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Polydone

Preventing unintentional pvp (AOE , missiles etc.)

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I'm trying to think about ways to prevent unintentional pvp with missiles and aoe damage in an online ARPG. In fact I wouldn't mind preventing unintentional targeted attacks too.
At the same time I want aoe and untargeted missiles to work against pvp opponents once a fight has been initiated by either side.
What good solutions have you seen in other games? Preferably something easier than Diablo 2's hostile feature - I want players to be able to do this pretty much as fast as they would otherwise attack something, as long as it's a conscious choice.
I'm thinking about requiring the player to hold down a specific key while performing an initiating attack against another player. After a pvp attack has been initiated untargeted attacks will work as they do in pvm.

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Instead of holding down the key maybe just make it toggle between modes? Could also not do anything about it. In World of Warcraft you either decide to use AoE and not care, the other player could retaliate or move away from your target, or you decide to not use (very harmful) AoE spells. I think it works out reasonably well, but that might be different for your game.

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To me, the possibility of accidentially hitting another player (including friends) with AoE is an important feature, not something one should try to block. Losing karma or being open to unrestricted retaliation quickly teaches the player to be more considerate. But that's just me :)

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I agree with the above sentiment.  I think AoE without friendly fire loses a lot of tactics.  You can just spam those fireballs at point blank range within your entire party.  With AoE and FF, you suddenly have to aim your Cone of Cold in such a way to not hit your allies, and communication with your allies as to when to fire a fireball becomes important, etc.

 

You also get options to balance spells/effects.  You might have an AoE that doesn't effect friendlies, and another one that does.  You can make the second one be more powerful, do more damage, have less warmup time, etc.

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I agree the way firewall worked in Diablo 1 was fun - you would even take damage from it yourself. I just don't think it would work very well  when playing with random people.

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