The balance of Mortal Online’s open-PvP relies heavily on its flagging system. Each player and NPC (Non-Player Characters, Creatures etc) in the game has a flag (color) that is visible to you when you highlight or target them. The color will tell you some basic facts about that player, for instance if it’s “ok” to attack him/her or not, although you will never be forbidden to do so by the system because of the full pvp. You too have a flag of course, visible to yourself at all times.
Getting to know the basics of the flagging system is easy when playing the game, but unfortunately rather complex to describe. However, when you first start playing, all you need to know is:
Neutral/Blue players are innocent (well, as innocent as they get) and it’s not ok for you to damage them. You may not steal from them, or cast suspicious spells on them either. Nor poison them. If you do so, you become Allowed/Grey. Kill enough of them and you will eventually be flagged as a Murderer/Red.
Allowed/Gray players have behaved badly in some way against you or someone else in the last few minutes, meaning you can attack them without becoming Grey for everybody else. But remember, if you attack them first, they have the right to attack you back! (Meaning they see you as Grey.)
Murderers/Red players have committed several murders, and you better look out for them. You can attack them without turning Grey for everybody else, but if you attack first, they have the right to attack you back! (Meaning they see you as Grey.)
Loot from other players and specific objects in the world share this system as well and will be colored accordingly. That means it’s ok to loot or interact with all Red and Grey stuff you see, but if you mess with Blue stuff you will become Grey yourself.
If you decide to join a Player Guild that is at war with another Player Guild, special rules apply. You will still see their flag/color, but they will be treated by the system as Grey – and so will you for them!
As the system itself will always allow you to attack, steal, enchant, poison or kill any color/flag you like whenever you want, you might ask what the colors/flags are for except decoration. The main reasons are:
Cities and villages may have guard zones, where it’s possible to call for the guards to capture or kill any Grey or Red player, if they’re not already doing so.
Certain merchants may choose not to trade with Grey or Red players.
Players of every color may take the opportunity to attack Grey or Red players, as they can do so without getting “Grey for all” themselves.
Red players may loose stats if they resurrect too soon after being killed. Also, most healers will simply refuse to resurrect murderers.
This is probably all you will need to know when first starting to play Mortal Online. However, the flagging system goes much deeper than this as it is the foundation for balanced conflict in the game. This section will be updated with more stats and specifics later on.
For those of you that are interested, we’ve decided to share most of the design we are using for flagging in our Alpha stage. We have to warn you though that it is very complex and fairly poorly commented (as this is what goes on behind the curtains and must contain each and every special case), but it is available for download here. We’ll also try to answer your specific questions on the forums!