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Old 08-01-2005, 05:37 PM   #1
Spoke
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I am a player in a MUD with a large player-base (Aardwolf), PvP is optional yet there is a large number of people involved in it. This discussion is meant to discuss what does people look for when they get involved in PvP, what do people like or dislike of PvP, and general opinions on PvP in general.

My own experience with PvP tells me that interactions of the Player-vs-Player type in H&S MUDs depend largelly in a handful of factors, of which the more important will always depend on the specific coding of the MUD, some of them are:

*) Relative levels of the players: This usually is reflected on the skills/spells available to the players, as well as some type of level-check when using said skills-spells.

In my opinion this is a necesary feature, if you wish to balance those long term players with much more equipment in a MU* with remorts, this way a low level-high remort player would not be able to just destroy anybody on lower remorts due to the equipment advantage. The drawback is that two players with similar equipment, and time playing, but a few levels difference may have in this the key difference that determines the outcome of a fight.

*) Quality and ammount of equipment: This is something that I assume would affect all kinds of PvP interaction, both in RP and H&S MUDs. Players in any kind of MUD are required to obtain a set of tools they use to advance/survive in their world, and these same tools are what they use to engage combat against other players.

In the MUD I particularly play, this is a major point, since there is equipment you can only obtain through questing, and if you do not have quest-only weapons, you pretty much are in a huge disadvantage compared to others. The bright side is that these weapons are not too hard to come-by, and any dedicated player can get a few of them every remort, and have a decent set after 3 or so remorts (there are 7 remorts total, and something called "tiers" beyond the 7 remorts). Other than weapons, all other quest equipment is surelly a nice addition, but it is not something necesary. I believe this is important, if you want many people to be part of your PvP system, you need to make it available to a broad player pool. You do not want it to be a requisite to have spent thousands of hours (or dollars) to just be able to start competing.

*) Class/Classes - Character Build: Some MUDs have a restricted remort system, others have a classless system, others yet have a no-remort system. In all these there is usually a way to specialize your character, you choose to be a thief and therefore practice all the stealth skills, poison skills, etc. Or you choose to be a mage and learn the arts of fire, lightning, air, etc.
Your specific class, or skill choise gives you some advantages and disadvantages with respect to other players choices.

I personally like to be able to customize my character, so that 2 characters with the same classes, same remorts, and even similar equipment do not necesary excel in the same areas. In the MUD I play this is accomplished through trainable stats, which determine which spells/skills work better for you. I love the fact that someone with lower stat count can still compete against others if they know how to use the advantage their specific training gives them, also, someone who knows how to use thief skills properlly might find it to be a huge advantage when fighting against someone who has these skills available but does not understand how do they work.

*) Quest only/RL Money only/Unique items/skills/etc: Some MUDs have items/skills/etc available only through some intensive play or through RL investments. Items or skills obtained this way usually give the players some higher advantage in some aspect of their game, and when this advantage affects PvP, it does many times affect largely the outcome of the player's interactions.

In my opinion a MUDs admin must be careful when designing these unique or very hard to come-by items. In a H&S type of MUD where you probably are able to keep said items forever, once you get a hold of them, and they will empower you starting at the moment you obtain them, this becomes a balance challenge. If you add too many of these items, and allow them to be too powerful, you might end up with a long term headache in balance OR you might end up with players just too powerful for their level/# of remorts. An intelligently done system might add these bonuses in areas that either slightly affect PvP or that are available to everybody through other means. Unique and powerful items or skills available mainly through RL money would be something to be careful with. If these items are obtained mostly through money investment then maybe new players who wish to take part on PvP would have to wait longer or just make heavy money investments in order to compete, which might potentially reduce the total number of players willing to give PvP a try. In the MUD I play the quest items are available to everybody, and powerful items/affects, while available to all, are time-consuming to obtain, giving an advantage to long-term-playing characters. This though, does not play a overwhelmingly important role for someone to not be able to enjoy PvP in the lower leagues or against someone they have certain advantage to, in the other areas mentioned.

*) Player skill: How a player uses their available pool of items, skills, spells in order to compete against other players.

I left this for last item, but I believe is the most important item when talking about PvP in a MU*. This is the sole reason I like to engage PvP against others, because it requires skill on my side. It can also be a factor that outweights all other factors mentioned before if the MU* (this is my opinion) is smartly coded, and can make player interaction much more entertaining. It is important to note though, that it is not the ability to stack an "intelligently"-chosen set of skills/spells, but more the ability to respond to what the other player does or how the other player is affected by what you do. If, for example, your flaming weapon seems to be dealing less damage than usual, you might think on swapping for a different weapon (that big axe that cleaves them appart), or if you will be attacking a giant, you might think on using those mental powers of your psionicist or mage. I enjoy the most when someone whom by numbers should destroy me every time, dies due to a lower comprehension of their character skills.

This is, I think, a good summary of what I think is important for player PvP in my own opinion, what do you think is important when you engage PvP? what are the specific things you look for in a MUD that allows PvP? do you like PvP optional/forcing/free MU*'s? why?

Thanks for your time reading this.
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:31 AM   #2
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In my personal opinion, the most important part of PvP is uniqueness. Every player should have the ability to build their own character in their own way. It’s discouraging to see everyone in a certain level range with the same equipment and classes. However, with uniqueness comes the difficult and discouraging task of keeping it all balanced.

