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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at, write for, run and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Vanguard: Replace Sartok with a "Hardcore rule-set" server.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday July 2 2009 at 11:34AM
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(If you go to, 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.

Uhm, not hardcore: just eww.
Uhm, not hardcore: just eww.

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. "

Intereessttiinngg. Veeerrrryyyy.

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?


dethgar writes:

Wouldn't "no pvp" affect the immersion? I always avoided trying to immerse myself in games that lacked pvp, AoC and Eve are the only MMO's where I felt truly immersed.

Thu Jul 02 2009 5:58PM Report
beauturkey writes:

 Hmm, good point. But PvP has never been very close to realistic.

 It's pretty close to EVE, being that in a future society, the law is brought down on you pretty fast, but in some of these games you not only respawn in seconds, but your killer pays no price.

 Some games go pretty close to realism with it, but since it is player versus player, the price you pay when you die is low, if anything. The developer doesn't want a player losing XP or paying any major price when they die.





Thu Jul 02 2009 7:34PM Report
dethgar writes:

Dare I say...PERMADEATH! :P

Sat Jul 04 2009 3:46AM Report
Trenchgun writes:

You're clueless. Do your research next time on what makes PvP work historically and why it failed in Vanguard. People do want PvP, they just want it done right. Vanguard's PvP was always half assed and incomplete. It's not a statement against PvP in general, but a statement against poorly implemented PvP.

Open PvP also works, and is far more interesting than a closed system, but it requires again that you design to account for it's needs. Just slapping it on a PvE game accomplishes nothing, and that is where most people get their ignorant negative stereotypes about how open PvP is unworkable or undesired - Of course it is unworkable if you don't properly design the game to accommodate it.

Mon Jul 06 2009 4:44AM Report
Arcken writes:

The pvp is definately off in Vanguard, for quite some time I ran around on my rogue 2 and 3 shotting cloth casters before they could get a spell off. While most people stayed away from rogues on Sartok, theyre actually very good in pvp, provided you arent trying to kill a paladin or dk.


Mon Jul 06 2009 7:49AM Report
beauturkey writes:

I did my research, it's called "playing on Vanguards PvP server for the last 2 years."

 If you think that the PvP server is unpopular only and mainly because of some kind of broken PvP, then you are the one that needs to do some very, very basic research.



Mon Jul 06 2009 3:19PM Report
Jhustyn writes:

"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."


Raids are hardest on Sartok. Please also note that the lockout "timers" are usually around 5 days to a week. So upping the timer on most mobs that are hard enough to kill, with a weak population and aggressive play style (i.e. training/pvp/wiping a raid)...would probably be a bit redundant.



Thu Jul 09 2009 7:58AM Report
cwRiis writes:

I spend most of my time in PvE solo or in small groups.  But I do enjoy PvP too.  And nothing compare to open PvP. 

EVE captures that always look over your shoulder feeling (even when the law is around, they can come too late and death there often has painful consequences).  It gets your heart racing.

SWG mechnized the open PvP very nicely.  You can go special forces and anywhere is PvP when another special force type shows up.  Or you can jump into the arena like areas for mass conflict.  The key thing they did there is making the PvP setting a toggle with restrictions.  It makes the whole universe good for hard core PvP or those PvE carebares (one inside of all of us).

Wed Jul 15 2009 10:00AM Report writes:
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