CvC

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Elystole
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CvC

Post by Elystole » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:13 pm

Yesterday we had a Skype chat about character vs character (CvC) conflict, and while I'm not necessarily looking to rehash the entire discussion there were people who weren't there, questions that went unanswered, and things that didn't get said due to limitations of time and medium. We had people asking what the point of CvC conflict is and why the GMs encourage it. People asked why our villainous characters were being persecuted and what should be done about it. Honestly, that question baffled me as that is the exact opposite of my experience in CLOK to-date, so I am genuinely wondering what has happened over the past three months to generate that feeling.

This post grew into something monstrous, so I’m going to be breaking it up into pieces.

First, regarding the point of CvC: It has long been my feeling that roleplay without conflict isn't roleplay. Or at least isn't very good roleplay. "But what about social events?" you might ask, which is valid, but what I mean is in the broader, long-term sense. Stories are driven by conflict: Man vs Man, Man vs Nature, Man vs Himself. If you don't have some sort of conflict, you don't have a plot. The story isn’t conflict all day, every day, but there is conflict. Now, not everyone wants the sort of conflict that comes from CvC, but it is, perhaps, the most intense, so I see why the GMs encourage it. CLOK is, to some extent, built for it.

To this point, I have never played a roleplaying game where CvC (usually just referred to as player vs player or PvP) was not possible. I started online gaming by playing on Asheron's Call Darktide server. That's the PvP server, and I've always played on the PvP server even while looking for RP. Then I played Shadowbane (every server was PvP), Asheron's Call 2, World of Warcraft, and, as I realized that I would never get the sort of RP I wanted from MMORPGs (though I gave WildStar a quick chance), I moved to MUDs: Dragonrealms, Unwritten Legends, Isles of Darkness (where I played the only active villain PC and was regularly ganked by literally the entire game), Shattered Kingdoms, and now CLOK. I do that for the simple reason that not being able to engage in CvC artificially restricts my RP, wrecks my suspension of disbelief, and flattens my character.

If I am confronted by Stabby McStabberson, murderer of children, I want to be able to shoot him. I don't want him to be able to run past me, slaughtering NPCs with impunity, because the game is hard-coded to not allow CvC. If I encounter Dave the Delinquent and he decides to drop his pants while insulting my parentage, I want to be able to smack him. In short, I want my character to respond the way my character would respond in any given situation and not have his hands tied by the game. That is the point of CvC: Sometimes the story calls for a fight.
You overhear the following rumor:
"I saw one of those Shadgard folk come barging into Grif's and shoot one of the patrons on the spot. Shadgard must be a pretty rough place with such outlaws running rampant."

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Elystole
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CvC: It's a Different Game

Post by Elystole » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:14 pm

Second, my long history of playing PvP has taught me a few things. Chief among those is the simple fact that not everyone is cut out for CvC, and I think that is one of the problems that CLOK is facing. We have characters who have stepped into a CvC role without knowing what that entailed and they probably aren't suited for it. It is a different way of playing the game. You have to always be "on." Usually, you can play CLOK and have control over most of what happens to you. Outside of GM-led events, you are not going to be attacked unless you walk into a hunting zone and even then the hunting zone is one of your choosing so you've decided how dangerous you want things to be. Once you're involved in CvC, that's no longer the case. You have invited people to do things to you. They are smarter, more tenacious, more skilled, and generally more dangerous than the mobs of your favorite hunting zone.

Case in point: Shortly after Elystole got involved in CvC, I was playing a little at work (night shift at a hotel, not a lot to do) and I had a wagon of goods with me. A customer walked in, so I had to take care of them. Now, I didn't want to lose my wagon, so I didn't log out. I came back a few minutes later to find that I was dead. And I was pissed. Not because I had been killed (it was a perfectly legitimate kill and the person involved had been waiting for me), but because I knew the rules and I got complacent and ignored them.

If you are thinking about entering the fray, I would encourage you to consider a few things first:
  • Are you ready to have characters much, much stronger than you try to kill your character?
  • Are you alright with your character to no longer being the best at everything they try to do?
  • Are you prepared to lose more than you win?
  • Are you capable of handling the stress that comes with being on your guard all the time?
  • Do you realize that once you, for lack of a better term, switch CvC on that you can never turn it back off?

