Posted on 06 October 2007 at 18:46:51 by Magi.
Paul Sage Reveals PvP in Tabula Rasa
Paul is the Lead Designer – Tabula Rasa
One of the major questions in regard to Player vs. Player challenges in Richard Garriott’s Tabula Rasa is why clans would be battling among themselves in the first place. After all, the troops have their hands full fighting off the constant onslaught from the Bane forces. It would seem that in order to survive, the members of the Allied Free Sentients would have to unite and fight together. But even though the AFS have a common enemy in the Bane, and must fight together to survive, it does not mean that all of their past beliefs and prejudices will immediately be forgotten. People of different cultures, different religions, and different belief systems have fought amongst each other since the beginning of human civilization. The soldiers of the AFS may have to fight together to survive, but that doesn’t mean they all have to like one another to do so. That is the foundation that we chose to build the Wargame system in Tabula Rasa.
It was important to us in developing the PvP system in Tabula Rasa that the approach we took allowed for players to voluntarily take part in PvP, yet still allow for players to engage in the surprise type of ambushes that makes large scale PvP so exciting. As a result, we took a multifaceted approach to the PvP in the game.
There are two basic types of PvP in Tabula Rasa. The first of these is called Wargames. Wargames can be conducted by individual players wishing to “duel” each other, or as squad based challenges where two teams square off against each other. These are meant to be short, consensual affairs that only last until the battle is over, or one of the two sides surrenders. They are not persistent events like Clan Wars, which I will discuss in a moment.
During a wargame, players will have the opportunity to challenge one another and decide, after viewing a summary of the other participant’s stats, whether or not to accept the challenge. While on a squad, only the squad leader can offer or accept a challenge to a wargame. Once engaged, the wargame will last until one side wins or surrenders. But, the players should remember that these skirmishes are taking place in the middle of an intergalactic war. So, if the players happen to come under attack by enemy forces, they can still be attacked and killed, at which time they would lose the wargame. Those are the breaks for fighting within the AFS ranks in enemy territory.
The second way in which a player can engage in PvP in Tabula Rasa is by joining a clan that has chosen to participate in Clan Wars. A Clan War is a persistent state where all members of that guild are actively flagged for PvP. That means that if a player is part of a PvP clan, they can be challenged by another PvP clan at any time. Of course, there are benefits to clans who participate in Clan Wars in addition to bragging rights, but there is also the constant risk that the player will encounter their enemies while exploring or running missions. I feel that it is the surprise element of the Clan Wars, not knowing what might be waiting for you over that hill, that make it so exciting. In my experience in MMOs, I got the adrenaline rush when I was unsure of what was going to happen next and it was it was a bit dangerous to walk around. That is the experience that players choosing to participate in Clan Wars will find in Tabula Rasa.
Another thing I think is unique about the way PvP is being handled in Tabula Rasa is that there are a variety of ways a player can take part in it, and there is something for everyone, even those who are not hard core. For example, if a player doesn’t want the experience of always being a target for another Clan, but still wants to challenge his fellow players once in a while, he can take part in either an individual or a squad based wargame. Likewise, if that same player eventually decides he wants to take part in a Clan War, they aren’t forced to start a new character on a dedicated PvP server. All they have to do is join a PvP clan. Then, once they have had their fill of PvP, they can leave the guild and not have the constant risk of being attacked looming over them.
I feel that the dynamic nature of PvP in Tabula Rasa is what sets it apart form other games. And it lends itself to additions and variations in the future, like wagers, “Capture the Flag”, and other player driven developments. There is truly something for every level of player in Tabula Rasa in regards to PvP, whether you are looking for a one on one challenge or to be a part of a full epic battle between rival clans. Or, you can choose not to participate in PvP at all. As we developed our PvP in Tabula Rasa, the key focus was choice; creating a system that allows players to choose how to play the game so it is most enjoyable for them, and to engage in PvP the way they want to.
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