(If you go to www.spouseaggro.com, you can vote on a poll I have set up. All 3 of you.)
Before I begin, let me say that I currently have a level 38 character ON Sartok. I have always maintained the character, but have done so privately as to not wake the sleeping-till-noon giant that is the average 22 year old griefer on Sartok. And it has worked, I have seen how cool most players can be on Sartok, but only because I have spent a good deal of time there. I see Sartok as a party with 100 people at it. If 20 of those people are allowed to act like jerks, then people leave the party.
But, the experiment has failed, if you ask me. Sartok has the lowest population of any server (although I will bet they are not far behind from the others in the grand scheme) and for the last two years of my involvement in the community I have heard cries of "fix PvP." While PvP does have it's share of bugs, there are no more than the share that PvE has. PvP'ers tend to forget that they are actually PvE'ers, as well. All the fixes done for PvE is a fix for the PvP server. Overall, however, the bugs are fewer that you would think, like the rest of Vanguard. The average game-play session might welcome a couple, but none that are really game-breaking. Anyway, Sartok is mostly dead and most pvp'ers are stuck in chat or out fighting the same 15 people they always fight. Ganking happens, but as with most PvP, it is the equivalent of tripping someone, not killing them.
So, what would a replacement "hard-core" rule-set server consist of? How would it be implemented?
1) Save the current Sartok population, with their gear, gold, levels..everything. Granted, most people would cry foul and demand, at least, the relinquishing of their gold, but if I were in control I would let them have it. If "new" players wanted to "catch up" to the old Sartokians, they could simply raise it within a few weeks or go buy it on Live Gamer, as they do now. Give the older population a special title wepaon...whatever.
2) Wipe it out, throw the new server rule-set on top. MCP, the infamous "phantom" dev, seemed to indicate that it would be relativley easy to do this. Of course, in MMO's and especially in Vanguard, nothing is easy. I would be willing to test it and give it a try. Here are some examples of what he said:
" Something like this has been coded for some time (by yours truly), but not test verified.
It is a "hard core" server rules set.
Firstly, that would require an additional server shard, which is quite a few machines. Not a trivial expense by any means. (Sartok would be the server shard-Beau)
Secondly, it is unclear whether this would be a viable financial model. So any such server would at best be temporary unless population on that server proved the viability of this style of play in number of active players on the server.
We had a survey at one point to judge interest levels, but players went online and spammed other players to go post, and so we had to shut down the survey. "
"Server was intended to have NO character transfers.
It would be a "start from the beginning" server. The entire point of the server is to make the game experience more challenging, and that would not be the case if transferring over max-level characters (or any characters) was allowed."
So, what would the special ruleset server consist of? This is how I would like to see it:
1) No open PvP. Most players do not want it, or would be willing to put up with it. Tripping someone has nothing to do with being "hardcore." There could be entire areas that would be pvp-enabled, arena's and dueling...all the usual PvP stuff that works in all sorts of other MMO's. Most people do not like to PvP, proven by the lack of popularity of PvP, so let's let it go. People left Fel for a reason, people don't PvP as much as PvE in EVE for a reason...we don't need more proof.
2) No instant travel. Only travel allowed is by boat, horse or foot. Oh yes, or flying, too!
3) Higher death penalty.
4) Mobs are cranked up a bit, or options for adjusting difficulty levels upwards included.
5) Raid visits are limited. I am not familiar with the timers as they exist (if they do) but visitng the same mob dozens of times is as convinient as instant travel, and should not be allowed.
6) The oceans and land areas are filled with life. This is just one of my wishes, but I would love to see more LIFE. Give me some fish in the oceans.
And here is what MCP said: ( a lot of the same. I stolededed it from him!)
"The hard core rules server as coded currently does the following:
* Eliminate world-assisted fast travel, such as riftways and flying mount vendors.
* Eliminate most bind requirements on most gear in the game (they would not even be bind on equip let alone bind on pickup)
* Decreases by half the amount of experience earned from mobiles and quests (for adventuring only)
* Increases all game mobile difficulty of mobiles below raid level mobs by 1/2 dot in power (3 dot becomes effectively a 3.5, 4 dot a 4.5, etc). This starts scaling at level 1 and is fully scaled in at level 10.
* Death causes experience loss, there is no debt. And you can de-level (lose a level)
* The code support an additional loot table that is a world loot table that can rarely drop loot on this server that drops on no other server. It was thought that for the additonal challenge of such as server, there had to be rewards available that were available to no other server. "
There are many, many more options for a "hardcore" rule-set server. Most of them can be debated as to their value, but one thing I think we can all agree on (I think?) is that "hardcore" is an attempt to get as close to reality as a fantasy game will allow you to go. Sometimes, imitating reality just means to make players slow down. Some players, I think, feel as though harcore means "hard to play" (as in challenge), but it cannot. In example, you can go take juggling lessons and, within a week, be juggling and entertaining your friends. Juggling is not that hard to learn, (neither is drumming, I know! hehe) but is only limited by your imagination and your time.
Raiding and pvp'ing, two main examples of game-play that are often touted as "hardcore" are like juggling. You can be doing as good as anyone else within a short time, and can be on the same level as your friends within a small time later. The hardest of the hardcore pvp and raiding out there do not provide near the challenge as most things in real life, so real life must be the goal. Also, a special rule-set server should be about an immersive experience. While this can be different for different people, the one constant immersive experience we all are familair with is real life. Make our characters go through some of the same things we might: walking/running/riding/sailing instead of teleporting, "dying" meaning a longer recovery time, or neat things like requiring food to be eaten to prevent loss of health.
For me, the experiment that was Sartok is ended. While I wish the server had more citizens than they do, the fact is that most players do not bother with PvP. They just don't, for many reasons. I think blaming it on "broken PvP' has some merit, but more than likely players just do not want to be bothered by some kid tripping them, over and over. Mostly, it is about the community, and the perceptions that players have of that community.
Who knows..maybe it would be neat to take a poll to see what people would think. Maybe it would be neat to take a petition outside of the forums to see how many people would be interested. Either way, I would expect nothing to happen, as Vanguard has bigger fish to fry.But I can dream can't I?