Pwning only in designated areas!

Pwning only in designated areas!

As the launch of Darkfall Online approaches, I’ve found myself thinking back to my days of MUDing. I played on The Final Challenge which, as one tentative author was told (when pointed in our direction) was where PK’ers were born. The term nowadays would be ganker. But we never saw it that way.

One of the philosophies behind Open PvP is that the community becomes self-policing, keeping griefers from driving new players away. On the MUD, it definitely did. You had guilds (called followings) that focused on killing other players. But, just as people speculate with Darkfall, these players developed a reputation. Opposing followings sprung up to stand up for the weak and drive out the forces of oppression. It was a really interesting, and fun, dynamic.

I don’t know if it’ll work on the scale of a modern day MMO though. The community of a MUD is immensely smaller than those of today’s games. Many hundreds of times so, in fact. People would know each other and thereby individual reputations would get passed on. I don’t know if that’s too likely in a game with up to 10,000 concurrent players online at a time. Or 2,000 for that matter.

The greater anonymity of an MMO allows for more griefing without repercussion. Unless, that is, the offending player is wearing a well known and hated clan tag. Generally, I’ll most often remember names of people I’ve either a) grouped with or b) heard talk a lot in chat. I’m a lot less likely to remember a name I’ve seen on a kill list that, for a game like DF, will probably feature hundreds of people.

Honor amongst players is something I consider to be almost a relic of the past. Some players will possess it and act respectfully, even as they loot your corpse. Others just want to make your life hard. It’s not about the fight or the battle, it’s about their 24 inch pythons and telling you that you suck and should quit.

That’s the problem I foresee with the game. Self-regulation only works if it can work. In the same way people didn’t want to guard keeps all the time in WAR, I doubt anyone will want to police the starting zones all time in DFO. It’s possible though, and if it works it should create a very neat situation in the game. A struggle between good and evil that leaves me really intrigued. What do you think, on a scale this large is self-policing realistic enough to ward off the rampant griefing people worry about?