This is not another ‘Bash CE/Funcom’ posting neither is it a ‘Bash Current Generation’ PvPers either. Just stating things from a really well developed point of view…from many other games as well.
This is a long post since I was in the typing mode today and since CE is kind of at a crossroads and in idle mode at the moment. So where is this going?
Firstly, I am the developer of Olander Realistic Systems for NWN1 (private for NWN2) which is still downloadable but that version needs some slight work to work on modern systems. It does show exactly how many integrated systems are built on top of Biowares Aurora Engine to make for a very Realistic Gaming Platform. For those nostalgia freaks that want to play a very stable multiplayer (up to ~50 players) with heavily modified graphics and game engine mechanics (in a good way…describing this below). Then send me a PM and I can give you the Lords of Anvarath (LoA) game with all the ORSv6 enhancements and HAK (Mods) downloads for you to set up your own server and play solo or with many. NWN1 is still graphically challenged but plays really well zoomed out a bit.
Back in the Table Top D&D days…I was one of the fortunate to have the D&D ‘White Box’ and a Crystal dice set. Grandparents bought it for me since I loved Conan and Middle Earth and anything Knights. D&D was awesome to suck up the stories and have varying dice roles ‘influence’ outcomes. The game still came down to tactics and planning to not get flanked or doing really stupid things like taking on too many creatures or much too difficult enemies. Some DM/GMs simply put them in to keep the group/party honest and present non-linearity to the adventure. Adventures could last months…and deaths were common. Meaning. the character dies and we ripped up the sheet of paper. Those that die still stayed to see it to the end…we razzed each other and drank too much (even as minors at the time)…and had great fun. We also did a lot of stupid things in real life together as well. We got girls to join in our crew (which was unheard of) and had a honor code and speech to join in. I was second (Captain) and our 1st was Commander…whom was also the DM/GM. I was the better story teller and after a year or so…we switched. There were grumbles but everyone just pounced and put him on the torture rack (think of Game of Thrones Flayed Man X) and threw hot mud and all sorts of things until he gave up his grumbles. We had great fun! All together. And yes we had PvP scenarios in the D&D environment. All RP’d and within context.
So when NWN1 came out myself and my girlfriend (we played D&D in our group) went out and bought the 1st two copies (arguably ) and did not even play the campaign. . We were interested in the AD&D 3.0 digitized ruleset (although we all like MERP better) and how it could help make adventures for our gaming group(s). She is a C programmer which NWScript is very similar and I am an artist and systems engineer (includes logic programming) and we fit in well with the Aurora Toolset. We decided to make a MERP (Middle Earth Role Play) module/game that many could enjoy. We made it in the LOTR time line which the movies were coming out as well…great fit. Took us about a year but we did it. Fully persistent (meaning game stuff would survive reloads) and bugs were very minimal. AD&D for the most part adapted to the digital environment but there were A LOT of things missing from Bioware. So we began adding them into a HAK (Mod). After time our group split apart and we saw less and less of each other but I kept going on the game development side of things with ‘The Dream’ of a really solid framework built on top of a pretty solid engine. We released the simple version of LoTR Game Server to the public (NWVault at the time) and it spider webbed viral into many different versions. I kept the ORS version and kept pounding away at it.
I released a version called Anvarath (my own IP and Book Stories) which had all the goodies which had absolutely no hand holding…very survival-esk. It was a hard core nightmare server that people loved it once they got over the initial shock of ‘What am I supposed to do here?’. Anvarath was MASSIVE…well over 900 areas and 30+ dungeons and 10 of those were easily 4-8 hours each…and very re-playable…and 10 deaths (respawn clicks) and your character is perma-death. It was sublime…and a failure. Kind of like the 1st version of the Matrix. The full PvP was epic but it relied too heavy on the Bioware game engine mechanics…which were not really designed for PvP in a live fight scenario. PvE was excellent though and player adventuring was top notch. So back to the drawing board.
I went back to work on a Lords of Middle Earth server that ended up being crazy fun with much improved systems that could push the Aurora Engine to ridiculously crammed combat areas. It was intoxicating to have not only PvP going on but also allied NPCs protecting their ‘Master’ while going at it with both NPCs and Players…in essence the NPCs had no difference of opinion on which was which…they were the same. Players loved it! It was Olander’s Ai! Some nostalgia folks wanted me to convert the systems to the old Anvarath mod but with the expansions and game engine changes…it was a really tough task. So we kept LoME and left it running for a loooong time. PvP was awesome and ‘Old School’ in it. I purposely had game code in that made PvP griefing all but obsolete but still allowed for free and open kills on any level of player above level 10. The general statement was ‘If it is In the Game It is In the Game on Purpose’. There were very few exploits. Exploiters were dealt with quickly. They either come inline or get banned. Their choice. Usually they stayed.
