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sinij
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on: June 27, 2011, 08:04:46 AM

This topic repeatedly comes up during any PvP/open PvP discussion. Perhaps it worthwhile to discuss this problem in a separate thread.

Anyone who played open PvP title, especially early UO, is all too familiar with what is griefer and probably at some point was on receiving end of griefers.  Open sandbox design of UO and unrestricted interaction between players, from conducting commerce of any kind, to combat roles, and even PvP competition allowed one player's actions impact other players to a very large degree. Despite this being widespread problem there is a lot of confusion of what is exactly grief and how do you design your game to stop it.

'Grief' is rather complex problem that can be divided into sub-topics:

1. What is griefing? How do you define greif? What are typical outlets for griefing? Can you always tell apart grief from dog-eat-dog competitiveness?
2. Understanding motivation of griefers. What they are after, what motivates them? What is effective way to stop them?
3. At what point, as a developer, should you step in and intervene?
4. How do you design player interaction to minimize impact of greifing?

What is griefing?

Just like defining pornography, the only 'working' definition is that "you know when you see it". You can try defining it by "intentionally causing distress to other players" but that falls short due to competitive nature of many players, often player will be "distressed" from simply ending up on a losing end of W:L statistic. Generally, "grief" has couple components that make it possible to identify - a) intent of action b) lasting effect c) lack of clear in-game benefit to "griefer". So lets look into some examples.

Situation A: New player is farming starter spawn gets killed by advanced player. Is this grief?

This is all depends on reading intention of "advanced player".  Was "advanced player" motivated by in-game gain (loot for example) or some other in-game goal (clearing spawn from competitors or perhaps vengeance form some slight)? Did "advanced player" lingered or moved on? Does "advanced player" spends significant portion of play time going after "new players" or was it case "wrong place wrong time" ?

Situation B: One player doesn't honor trade agreed on, greatly benefiting in process.

Again, this comes down to intent. Was this simple misunderstanding, case of buyers remorse or intentional swindle? Classic UO example of clear-cut grief would be "black bonnets & dye tub" scam that was regularly conducted on unsuspecting players. Misrepresenting regular item of trivial value for something of high value undeniably implies intent, but did buyer showed basic due-diligence?

All of this is extremely complex and requires a human judgment call with clear view of entire situation to decide. Just like you can't create AI algorithm that will identify all pornography, you can't create rules that will identify/prevent all grief. Still, in some clear-cut cases (for pornography - intercourse) you can automate this process.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 08:46:07 AM by sinij »

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sinij
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Reply #1 on: June 27, 2011, 08:05:05 AM

Reserved - more to come later.

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Malakili
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Reply #2 on: June 27, 2011, 10:25:34 AM

Incidentally, this might be relevant: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-biggest-dick-moves-in-history-online-gaming/

I glanced through and I actually don't think all of those are griefing, but I don't have time to type up my reasons right now, I'll come back and flesh it out this evening.
sinij
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Reply #3 on: June 27, 2011, 12:01:50 PM

Side comment - EVE EIB 'swindle' is direct result of no regulation, no mechanism in place to oversee such complex system as banking. The same thing would happen in RL if not for contractual rules, regulations and criminal code in place designed to prevent this from happening. As a designer you ether need to implement in-game systems supporting such complex trading structures or explicitly disallow them. Lack of any kind of system preventing other players from putting limits to "leaders" powers is very wide-spread problem that comes from lack of understanding human nature. This is serious problem in any asset-driven mmorpg. "Single point of failure" problem comes to mind. Additionally, problem with EVE is lack of proportional consequences for actions like that, amount of trust placed in one player is by far larger than any kind of retribution that can be enacted on this player.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 12:05:10 PM by sinij »

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01101010
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Reply #4 on: June 27, 2011, 12:09:28 PM

Incidentally, this might be relevant: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-7-biggest-dick-moves-in-history-online-gaming/

I glanced through and I actually don't think all of those are griefing, but I don't have time to type up my reasons right now, I'll come back and flesh it out this evening.

That was a fun read. I was part of that biological weapon thing in WoW. The other ones I have read about but only in passing.

