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My thoughts on the MMO market and current game development.

This blog is mainly my opinions of current and future mmo's, what I think dev's are doing right and wrong.

Author: Pyrostasis

Can full item loot work in a modern day MMO?

Posted by Pyrostasis Friday April 25 2008 at 1:04AM
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Recently with the upcoming release of AoC and its pvp focus many old school pvpers have been coming out of the wood work. I was rather shocked to see a lot of oldschool Asheron's Call players active on the AoC VN forums.

Many polls have been run recently on many different pvp topics on the funcom forums mainly due to funcom not publicly stating the ruleset, and one of those options is full pvp loot. There has been a lot of positive and negative feedback on those polls which leads to the question...Can modern day MMO's have full item loot?

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Gishgeron writes:

I say no.  I understand there is a market for those players...the trouble is, full item loot favors vet players and creates an environment where new players are simply fodder.  Its self defeating, because no full item loot MMO has ever been released which also includes severe penalties for outright murder.

I say, if players want harsh PvP, let them also have harsh penalties as well.  Having one without the other simply creates a situation that only favors veteran gankers, and frankly that model isn't fun for anyone.  If you kill a player in cold blood just to steal his items, you immediately lose any and all NPC interaction and are locked out of any form of guild that isn't also marked as "murderers". 

Perhaps if these players could accept real life punishment to go with their "real life PvP", then the ideal might have some wide spread merit.  Till then, we must simply accept that no new player in his right mind wants to be another mob to loot for some tool who lives for no other reason than to ensure people suffer in game as much as he suffers in real life.

Fri Apr 25 2008 2:23AM Report
inzehhat writes:

"real life pvp" (open pvp with consequences) should be implemented in earthrise, from what I've read. It could be a nice mix.

Fri Apr 25 2008 2:36AM Report
Pyrostasis writes:

But Gishgerhon, vet players in a non item centric game dont have as many advantages as say in WoW.

Usually when you get rid of itemization as the main form of advancement, then how you play your character becomes more important. Not your level or length of play.

Fri Apr 25 2008 2:40AM Report
Gishgeron writes:



There is always progression.  Were there not, there would be no substance, no purpose to killing at all.  That situation is even worse, because then you have nothing BUT that is all the gameplay sustains.

If there are items, and items have varying degrees of power...there will be a divide.  If items have no variation in power, there is no progression...nor any true purpose to the items for anything but decoration.  If items are nothing more than decoration, then there will STILL be progression in some other form.  It doesn't matter what form it takes, player skill will always be modified by some statistic which is increased due to time played.

IF there is truly NO progression, then the game is just an FPS with a different skin, and player housing.  Without progression to keep people striving for something, there is also no need to pay and play constantly.  The game then dissolves into "on again off again" gameplay and never hits mass MMO appeal.

I don't care if its item progression, skill progression, or level progression...there is ALWAYS progression.  So long as there is, there is a divide in power and THAT inevitably causes newbs to be fodder for vets, of which whom have already established themselves with control over the land.  An MMO which does not offer equality in opportunity to new and old players dissolves its potential player gain.  You cannot favor a veteran player in this genre, and full loot games always do.  Until, that is, they decide to harshly punish gankers and serial murdering corpse looters in a way which discourages such underhanded behavior equal to the encouraging tool of looting the corpse.

Fri Apr 25 2008 3:07AM Report
Itzcoliuhqui writes:


The problem with your line of thought is that you see having advantage as a I-win button. Granted that's what happens in most MMOs... At level 15 you're struggling fighting wild bears, but at level 60 you let them smack you around to show off your awesome regen to new players.

I have no problem in giving players advantages for having played the game longer(even though the main advantage should already be the experience they have in the game), but I'm instead in favour of balancing it out. Riddiculous example(found in some games): A high level player with no armor and no weapons killing a player fully decked in armor and with a big sword... No magic involved. :/

Fri Apr 25 2008 4:50AM Report
Aspirant13 writes:

~looks at dead horse, searches for stick~

Fri Apr 25 2008 6:02AM Report
A.Blackloch writes:

Nah, it would kill the fun in game. Think about speding few hours doing some quest and getting new gear. Then you bump into ganksquad and lose everything. I would smash my fist through monitor.

