The PvP Files: In the Garden of Good and Evil

This is an article I meant to write years ago, back when Grimwell Online was just getting started. It was going to be an ongoing debate about the merits of “good” versus “evil” in online PvP gaming. Obviously I never wrote the article, but as MMOs came and went, I never stopped thinking about player conflict and how it was driven.

As I’ve mentioned before, my first online multiplayer game was Asheron’s Call. Logging in for the first time, a new player was allowed to choose one of three races – Aluvian, Sho and Gharundian, respectively based on the cultures of Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East, more or less. You then picked out a pre-made template or if you were daring, played around with stats and created your own template. A starting city was chosen for you based on your race and away you went, happily killing monsters by the dozens. Other than racial preferences (Aluvians preferred daggers, Gharus were spear and Sho used unarmed weapons), there were no real differences between the races or classes really. Picking Sho simply meant you got a +5 to your unarmed (UA) skill and your avatar looked vaguely oriental, but that’s it. Your character wasn’t classified as “good” or “evil” based on anything other than your actions in game.Continue reading

The PvP Files: Where the Real Gaming Is

One could be forgiven for assuming that the real gaming in MMORPGs goes on inside the virtual worlds created by developers and played by millions of people every day. While it’s true that the endless hours spent logged in to games such as World of Warcraft or Everquest II count as playing the game, it is definitely not the whole story. There is another level of gaming that occurs outside the games themselves, one that enables players to form bonds across different games, genres and platforms. One that can be played at any time of the day, logged in or not. This is the real game, where reputations can be made or broken, were enemies can brag and recruits found. This is the world of the message board.  Continue reading

The PvP Files: Breaking the Game

How the use of mods and add-ons affect online gaming

The use of mods and add-ons is very prevalent in online gaming today, whether or not the game designers permit it.  These programs range from the simple (Teamspeak overlay add-on that allows you to see in game who is speaking) and usable by anyone to the complex (programs such as ACTools, which can be used for macroing) which can require more detailed coding knowledge.  But even if the intent of such tools is benign, the actual effect can be far more profound and game-breaking in the long run.  Continue reading

The PvP Files: Death and Consequences

Posted today over at Grimwell Online.
Why death penalties are necessary for PvP.

Death penalties should be seen as a necessary part to both PvE and PvP, providing a sense of consequence to ingame actions. Granted, dying is not always the result of bad player decisions; mob respawn, runners bringing adds, overpulling, etc. can all lead to player deaths. Without any penalty, players would simply be able to suicide run their way through content. Having at least a minimal penalty helps teach the player to be a bit more careful in the future. Yet, games that have little or no penalty for dying are generally seen by a majority of players as more “fun” or “better” to play. Why is this?  Continue reading