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Spouse Aggro!

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

Author: beauturkey

Rethinking PvP (and Darkfalls) consequences.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday July 18 2009 at 9:10AM
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I walk my dogs between 45 minutes and 2 hours a day, depending on weather and job schedule. To me, exercise is basic to human life. Not only have scientists proven that it is basic to human life, but are now showing how exercise is vital to your brain as well.

Also, the dogs need it. It is primal, it is in their soul to walk and move and explore and guard. We don't take walks as much as go out on excursions into the neighborhood, keeping an eye on the locals. It all makes for healthier dogs and healthier humans. And I want to be healthy, so I can live longer. This life-style of artist, drummer, gamer and blogger/podcaster is not easy on the body, so care must be taken.

Because, after all, I don't want to die.

In fact, I don't think anyone does. The sure fire way to guess someone's age (or I should say maturity level) is to ask them about growing old. If they say: " Screw that, I wanna' be dead before I get old.." then they are indeed young in many ways. I am 35 now and I can tell you I feel exactly the same as 19, if not better.

In gaming we shouldn't want to die, either, but we all know that perma-death would just piss off more people than not. So,  how do you make death painful in these games? How do you punish people for screwing up? Well, you don't, or shouldn't in most cases. In a PvE world, players are playing mostly to put their characters against the environment, against the game. If the game didn't have perma-death built into the game from the get-go, and adequate systems to go with it,  it would just make a player log out and never come back. PvE is supposed to be a little care-bearish in that aspect. It's not supposed to be about death, but about the adventure.

From the comments section for my guest hosting on Massively Speaking #61:

"I think Beau made a comment to the effect that PvP is only meaningful if death results in actual death of your character or in losing levels or stats (sorry if I misunderstood). In my opinion, this is silly. Why make this argument for PvP and not for PvE?"

This is one of those points that makes me really stop to make sure I am saying the right thing. It's so hard to let one hour of chatter, or even a few weeks of blogging do the speaking for every possible thought in your head on a subject.

So, why shouldn't it be applied to PvE?

Well, while some might think I have argued for perma-death to be installed in PvE games, that's not really what I meant. What I mean to say is to give death more meaning, not more inconvenience. Don't leave death as just some temporary pause, at least make it semi-realistic. Here we are expected to die, re-spawn and come back to life an instant later. Make us sit in a hospital, make us float around as a ghost for a week (complete with it's own games) or make us perform some kind of ritual to get us on our feet again. Make healers actually HEAL instead of just pushing some buttons. Of course, this would have to be designed into a game from the ground up.

But, for now, PvE is the care-bear happy land that it is. It's supposed to be. PvE is Independence Day, a fluffy thrill ride where everyone knows that the hero will never die. Within that fluffy land are all the chances to do other things, too, that have nothing to do with death. Crafting, role-playing, socializing.

But, PvP is supposed to be something darker, if you ask me. PvP should be a slasher flick, something a little disturbing. It's supposed to be feel more realistic, grittier, dirtier. PvE might be a guilty pleasure band like Journey, but PvP is supposed to be Slayer. This quote from the EuroGamer  Darkfall re-review sums it up perfectly for me:

"This is a world where, if you're expecting trouble, it's reasonable to strip down to your pants. This is stupid beyond all mortal belief."

From what I understand, the author here is saying that in Darkfall, when a battle gets going, players strip down to their undies as to not lose any gear when they die. Why? Because their bodies aren't worth anything. Their lives are endless. Darkfall wants to feel like a slasher flick, but instead comes out as a slasher flick that has been edited for TV. This is not the way to scare people with PvP. This is a way to play a first person shooter, my point from the very beginning.

PvP tries to come across as "hardcore" but usually just comes across about as hard-core as crafting. If it wants to be truly scary, make death be more than just a trip by a classmate. Make it hurt, but not by taking away gear or experience. All that is replenish-able. Make TIME be the price to pay..make the player recover. Make a player not want to die, being that he would have to spend the next day and a half recovering by doing healing mini-games with a healer buddy. Make death be a higher price and you won't have the usual PvP crowd, you might attract PvE'ers like myself that want a more realistic gaming experience.

PvP, as it is now, is taken about as seriously as a TV slasher flick. It's kind of a joke. PvP is seen by most as a child making a threat to his/her parents: kind of silly, almost heartwarmingly cute.

When making recent arguments about turning Vanguards only FFA PVP server in to a "hard-core" ruleset server, I was told a few times that FFA PVP *is* hardcore playing. Not, it's not, I told them. It's about as hardcore as waiting in a line, only to get to the front to be asked to go back to the line. No damage done, but slightly annoying. PvE does not need this same kind of punishing game-play, (although I would love it hehe) because PvP is supposed to be the place to get that kind of game-play. But, as for years, it just doesn't want to piss anyone off.

It's the guy at the bar that wants to cause trouble but doesn't want to get kicked out.

Anyway, off to work. I need to think this over some more. I hope you get my point.