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Are open pvp + full loot SANDBOX mmorpg's still possible?

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Daaark    3553
It might work in a Mad Maxx style world, or zombie scenario because everything is in ruin, and it's all finders keepers.

But the concept is flawed for several reasons.

First off---

The so called victims are supposed to be scavenging stuff. Well, that's an investment. People in general make low risk investments that are likely to pay off in the future. Saving up and buying a house is a safe investment because even though anyone can kick down your door and burn it to the ground, we have checks and balances to stop that from happening. The odds of losing your investment here are low, and even then, you have insurance. Any investment that has a high risk of not paying off down the road, or is likely to just disappear, is a bad investment, and a waste of time, energy, and resources.

Second---

There is no reason for the behavior of the PVP player, online or off. It's behavior that is incompatible with the concept of of any life form. The goal of any life form is to survive, adapt, and reproduce. Any time something stands in the way of that goal, the life form will band together and eliminate it. Doesn't matter if you are a person,an ant, a polar bear, or a virus. The second a member of any community goes into business for itself and takes any action that is contrary to it's survival or reproductive abilities, it's over for them. The only exception is when there is some kind of artificial barrier that stops nature from taking it's course.

This is anti-social, defective behavior, and the consequences are permanent.

So you'd have a situation trying to simulate people taking on high risk, no payoff investments for the amusement of people who enjoy consequence free incorrect behavior. It doesn't add up, so it doesn't catch on.

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paulscott    156
If you've played any online empire building game you'll see that generally it doesn't turn into a mad max world. You'll see pacts and factions form, sometimes chivalry, and all sorts of social goodies. Mostly from just two reasons a high level of investment AND players are always online even when not logged in. If you can get these two reasons in something a bit closer to a traditional MMO it opens up a lot of lee way in the PvP environment.

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[quote name='Exodus111' timestamp='1351641937' post='4995629']Permadeath is interesting. [...] another character that is lawful, can just play his other character[/quote]That, and more seriously, griefers will attempt to trick people into being flagged as aggressors so they lose their character, permanently.

Also, imagine someone having access to someone else's character. This might happen when people share accounts, which is against the ToS in almost every game but still happens more or less regularly. If your character is muted or banned from gameplay for a day ban because your roommate called someone names or kept spawn-killing newbies, that's one thing. If he loses your best armour, that's another. If your character is permanently dead because your friend tried to gank a digger and was unlucky enough to have a bypasser defend the other person, it's yet another story. That's the fabric drama is made of, both on the forum and in real life.

Also, what happens in the light of character hijacking due to guessable passwords, social engineering, or just normal human stupidity? This, too, happens more often than one would believe. Now, if someone steals all your gold and your Sword of flea killing +8 on your level 150 character and customer support tells you "sorry, we cannot replace lost items", then that's a high price to learn choosing a better password next time. If you get a temporary ban because your character was used in another scam, that's also something you'll probably learn from.
However, if your characer is gone forever because your guy was killed in a PvP fight when you didn't control him, and [i]it's just the way the game mechanics work[/i], then it will be a real challenge encouraging you to pay you money for that game again, ever.

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BCullis    1955
I can appreciate a high-risk game environment, that's what most FPS multiplayer is based on anyways. I think Hodgman put it best when analyzing DayZ: the level cap doesn't represent a huge investment by the player, so having accomplished something in gameplay only to lose the avatar of that accomplishment doesn't come with quite the sting of losing the embodiment of 6 months of your life.

The takeaway from this whole discussion should include: permadeath/open pvp/free looting CAN work, but it needs specific environmental and gameplay factors to foster a continuous playerbase.

Your standard MMORPG fare (at least, before the F2P boom) rewarded people for longevity of playtime, because the developers made more money the longer you paid for your account. That meant a lot of the trophies and sought-after "wins" were cleverly disguised time sinks. Ridiculously low drop-rate items, 250-step recipes and raid ladders, etc. No one (without the guarantee of victory) would take that much of an investment into a battle with the potential of losing it, or wear it around if a poorly timed connection lag coincided with a bandit raid on their house. So for most MMORPGs, full-on pvp just doesn't fit.

Designing specifically for the potential of unrestricted hostility means lowering or recalibrating the investment level. In DayZ you can revel in a long-lived character that's been around for *gasp* an entire day! Another thought is to have short-lived persistence: the game world resets every month, bringing everyone back to 0, and perhaps your accomplishments in the last life net you some manner of (non compounding) bonuses but nothing overpowering.

