MMOs

Griefing in Aion

Disappointingly, the real life friends who were looking forward to Aion are now quite lukewarm about actually playing, due to an initial misunderstanding about how integral PvP actually was to the game. All the people I was planning on levelling with are now saying that they’re not going to subscribe. Their main focus has been raiding in Warcraft, and the lack of substantial PvE group content isn’t very attractive to them.

Well, that sucks.  :(

On the other hand, I’ve also been reading a lot of discussion about pvp in Aion, and I confess to being a wee bit nervous about it. Not about PvP itself (or PvPvE) – done well, that is the seasoning that every game needs. It’s the griefing aspect that makes me nervous.

I’ve experienced killstealing already by sorcerors, since they can wait for me to start “tanking” for them on my Templar and then swoop in at the end and do a lot more damage than I can manage. (Whoever does the most damage to the mob has loot rights, and gets the xp.)

I’ve never wanted to level on PvP servers in Warcraft, although I know people who do enjoy the challenge. I’ve never seen the attraction in killing lower-level players, though, and don’t consider it to be real PvP…and if it makes it impossible for someone else to actually play the game, it’s griefing. There’s a certain personality type that wants to level purely so that they can return to lowbie areas and ruin someone else’s game…and I don’t respect that type of player.

There was a long thread on this subject that I read recently, probably on Aion Source (I’m at work right now and won’t be browsing game sites). There were the predictable “QQ moar” and “L2P” comments, and several people who said that they would be griefing other players because it was allowed in game, and so they were playing the game as the developers intended.

There’s a flaw in that logic. It’s a bit like real life – just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you’re actually intended to do it. Theoretically you could commit any amount of crimes, especially if there is no penalty for doing so…but don’t expect me to invite you over for drinks and dinner.  :D

So, I will wait and see…my Templar hasn’t experienced the rift yet, so I can’t yet comment on Aion PvP. But I truly do hope that there is some mechanism in place to combat the worst examples of griefing. Turn them into chickens, or something equally demeaning.

But please, please, don’t allow the entire game to be a massive Stranglethorn Vale.

8 thoughts on “Griefing in Aion

  1. I have a similar viewpoint on the ganking issue. I’d much prefer the PvP style of FFXI, and hopefully FFXIV. In FFXI PvP was never forced and only held in organized events by groups of players.

    I’ve been following the chinese retail of Aion for sometime now and noticed in the latest of patches(1.5), they implemented a massive amount of elite guards all over the leveling zones outside the Abyss. They patrol common areas and quest givers of the zones. These guards, unlike the ones in WoW, are much higher level than the zones they patrol. I’ve seen level 40 elite guards patrolling areas with level 20-30 mobs.

    I’m not sure if this affects the Abyss areas yet or not.

  2. Oh – that would be handy. Hopefully we’ll see those guards as well, I like that. At the very least you should be able to take and turn in quests, and have a hope of completing them without being repeatedly ganked.

  3. I am one of the people, I hope anyway, Ravven mentioned as someone to level with, though I think we maybe planning to play different factions, and I too am worried about this type of mechanic. I know there will be plenty of “humans” who play like this and tbh I don’t think I will be playing for long. I am even thinking of cancelling at the moment.

    I think our issue though lies in our experience, we are long time WoW players and we want to see this type of choice play implemented. There are a lot of things wrong with WoW but they have to be commended on appealing to the player that just wants to play an Online RPG without the PVP. However everything MMO that has been released since has been PVP and this raises an interesting question, why. Why are we not seeing more games that allow you play just the way you want to experience it.

    I am confident people can read this and reply, QQ much or L2P more or something equally infantile but it is prevalent in MMO gaming at the moment that we only get to PVP or PVPVE or some other acronym and not just PVP or PVE. So why when it’s clear that’s WoW’s major advantage over the other less subscribed MMO’s is the formula not copied.

  4. I think the main thing, for me, is the allowing of griefing. Although I’m not always in the mood for it, PvP where both sides are of a roughly equal level is fine. Systems that allow a very high-level player to hang around and gank low-level players out of sheer shittiness (bullied at school, I assume?) are not. There should be a mechanic in place that prevents it. If I am prevented from actually playing the game, eventually I will cancel my subscription.