That is what I really want to ask people who ask Elystole about becoming an Outrider. And I think that is why some people on CLOK have issues with CvC. A few of them have stopped playing and others are feeling "persecuted." I honestly haven't seen it. We have characters who have done heinous things, committed outright atrocities, that would see them publicly executed in real life and their name used as a curse. Things are more complicated in CLOK only because such people don't stay dead. Honestly, the playerbase on CLOK is unusually forgiving and doesn't like it when someone stirs up trouble by trying to make a villain pay.

Someone on the call asked why we don't see NPCs running around. This thread explains why, and it was part of what drove the creation of the Outriders.
Last edited by Elystole on Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
You overhear the following rumor:
"I saw one of those Shadgard folk come barging into Grif's and shoot one of the patrons on the spot. Shadgard must be a pretty rough place with such outlaws running rampant."

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Elystole
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CvC: High-Power vs Low-Power Characters

Post by Elystole » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:15 pm

Now, let's say that you're aware of the risks and you want to get involved in CvC or that you're already involved and want to make the best of it. I think there is a right and wrong way to go about it, and I do want to hear from people what I can do with Elystole to help make the game enjoyable for them. I do not think it is a matter of good guys vs bad guys with the bad guys being at a disadvantage. Like I said, most bad guys aren't held accountable for their misdeeds. Rather, it is a matter of high-power characters vs low-power characters.

You do not have to be a high-power character to engage in CvC. Elystole started as a low-power character because he heard of someone who had assaulted an NPC he's fond of in Shadgard. I knew Elystole couldn't take him in single combat, so he got a couple of high-power characters to help. We chased him down, tried to talk to him, then killed him. The RP called for Elystole to get involved.

Later, that character that we teamed up to kill chased Elystole down while he was alone and killed him. Like I said, be prepared to lose more than you win. But I also heard people start talking about Elystole like he was more of a BAMF than I thought he was, so there's something to be said for throwing yourself into the fray again and again.

Now that Elystole is a high-power character in his own right, I have a few rules that I try to abide by.
  • He usually doesn't go looking for fights, so if you're on his hit list you can continue to play the game without worrying about him by staying away from Shadgard.
  • When he does hunt someone down for a past deed, he kills them once to make the point that he can and will kill them if necessary then leaves them alone.
  • The exception to the above rule is if someone provokes him, but Elystole will give them multiple warnings that they are about to get shot in the face.
  • I usually nominate the people I fight with because they have provided me with RP that is outside of the usual daily grind.
  • I am not trying to drive players away, so if someone sends me a tell or private message asking me to stop I will discuss the issue with them. It will likely involve changes in both characters' behavior.

People might say that it isn't fair that Elystole will "throw his weight around" and smack around weaker characters who push him. Maybe it isn't, but there are characters on this game that Elystole can't stand and he still shows them a measure of respect and deference because they could mop the floor with him. Nor am I going to change my character just because he's now strong. He's a rough, violent individual.

I will also say that some of the best, most unexpected roleplay that I have had enjoyed started when I encountered someone whom Elystole had plenty of justification to kill but instead he spoke with them. There was the threat of his killing them underlying that entire exchange, but because he knew he could do it (so he had nothing to prove) and they knew he could do it (so they were reasonably well-mannered) the fight didn't actually break out. It works the other way too. Or when you encounter someone on your enemies list in a neutral town and you don't want to upset the guards. I had one of those encounters just last night, and as a result of not immediately gunning the person down I wound up discussing economics with them and have embarked on a wholly unexpected bit of roleplay that is challenging how I play the game. I'm curious to see what comes out of it.
You overhear the following rumor:
"I saw one of those Shadgard folk come barging into Grif's and shoot one of the patrons on the spot. Shadgard must be a pretty rough place with such outlaws running rampant."

