Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
AoC is to WAR what EQ2 is to WoW

Would you trust my opinion on a PvP MMORPG? I can only advise you to take anything I say about PvP-centric games with a large grain of salt, because it is no secret that I don't like PvP. Thus my dislike of PvP could possibly prevent me from recognizing good PvP over bad PvP, because I'd always tend to prefer carebear PvP à la WoW to any form of impact PvP. If you want an unbiased opinion about a PvP game, you're much better of reading the blog of somebody who really likes PvP. Keen and Graev for example. And Keen isn't happy about Age of Conan, and he doesn't like the graphics. Now that happens to be the same that I was thinking, but Keen is definitely the one to listen to here.

One interesting thought about AoC graphics is the parallel of the AoC / WAR situation to the EQ2 / WoW situation. Of course that is a simplification, EQ2 has other problems than just bleeding-edge tech graphics. But the basic truth that more existing PCs will be able to run WAR than can run AoC, just as more PCs back then could run WoW than EQ2, remains. I haven't played WAR yet, but I'm already pretty certain that WAR will sell a lot better than AoC, just by comparing WAR videos with AoC beta gameplay.

Keen also had a very good list on why I won't be playing on a PvP server in AoC:
  • Rez point camping - People would literally camp the rez points and gank people before they could load in. This NEEDS to be addressed. I spent 15 minutes trying to get away from the Stygian rez point.
  • Griefing Questers - Griefers wait until you initiate a conversation with a NPC then gank you while you’re stuck in a quest dialog.
  • Everyone stealths - *facepalm* Much more annoying than I ever thought possible. Having a caster stealth up and drop a nuke on me is… indescribably dumb.
  • Ganking - Level 80’s can attack level 5’s and camp their rez points. In OB today level 26’s were camping level 20’s. So stupid.
This is *exactly* the sort of PvP I hate to the bone: Ganking, griefing, corpse camping. If a game allows it, these activities will happen. I totally realize that WoW battleground PvP is repetitive and has no impact on the world whatsoever. But I have yet to see a PvP system that provides the impact while simultaneously preventing all possible abuses of PvP for griefing purposes.

If I wasn't bored to death waiting for WAR and the next WoW expansion, I wouldn't even try Age of Conan. Kudos to Funcom, the one thing they got right about Age of Conan is the release date, which is spot on. But when WAR and WotLK come out, I predict AoC will take a big hit.
If AoC launches with all of those flaws in the PVP system, it deserves to fail. At least the PVP aspect. Only seriously hardcore players will tolerate that much realism.

Here's hoping they get some clarity in the meeting rooms before it's too late...
Most of the ganking descibed is not even realistic.
Myself, I'll be in a large guild from the start, 40 people so far from our WoW server (that are fed up with WoW) are confirmed to have preordered, more will probably follow.

I hate ganking and griefing myself as well, but griefing people who try to grief others sounds like tremendous fun to me. Just like killing beggars instead of just ignoring them, and having wars between guilds, and KoS lists that actually matter.

And that's before stuff like siege warfare and battlekeeps even enter the picture.

I really am looking forward to this game, maybe wrongfully so, but I still am. And I think premature hate is really not what it should receive at this point - after all, the PvP beta where everybody suddenly became lvl 20 was a PvP beta, it was meant for testing PvP, and I'm sure if griefing or spawn camping gets out of hand they will do something about it.
You should check out Lineage 2's system for impact PVP without the potential griefing because of the karma system they employ.

It's not perfect by any means but it's the best PVP experience I've had in my 10 years of hardcore MMO gaming with an emphasis on PVP.
@anonymous. Everytime I've complained about ganking situations that really happen in games I get told I made it up. I've abandoned characters in wow on PVP servers because for over an hour I couldn't do anything but log on and die. I had a buddy who was ganked in the inn in redridge for almost 4 hours. This stuff does happen more than most realize. And when it does you have a few morons who should be permabanned running off many good paying customers and affecting the word of mouth your game generates.