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Sheepherder
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Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 08:24:32 PM

1. What is griefing? How do you define greif? What are typical outlets for griefing? Can you always tell apart grief from dog-eat-dog competitiveness?
2. Understanding motivation of griefers. What they are after, what motivates them? What is effective way to stop them?
3. At what point, as a developer, should you step in and intervene?
4. How do you design player interaction to minimize impact of greifing?

I'll save you and everyone else the time and make a TL;DR version:

1. The first step is to clearly define what a griefer is, therefore I provide you with this link.
2. Your tears, so salty and delicious.  Stormfront Studios have inadvertently found a solution.
3. Immediately.
4. A bottle of saline solution, and a packet of extra soft Kleenex in every box.  Everybody wins.

Also: broken by design.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2011, 08:50:30 PM by Sheepherder »
sinij
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Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 10:04:48 PM

"Deal with it" attitude simply does not work. Lets put monetary issue aside for a moment and only focus on game health. With griefers running unchecked you increase your subscription bleeding (people getting fed up) while decreasing new blood coming in due to a) grifing of new players nearly destroys initial retention b) bad word of mouth decreases number of people willing to try your game. If your title has serious griefer problem you will be better off cutting your entire advertising budget and throwing it into solving this problem. It is just that important.

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Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 10:20:05 PM

I think (4) is the only point really worth devoting energy to in the context of PvP game design.  The answer is that you limit the extent to which one player can freely wreak havoc on another.

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01101010
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Reply #8 on: June 28, 2011, 04:35:02 AM

I think (4) is the only point really worth devoting energy to in the context of PvP game design.  The answer is that you limit the extent to which one player can freely wreak havoc on another.

So let's give that person a depression bar! Every time he/she kills a lowbie, the bar goes up till they are in such a deep depression that their character becomes emo in appearance and begins to cut themselves at random times.  why so serious?

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Logain
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Reply #9 on: June 28, 2011, 08:52:09 PM

As far as designing a system to prevent newbie ganks, you could make it so people couldn't attack a new character for a certain amount of playtime or once they reach an arbitrary skill level(UO) /class level(everyone else). I'm sure that would open an entirely new box of worms, however. Unintended consequences and all that. The bar for losing your immunity would have to be relatively low to prevent people taking advantage of the immunity status on new chars they've created. Or you could tie the immunity status to the account rather than the character. That way you can either have it a decent amount of time on a single character, or a little bit of time on multiple characters. That would effectively eliminate anyone churning out newbie characters for some sort of exploit. Hopefully by time the "honest" players get to the point where they want to make a second character, they are also better able to deal with the potentially hostile environment.

As far as completely fixing griefing in a sandbox type game, you would have to really create a system based on player justice and also make the consequences of committing a crime sufficiently dire so that instead of ruling the world, the PKs and griefers would have to hide and evade capture. I'm sure the griefers would probably find a way to jimmy the entire system to convict and punish innocent people though. Perhaps you could create NPC bounty hunters that are always chasing you and if you stay in one spot too long they spawn and attack you. Or if you want player bounty hunters, create some sort of mechanic  by which they can really hunt people down. Perhaps an arrow on the map that shows you their direction when they stay in a single area for too long.

It seems that if you give players the ability to kill each other in a sufficiently anonymous environment, you will always have people who are closet sociopaths and kill for no reason other than to inflict pain/distress on another human being. The same can be said for any other type of griefing really.

In order to deal with people defrauding each other you would have to create a sufficiently secure trade interface and the ability to transfer all items through it. For instance, in UO back in the day, if you wanted to buy a house you had to pay up and accompany them to the house and hope they are going to actually transfer ownership to you and not gank you. Could have(and probably did later on) make an item, such as a deed, that can be traded through the trade interface that would represent ownership of the house or whatever asset.

I think the key point is that if you want open PVP you also have to have the ability to detect bad behavior and create some sort of meaningful consequence. This requires you to be able to first define the specific behavior you want to control, and then create a system that can detect it and apply the consequences.
sinij
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Reply #10 on: June 28, 2011, 09:32:43 PM

Why not make very newbie experience a single player by instancing it away?