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Elystole
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CvC: Good vs Evil

Post by Elystole » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:17 pm

As for the topic of "good guys" vs "bad guys," I think that is overly simplistic. The only group of people that I can think of being almost uniformly good is The Church of Light and the only group of people that I can think of being evil by definition is The Claws of Shar. Is Elystole one of the good guys? Depends on who you ask. Some people think he is a good guy. Plenty of other people will say that Elystole is a villain. If you ask him, he'll tell you that he's not a good guy. He's a violent individual whose purpose is dealing with other violent individuals. He likens himself to an attack dog. Only he's Shadgard's attack dog and he follows their rules so they like him. I'm not entirely sure of his alignment myself.

People were talking about how we need Corvus to be improved so that villainous PCs have some place backing them up. I think this is mistaken, and I actually think that the presence of Corvus is contributing to the problem. Corvus has become the place-of-last-resort for characters who have somehow managed to upset every other town with their, quite frankly, thoughtless violence, or it is the go-to spot for people who are out to prove that they are "evil." So Corvus encourages a sort of mindless villainy and belonging to Corvus is effectively a public declaration that you're evil. I think a far more effective villain would be one who manages to make Mistral Lake, Haiban, or even Shadgard love them and is careful to manage their reputation there. That person won't be missing a home base, and their actions will be more thoughtful and less easily dismissed as evil. Just stay away from Corvus and learn to skirt the lines instead of plowing over them.
You overhear the following rumor:
"I saw one of those Shadgard folk come barging into Grif's and shoot one of the patrons on the spot. Shadgard must be a pretty rough place with such outlaws running rampant."

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Kunren
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Re: CvC

Post by Kunren » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:39 pm

Thank you! I missed the Skype, so really happy to have someone post up a bit about it. Now, a bit more on topic, something that I'd like to add here is that people look at fighting a bit too OOC. There are lots of new players on. Many of them, including myself, realize they have substantially lower skills than most of the longer term players. Due to this, I've seen many players completely avoid conflicts because they feel they have no chance whatsoever at winning in pretty much any fight. In fact, I have a character who has close to zero combat skills (his rp isn't conductive to grind) but because he acts confident and tough, people will go out of his way to avoid a fight occasionally. Something that felt incredibly fun to me the other day was when I was pitted in a blind fight against someone else. I had zero ideas of their skills, or whether or not I could potentially win, and it was exciting! You never know how strong someone is until they take their first swing in combat(something that I think could be gagged, I like it and I don't as well.)
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Re: CvC

Post by baerden » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:53 pm

Someone linked this in the skype call. And I thought it was really good. I'm only linking this since it is on topic in a way, and is not in response to anything you posted Elystole. :)

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Re: CvC

Post by Fayne » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:13 pm

I agree with everything here, especially what Kunren said about fighting being taken OOC. I think one thing that could be done to slightly inprove the issue is to make it so you can't see the tolls of other players. Keep tolls visible for yourself and mobs you're fighting, but if you are fighting with or against another PC, make their rolls invisible. That way, you have no way of knowing how strong he or she really is. It also opens up RP opportunities for someone to be that loud l-mouthed tall-tale-telling individual who claims to go picking fights in Bristbane and Redleaf on a regular basis, when the reality is he or she can barely take on basic infested. I could see a mercenary who claims to be a BAMF to get hired for lots of riln, just to hite someone else to do the job for him for half the riln.

Anyway, back on topic, I'm totally not against CvC, and I'm disappointed more people aren't into it. I've gotten really excited before because it seemed like I was about to get CvC, just to have them back out at the last moment before my character(s) snap, since I don't play violent characters. As it is, I would love to engage in some CvC, but I'm not willing to make my RP more violent to do so.

On a side note, it really just confuses me that people are so against CvC on an OOC level. Yeah, we have huge skill differences from character to character, but that happens literally everwhere, and there is practically zero consequences for death in Clok as long as you don't depart. The biggest penalty you get is having to stare at the bell for a half an hour. Big whoop. It's better than losing skills, or being lootable so that you have to kiss your favorite sword goodbye.
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Re: CvC

Post by preiman » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:34 pm

I'd disagree with hiding other player's roles. if you're watching another person fight, or are actually fighting them yourself, if you are even remotely competent, you'll quickly be able to tell if they are better than you. it's something you see in their movements and the like that in a basic text desplay you can't. To my mind the roles are telling me that this person only thinks they are good, or holy crap this person is going to cut me in two if i don't stop this fight now.
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Re: CvC

