Ryan: The Core Rhetorical Challenge Facing Goblinworks


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Goblin Squad Member

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Bluddwolf wrote:
<Magistry> Toombstone wrote:
GrumpyMel wrote:
PvP with looting
This is kind of the big one for me. You hear "pvp with looting" and you think murder simulator. There have to be some really strong mechanics in place to balance that one out.

Or a change in attitude towards your gear. If you learn to value your gear less than your time spent in experiencing the challenge of PvP, you will mind less the loss of gear.

Why is the "go to solution" always have to be limiting mechanics? There is never any compromise or acknowledgement that perhaps your attitudes can change.

Bluddwolf, it's pretty simple because people enjoy different things and they want to do something they actualy enjoy with thier time. I'm ok with loss of gear...I'll probably treat PFO as a sort of BattleField series FPS game in terms of how I approach gear. However for some people, a fantasy MMO is all about collecting neat looking gear to outfit thier characters. PFO probably won't be the game for them... that's ok but telling them to adjust thier attitudes is kinda like telling someone that's allergic to shellfish that they'll really learn to love raw clams. It's their entertainment dime and time, they shouldn't spend it doing something they don't like.

However, that's not really the purpose of the thread...open-world, FFA full-loot PvP tends toward turning an MMO into what most mmo players would consider a "murder simulator" and draws the exact sort of people that most gamers don't want to associate with in ANY sort of game. It obviously doesn't have to be true and not everyone dislikes those sort of games nor is every player of them unpleasant to associate with. However, I think it's pretty well supported that is the association those game-play elements have among the general gaming public. That's what Mbando's study showed, I think.

Basicaly that's what most people are going to assume about PFO, or any games with those mechanics.... until it's actualy built and empiricaly prooves that it's not as bad or anti-social as they expect... and they can actualy play and enjoy it without being ganked within 30 seconds of stepping out of town EVERY time they do so, followed by being subjected to a minute of "P-owned U looser, we're 'leet U noob"

Goblin Squad Member

Bluddwolf wrote:
<Magistry> Toombstone wrote:
We're talking about how someone on the outside is going to perceive PFO, I believe. If you're trying to describe a game with murder-simulator potential, then "open world pvp with gear looting" is a fantastic phrase to start off your description. And if there's nothing in your design to curb that thought, people will continue thinking it. Preaching "Just don't see it that way" isn't going to change that perception.

First you should start by not buying into that definition of what is a murder sim, it is not the one that Ryan Dancey uses. Just as Andius (one if my members now, so I don't use his name to ridicule him) believed, your definition of what is a murder sim has far too low a threshold. Andius had tried to describe EvE Online as a murder sim, and Ryan quickly rebuked that idea, strongly.

Ryan seems to use the term "murder sim" almost exclusively for First Person Shooters. There you have no other objective but to kill the other side, nothing to gain by winning the round, no loot to acquire, it is just killing for the sake if killing. No persistence from one round to the next, also contributes to the lack of meaning.

All of the major Open World PvP MMOs could not be categorized as murder sims, at least not by Ryan's standards. In all of them there are objectives for killing, even if that was simple looting. In games like Rust (alpha test) there was literally nothing else to do but kill each other, and we al better be prepared for that in PFO early on.

So as to how someone on the outside perceives this game, well maybe the best way to avoid them viewing PFO as a murder sim is for us not to recognize. That it has the potential for it to become one. Certainly don't attach the term to "Open World PvP" ourselves. You will just feed into that wrong perception.

Bludd, sorry for the double reply....but I feel pretty strongly about this. No one gets to define "Murder Simulator" for anyone else. Each person is going to have thier own subjective definition of the term and none of those definitions are wrong. I strongly suspect your defintion is very different then that of the average gamer. I know most people who don't play EvE have very strong negative associations with that game. Now it's perfectly ok to say, well that game isn't for them... however from the Developers standpoint (e.g. the people trying to make money off the game), they have to set thier expectations to account for that limitation of thier audience going into it. If thier expectations are different, financialy then they are going to end up in trouble... they also have to set thier communications with the public to match that as well, because they don't want thier potential customers expecting one thing and getting another, that burns reputations as a business and ends up wasting alot of marketing resources.

