Short for “temporary enemy flag,” a component of Star Wars Galaxies’ PvP system.
Buried in the World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth reveals earlier this month was the huge PvP news that eventually, PvP servers, like the dying one I’ve been stuck on for half of forever, will be quietly converted into PvE servers. Instead of being constantly subjected to lowbie ganking while out questing in the world, PvP server players will join PvE players in taking part in what is akin to the Star Wars Galaxies-esque TEF system, only stricter. As you leave a major city, you’ll flag PvE or PvP, and that’s that. Flag for PvP and you’ll get a chance at things like extra rewards and faster reputation. The details are still up in the air, but as Blizzard Watch’s Ted Atchley points out, the rewards will have to be pretty sweet to entice most players to paint a target on their backs.
I’m not all that sad; PvP on PvP servers was basically pointless ganking for jack-all rewards, but there was just no way to convince a dozen friends to pay to move their entire stables elsewhere, so we soldiered on and put up with the random ganks on our leveling alts. I can still see taking the risk of being ganked if the rewards are huge, and the move will allow Blizzard to continue condensing its server groups too.
Where do you stand on WoW’s proposed new PvP system?
This story arc was so much fun to draw. I thought it was my favorite, but then I look back at the one where the underwear ninjas were introduced and the giant crab and the vendor recycler. Yeah, it’s like trying to decide which kid is your favorite.
In case you haven’t been following along with our comic, let me set it up: Mo accidentally stabbed a vendor and started running like mad from NPCs and other players. He popped around a town, then his friend Amilya found him and “saved” him from the underwear ninja gankers, KaptainKuddles and DrL0v3.
Now, on to this week’s comic…
Yesterday, we published a detailed interview with Ethan Casner, one of the devs behind Star Wars Galaxies-inspired Divergence Online. The response was more or less as expected: a comment section debating the merits and flaws of its open PvP system, something SWG very definitely didn’t have. More than one of you was heard to say you’d be interested in the sandbox (and its crowdfunding) but for those plans for open PvP.
And by “was heard to say,” I literally mean heard. Stained Glass Llama has announced that in response to this feedback, it will add a stretch goal for its Indiegogo campaign that if met will enable a second server with a TEF-based (temporary enemy flag) consensual PvP server akin to SWG’s. The stretch goal is $20,000, $5000 more than this particular campaign’s overall goal.
Casner explained the decision to our commenters:
“As much as I don’t consider myself a businessman, I’m also not a complete idiot, and with as many people essentially saying “I would contribute but.. open-pvp”, it would be silly to completely discount the potential to bring in funding to the game that it definitely needs, while simultaneously proving to those new to the project that here is a developer who listens to the community. […] We round-tabled about it for a good part of today, reading comments, spitballing ideas and figuring up what all would be entailed in a hypothetical scenario where we ran two servers simultaneously. The result was that we decided to take the advice of one of your commentators, Mr Quincha, and indeed framework a stretch goal for our campaign that would, in fact, result in the creation of a secondary server with consensual (TEF) pvp.”
In the Star Wars Galaxies temporary-enemy-flag system, I remember how fun it was to shoot at Stormtroopers and do a guerrilla-like invasion of Theed. But sometimes when I would run away, I’d lose the group that I was with, and I’d have to sneak around town hoping that no players nor NPCs would see me. I imagine that’s about how Mo felt when he was TEFed after he accidentally stabbed the junk vendor last week.
In this week’s comic, we pick up right where we left off…
This one took me a while to draw. I think it has a lot to do with the junk pile that’s in the background. I have also been attempting to add more depth to the characters themselves. At first, I thought that maybe the joke was the most important, so I would spend less time on the characters, giving them just enough life to get the point across. And the joke is important — maybe the most important — but the other elements of the comic are important as well.
Much to the chagrin of my drawing hand, I have been spending a lot more time on the drawing part of the comic. And I think it’s shown in the last couple. I know I’m asking for it, but let me know what you think in the comments.
And here is Mo’s adventure this week…
A long time ago on a website far, far away, we were having a discussion about modern MMOs and their inability to make sandboxes more than thinly disguised FFA gankfests. I suggested that devs riff on Star Wars Galaxies and its early TEF (temporary enemy flagging) system as a way to incorporate optional FFA PvP into a PvE sandbox. As it turns out, the system was incredibly complex from a design and implementation standpoint, and it also assumed a certain amount of player competency if PvP avoidance was desired.
Raph Koster, the designer of SWG’s original TEF system, has posted a lengthy blog entry that outlines all of the challenges inherent in the system from both a developer and a player perspective. It’s a pretty fascinating read whether you’re a fan of SWG or one of those PvE players who would love to play a sandbox MMO but for the incessant Lord of the Flies vibe.