Designing an MMO to account for open world PvP is a more challenging prospect than one might think. As noted in a recent developer blog for Albion Online, one thing that underscores the entire concept is keeping things fair for new players. Very few gamers enjoy getting ganked within the first hour of play, and fewer still are likely to stick with the game over time when doing so involves too few negative repercussions for the player-killers involved.
One of the ways this is being addressed is with Albion’s current flagging system. In short, the game employs a “pre-attack flagging” system as opposed to a “post-attack penalty”. What that means is that players will need to intentionally choose to participate in PvP, and by doing so, it gives other players some additional feedback to help determine where and how they choose to approach playing the game.
A good example for how this is beneficial for players is that areas can display how many players are currently flagged as criminals.
The post goes on to explain how zones in Albion Online attempt to account for more potential world states than a simple black / white, or PvP on / off system allows for.
From the official post:
Before it was totally black and white. On the one hand (green zone) you had no pvp at all but on the other hand, when entering a red zone, you were directly confronted with the full loot mechanic. Despite the flagging system it really felt like: “Ok, so here, there is no boxing allowed but once you step through this door, feel free to have a real fight with Lennox Lewis.”
There is a large group of people who are extreme hardcore PvP players and where we are happy that they are playing our game but there is an even larger group of players who are not so much into PvP because of various reasons.
And we want our game to be very good at motivating and preparing these people to also try out PvP. So we decided that the first step after the green zone is our current version of the yellow zone where the penalty is a durability loss only.
To continue reading the full post and learn more about how zones and flagging factor into the PvP experience, be sure to visit the official site for Albion Online.
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