Question about online games like Everquest

Ok, I refuse to play them for the simple reason that I would probably find them pretty addicting, but here’s what I think I know. Basically you have this virtual world populated with a combination of other players and computer controled monsters and creatures and whatnot. Right?

Now I’ve played games like Grand Theft Auto which are essentially similar environments, but it’s just you and the computer. I’ve also played games where you basically have teams going at it, like Star Wars; Battlefront.

So here’s my question. How do these massive multiplayer whatever games not degenerate into total anarchy? The best part of GTA is going on a kill rampage. What keeps people from just killing everyone they come in contact with and basically turning the game into an endless brawl/riot?
As a side note, I think a Everquest like game in the GTA world would be pretty cool.

I played EQ for a little over a year. Which should give you an idea of how addictive it can be, considering that I think it’s a simply awful game on virtually every level.

And one of the problems is the total anarchy thing you mentioned. EQ had some basic protections: you couldn’t attack other players unless you had both designated your characters as PvP (player v. player) characters. But, as always, there were ways around this. Trains, for example. Go find the biggest, toughest monster in the level, attack him to get his attentin, and then make a bee-line for the nearest group of characters. The monster would follow you until it got close to the other characters, then it would get distracted and kill them, instead. There were other tricks like kill-stealing and looting monsters before the people who had defeated them had a chance to. I don’t know if these issues got addressed later: I stopped playing quite some time ago, but they were contributory factors to my giving up the game.

IIRC, when Ultima Online first came out, there were no PvP protections outside of the starting towns. Basically, this made it impossible to ever leave the town, because you’d be instantly set upon by hordes of PC bandits who would kill you and strip your corpse. I only played UO for about a week before I returned it. I assume it improved later, but when I had it, it was all but unplayable unless you knew someone who already had a high-level character in the game.

Miller pretty much covered it. EQ can eat up enormous amounts of time. When I realized that it was going to take me an average of 4 hours a day to get my character up to a decent level, I quit playing. I would logon, run around the city to the bank, exchange some money, go kill a few mobs, rest, rest, REST some more - and it would take 2 hours. My second character was a twink so it should have been less time consuming, but alas… Just wait for the first time you get killed far away from your spawn point and it takes an hour and a half to retrieve your body. I’ve heard they’ve fixed this, but I don’t know for sure. There are PvP servers if you want to get your rocks off killing your fellow gamers. On the normal servers you still get the kill stealers who hang around waiting for you to beat a mob down so they can swoop in for the final blow and get the experience, the campers who won’t share the loot drops, and the trainers who due to inexperience or inbred assholishness bring a line of high level mobs down on top of you.
I’m afraid that EQ II will just be more of the same in a pretty package.
As for Ultima Online - a total piece of crap, but at least it showed game companies what NOT to do. Yeah, letting people build houses sounds like a good idea at first until they build on every single square of map space.


I’m not a part of EQ2 beta, but friends who got in mentioned that it’s pretty much impossible to kill steal in EQ2. I don’t know if anything has been done about trains though.

I never liked random pick-up groups in EQ1 as there were too many idiot players who would endanger the group or just generally act badly, and group leaders were usually too polite or ineffectual to boot them out. Generally I only played with my friends.

EQ2 should see a reduction in idiot group members, at least, because now when a group member dies the xp debt is shared among everyone in the group. So if you end up with a bad player whose recklessness means they die a lot, nobody’s likely to put up with it for long.

An improvement to the xp debt side of things is you can no longer ‘un-ding’. Once you’ve attained a level of xp, you retain that. What you accrue upon death is a debt which is absorbed by future xp. If anyone plays City of Heroes, the system for xp debt sounds like it’s around about the same.

There’s some stuff in the game that’s *not * impressing me (though I’ve pre-ordered it anyway because I just need to try it for myself).

Firstly, you apparently only get 4 characters per ACCOUNT (not per server), whereas in EQ1 you had 8 per server.

Secondly, mob ‘con’/‘consider’ colour is determined by the highest character in your group. So if the mobs appear to be trivial to the highest player, the lowest will see them as trivial too. Sadly, this outlook isn’t shared by the mobs, who instantly recognise that the lowest member would make a tasty snack and converge upon him/her. Basically, if you’ve got someone in your group who is higher level than you, you can never be sure that you won’t be attacked by something stronger than you that appears to all intents and purposes to be wimpy.

Thirdly, it is extremely difficult to have a guild that has characters of both good and evil alignment. It apparently can be done, but it involves a lot of hard work and isn’t really feasible at all below level 15, so I’m told. Apparently at around level 15 (or maybe it just takes that long; I’m not sure) a character can do a huge quest to change their alignment to match their guild’s. This pointless difficulty comes despite claims from SOE that RP is not enforced.

As I said, I’ve not had the opportunity to test this myself and my knowledge is based on what my friends have told me. Guess I’ll see in a week or so. :slight_smile:

About Ultima Online – I briefly started playing again earlier this year, several years after quitting for the first time. They had made several drastic changes, although the game still basically sucked (which is why I quit again after less than a month.)

