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Old 10-21-2007, 05:53 AM   #1
Molly
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What constitutes a good PK system?

We are in the process of revamping our PK system, and I’d like as much input as possible from both players and Admin with experience of PK. Which features, in your opinion, are essential to a good PK system? What features do PKillers like the most?

(Disclaimer: We have restricted PK now, and would like to keep that in the future too.)

Here’s the concept we’ve came up with so far:

PK AND NON-PK PLAYERS
- You have to register and pay a fee to get a PK flag, and also pay a 10 times larger fee to have it removed.
- New players cannot register, and also not attack or be attacked by other players until after their first remort.
- All other players can Pkill and be killed, but only registered Pkillers can attack other registered Pkillers ‘legally’.
- If any player (PK or not) attacks a non-PKer they get a KILLER flag.
- Players with PK flags can have their corpses looted, but only by other Pkillers.
- non-Pkillers cannot be looted by anybody, unless they've got a KILLER Flag.

PENALTIES
- Any player, whether they be PK or non-PK, may attack a KILLER without being flagged themselves.
- KILLERs cannot buy from shops, cannot sit in Recall for more than 3 seconds, and can be summoned by anyone from anywhere.
- Players with the KILLER flag will not leave their victims’ corpse open, however they will leave their own corpses open if they die, but only to other registered PK.
- KILLER flags will be automatically removed after 24 hours ONLINE playing time or upon the death of the KILLER by another player (mobs don’t count).
- The flag stacks up, so every non-PKer you attack adds to the time.

PK POINTS
PKillers will collect PK Points, and there will be an on-line Top 10 PK List
The equation will involve:
- Positive PK points for killing a PKer at the same or above your level, tier or remorts.
- Negative PK points for killing a PKer far below your level, tier or remorts.
- Negative PK points for dieing to another PKer.
- Negative PK points for spam killing the same player over a short period of time.
- 'Arena' battles will have no impact on PK points.
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:39 AM   #2
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
We are in the process of revamping our PK system, and I’d like as much input as possible from both players and Admin with experience of PK. Which features, in your opinion, are essential to a good PK system? What features do PKillers like the most?
I think it is important the combat system is balanced for pking. You also have to consider if your system is fair, and if it should encourage real life skill or character skill. In some games I have tried it was all about collecting better gear than your opponents, or having the biggest gank squad. So if you played casually you didn't have a chance.

Quote:
- KILLERs cannot buy from shops, cannot sit in Recall for more than 3 seconds, and can be summoned by anyone from anywhere.
What prevents people from spam summoning a killer, to constantly pk him - or prevent him to reach his corpse. Two mages in different locations could play ping-pong with the pker .
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:20 PM   #3
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

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Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
What prevents people from spam summoning a killer, to constantly pk him - or prevent him to reach his corpse. Two mages in different locations could play ping-pong with the pker .
Thanks for pointing that out. I suppose we'd have to put a block against killing the same player more than once in a given period. Still - getting a KILLER flag is not supposed to be fun, so maybe they got it coming?

However, I just found out another glitch in the KILLER Flag system:
All someone has got to do is to remove all equip, and then ask a friend to kill them, and the Flag is gone. I think we shall have to stick to a Timer penalty, as it would otherwise render the flag useless.
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
Thanks for pointing that out. I suppose we'd have to put a block against killing the same player more than once in a given period. Still - getting a KILLER flag is not supposed to be fun, so maybe they got it coming?

However, I just found out another glitch in the KILLER Flag system:
All someone has got to do is to remove all equip, and then ask a friend to kill them, and the Flag is gone. I think we shall have to stick to a Timer penalty, as it would otherwise render the flag useless.
The issue with a stacking timer penalty is that the killer flag and pk system kinda merges. You wrote that the flag expires after 24 hours after one murder. That means if an active killer kills, say, 10 players it requires 240 hours for the flag to be removed - which is 10 days online. The risk is that some players will simply realize they can't get rid of the flag and instead become a kind of pk. It might become a play style.

Perhaps the question is why there should be a killer flag at all? Why let innocents kill innocents? The PK flag makes pvp possible for those who want to participate.

Another option is to make a system that works like Ultima Online's pking system(see ORIGIN - Ultima Online - Playguide). There they use the concept of 'murder counts'. Each time you kill an innocent player they can give you a murder count. After 5 counts your character is marked as a pker. A count expires after 40 hours of online play so it IS possible to become innocent again but if you play a very active pker then eventually it would be very hard to become innocent again.

