Mitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan ColumnAge of Conan Editorial: The Rules of EngagementMitra's Method: Stephen "weezer" Spiteri's Age of Conan Column - RSS 2.0
Decisions would need to be made on the sort of punishment for a particular behaviour. If we're talking about jail-time and a bounty being placed on an offender's head, then how long and/or how much, and for what? What's the punishment for a player that camps a respawn or resurrection point? If we're not talking about a jail or bounty system, then what are GMs going to do to ensure that this sort of behaviour is discouraged? Would reports filter through to the GM/arbiter and the offending player be put on notice? Use the game mechanics/features; make it fun and flavoursome! This is why the idea of a bounty system is so appealing because it provides the opportunity for player to self-vindicate, or for a cluster of the PvP community to hunt down offenders and perhaps claim some reward for their efforts. Heck, it may even turn into an unofficial career-line for individual players and guilds (it would be a hit with role-players too, I'll bet).
Essentially, before any sort of rules can be established, there needs to be no rules to begin with. Yes, it sounds bizarre, but this, effectively, is one of the many purposes behind beta testing PvP. Things will need to start off as Mad Max... on crack, and then rules tried and implemented. Many other games with their PvP have worked this way too. The problem does, of course, need to be genuine, and a concern shared by a majority of the PvP community. If the majority disapproves of a specific type of PvP behaviour, then Funcom, for 'Age of Conan' has the obligation to act upon it.
PvP is for fun; players from that point make a conscious decision to take it seriously, that is, to PvP on competitive terms. By all means, a single player, a team, or a guild, should use their resources and devise ways to outwit, outplay, and outlast their opponents, but never, even on a PvP or RPvP server, should it have to resort to dirty tricks, harassment, ganking, camping, or in general just being an impudent little twerp. Can you prevent or at least discourage "immature PvP" in a mature game? Well, you probably would not see it abolished, but if the rules are set from the ground-up, like scaffolding before the high-rise, then the majority is going to enjoy their PvP, whether they take it seriously or not.
Until next fortnight, this is Stephen "weezer" Spiteri,
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© Stephen Spiteri, March 2008