The Daily Grind: Are you concerned about Sea of Thieves’ PvP scene?

    
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While there is no doubt that many — including Massively OP staffers — are excited about the March release of Sea of Thieves, there also has been some growing concern about the way the game is handling its PvP and the potential for abuse that exists.

While Rare is encouraging crews to squabble over treasure and ships, the question arises about whether or not the studio is really aware of the lengths that griefers will go to ruin an experience for others and break the expected gameplay loop. Wolfy’s Eyes, a gaming blog, wrote a terrific essay in which he expressed deep concern over the studio’s apparent naïveté regarding online griefers.

“In my opinion, the PvP in Sea of Thieves is great but also far too open,” he argued. “While I definitely feel that risk on the high seas should be inherent and that alliances between ships for shared gameplay such as the recently discussed skeleton forts should be tenuous at best, the fact remains that — as is often the case with sandbox PvP — all of the risk lies in the attacked and none with the attacker.”

Are you concerned about Sea of Thieves’ PvP scene? Do you see this title devolving into a griefing nightmare?

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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Schmidt.Capela

Sidenote: Rare could include a “vs AI” mode. Even purely PvP games like LoL and OW have it and some play it exclusively.

Worth noting that those companies refuse to tell how many players play those modes exclusively. I wonder if those games don’t have more PvE players than PvP players; while just anecdotal evidence, most people I know that play MOBAs play the “vs AI” mode most of the time, or even exclusively.

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Jack Pipsam

I feel like at first it will be grief heaven, in fact they’re kind of embracing it. But that might because Rare isn’t an MMO dev, in fact they really haven’t ever made a pure multiplayer game before. So I guess they’ll just enjoy the shits & giggles while it lasts until they’re forced to end up fixing it I guess.

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PurpleCopper

Rare should take cues from EVE Online and copy their pvp penalty system.

Players who kill too many innocent pirates will start to attract hostile NPC navy ships who will overwhelm the griefers if they keep up their griefing.

Perhaps also have “neutral” NPC bases which will attack any player with bad reputation. NPC merchants can also jack up prices or refuse to sell certain things or quests for players with bad reputation.

Or maybe have a mechanic where you literally have to hoist a jolly roger pirate flag to show your “pvp enabled” status, so that anyone can see that you mean to kill anybody unlucky enough to meet you. Players who attack without hoisting the pirate flag will be penalized.

Or just have three zones.

Safe Space zones for carebears which will have roaming NPC police navy.
Limited-Safe Space zones where there are no NPC navy police, but there will be NPC bases that can attack nearby griefers, and griefers will still be penalized.
And finally the lawless zones, where there are no NPC navy or bases that will fight against griefers and no penalty for griefing.

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Arnold Hendrick

Sigh – another PvP MMO by people who think ganking is fun. It’s amazing how game designers and producers refuse to see that gankfest games ALWAYS lose money in the end.

It’s almost impossible to get through to designers about ganking because they, the designers, know the game systems inside out, and therefore can automatically ultimo badass gankers more easily than anyone else.

What surprises me is the sad litany of PvP oriented MMO failures is constantly ignored by the money-men behind MMOs. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and that’s especially true in games.

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Armsbend

Is it really ganking if you see a ship far out on the horizon…then it approaches you slowly by power of the wind and then you are able to flee or defend yourself?

Is that what you consider ganking? Here’s what I consider ganking. I’m picking berries, or skinning a dog in a game minding my own business and then someone who had invisibility on backstabs me for a million hitpoints and I die.

Not what this seems.

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Schmidt.Capela

Ganking, for me, is simply attacking with overwhelming force. Which is likely what many so-called PvPers will be doing, putting a full group and going after solo players.

BTW, while I do find ganking a valid tactic, it’s also one that makes the whole fight absolutely unfun for me, regardless of whether I’m the ganker or gankee. So I do tend to stay away from PvP games where effective ganking is a way to win fights.

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Jack Pipsam

I suppose that’s the thing, does Rare even think this game is an MMO?

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Ashfyn Ninegold

I’ve played a number of sea-borne games, SP and MMO, and battles can be boiled down to one thing: Shoot while circling better than the other guy.

You can’t dodge, roll or charge. So, you circle. Okay, tack or wear away, but you’re still making a circle because you need to come back around and bring your guns to bear. There’s no other way to do this. There isn’t one of these games that has a Nelson to significantly change up tactics.

On the PvP front, good grief. That about covers it.

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Sorenthaz

It is a concern and one that’s been expressed very regularly on the Sea of Thieves forums. You’ve obviously got the apologists/finger-in-ears kids who’ll go “well I didn’t experience problems like that” or “mate it’s a PvP game get used to it” or so on. But this game has 0 safeguards against people doing their worst. Respawns are also really really bad – if you sink someone’s ship they’ll be able to tirelessly respawn where their ship sunk, all so they can try to board your ship/kill you AND summon a truckton of sharks that makes getting any treasure off of them super difficult.

On top of that spawn killing is a very real problem, and the only bandaid solution is to scuttle the ship. . . but then the ship respawns maybe an island or two away from where it sunk so you can easily chase down the people who sunk it (or they can spot your ship and chase after you again…). Then of course there’s Outpost camping, and in general players who want to be aggressive simply don’t have to have any treasure on board and then they have 0 consequences or risk while having all the reward available. That’s the stupidest part about it right now, is that PvP has meaningless risk/consequence for the attackers/chasers if they get defeated. Losing some chests or whatever doesn’t mean much in the long run because literally anything you do in PvE is designed around getting some objects to sell to one of the reputations to get gold/rep and then buy cosmetics. There is straight up going to be a chunk of players who don’t care about that stuff and will just hunt down other player ships because they can.

I know that they have said repeatedly that what we see in the scale tests and closed beta weren’t the full game at launch, buuuuuuuut they’ve designed this game in a way to where there’s 0 incentive or reason to group with other pirates. Every other ship is straight-up kill or avoid on sight, and that’s it. The PvP experience is quite frankly miserable because it’s not designed in a way that gives you that clear moment of “ah-ha, we have secured victory” or “oh, we have lost, time to respawn the ship and move on”.

Rare’s naivety (or hubris, or straight-up laziness) with their hands-off approach to PvP is just irritating. It’s like they refuse to see how problematic that has been in other games, and somehow they think their community will be better than that. Even with those skeleton forts teased in that video, that’s not going to be enough for people to work together or be friendly/social.

Their efforts to casualize the experience just means that the mindless PvPers get to run over everything because there is literally nothing that stops or punishes them.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Excellent post. They aren’t doing the PvP community any favors by encouraging the worst behavior. It will only drive away all other players, guaranteeing that the game will fold for lack of a player base.

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Armsbend

Rare may just not know. They havent exactly been at the forefront of online gaming. Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts?

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draugris

Not concerned because not interested. Like any other “sandbox real life simulator” pvp game this will be an asshats paradise. Of course there will be camping, grieving and any other form of ruining somebodies day. Not my cup of tea tbh.

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Utakata

Well, outside the MMO industry creating toxic environments to cover their overhead…I am not really concerned, as I have intention of playing this game. As long as Blizz doesn’t get any bright ideas to “spice up” their PvP for WoW from this. >.<

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Arktouros

I mean, I really couldn’t have said this any better:

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Alli

Not concerned because I don’t plan on playing.
Can’t create your own character? Nope.
Better with pre-existing group of friends? Nope.
Open PVP? Nope.