However I think the system in Ultima Online partly encourages pking, because if some player gets into a pk spree for fun some evening they risk to get stuck.
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Old 10-22-2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

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Originally Posted by Aeran View Post
Perhaps the question is why there should be a killer flag at all? Why let innocents kill innocents? The PK flag makes pvp possible for those who want to participate.
The responses here and on TMC has made me realize that it probably isn't a good idea to abandon our current system, where Non-PK are prevented by the code from killing and being killed.

Still, there is obviously something in the system that is unsatisfactory for the part of our players that choose to go PK, and there has been a rather heated discussion on our intern Mud Forums raging for some weeks.
(The URL is Player Killing (PK) and KILLER Flags, in case anyone is interested).

However it seems that the discussion on our Forum is a bit skewed by some inflamed player relations, which is one reason why I wanted to get some input from totally unbiased people, who are quite detached from our little community.

We try to cater for different groups of players, whether their main interest is RP, PK or just exploring and questing or pure hack'n'slash. But isn't always easy, if one group feel that they get a stepmotherly treatment, as seems to be the case with the Pkillers now. A fact is that very few new players choose to go PK nowadays, which might be a reaction of the current PK culture, but also a sign that there aren't enough incentives to outweigh the risks. This in turn leads to the PK community becoming too small to really present any challenges. There are simply not enough potential adversaries with a suitable level and tier to present a good match. And the tier system also is a problem when it comes to calculating the PK equation.

So, I repeat the question: What features do PKillers especially like? How can we make PK more interesting and challenging? Input from pure PK Muds would be especially appreciated
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:43 AM   #6
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
So, I repeat the question: What features do PKillers especially like? How can we make PK more interesting and challenging? Input from pure PK Muds would be especially appreciated

At Legend, we're having the same sort of problem. We have 3 different pk systems(though one, PKOK, will be going away). Our main system is called PKE. This is where players elect to become pkenabled, and it is not turned off unless they "redeem" out of it by hitting 50 million experience and using our redeem option. You can always be attacked by other PKEs and you can always attack them.

We've completely revised this system recently. Our changes have taken the exp loss and exp gain completely out of PKE. We've also added in Purgatory. This is where you are returned to the game if you die in a PKE battle. You're completely safe in this room and your corpse is there with you. You can stay there as long as you'd like.
These changes are so recent, that we don't have much data on whether or not they are working well. We are also wanting to add in a sort of "Pkill XP" system. But that's a little bit down the road as we're still in the thought process.

Our second main system is the Dueling system. You challenge a player(to the death, to a % of hp, or to a set # of hp). They accept or decline. Once the fight reaches it's target, it's over, and you can no longer fight each other unless you duel again. There is exp loss in this system if you fight to the death. You also don't get the Purgatory safety, but with dueling, you don't need it.

Our third system, the one that will be going away, is called PKOK. This system requires that you add players or clans to your "accept list". You can have up to 32 on that list. You also have a "repudiate list" that rejects all pkok fights from those on that list. With PKOK, you can be attacked and can fight anyone on your list so long as they also have you on theirs. Once you reject them, they can no longer attack you, and you can't attack them. there's a 48 tick window after a pkok fight before you can use the reject command. This timer is reset if there is pk contact. So the most your timer could be is 48 ticks. Exp loss happens with PKOK(Unless you are PKE too).

Strangely, duels seem to be more popular than PKE and PKOK.

With all of the options we have, it's still difficult to see what the pkiller wants. In a few weeks we'll be better able to track the data of the PKE system changes to see if they were successful or not.
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Old 10-22-2007, 10:58 AM   #7
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

I think killing for killing's sake has a place in games where killing is the focus, but I'd caution against trying to make a game all things to all people. In my opinion, "PK points," flags and whatnot have no place in a game if you're going for character development and role-play in a living persistent world. That's not to say character vs. character combat shouldn't be a part. Personally, I think "player-killing" should be allowed, unequivocally and unfettered, in a quality role-playing environment, with the caveats that 1) char vs. char combat grows from role-play, and 2) there are possible repercussions to balance the rewards. Such an environment offers different opportunities for those who want to play killers, above and beyond points and stuff. It would include conflict inherent to the world and its story, attractive oppositional positions with roles for assassins, paladins, mercenaries, zealots, bounty hunters, lawkeeps, etc. (Check out http://deviousminds.net/ShadowfallSite/world.html.) The plotting, scheming and character/history development driven by an architecture like this makes murder a craft, much more fulfilling than collecting points. Just my opinion.

A good "PK system" absolutely must involve rich, flexible, interesting combat mechanics, success with which depends at least as much on player ability as it does character skill.
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:10 PM   #8
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
We are in the process of revamping our PK system, and I’d like as much input as possible from both players and Admin with experience of PK. Which features, in your opinion, are essential to a good PK system? What features do PKillers like the most?

