Jonathan Steinhauer's MMO Column
Steinhauer's Opinion: The PvP Debate, Part 3

Jonathan Steinhauer | 12 Nov 2007 16:36
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Reputation, however, needs to be guild based as well. This allows for a second level of responsibility: that of guilds policing themselves. Guilds have reputations, just like players do, that are based upon the sum of its members. The reputation of each guild member is also affected by the reputation of their guild. Thus when an upstanding guild allows a new member with a poor reputation to join, the guild's reputation (and therefore all of its members) suffers. A guild which kicks out a player with low reputation would redeem some of its own lost reputation, but not all. This encourages guilds to only offer membership to players with similar gaming philosophies. Defender guilds will emerge as well as Brigand ones. What need is there for the more arbitrary delineations given in Realm on Realm when such divisions can emerge more naturally?

The last area of impact is with NPCs. Some cities in the world will be very law abiding where players of below neutral reputation will find that items cost more and some quests are unavailable. If their reputation is too low, they become KOS even to the NCP guards. Other towns will have neutral leanings where only the most extreme element is shunned. In the wilds, there would be still other villages and bandit camps that are oriented toward the evil factions. Players that are scions of virtue find themselves unwelcome in such places.

So now let's go back to the cost-benefit analysis of the last article and apply it to this proposed system:

To PvP:

  • I will gain experience if I'm successful in the kill
  • I will get to steal some loot if I'm successful in the kill
  • Whether I succeed or not, I'll gain notorious fame that all will see
  • And regardless, there is the thrill of the hunt
Or not to PvP:
  • I may become KOS to "virtuous" players
  • I may be charged more by NPC vendors, denied some quests, and even attacked by NPC guards in some towns
  • If I'm in a "virtuous" guild, I may be ousted for the betterment of the guild
  • I might be killed by the target
So the benefits remained as strong as before, but the costs rise to provide a balance. Of course, some clever players who enjoy PK may strive toward the virtuous side and take on the role of a vigilante who hunts other PK thus gaining the best of both worlds while, protecting NPKers! Ultimately, what occurs is a society where PKers can go about their nefarious deeds while NPKers are better able to identify threats and respond to them. Unlike Realms, which has arbitrary nations assigned to war against each other, guilds will naturally move to positions of good and evil and it will be the role of their members to decide what wars to fight, and what to avoid.

The above idea is obviously proposed in the absence of an actual overall gaming system so many of the finer details of such a complex topic are naturally not addressed, nor the specifics of what constitutes threshold levels in reputations. However, the core is a sound building block. Naturally, those NPKers who want to play no risk games will avoid a PK game regardless, but if a strong balance gained PKers, neutrals, and antis will all find a game world they can enjoy.

Next time: Gold Farming!

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