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Malakili
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Reply #11 on: June 29, 2011, 06:37:11 AM


1. What is griefing? How do you define greif? What are typical outlets for griefing? Can you always tell apart grief from dog-eat-dog competitiveness?
2. Understanding motivation of griefers. What they are after, what motivates them? What is effective way to stop them?
3. At what point, as a developer, should you step in and intervene?
4. How do you design player interaction to minimize impact of greifing?


1.  Generally speaking I would define it as doing things that aren't in the spirit of the game for the express purpose of ruining other people's experience.  Examples: Team Roomba's TF2 Griefing videos on youtube.  Examples of PvP MMO griefing - corpse camping some 50 levels lower than you for 3 hours/until they log off.   Just as importantly NOT GRIEFING examples:  Killing someone and taking their stuff, regardless of level difference.  Following someone around and taking the resource nodes while they fight hte monster guarding it.  (these are dick moves, but not griefing IMO, they are part of the game, for better or worse)

2.  The lulz.  Griefers, as their name suggests enjoy causing other people grief.  Thats the main problem actually.  This is a motivation which can't be overcome with in game rewards or punishments. Any systems you put in place are just going to be used as tools.

3.  The trick is reducing the number of ways to grief, more so than intervening after/during the fact.  If your game systems allow for a certain action, and this is being used by griefers to grief people, then you have to ask yourself if the system is actually viable.  For example:  In World War 2 Online there is no friendly fire which is kind of odd given how hardcore sim the game is, but its clearly just straight up to prevent griefing. Had to be done, and the game is better for it.   There are still some other ways to grief in that game, such as using tanks to shell friendly infantry which causes a concussion effect even though it doesn't cause damage. Or on the other side of it, throwing a smoke grenade at a friendly tank to obscure their vision and mark their location for enemies.  These things are still in though because the grief is relatively limited and the benefits outweigh taking out concussion effects or smoke grenades.

4.  I think true griefing is actually pretty limited in games.   I think giving players ways to easily get out of a corpse camp situation is important in an PvP MMORPG.  From a purely business standpoint I think you also need to limit PvP for newbies, because obviously someone who logs on for the first time and is killed without being able to do anything is going to quit your game.   

As recent examples I think both EVE and Darkfall do a fine job of preventing griefing, to the point where it wasn't an issue in either game for me.  Simply dying when you don't want to die isn't cause to cry "griefer!"
sinij
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Reply #12 on: June 29, 2011, 06:50:37 AM

Interestingly, Darkfall has no new player protection whatsoever. What they do have is a chat channel where newbies call out for help and players do respond. As a result "kill and camp" is virtually unheard of. Ironically, DF has nearly ZERO new player retention, but it is not because new player griefing.

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Malakili
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Reply #13 on: June 29, 2011, 07:14:08 AM

Interestingly, Darkfall has no new player protection whatsoever. What they do have is a chat channel where newbies call out for help and players do respond. As a result "kill and camp" is virtually unheard of. Ironically, DF has nearly ZERO new player retention, but it is not because new player griefing.

Darkfall, AFAIK, added in a 24 hour can't be attacked/can't attack after character creation (/played, not 24 real hours, I might have the number of hours wrong).  You may choose to end it early though if you prefer.

edit: found this http://forums.darkfallonline.com/showthread.php?t=233778  It looks like its less than 24 hours, but whatever.

Anyway.  I think your point about retention is good. The effects of griefing on player retention are greatly exaggerated in my opinion.  Far worse is that most PvP games seem to put barriers to play in place that most people will lose interest in before they finish (skill/experience/gear gain for example). 
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 07:21:45 AM by Malakili »
sinij
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Reply #14 on: June 29, 2011, 08:06:50 AM

The effects of griefing on player retention are greatly exaggerated in my opinion.  Far worse is that most PvP games seem to put barriers to play in place that most people will lose interest in before they finish (skill/experience/gear gain for example).  

I disagree that effects of griefing are exaggerated. Seasoned PvPers have much higher tolerance to it, but if your ambition is to attract truly new players and not just "old boys" you have to address it.

