Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Avenging angel

Tobold wrote something really interesting, explaining why PvP games fail. Losers in impact PvP games don't come back playing, so soon there will be no one left to play with! Remember, that if "the losers" leave the game, among the remaining players the weaker ones (who were stronger than "the losers") now become the new "the losers".

On the other hand a PvE game is "a better investment, because even while losing the other player was still very much involved in the game, and having fun up to the last turn, and who got the most points in the end didn't matter all that much. So even the loser was eager to play again." Very true and very annoying when I see the same morons showing up in WG doing the same nonsense again.

On the other hand, real life is not a fluffy "everybody wins" PvE game where everyone ends up kingslayer corporate manager if he farms long enough and wait until the game is nerfed to the ground. Still, most people don't end up emos cutting their own wrists for being such a loser. Actually most people are OK with their lives and not planning to quit it. Considering that RL is a nasty PvP game with permadeath, impact PvP, player-driven economy with no NPCs handing out rewards for easy tasks, it's strange. What is the trick that RL has, and impact PvP games do not?

The solution (which most probably the Holy Grail for PvP game designers) is simple: at first, while PvP in RL gives much-much better rewards than PvE, especially since most PvE players are constantly farmed by PvP-ers, they still get rewards. With other words: The shop owner makes $200K a year, reaping the profit of his workers who make only $30K, but hey, they make exactly $30K more than 0, and it allows them to raise kids and be happy with their lives.

But more importantly, the PvE players get "social" rewards. The shop owner would never tell his workers "lol u nabs i pwnd u good go farm som more $ 4 me :D". Actually he'd say "You are a valued member of our team and without your hard and honest work, our shop could not exist. Thank you!" This trick works on socials so good that most of them do not even want "to progress", they prefer to be "casual". Who would like to be Bobby Kotick instead of some zone designer?

The working impact PvP game has both slow progression and social rewards for losers while fast progression for PvP-ers. I'd like to introduce an implementation, however it's just for example. Several implementations can exist as long as the two mentioned "rewards" are there. So, here it comes:
  • The basic activity of the game is some kind of farming. It doesn't matter if it's grinding monsters for loot, doing errands for quest givers, gathering resources guarded by monsters, teaming up and attacking bosses, or there are no monsters at all and you must plant herbs, chop trees or herd cows. The point is that the wealth comes from some kind of grind.
  • The basic progression type is soulbound and non-negative. It can be gearscore or skill points or building player housing in the guarded (no-PvP) city, but the point is you can't lose it to other players.
  • The progression is wealth-driven. You must do the farming in order to buy the progression: you craft gear from gathered materials / monster drops or you bring the materials to the city to build your house or you pay it to some NPC to teach you skills. The point is that the PvE way to progress is doing the "basic grind".
  • If you kill a player, you can loot his non-soulbound stuff, like gathered ores and skins and gold in his pocket. The fastest way to advance is to kill players. One cannot farm in safe zones (besides the newbies on tutorial quests), so anyone who wants to do the "basic grind", must go out to the null-sec.
  • If you attack a peaceful player, you are flagged as "aggressor". If you heal/buff an "aggressor" or even if you trade with him, you are flagged too. UI elements make sure that you cannot be flagged by accident, like you can set "I'm peaceful" option that disallow your character to do anything that flags him. The "aggressor" flag stays up for 15 mins after the combat ended. You cannot log out during this time, if you do, your character stays in the world AFK until the flag goes off. You can also not go to the no-PvP zones flagged, the guards would kill you. You simply have to hide until it wears off.
  • Attacking an "aggressor" does not flag you one. You are free to kill and loot them. Aggressors can kill each other too. However attacking a flagged player does not elongate his flag either.
  • If you are killed (and looted) by an "aggressor", upon resurrection you get some totally unbalanced PvP buff like "you were killed by an evil villain, so an avenging angel arrived to help you give rightful retribution. The angel leaves after X time or if you flag yourself aggressor". The angel can one-shot a player, so during the angel buff, the guy is free to both hunt aggressors and farming, he is practically in god-mode against the aggressors. Of course the player can't instantly resurrect with the angel, so the aggressor has time to run away with the booty.
The point is that unless someone is totally noob and holds all his fortune in his backpack, he can gather 2-3x more wealth under the protection of the angel than he loses when killed, even if the PvP-ers gank him whenever no angel is around. Also, there are unique titles and non-combat rewards for players who did not do any "evil" in their career (there is some no-impact PvP tournament so they can PvP too "for fun"). This way the PvE players can feel socially superior to the PvP-ers, and progress, so they don't leave despite they are behind the (successful) PvP-ers in terms of progression. Also, they have the occasional fun when they manage "to angel" some aggressors. They have their "heplfull fun gulds" where they can keep telling to each other how much they are better people to those filthy thieves who jump on the players and rob their wealth sometimes. They can farm together to protect / avenge each other against the villains and the pure fact that they were not farmed today give them the sense of victory.

