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Old 05-28-2005, 10:28 AM   #1
Earthmother
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In the "Advertising for Players" section here, I often see people looking for a "good PK MUD." Not being an uber PK fanatic, I'd like to see more lists of criteria for what this constitutes.

On my MUD, if you've not been there for a goodly while, (imo, at LEAST a RL year), there is NO WAY you are going to even begin to be a competitive PK. You'll just get slaughtered randomly, and this is due to the HnS environment. If you don't know the MUD, you're going to get slaughtered simply for *going* PK, and we do this to 'teach you the ropes of PK here."  We don't have permadeath, and there is no XP loss for PK deaths, and PK is entirely optional, for just this reason. Your only real risk is being looted, and the current PK ethic is *not* to loot, for the most part. Looting is usually reserved for people one would eventually 'kill' on RP-intensive MU*s.

I would contend that our PK environment is one of the harshest out there, in some respects, because the individual player's knowledge of the MUD as a whole is imperative to their PK rating. However, I seriously doubt people looking for a 'good PK MU*' would want to put in the year or two it takes to become a competitive PK on our game.  So, my questions are:

1) How fast do you like to get into PvP conflicts?

2) Does permadeath affect your decision on whether a MU* is a 'good PK environment?'

3) Are RP-intense conflicts the only 'real' reason to PK?

4) What are some other criteria for a 'good' PK mud? Balance? Low-level PvP opportunities? Do player-chosen 'arena' fights count as a 'good PK' environment, or is open MU* PK the only thing that 'gets it' for you?

I'm just looking for some comparisons, because I wouldn't dare go onto most MU*s and want to be PK. ;> I'm a wuss, and I like my char to live. What do you bloodthirsty, adrenaline-rush types look for? ;>
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Old 05-28-2005, 01:23 PM   #2
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PvP is an important aspect on the mud I play. We have three types of pk with varying degrees of "penalties" for death.
As a newbie I learned early on that xp was better in pk zones than outside of them, but that the risk was to die at thehands of more experienced higher level characters. This adds an element that mobs cannot.

One thing that I found to be particular useful is "moderated" pk zones. Essentially zones that are designed for low level characters only in which pk is allowed. Like other pk zones the xp is better. But in these zones you are going to be able to pk and be pked by people who are your level (and presumably your skill level although alts do stalk these areas occasionally).
This is an excellent means of introducing players to pk aspects of a game.

My personal preference was that the game is about interaction..and no mob can be as challenging as an enemy than another player. RP on the mud I play, has no part in pk except when players are competing for the same equipment or zone areas.

I think there a few key things that are vital to a good pk mud.

1. Balance. While classes, races, and flags may differ from character to character...in combat players of equal level must have the opportunity to be equal. Skill has to play the key role in pk, not uber bonuses.

2. Education-New players must be introduced to pk carefully. You don't want them to view it as a negative aspect of your mud. Rather, you want them to see it as a part of the mud in which they may interact with other thinking people with skill and strategy. Zones that are level restricted for pk are perfect for this.

3. PK must only be a PART of any good mud. Not only should you balance combat, but PK shouldn't be forced down the throats of everyone. So, pk must be balanced with other activities.There will be times when a person must confront pvp conflict and there should be. But players will resent constant disruption by some players (and we know they are out there) who only play to be disruptive.


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Old 05-28-2005, 05:50 PM   #3
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1) How fast do you like to get into PvP conflicts?
If it's a PK mud then you should be able to get into PvP conflicts almost immediately - just as you should be able to start roleplaying the moment you begin playing an RP mud.

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2) Does permadeath affect your decision on whether a MU* is a 'good PK environment?'
It depends on the implementation, but generally speaking I'd say that permadeath is a poor feature for a PK-oriented mud, but a vital one for almost any RP mud which allows PK.

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3) Are RP-intense conflicts the only 'real' reason to PK?
No, the two are completely separate concepts.