Here is possible solution to newbie protection that doesn't compromise open PvP game:

World divided into "Open" and "Secure".  While "Secure" area isn't strictly PvP-, you cannot attack fellow "secure" players and are offered protections (free item insurance, free teleport to town and resurrection and so on) if killed by "open" player. Depending on proximity to "secure" capital, NPC guards arrive to help you if you are ever attacked by "open". Unlike EVE there should be very little interaction between "Secure" and "Open", idea is to allow players to 'graduate' into "Open" without necessary forcing them to do so right away.

Belonging to "secure" puts number of restrictions on you, while you could venture into "open" areas you have very little reason to do so - you deal in "secure" currency that drops only in "secure" space, any "open" currency you get is automatically converted to "secure" at a high loss rate. There is no conversion other way, your "secure" currency is worthless in "open" and there is no venue to exchange it. The same goes for higher-tier gear - you are limited to "secure" gear and anything else is forcibly exchanged for "secure" gear once you return to "secure" town.  You also cannot belong to player guilds or bind in "open" towns as "secure".

"Open" players are treated as hostile in any "Secure" area - they can be freely attacked by "secure" players and any engagement with "secure" player triggers "guard cooldown", putting hard limitation on how long "open" player can linger around.

As a "secure" player you are also prevented from gaining any "advanced" abilities. You are limited to getting functional, PvP-ready character but without ever getting "fully developed". Additionally staying in "secure" greatly increases time it takes to advance your character.

Once you decide you are ready to move on from "secure" you go through process of "getting cast out" and declared "open".  Being "open" unlocks the rest of the game for you, speeds up and unlocks your character advancement and removes restrictions and protections of "secure" space.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 08:08:51 AM by sinij »

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Malakili
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Reply #15 on: June 29, 2011, 08:35:15 AM

I guess thats one way of solving the new player problem, but I still think that you're bending over backwards to implement a system that doesn't solve the core problem.  WHen someone who isn't amenable to being killed in a way they deem unfair, or lose to much when they aren't used to losing things in an MMO, they are going to quit regardless of how new they are.  I think new player protection matters insofar as people can learn the game without being camped or anything, but what you're talking about is hoping that by the time they go open they've built up some kind of resistance to it.  In the meantime you're making new players feel like second class citizens with currency and skill limitations.

Again, maybe its how I define griefing, but it seems to me that the fact that someone can lose all their items because they stepped away from their computer for 2 minutes in an unsafe zone in a lot more detrimental to a open PvP game.  The reality is there LOTS of popular PvP based games out there, (Call of Duty, Team Fortress 2, Starcraft 2), but there are extremely few popular PvP RPGs out there.  I think if you want a successful PvP MMORPG you should be looking towards popular PvP non-MMOs and seeing how you can implement what makes them popular.  Not looking at what makes PvE MMOs popular and trying to sort of replicate that in  a PvP MMO.  This is really material for the other thread though.
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Reply #16 on: June 29, 2011, 09:22:42 AM

I think the big problem isn't griefers so much as it's games need to figure out better reasons that people group together.  In almost all pure PVP games people group together for protection and dominance.  There's no other reason to stay in a group in most games, and when people get griefed or start losing, both of those grouping reasons fall apart.  Now that your primary reasons for grouping have gone down the drain (usually in a single day) you have lost your emotional attachment to the game.

Compare that to PvE games where your reasons for grouping are to achieve personal goals (getting equipment, gaining another level, taking down a raid boss, exploring new areas, etc...).

I think Eve is the only game that got it right.  You have a lot of goals that you can achieve on the personal level by joining a good corp, whether it's getting better at mining (to each their own), play the economy, upgrade your ship, explore the universe, playing the meta-game etc...  They aligned these goals along with pushing the corporations as a whole forward and thus keeping players motivated even when things start to go badly.

Shadowbane had a hint of this, but once you reached the max level you had no more personal goals, all you had were guild level goals (defend/take mines and defend/take keeps).  Once you lost your guild keep or a lot of mines it became disappointing that all your in game achievements were taken from you and you lose a good bit of emotional attachment to the game, eventually leading you to quit.
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Reply #17 on: June 29, 2011, 10:25:48 AM

Malakili, things aren't black and white. People willing to tolerate anything in open PvP and people not willing to tolerate getting killed ever are clear extremes and are in minority. Most are in-between. Reducing "drop-the-soap" starting experience to something more agreeable will undeniably INCREASE number of players willing to give your game a shot.