I doubt I'll ever play a "hardcore" pvp game till thier is some sort of in game penalty for attacking lowbies. I'd love to see someone generate enough faction by killin lowbies that they became an outlaw and all the town gaurds started attacking them on sight. Then give them a long stupid gathering and turn in quest to work thier faction down. It should take about 120 hours of play time to become non hated.
a simple solution might be to simply only allow pvp action between the players who are in the designed level range for a given zone -eg. while in Barrens (dunno why it crossed my mind really :) ) only characters at lev 10-20 can fight freely etc...
Just a suggestion thou - I imagine that someone would soon find a weak spot in such a solution anyways - people are very resourceful when it comes to exploits.
You do seem realize that the PvP servers are the only place with this sort of thing happening... which is exactly what the players who fought so hard to get PvP servers wanted so what's the problem exactly?

Should Funcom now change their stance again and make PvP servers that have distinct rules just because there are players in the middle who want PvP without the ganking? Well for them there are the Border Kingdoms and the PvP Mini-games... so again, why the complaining?

There weren't even going to be FFA servers until players on the official forums complained long and hard about it. Funcom always said that AoC wasn't a game made for FFA PvP, that instead it was meant to be large-scale PvP in teams at the end-game.

I really wish people would think about the non-issues they bring up before they write about them.
Well thankfully there will be PvE servers too.
You're right on about the only thing AoC got right was the release date. I figure at the very least its PvE content should be better then Tabula Rasa.

It's all we got until WotLK or War comes out.
no anonymous I do realize that this only happens on PVP servers. I'm saying that it is long past time that the issue of ganking people who are so much lower than you that they can't do anything about it is dealt with.

I'm not saying it should be made impossible. I'm saying there should be consequences that make people think about what they are doing.

And the bar needs to be variable. One 60 ganking an entire party of 50's probably not as bad. But when you have people at end game ganking people that are 50 levels below them yes it should be punished. I disagree that its a non issue.
Those PvP aspects sound GREAT to me!

It's just a different mindset, to be honest. That sounds a lot more fun, with a lot more adrenaline pumping moments, than there are with WoW PvP.
This comment has been removed by the author.

The PvE content is 100 times better than Tabula Rasa, and combat is 100 times better..and the game looks better than LOTRO with a more polished UI...

As to this PvP complaint?
PvE servers people...!
Or if you must all "gankers" will be reported there...complete with "Thou is an a-hole verily..." in the body of the message...

But all you guys talking about the non issue.

Please explain to me the benefit of ganking. I see PVP'rs defend this all the time but I have yet to hear anything resembling a real defense. I'm not saying take away the danger. I'm saying punish the jerks who are so high level they are detracting from the experience.
It's one thing if the level difference is low enough that a group of players can come back and fight with some chance. It's a comnpletely different issue when some jerk comes around stomping newbies like cockroaches.

i just want to see some developer actually address it with an in game penalty that doesnt' require player to report griefers.

As I said if someone that did that suffered a faction hit of x amount times the level difference for anyone say more than 10 levels above them that would be great. If they continue at some point town guards would start attacking them. Or even quests autopop and players could get faction rewards for killing the outlaw. It could be done in a way that turns the ganker into content. ANd if you run off the serial ganker I'd bet you keep a lot more accounts than if you let him stay. If you don't run him off let every max level character on the server hunt him for faction. You say you want it hard and dangerous beat that for a life on a PVP server
Honestly, for the most part I agree with Blizzard’s stated philosophy that if you opt-in to PvP then you opt-in to all the good and bad things that come with it. It’s a stylistic preference. Nothing breeds hatred for the other faction like ganking. There is a passion that comes from having such a bitter enemy and your glee and enjoyment when you can return the favor.

That being said, if you opt-out – then you opt-out and shouldn’t be bothered with it. Of course, as Keen very accurately points out, some protections for blatant abuses needs to be dealt with in a game. In my mind, that’s less about “ganking” or “griefing” and more about competitive balance.

