Greedy Goblin

Thursday, February 19, 2015

PvP games without griefing

Most real life games are PvP from football to chess. It's quite obvious design since it allows the opposing team create content for you, while you create for him. The "game designer" provides only rudimentary tools like a chessboard and of course the ruleset.

Surprisingly most video games are PvE: you are defeating pre-programmed and quite dumb opponents. To prevent facerolling, these opponents are either numerous (grinding), or demand a special set of moves performed perfectly to win (raid dance). PvP games are a minority, despite their obvious advantages.

The reason is "griefing", a kind of unfair play that focuses not on winning the game, but to ruin the game for others. Such activity is prevented in real World games, where players are physically present, therefore can be instantly reprimanded for such activity. They are also kept out by the competitive system of the games: even if you can legally troll in chess (for example playing for long ties), such player can't climb high enough to matter. In video games they are protected by anonymous alts and the "everyone is invited" atmosphere, where every player can interact with everyone. For example in EVE, nothing can stop you from rolling a "10-hour hero" and pop some Ventures. Your ISK losses will be minimal and no one can retaliate to your hidden main.

There were several attempts in games to curb griefing, but it's still here, simply because the moves used are legitimate combat. Nerfs only led to dumbing down the game or even removing all kind of PvP, making it boring.

I believe they got the problem wrong, targeting the in-game activity done by the griefer instead of the social activity: bragging, insulting and tear-harvesting. The solution is quite simple and comes from real life: unless a guy is introduced to you, you don't know him. He is just "one guy". On the other hand every player you meet is identified and lot of information is shared. If you enter a K-space system, those inside already know your name, your affiliation, your killboard history and even your posts if it's a character used on the forum.

Remove that! A stranger player should be just "a player". Unless someone is in your corp/alliance or introduced by some consensual mechanic, you can't know who he is. You see his ship, his corp or alliance tag, but know nothing of the pilot. This doesn't change any combat mechanic. You can still pop him. But you won't know his name and he won't know yours. You can't convo or mail him for tears and he won't remember you as a badass as he has no clue who you were. It'll be like popping an NPC.

Profitable piracy, killboard padding and fighting for a resource will be unaffected as you don't care about the names in this situations, you fight ships and alliances. But without even the hope of tears, griefing will get old very fast.

PS: I don't think the Raging Ducks cared about the name of this genius. They just wanted to pop Goons who betrayed them.
Nor the Mordus Angels wanted to chat with the enemy after this glorious capital battle between SMA and the joint fleet of MoA+Serpentis.


Anonymous said...

That's an interesting hypothesis. It's got some good parts, and some flaws. Let me bounce a couple of variations off you.

first, I don't like the term "griefer." I look at it as "non consensual PvP" whether it's griefing, thrill seeking, or piracy. The term "griefer" implies a dour view of that aspect of non consensual PvP, whereas all three modes, as long as they're within "the rules" are fair play.

1) The case of popping a random target and then not contacting them. This happens all the time, and it's a thrill Seeker, not a griefer.

2) Where your idea will prevent kills, is actually profitable piracy. A pirate locks up a target then demands a ransom for release. Can't do that if neither of you have names.

Bottom line, non consensual PvP is VERY difficult to balance and require full attention. This is where Eve goes wrong... as CCP thinks you can mix PvE and non consensual PvP. All you end up with is an unbalanced mess.

maxim said...

I think i like that idea more than i dislike it. This is indeed a case where a game could do with slightly less social interaction.

I would only add one more thing - if your ship gets destroyed, you still get to learn the names of those who did it (and access all identification functiionality that you can currently access) and gain the ability to identify this particular aggressor for a period of time.

Orson Brawl said...

I think your idea has merit but would create issues with tracking neutrals such as cyno alts. Intelligence gathering would be hard to track npc scouts and such if there was no name.

Samus said...

"This is where Eve goes wrong... as CCP thinks you can mix PvE and non consensual PvP."

This makes no sense to me. EVE is by FAR the most successful open-PvP game, and the ability for most players to only PvE is the biggest reason why.

nightgerbil said...

In wow there were 3 types of world pvp the first of which was attacking goldshire and killing npcs until the ally 80s came out to play with us. Couldn't hit the low levs unless they flagged themselves. that was "fair fights" type 2 was going out to stv or hellfire and one shotting low level chars trying to quest just for the giggles. That was ganking.

the 3rd type of pvp play was going into the low level zones where the low levels were supposed to be safe and getting them flagged so you could kill them for fun. Examples of this include but are not limited to the rogues glyph of illusion and a hunter using eyes of the beast to tame a local animal, then hide up and have it walk past the unsuspecting newbie killing 8 wild boars for his quest. This is Griefing.

At no point could we communicate with the other faction. The ganking and griefing was done despite a lack of tears, simply because they KNEW had badly it stung.

Your idea wont stop the griefing of the carebears out of eve online: the griefers KNOW they are crying.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: profitable piracy doesn't need names, just cargo and module drops. Ransom is NEVER honored.