Post by Fayne » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:42 pm

Yeah, there has to be a better way to show that than numbers that show your actual highest roll possible. Let's face it, you cannot tell how good someone is just from watching them with accuracy, not in any way. If you aren't skilled in the weapon's use, everyone who is even a little better than you is going to look awesome, and even if you are moderately skilled, everyone has their own technique, so you won't be able to look at someone and with 100% certainty say "Oh yes, he is much more skilled than I am." So maybe you should be able to see their rolls, but it rarely ever shows the correct skill they actually are, and actually shows a random skill somewhere between 100 to 200 above their actual skill all the way down to 200 below your skill.

EDIT: also, in the case where you are higher skill or almost equal, the roles are reversed so that they can appear better than you or worse than they actually are.
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Elystole
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Re: CvC

Post by Elystole » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:09 am

Baerden, I saw that flowchart, and it is pretty good. And you reminded me of something that I meant to talk about but forgot: Goals in CvC.

This thread details one of the suggestions that I had: Bounties to be collected by capturing someone alive and bringing them to the authorities (usually a town). This shifts the focus of the fight from killing someone repeatedly to capturing them alive and bringing them to town which fulfills their bounty and takes them off the hit list. The fighting has a goal that, once fulfilled, ends the fight.

And this thread was Baerden's thread about team-based objectives.

One thing that I think is going to help is the creation of "general abilities" that any character can get without joining a guild. Currently, I'd venture to say that most of the people who belong to almost any guild joined because they wanted the abilities and that the roleplay of that guild was a secondary consideration. This is problematic when said guild gets into a conflict and the players belonging to the guild aren't onboard with it. Absolutely do not join the Outriders if you do not want to be involved in CvC, no matter how awesome revolver fanning is, because that is their job. Similarly, the Claw is conflict-prone. So too is Tse Gaiyan, the Mercenaries, and a few "secret-ish" guilds. Even the Templar if things are getting out of hand, and I can see Wyrvardn taking a stand against some things. If most abilities are available to the general public, there's less pressure to join a guild, any guild, for the abilities and people are more likely (I hope) to select a guild based on its RP and their allegiances.

Once you've joined a guild, you've signed on as part of their faction, to follow their rules, and support them in their conflicts. And I don't think this is a bad thing. It even provides an out for people who have found themselves on the receiving end of a character's wrath: Appeal to their guild and somehow win them over. Elystole may hate someone's guts and desire to kill them literally every time he sees them, but if they serve their jail time or otherwise manage to get Shadgard to remove them from the blacklist, he'll leave them alone because that is what his faction wants and he follows their rules since he likes living there.
You overhear the following rumor:
"I saw one of those Shadgard folk come barging into Grif's and shoot one of the patrons on the spot. Shadgard must be a pretty rough place with such outlaws running rampant."

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Kunren
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Re: CvC

Post by Kunren » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:45 am

I love the suggestions, but want thing I want to kinda of talk about in your post is people considering RP secondary to abilities. I can see some people doing that, but something I enjoy doing is picking a guild for the abilities, then being forced to build up RP for the character based on the guild itself and my circumstances, why I joined it. Even when abilities are generalized, I would still plan on doing just that, because its one of the simplest ways for me to come up with interesting character concepts. For example, I had a character that had a very specific RP behind himself, that was very contrary to the guild I eventually chose for him. Now I have to figure out WHY he would have chosen the guild in character, when it seems like based on his RP he wouldn't.
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Re: CvC

Post by Fayne » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:30 am

Probably an unpopular opinion here, but I kinda like to see the occassional character who joins a guild but doesn't fit in or agree with them entirely. Fayne is that way, and it keeps things very interesting. Of course, it's not for everyone. It's kinda like being a mini-antagonist almost at times. You have to be willing to stick to your RP and go against what everyone else is saying or doing if it fits your character to do so, and then you have to deal with the repercussions.
A scrawny alley cat stares after the dog with big green eyes.
Speaking to a scrawny alley cat, you ask, "Friend of yours?"
A scrawny alley cat hisses angrily.

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