I think the interesting dynamic is when someone “opts-in” because his friends rolled on a PvP server, but they would prefer to be on a PvE server. I have a RL friend where this is the case and he gets unreasonably upset whenever he gets ganked and he’s questing.

Sam – I think you have the wrong response to camping. Don’t penalize the attacker, buff the loser. If you are truly concerned about getting corpse camped then provide them some buff that aids them in escaping the camping. Perhaps this is a limited invulnerability (if they don’t attack) that gives them time to leave the area. The more powerful will always enjoy whooping on the less powerful. That happens even at the level 70 endgame. As has been pointed out, this breeds “danger” and “hatred.” For many (myself included) this makes me more alert and passionate about these encounters and serves to break up the monotony of killing yet another Murloc.
Staying out of the fight going on...

/poke Tobold:

Check out my review when you're bored, mate.
A quick search on Legacy of Steel turned up this post from Tigole to his guild when he accepted the position with Blizzard. An interesting read and one that is quite filled with ironies.

Quote: “readers of this site have also come to know my personal opinions on what constitutes a fun gaming experience versus what feels like a complete waste of time or poorly designed encounter. […] You've all read my opinions on such things as tedious key camps, obvious time sinks devoid of any story or linear narrative, quests which reward the lucky over the skilled and quest rewards which are out of synch with the amount of time and effort required to complete them.”
while that would be better than the current design.
I really think for the serial gankers you need negative consequences. But I'll admit it needs to be carefully planned. If a lowbie initiates the fight there should be no penalty.

OR I'd be ok if lowbies could group up and get bonuses to thier armor and hitpoints. let the gankers deal with a raid of 20 level 5's who now have his hitpoints and armour. Thats the way it should be anyway. No matter how tough you are a mob should be able to bring you down.

However its done the serial ganker who adds nothing to the game should have his playstyle destroyed.
wow sid that's great.

thanks for the post.
From what I've read they are going to make the spawn points safe zones (though I'm not sure how, or if that means they'll gank you just a few feet away).

I also am not very into pvp, but thought I might try it out. (I've played some on a wow pvp server)

Actually everyone having a hide ability is good in that it makes everyone equal. The only other way would be to have no one be able to hide.

Of course the pvp day of open beta was very annoying, but I'm not sure it will always be that way though. At least there's no looting or death penalty. I helped some other people fight the gankers, but due to the cone attacks we hurt each other just as much, heh :)

I pretty much decided not to buy the game yet due to a variety of reasons, but if I do, I might still try an FFA server. But if it's like it was on the last day of beta, then yeah I won't stay long.
I really think for the serial gankers you need negative consequences.

As you point out, that type of system is ripe for abuse. Imagine 100 level 1 gnomes raiding Undercity that got stronger with each death. And how do you draw the lines? How many levels difference? What if they are the same level but twinked?

It’s also something that I think most people on a PvP server would absolutely hate. I would simply rather not be given the option of attacking them at all over a “penalty” that I am given if I do it. That type of solution is really only appealing to people who just don’t want it part of the game at all. And if that’s the case, then you shouldn’t opt-in in the first place.

By contrast, if every time you gank someone they get a bit harder to kill a second time – well, that speaks to the competitive balance that most PvP players enjoy. Or alternately, you can just give them a buff that allows them to escape without penalty. It’s an elegant solution that can’t be easily abused and I think would be more easily accepted by both sides. Perhaps you are inconvenienced at times by needing to leave the area, but why shouldn’t a more powerful character be able to claim a piece of property for themselves on a PvP server?
I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree sid.

I have fun in wide open PVP but I still think the gankers need to be dealt with.
There needs to be boons and consequences to pvp for it to be enjoyable.

Where I would balance a game like AoC is not on the lvl/gear/armysize difference but the political side of the game. Leave the game intact as lvl 80's obviously have grown more into their character than lvl 10's just encourage reasons to develop your character uptu lvl 80. lvl 1-20 should not suffer any penalty other than their own time spent moving forward.

lvl 20-50 can be a good middleground where you spend time helping others move forwrd and help keep your enemies in check by harassing them in a competitive way. lvl 50-80, or the upper echelon of the game should be strictly about fine tuning and macro adjustments to guilds/clans.