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Reply #18 on: June 29, 2011, 10:35:51 AM

KallDrexx, I think you misunderstand what drives your typical "90%+ killer" PvP+ player. PvP is the goal, reward and end game and people will group to do it. Group goals are perfectly acceptable to majority of such players, clan reputation and braging points is as good reward as "epic lewtz" for your typical DIKU-er. On other hand forced grouping is huge turn-off for many players.

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Reply #19 on: June 29, 2011, 11:08:31 AM

Malakili, things aren't black and white. People willing to tolerate anything in open PvP and people not willing to tolerate getting killed ever are clear extremes and are in minority. Most are in-between. Reducing "drop-the-soap" starting experience to something more agreeable will undeniably INCREASE number of players willing to give your game a shot.

I'm not saying they don't ever want to be killed.  I'm saying that most people only want to be killed when they are in the mood for PvP, thats the biggest problem with Open PvP for a casual audience.  Its like if someone could come pillage your farm randomly in Farmville, people don't want to deal with that, even if they are ALSO a Call of Duty player.
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Reply #20 on: June 29, 2011, 11:20:23 AM

As someone who has played a lot of Darkfall (still do), I gotta say new player griefing was a significant problem that has been reduced somewhat by changes to the alignment system. Here are the brig problems:

Same race blue PK grieifing:
Blue on Blue PKing, usually a griefer PKing newbs. Previously the alignment system was so that killing a couple of blues would turn you red, but it was way too easy to get back to blue (by killing other reds). This allowed blue PK griefers to flourish, they could kill newbies outside of NPC towns and regain alignment in a few minutes. Very demoralizing and enraging for a newb to experience this and probably caused quite a few people to quit. Now they have made it more difficult to regain alignment, you can only regain a fraction of it per day and it has ended the newb killing party that some of these griefers were having.

Wardec system griefing:
Where small vet (1-3 members) clans wardec newbie-ish clans that live in NPC cities. They have made some changes to reduce this, one wardec per 24 hours and wardec timeout after a week (so someone can realistically only have 5-6 concurrent ones). Also upfront gold cost to initiate it, although the amounts are trivial right now, they could jack up the costs so it can become burdensome to smaller clans to constantly maintain and renew.

Red PK griefing:
Basically where true reds (hostile race or max red same race) rolls through a newb spawn and lays waste. This is not a huge problem, but it still falls under "griefing" since it is not really legit PvP, just steamrolling newbs, and not something that is a psoitive for the game. One thing they are doing to cut down on this is redesigning the geography of NPC kingdoms so the newbie starting area is more centralized around the capital. Currently newbies are a bit more spread out in smaller outpost cities, so easier to pick off. If they were more concentrated around the capital, it would be easier for anti-PK vets hanging around to respond to threats. Newbie dungeons inside the capital were added, and are actually fairly well rewarding and fast spawning, giving newbs a relatively safe spot, more things like this around the capitals are coming. They could also add things like strong roaming guard patrols around the capital, which would fight reds and send out alerts too, to people around.

So overall nothing too dramatic needed to be done. Simple alignment & flagging improvements, wardec system, and basic geography layout of newbie lands currently half implemented or coming along have significantly reduced newb griefing issues via violent death.

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Reply #21 on: June 29, 2011, 11:25:19 AM

This is easily solved. Have players bind their game account to their Facebook account.  why so serious?
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Reply #22 on: June 29, 2011, 11:41:36 AM

I'm not saying they don't ever want to be killed.  I'm saying that most people only want to be killed when they are in the mood for PvP, thats the biggest problem with Open PvP for a casual audience.  Its like if someone could come pillage your farm randomly in Farmville, people don't want to deal with that, even if they are ALSO a Call of Duty player.