Regarding PvP, they’ve split every server (or “shard”) into two identical clones, called “Trammel” and “Felucia” (spelling may be off.) I forget which is which, but on one half there is no PvP allowed whatsoever, while the other half operates under old PvP rules. I think stealing was disabled on the non-PvP half, too. It didn’t seem to matter since the shards were desolate – on the PvP shard, I wandered around for hours until some punk PK finally killed me. :slight_smile: The apparent lack of players didn’t keep houses from taking up every acre of land, though…

They also enabled a thing called “newbie status”, which immunizes your character from being attacked by monsters if your account is less than 24 hours old. It was pretty cool since you could walk right through the most heavily spawned monster areas. Unfortunately, they also “nerfed” a lot of skills which made it impossible for your player to make any money being a tailor, for example.

Something that needs to be explained to the OP: In GTA you can take a gun and kill pretty much everyone in just a few shots. In Everquest it is much harder to kill someone, and no matter how good you are at the game, if your character isn’t built up well enought you can’t win. Fights depend much more on the character’s level and stats, as opposed to the player’s aim.

That doesn’t sound good. I guess time will tell how well that works. I’ve heard some good things about it, but I’m in wait and see mode. I just don’t have that kind of time to spare. My friend played EQ from the beginning and has a very high level character in a big guild. He said it got to the point where if he didn’t logon every night the guild members would start calling him up and asking where he was - in some cases even berating him for not playing. He finally quit. He said he already had a job.

Since the question was about all multiple-player online games, not just Everquest, I’ll put in a comment about Gemstone. That’s a fantasy world game with swords and axes and such, and basically if you kill another player in the city, you get arrested and fined. The fines are very hefty (based on character and situation). If you kill another player out in the wilds, it’s considered “bad form” and it’s a mark against you, but there’s no immediate consequences. (Resurrection of a dead character was always possible, and they couldn’t steal from you if you were dead, so it was only a minor inconvenience in terms of game-wealth and points…)

OTOH, the whole thing is focused on cameraderie and team play. I played it for a year, and yes, it was addictive, but fun. I never saw a problem with players killing players.

Sure there are griefers. The people that kill steal are a pain. Sometimes there are jealous people who will steal the loot off of an unattended raid mob. However for the most part they are a tiny minority. The real reason I keep loging in is the people. I talk daily to people from all over the world. When my niece was in the hospital suddenly recently one of my guildmates lived near the hospital and was able to drop a book at the hospital for me with only couple of hours notice.

I like the flexability of the game. My daughter plays house mostly. She likes to visit the zoo in AK’kanon. She likes to go to Felwithe and she has decided one place is her house and another is her school. My husband likes to play new characters. I think he has to have a character in its 20s on every server including the french one. This includes an ogre warrior he is role playing wants to be a paladin and he is doing the paladin epic for him as far as he can take it. I like raiding.

The game isn’t the thing in the end it is the people. I don’t think EQ2 is gonna work. There are too many instanced zones. There is just too little opportunity to build a community that way. Without the community people will leave in a couple months.

Hey waddya know, I opened this to talk about Gemstone as well.

Specifically, Gemstone IV the new incarnation, although I played it several years ago as Gemstone III (no longer available). Still pretty much the same thing.

It’s text-based, but DEEP. You can do things with a well-written paragraph that simply can’t be done with graphics, no matter how many polygons-per-second you’re drawing. Gemstone is fun.

Anyway, the anser to the OP’s question “What’s to stop you from going out and killing anybody and everybody you meet?” is simply this…

…other players.

And the gamehosts, people who work behind the scenes to keep an eye on things.

Technically the game allows you to play this kind of character, assuming the people you’re killing don’t mind too much. This way you can make an ‘evil’ character, or have duels, or whatever, and the powers that be {PTBs or “Gods”} won’t interfere.

But there are at least 200 people active at any given time, and MOST of them aren’t too keen on mass-murderers.

If you start running around killing people, OTHER people are going to hear about it. And they will have MUCH better stuff than you have.

Do this often enough and you’ll become famous. There will be folks actively hunting you down the minute you start playing, just to stop you.

Do it in town and there are systems for automatic fines and incarceration.

Do it enough to the wrong people, who do NOT want to play that way, and the PTBs will revoke your account.

End result is a fairly stable gameworld, in which you can pretty much do your thing in complete safety, if you wish. OR you can go out and be a mugger, if you wish… but do it within the rules, or you will be removed from the game.

At the moment, there is a relatively new character that I’ve seen running around a lot. Showed up a couple months ago, played more or less quietly until his character was pretty tough, then started picking fights.

Within a week or two, there was a good chance that if he showed up, there was another character hiding in the shadows, just waiting for him to make a wrong move, then BOOM instant revenge.

As of last time I saw him, there were FIVE people waiting for him. And he was running away.

As long as there are video games, there will be snerts.

Now I think it would be cool if you had something like the cops in GTA. Basically, you could go attack another character but if a cop sees you, you will be set upon by an ever escalating law enforcement response.