Monday, May 09, 2005

#102 - Land of peace and harmony

The latest two episodes were directly based on old UO history and may be possibly the closest I've ever come to expressing an opinion through the comic. I'd rather not make it a habit, since I'm not particularly opinionated and in the few cases where I am, I'm usually full of shit. However, I'll expand a bit on old UO, at least of what I remember of it six years later, mostly for the benefit of those who didn't play it.

UO was possibly the largest and most impressive virtual dystopia to ever grace the internet. Since those days, game designers took a hint and separated people who wanted to pvp and people who didn't by different servers, pvp flags, safe areas or even different games, so that UO's glorious and involuntary experiment in recreating Lord of the Flies online hasn't been repeated since.

The people who originally designed UO did a fantastic job in creating a virtual world where you could be and do anything you liked, I can't think of any other game that did the same in such detail. They also made a mistake (and it's hard to blame them since they were threading in unknown territory) - they assumed that a virtual society would police itself. I think that their idea was, let's allow people to murder and steal from each other, because there will be "good players" who'll take care of the micreants.

What the fuck were they thinking?!? If you consider the aggression level and pvp experience displayed by your average pk guild and your average, say, craftsman or roleplayer guild, what the UO designers did amounted to taking Hannibal Lecter to a Weight Watchers meeting and counting on the fat people there to defend themselves in case he got peckish.

It was crazy to see a game that was the ultimate griefer paradise, with a design/support team trying desperately to stop people from doing exactly what the game allowed them to do.
"Do you want to watch people explode to bits when they open chest boxes that you've trapped? You got it!
Do you want to steal stuff from people's bags while they're standing around in town? You got it!
Do you want to kill someone, loot everything he's wearing and carrying, then hack his body to pieces while he stands there watching in ghost form? You got it!
Do you want to burglar people's houses and take away all their belongings that they took months to collect? You got it!
However, we count on you not to do any of these things, because they're very very naughty."

They found themselves dealing with a huge amount of complaints and reacted with what appeared to me as kneejerk reactions, such as what seemed to be almost GM harassment towards pks (who weren't after all doing anything that the game mechanics didn't allow them to do), extremely severe penalties for killing other players and so on - and the end result was that they managed to piss off everybody - both the pks (who always found a way around the penalties such as macroing off their kills - the murder count decreased over time) and their victims, who kept getting killed left and right no matter how much they complained about it.

The solution that they finally implemented, a mirror world where PKing was disallowed, would take another three paragraphs to explain and I don't know much about it because it was done after I had stopped playing. When I checked the game again, though, it looked changed beyond recognition. The lands where PKing was allowed were completely deserted. The lands where it wasn't allowed were covered in player housing in every available inch of terrain, with very beautiful and imaginative furniture and decoration arrangements, but again it seemed to lack any life or action - the most exciting thing was to try and find your way out the labirinth of houses built next to each other.


Knutur said...

I can relate to that one!
(along with all the ones that played the game in the stone age)

thaddaeus said...

i'm still laughing about the "short thumb" joke

wiz said...

Oh UO...

T3H84CK$T4880R said...

OMG i dont know if i cud live without pking, how can people be against the slaughter of our fellow man, its FUN all anti-pks shud burn in hell

Ian K said...

'Tis the continuing problem of all multiplayer online games - depending on how it starts: how to make the Killer/Munchkin classes happy, or how to stop the Killer/Munchkin classes from driving away the Social classes.

Seven said...

I can relate somewhat to some of them. I started playing Ultima Online during the release of UO:LBR and have continued playing UO. I left the official OSI servers about when UO:AOS was about maby a few weeks out. I have been playing freeservers ever since.

nex666 said...

Gianna I recommend you play some free servers of Ultima Online, there are many that recreate the best era's perfectly :)
They aren't much work to set up and a lot can be found on UO gateway software:
Also gamesites 200

Hope you have fun there *winks*

Fabo - the noob one said...

I think about PKs just as you, altough I am NOT a PK one, in fact I would not be able to kill ohforf :)
Im PvP lamer, right said.

Summer said...

You just made me laugh so hard! I can only imagine what that was like. Bringing Hannibal to WW .. LOL! I love your strip. I play AC. They have a new expansion pack coming out July 16th same stuff but better graphics.

rjak said...

I've been part of a pk mud for more than 5 yrs. Pk was encouraged by the Imms but discouraged by the players. Life there was way to hard to afford to make enemies between players.
LOL, even G. was used this as a joke, I had a custom to log in with my uber char to punish pkillers.
And another one... after 5 yrs of play is almost impossible to not know the imms and get a special treatment as an old player (vet). I'm not ashamed to admint that I took all the advantages I could from this situation: items, stats, revenge (including permanent "hunt" flag on another player - usually a pkiller).
My point is that not allowance of pk is the problem. The players are. Guns does not kill people. People does.

Dante said...

lol, well said rjack

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