Goblin Squad Member

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I want to add something, mainly that FPS style games have a very large audience and personaly they are quite a bit of fun. I would strongly disagree with any caracterization they they are "murder simulators".

FPS games are all about team based combat (PvP combat). There is a specific goal to that combat... winning the match... and it is understood that all players playing the game are willing combatants. Further there is no confusion about who is hostile and who is freindly. Death has no long term consequence to the players ability to play and enjoy the game, though it has a short term consequence to who wins a match. Finally to one degree or another, a players results are based upon thier individual skill.

It is the combination of these elements that make FPS games enjoyable to thier audiences and categoricaly NOT "murder simulators"

"Murder" is an act of killing someone who is not hostile to you and has no intent to cause you harm. The difference with many FFA Open-World PvP games that are percieved as "murder simulators" by the general gaming public while FPS games (such as the Battlefield series) are generaly not... and these mirror my own feelings... is that you are getting killed in them by people you are NOT hostile toward and who'm you have no expectation would be hostile toward you. If you are playing Battlefield 1942 for example and you are playing an Allied soldier, you fully expect to be attacked on site by every Axis soldier in the match. You may not know where or when the specific attacks will happen, but you know going into the match to expect them to happen. In an MMO, you are NOT expecting the guy who hired your character to chop down wood for them outside of town and who will trade you some cloth in return to be hostile toward you and to put a dagger in your back. That is the difference between "combat" and "murder". It is that constant level of paranoia, of not being able to trust anyone that most people find distatsefull for long term play.

The other element that causes most FPS players (myself included) not to want to play PvP in MMO's is that the quality of the PvP in most MMO's is very poor by comparison. It is very often determined by factors external to player skill. This can be the difference in power between one character and another or it can be related to lag and performance issues where the MMO is not optimized to handle that many characters fighting in one area. This is a big turnoff for enjoying PvP in MMO's. Further, it is greatly excaserbated by the fact that getting killed in MMO's can have a long term impact on your characters abilities. If I get killed in an FPS game it has near zero impact on my ability to play and compete and perform well in future matches. If I get killed in an MMO, it can have a strong impact on my ability to accumulate enough power/advancement to perform well in future combats and can easly create a situation where a new player gets sufficiently behind the eight ball that they can never accumulate enough of whatever they need to perform effectively in combat in the game in comparison to established players.

Really for many FFA Open World full-loot PvP games....I don't even classify most of what goes on as "PvP". It's more PvV.. Player versus Victem.... and no one really enjoys playing "Victem" over the long term.
I quite enjoy many different sorts of PvP (Chess, FPS games, Turn based strategy games on both computer and board games, minatures, etc) I have zero interest in PvV games as either the Player or the Victem. YMMV.

Goblin Squad Member

GrumpyMel wrote:
If I get killed in an MMO, it can have a strong impact on my ability to accumulate enough power/advancement to perform well in future combats and can easily create a situation where a new player gets sufficiently behind the eight ball that they can never accumulate enough of whatever they need to perform effectively in combat in the game in comparison to established players.

Shouldn't have to worry about that in this game, unless you're hellbent on a specific course of action or something. If you are getting too far behind, you have the tools to do something about it: team up, move out to somewhere else with less threat, take the fight to the other guy, hire a merc company to stomp all over him, etc. It's easy to say "I died because he's played longer and there is nothing I could've done about it", but it's better for you in the long term to say "I died because he's played longer, but there were things I could've done to avoid that death", because the vast majority of the time there is something that can be done to avoid dying.

What you always need to keep in mind is that power is relative: you are one player among thousands (or tens of thousands), and there's always going to be someone better than you and someone worse than you. Your job is to avoid fights with the guys who are better than you.

This is just how I view this type of game; I realize your quote may not have even been talking about PfO, but I wanted to throw my opinion out there ("you" in my above message should be taken as directed at the general audience, not specifically at GrumpyMel).

CEO, Goblinworks

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Mbando wrote:


2) The second part seems more connected. If I understand you correctly, you think that using marketing language that leads people to believe you are building a something like Mortal Online/Darkfall/UO isn't a problem. In fact it's good--fostering the impression that PFO will be similar to Mortal Online/Darkfall/UO helps keep away the wrong kind of player.