LoME was kicking with 10 players constantly online with server scheduled 24 hour restarts (game engine memory leaks) and weekly server events in both PvE and PvP…and yep…we would crash the server at times. The server was in chaos. Players were burning down towns and blowing up buildings and sieging strongholds…it was awesome…and I had painted in destroyed versions of many things so at server update after an event (player or admin generated) showing what happened…all in RP. So many players were inventing destruction and war…it was a constant stage show of awesome RPers having it out with each other. And the better RPers played both Good and Evil sides without Macro Play! How awesome is that!? So I was in as DM watching a war in Bree happen between a couple teams in particular two elites which burnt down most of Bree. And that is when I made Kelteel. Purposely made for PvP and doing one thing…to see if I can unite the Good Side into a Unified Force to come take out the Evil strongholds of Sauron. We PvP’d the entire thing through RP.
Slowly I began building up the Evil Horde of Ork and Man (we had real numbers of NPCs that could be purchased/hired…very dynamic system). Myself and one other player joined in and we fortified all three strongholds. Players could and would attack them anytime they wanted to…since the numbers were actually 10,000 strong…the spawns would keep coming over and over and would wear players (and their NPC soldiers called squads) down (Hunger, Thirst, Fatigue) and the Good Side simply could not sustain the attacks. I would join in and command troops to flank and take out other players…PvP the way it was meant to be…at its finest. All legit. I even took part with my Good Side characters to try to get players to solidify and take on a stronghold…my own stronghold. It started working. Free Folk (Good Side) started to lose adventuring spots and harvesting regions to have to deal with the Evil Menace…then somehow the light bulb came on and for 6 months the Good Side RPed their way into getting the numbers necessary to start waging war on Sauron’s Captain Kelteel. For good reference…this is what actually happened in the wars Sauron raged against the Free Folk before the Battle of Mount Doom. So…in effect…I was RPing the recreation of this story and as far as I knew there was none the wiser.
Captain Kelteel’s downfall was at a bridge crossing of the upper Anduin River where the Elf Lord Alandris (our most hated Elf player ever…we love him!) and Kelteel had it out 1 on 1 PvP. I knew his build was a similar epic as mine…so I was nervous! We had the duel and it was an epic battle. He got off first and hit me before I could buff. I finally got the buffs up and starting chewing on his HP. It was not enough and he beat me by a sliver. He had the option right there to behead Kelteel and end his bloody reign. He did not…no idea why…I would have. He let me retreat to Dol Guldur to once again rain down all hell on the Free Folk in battle after battle. The Free Folk players had enough…led by Alandris (Elf) and Mighty Draco (Hobbit) and Daeorn (Man). They took outpost after outpost over 6 months until all that was left were the 3 strongholds. The server kept chugging along through this massive performance onslaught with very few database issues…the few I fixed really quickly by replacing as close as I could what was lost. Then in 1 month I lost two strongholds, Dol Guldur was emptied into a shell (new player area for Evil side) and I made my last stand with 20,000 Ork and Man at the gates of Mordor. For 2 days straight the free folk folk waged war…I think most of us had like 20 hours of online play during the event! They cleared out the gate finally and pushed me back to Ulun Fortress where I fought to the last Ork. Kelteel escaped but was tracked down fairly quickly. We RPed the beheading of Kelteel near the hills outside of Minas Tirith. The Ork went back to caves and holes and the Free Folk had peace. For about a month. Stories and verbals went out to others about this crazy awesome RP/PvP server…and more and more came.
The next stage was set but the PvP Min-Maxers were constantly hammering the forums about Inbalance This and No Advantage That. The SAME players that were playing Wizards were hammering about them being inferior and needing a Buff or a Nerf of Melee because it was unfair. So I made the changes and they were happy until they bored and changed to Melee…and NOW they change their tune and clamor about Melee and asking for a Wizard nerf. So I made the changes and tried to balance things out again…and again…and again…driving me insane. I finally had enough and put all my settings back to original and let them whine. It was fine. What was missing is that Global Server Threat that simply makes players…just another number on the field. I was heavily travelling for work at this point and decided to wrap loose ends…I was tired of the whiners (mostly younger players)…so I gave the server to others.
I continued in NWN2 with ORSv6 and NWN1 in bringing back Anvarath with ORSv6 as well…which is the Lords of Anvarath server mention at the top. It is a great achievement in building a framework on top of another game engine…that not necessarily is supposed to do what was done. There are not many players left that actually play NWN1 any more…a friend fired up LoA for nostalgia and it mainly was empty but we had some great RP story events. I personally need a modern era replacement…CE ‘could’ fit this very well until my own game engine is complete…if ever (very difficult task). So I already knew UE4 and CE is pretty easy to get into.