  5. Most of them were bullied at school tbh the rest are just well….it isn’t polite to say. If the griefing is allowed to happen then I will be sticking to Champions Online and waiting for someone to get an MMO right again. I was reading some bits about the Conana expansion though that sound very very interesting.

  6. Raziel, for over decade there were only crappy PvE games which dominated the market. Last recent PvP was Shadowbane, Ultima Online and Meridian 59 which are dated back to 1998 to 2000. You could also count in Dark Ages of Calemot, if you’re the “zerg it down”-Type of PvP player. For a whole decade, PvE dominated the MMOs, which is pretty sad as PvE is quite boring, static and predeterminated and predictable. And the only choice you had was: PvE. Kill monsters here, kill monsters there. The “PvP” part of WoW is one of the worst ever in history of PvP games. Sadly, most people don’t know “true” PvP.

    So it’s quite wrong to assume that the recent MMOs where all only PvP ones. There were Lineage II, Age of Conan, Warhammer, Darkfall an Aion (Take Warhammer out, as you can level to 50 without ever being forced into PvP). 5 Games in 10 years doesn’t seem to be much for me, compared to PvE Games (Everquest 2, WoW, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Ragnarok Online 2, Priston Tale and many other i missed to count).

    There is nothing wrong about a pure PvP game without a “PvE Server variant” with disabled or limited PvP. However, there are a few key features which are necessary in order for a PvP to become good. If one or more of this features are missing, the PvP is going to suffer greatly and ultimately decide about success or fail of this game.

    1) No factions. A true PvP games shall not have factions which predeterminate enemies.
    This is one of the worst PvP concepts ever and makes PvP very static. Main disadvantages are, population balance problems (if one faction has more players, playing on this server becomes unenjoyable for both factions) and you can also not chose your enemy freely. If you join Elyos in Aion’s case, you have all Asmodians as enemies. This is a bad concept and lame excuse for designers to implement propper PvP. Instead, PvP shall be based on Guilds and Alliances (2 or more guilds forming an alliance). This makes PvP very exciting. You chose your enemies and friends freely as a guild. And if there are differences in your allies, your former allies may become your new enemies.
    It makes PvP very dynamic, because it adds political elements. And it adds drama (breaking alliances and forming of new player made ‘factions’ instead of predetermianted factions)

    2) FFA (Free-For-All) Open PvP. A mmo shall have free for all PvP. This means, everyone should have the ability to kill anyone else, even people of your own race, faction or alliance, neutral ones or enemies. Main disadvantage of games like WoW, Warhammer or Aion is, you can’t attack your own sides people. You may ask why that’s bad. Well, sometimes there are moments people abuse the safetly of such systems to cowardly flame, offend or annoy others in the knowledge that it won’t have consequences for them (i.e. they can’t be killed by the people they are offending). In FFA PvP games, people are much more carefully what they say and to whom they say it and people have much more respect of others if they know that they can be punished for it.

    Second, PvP has to be Open (possible everyone on the world, with the exception of very few areas like towns which shall be safe zones for people to trade and talk). In order for PvP to develop to it’s full potential it’s absolutely necessary, that PvP is possible every where. Before you comment on this cause of ganking, read next point please.

    3) Death/Kill Penalities (aka Karma/Flagging Systems). A good PvP game shall have Penalities for death and murdering (murdering = killing a player who doesn’t have the chance to fight back or chose not to fight back because he don’t want to fight). As FFA PvP can and will lead to ganking, there need to be penalities for abusing it. If you kill someone, who doesn’t fight back, you have to be flagged as murder and get some penalities (i.e. negative Karma and being freely killable by anyone else without them becoming murderers too or preventing you from entering towns or trade with NPCs). To make this penalities really effective, there need to be death penalities. i.E. chance to drop your items, lose XP or skill (in case of games where you have skillpoints which you gain by using a certain ability instead of reaching a certain level and “buy” it). Only if people FEAR DEATH, they won’t be ganking anyone they see. This was very effective in Lineage II. Even though you had FFA PvP, ganking really rarelly happend and only by a handful of people (the Random Player Killers aka RPKs). Probaly less than 10 per server.