The product I want to build is one where the best parts of those games is captured, and the toxic part is reduced. I think that the biggest drawbacks those games all have is the way their community treats one-another, not their game mechanics. (Well, they all have their own problems too, each of them suffers from distinct and unique design and implementation challenges, but the one problem they all seem to have in common is the toxic behavior of some community members).

Quote:
I'm sort of stunned by that, but I'm willing to accept that's your position. But it totally confuses me--if you really feel that way, why do you bother with things like posting articles at Massively, and then patiently correct person after person in the comments section who completely misunderstands the game? That seems absolutely counter to what you're saying.

You'll note that I react to people saying this:

"an Open World PvP FFA with full loot game".

This is a bit like the problem where people think all MMOs are sandboxes because some people made "open world" a synonym for "sandbox". (Watch the cognitive dissonance on some of those threads when I tell people that Skyrim is not a sandbox game, for example).

Some people, without really thinking about it, are trying to make "Open World PvP" a synonym for a game design that also means "free for all" and "full loot".

So I challenge those people directly. Pathfinder Online is a game with Open World PvP but it is not a Free for All, and it does not have a Full Loot system. There's so little analysis in most poster's loop though that the point is lost on most of them. But I keep trying because for the small number of readers who notice, the distinction is meaningful.

The "Free For All" and "Full Loot" game mechanics contribute to the toxic behavior of sociopaths in an Open World PvP game. Those two attributes are a reason that Open World PvP turns into a murder simulator. Because you can do it anywhere, and you get a huge benefit (the loot) from doing it successfully.

EVE established a continuum for these attributes and that is (in my opinion) one of the reasons that EVE succeeded where many other similar games failed. They established a mechanic that creates a variable amount of Free for All in the Open World PvP. And their loot system means that you don't get the ship when you destroy a target, and ship is the primary reservoir of value for everyone but the space truckers, so the dysfunctional game mode of always getting more out of killing a target than you risk if the target kills you doesn't often happen. (Imagine that you spent most of your money on your suit of armor and when you died the armor was always wrecked).

So we're copying those two things although as with a lot of EVE-derived game systems we're altering them, after all, we've had 10 years to observe EVE's core game mechanics and think about how they could be improved.

But that also means that we don't have an "Open World PvP FFA full loot" game. So I tend to correct that mischaracterization when it occurs and I have the time & inclination to do so.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:

Some people, without really thinking about it, are trying to make "Open World PvP" a synonym for a game design that also means "free for all" and "full loot".

So I challenge those people directly. Pathfinder Online is a game with Open World PvP but it is not a Free for All, and it does not have a Full Loot system.

It's been utterly amazing to me how adamantly some folks insisted that PFO would be FFA. First, they said it would be FFA outside of the NPC Settlements, then they said it would be FFA outside of the PC Settlements, then they said it would be FFA in the unclaimed wilderness hexes. As someone who has a strong desire to be helpfully informative, it's been quite challenging at times.

Goblin Squad Member

I think there may be some disconnect in the definition of "FFA" because I happen to believe PFO mechanicaly is a "FFA" game....even though it's attempting to limit some of the negative aspects of "FFA".

"FFA" means to me, quite literaly, anyone can mechanicaly attack anyone else. Unless I am mistaken, from a mechanical standpoint PFO will be a "FFA" even though it attempts to overlay a series of consequences for attacking people outside of certain approved parameters.

Unless the game beeps at me and tells me "function not supported - this is a member of a freindly faction, you can't attack them", then technicaly it IS a "FFA" game....I don't believe my understanding of the term is at odds with that of the average gamer.

PvP tends to fall within 2 categories Pre-determined factions (i.e. Horde vs Alliance, Empire vs Rebel Alliance, Vanau vs NC vs Terran Republic, etc) or "FFA"... if it doesn't fall within the former then it's the latter. So I'm going to take issue with Ryan when he says PFO is not a "FFA" game.... because I think according to the understanding of the term that a heck of alot of gamers have, it is. Frankly that was (and still is) one of my largest reservations with the game...but like I've said, I'm willing to take the chance and see how it will play out.

