Thursday, July 9, 2009

Enemy Mine

Sorry, I've been neglecting my blog, but we're crunching big time with Beta. Not to mention I pulled a disappearing act and went to Montreal to get majorly pampered by Mom! And while enjoying some much needed R&R, I couldn't help but check out the Beta forums and catch up on various games I hadn't had a chance to play. While reading the boards, there was a post about players PKing during beta which made me go hmmm.

There simply never seems to be any way around the irreconcilable differences between PvMers and PvPers. The hatred and venom between them is mind boggling at times. So while chilling at my parents' house, I stumbled on an old movie I had loved when I was a teenager called Enemy Mine and I couldn't help but draw the parallel. The story is about this human pilot fighting an alien enemy. Both end up crashing on a hostile, abandoned planet and are forced to cooperate in order to survive. Through their hardships, they get to know each other, understand and respect their differences. From mortal enemies they became more than brothers because they learned to view the world through the other one's eyes and realized being different doesn't mean being bad.

PvP isn't for everyone but it's not because you do that you're necessarily a jerk. And it's not because you don't that you're automatically a wimp. Some people are vegetarians, others love meat. They're still people and one isn't better than the other. Trying to walk in the other guy's shoes doesn't mean it will grow on you. Some things aren't meant for everyone, but it could at least help you realize that the other guy is your normal every day Joe, cool friend, good brother, good husband, good neighbor. Just a dude who is different, like that Drac from the movie was.

Being mainly a PvPer myself, every time I see these threads, I systematically have to fight back the "here comes the whine" (+ rolls eyes) reaction. Especially in a game like UO where 75% of the content is exclusively PvP-free. It blows my mind when PvMers begrudge any crumbs tossed the PvPers' way. Of course there should be PvP-exclusive rewards, otherwise where is the gratification? Would a PvMer fight a challenging (though fun) boss mob more than once if there was no reward at the end of the day?

When it comes to PvP, and in the case on the forums, PKing, it's usually up to the designers to provide their players with ways to limit the "inconvenience" to those who do not wish to PvP or to set up a smooth learning curve so the barrier to entry isn't too brutal. Some games succeed at it better than others. And some, by design, not so much. Darkfall is the perfect example.

I want to believe I'm not wimp when it comes to taking a beating (in game!). But when I tried Darkfall, I experienced exactly what PvMers describe feeling when forced into a PvP situation (that they usually lose) when simply trying to PvM. In Darkfall, there are no safe zones even in noob towns, anywhere, period. When you die, you lose absolutely everything (except your noobie weapon that you can't gain skills with). And every time I would step out of town to fight the (much too rare) goblins or trolls to level a bit, one or two PKs would show up and rape 10 noobs in the blink of an eye with us barely doing a scratch to him/them. Some nights, you couldn't even reach the goblins without getting PKed again. It was the most frustrating experience ever. I felt like the sacrificial lamb offered to slaughter for the greater amusement of relentless bullies.

I toughed it out for a while, knowing from the get go I wouldn't renew my subscription. It was shocking to see myself cussing out those PKs. But in truth, what bothered me wasn't getting PKed. It was the fact that I was helpless, the fact that I had no way of honing my skills before I was thrown to the wolves. The fact that these guys knew it and abused the heck out of it. Those PKs were a minority, but their presence was overwhelming. And because Darkfall's UI is so different (quite unique and interesting), it's an extra barrier that made things even harder.

In the end, it just reaffirmed (to me) what I've always believed. When it comes to PvM and PvP it's always about choices. I chose not to be farmed by the PKs in Darkfall and cancelled my subscription. It's both my gain and my loss. Many others have toughed it out and experienced some of the cool other content in the game. To me, it wasn't worth the aggravation and I'm ok with that "loss". Similarly, players in UO and most other MMOs out there, can make the choice to exclusively PvM or to PvP as well. It is your choice whether or not to expose yourself to danger. If you choose not to, then you also choose not to have access to certain rewards (other than buying them where applicable). But be grateful that in those other games you at least have a safe environment where you can learn and grow before you face the beast. Because at the end of the day, the beast is really just another Joe who has been doing it a bit longer than you and has learned a few tricks along the way.


Uriah Heep said...


Well said, thoughtful, I think I'm becoming a fan :P
Seeing it put this way, especially from a pvp'er, changes the perspective a bit.

Now get back to work on SA! *grins*

Hawkeye Pike said...

While I prefer UO's system much over Darkfall's, the problem with UO is the stupid choice you have to make between no-risk-carebear-Sims-land Trammel and l33t-PK-unbounded-massmurder-land Felucca. More intelligent solutions to protect innocents and control/punish murderers are needed.

If evil deeds are not punished in a realistic way, evil players will mostly harrass and mass-murder other players over and over again (like it is done in Felucca today). This will result in frustrated and annoyed victims on the one side, and bored and brainless culprits without honor on the other. The game should offer tools that allow players to realistically counter crimes, and it should reward players that stand up to the evil. As evil players can add a lot to the gaming experience, they should have their own niche in the game where they can succeed and become famous/dreaded, but without being able to abuse the system.

espritvirtuel said...

Reeegiiinnneee !
Msn ? fessebouc ? mail ?

Papa jim, en manque de nouvelles.