@Orson: that kind of intel makes kills too easy. I'd remove watchlists too.

@nightgerbil: at first they often collected tears on an same-faction alt. Secondly it was extremely sporadic. I've never met such ganker in my WoW career, nor I met anyone who fell victim to them. I've met people who heard of someone whose roommate's uncle once seen it happened to someone.

Tithian said...

Way, way back, I used to play in a MUD that worked just like that. Everyone else was "a human", or "a high elf" until they actually took the time to introduce themselves, in which case you'd start seeing their names in the UI.

It was really cool and amazing for RP.

Anonymous said...

"at first they often collected tears on an same-faction alt. Secondly it was extremely sporadic. I've never met such ganker in my WoW career, nor I met anyone who fell victim to them. I've met people who heard of someone whose roommate's uncle once seen it happened to someone"

I was with someone I met via such ganking for 5 years. I met them just after launch when they would be with others who would do this in Crossroads.
They themselves would only be ganking the lowbies who flagged themselves, whether they flagged themselves because they saw a skull level and felt like getting killed, or because they saw a low level alliance and thought it would be easy prey, not seeing the stealthed L60s sitting under a nearby tree.

They had no same faction alt, and communication was done via the forums.

Personally, I used to kill my own faction lowbies by using the warlock demon summoning trick ;) Griefing? Perhaps ;)

Anonymous said...

Indeed lore wise it doesn't make much sense that pilot id and ship id are broadcasted in "plaintext". only CONCORD needs to know who is who.
people could exchange ship or pilot ids.

OT. "pc games" are not competitive. so there is no filter enforced. it's a game of chess with my uncle .. while he starts to trashtalk and have a good laugh at my poor strategy.

It will not go away.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon seriously take off the tinfoil and quit saying that Goons betrayed Raging Ducks when even you admitted that you had no idea why they were let go. They contributed nothing to the alliance except ratting during strategic ops. They did nothing for the alliance except line their own pockets. They also suspect botters too. I thought you hated botters Gevlon or is this another one of your double standards where you only hate it if its Goons? The ironic part is Raging Ducks were kicked out of CFC for the same reason Mordus Angels was, being lazy non contributing pieces of shit. And they both become bitter ex-girlfriends of the CFC now which is hilarious. If only they pvp'd like this while they were in the CFC, instead both Mordus and Raging Ducks would rather rat or do missions then be part of the team.

Anonymous said...

My guess is that MOA and raging ducks pvp more now because once you leave the CFC you find out pvp can actually be fun and entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Raging Ducks's CEO CeHaToP0 just announced on eve-ru that he would instantly accept an invite back in to GSF.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: profitable piracy doesn't need names, just cargo and module drops. Ransom is NEVER honored.

Well, if you're going to go there, (And I agree with you, btw... I would consider ransom harassment and bannable.) then how is shooting targets that can't even equip weapons capable of a coherent defense and operating in an area specifically designed for them to operate 'honorable'?

This is the slippery slope of knee jerk reactions. You see people doing stupid shit (Essentially, AFK mining.) and you want to punish them for their stupidity. Ok, I get that. It's stupid, it cheapens the market, it promotes botting, (Hell, it IS botting.)

But do you see what's really going on here? CCP has designed in defenseless ships, designed in a mechanic where it's not profitable to defend these ships with other, more combat capable ships... then designed in a mechanic where griefers have free reign to kill them while at the same time the game is promoted to players of the defenseless ships.

They're using PvE oriented advertisement to recruit fodder for the core player group of grief oriented non-consensual PvP players. I would expect the same players that buy most of the Plex.

It's bad design.

Good design involves clearly delineated rules and "Perfect information" concerning those rules, perfect information is either simple up front "This is what is going to happen to you if you do this" (Like get ganked for no real yield advantage if you fly a Hulk.) or clear knowledge of what is bannable. The latter is fairly well done, so the gankers are cared for, but the former is not. Most people simply don't have the information about how the systems work, or the skills to do the math needed to really determine the outcome of the "exhumer vs Barge" question.

Anonymous said...

"Surprisingly most video games are PvE:"

This is because you only have to enforce the rules of engagement on one side of the conflict. Conveniently, you have a side that can't complain or rage quit, the bots that comprise the "Environment" side of PvE. For the other side, "The Players" you just don't give them the tools to unilaterally win.

That's easy to do in a PvE game. It's impossible to smuggle in a weapon from another game to a WoW raid, for example. But if your game supports both modes, you have to devote immense effort to stop the two from mixing if that is your intent.

Another way to look at it is games like Chess are PvEvP... with the Environment aspect (The game board and rules) forming a perfect buffer between the Players. Any success in circumventing that buffer is an immediate ban.

That PvP is consensual. All players must agree to the rules and respect the buffer prior to playing.

Consensual PvP is common in games, even video games. But that's "Too boring."