CEO, Goblinworks

@GrumpyMel - we have not finalized this specific game mechanic yet but I think it is more than likely that there will be areas of the game where you will not be able to attack another player.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan, I'm not neccesarly talking about WHERE you can attack (that falls into the "Open World" side) but WHO you can attack. Basicaly with something like Planetside2 style PvP you litteraly can't attack 1/3rd of the player base because they are part of your faction. You know with absolute certainty who is an enemy and who is not. With something like Ultima Online, any other player can attack you... so you have to regard 95+ percent of the player base as potential enemies... even your own Guild or an Ally can potentialy attack you.

I think that's what alot of people see as the definition of "FFA".

I realize that you guys really are trying to keep the focus more on settlement vs settlement conflict... and like I said, I'm keeping an open mind toward things and hoping that you can achieve the goals you set forth. However to alot of people, myself included, if they aren't picking a faction in the character manager and being mechanicaly prevented from attacking members of that faction, then a game would fall into the "FFA" category....so hopefully you understand why people are looking at PFO and thinking "Yes, that's a FFA game"

Goblin Squad Member

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Uh... I think you can team kill in Planetside 2. Just saying.

Goblin Squad Member

GrumpyMel wrote:
PvP tends to fall within 2 categories Pre-determined factions (i.e. Horde vs Alliance, Empire vs Rebel Alliance, Vanau vs NC vs Terran Republic, etc) or "FFA"... if it doesn't fall within the former then it's the latter.

Funny how a same word can be understood differently. For me, if I were to assign categories, PvP would to fall between "constrained" (faction vs faction as you described) or "open" (one can attack any other character). But "open" doesn't mean FFA in my understanding: FFA stands for "attack freely with no consequences", whereas Open PvP can have consequences (rep hit, being denied access to resources, loss of equipment…) and as Ryan pointed out, doesn't imply full looting.

Seeya,
Moonbird

Goblinworks Executive Founder

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If EVE hisec is FFA because anyone can fire their weapon, then FFA is meaningless. If it isn't FFA because there are harsh prompt meaningful consequences, then what level of consequences is required to make the ability to attack anyone in most areas not "FFA" in those areas?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Pathfinder Online once all the fine details have been gone through is essentially a sandbox game in which PVP is the major story mechanic.

Ryan Dancey's prior background is a company called CCP which is known for several things the most relevant to this discussion being Eve Online which is a sandbox starship combat MMO. in which econmics are a major driver, and the company that bought up White Wolf Publishing and started a 9 year effort to launch a PVP sandbox MMO based on White Wolf's signature Vampire the Requiem tabletop RPG, an effort which terminated with the cancellation of the game earlier this year. RPGA veterans will remember him mainly as the man who bought and then killed the granddaddy of all network campaigns... Living City.

Now the major difference in this game will be the initial population which will be the folks who bought early entry by participating in the Kickstarter. Now what Dancey claims is that it will be these early entrants that define the character of the game, which by his claims will mean that roleplayers will have a one time window to be the defining synergy of how the game community evolves. While this is a relatively untested statement, Blizzard tried to develop "rp servers" for it's World of Warcraft game, an effort which met with some initial success but ultimately has failed to provide gaming environments that much different from gamer dominated servers.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:


You'll note that I react to people saying this:

"an Open World PvP FFA with full loot game".

This is a bit like the problem where people think all MMOs are sandboxes because some people made "open world" a synonym for "sandbox". (Watch the cognitive dissonance on some of those threads when I tell people that Skyrim is not a sandbox game, for example).

Some people, without really thinking about it, are trying to make "Open World PvP" a synonym for a game design that also means "free for all" and "full loot".

So I challenge those people directly. Pathfinder Online is a game with Open World PvP but it is not a Free for All, and it does not have a Full Loot system.

That makes good sense. Why not extend that to your broader marketing efforts? Would it take much effort to tweak GW's website so that it better communicates this? Currently, next to "Open World PvP" the blurb reads:

Quote:
Pathfinder Online is a single, persistent world for all players. It is not broken into instances or across multiple versions of the same world. If you want to find your friends in Pathfinder Online, they will always be somewhere in the world with you.

