play it, making UO a real interacting environment of real people who have real feelings.

    If we take all the things we are and place them into a world, we in turn create a real impression of what we are and when we see each other in that world we look through to see who we are and we look past what is not real and see the truth or the character of that real person, we do not really know and ask why once again. If we are good we follow good people, if we are bad we follow bad people.

    The designers and creators of this world are essentially God and who not better to learn from than he? God, even if you do not believe in God, we must believe, indeed, we are creating a world, so take into account how our world works and why.

    Let's look at any system in nature, how it depends on other systems, and how those interact with others to drive the simple human spirit.

    For example: hunger, look at all the systems driven by this basic need. If we do not eat, we die. Notice God saying, You must eat. He knows if you do not hunger, you will waste.

    Heroes and Villians need their own systems but it is more important that people have law and that no one is above it. The other systems must work in harmony to this. Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not steal. This is the basic handbook to create a people that will not just kill each other off.

    What happens to people that do things like this? Well, we kill them or we lock them up. That's why you go Red, so we can kill you. That's why the thief turns grey. They are both very harmful for any society. In fact, it will kill itself off because the designer of the world never intended to fill his world with murdering thiefs.

    So, i'm just saying, we can learn more from each other than we can from just looking at smaller aspects of the world.

    We must create real world law with guards that enforce it and we must allow ways to kill or steal when the guards are not looking, so the people themselves decide whether it is good or bad because that is the true test, that is what makes us different but without law and penalty there is no point to it, no challenge.

    The heroes need the villians or there could not be any heroes but if evil is weighed to heavily the world will be destroyed.

    Only God could help us then.
     
  46. Kaleb

    Kaleb Lore Master
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    I disagree with many here, People who pay to play a game should not have a character banned for any amount of time(Jail) for simply doing what has been/is allowed in game. Most players who play a Murderer is using maybe one of their best characters. Systems have been created already to help curb the ease of murder such as Stat/Skill loss (that had to be retrained), Use of only one city, G-whacked if into GZ too far, Loss of any newbie/blessed items on death. Can only be rezed by a Player or have to walk to the Chaos shrine, Loss of all virtues. These penalties are enough to make someone think about being a murderer.

    For blues with counts, to detour them from committing such acts they would simply loose the ability to Recall if flagged on by any player if they have even one short/long count. it would make a player really decide if this S#&t talking griefer/Kill thief is really worth losing a great PK defense.

    To some extent all of these have been in game already, but have not been active at the same time. IF all were active I believe it would make a person truly think about their actions, and in fact could be the elusive solution to getting players of all play-styles playing under one ruleset and bringing back the hero vs villain.

    As to jail, Perma-death
    You have to remember the Murderer(Red) pays the same $15(+/-) a month everyone else does, his/her game play should not be taken away from him/her, but His/Her decision to play a Murderer should not be easy, but at the same time not to the point where it becomes dull, and pointless. Never in a game like UO should there be a risk of permadeath, or a character that someone put countless hours into building be locked away unusable. No matter how skilled you are in UO death is guaranteed its not a matter of If but when.

    In UO it couldn't work the whole thing that makes UO PVP the best out of any MMO is the pace and complexity of the playstyle, its a true challenge that I have not found in a lot of other mmo's, in fact knowing and being used to the pace of UO PVP makes all others seem slow and skill less.

    But This would be a great Idea for a true Assassin skill, coupled with stealth and the proper warrior skills would allow murderers/reds/assassins to travel into GZ's to whack a rival/ or for hire.
     
  47. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    I agree that permanent death is out of the question.
    Well, jail time... it depends. Who has only one character to play UO with? If one of my characters was jailed, I'd just play another one. While the murderer would be temporarily out of business, I still would be able to have fun with UO, but I'd probably be more careful about committing crimes. The point is, mass-murdering must have penalties that hurt the criminal without destroying their gameplay for good. Skill/stat loss was a total failure back then, as it destroyed valuable characters. I think jail time could work.
     
