Worlds Adrift starts work on countering PvP griefing, but tells players to get better

Who would have ever thought that the tranquil-looking Worlds Adrift would become a raucous griefer’s paradise? Apparently not the developers, who were, we guess, hoping that a sense of noble honor would run through this lawless PvP sandbox.

But now that the griefing situation in early access has gotten so out of control, Bossa Studios is being forced to address it. It won’t be fixed overnight, apparently, but the studio is says that it is “keen to get it right” and has already rolled out its first wave of improvements and fixes to make Worlds Adrift a friendlier place to play.

These changes include lowering the requirements to make basic ships (so griefers have to work faster to ground you at the start), making wood stronger and lighter, and automatically blowing up your ship if you die far away from it. The studio advised those struggling with griefing to “use your belt and random revivers.” So, you know, get good.

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kythan

I decided not to buy Worlds Adrift because of the griefing situation. This is not because I don’t enjoy PVP — quite the opposite, in fact; I still regret letting a friend talk me into rerolling on a carebear server in WoW. What I dislike — and hence do not want to expend time and money playing — is the unmitigated gankfest that games of this type become.

I’m a Shadowbane veteran. That game was a huge waste of incredible potential. Part of that was due to Wolfpack’s multiple failures (rebuilding the 3D engine how many times? putting the godmode switch in the client? Not having logfiles for the love of all that’s holy???? That whole nightmare rollback thing?). But what killed it was not the bad technical design, or even the bad game management, but unrestrained griefing.

I should mention that I was not on the short end of this stick. My main was a healer/channeler, which was pretty much the most OP spec in the game. (for those not familiar, imagine a fully-powered elemental mage, from the channeler aspect, and wearing the heaviest armor possible, thanks to the healer base) So I could fly, nuke, debuff, invis, and basically lay down major pwn. And my guild was made of experienced PVPers, with similarly OP builds, functioning as a team. We were at the top of the totem pole. And yet when I left four months after launch, I was the last one who figuratively turned off the lights on my way out.

On my last day in the game, I did a long run around the world to sort of say goodbye. I passed the rubble of abandoned cities (they fell down if nobody was there to pay maintenance), once-vibrant player-built strongholds now just smoking ruins. Mobs with valuable runestones roamed unmolested where they had been camped and killed upon spawning only a couple of months before. I passed by many of the best leveling areas, and didn’t see another player. The server was practically abandoned.

The problem wasn’t that the game had absolutely zero content aside from PvP, nor that the login servers thought they were firewalls, nor any of the other technical problems. The biggest problem was, in fact, griefing.

Specifically, it was newbie-ganking.

There were several areas right outside the “safe” towns where newbies could farm — giant ants was one that I remember — and try to level. The problem was, there was nothing to stop griefers from hanging out in the exact same areas, waiting for the little guys to get some XP, and then kill those players half their level and steal their little newbie things. Not because they got anything out of it, but because they got their kicks out of laughing over world chat at some player who had spent two hours trying to get a level, and maybe some better gear, and was now stark naked and back at the beginning of XP for that level again. Needless to say, after a few days of this, being killed by players that not only they couldn’t fight, but if every single player of their level or lower in the server banded together, they still couldn’t fight, those players gave up. Games are supposed to be fun, and being repeatedly ganked and taunted by griefers, with absolutely no hope of fighting back because the griefers were blocking the necessary path to gain the resources (levels and gear) to fight back, wasn’t fun. So the players who didn’t like being constant targets with no hope of that ever changing cancelled their subscriptions.

There is always player churn in a game. Some players leave … they get bored, they get swamped by real life, they want to try a new game … so it’s necessary for new players to come in to replace them. But in Shadowbane, it wasn’t possible for those new players to actually play the game. They’d get off Newbie Island and get stuck in the safe cities, never able to get past level … 10, I think it was … and actually participate in the rest of the game. So the churn was a one-way street: out only.

There was another big problem: You paid for your PvP with PvE. I worked out at one point that for every 10 minutes of PvP, you had to spend about an hour in PvE to grind enough loot to pay for it (item damage, etc.). Worse, the fact that the devs expected all the actual content to be the PvP aspect meant that Shadowbane had the most mindless, grindy, flat-out boring PvE of any game I have ever played, or had nightmares of playing. It was the Desert Bus of PvE. There was an assassin who used to come hunting me when I was grinding at undead (well, hunting a lot of people; I was just one of the stops on his route), and I actually looked forward to that assassin showing up and playing cat-and-mouse for a while, even though I usually died in the end, because it broke the gawdawful monotony of that grind. If you tell players “For every hour you spend doing something fun, you have to spend six hours doing something you not only utterly hate, but that we’ve made as boring as humanly possible” you’re going to lose a lot of people who don’t like that equation.

So Shadowbane died. Not because of PvP, but because of two things related to PvP: The high cost in PvE required, and the blockage of the newbie hose. Either one could have killed the game; the combination absolutely did.

Remember one other thing with griefers:

For griefers, it’s a zero-sum game. The only way they can have fun is specifically if other players are not having fun. In order for a griefer to be happy, they have to make another player unhappy. That’s not true of PvP in general; losing a long but fair fight can be almost as much fun as winning it. But it’s true of griefing. They get their kicks out of making the game suck for other players. For a griefer to enjoy your game, it is absolutely necessary for one or more (as many more as possible) players to not enjoy your game. Unhappy players go play something else that they find more fun. Given that the only people who enjoy griefing are griefers, eventually the vast majority of players are going to go play some other game; there’s no shortage of them.

Having players in a game whose basic goals are to make the game suck and to make it difficult or impossible for others to play is not a path to success.

