Is killing someone in a FFA PvP MMO a malicious act? Eliot Lefebvre’s Daily Grind post today asks if FFA PvP is a dealbreak in an MMO for people, and not surprisingly for most it is, but that one line stood out to me.
On the one hand, isn’t killing someone in a game like EVE/DF basically, well, playing the game? To an extreme, it would be pretty silly for a Quake player to ask why someone just shot him, right? From the start such games make it very clear what they are all about, so can you really feel bad for someone being surprised that they just got attacked? “Bank often” and “only fly what you can afford” are popular saying in each game for a reason.
On the other hand, aimless FFA PvP is also somewhat out of place in a virtual world. In Quake, everyone logs in just to shoot people in the face. That’s all the game claims to be, and all it is. A FFA PvP MMO is still an MMO though, and things like community and player interaction should still factor in.
One of DarkFall’s earlier design problems was that it was always better to kill a random player than to work with him in terms of profit. Not surprisingly, whenever you came across someone in the wild, you either went in to kill them, or you ran away because you knew they were going to come kill you. It was a rare day that two players would pass each other without someone pulling out a weapon. While very “play to crush”, it’s not a good system even in a FFA PvP MMO.
The problem was (somewhat) fixed by retooling the alignment system, and today players do sometimes pass each other without incident, or even work together in a dungeon. This, IMO, is a large step forward for the game. PKs can still go out and kill players, but at least now they have a slightly more significant penalty for doing so, and, far more importantly, blue players actually try to stay blue rather than going red and then just farming an alt for a few minutes to get back to being blue. Combine this with the retooling of the wardec system, and suddenly not EVERYONE in the world is looking to put a knife in your back (just most).
Not that this is anything new of course. EVE has had a good system in place for years now, and UO PvP peaked during the Dreadlord days.
But going back to the original line, I don’t believe attacking someone in a FFA PvP MMO is indeed a malicious act. If I jump you at a creep spawn when you are at 10%, that’s a smart move. The golden rule of PvP is, after all, if the fights fair, you already lost. I would never fault another player for jumping me. I should have been more aware of the situation, or went out with a buddy, or countless other ways to mitigate the risk. Same goes for a group attacking a solo player. Unless the situation is a pre-agreed duel, 5v1 is what happens out in the world. Expecting those five not to jump in is pretty foolish, and if when you go out with your four buddies, you all take turns attacking people, you are doing it wrong.