I think the resistance by most "carebear" players (a group I'd easily fall in 9 games out of 10) stems from the thought of unchecked infliction of loss on their achievements. People do primarily play games for the escapist element: challenges and heroics in a system you can learn and eventually master without losing anything but time, with no repercussions in reality. Getting mopped up in an FPS deathmatch is a loss of up to an hour or so. Getting your 3-year strong-bond MMO hero wiped out because someone found you while you were mining or up getting a sandwich: that potential just adds stress to a recreational activity.

Those are some loosely connected thoughts, I'll just stop here.

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Maclav    140
This, so much this.

[quote name='paulscott' timestamp='1353847126' post='5003929']
It is very possible, you just can't design your game for the predators and scavengers.

You need to design it for the "prey"
[/quote]


Another thing that I find missing is that it should be much easier to run away from an encounter than it is to kill someone. If you are out in the world, you should have a reasonable expectation of making it back. This means that even if you are only moderately skilled and are jumped by PvPGodIncarnate, that you have a good chance to get away intact with nothing but a bruised ego.

The "sheep" must feel like they have tools to deal with and escape non-consensual PvP situations reliably. The Wolves should be the ones working their ass off for the kill. Edited by Maclav

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Heaven    600
My turn! Some of these may have been discussed already, but here goes:

1) Players can hire NPC guards - they follow you around and attack anything hostile to you for X amount of time, then head back to town. You probably should follow them back.

2) Players can of course hire other Players

3) Primarily skill based with possibly a little level based thrown in - even a level 1 should have a chance, however remote of being able to get off a lucky shot against a long time/hardcore player. Think P&P RPGs like Rolemaster with their detailed critical strike tables.

4) Resurrection options! I haven't seen anyone discuss this. Simplest way would be to have an Alt that you run out to your corpse with and haul back to town/outpost then rez. Other options include automating the process via npcs. Say you hire a few mercs to accompany you mining. You run into trouble, die, and the mercs are programmed (paid extra?) to haul your corpse back to town and to a healer. Even more options include coming back as undead and starting over as one. There could be a whole "faction" of undead players who band together for example. I could even conceive of hiring npcs to go and LOOK for your corpse while you're on an alt. Hire some, select the general area, then off they go with an undetermined chance of success.

So many things you could do.

Take care, and awesome discussion!

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Inferiarum    739
Ok, here some random thoughts from me:

What could also work is if you reduce character progress (as was already mentioned) but instead base the game more on a team progress.

What I am imagining is a Gothic-like game with different fractions etc. and if you die your fraction can just reequip you. What also would be interesting if you could learn from other players. That is, if a player survived long enough to get to a certain level in a skill, like fighting with a one handed sword, he can teach other players up to a certain level. This would increase the benefit of playing in a group. Of course this should cost your fraction some resources.

For example you could implement skills as unlimited numbers and you get better at fighting by fighting, thus forcing players to go out and fight monsters/other players to get a higher level. But if you are at a high level you are a potential target for other fractions etc.

I think it would also be very interesting if it is possible to win the game. That is, there are one or several goals for each fraction, and the first to hit one of them wins. If you have a gothic-like game with full loot, the total amount of resources in the game always gets bigger, i.e., the fractions always get stronger. The final goal could also be a PvE goal.

To still make playing alone (as a wolf) attractive you should publish some statistics on players after each season. That is, there should be several awards, like highest number of kills (with one character of course) of players from different fractions, or some other "outlaw" awards.

The whole thing would probably also work better for a smaller scale mmo with maybe 100-200 players on one server. So that it is possible to know important people in the world.

edit:

Some more random thoughts:

So each fraction has some npc's in a guarded town or something like that. And if you wear an armor of another fraction you get aggressed on. (stealing more ideas from gothic :) So a goal of another fraction could also be to kill important npc's (like a smith or whatever) in an enemy town. That is, sneak in with a neutral weaker armor on a (probably) suicide mission. Of course you lose all the equipment of the strike team to the enemy team. And you lose the characters, which also probably are pretty advanced to be able to kill the npc.

Actually you as described above the target could also be a player. What follows is, that you cannot log out your character. If you log out the KI controls your character and you wander around town etc. You could still be able to teach other players, i.e., there is no real distinction between players and npc's. Edited by Inferiarum

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