(Disclaimer: We have restricted PK now, and would like to keep that in the future too.)

Here’s the concept we’ve came up with so far:

PK AND NON-PK PLAYERS
- You have to register and pay a fee to get a PK flag, and also pay a 10 times larger fee to have it removed.
- New players cannot register, and also not attack or be attacked by other players until after their first remort.
- All other players can Pkill and be killed, but only registered Pkillers can attack other registered Pkillers ‘legally’.
- If any player (PK or not) attacks a non-PKer they get a KILLER flag.
- Players with PK flags can have their corpses looted, but only by other Pkillers.
- non-Pkillers cannot be looted by anybody, unless they've got a KILLER Flag.
I'm assuming that you're talking about in game assets. The fee seems like a good idea, if only to keep the new players out. That said, instead of money, I'd make it a timed thing to switch off being a PKer. For example, a PKer might be able to switch off of being a PKer, but at the cost of all of their PK points, and not being able to become a PKer again for (for example) a week. I think this would be better, simply because there's a pretty good chance that someone becomes a PKer only to realize that it means they die a lot more, and stop having fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
PENALTIES
- Any player, whether they be PK or non-PK, may attack a KILLER without being flagged themselves.
- KILLERs cannot buy from shops, cannot sit in Recall for more than 3 seconds, and can be summoned by anyone from anywhere.
- Players with the KILLER flag will not leave their victims’ corpse open, however they will leave their own corpses open if they die, but only to other registered PK.
- KILLER flags will be automatically removed after 24 hours ONLINE playing time or upon the death of the KILLER by another player (mobs don’t count).
- The flag stacks up, so every non-PKer you attack adds to the time.
24 hours of online time seems kind of excessive. At two hours a day, that's twelve days of being annoyed by the game mechanics. A lot of people would quit, or at least make a new character (or just stay logged on AFK). And at more than that, if they kill even three or four people, they'll be flagged as a killer for a month or more. I'd recommend lowering the amount of time required, and letting people tithe at a church to remove the flag. Since the killer can't loot the corpse of the person that they kill, and assuming no permanent death, the victim is only put at a minor annoyance, while the attacker is significantly set back.

The killer flag seems like a way to discourage people from PKing. Instead, I'd just leave the PKing to a the PKers. Since mostly anyone can become a PKer, there seems to be no reason for this mechanic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
PK POINTS
PKillers will collect PK Points, and there will be an on-line Top 10 PK List
The equation will involve:
- Positive PK points for killing a PKer at the same or above your level, tier or remorts.
- Negative PK points for killing a PKer far below your level, tier or remorts.
- Negative PK points for dieing to another PKer.
- Negative PK points for spam killing the same player over a short period of time.
- 'Arena' battles will have no impact on PK points.
Negative PK points seems like a bad idea. If a low level PKer attacks a higher level PKer, the high level PKer can't win. If they die, they lose PK points. If they win the fight, they lose PK points. It takes the challenge out of it - sometimes people want to match up with someone much stronger than them, to see how they fare. Instead I'd make a scale, and adjust the number of PK points gained based upon the difference in the two parties levels. If a level 10 kills a level 20 character, they might get 50PK points, whereas if the level 20 kills the level 10, he'd only get 5, making it probably not worth his time. This would discourage people from just killing lower level players, but at the same time giving them the freedom to do what they want.

For the spam killing, make sure to keep track of the instigator. If player A keeps attacking player B and losing, player B shouldn't be penalized. Maybe just make it a fixed mechanic that you can't attack the same player more than once in a 20 minute period or something. Have a 'challenge' command so that if two PKers agree, they can break that time limit rule and fight (ie. Player A challenges Player B, and if player B accepts, they can both fight again). Going back to the previous point on level differences, you could make the time limit between attacks based on the difference in level.
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Old 10-22-2007, 02:15 PM   #9
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Here's what I look for in a PK mud:

1) A balanced class system. No vastly overpowered classes, no useless classes, and preferably no class that appeals to too many players. That's an odd preference, but I just dislike games where 40% of the playerbase is playing one particular class.

2) A balanced combat system. No one-hit kills that you have no way of preventing or defending yourself against. Things like that take the skill out of PvP, and I prefer fights to be more like duels where you actually test your skill and your character against an opponent, as opposed to gankfests where assassins sneak around and one-hit kill people in complete safety. Likewise, no classes that can become virtually immortal.

