Risky Business

I have a quick story to tell about PvP and item loss.  Back in the day, Ultima Online had open world, free for all PvP.  When you died, no matter how you died, anyone could loot your corpse clean.  If you died to a bear, another player could loot you and they would take a reputation hit.  If they had killed you, then they already had the hit.  Take too much of a hit and you turned red and people could kill you without worry.  Most PvPers had a main character for PvP and then alts that were “clean”.

My characters had houses.    Before the Trammel split, you needed a key to open the door and you needed that key to be on you.  Most players had multiple bags, in bags and hid their keys deep down.  That way, when someone tried to loot you, they had to find the key.  My crafter character (mining, lumberjack, smith, tinker and more) had no ability to fight.  He did have the ability to create and sell items from the house.  One day, out cutting lumber he was killed and lost the key to the house.  With that key, the PvPer took ownership of the house, then sold it on eBay.  I remember quitting that day.

When I did get back, again before the Trammel split but after the housing updates to no longer worry about keys, when I did get killed I lost time.  Since items degraded on use, and a super weapon was perhaps 25% stronger than a regular one, the difference wasn’t huge.  That part didn’t bug me as much.   The game had items that provided a boost but not such a boost that items were prized over all else.

I don’t mind PvP and item loss, if the item loss is reasonable.  I consider reasonable as a measure of time to get back to what would be competitive, not to where I was.  Losing a house and vendors, I would have to work for weeks to get back anything close to the competitiveness I had.  Losing a set of weapons and regeants, I’d be out 30 minutes.  I like having some risk involved with PvP.  I don’t like forced risk with no options to mitigate it.  I mean, imagine if EvE didn’t have clones.  You think people would still be playing today? 

PvP without risk is pretty boring as you can’t really invest into it.  Planetside 2 has no risk but plenty of benefits (which is why there are so many aimbots).  WoW PvP is even worse, with no link at all between PvP and the rest of the game.  I do have my fingers crossed that Camelot Unchained it able to find the right balance between PvP with risk (therefore investment) and not causing people to quit with rage.

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