Definitely agree, which is why open PvP games will always have limited appeal and aren't for everyone. Even as a vet Darkfall (same for Eve 0.0 sec players) player it's still a piss off if I get jumped and die while PvEing mobs. A lot (most?) people figure they dont want or need to deal with any kinds of setbacks or demoralizing defeats in their video gaming. The stakes certainly make it more exciting, in basic PvP fights I get an andrenaline rush that normally I'd only get in video gaming (or real life sports) playing in a competitive league, when my team is counting on me to make a clutch play. You can't have those kind of highs, without willing to stake some losses which can produce some lows. The trick is not to have lows too crushing, like Shadowbane did where the loss of a developed city was just devastating for a clan. In Darkfall for example, cities are not wiped off the earth when sieged, can be retaken intact. It's a setback and a defeat, but it's a lot easier for clans to regroup at another bind spot.
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Reply #23 on: June 29, 2011, 11:43:57 AM

KallDrexx, I think you misunderstand what drives your typical "90%+ killer" PvP+ player. PvP is the goal, reward and end game and people will group to do it. Group goals are perfectly acceptable to majority of such players, clan reputation and braging points is as good reward as "epic lewtz" for your typical DIKU-er. On other hand forced grouping is huge turn-off for many players.

I'm not misunderstanding anything, but you can't make a game meant solely for 90% killers, because if they are killing 90% of the time then other people are dying 90% of the time, and those killers who aren't killing are going to lose emotional attachment to the game and quit.  

Instead you create a pvp game that allows more than just killing (again, Eve) and while PvP is the big goal, there are a lot of smaller and personally attainable goals that people can do, and group for, that in the end (whether it's admitted or not) gives players more emotional attachment to the game than "winning" can ever, which means they will stick around longer when they start getting defeated.
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Reply #24 on: June 29, 2011, 12:26:49 PM

This is easily solved. Have players bind their game account to their Facebook account.  why so serious?

 Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

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Reply #25 on: June 29, 2011, 03:10:51 PM

KallDrexx, I think you misunderstand what drives your typical "90%+ killer" PvP+ player. PvP is the goal, reward and end game and people will group to do it. Group goals are perfectly acceptable to majority of such players, clan reputation and braging points is as good reward as "epic lewtz" for your typical DIKU-er. On other hand forced grouping is huge turn-off for many players.

I'm not misunderstanding anything, but you can't make a game meant solely for 90% killers, because if they are killing 90% of the time then other people are dying 90% of the time, and those killers who aren't killing are going to lose emotional attachment to the game and quit.  

Instead you create a pvp game that allows more than just killing (again, Eve) and while PvP is the big goal, there are a lot of smaller and personally attainable goals that people can do, and group for, that in the end (whether it's admitted or not) gives players more emotional attachment to the game than "winning" can ever, which means they will stick around longer when they start getting defeated.

I was referring to Bartle Test. I also agree that even super-defined Killers don't want to PvP all the time, so it is important to have some side-game, like crafting or sim-city components in the game as a distraction.

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Reply #26 on: June 30, 2011, 10:45:43 AM

The biggest danger with griefers (in Bartle terms) is design which brings Achievers into conflict with Killers. Socializers complain as vocally as Achievers, but they're really pretty good at making their own fun and tend to bumble along and adapt so long as some form of group content is active and available. Achievers... not so much.

There's a basic developer urge to provide a Sandcastle system so that Killers can kick them. If there's no advantage to building Sandcastles, however, nobody will do so. If there is an advantage, Achievers will be all over it... and then be furious when they get kicked on a regular basis. That hot and easy anger will hook Killers like a drug and it won't be long before they're bored with merely kicking available constructions by conventional means and start figuring out all the most effective cheats, joining Achiever groups in order to sabotage buildings from the inside, and otherwise taking the bull-headed dinggratz junkies upon whom the bottom line of every existing MMO most directly depends... and making them unhappy with their gameplay experience.

It doesn't matter if there are alternate equally rewarding tasks available, or that Sandcastles are nominally optional: SOME ACHIEVERS MUST COMPLETE EVERYTHING DAMMIT.