Please note that "gathers more wealth on average than he loses in PvP" is totally different from the loss-rewarding fluffy-PvP of WoW. In such system one would lose wealth in a lost PvP encounter and would be motivated to not lose (or avoid the encounter). He simply wouldn't lose enough to not progress and can't be chain-killed so he never logs out with "I'm just farmed here" apathy.

Since most players will choose the peaceful way, the good PvP-ers will have their fast progression by killing different players (including each other). They will have better stats/GS/house than any PvE player, they can hover on their so-expensive-that-no-honest-work-can-ever-get mounts and so on. Just like in real life. However the bad PvP-ers, who simply get beaten by their "victim" or dumb enough to be around when the victim returns with his angel will progress slower than PvE players. Again, just like in real life: businessman > honest worker > lowly thief.

Ciprian found this specimen, who has GS and agility and AP, but no DPS:


Andru said...

The only problem is that you can't have your theoretical game resemble RL too much.

Otherwise people will just realize that they don't want to play a game that simulates RL, when they can just go out and live it.

It's kinda the same when I read about some new 'wow killer' that 'It's like WoW, only better'. That's just stupid. No one in their right mind would expect to make a wow-clone game better than WoW. Trying to beat WoW on it's own turf is just asking for trouble.

Same with your idea. It can't be 'just like RL, only better'.

Anonymous said...

The game you describe mostly exists, and it is called Eve Online

Gevlon said...

Eve Online and RL both have negative-sum PvP. If I destroy your ship, you lose more than I win. Same with suing you. You pay 1M punitive damage, I get 300K, rest are legal fees.

Also, in RL there is no way you can fight back a better PvP-er. Even if you "progress", you are simply farmed no more, but you won't get back any of the already lost money. In the game there is chance for "justice"

Squishalot said...

@ M&S pic today - not everybody has a DPS meter installed. Given that he's not sure of his GS either (implying that he was told it some time ago by others), it's entirely likely that he doesn't have any non-essential addons.

It's not moronic, it's just borderline ignorant. And wholly irrelevant, if raid leaders weren't obsessed by the 'pst spec stats GS achieve' attitude.

nightgerbil said...

how how how, can you NOT know your dps? unless... oh wait he hasnt any addons. without a dps meter he wont know it. Thats not a moron, its a newb without a dps meter. Kinda like the scrubs who spam trade saying "wuts my gscore pls?"

Bobii said...

Sounds like the UO I loved in 1997. Problem was there wasn't much to do pve wise to keep socials in the game.

Nils said...

So I will ask someone to kill me and then run around with my non-immersive angel and farm other people to become rich. Since most people probably do it (at least all goblins), I will mostly fight other guardian angels.

Kevan Smith said...

While everyone hates a thief, I would like to point out that your formula businessman > honest worker > lowly thief ignores one basic fact: most businesses fail. Although it's a controversial topic, still, more than 50% of new starts fail within a few years. If one is risk averse, the "honest worker" route understandably has more appeal. And, Gev -- love ya, man, but don't _you_ work for someone else instead of owning your own business? I seem to recall that, but I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

you can know your dps by asking. i regularly encounter people who ask for a dps chart after an encounter/instance.
regarding gearscore ... i have also no idea about it. never started caring about it (in contrast to the pawn-addon).

Gevlon said...