3) If there's item loot, make equipment reasonably easy to get. I don't mind losing my stuff if it takes me a day or two to at most to get it back, but if dying means losing three months of work then I'll simply quit playing. Really, I've always prefered muds without looting because they tend to have a much better atmosphere among the playerbase.

4) Equipment should matter, but shouldn't be the only thing that does. I've seen muds where any given PK fight boiled down to whoever had the best equipment with little to no skill involved, and it just didn't make for a very interesting PvP environment.

5) I don't mind a system that rewards succesful PvP, but don't turn it into text-based Quake. If everything's about ranks, scores, points and records then I'll just go and play one of the many fine online FPS games. I like a bit of theme, a bit of realism, and a reason for PvP that goes beyond "I want more PKPoints".

6) Classes should differ. If your mud has clerics, druids and shamans, please distinguish them further than the name of their full healing spell and the elemental type of their primary nuke. There will always be some overlap if you go anywhere beyond the four basic class archetypes, but there has to be something that sets classes apart fundamentally.

There's more, but my pizza just arrived.
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Old 10-22-2007, 05:26 PM   #10
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
Thanks for pointing that out. I suppose we'd have to put a block against killing the same player more than once in a given period. Still - getting a KILLER flag is not supposed to be fun, so maybe they got it coming?

However, I just found out another glitch in the KILLER Flag system:
All someone has got to do is to remove all equip, and then ask a friend to kill them, and the Flag is gone. I think we shall have to stick to a Timer penalty, as it would otherwise render the flag useless.
There is a major problem with your design. You have a game, it's supposed to be fun, and adding mechanics that are not fun will only turn away players, so don't add them. Or, if you are going to add the Killer flag, add a major benefit to it to match the penalty - it's okay to have negatives, as long as there are positives to balance it out.

I assume from your posts that you are not much of a player killer kind of person. I think that the main reason that people like fighting other players is out of the challenge that it provides. Although I haven't played your game, in most games NPC monsters are nothing more than difficult to open treasure chests. You go, you hit them, they hit back, you drink some potions, and continue until one of you dies. Most players are more intelligent than any bot I've yet come across. Your system should provide players with the ability to fight intelligently, so it doesn't become a stat race. Check out God Wars II and one of the Iron Realms games for two excellent (and quite different) player vs. player systems. Think of great board games - Chess and Go come to mind, and great fighting video games like Soul Calibur and Mortal Combat to get an idea of where to go. The great thing about Chess and Go is that they are both very easy to learn how to play, very difficult to master and no two games unfold the same way. Another thing is that there is no luck involved. Certainly you'd want some element of chance in your system (given the franticness of combat), but you should be careful not to let randomness outweigh strategy and tactics.
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Old 10-22-2007, 09:28 PM   #11
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
I'd caution against trying to make a game all things to all people.
After reading the posts in this thread, I would second Will's thought here. Each of the PK ideas might be good In And Of Themselves, however, I don't think putting most/all of them together in the same MUD is a good idea. I personally wouldn't like to play a game that has several PK "systems" built into one.

I think you should design your PK system based on what you want to excel at. What aspect of PK do you want to be the "Best" at? And because you already have a game in-place with active players, I would suggest making your choice from their suggestions. Take all of their suggestions of what they want in THEIR PK system - I'll bet they will filter down to a few specific approaches - and then determine which one you want to focus on. If you try to change the system to much, or if you try and make the system "All Things to all Players", I believe you will lose to many players from the switch.

You can't please all of the people all of the time, but you can please SOME of the people most of the time.


As for what I look for - it's been a long time since I went looking for a PK MUD, but I always liked a balanced system that rewarded the negative side of dying to other players. I didn't care about ranks, but I wanted to be able to loot SOMETHING from the person I PKed! And I always felt that arbitrary regulations on the PK system never really accomplished much.
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Old 10-28-2007, 07:19 AM   #12
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanthum View Post
And because you already have a game in-place with active players, I would suggest making your choice from their suggestions. Take all of their suggestions of what they want in THEIR PK system - I'll bet they will filter down to a few specific approaches - and then determine which one you want to focus on.
Asking the players is of course the obvious thing to do, and a fact is that the entire system I described in my first post - (including the Killer flags) - was a proposition put together by our present PK players. Feelings and tempers sometimes run high in a mud, and there was a situation with a non-PK player that some of them were desperate to get at, and so the Killer Flag entered the suggestions.

However, the responses here and on TMC have made us all realize that the Killer Flag system - (which is a somewhat nostalgic relict from the stock Circle code) is not a good idea after all, and that it will be better to keep non-PK players totally protected by the code in the future too. So we'll just work on the other parts; a ranking system and whether you get to loot everything from the victim's corpse or just a few items.

