Friday, February 25, 2011

How To Punish PKs In A Fun Way

The more I read of's articles about multiplayer game design, the more I conclude the guy is utterly incapable of producing a novel or original idea. He is miserably incompetent as a game or any other kind of designer because he lacks synthesis and judgement. The fact he pontificates about game design theory when he lacks the very cognitive faculties that are necessary to be a designer makes him a pathetic moron.

A case in point is his idiotic proposal for solving the problem of Player Killing players in MMORPGs.

So the logical response in an MMORPG to the presence of a known criminal is to dispatch groups of NPC cops to hunt him down.

NPC cops? How illogical! This just gives the bored user more opportunity to get into interesting and challenging fights without any trace of guilt. Far better would be to have a sheriff NPC who hands out quests for the heads of criminals for PCs to collect and hands out magic compasses that point to the criminal’s location, as well as warning them about the class and level of the target. Quest rewards would give out copious XPs and gold.

And after the criminal is caught you can have a prison (a day’s lockout) for the criminal with a suicide option (with the standard penalty for resurrection). That way you punish bored PCs who misbehave with even more and longer boredom OR with an unwelcome stat penalty. Better yet, make it so the prison doesn't count offline time. When the player logs off while doing prison time, they actually manage to escape. And when he logs back in, the guards dragged him back to prison and slapped an additional penalty for escaping. Or hey, for more fun you can have escaped convicts be hunted down AGAIN.

And if the criminal is so bored of watching messages like "another day passes, you scratch another line on the wall of your cell" repeat then he can suicide in his cell. The problem with that is it leaves a corpse so if they do that (or if they're killed during an attempted capture) then their shrunken head could be sold on the open market to make voodoo dolls. Voodoo dolls that work! Maybe have a voodoo doll to shrink the convict or paralyze them at a critical moment. Or maybe to summon them arbitrarily. Basically to fuck with them and make them miserable and regret ever having tried for a life of crime. The point of all this misery is to make letting yourself be captured the preferred option if escape isn't viable.

But even more important than discouraging and punishing criminals is that for every bored PC who turns to crime, you can interest 5-10 PCs to catch and/or kill him. That way anti-criminals have MORE FUN than criminals. Contrast this with ranter's stupid idea where NPC cops reward bored players who turn to crime by providing attention to them!

But even more important than that is the fact ranter doesn't see it as any kind of a problem that the computer or GM comes swooping in to steal all of the fucking limelight from playing characters. What kind of a pathetic excuse for a game designer is he when his solution to a problem in the game world is for the programmer to have fun by stealing all of the fun which players could have had?!


Colin Slade said...

This is an awesome idea for punishing PKs! I have an addition to the days penalty idea. You said better yet make it so offline time doesn't count-wouldnt it be great to have a running clock counting down from 24 hrs, and right when it reaches 0, it goes back up to 24 hrs with an added message "criminal fucker". They would think they had an entire day more, when in reality, it could be designed that they only have to wait an extra 10 minutes to get out of jail. See how many people rage suicide and how many would cry for ten minutes online to be rewarded with their stuff back and prison sentence ended.

Richard Kulisz said...

LOL ... that's just cruel! And vicious.

Seriously, it violates one of my rules of UI design which is Predictability. However, predictability is often deliberately violated in order to make games more interesting. So I can't say it's a bad thing.

I suppose whether it's a good thing depends on how much you want to stomp on PK characters and whether you're willing to risk PK characters quitting the game. Despair and resentment aren't emotions that game players are going to tolerate well.

Nafnlaus said...

Wouldn't that get instantly reverse-engineered? You could have a randomized waiting period after the official time is done, anywhere between 0 and 60 minutes. But there's something more torturous than sadistic punishment that to dished out on criminals: bureaucracy. If criminals want to rejoin the fun have them jump through meaningless hoops and require strict punctuality. If they want to speed things up maybe they'll need a contact from outside to give them a good word or a bail. Players' in-game history and reputation could positively or negatively compound their sentences.

(Disclaimer: I have negligible experience playing MMOs.)

Nafnlaus said...

to dish out on criminals*

Colin Slade said...

Yes it does depend how much you want to rip on the PKers, some games have quite a large base so you wouldn't want them to quit the game, they'll just find another. Also Richard I realize this is far out of context but I'd love to hear your take. This wonderful older girl is interested in me (I think). She has me in her hand already but should I go with it? I'm moving away in 3 months. I'd love to your hear opinion if you can stomach it.

Richard Kulisz said...

I think that should be her fully-informed decision.