Fri Apr 25 2008 7:43AM Report
Ogrelin writes:

Oh the good old days of UO... :) that game didn't have questitems, just regular itemsdrops and crafting...Players of today can't imagne whe adrenalinpuping you had when chased by the pks...

I always sucked at pvp but I will always miss the thrill...

You have to remember, there was fullitemloot in guildfight as well, so everyone could loot, and if you happend to run past a body of a fallen player you could always loot his body, you just got flagged as a theif for 10 minutes(you could be killed on sight by enyone)




Fri Apr 25 2008 7:59AM Report
AranStormah writes:

Of course it will work. It works in Eve, and it worked in UO.

All it requires is that people use equipment they can afford to lose and that there's no such thing as "raid items". From what I understand the weapons and gear in Conan can be crafted so that should cover it.

Fri Apr 25 2008 8:41AM Report
molitar writes:

I think what we need to see is gear wearing out.  The more damage it takes the more expensive it costs to repair to the point it's cheaper to purchase a new one.  Just like back in medieval type days or even modern days.. A monitor wears out.. most of the time it's almost cheaper to go purchase a new monitor because the cost of repair is almost as high as purchasing a new one.  But minor problem can cost less and be better to repair.  This would make sure an economy exists and continues to exists.

Fri Apr 25 2008 9:25AM Report
Gishgeron writes:

Itz - I can sit here all day and not only name off reasons why Full Loot FFA PvP makes a miserable game, AND the many many ways to improve the ideal in such a way that makes fans of it and new players happy, but I've said it all before and I doubt that the few remaining dissenters will come around.  Most of them are just griefers that don't like the ideal of having that taken away from them.

  Again, progression has to exist, and has to be meaningful.  No, it doesn't have to be huge...but the veteran player has more working for him than just "statistical advantage".  There is no way to make a system like that fair to newbies.

  Ogrelin:  Wanna know what I remember about UO?  Never once seeing the outside of town, thats what.  I'm not even joking, I never once got to leave town...because each time I tried I was dead after setting one foot outside the gate.  I enjoyed a couple months of that before realizing that the ideal was stupid.


  Aran:  Eve has seen its community help correct the problem.  For one, the Eve Academy goes a long way to help new players get their bearings without being fodder the whole time.  The corp that you can join after leaving the Academy is another part of what helps negate the abuse of its new players.  So, basically, the whole thing only works because ITS players go well outside their means to correct the abuse and neglect a new player suffers. 

  UO had to go through some changes, several changes, before it was half as fun as any of you remember.   Frankly, if that games was so much fun you would all be playing it still.  I don't know why we can't all just admit that those old MMO's really weren't all that good.  I can still go back and play Mario 1 and have fun...I can play tetris and have fun.  I couldn't even STAND the sight of EQ or WoW now.   So I think we should just stop heralding those old games as the greatest things ever...because they weren't, or else we could still play them and enjoy every moment.

Fri Apr 25 2008 10:10AM Report
UncertaintyP writes:

The punishment for murderers is supposed to be other players hunting them down since they can freely attack a murderer. Not some stupid arbitrary rule to make you feel better about dying in a game.

The reason people don't still pay for UO is because it went through changes, none of them were what made it fun. There are still plenty of free shards on old patches without trammel that have a lot of people.

Fri Apr 25 2008 11:15AM Report
Pyrostasis writes:

Actually Gis UO was fun at release, till about 2 years in when they started turning it into a different game. Harsh murder penaltys, 2 lands that people could hunt in with one pk one non pk basically killing pvp, not to mention stat loss. Those are the reasons most of us left. Not because the game became more fun like you suggest.