I still hold that the people attacking newbies for fun and profit are mostly just bored with the endgame (or, if the grind is too intense, the whole game), and people cheating the ignorant in trade are just Gevlon. The grief that really hurts user numbers is Killers vs. Achievers.
sinij
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Reply #27 on: June 30, 2011, 12:49:30 PM

The grief that really hurts user numbers is Killers vs. Achievers.

Simple solution, don't design games with pure achievement in mind, design it in a way that Killers need Achievers to be effective in killing. Shadowbane showed that Killers are more than willing to achieve and/or work with Achievers as long as it helps with Killing.  This way it will be Killers+Achievers trying to out-kill and out-achieve other Killers+Achievers. Everyone is happy.

Achievers are not necessary a) only interested in ding-grats b) only interested in personal goals. It just happens that DIKU model channels achievers into personal ding-gratz. At the same time Killers are also not averse to group goals, cooperative behavior and teamwork.

Anecdote: My guild has a number of high-achievers, when we played SB they run shops, planned building upgrades, planned city layouts (we had some of the best multi-wall designs in the game) and were so successful as a resource traders that for a long time resource market was us. As a killer I got out of this a) my BIS gear and runes ready for me b) my home base taken care of and all I had to do in return is capture some mines (PvP), occasionally shake down competition (PvP) and enforce our control zone (PvP). Added bonus - as long as I was successful as a killer I didn't had to grind, and Achievers wanted me to succeed at killing so they could get leg up on competition.

TL;DR Your example is a fundamental design philosophy flaw.


« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 12:58:46 PM by sinij »

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
pxib
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Reply #28 on: June 30, 2011, 03:37:01 PM

You example also works in EVE. It also refers to a specific situation in which you were already not only winning, but dominant. What about the people who theoretically want to play the game, but aren't particularly good at either achieving or killing? Basically the other 99.9% of the potential gamer population.

The thing that makes an Achiever an Achiever is his interest in dinggratz. They play the game in order to receive a constant stream of new goals. The ones in your SB guild were the sort who enjoy keeping an eroding sand castle standing. It's more like playing Tetris than Final Fantasy, but it's still a matter of accomplishing small, approachable goals and being consistently rewarded for them.

Also, while there aren't many killers who prefer PvE to PvP, there are quite a few Achievers who prefer PvP to PvE. You can differentiate them from Killers because they're the ones interested solely interested in WINNING while the Killers care about MAKING SOMEONE ELSE LOSE.

Your PvE Achievers were happy because they were helping the PvP team win. They would not have been happy if more powerful guilds were frequently kicking your sandcastle to the ground. They would probably want to join that guild instead. To the point that a single guild would contain all of the skillful Achievers and control all of the most rewarding PvE spawns. And that's not exactly a PvP game because everybody else gets tired of playing losers. It works in EVE because the Universe is too big for anybody less organized than a real government to completely dominate it. It didn't work particularly well on most of SB's tiny servers.

I agree that there's a design philosophy issue, but it's not unique to DIKU. It's an issue with adding sandcastles to games which aren't designed for them from the ground up.
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Reply #29 on: June 30, 2011, 04:24:32 PM

What about the people who theoretically want to play the game, but aren't particularly good at either achieving or killing? Basically the other 99.9% of the potential gamer population.


This is HUGE.  Let me put it another way that is more blunt:  Can you suck at the game and still enjoy it?  This has to be true to be mainstream.

sinij
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Reply #30 on: June 30, 2011, 04:56:33 PM

Quote
The thing that makes an Achiever an Achiever is his interest in dinggratz.

I disagree, dinggratz is abomination that was thrust on us by DIKU cloning. If anything, dinggratz is reinforcement schedule and some personality types are more prone to succumbing to it. What makes Achiever an an Achiever is drive to set and meet internal goals. You extreme Achiever is "anal-retentive" perfectionist.

In group settings Achievers are your implementors and authoritative leaders. Killers are your thrill seekers and dictatorial leaders.  Socializers are your organizers and consultative leaders. Explorers are your inventors and delegative leaders. Ideal leaders are Killer-Explorers or Achiever-Socializer.

Quote
Your PvE Achievers were happy because they were helping the PvP team win. They would not have been happy if more powerful guilds were frequently kicking your sandcastle to the ground.  

