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To PK or not to PK? That is the question

Posted by AndyLee Friday October 31 2008 at 4:27AM
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PKing is one of the most common features of MMORPGs. Fighting with other players face to face offers much more fun than slashing those AI mobs in the single player games. Defeating other players is the most obvious way to show off your power in a MMO. During the immersive battle, elaborate control techniques will be discovered, and players will be motivated to level up. As a result, the gameplay will be promoted. Moreover, PKing can force players to form a community, to have friends to protect each other, to remember enemies for revenge, or just to make you stay cautious on your journey. However, PKing is also a double-edge sword for MMORPGs, which might destroy an otherwise terrific game.

Imagine you were a newbie again, and trying to fit in the game. However, some battle hardened veteran suddenly comes up and PKs you without any reason. As a newbie, you don’t know how to handle it and feel upset. If it happens over and over again, you will probably think that this game isn’t fun, and you’ll just delete the client and quit the game forever.

Some might suggest the MMO world should adapt to jungle rules, new players get owned until they can grow up. But please remember, an MMO is a community for players. No community can exist in a lawless state. If someone with higher level and superior equipment can run on a killing spree without restrictions, the online community will eventually be destroyed. Consequently players will leave and then the game is doomed.

Therefore, game developers should design a fair PK system in MMOs to prevent the problems mentioned above, for players and also for themselves. Like Blizzard, they provide different types of servers for players. You can choose to join a PVP or PVE server according to your attitude on PKing. Conquer Online, as a PVP oriented MMORPG, provides its players with a well-designed PK system, which can ensure that most of players, either newbie or veteran, can enjoy the fun of the game. In Conquer, killing other players will make you accumulate PK points and the color of their character name will vary so as to warn others. If someone is killed with high PK points, he/she will be sent to jail and some equipment may be detained. The detained equipment can be redeemed and the payment will be awarded to the player who captured the killer. This bounty hunter system can protect new players from repeated random PKs, while keeping the gameplay as immersive as possible.

PKing is fun, but if it runs out of control, the game will be damaged. You must temper your bloodlust, or else there will be no one left to kill.