How about something like:

Quote:
Pathfinder Online is an open world PvP game, but unlike ones that encourage antisocial behavior through Free For All, Full Loot PvP, in Pathfinder has a structured PvP that requires careful risk calculation for old players, and debilitating consequences for toxic players. In this single persistent world, with no instances or different server copies, you and your friends will undertake risk for a purpose.

Goblin Squad Member

GrumpyMel wrote:
"FFA" means to me, quite literaly, anyone can mechanicaly attack anyone else.

That technical definition of "FFA" applies in some NPC-controlled areas, even though the attacker will likely be killed by NPC Marshals before he can even kill a true newbie.

Goblin Squad Member

Shane Gifford of Fidelis wrote:
Uh... I think you can team kill in Planetside 2. Just saying.

It results in a weapons lock very quickly. So you can get a few accidental hits in....but you really can't go around fighting against your own faction.

Goblin Squad Member

I think it's reasonable to assume that all the terms being used have various definitions to different people. We've already seen several different definitions of "murder simulator" tossed around, and most of us have our own opinion on that one as well.

Telling a player that it isn't something doesn't help if it falls under what that player considers that something to be. Many people view PvP the same way as GrumpyMel does. Being able to attack anyone seems like FFA to them. I've known people that referred to WoW's PvP as FFA in the open world because it didn't restrict attacks from the opposite faction to the same level range.

Are definitions wrong? Maybe. It doesn't matter though, because it won't change the way they see it. It's the classic Clip vs. Magazine argument. If enough people refer to it as one thing, they're going to keep using that as their base. Without getting more of the system in stone, which is difficult when it's still being developed, it's going to be impossible to come up with a term that makes them feel differently about it.

I think the preferable way for PfO to work would be that fellow company and settlement players can't attack each other (ie, no ally killing), but that won't really change people from seeing it as a FFA if that's how they already see it.

The problem most people have isn't the FFA. It's not the full loot. It's not the open world. It's not the sandbox. It's the grief. Goblinworks has acknowledged this part of the equation and are designing the game around trying to get rid of that toxic element. It's a tough challenge. People love to grief in every class of game. There are griefers in non-full loot games. People camp low level zones in WoW all the time to slaughter victims. You even see greifing in FPS games, where experienced players will make a new account to hook up with low ranked opponents and then spawn camp them for twenty minutes.

The best marketing campaign for this type of game would center around it being a "low grief" game, but before anyone believes that, they'd have to see it in action. Many games have promised this and failed to deliver, so players are reasonably cautious. The flaw most games make is that there attempt to eliminate grief is to eliminate the rewards caused by grief. That's not enough. Griefers don't care about game rewards, the grief they cause is their reward. It's like the kid that laughs as he fries ants on a sunny afternoon. Goblinworks is trying to make actively penalizing passive grief work, which will hopefully work. From what they've said, active grief will be even more heavily penalized, which is a massive relief.

Goblin Squad Member

DeciusBrutus wrote:
If EVE hisec is FFA because anyone can fire their weapon, then FFA is meaningless. If it isn't FFA because there are harsh prompt meaningful consequences, then what level of consequences is required to make the ability to attack anyone in most areas not "FFA" in those areas?

I haven't played EvE and have no desire to play it, so take that in the context of my reply.

EvE as a game most definately IS "FFA".... it may have "safe" areas where it's counter-productive (if you care about your character) but not impossible to attack people but as a game, it most definately is FFA.

In order to not be FFA, the game must allow you to select a pre-defined faction in the character manager and the design intent must be to allow only incidental/accidental not purposefull attacks against members of your faction.

If you look at a game like PS2...as someone brought up. A few hits on freindlies results in a weapon lock...purposefully fighting against your own faction is a reportable and account bannable offense.

CEO, Goblinworks

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Mbando wrote:
Currently, next to "Open World PvP" the blurb reads:

You know I thought there was some mistake here because when I read the Open World PvP section in the Features list, that's not what it said.

Then I finally noticed that you're referring to the text on the page that you get if you click on "Pathfinder Online" without selecting a drop-down.

Yeah, that blurb is not accurate. I will have that text changed.

RyanD

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