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Transcendent's Tomb

Submitted weekly. The tomb contains reviews, references, alternative concepts and polling to torture the truth from the minions of MMORPGs.

Author: Hhussk

The Darkfall Movement - The h8ter and the Fanboi

Posted by Hhussk Thursday December 11 2008 at 12:34PM
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My interest in Darkfall has only started about 9 months ago, but others have been following it much longer. Over these months, I've been watching a war between 2 distinct groups with casual bystanders caught in their midst.

Let me catagorize myself: I'm looking forward to playing Darkfall in the future. I doubt I will join immediately, or during the European releaes in January. More than likely, I will take part in the U.S. release, if one occurs. My opinion is that the game seems to have a great concept. And while I enjoy good graphics, I have never cared about graphics enough to play a game. When Age of Conan came out, I waited and waited, hearing all the graphic accolades, but ultimately decided the game wasn't for me. With Darkfall, I will follow a similar path: If I don't like what I am seeing, I'll quit. Or perhaps, I'll never play.

But what dismays me the most is how there is a love/hate relationship with the game. Regardless of what you say, you'll be thrown in the "h8ter" or the "fanboi" club. It doesn't matter where you really stand. And please note, that this happens to varying degrees to all upcoming games. The difference, though, is that Darkfall has developed a following of love and hate over many years.

So, that is why I wanted to tell you about the Heider's Balance Theory.

Basically, it goes a little something like this, with modifications based on different mediums.

my friend’s friend is my friend
my friend’s enemy is my enemy
my enemy’s friend is my enemy
my enemy’s enemy is my friend

So...what does it all mean?

Simple, the reasons you actually hate Darkfall are not likely to be genuine. Since you haven't played it, you have no idea if you really hate it. Chances are:

  1. You view Darkfall as an "enemy" to a game you like.
  2. Someone you do not like, likes Darkfall.
  3. Someone you like, hates Darkfall

And since you haven't played it, the reasons you like Darkfall are:

  1. A friend of yours likes it.
  2. A enemy of yours hates it.
  3. You view Darkfal as "friendly" to the type of games you like.

This sociological theory was established in 1958 and basically says that under most conditions, we will migrate to a "balanced" state, where half will like someone or something, and half will not.

In summary, you may think you really hate Darkfall. If you have to TELL people that you hate it, more than likely, you're just consumed by Heider's Balance Theory. People who dislike things tend to migrate away from them. On the other hand, you may think you really like Darkfall. You could, just as well, be caught in Heider's Balance Theory simply because you don't really know what you like about it, but just want to argue.

Overall, no one really knows anything. How this movement has sparked such strong comments for and against the game, beats the hell out of me.

Creating Enemies...

Posted by Hhussk Wednesday December 10 2008 at 8:58AM
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Left for dead, my guts splattered across the stone-cobbled streets. My belongings...scattered about me and turned inside out. I was penniless and broken, barely alive.

I had been robbed, beaten, nearly killed...

...my one gleaming hope was the face of my attacker. the visage of a reddish tattoo along his cheekbone as I pulled his hood away.

Today was a good day. I found someone who's life I could now make a living hell...


Introduction

Having an enemy is almost impossible in some games...and this is why they will never truly shine in the eye of a PvPer. In addition, if you are interested in Role-Playing, there is nothing better in the universe than having an "Arch-Nemisis" to stalk and ruin. Even in your offtime, you'll be plotting to uncover a weakness or a moment to strike. You may even have the capability of laying an elaborate trap to ensare your foe.

Gaming Developers play a close tightwalk: they want lots of interaction, but don't want to lose customers. In the end, if it garners less subscriptions, than its bad, which is purely understandable to anyone running a business. 

What I'm detailing in this article is how "open PvP" can easily be emeshed with Role-Playing, to create a game that people thrive in and love. It won't always be about winning or losing...the "meat" of the game will be about plotting and control. It will be about having enemies that you don't, or can't, always kill immediately.


About Dueling and Immersion

Take a look at any game. Do you have to establish a "duel" to fight someone else? Are you even able to fight other people? Are you limited to only fighting AI-controlled creatures? That's not immersion! That's button-mashing repetition. In a game of immersion, you don't know when the attack is coming. You don't know if the "duel" you've been challenged to is a trick.

Imagine being challenged to a duel at sundown, at the outskirts of a city. You are a great swordsman; no thief would ever challenge you in an outright fight. But, you go anyway, deciding to teach the people that you mean business. As you arrive at the site, you're shot down by archers. Trickery!

Was it evil, deceitful? Was it cheating? Absolutely! Now life isn't as simple as a "dual"...it's more complicated. You never know what's coming...

...and not knowing what to expect creates immersion.

Overall, there is no problem with dueling and arenas to resolve battles. But in the realm of role-playihg and immersion, some people aren't designed to duel. Magicians might duel with other magicians in a magical challenge...maybe. Thieves might have a one-on-one with other members of their thieves guild. But no swordsmans would "duel" a magician or thief. That's practically ridiculous.

And therefore, the concept of "dueling" as it is now implemented in many games is purely a control mechanism for PvP. It destroy immersion, but creates an outlet for battling other players.


Immersion

 

To create immersion, you have to let ALL types of characters have their arsenal or methods to dispose of an enemy. A thief needs to be able to stealth, skullduggery, shadows, nighttime, and a place of his choosing where the guards are bribed. A magician needs a time when everything is perfectly aligned in magic, where his spells are at their perfect efficiencies, and where his protective magics are at their ready. These types of settings are not in an arena!

What about a diplomat? Perhaps this character has never even held a sword; how does he challenge a swordsman as an enemy? Clearly, the answer is with laws and political influence. A political type character would be foolish to challenge a sword veteran one on one. The first thing he could do is have the swordsman framed for a crime...and then have him hauled in on charges. Once the swordsman is thrown in the dungeon, the diplomat could shove some gold into a corrupt guard's hand, and have his enemy killed while in shackles.

The key to immersion is to let creative methods of trickey and deceit work. The key to being an excellent enemy is to use creative methods to overcome your opponent.

This just can't be done in the current "arena" type settings.


Summary

Overall, immersion of this nature starts with open PvP, but it has to be balanced with guards and proactive protective measures. That's why we have cities, for example. So that people feel safe. 

But obviously, the key is, you're never entirely safe anywhere.

To be an enemy, the game has to be willing to let you steal from other people. It has to give you the opportunity to rob their corpse of loot, or even their belongings when they lay dead. It has to make you accountable for what you say. For example, if you keep spamming comments like, "I'll sell you 100gold for 10.00 dollars!", then there is no reason why a barbarian shouldn't be able to come up to you and shove a sword in your belly.

What you say, not just what you do, should be accountable for creating enemies. And people should have many different avenues to exact their vengence.

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