We went up against beta guild CoS and at the end won. I think we lost more cities than any other major guild in the history of SB during KGB vs CoS wars. Our "PvP" Achievers were happy because they were contributing to the team effort while doing what they liked and knew how much is riding on them. Our Killers were happy because there was so much killing to get done that you never run out, to the point that anyone less killer-prone would get shell-shocked. To be fair, our Achievers are Killer-Achievers and all our Killers are 100%+.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 05:10:06 PM by sinij »

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
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Reply #31 on: June 30, 2011, 05:07:47 PM


Can you suck at the game and still enjoy it?  This has to be true to be mainstream.



I already covered it, you can ether make outcome sufficient random that everyone gets to win now and then (bad way) or you can make average players integral to best player's victories (good way). When your The Best player wins, and your The Worst player played a role in that victory everyone gets to "win".

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
pxib
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Reply #32 on: June 30, 2011, 05:28:36 PM

In group settings Achievers are your implementors and authoritative leaders. Killers are your thrill seekers and dictatorial leaders.  Socializers are your organizers and consultative leaders. Explorers are your inventors and delegative leaders.
No, you've got that backwards. Like I said and Malakili reinforced, that is only true of a tiny portion of the game playing population. Within an MMO setting, very few people will be some combination of implementor, leader, organizer, and inventor. The whole point of the Bartle types is that, again within an MMO setting, everybody is some combination of Achiever, Killer, Socializer, and Explorer. And degree of thrill seeking is orthagonal to all of them.

The Achiever is playing for the goals, whether he makes them or not. Most Achievers do not.
The Socializer is in it for the groups, whether he organizes them or not. Most Socializers do not.
The Explorer is in it for the novelty. Period.
The Killer is in it to be better than somebody else. In a fair fight, most aren't.

Griefing is people taking out their Killer itch on somebody in a way that goes against the "spirit of the game" because, the way the rules are written, they suck. It's not a big problem because almost nobody is 100% Killer and the game just has to provide enough accessible fun in some other sphere to keep them hooked.

We don't need to think of new things the industry should do to keep low-skill Killers out, we need to think of what the industry should stop doing that's making it so attractive to them to find fun by ruining somebody else's.

Quote
I think we lost more cities than any other major guild in the history of SB during KGB vs CoS wars.
Exactly. Your situation, and your particular selection of players, was VERY UNUSUAL.
pxib
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Reply #33 on: June 30, 2011, 05:36:36 PM

I already covered it, you can ether make outcome sufficient random that everyone gets to win now and then (bad way) or you can make average players integral to best player's victories (good way). When your The Best player wins, and your The Worst player played a role in that victory everyone gets to "win".
Let me rephrase that for you: Your ideal (good way) is a game where most people (The Worst) do arbitrary shit jobs, so that a few players (The Best) can have all the real fun. That might satisfy Achievers, Socializers, and Explorers because you can probably make shit jobs they'll enjoy. It's not going to satisfy your crappy Killers. They don't want to "contribute" they want to DESTROY SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO SOMEBODY.
sinij
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Reply #34 on: June 30, 2011, 07:57:19 PM

Here are direct examples for you:

1. Meatshield/Protector - your job is to absorb damage and get in the way of others trying to kill your teammates
2. Dedicated Buffer - your job is to buff everyone, with you around everyone gets significant boost... you actually don't have to do anything to be useful, but you can be.
3. Suicide Bomber - your job is to run into enemy group and use your massive AoE Nuke, likely dying in process
4. Scout - your job is to run around and find where bad guys are, once you located them you call for backup.

This is not to say that 1-4 roles should be designed with low player skill in mind, but there are roles that do not require you to be good to be successful.

You can also try vehicle combat - someone got to man side cannons...

More examples - when group combat is developed bad players could be TAUGHT to fill a role. You practice your role and do what your group leaders tells you to in vent. Again, SB example would be dedicated role groups. Things like AoE stack buster group that teleported around battlefiled played Very Important role, but individual AoEer had very little to do outside of scripted role, its only "driver" that moves whole thing around that truly matters.

« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 08:01:29 PM by sinij »

Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.
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