Yes there is progression in an MMO. However, there are ways to give it a level curve / diminished returns so that progression isnt as overpowering to new blood.

Look at Asheron's Call for example. A level 70 player could kill a level 100 - 126 player. Was it difficult? Yes. But was done daily. It came down to how well you played your character vs the other guy. The people who played longer had an advantage sure... but the advantage wasnt greater than 80%.

You mention eve, speaking of eve academy and such. Thats player interaction that is encouraged by open pvp. In UO we had the same types of guilds. We also had many many roleplaying guilds... something you see much more rarely than the new games.

Open PvP / Item Loot isnt for everyone. You are one of the folks who prefers consentual pvp, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, there is a large group of others like me, who can see an old UO type system making a comeback in todays games.

Fri Apr 25 2008 12:25PM Report
Magicite writes:

Full looting creates community.


It's just like real life. If you live in the ghetto, you join a gang. Why? Because if you don't, you can become a target. You gang doesn't have to be bad, and may even be good, but it offers protection.

This breeds community, and community is the one thing that binds an MMO together after there is nothing left to do.


Full looting is like capitalism. It has some rough edges, but the market works itself out. If you haven't played UO you really wouldn't understand.

Fri May 16 2008 3:20PM Report
Manifold writes:

The problem with full loot is that it does not work with typical MMO mechanics. I have read that without itemization there is no reason to fight. That is ludicrous. There are a thousand other ways to reward players without putting huge weight on player equipment. The key is Tradeoffs. Without tiered equipment/skills/zones what is needed is things that offer tradeoffs.

Start with your basic tradeoff even your typical MMO offers heavy armor vs. movement speed. Then you extrapolate.

In the end you will arrive at a system of intricate systems each in a rock paper scissors style relationship with other members of their category. Then you start to mix in situation skills and counters and huge varieties of equipment options with differing positive vs. negative aspects.

An advanced player may be able to min/max certain aspects and dominate many noobs, but even the lowliest player will be able to exploit his/her weaknesses if he/she is not careful. Combat becomes a delicate dance thrust/parry/thrust/riposte/thrust/slash.

If you can imagine a game like this you will soon realize that a new player will indeed be at a disadvantage, but not because they haven't been playing long enough for the game to say "you rock" or because they haven't had a chance to amass huge amounts of items. What they will lack is knowledge of terrain, alliances, knowledge of skills and how they work together. In other words it will be the "skill" of the player in many aspects that put them on top. Not just how long the player has been playing, or what sword they use, or how fast they can twitch. But instead all of these things, together at last where every player CAN succeed but only a few MAY.

Fri Nov 27 2009 11:47AM Report
nlcke writes:

Magicite writes:
If you haven't played UO you really wouldn't understand.

The game was superb when you could hide and wait by a road for a target. When the time was right, attack him and get a fortune worth of stuff, that was of course if you could kill him. Looking for a pray with friends was even better. Sometimes the targets backpack was empty or full of rubbish, sometimes there was useful stuff. I can still remember a time I killed a guy, bags was filled with paintings and all kinds of furniture, those were times that I still remember after 11-12 years.

People with no experience of such game-play, where you actually lose something when dieing, or win a great deal by risking your own worn gear, shouldn't say that it won't work, or that it has no meaning. As there is imho nothing that comes close to this rush of adrenaline you could get in UO.

Having played various MMO's for more than 10 years now, spending time raiding at the top of the progression, doing outdoor pvp, arenas, battlegrounds and pretty much playing all games I've seen as interesting enough to start playing, no game that I've tried has been as thrilling as UO was. And I seriously doubt there will be one out for a good while if ever.

Thu Jan 28 2010 8:36AM Report
coffeetalk writes:

Not a full item loot maybe but half item loot? when u die u drop 1-2 of ur items on ground and u have chance to get em back if u get to ur corpse in 5 minutes or so if not ur body is lootable. also system that allows u not to loot total noobs

Mon Nov 22 2010 8:25PM Report writes:
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