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Portalus Games | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Historical | Status:Final  (rel 01/22/08)  | Pub:Portalus Games
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New Devlog: Ambush Gameplay

Posted by Keith Cross on May 30, 2008  | Comments

New Devlog: Ambush Gameplay - Pirates of the Burning Sea - MMORPG.com

Kevin "Isildur" Maginn, Lead Designer for Pirates of the Burning Sea, has written a nonexclusive devlog explaining the original concept of ambush gameplay, or in other words, a gang of pirates sneaking up on a merchant vessel on the high sea. In the devlog he describes how the original design concept failed in practice, degenerating into what can more accurately be described ganking, and their current efforts to reduce the occurrence of ganking.

Rusty asked me what we think about ganking. Ganking has a long and difficult history within our design and development process, so it’s a hard question to answer with a simple ‘we hate it’ or ‘we love it.’

The term I’ve preferred to use is ‘ambush gameplay’, which sounds nicer and has different implications for the user experience. In the earliest days of the Pirates design, one of the scenarios we envisioned and tried to support was the lone pirate or group of pirates catching an unwary merchant by surprise, defeating him, and looting him before reinforcements could arrive. That’s ambush gameplay—rewarding for the pirates, disheartening for the lone merchant. In some theoretical world before we actually started building the game, it made sense. You’d sail out from port, hoping to avoid danger, but there would be a sail on the horizon. Was it a friend or an enemy? Before anyone could come to save you, the sail would turn out to belong to a pirate, and you’d be fighting for your life.

Then we changed our world structure in a fundamental way: we implemented the Open Sea. Suddenly, that scenario didn’t work anymore. You could see lots and lots of people on the Open Sea. When you left port, you could quickly scan the area around you for threats. And with the introduction of the PvP areas, you could look for potential attackers before entering the red circle.

Read more here.

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