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nlblackeagle

I can not argue with your statements, however in some cases there are those choosing a different path. We are currently good on our way becoming quite the Alliance which clear out pirates, clean up and even move ships if logged out from and left behind on shipyards ( leaving a gun made by us in a container without taking anything ) This is so unless we reach T4 where we would attack any gun-mounted ship.

So even though worlds adrift can be a harsh environment to play in, the opposide is still possible

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Arktouros

I’m 100% okay with the current game design, however absolutely nothing they did will address griefing.

The main issue people are having is people in higher tier ships coming in and smashing noobs in T1. They do this easily by splitting Knowledge among people so you can spam out T4 blueprints of a particular type. T4 are significantly better and will have no problems smashing through most metal, let alone wood even buffed up. So these changes to wood don’t really help a lot cause noobs are basically free kills in the starting areas to advanced T4 ships just the same.

The big issue they don’t seem to understand is they continue to market to one crowd (Explore, Build, Unite) while majority of their long term player base currently is an entirely different market (Survive, Kill, Pillage). So they’re trying to address the concerns of the new players coming in who are leaving negative reviews while simultaneously not pissing off their home base of players (which you can read their original feedback thread is basically everyone saying “sack up”). It just doesn’t make much sense.

More sensible things they need to do is continue to press forward with their development goals and help limit ship design. Adding Engine Overheat significantly cripple many designs being used to have the best speed, armor and weaponry with little to no penalties currently. Equally adding more effects such as more cannons firing the hotter the engines have to run to counter the forward momentum would make firing/going hard on ships with 4+ cannons firing while speeding along.

There’s also the idea of introducing resource scarcity to Tiers. For example make cannon power be based on ammo quality, and ammo quality based on material quality. This means high end players can come down to T1 but they’ll be burning T3/T4 mats and run out on targets who can’t restock them.

But the current moves, such as doubling the stack size of wood or making it more durable isn’t going to realistically help the noobs getting camped by the vets. People trying to figure out the game and how ship design works (it’s fairly complicated) and they just getting blasted out of the sky/ground for the lulz. It’s funny, but as any veteran PvPer will tell you if you harvest the “crop” too early you’re just going to consume the population till there’s basically no one but farmers left playing.

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Robert Mann

EVERYONE who looked at the design they came out with, derp!

Simply put, some people like to harm others. Give that an outlet with some sort of legality, and you get… people harming others congregating there. Thus why griefer types flock to games that offer more ability to grief. *Not that they avoid others, since nothing out there really actively pursues a strong end to the issue.*

Mewmew
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Mewmew

Why are the Devs of Open PvP games always shocked that their games turn to ganking and griefing paradise? Like over and over and over they think that the community will somehow get together and police it, or that PvP will be honorable without putting any rules in “just because”. How do they not know human behavior in open PvP games? Especially by this point in time after it’s happened again and again and again. Have they ever played an Open PvP game before?

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Sorenthaz

I’ll never understand it. It’s like somehow they think their game will be different, as if they are ignorant of the… 20+? years that this has been a thing. ’cause even before MMOs there were MUDs that likely had similar stuff, there sure as heck exist those types of MUDs nowadays at least.

I just don’t get it. Anonymous humans in the absence of rules/order will always flipping resort to chaos in video games if there are no meaningful consequences or deterrents.

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Schmidt.Capela

IMHO, it’s a combination of three things.

First, those devs tend to enjoy an environment where the threat of PvP is a constant, and as such tolerate a higher amount of griefing than players that aren’t such PvP fans; For such devs, if they get constantly pushed into PvP situations, and a few of those are griefing situations, well, they don’t see anything wrong with that, and more so if there are in-game ways of reducing the possibility of griefing or the consequences of it.

Second, the devs tend to not be griefers themselves, so they don’t understand why griefers find what they do fun and don’t expect other players to turn to griefing. So, yeah, I do believe they legitimately thought griefing wouldn’t get out of control; heck, the way Bossa Studios talked, it seems they expected players to even refrain from ganking, despite ganking being the main strategy for any pirate worthy of the name (since fighting with even chances brings no profit).

Third, lack of experience. Most of the games that fall into that trap are created by devs that never had to manage open PvP games before, and thus never had to actually deal with players complaining of ganking before. Combine this with how they tolerate higher levels of ganking than normal players can stand, and chances are good they used to think complaints about ganking in open PvP games were wildly overblown.

The measures proposed by Bossa Studios fit this pattern, BTW; they clearly expect their players to enjoy the PvP, even with all the ganking and griefing, if only the players can learn how to avoid the worst of it and minimize their loses when it happens.

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Utakata

…so the best way to avoid the worse and minimize their losses is simply log off and never play their game again.

But yeah, great way to summarize developer clueless’ness, in 3 different kinds. o.O

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flamethekid .

to be fair with the way the game is even if they remove open PVP it would still be possible to grief just as bad or even worse really open sandbox games and physics based games are very easy to grief and with no pvp there is no defending

In Ark even on PVE servers anyone could easily grief since we could build stuff
even in minecraft after all these years and all the anti griefing measures people can still grief easily

the only way for Worlds Adrift to fix its problem that i can see is to make the world even bigger

make the T1 zone waay bigger and make the T2 zone smaller and increase the size of the T4 zone

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kythan

I get the feeling that they have not. Or they’re so in love with their particular idea that they’re sure it’s going to be different this time, because whatever else they’re offering is just so compelling that people whose sole enjoyment comes from keeping other players from enjoying a game will suddenly change completely, stop enjoying what they’ve always enjoyed, and start enjoying something different. That works about as well as convincing people they don’t really want to play PUBG, they want to play Candy Crush instead. Not gonna happen. Nobody’s great cool awesome super-duper-speshul concept is that good.

Skoryy
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Skoryy

Griefing? In my hardcore PvP?

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zoward

+1 for the Casablanca reference – my favorite movie of all time.