    However, people where still killed/murdered. But not for the ganking sake (killing someone without a reason). Instead they got killed as punishment (for example scaming someone, offending or simply being an enemy or because they killstealed or in some other ways griefed yourself or your guild). But it happened really rarely.

    4) No instances. A PvP game shall not have instances of any kind. Instances ruins a true PvP game. If a guild is in war with another guild, they shall be allowed to fight everywhere against each others. Instances voids this as it allows one of the two rivaling guilds to cowardly “hide” themselves inside an instance where they are untouchable. If you want to go, fight mobs and are in war with some other, then you have to risk of being attacked on the place youre going to kill monsters. Simple as that.

    5) Balance for PvP not PvE. A PvP shall be balanced for PvP and not for PvE. Many games have flaws there that when they introduce new skills, they balance them against PvE (i.e. high damage or many crowd control spells) which proves very balance breaking in PvP and makes it hard ever get a balance.

    Well that’s the five most important points. If one of them is missing, the PvP aspect is going to be very bad and everything but enjoyable. I have played MMOs since 1997 when the first graphical ones came out (Meridian 59) and seend most of them.

    And there where only a very few PvP games which met the points mentioned above which were Meridian 59, Ultima Online and Lineage II and most recently Darkfall. Not sure if Shadowbane had penality systems for death or murdering, as i haven’t played it. And this were the best PvP. The remaining Games (Warhammer Online, Age of Conan) were missing this points hence they had bad PvP.
    Warhammer had factions, no penalities, instnaces and no FFA. That’s 4 of 5 points above missing. Age of Conan was somewhat better because it had FFA Open PvP and no factions, but lacked of balance, penalities. So only 2 out of 5 points above fullfilled.

  7. I think that there needs to be a balance between playstyles for a game to be successful for the greatest number of people. I’m a player who does a lot of soloing, for example – and a game that has FFA pvp just doesn’t work for those players. Sometimes I do want to pvp, but sometimes I just want to gather mats for professions, or quest, or just dink around – and being ganked every time someone sees me (because I am alone, or I’m lower-level, or I’m at low health because I’m fighting a mob) makes it extremely difficult to do that. I like games that allow for different playstyles.

    There is a market for “hardcore” pvp, that is true. Darkfall has some very vocal and loyal supporters. But I think it will remain a niche game in the sense that many people don’t want to play that way. I’ve never tried Darkfall just for that reason – although I can see why “real” pvpers do like it.

    In one sense, however, sometimes I would dearly love to be able to kill all the asshats that I encounter, no matter what their faction – the gold sellers and farmers and bots, as well as all of the tards who rubbish up the chat channels. :)

    Instancing is necessary for pve content – yes, there are many MMOs that don’t instance. But if rival factions or legions could prevent you from successfully doing world bosses, or raid instances, you would drive away all of the people who want pve content. Again, you have to allow for both playstyles.

    I didn’t experience pvp in Conan, but I had a lot of fun in Warhammer. EVE probably had the closest pvp to what you are describing, and it probably works the best out of any pvp system that I’ve seen. That said, the consequences of losing a ship could be crippling, and that is just a little too “real” for a lot of people – me included. It’s part of the reason why I unsubscribed. I didn’t have much cash, as a new player who hated mining and trading and so on, and I couldn’t fly my one good ship because I couldn’t afford to replace it. I didn’t like the helpless feeling of being vaporized by players with millions and millions of skillpoints and massive ships – it just wasn’t fun being the bug on the windshield.

    It’s quite difficult to balance for both pvp and pve – that causes a lot of problems in Warcraft. Again, though, you don’t want to choose to balance only for pvp, because then you do lose skills that are important for pve encounters (which I require for any game that I play). I also dislike purely pvp skills that take away my ability to counter them – being stunlocked, or chain-feared, just isn’t fun.

    I’d hate to alienate everyone who wants to just do quests, or group instances, or whatever…you limit the population to the types who only want pvp, and you lose your crafters and explorers and raiders and RPers – you lose balance, and you lose the richness of a game that caters to a lot of different players.

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