Higher lvls should come with some overhead (such as building infrastructures that encourage lower lvls to keep moving up (towns that give buffs, gear enhancements, eye-candy enhancements for everyone) that earlier lvls dont need to see or think about, yet benefit from.

I think were people get frustrated is in the risk/reward ratio's. Because obviously a lvl 80 takes little or no risk "ganking or griefing" however if they are penalized in a more passive way such as falling behind in their Maintenance of clan/group building infrastructure (ie losing the eye-candy, special waepons, or buffs) because they were off griefing on enemies then it is justified by the lowbies. Make it easy to point out the known griefers and even make ingame bonuses for taking out the most notorious azzhats. <3<3<3

You have to allow some of your so called "abuses" in a successful PvP implementation. A typical PvP enthusiast (Killer) needs to be able to victimize ("own") others to have fun. A victim-safe ("carebear") implemetation where players compete in a no-losers contest for prizes is extremely unsatisfying for this type of player. This is exactly what WAR is gambling on to lure the Killers away from WoW.

The above doesn't mean that the best PvP game is a free-for-all. In a persistent world, it's important to make sure that the status of being a winner or a loser cannot become permanent. Everyone must have a real fighting chance, and the losers need to have ways to limit their losses and come back to fight another day.

Controlled PvP mini-games, like Battlegrounds and Arena, may be easier to balance than a world PvP macro-game, but having one is the only reason to pay a subscription fee for a PvP MMO. Oherwise, fixed cost non-persistent game like Team Fortess 2 or Savage 2 (if you want your PvP in a Fantasy setting with melee combat and sieges) provide a much more financially attractive alternative.
I guess a big picture way to look at it is like this:

Negative sum pvp, this would be features like death penalties, pk penalties, item drops, risky participation fights (no bystanders). These scenarios need to be balanced so that you are strangely rewarded for your time put into developing your "hardcore" character AND your ability to maintain your "top" character. This would be like trying to be the Golden bone that gets thrown among ravenous starving dogs. Usuaully there is few at the "top" and gets lame/boring for the majority if it becomes too permanent.

no win-no loss pvp, this is battlegrounds, instanced, everybody "wins" type of gameplay. You participate you get your badge/sticker/shiney medal. This works great for participants that play in bursty fast paced ways (we dont need no stinking badges). Games like counterstrike, unreal tournament usually are this scenario.

King of the hill pvp. This would be like the board game risk, the longer you wait around the more powerful your army gets but eventually the hill can only hold so many and the face stomping must begin. The advantage here is there is much more robust strategy involved when the game doesnt encourage twitch fast, and plans that arent thought out well (like a no-win-noloss). This gameplay might even be compared to Warcraft 3 custom games like Footmen frenzy, starcrafts zone control, or other games that ultimately leave the player in

a.) yay we win feel good
b.) we lost, new game! pwn those noobs next time!

I think it's way too early to make these kind of cliched comparisons that are never likely to fit anyway.
You can't have impact PvP and rules preventing ganking/griefing at the same time. If you are prevented by game mechanics from attacking a portion of the player population, that limits your potential impact severely. That said, AoC's PvP system is severely flawed. It needs to strongly encourage grouping from the moment the player enters the game so newbies don't find themselves in a rez camp with no way out (and if they do, it's reasonable to assume they could have avoided it).
I think things need to be impact; however, if the opposing side is never given the chance to regroup itself...
Looking forward to AoC as it sounds just enough different from EQ2/WoW to be entertaining!

As for the PvP ganking issue - I do like the 'penalty' for gankers/griefers of so many points - say 1 pt for every 10 lvls difference so that after x number of points you would auto flag as an outlaw - put a price on their head for others to be able to collect! It might not stop the ganking/griefing but would make them a bit more 'involved' on the run too so to speak!
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool