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BadSpock's Logical Conclusions.

My random thoughts about MMORPGs. A bit of critique, suggestion, debate, and insanity. Enjoy.

Author: BadSpock

I Can Be Your Heero Baby!

Posted by BadSpock Friday February 15 2008 at 11:11AM
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So I posted this on the forums and was so impressed by myself, I decided to right another blog lol.

Sorry, self-butt-kissing moment:

I'm not at all against FFA PvP.

I just believe that FFA PvP doesn't have to be about ganking/griefing others.

Think about it this way...

Say you and your guild role play as a band of marauding Orcs. It's perfectly acceptable (and within the game rules) for you to go around slaughtering everyone that you come across.

But what's different in a MMO is that the helpless people you are slaughtering are other players.

It's like watching a movie, you don't care if the Orcs slaughter some nameless villagers, but you sure do care if they kill off one of the Heroes.

In a MMO, we all want to be Heroes, we want to be Heroes in all the games we play. 

It's not fun to be the nameless villager, but that is what we start out as in a MMO. It takes a while to become a Hero. That's really want the RPG part of MMORPG is about, becoming a Hero. 

And it's really hard to become a Hero if every time you go outside your village, some *sshole Orc kills you for no reason other then the fact that you were there. 

That, is why total unrestricted FFA PvP does not work in MMOs. 

FFA Guild vs. Guild and FFA Faction vs. Faction are and should be enough FFA for anyone.

That way your band of Orcs can slaughter all the people you want, as long as they are part of the faction/guild in opposition to you. They are just some random villager anymore, they are the enemy. The real enemy. There is HONOR in killing them.

Anyone who wants to go out and kill random noobs for fun is a pathetic coward, and nothing anyone will ever say will change my mind on that.

Take away the ability to randomly kill some lowbie, some poor shmuck crafting or killing monsters, and you can still very easily have your immersion, your epic, bloody, perpetual conflict, but you don't have to ruin the game for someone else at the same time. 

Still on the bandwagon! Part1 - Looting

Posted by BadSpock Friday February 15 2008 at 10:15AM
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So this FFA PvP debating seems to be picking up... Hurray!

I've read many blogs and forum threads, thought I'd share some thoughts of mine with ya'll.



Looting -

A lot of people talk about full and/or partial player looting when they talk about Free For All Player Versus Player combat. 

They feel that if you defeat someone, you should be able to take all/some of their equipment and what they were carrying. Classic Ultima Online and modern EVE Online allow players to loot each other.

In EVE, you have insurance and clones. In other games you have timers, protected items, blessings, etc. Pretty much, ways to keep some or all of your stuff.

The basic problem with player looting is that the vast majority of people are selfish. It's a game, people like to win at games. With player looting, people don't mind looting others, it's like Christmas morning opening that bag / cargo hold and finding goodies to plunder... I know, I've looted plenty of people back in the day....

But when someone kills you, especially when they are cowards and gank you, or especially when you are new to the game..... it proves without a doubt why so few games do player looting anymore. It sucks. Bad.

So somewhere along the way, people thought:

"Hey! People like stuff, people hate when their stuff is stolen, let's make all the cool stuff come from Monsters and let's make it so once you get it you can't lose it!"

And this was how modern PvE was born. Raiding, dungeons, quest loot, item drops... all of it.

And some say, this was also the death of PvP.

What's the "point" of PvP if not to take stuff from other people? Well, they thought:

"Hey, people love FPS games and in there, you don't get to steal other stuff, the sweet taste of victory is enough!"

And thus modern PvP was born. Hell, they even use CTF and King of the Hill in MMOs now.

For me, victory is enough reward. I've played a sh*t ton of FPS games, been a Halo freak for years, so I'm very used to the concept of "reward = victory" and that's it. I get enough of a rush from simply defeating my opponents, I don't NEED to spit on their corpse, drag it behind me chariot, strip it naked and hang it on my wall.

So I just totally do not understand the mentality of the player looter.

I know some people will say that player looting good for the economy, it's good for crafters.

Why? Because if people keep having their stuff stolen when they die, they'll have to keep buying more stuff. I mean look at the EVE Online economy. They had to hire their own economist for Christ's sake.

So I can definetly see that as a bonus to player looting, it creates a much more important sense of economy. But it works both ways.

You don't NEED as much of a robust player-driven economy if you don't NEED to replace your gear every day/hour etc.

Economy is one of those things that no one can get right. In real life, or in a virtual one. It's much easier in a virtual one because you can put certain restrictions and controls on the economy that you just can't do in real life (at least not in the United States.)

On the bandwagon!

Posted by BadSpock Thursday February 14 2008 at 12:32PM
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Yep, it's true.. I'm jumping on the "let's discuss FFA PvP again" bandwagon. 

Here are my viewpoints, cut/pasted from other blogs on this site (like this one)

  • I really think that only a small % of people who want FFA PvP want it for the ability to gank/griefer others. Those that do want to gank/grief others are just tools, and nothing can be done for them.

    I believe that the majority who want FFA PvP really just want FFA faction/guild PvP. They want to choose their alliances, choose their enemies, and wage their own wars, not the pre-defined allies/enemies the devs force them into.

    If you were to create a game where Guilds could wage war with each other, and guilds could band together to form their own factions, and thus choose what other guilds/faction to war against, that would be enough FFA PvP for the majority of those who want FFA PvP.

    For the small minority that just want to gank/grief random players and slaughter noobs, well, you are the reason FFA PvP doesn't exist anymore. It's not the "carebears" fault, it's yours.

  • You made my point for me by saying "With FFA-PvP you had the anti-PK guilds, the PK guilds, the neutral guilds, the policiing guilds and the gank squads everywhere, all in a harmony in a system that worked."

    You are right, like I said, FFA PvP is all about community.

    If you aren't one of these guilds, these "factions" then you are merely the victim of the system, not a participant in it.

    HENCE, why so many games have gone to or are going to Faction based and/or guild based PvP only.

    It garauntees that those who PvP aren't outside the system, but a part of it.

    Getting ganked (which I define as simply being outnumbers/ambushed/swarmed etc.) is totally OK and a part of the game, IF you are a member of the faction/guild in opposition to those that ganked you.

    If you are random Joe unguilded noob and a squad of PKs randomly kills you, it sucks, they are cowards, and you hate the game for it.

    Get what I'm saying? 

    FFA PvP ends up breaking down into these groups, these guilds, these factions anyway, but it still REALLY sucks for those who are not part of the system.

    And that, I think, is the reason so many dislike FFA PvP. 


    FFA PvP only "works" if the community is there.

    The "lone wolf" will always be the victim. I hated the FFA PvP in UO until I joined up with a large guild. Garaunteed protection and friends who wouldn't grief you. It completely changed the game for me.

    If everyone who played was garaunteed a good guild to run with and some teammates to support them, FFA PvP is actually not that FFA, but instead factional. It will break down in Guild vs. Guild or Faction vs. Faction, but there will always be those without a guild or faction to align themselves with, and they will always be the victim or victimize others. 

    That is why FFA PvP was pretty much abandoned long ago and Faction or Guild based PvP has become the "norm." It garauntees support and belongingness, and help eliminate the "random PK" factor which can (and will) ruin the game.

    Open world (i.e. non instanced/balanced teams) PvP is generally all about strength in numbers. Sure, player skill, terrain, preparedness etc. will always help, but no matter those factors 30 vs 10 I'm always putting my money on the team of 30.

    Griefing someone for no reason, which I define as "killing someone who has absolutely zero chance of defending themselves" just to be a d*ck and kill them is childish. The more that can be done to prevent this, the better. Even in a "FFA" game, measures SHOULD be taken to prevent vets from slaughtering noobs.

    Vets  who kill noobs are cowards. This is not an argument, it is fact. They blah blah blah about "Real PvP and challenge" but ganking/griefing is not real PvP, nor is it challening, it's a pathetic practice by insecure *ssholes who are too scared and cowardly to start a fair fight. Their bullys. Sad, lonely bullys. 

    Real PvP, just to let you know, is a fair fight or a fight where one party/person has a slight advantage, but the possibility of loss is always there. Ganking/griefing create NO possibility of loss, and are thus NOT real PvP. It's cowardice.

    Most FFA PvP i have ever seen ends up being faction/guild vs. faction/guild anyway, it's just the few *sshats who are bored/unguilded etc. will greif/gank random noobs to feel better about themselves, and it's always pathetic.

    In terms of full looting, it only "works" when gear is easily replaced and their is no "uber" gear. Like old Ultima Online. Full looting simple will not work in item centric games, nor will ever be attempted by any game that is item centric. Item centric + full loot = bankrupt devs and server shut down. 

    The closest I think we'll ever see in a modern, AAA title to FFA PvP is games with faction vs. faction and Guild vs. Guild. Any faction member can kill any one of an opposite faction at any time, any where. Any guild can declare war on any other guild, no matter the faction, and those guilds can kill each other any time, any where.

    That is as close as I believe we'll see to true FFA in any future released AAA title. 

    Look at EVE, the only remaining mostly FFA PvP game. The majority of the uber-awesome exciting PvP people talk about is Corp vs. Corp. Corps are allowed to choose who they war with, who they ally with. But you also have ganker/griefer pilots who ruin the game for others because they are too scared to join the big conflicts, fight fairly, and risk losing their precious stuff.

  • Casual raiding? Typo or truth?

    Posted by BadSpock Monday February 11 2008 at 2:17PM
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    So I really liked this topic :

    The OP of that thread pretty much states: Give everyone a chance to play the whole game.

    Why is raiding limited to the small portion of the playerbase, the "hardcore" PvE crowd that has the patience, dedication, and teamwork/coordination to excel at and complete MMO raiding?

    I agree 100% with yesyouconn. Why spend countless development hours and resources to create a few hours worth of content that only a small fraction of your community will ever see?

    So, my answer, using the ever popular World of Warcraft as the baseline:

    Blizzard got it 1/2 right with the "standard" dungeons and the "heroic" dungeons.

    That way, the standard ones are easy enough where everyone can run them and complete them, but the heroic versions take skill, coordination, and a higher gear level. By completing these heroic dungeons, you get better rewards.

    The reputation grind to unlock the heroic mode is a little too much IMO.

     The questions is, why haven't they done the same for raiding? Have standard and heroic difficulty settings for raids.

    The standard raids are much easier then the current ones, but the gear levels are much more comparable to the heroic 5-person dungeons.

    Put Tier 4,5,6 gear into the 3 tiers of "standard" raids and put the Tier 7,8,9 in the "heroic" raids.

    This way, everyone has a much better chance of at least seeing and experiencing the content, but the "hardcore" raiders who possess the dedication, skill, coordination, and effort to do the "heroic" raids end up with the greatest rewards.

    It'd be a PERFECT opportunity to bring back some of the older raids too. Make "heroic" versions of MC, BWL, AQ40, and NAX for groups of 25 level 70 characters. Even bring back heroic versions of ZG and AQ20 for groups of 10 level 70 characters.

    Or even take out the Tiered gear from the standard raids, just put in the non-Tiered armor and weapons, and save the better stuff, the Tiered gear, for the Heroic raids.

    Anything that get's more people playing and logging in is a bonus. Anything that let's people enjoy content is a good thing. Sure, when someone asks "So has your guild killed Illidan?" You can say "Yes, but only on standard difficulty."

    Or balance the gear so that the highest Tier raid on Standard difficulty gears and prepares you for the lowest Tier raid on Heroic difficulty. Re-using content is fine, and if anything going through standard Raid Tier 1-3 then going back through on Heroic Tier 1-3 is much better and less mind-numbing then hitting the same raid week in, week out for months, then FINALLY moving up the next Tier.

    What do ya'll think? Casual raiding with less powerful rewards for non-hardcore players who want to raid and see the content and turn the raids we have in now into the "heroic" ones for the uber-guilds who want (and deserve) the best PvE gear.

    I mean scroll down the thread and find Pappy13's excellent summary of what raiding in WoW requires. He's 100% accurate. I know, I've been there done that.

    And for those who can take it, who can make that commitment you HAVE to give them the best possible PvE awards.

    But why not make an easier path to raiding? Because it's easier, the rewards aren't as good, but at LEAST you get to see the content!

    The only thing Pappy13 missed is the hours spent reading the strategy guides and listening to raid leaders read you the strategy guide they have alt-tabbed before the pull. By going through the raids on "easy mode" you at least get experience with the set up, the basic strategy, etc. but you actually have some room for mistakes and improvisation.

    That way once you get to the "Heroic" raids you can pick up on the strategies and the timing. There is very little, if any, room for mistake on the current raids. Like Magtheridon for example. One person fails to click the cube in time, game over. Wipe, wasted time, money, frustration etc.

    Some of us really like raiding but really HATE how it completely owns your life and play time if you want to excel at raiding. I'd be 100% perfectly O.K. with not getting the best gear through raiding because we didn't tackle the "Heroic" mode. I'll leave that to the real hardcore raiders, I just want to have fun w/ my guild mates and see new and interesting things.

    Anyone agree?

    The one to rule them all?

    Posted by BadSpock Thursday February 7 2008 at 1:34PM
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    So I recently took the plunge on a new MMORPG. New for me anyway.

    Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar.


    1. I'm a MMORPG addict, and I need to be playing something.

    2. I have heard good things from reputable sources, and have played the trial before.

    So, I'll give my impressions thus far. *Granted: It's only been a few days*

    What I like:

    1. Graphics - In non-Monster play (PvP) I run this baby in the DX10 client at Very High settings and it is very visually impressive. I drop it to Medium settings for monster play because no lag / framerate >>> visuals in PvP.

    2. Monster play - You have to get to level 10 as a "normal" character in order to "unlock" monster play, but by George I love it. You start at level 50 with a few skills, you don't have to worry about gear, and you quest/kill in order to gain Rank through Infamy and stats/traits/abilities through Destiny points. 

    I joined up with a RP guild I've been kicking around with for a while now, since the days of UO Siege Perilous. I'm talking that we're required to speak Orcish all the time and everything. This is really what has made Monster play so much fun for me so far, I started out with tons of help and a garaunteed Fellowship every time I log onto my Orc Reaver. We form our little warband and hunt for Free Peoples to slaughter!

    It's still fairly early in my game experience, but the mechanics for PvP are very similar to a game like WoW. It feels comfortable, and even in my newbie state, I feel that I contribute to our Kinship's glorious battle with the Free Peoples... Hoowah!

    Just last night we participated in a HUGE PvP battle that stretched across all the Ettenmoors. At least 50 on 50, but probably way more. Our little warband did quite well, even though we (Monsters) lost control of a few of the Towers/Keeps. It was some of the most fun PvP I've had since the early days of WoW (before Battlegrounds) and even back to UO Siege Perilous.

    3. Traits / deeds - I'm a power gamer at heart, definetly an "Achiever" so I absolutely love the Trait / Deed system. It's so much like the Xbox-360 achievement system; do something and get rewarded for it. Yeah, it's kind of "grindy" but only if you focus on one specific Deed at a time. You end up with SO many different Deeds you are working on, you can just play naturally and eventually you'll unlock cool new Titles and Traits etc. just from doing what you do.

    4. Polish and "feel" - Plainly speaking, the game just feels right. The pacing is good, the content feels fresh (even though it's roughly the same formula as any WoW-type game) and the level of polish is extraordinary. I am looking forward to discovering new lands and adventure in Middle Earth on my Freep, but it's going to be hard to get me to stop playing my Creep long enough to level!

    5. Content - The game has been out for... how long? 9 months? And already they've had 11 massive and free content upgrades, they've added completely new systems like housing, and Book 12 looks to add a LOT to Monster play and character customization. Point is, they are adding to and tweaking the game at a pace I've never seen another MMO match, and they have SOO much room for expansion still. Rohan, Gondor, Mordor, etc. All not even in the game yet. This game already has a lot of land mass and content, but they could still easily quadruple its size. I want to be a part of the game towards the beginning, so that when they expand further I'll be "ready" to experience all the new areas of Middle Earth.

    6. The little things - Morale instead of Health, Retreat from battle rather then Death.. etc.. Just little difference that really add to the ambience and seperate this game from other MMORPGs.


    What I don't like:

    1. Crafting - Very WoW like. Find resources in the wild, Grind on noob recipes until one day you can make something useful. I suppose if you keep your crafting abilities up to your level you can make gear / items you can actually use as you level, which is what I'm going to try and do. Still, very unorginal and repetitive crafting system.

    2. Can't really think of anything else yet!

    Honestly, doing the "noob" questing area was a little boring, but just because I had already done it on the free trial a while ago. Once I got past that to the first "real" zone I really enjoyed it a lot more. The world just seems so big, the zones just stretch on for a lot farther then I would have imagined.

    Getting to level 10 and starting Monster play is really what makes this game for me. As with all open-world PvP, it's all about the neccessity of grouping and who you group with. I'm very lucky to come into PvMP with an established group of players, it has so far made it an amazing and fun experience.

    I'm not sure how much I can actual "recommend" LoTRO to any other desperate MMO player. If you have friends that play, friends that can get you into a guild asap then I definetly recommend this game. If you have friends that do Monster Play on a regular basis, you just HAVE to give it a try.

    If you try LoTRO by yourself; if you don't already have friends playing I guess the only thing I can say is that it's not really all too much different from any other quest based MMORPG out there. When I tried the trial before I was just going through the motions. I didn't have any friends online to talk to, and I found the game to be very similar to that other MMORPG I've played. :) 

    Having an objective, "I need to get to level 10 in order to do Monster Play" completely changed the game for me. And now that I've gotten my Freep to level 10, gotten out of the newbie zone, I want to keep going. But, like I said, going to be hard to tear myself away from my Creep!

    That's all I got for now, I'm sure in a few days/weeks I'll write a follow up and see how my feelings/thoughts about this game have changed.