Things I don’t like to see in PvP:

Equipment-based combat:
In the mud I play, equipment is too important. To be competitive, you would need several pieces of quest equipment and a nice quantity of other “good” equipment that’s relatively easy to get. In the end, everyone is wearing nearly identical equipment at any given level range.

Everyone has the same class:
The main problem with having seven classes and having to remort into each of the seven classes is that when you reach your seventh class, you will be quite similar to any other player with seven classes.

Things I do/would like to see in PvP:

Stat training and limited skills:
This is one of the ways to make a unique character. Allow enough training sessions to train only some stats, not to “max” them, but enough to have an effect. Same with skills. Allow only a large, but limited, number of skills to be bought/gained/earned.

Race or physical affects:
A character’s physical/racial build should affect PvP. Not only should stats have an affect on PvP, but also the character’s race. A basic example would be, if a character is a larger race, such as giant, he could be harder to stun or have more HP, but easier to hit. A halfling on the other hand, would hit most of his opponents more often and receive fewer hits due to his smaller size and ability to avoid attacks.

Player skill:
I agree completely here: player’s knowledge of his skills and spells is very important in PvP. Knowing which spells or skills are good versus a certain type of opponent is one of the only ways to beat someone who is a higher level or has spent more time on obtaining equipment.
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Old 08-02-2005, 01:17 PM   #3
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Some core principles we try to stick to on Carrion Fields:

1) Diversity of Power: There should not be an optimal character. The top echelon of characters should have as little in common with one another as possible. Many 'remort' and classless systems fail this test miserably-- every character gains access to the 'best' skills, and a limited number of first-tier archetypes emerge.

1B) No 'Caste System': Conversely, there should be no 'second-tier' character options. A skilled player should be able to succeed with any character. You should never learn that you chose the 'wrong' character to succeed with and have to start over to have hope.

2) Diversity of Style: Characters who specialize in one fashion should play differently from characters who specialize in another fashion. A rogue archetype character should not play like a warrior archetype who initiates with 'backstab' instead of 'bash'. They should rely on patience, deception, surprise, and finesse, and should fail if they attempt to adopt the tactics of a very different character. Each character should be a new experience for the player, and should be able to change their tactics to some degree to deal with different situations.

3) Player Skill First: A skilled player should be able to beat an unskilled player the vast majority of the time. Even if they were to switch characters, the skilled player should still win the matchup. This does not mean that equipment and similar variables cannot enter the equation-- skilled players should be able to find useful equipment, given equal access to resources(*). Indeed, part of what constitutes 'skill' might be the ability to select and acquire the equipment that best befits your character.

4) Level Playing Field: Characters should begin with equal access to all resources. The staff must be honest and impartial. No character should start as a 'super character' due to flukes of character generation, 'lottery' systems where characters randomly begin with large advantages, the achievements of prior characters, or the like. This also includes games where it is legal to transfer resources (equipment, currency, training, etc.) among one player's characters-- a new player coming in has to scrap for those resources while an 'old hand' has them handed over.

(*): This can be a serious issue in pay-for-perks games where credit cards can be mightier than swords.
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Old 08-02-2005, 04:20 PM   #4
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The only thing I want to add falls under Valg's "player skill" comment:

The player with the greater knowledge of the world, the rooms/areas themselves, should be at the advantage, especially in HnS games.

(Maybe this was a given, and could have gone without saying.)

I prefer systems where those unskilled at room/area knowledge are 'left out' of the PvP set purposely, so that they must learn the world first, before they are thrown into ridiculously unmatched conflicts. This also goes with the level-skill-whatever restrictions... newbies should not be fodder, and should be given time to learn the world. Those who know the world should be able to use that knowledge to their advantage, but not necessarily against newbies.
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:20 PM   #5
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I play an RPI, so the criteria is going to be a lot different from a non-RPI game. Permanent death changes the whole PK side of gaming. Having no "training points" or needing special equipment to do stuff changes everything too. Further, the notion of "balance" is tossed completely aside, replaced by a system in which proven trustworthy roleplayers are given the opportunity to play more challenging roles requiring such trust.

For me then, the only thing "necessary" to make PK fun, is a reason to kill another character. Success is a bonus, but isn't necessary. The RP involved in plotting, planning, executing (pun intended) is all what makes it fun. Once the victim is dead, he's dead.
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Old 08-03-2005, 09:44 PM   #6
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I don't like PvP myself, I'm kind of a non-confrontational kind of guy. Plus, I tend to make non-combat oriented characters. I play character like I am in real-life, they try to get the most amount of money with the least amount of work.
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Old 08-15-2005, 10:54 PM   #7
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I can't say I go for PvP much myself, but a problem I noticed on the H&S I used to play years ago was that PCs only went for PvP if they had an advantange and nothing to lose. If they stood a chance of losing the confrontation and the cost was something they couldn't just regain easily (like equipment as opposed to levels/exp) then they wouldn't go for it. Now, I think this is on account of cowardice (I used to advocate PvP zones of permanent death, which were vehemently opposed by those who claimed to be great PKers) but if you want to attract PCs to PvP, you might consider that they don't want to lose much. But if you want to cater to all types, perhaps a variety of areas and options as far as combat style and cost.

Mind you, this is all from a H&S perspective. In an RPI, I'd suggest realistic combat styles with permanent death of course. Nothing gets the adrenaline flowing like the thought that you might lose everything via a lucky shot from your opponent. *grin*

Take care,

Jason
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