[MUD-Dev] UO rants

Brian 'Psychochild' Green brian at psychochild.org
Wed Aug 23 20:35:33 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Here I was going to get ready with another rant, and posts to the list
explode.  *sigh*  Stupid "real" life keeping me too busy to have fun.

John Buehler wrote in response to Matthew Mihaly:
> I do not believe player versus player worlds to be viable in a massive
> context.

Oh boy, this is going to be a fun discussion.

> The interpretation of what is fun and what is not is too variable in
> such an environment.  As a result, many players become disgruntled
> and/or disenchanted with the opportunity to get into some rough and
> tumble.

I think you hit upon part of the reason some people don't like PvP here,
it's because it's very hard in the chaotic realm of persistent worlds to
make sure things are balanced and equitable.  One person's idea of "fun"
might be fighting people he knows he can't lose against.  Another might
find more fun in fighting people who are a challenge.

> As evidence, I consider the PvP instances versus the PvE instances
> of EverQuest and Asheron's Call.  While neither is a panacea of gaming
> experiences, the advantage is clearly in the camp of the PvE instances
> of those games.

*laugh*  That's like pointing to a chess set and saying, "See!  People
don't like computer games!"  EQ and AC were developed from the ground up
to be PvE games.  PvP was (in some cases literally) tacked on as an

Meridian 59 showed the exact opposite phenomenon;  people more or less
ignored the non-PK server.  One big reason was because Meridian 59 was
developed as a PvP game with some PvE elements thrown on top of it. 
Without the PvP element, the game was quite a bit less interesting. 
Plus, Meridian 59 didn't have "levels" in the traditional sense.  You
didn't have 30th level bastards hunting 1st level newbies for "sport". 
(Although, we did have our share of grief players.)
> Your personal preference for conflict is shared by a number of vocal
> players.  I believe the entire contingent to be in the minority, and
> certainly not representative of the group of gamers that I am most
> interested in - those who are not spending their lives in the virtual
> environment of the game.

The one thing that everyone seems to forget is that online games are by
their nature social games.  The only thing that online games can offer
that single-player games cannot is the chance to interact with other
players.  Scores, hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of other

The two main methods of interaction between players are cooperation and
competition.  Game developers tend to focus on the competition because
it's easier.  Hate is easy to foster;  humans have been doing it for
centuries.  Cooperation is harder, especially when you consider how
unfamiliar our communication tools are to the masses.

> Being on the receiving end of a PvP encounter is never fun, and that's
> why I don't like PvP worlds.

I wholeheartedly disagree.  Sometimes being on the receiving end is fun,
but only in certain circumstances.  Obviously, being jumped by some
asshole that just wants to hear you scream isn't much fun.

But, consider the case of a duel.  Perhaps the honor of your guild was
called into question, so you challenge the lout to a duel.  Perhaps you
have no chance of winning, but you do it anyway.  Why?  Because you get
to feel what it's like to sacrifice yourself for something you strongly
believe in.  In the offline world, we only get to do that once, so we're
usually pretty careful about what we sacrifice ourself for. :)

> In the end, only the most powerful players are able to enjoy the
> experience.  And those tend to be the hardcore gamers.  Like yourself.

Of course, the definition of "power" can vary greatly.  Perhaps it's raw
combat power, or perhaps it's the ability to organize a group
effectively, or perhaps it's the ability to rule over the masses.  Each
of these levels of power has their strengths and weaknesses. 
Eliminating PvP eliminates some of the chance for a player to really
shine.  The accepted truth is that players are magnitudes of order more
cunning than even the smartest AI could ever be.

"And I now wait / to shake the hand of fate...."  -"Defender", Manowar
     Brian Green, brian at psychochild.org  aka  Psychochild
       |\      _,,,---,,_      *=* Morpheus, my kitten, says "Hi!" *=*
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_  
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'  "Ritalin Cures Next Picasso" 
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)               -The_Onion_, August 4th, 1999

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