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4) What are some other criteria for a 'good' PK mud? Balance? Low-level PvP opportunities? Do player-chosen 'arena' fights count as a 'good PK' environment, or is open MU* PK the only thing that 'gets it' for you?
A good PK mud should provide a means for all players to compete. Balance is an important part of any mud, but particularly so for one focused on PK. Arena fights are nice for practice, but a PK mud should incorporate PvP elements into all almost aspects of gameplay.
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Old 05-28-2005, 06:17 PM   #4
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I agree with KaVir for the most part, though I'd also like to add that, at least imo, a pk-oriented mud must NOT be too complicated/overloaded with features, the combat system must be fairly straightforward and simple. While multiple skills and abilities are a good thing - as long as they're well balanced - they must be fairly 'accessible' and easy to use. I believe in fast pk, and if there are too many features and options, they're just going to get in the way of actual pkill.

Also - this might be a little off topic? - but I'm sort of saddened by the lack of /pure/ pk muds around. There's a lot of people interested in pk that don't care about rp at all, in fact from my experience, roleplay and pkill attract two entirely different types of players; though there's only been a couple well-ran pure pk muds I've ever encountered.
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Old 05-28-2005, 06:48 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by (Shao_Long @ May 29 2005,01:17)
I agree with KaVir for the most part, though I'd also like to add that, at least imo, a pk-oriented mud must NOT be too complicated/overloaded with features, the combat system must be fairly straightforward and simple.
Straightforward and simple to learn the basics perhaps, but if the focus of the mud is PK then you really need to have a combat system which takes a long time to master.

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Also - this might be a little off topic? - but I'm sort of saddened by the lack of /pure/ pk muds around.
How do you define 'pure' PK? If you mean 'no mobs', then such a mud rarely does very well (because there's nothing to do when there are no other players online, therefore the players don't stay, creating a vicious circle).
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Old 05-28-2005, 10:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ May 28 2005,18:50)
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3) Are RP-intense conflicts the only 'real' reason to PK?
No, the two are completely separate concepts.
That's a short and sweet answer, and yes, they are.

So... here's a corollary question:

Do people looking for a 'good PK MU*' usually want the purest PK experience possible (i.e. Genocide), or are they looking for emotional reasons to PK others, i.e. RPI's with permadeath?

I know the answer to this always depends on the individual player, but I find PK in any form to be an emotionally taxing sport, with or without RP immersion. I'm looking for some differing points of view on this, so a better original question probably would have been:

What are the reasons people choose to PK, and under what circumstances do you prefer it?
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Old 05-29-2005, 03:52 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by (Earthmother @ May 29 2005,05:18)
Do people looking for a 'good PK MU*' usually want the purest PK experience possible (i.e. Genocide), or are they looking for emotional reasons to PK others, i.e. RPI's with permadeath?
As you go on to point out, it depends on the individual. However generally speaking I'd say that those who are primarily interested in PK prefer it in a purer form, while RPIs are geared towards a subset of roleplayers who tend to prefer PK for story reasons rather than for the act itself.

Permadeath works poorly unless PK is a rare occurance.

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What are the reasons people choose to PK, and under what circumstances do you prefer it?
I choose to PK because I find players make more interesting and unpredictable opponents than mobs.
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Old 05-29-2005, 10:01 AM   #8
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Do people looking for a 'good PK MU*' usually want the purest PK experience possible (i.e. Genocide), or are they looking for emotional reasons to PK others, i.e. RPI's with permadeath?
I have found that PK with a reason provides the most satisfaction; I.E., defending another player, protecting or defending another player, stealing equipment, or taking over a zone for xp or equipment runs.

There will always be predator players who will hunt any level of character for the thrill of the hunt. However, pk with purpose seems to be the most entertaining.
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Old 05-31-2005, 11:37 AM   #9
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One thing we emphasize heavily about the PK side of our game is that players can succeed with wildly different characters. If you punch up the most deadly characters, you see a broad variety of classes, skillsets, IC player groups, races, etc. If you poll our playerbase for the "most deadly" class, you get huge disagreements among diverse camps.