@Nils: or maybe they read the post before commenting. (hint: the angel leaves if you attack a non-aggressor)

Siompin said...

I just wanted to point out what the pugs asks from us to join a raid, no one cares about what DPS he does when he join a raid ?

What are you going to do at a boss? Watch him go from side to side just like in the videos you saw before entering ? As DPS this is the first thing I want: to do the most damage I can without dying.

Agree the guy is just a product of what raid leaders ask, but he's still a moron, there is no excuse not to care about your DPS.

in before : yes meter whoring is also a problem, but it is also a nice excuse for slacking

(the guy does know his class as he posted the relevant stats, but those stats have a role : his DPS, it's situational, raid buff depended, but you must have done some test at least once before wanting a raid)

+ this was just an innocent troll, usually check much faster if a 67 guy can make a raid to ICC

Dàchéng said...

"Same with suing you. You pay 1M punitive damage, I get 300K, rest are legal fees."

Lawyers get to play positive-sum PvP against each other, financed by us legal n00bs. Charles Dickens wrote a whole novel about it, Bleak House, in which an inheritance case drags on until the lawyers' costs have consumed the entire inheritance.

FireStarter said...

With regards to the M&S pic today , asking "what's your dps" is actually nonsense in the way it was done in this chat.
Yeah so the so cald M&S is ignorant because he does not have a dps add-on , but if the so named elite player asks somebodies DPS to get an icc pug together then maybe he should actually ask what's your dps at boss X.
So in my eyes the pics shows us an ignorant person for not having a dps meter and a wannabee elite who I would almost call him a M&S also for asking a question with such a wide open area of response. Me for example would give my dps's stats after being bitten in the Lana’thel encounter , since my dps on Marrowgar is lower then average since I'm a caster-dd.

Nils said...

Must have overread it. Sorry.

What you propose could be interesting gameplay. Maybe it could even be a good MMO, but I would not call it a MMORPG. It is just too unimmersive to be given a super powerful 'guardian angel'.

Grim said...

There is no single number that can say how much dps a player does.

Is it DPS on a dummy?
Is it DPS on a pack of 10 trashmobs?
Is it DPS on Festergut where you just stand and hit him?
Is it DPS on Dreamwalker where you have to switch targets all the time?
Is it DPS on Sindragosa where you have to stop dps and run/hide every minute or so?
Is it unbuffed DPS?
Is it dps in a 25man with all possible buffs?

Asking someone what's his dps is on trade chat without specifying anything is retarded.

Perdissa said...

I usually agree with stuff here, but asking for DPS, or giving DPS numbers make no sense without a proper context.

Your DPS varies a lot from encounter to encounter, what raid buffs you have on you, whether it is a 10-man or 25-man raid etc. Some people I have seen actually have the cheek to claim 10k DPS, only to admit it includes lolAOE trash later. (which is rather sad, considering we can get 30k+ on trash packs these days)

Ulrik said...

Does anybody really have a fixed 'dps' stat? Granted, I primarily tank and heal, but I've never, ever, been able to nail 'my dps' when I played an offspec or an alt. Especially these days with the ICC buff, you have lots of different numbers. Do you mean my dps on festergut 10 with 30% icc buff? My dps on Halion 25? On a heroic boss? Overall dps for a heroic run? My dps if I die in a fire on Koralon? Or maybe if I switch targets properly as ranged on Toravon? (Hope I got those names right.)

Is the raid leader maybe expecting everybody to remember all these different numbers and give him your average number for the raid he's starting?

Siompin said...

"What's your DPS?"
If his reply would have been
"In what context?"
then I'd be sure he's not a M&S.

But asking single target DPS fully raid buffed is a lot more sensible then any other question.

If he's never been in a raid, just do a dummy test, the least I want to know is how close can he get to his max dps with no pressure (this is not gear depended and requires no grind at all)

Treeston said...

One of the main reasons RL "succeeds", so to speak, is that it is "forced play".

The only way to "log out" of RL is suicide - which is "socially unacceptable".

Gevlon said...

@Treeston: there are several socially more-or-less acceptable ways to not play RL: alcohol, drugs, watching TV all day waiting for welfare.