I have played many ‘Shooters’ and Modern PvP games and each and every one of them is simply a brainless death simulator. Star Wars BF is the pinnacle of a Death Simulator and PvPers think this is PvP now days. Death means nothing. All deaths do is disorganize forces into a people running all over the place shooting at red colors. It is completely stupid. Nobody takes time to ‘Slow Down’ and RP a bit into their character. Nope…just drop in and run and shoot. Nothing but an endless arena with micro-transactions. What a s-h-i-t show.
I started PvP official, built a smallish Manor House with all the crafting stations. I had a couple really cool neighbors that we had fun PvP and group up to tackle bosses and such. It was great fun. There was trash foundations and building pieces everywhere. It was ARK all over! Disgusting! Ok…keep the OCD at bay…just move along. There was a clan that had nothing better to do than go around taking other’s stuff. Fair enough…raiding is part of the game. If they RPed a raid I would give them a fight…sometimes I would win and sometimes they would win…especially once they had 3+ players online. Most of their players wanted nothing to do with chatting and RPing PvP…all they wanted to do was rape players for superiority. They would even ‘Tea Bag’ dead player bodies then wait for the player to return to cleave us in half and ‘Tea Bag’ the next and next and next until either I simply log off or they get bored. This is griefing. The proper thing to do is they won…they loot…then let us return to rebuild. Ohhhh but not this new generation of death simulation PvPers. So I began attacking them daily with skirmishes and other players joined in. In less than a week…1 week…that entire group left the server. Along with all the other crap that they built and spewed everywhere. It was a garbage pile of bile on the server. So…time to see what other PvP Officials look like.
Two more servers…same thing. 2nd server basically same thing happened except the griefers would NOT even let us return to our building spot. So basically it was a constant trying to find the ‘Most Secret’ hiding spots to build…but this crew was persistent and aggressive. They LOVED tromping on the people building…in their opinion we are ALL slaves to them…they are the Masters and we better join them or get squished. So…I took it as a challenge…found my hiding hole and went after them. Bows worked great then and teaming up with a couple others pissed off by this clan we laid into them. Had some great PvP actually UNTIL they realized they were getting waxed and basically went into building exploit mode. We kept at them with exploits to counter their exploits and eventually we beat them at their own game. All them whined and complained about US using Exploits and trash talked in chat and calling me a bit… and many other nasty words (playing a female well ). Our alliance was hot as well but we laughed at them and called them ‘punks’ then simply would not respond to them. They all logged off and left the server. What was left of their base was there for quite some time since decay timers were not working. And yep…a couple of us checked every day.
3rd and final server…same thing. Just a nasty group of trash talkers dominating a server. So much so that they were constantly patrolling the walk in points from the desert to kill new players and desert respawners. Obviously to make certain everyone knew which clan was THE BOSS of this server. And these ‘punks’ were very aggressive. Along with a few others we did get a foot hold in some well hidden places…but man o’ man was harvesting stuff painful. Eventually we were all found and raped mercilessly time after time for not joining and building ‘Unapproved’. Really? So 4 of us were standing in the desert wondering if we should go find another PvP Server or try to give it to these b-a-stards. So were decided to group up and give it to them…and here they come into the desert to rage bash us for not being proper slaves. We all spawned again and laughed in chat at these jerks. We all ran off and started building and making gear the best we could before spotted again…which soon we were. It was 4 vs 4 this time and we smoked them. They were missing the rest of their clan…so we went after them. Same fashion…no remorse…tech them a lesson. All day we went at them with me running supply and medic runs. They must have cell phone contacts since the rest of their clan started popping in…we thrashed them mercilessly and when they tried to get back…kill them again…then destroyed their beds…time for desert spawn beatings…we went after them. All 10 quit with rage whining in chat. That easy. WTF? Cheap PvPers. All four of us sat around and chatted for about an hour gloating on our achievement. Still an early access game but did feel good to run yet another trash talking PvP griefing clan off a server. However, server damage was done. tedious cleanup would need to be done because of these lowlifes. The server was a garbage box of square buildings and spew everywhere. All 4 of us simply logged off to let another clan take over this mess.
And that was the last PvP Official…in fact. 3 of us formed a RP PvP Server which flourished for a long time in early access. We RP and ERP and built a Roman/Greek Arena and central compound that was neutral to all players. It worked…and worked very well. We had both PvE and PvP events. All friendly and even though there were some bruised egos we chided each other and all was good. We knew that PvP can function in CE…but there were A LOT of game mechanics that needed to be solved/fixed before it could be deemed ready. So our experimental server went down and never surfaced again…perhaps after CE is once again stable (like Patch 32 was).
CE can be the game that replaces NWN1 as a truly fun and enjoyable PvP experience for those that want to make it so. As to PvP Official…leave it to the brats of the death simulators.