Too many PK systems devolve into either:

1) A caste system. Certain character types are first-tier, and PK success is essentially between those characters, with the rest as food. Newbies get slaughtered until they "learn" to build a character of the "correct" archetype.

2) A rock-paper-scissors system. Character A whips ass, except against Character B, who is unstoppable as long as he doesn't run into Character C, which doesn't happen often because Character C gets easily pummeled by Character A...

A good acid test is: "Can a skilled player rack up victories with any character?" Phrased in an alternative way, given a fight between two players of differing skill and differing characters, does the more skilled player still win if they somehow switched characters?
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Old 05-31-2005, 12:12 PM   #10
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A good acid test is: "Can a skilled player rack up victories with any character?"
It depends on your mud, but if there's a lot of customisation then I don't think you can reasonably make every possible setup a good one.

I recall once seeing a player wandering around my mud with a greatsword in one hand and a tiger claw (which is specifically designed to be used as a pair) in the other, loaded down with so much armour he could hardly move. He didn't have the right stat distribution to use those particular weapons properly, and his talents were geared towards a completely different style of fighting. I could have taken any element from his setup and forged a deadly character around it, but combined they just sucked, and I doubt anyone could have achieved many victories with such a character build.

Thus I'd phrase the test more like: "Can a skilled player rack up victories with a character setup built around any skill, talent or weapon?"
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Old 05-31-2005, 01:12 PM   #11
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True.  Given enough customization, a player could make counterproductive decisions.  

That opens the question of how much safeguarding you want to do there.  For example, if you play a giant on Carrion Fields and choose to specialize around daggers, you're going to run into the problem that dagger skills tend to be finesse-oriented, and giants don't have a lot of that.  I don't think a primarily-dagger-wielding giant is unplayable, and it's going to be more of a challenge, but we won't forbid a player from making that choice.

We've taken the approach that:

1) To some extent, you need to allow players to do weird things, because otherwise you potentially obstruct some very clever things.   Maybe there's a great niche you haven't thought of.

2) You need to keep players reasonably informed that certain options work well or poorly with certain other options.  Using your example, the player should know (from helpfiles, IC sources like books or guildmasters, etc.) that light weapons like tiger claws don't perform while you are wearing heavy armor.  If he ignores that available information, the onus is on him if the final product doesn't kick as much ass as he imagined.

3) Your underlying code can make contradictory decisions suboptimal, but not so much that it's unplayable.  This is especially true for a PK system with required roleplay like ours- someone may choose an unusual character type to fit a role they wish to play, and you don't want that person to delete in frustration because their player skill can't overcome the character-caused handicap.  We also include obscure perks for odd choices- using my example, maybe there's a enchanted dagger somewhere in the world that is too heavy/bulky for a human to grip (at least not like a dagger), but dagger-wielding giant would snap that right up.

4) If it's an important, permanent type of choice, try to allow them to postpone making it where possible, rather than forcing it on character generation.  This way people can get a feel for the character and some general game experience before committing.  Good systems will also allow a character to overcome poor initial choices with later ones.
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Old 05-31-2005, 03:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by (Valg @ May 31 2005,12:37)
Too many PK systems devolve into either:

1) A caste system.  Certain character types are first-tier, and PK success is essentially between those characters, with the rest as food.  Newbies get slaughtered until they "learn" to build a character of the "correct" archetype.

2) A rock-paper-scissors system.  Character A whips ass, except against Character B, who is unstoppable as long as he doesn't run into Character C, which doesn't happen often because Character C gets easily pummeled by Character A...
Wow, I *really* like these examples.

We have problems with this, due to the ever-popular 'balance' issue. Characters that are 'balanced' vs. the mobs at comparable levels are not 'balanced' in PK.

Some of this balance issue has been addressed by tweaking items found in the world, so that they will work to counteract specific guilds' defenses or 'over-strengths'.

(I know this was semi-off topic, but I wanted to chime in. So many great answers in this thread! Rock on, y'all! )
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