The Daily Grind: How would you define an MMO gankbox?

A couple of weeks ago, our own Justin wrote a Daily Grind wherein he suggested that EVE Online was a gankbox, earning him some argument from another blogger and sparking an interesting debate about just what a gankbox is.

I’m not sure who first used the term — maybe a commenter, maybe a writer — but it took off like wildfire in our columns and comments years ago and hasn’t died down. I’ve seen people use it to mean everything from any MMO with PvP to survival sandboxes and MOBAs, but in our tags, we’ve defined it thusly:

“Gankboxes are sandboxes that place such an emphasis on unrestricted free-for-all PvP that ganking comes to dominate the entire game, to the detriment of the rest of the world design.”

Personally, I’d probably amend that to be even more nuanced; it’s not just ganking but the threat of constant ganking should you drop your guard that really defines such a game. For example, the majority of my time in classic Ultima Online — definitely a gankbox — was not spent ganking or being ganked, but it was spent protecting myself in a ganker’s culture, whether that was by hiding my keys under a trapped reaggie box, using safe runes everywhere I went, or stockpiling extra equipment to get back on my feet in a hurry. Accordingly, an exorbitant amount of developer time also appeared to be devoted to balancing “freedom” and thwarting the gankers driving customers out of the game.

How would you prefer to see it defined — and which MMORPG do you think best typifies this style of game?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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72 Comments on "The Daily Grind: How would you define an MMO gankbox?"

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possum440 .
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possum440 .

This is exactly correct.

“Gankboxes are sandboxes that place such an emphasis on unrestricted free-for-all PvP that ganking comes to dominate the entire game, to the detriment of the rest of the world design.”

Nothing more need be said and there is no counter argument regardless. The only people that would be offended are the gankers and they try to smooth things over by using all sorts of explanations and theories on the how/why justification of ganking.

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mcsleaz

Worlds Adrift is the latest GankBox I’ve come across, real shame too, coulda been such a great game :(

wandris
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wandris

Eve is far from a gankbox. I would consider a gankbox a game which puts a near total emphasis on world PK’ing. Darkfall is a good example, perhaps at different stages of the game’s history the title would be debatable, but was not but towards the end. With the decline of players, groups, and guilds , it became individualistic and every man for himself PK’ing.

EvE though is a way different story. Yes PK’s are a thing but I would bet only accounts for a very small % of the overall PVP and asset destruction. Territory control, empire building, corporate wars, guild alliance/politics does not qualify as a gankbox.

Playing on any one sided PVP server in WoW is probably the best description of a true gankbox. Complete meaningless PVP. Completely one sided. Spend a few years getting ganked 3-5 times for every open world quest and I guarantee you will have a true sense of grief. In years of playing many open world PVP games, losing shit to PK, none of it was even a fraction of the level of harassment and grief I felt in WoW PVP. You really can’t point the finger at anyone but Blizzard for there shite and deliberate mismanagement of the faction population, the only real explanation is the millions in profit they no doubt have reaped from service fees.

hurbster
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hurbster

Any game that has non-consensual PvP is a gank box as far as I am concerned.

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thirtymil

Somewhere where newer players are considered disposable content for older players.

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Paul

I despise gankboxes (personal definition – any game that forces you into an open PvP mode to progress, and where ‘PvP’ becomes mostly about players randomly mugging other players, who are really not able to do anything meaningful to prevent it, for ‘lulz’)

I’ve played Eve on and off since 2004, a lot of my gametime having been PvP based. I don’t consider it to be a gankbox. Why ? Complex and I’m not sure there’s a straight up answer – combination of the fact that by playing intelligently you can defend yourself against the gankers (well tanked anti-gank ships etc – and its sweet watching would be gankers get concorded as your shields brim up :-P ), and so much of the PvP in that game has more of a context to it (territory control etc)

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Armsbend

A game set up so you can wait in a bush for hours until someone walks by and you can OHKO backstab them so your OHKO counter goes up by one.

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Reselect Name

A game where anyone can kill anyone at any time and any place with little to no penalty and it doesn’t tie into an overall mechanic of the game, just mindless random ganking.

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strangesands

I liken it to entering a warzone or a very bad neighborhood late at night. You go into it expecting trouble. The problem arises when the entire world is a warzone and a bad neighborhood late at night. Doesn’t really reflect reality.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

Gank boxes are just another hypocritical feature of the industry. i follow a lot of game devs on social media who I think are super talented and all of them use social media to talk about how they support generally great things. That’s why I follow them. They seem like genuinely kind people.

The hypocritical stuff about it is the games they work on aren’t that. Women are objectified. A lot of the games have questionable business practices or are the afforementioned gank boxes. Gank boxes promote bullying. People that are in to open world PvP aren’t about going after people that are similarly geared for a competitive brawl. They are after attacking people that have no chance to fight them.

Please industry stop being hypocrites and get rid of the base tribal game design that caters to the lowest common denominator of neanderthal on the internet. bring back flagged PvP please.

Also, can the devs on twitter start practicing what they preach and stop designing plate mail armor that has boob physics. Letting me design a female character that is heavy set doesnt let you off the hook.

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squid

Gank boxes promote bullying.

Sums it up pretty well. Ganking is about bullying and griefing. Gankboxes are games where such things are encouraged, tolerated, or not harshly penalized.

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Paul

Pretty much nailed it. Not the kind of way I want to spend my evenings gaming