That's when the rules kicked in. "They made a 'zone disruption' rule for me. And then they hard-coded a new rule to stop "that level five bard in Oasis." Sullon Zek, the server with no rules, had become that much less unique. After all, rules were rules, and not everything could be hard-coded. "Regular PvP servers always had rules, tons of rules. They wouldn't let you kill the same person more than once per day, and training anything is against the rules on any server, even the PvP ones. But those rules were nearly impossible to enforce, so I'm sure they saw Sullon Zek as a testing ground of sorts - if they could just be hands-off about PvP."
The More Things Change ...
Certainly, modern MMOG developers like Blizzard have learned a thing or two about how to manage the PvP issue. "They are very careful to not let players negatively affect other players in WoW. You can kill someone, but a death just means a couple minutes' walk. In EQ, a PvP death could put you back anywhere from an hour to a month." When it comes to PvP and player death, times have changed, mostly for the better. "I only PvP in WoW now - that's the game I mostly play. Oh yeah, they get me sometimes; it's not like EQ where I could go months without dying. People don't get it now, because they play WoW and other games where it means nothing, but people used to get very upset about PvP. Like they'd write down names of people that killed them. It was more of a rare occurrence; you'd get killed maybe once a week on average."
Unfortunately, SOE's grand experiment in self-policing servers was a bust. "The server ended up a failure, at least in the eyes of the average player. It was the least-played PvP server, and unless you were on the evil team, the endgame content wasn't to be seen."
Despite its failure, the Sullon Zek server was an interesting experiment in separating out the hardcore PvP crowd from the regular players, a concept modern MMOG developers have embraced. "In WoW they kind of put the PvP off in a corner, like they make little instances. It's like the bad kids' corner. They didn't want us mingling with the normal people, so they put us elsewhere." On the one hand, it seems only natural to make sure everyone can have fun without interfering with each other. Then again, it's just another example of how tightly-controlled modern MMOGs have become.
As for Fansy, he's still at it. Sort of. "I logged in a few weeks ago; my account is still active. The bad guys must have won because everybody just kills each other! But no, I don't play regularly anymore. If you are an old player and try to go back, everyone says, 'lol ur old and out of touch.'"
Alan Au is a freelance writer, academic, and games industry advocate.
He is currently exploring the connection between games, education, and health. More importantly, he's having a good time doing it.