Shintar said...

RL is a nasty PvP game

It's not really though, is it? PvP exists, but it's highly frowned upon in the real world, as in mostly illegal.

Trying to accumulate more wealth or prestige than other people is not PvP unless you're actively trying to harm them to directly take it away from them, which is generally considered criminal. Your shop owner vs. shop workers example is not PvP, it's competitive PvE - after all they are all working together to make the shop successful, even if one guy gets more "loot" than the others.

So I think the whole premise of "making a PvP game just like RL" is flawed. People don't like being robbed in RL, and so a game where "crime pays" (because you advance faster by killing others) wouldn't be hugely successful either.

Anonymous said...

Unless you print money you must take it from someone else, duh. It's called commerce nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, I always thought of you as being a free market acolyte. If you're describing "getting ahead" in RL via making more money than others as pvp, you're essentially arguing that economic activity is negative (or perhaps zero) sum. This of course is completely contrary to any version of a free market theory.

Back to reality, most people in the 30k job don't work to get ahead or out of love of the company, but because they know the 30k will buy them their essentials. They probably don't resent the 200k earner as much as they enjoy not being homeless.

Nils said...

There are several socially more-or-less acceptable ways to not play RL: alcohol, drugs, watching TV all day waiting for welfare.

These are all part of RL, I think. Especially if you are a RL-goblin, waiting for welfare can be a very rational; depending on the circumstances.

Receiving welfare is just a social prestige problem. Since a goblin does not care about social prestige ...

Anonymous said...

This is one post I just completely disagree with.

When a business man opens a shop and hires employees, he's not PVP'ing against them. He's giving them a job and salary. This is PVE!

They're working together to to make a profit. You could say that it's similar to a PVP guild, in that they're competing against other companies. However, I think a better analogy to real life would be PVE guilds competing for realm firsts, achievements, etc.

Also, just b/c people don't commonly commit suicide doesn't mean that anybody wants a game anything like real life! And games that require farming in areas where you can get ganked stink and always fail. In wow, some people choose to farm in WG, most don't b/c they have no desire to do so. I do, but I really don't enjoy it, and if that was a major part of WoW i'd quite immediately.

nordveien said...

Does anyone else have the feeling that the attached "moron" image is not readable because the resolution is too low?

arthur said...

"Eve Online and RL both have negative-sum PvP. If I destroy your ship, you lose more than I win. Same with suing you. You pay 1M punitive damage, I get 300K, rest are legal fees."

You either have the wrong lawyers or the wrong legal system. In the UK the loser pays the winners legal fees, so if you win £1M, you keep £1M, even if the legal fees are £500,000 since the loser will then payout £1,500,000.

I like the sound of your game.

Ive not played SeondLife or the Simsonline, but presumably they are both (a) quite close to RL, and (b) successful? Can someone who has played them compare them to Gevlon's theoretical game?

Cyrell said...

I'm not sure how someone not knowing their DPS makes them a moron. It simply means they don't use any addons that give them this information, since the game client doesn't tell you either. Any raid leader with the slightest knowledge of the game will be able to tell from the stats he posted that even if he was half asleep, he'd have at least 4k dps. Instead of provoking the guy and alienating him, it would have been better to take him on the raid and look at what he's doing on the conveniently placed first two easy mobs in the raid.

Yeah, you can assume someone's a moron for not having Recount installed, but there are an infinite number of reasons not to use an addon, all of them legitimate. Until Blizzard implements an in-game way of displaying your DPS (the way they're doing with power auras in Cata), you can't really expect randoms to know their DPS.

Siompin said...

Ok rading101 : your a DD , your main role is to do damage

Daniel said...

@Grim Yes, asking for dps is stupid, because you will most likely get a lie, or only a partial truth, i.e. "I did 9k on XT heart during bloodlust, therefore my dps is 9k". But if you ask and the person either doesn't know or isn't smart enough to lie about it, it's definitely not someone you want in your raid.