  48. Mark_Mythic

    Mark_Mythic UO Legend
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    Zyon, you make some interesting points but I need to take exception with some of them. I hope no one is too annoyed by this post as I don’t intend to offend, I just like to keep it real. If you don’t like my opinions, be comforted that I’m not the only person designing for UO, I just happen to be the one in this discussion.

    I use the phrase "just a game" to refer to the fact that a game has no real consequence. If I beat you in a game you are still you. You still have the same job. You still have the same home. You still have the same family. Nothing important to you has been lost... unless you have a gambling problem but that is another matter.

    I believe games give us the opportunity to train our minds and in some cases (not computer games) our bodies and to experiment with ideas. A game like UO is like a vacation from your real life where you can just try stuff that you normally can't do for any number of reasons. It is an alternate reality where if you find your alternate life going horribly wrong you can just delete it and start over. That is very freeing and, imo, fun.

    I am personally uncomfortable with that analogy. Designers are only "gods" insomuch as they create a world, however artificial it may be, but we do it to entertain real people like you. My understanding of God is that He is not there to entertain me. Game designers are a form of entertainer in my humble but informed opinion.

    Yes, but in life, and in UO more than in other games, players have free will. The original creators of UO obviously thought it was important for an individual player to make their own decision not to murder or steal… otherwise the game would not have allowed it. Being “Good” has no meaning without the opportunity and incentive to do otherwise. As many have stated already, the problem with the system as originally implemented is that being a bully and a jackass was easy-mode.

    I’m a big fan of pen and paper role playing games… and I notice a lot of people play Paladin on those games just because it seems like easy-mode. When I am DM, I lock in on the fact that the pali MUST remain lawful good lest they lose all of their powers and I make that as difficult as I can for them by placing moral quandaries at every turn. You find a guy bleeding to death in the street in front of the healer shop. The paladin says, “I rush into the shop to buy the guy a heal potion because I’m out of heals for today.” I say, the shop keeper isn’t there but there is a display of healing potions on the counter… what do you do?” In truth, it doesn’t really matter what they do because it is just a game, but I want them to think about the fact that being so good that you gain holy power is not easy-mode.

    IMO, in a good mmo design with free will a player's choice to be a villain should actually add to the content of the game, not take away from it... they are now like a level boss. This is not easy to do in a game, which is why you don't see it... well... anywhere. But that is the dream. Hero stories require villains, otherwise the heroes would just... I don't know... sit around and drink coffee.

    I guess what I’m saying is, I don’t want to micro-manage the player, I just want them to think about their choices. If I didn’t want players to be able to kill each other or steal then I could just turn the feature off. And for what it’s worth I presume God could do the same in real life if keeping everyone safe was the most important thing.
     
  49. Exactly! And I am glad to see a dev recognize that the creators of the game "thought it was important for an individual player to make their own decision not to murder or steal…".

    ...or camp spawns for 'arties'...

    Umm...it's already off.
     
  50. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    As Raph Koster said somewhere, the problem is that there's no way for game code to properly make judgments on player intentions.
    This is a lost cause, if that's what you are after. It either is woefully incomplete for all occasions, or woefully riddled with abuse.

    One big problem with MMORPGs is that game designers try to code in too much of the social sphere. Leave that to the players. UO used to have the perfect system to recognize "good" and "evil". The players did it. Players knew their fellow players of fame. They knew who most of the top PKers were. They knew who were players that organized events for the good of "the people". Sometimes, players were both, just with different characters. That works. Except for the obvious rampant PK problems (thieves too).

    So leave it with the players. Really, it's better that way.

    Game designers think too much like they're making a single player game.
    Stop trying to code everything in, making a "system" for everything. Code in tools and ground floor rules for the players, and let the players do the rest.

    Edit to add: And leaders were born on both sides. Because of their actions and what they put into the game. Not because of a coded point system.