Lost Pages of Taborea: Trouble with PvP

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a safe and fun break. For my first article of 2011, I want to talk more about PvP. I've spoken about PvP before, but I want to look specifically at player-killer protection and the ability to instantly change PK status. There was also the slight change to a short-term criminal or hero status since Runes of Magic started.

A lot of time has passed since Runewaker made the changes, but I still remember them. Long gone are the days of a forced 10-minute cooldown on PK status and no protection bubble. I'm not a huge PvPer myself, but I wanted to explain a little more about the changes and the way I felt about the system then vs. now. I think it would also be relevant to bring up how the overall system works -- or claims to work. If you're interested in what PvP was like in the early days of RoM and would like to voice your opinion on it, click past the break.

If you look at RoM's PvP page, you'll see an interesting-looking system. It's open PvP on PvP servers, so anyone can attack anyone. You'll gain negative and positive reputation, which yields different rewards and penalties. If you are within 10 levels of another player, he will randomly drop loot from his person or from his bacpack. Enough negative reputation will get you a red-colored name and make you attackable by any city guards. Go the positive route and you'll get a blue name -- earning you praise and adoration from fellow players. Everything looks pretty enticing when you read it, but it just doesn't fly that way when playing RoM.

Let's back up for a moment

Back in yonder day there were a lot of spontaneous guild battles springing up anywhere at anytime. There was also spawn camping because there was no PK-protection bubble. PK status also had a 10-minute cooldown, which meant you had to stay on the move or find a good hiding spot so wanna-be heroes didn't slay you. It was frenzied and even exciting for this casual crafter. I remember teaming up for protection against random gankings, many red-named players running around cities attacking guards, and players frantically running and searching out hiding spots to allow negative rep to go away -- or for PK status to cool down so they could turn it off.

Nowadays there's virtually none of that. I only rarely see one player attack another player, and even then it's sometimes just a glorified duel, so my reputation never moves. I see so little PKing that I could forget I'm on a PvP server. I understand spawn camping caused griefing, but this new system seems worse off than before. I think it was much better when there was a forced cooldown and no protection. The protection took away incentive not only for the moment a player respawns, but for anytime he plays. I get killed once? No big deal; I'll respawn and teleport. No one cares about killing or about being killed with PK-protection in RoM. It seems as though Runewaker had a good feature that the devs broke by changing things.

Why'd they change it then?

It's pretty obvious that griefing was out of hand at any given time. Whole guilds would just sit on spawn points and kill players as soon as they resurrected. It prevented people from playing the game. Another case for the changes might be that players thought the ruleset too harsh given the fact that they could lose valuable items. This is where I have to interject another perfect world scenario. Ideally, if players are spending some money on the game and don't want it needlessly ripped from their corpses, they should simply not invest that much money. Wait and earn the power the in-game-only way for longer until a safer point is reached. But if players are spending a sizable chunk of cash, then the griefers probably have just as much to fear from spenders as spenders have to fear from griefers. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world. Multiple players could still gang up against one player, no matter his strength.

Go back to the beginning

If we go back to looking at RoM's website detailing the PvP system, it doesn't seem that it's been updated to reflect these new changes. It's vague as to how the entire system actually works today. Some of the instructions haven't even been reported in-game. A purgatory for slain players in demon status -- whatever that is -- isn't even in the game. The PvP system is simply in a broken state of limbo.

Conclusion

I like the system Runewaker initially set out to implement. It had incentive and multiple rewards. It was more than World of Warcraft, but less than Darkfall. It had some meat on its bones, but it wasn't overly punishing -- especially since there are item slot protections. I don't care that much for PvP in WoW. It is too watered-down for my taste. There doesn't seem to be a good reason to mess with it, and it amplifies my annoyance with having a corpse run. I've never played Darkfall, but I've heard the stories of gankers making off with every bit of loot that a person is carrying. It sounds a little too harsh to me. RoM struck a happy medium in my book. There are stipulations on whose loot you can run away with, which adds the appearance of fairness. The rewards and penalties for reputation changes also add a lot of incentive to take part in a server that players presumably wanted to take part in anyway.

What's to be done with the system? Anything? Do you think it's preferable to have the protection status? Is there a way to fix PK? At this point I'd go back and reinstate the original features -- but finish the system. It's long overdue for some love, but I'm not like everyone out there. Do we need an update as to what the details of the system still are? If anyone has the answer, comment below. I've tested as well as I can for a long time. I've kept an eye out in the forum and haven't seen any confirmed rulesets. It's a good chance to share your knowledge and voice your opinion.

Each Monday, Jeremy Stratton delivers Lost Pages of Taborea, a column filled with guides, news, and opinions for Runes of Magic. Whether it's a community roundup for new players or an in-depth look at the Rogue/Priest combo, you'll find it all here. Send your questions to jeremy@massively.com.
This article was originally published on Massively.