And to all people saying that not having recount or skada installed doesn't make you a M&S, sure it does, why wouldn't you want to test your dps and rotation? And if they're having computer problems with recount on a target dummy, then I don't want them in the raid when marrowgar spews fire all over the place.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry but I don't think you know much about law or lawsuits. They're definitely negative sum. Furthermore, you don't even know what zero sum means. If the loser pays 1,5 million, and you get 1.0 million, then that's negative sum PVP.

And oh yeah, have you ever heard of taxes? You'll only take home 500,000 of the 1 milion.

So using your example of the lawyer fees and 1 million pounds lawsuits: If you successfully sued someone for 1 million, and then they also successfully sued your for 1 million the next year, then you'd both come out 1 million pounds behind.

Emily L'Orange said...

If the idiot can be bothered to install gearscore and brag about it in trade, he can be bothered to install recount and whack at a training dummy - though to be fairly honest, I wouldn't invite anyone to a group who spams in trade bragging about either. If they were as amazing as their press release claims, they wouldn't have to spam trade for groups.

Eaten by a Grue said...

People don't quit playing RL, despite thenumerous difficulties and setbacks this game offers for one simple reason - there is no alternative.

Give people an alternative, easy RL to play, where rewards are handed out like in WoW, and the masses will flock.

Anonymous said...

Most games, unlike life, tend to be zero (or negative) sum games. And while it really annoys the insecure that M&S have nearly as good of gear because everything is relative. Whereas RL is real; you can think it is unfair that your stand-in-fire CEO make more than you, but it is still better to make $100k for a $1000k CEO than both of you making $12k. Because the rewards have value in and of themselves; Not you wanting to feel superior because you move out of fore 160ms sooner. Your $100k may be less than your CEO, but you can focus on the houses, cars, children's education, etc that it provides. Giving someone 100 RL-worthless virtual forints can only have meaning if your "friend" has 80.

Your game might be interesting, but IMHO it has a large flaw for commercial success. The non-consensual PVP. (e.g. Tobold) I can understand people wanting to PVE; I can understand PVP (compensating perhaps?) But why would someone who wanted PVE go to a NC-PVP game? Nor are the kill! kill! ipwnu! kids going to be interested in any sort of production.

Another flaw is "progression" and PVP. If progression is meaningless, then it is an irritating waste of time. If it is not meaningless, what is the point of rolling a level 1 if you could be ganked by 85s. Why not just let everyone pick a character and gear and have them battle.

It might be an interesting game, but having a target audience of PVEers who can be forced into non-consensual combat and PVPers who will watch some PVEer buy the same pwnmobile as they have is quite limiting.

P.S., many people would choose $30k for 40 low-stress hours a week with a loving family life over $250k for 80 high-stress hours a week, no time to be involved with your children, a couple of divorces and heart attacks. Individuals value money quite differently.

P.P.S: EVE Online has a horrible UI and many flaws, but it does this genre. Not sure another company is going to attack their niche for quite some time.

Michael Young said...

Gevlon, I often disagree with your ideas, but I just love your pvp game. The problem with so many pvp games is that half the player base runs around like homicidal maniacs, killing anyone in sight. It totally breaks immersion, since aggression is without consequences.

In real life, almost no one is an aggressor, the consequences are simply too harsh. A single act can land you in jail for years. Picking a fight has a chance of your becoming permanently damaged and disabled.

In real life, I don't worry about my neighbor getting upset and coming over to try to hurt me. In games like Eve, I immediately expect people I see to attack me, just because they can.

I won't claim to be able to see all the unintended consequences of your design, but it seems like it would lead to my having fun. I don't want to be an aggressor, so I won't have to hunt down other players to have game content, I can do whatever farming activity there is. There will be hesitation on other players to attack me, as being flagged as an aggressor will really suck. And even when I do get ganked, it gives me a chance to go aggressor-hunting, dispensing justice until my buff runs out.

I'd definitely give that game a try.

Vesoom said...

Just to clarify a point: I'm pretty sure when people talk about RL "aggressors", Gevlon is not refering to people physically attacking others in RL. He's talking about business owners, wall street sharks, maybe even scam arists. People that use others to make their money. In Gevlon's game the RL physical aggressors would be at the lowest end of progression as they would quickly end up in prison.