One very good thing came out of our internal discussions however; a suggestion for a PK system where all players would fight on totally equal terms, and where only the personal PK skills and reflexes would count, not level, number of remorts or equipment. A totally new player would have the same chances as a 6 years veteran, as long as they had some PK experience from other Muds and had the time to get reasonably familiar with our skills and spells system. It would have to be run as a sort of Arena - we've already named it 'The Gladiator Pit' - but it's a system that is easy to code and as far as I can see totally foolproof. It seems to have great potential, and we aim to implement it as soon as possible.

I want to thank you all for the input, it has been really helpful to see opinions from people that are totally unbiased and detached from the internal politics of a Mud.
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Old 10-28-2007, 09:51 PM   #13
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
One very good thing came out of our internal discussions however; a suggestion for a PK system where all players would fight on totally equal terms, and where only the personal PK skills and reflexes would count, not level, number of remorts or equipment. A totally new player would have the same chances as a 6 years veteran, as long as they had some PK experience from other Muds and had the time to get reasonably familiar with our skills and spells system. It would have to be run as a sort of Arena - we've already named it 'The Gladiator Pit' - but it's a system that is easy to code and as far as I can see totally foolproof. It seems to have great potential, and we aim to implement it as soon as possible.
Any relation to The Gladiator Pits (which is also a PK system based completely on player skill), out of curiosity?
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Old 10-29-2007, 04:49 AM   #14
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

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Any relation to The Gladiator Pits (which is also a PK system based completely on player skill), out of curiosity?
No, it hasn't got anything to do with your Gladiator Pits, we just picked a name for the feature that looked good. I'm sorry if I am intruding on any name Copyrights, we can easily rename our feature if so.

With about 2000 Muds out there I doubt any idea is totally original, but I cannot recall seeing a feature like ours mentioned in any other Mud. Still, it's such an obvious idea, and so simple to implement that it is almost certain to exist somewhere.

In case anyone is interested in the details of the concept, they are outlined in this thread on our Forums:
Gladiator Pit
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Old 10-29-2007, 07:08 AM   #15
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

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No, it hasn't got anything to do with your Gladiator Pits, we just picked a name for the feature that looked good. I'm sorry if I am intruding on any name Copyrights, we can easily rename our feature if so.
Names aren't protected by copyright, so it's not a problem, as long as you don't mind the (probably quite small) potential for confusion; you might get some interest from people who played Gladiator Pits II or III, but they'll probably be expecting something else.

I was really just excited about the prospect of someone using my Gladiator Pits system, even if only as inspiration (I released it 7.5 years ago, but as far as I'm aware I'm the only one using it, which makes me a little sad).

Quote:
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With about 2000 Muds out there I doubt any idea is totally original, but I cannot recall seeing a feature like ours mentioned in any other Mud.
Well, there was that mud back in 2004 that wanted to add a PK arena as an extension to their mud...and call it "Gladiator Pits" :P
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:18 AM   #16
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

Your PK system will depend on one thing: Your players. If you have hardcore pk players it will change a lot in your rules. If you have players that don't even like to PK, it will be completely different.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:58 AM   #17
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Re: What constitutes a good PK system?

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I was really just excited about the prospect of someone using my Gladiator Pits system, even if only as inspiration (I released it 7.5 years ago, but as far as I'm aware I'm the only one using it, which makes me a little sad).
Well, our system isn't nearly as sophisticated as yours, I'm afraid.
It's really a quite simplicistic idea and we'll be using our normal combat and Arena code, just create a new type of Arena for it - (which naturally will be called The Colosseum).

What makes it somewhat original - (I hope) - is the way it is set up. The players won't be using their normal chars in the fights, instead they'll get temporary access to one of 8 different Gladiator NPCs, all the same high level and balanced to have equal stats. This makes the system totally independent on the player's own level and strength, only their PK skills, tactics and reflexes will count.

The Gladiators are all different classes, so their skills and spells will be different, which of course will influence the combat style. Hopefully our Classes are all well balanced by now, so everyone should have the same fair chance of winning the fights, especially since the Gladiators will be lotted on the players. And if they are not, the outcome of the fights will soon reveal that, which is an extra bonus we'll get.

On a side note: Would it even be possible to attach your Gladiator Pits code to a modified Circle Mud like ours, perhaps as a minigame? I don't feel like revamping our entire fighting system, but it would be cool if we could use it, combined with our Gladiator idea. Our Coder, who is a great admirer of the GodWars II fighting system is looking into it now.
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