21/03/2018

Feature Spotlight #6 – PvP, Alignment & Crime


Now that the last Feature Spotlight has officially ended the series of updates dedicated to the Knowledge System, it’s about time we move to what is likely to be the most debated topic in the history of the Fractured community – and that of the MMO genre in general.

The topic, of course, is Player Versus Player.

Since the very first post on this blog, we’ve stated Fractured wants to cater to the needs of peaceful/cooperative and aggressive/competitive players alike, allowing them to coexist in a single, massive game server.

Fractured is not the first game to attempt this move, of course. Different solutions have been proposed by several MMOs already. Implementing a (more or less) restrictive justice system to punish criminals is a classic. Splitting the world in low-reward / PvE-only areas and high-reward / FFA-PvP areas has also been explored.

To us, neither of the two solutions above has managed to strike the right balance, because:

  • A justice system still allows you to be murdered and looted. We know it’s enough to please those of you who seriously dislike PvP.
  • A world with safe low-level zones may increase new player retention, but that’s about it. In the end, if you really want to progress, you have to bear a sizable amount of deaths by ganking, unless you’re part of a large group of players.

The Fractured way, while incorporating elements of the solutions discussed above, is fundamentally different and – I dare say – truly unique. It relies heavily on the strong characterization of the three races that can be played in the game, their lore, and the three planets they inhabit.

Speaking of the three planets, we’ve had our community defining Arboreus as a “PvE planet”, Syndesia as a world with “Lawful PvP”, while Tartaros features “Lawless PvP”. This definition, although correct at large, is far from perfect, and led to a plethora of questions such as:

  • Can I be “ganked” while playing as a Beastman on Arboreus?
  • If I’m a Demon, how easily can I go for a killing spree on other planets?
  • What constitutes a crime on Syndesia, and how is that punished?

Today, we’re giving you all the answers – and more!

Shall we begin?

Alignment

PvP Crime Punishment Image

On Fractured, each character is always categorized as Good, Neutral, or Evil. These three titles, built on the classic D&D moral spectrum, are collectively known as Alignment. If you’ve followed our past updates, you should know that each option has serious consequences on your gaming experience. We’re going to discuss them in detail in the following paragraphs.

Coherently to the spirit of the game, the Alignment of your character is not set in stone – you’re free to choose it any time you take a Resting phase, just before memorizing your spells and setting your Talent points! Not all the three options are always available, however, as race, location and Karma might restrict your choice.

What is Karma? Simply put, it’s an indicator of where your character stands between Good and Evil. It ranges from -10,000 (Diabolic) and +10,000 (Holy), and changes according to your behavior in game – how you interact with other players and the environment, which Gods you worship, and more.

If your character’s Karma is below -2,500, you can only choose an Evil alignment. Below 0, you can pick only Neutral or Evil. Above 0, all the three options are open.

Speaking of race, the following limitations apply:

  • Humans are born with slightly positive Karma, and can choose any alignment.
  • Beastmen are born with a highly positive Karma. When resting on Arboreus, you can only choose a Good alignment for your Beastman character. When resting on a different planet, you can instead pick Neutral too. By doing so, you are allowed to commit criminal actions that could lower your Karma to the point your home planet and race will start rejecting you, walking the frightening journey that end with the transformation of the Beastman into an Abomination.
  • Demons are born with a strongly negative Karma – and they can’t make it better on their home planet. Therefore, as you create a new Demon, you’re restricted to an Evil alignment. When resting on other planets instead, you can gain Karma to the point you can set your character as Neutral too. Eventually, once your Karma is sufficiently high, you can start walking the path that will lead your Demon to reach its Redeemed form – the Angel.

Last but not least, the two following criminal flags restrict your Alignment selection as well:

  • Thief. You get this when stealing from a Good or Neutral player. It lasts for 24 real-world hours, and prevents you from choosing a Good Alignment.
  • Murderer. You get this when executing a Good or Neutral player. It lasts for 48 real-world hours, and forces you to pick an Evil alignment.

What are the consequences of being Evil, Neutral or Good? Let’s find out!

Good Alignment

Good Alignment Image

If you flag yourself as Good, you are not allowed to perform hostile actions against any other Good or Neutral player. There are several ways this restriction is applied – some common cases being:

  • You can’t use basic attacks and targeted spells against Good or Neutral players.
  • Your AOE abilities cause no damage or negative side effects to Good or Neutral players.
  • You can’t loot the corpse of a dead Good or Neutral player.
  • Giving the killing blow to a knocked-out Good or Neutral player is not possible.
  • You can’t take possession of bounty that doesn’t belong to you.

On the contrary, all the hostile actions listed above are permitted against Evil players – and even encouraged by Karma gains!

Since all Beastmen have a default Good alignment that can’t be changed on Arboreus, it is literally impossible for them to hurt each other. This also lessens the need for them to form a Party, making grouping easier.

As a Good player, you’re sure to inspire confidence to everyone you meet.

Neutral Alignment

Neutral Alignment Image

If you flag yourself as Neutral, you can perform hostile actions against any other player. This includes attacking, stealing, and murdering.

Hurting a Good or Neutral player doesn’t turn your Alignment to Evil, but flags you as Aggressive – a condition that gets you treated as Evil in many ways. For instance, Good players become able to hurt you, while other Neutral players become able to do so as well without consequences.

The Aggressive flag lasts for a few minutes only, but some particularly despicable actions like stealing or executing a player may add additional conditions (such the aforementioned Thief and Murderer flags) that last for a much longer time.

In the end, choosing Neutral gives you the chance to be nasty when needed, but it also surely lowers the trust other players might have in you.

Evil Alignment

Evil Alignment Image

You’re a Demon, you’ve decided to challenge the world, or you’ve been a bad guy so much that you’re no longer allowed to pick any other Alignment. Whatever your reasons for being Evil are, you’re now in a high risk situation!

While Evil, you’re free to perform hostile actions against any other player – just like when you’re Neutral. However, other players can also do so against you, without consequences – such as being flagged as Thief or Murderer or losing Karma. In fact, they will gain Karma by getting the world rid of you!

At least, being Evil is not enough to get you fully cast out of society. Guards on Syndesia let you enter towns, for instance, and some NPCs devoted to not-so-legal activities might even take a special interest in you.

Karma Changes

As mentioned in the previous paragraph about Alignment, your Karma changes according to how you behave towards other players, NPCs, and divinities. Let’s check this out more in detail now.

PvP Actions

Depending on your Alignment and your victim’s, attacking, knocking unconscious, looting or executing a player triggers a Karma gain or loss.

As a rule of thumb, any unprovoked aggressive action towards players with Good or Neutral alignment triggers a Karma loss. The Karma loss for just causing damage is minor, but it’s significantly higher if you knock out your victim, and even worse if you loot its body after. Delivering the final killing bow is obviously the worst option of all, and hurts your moral stance considerably.

Also as a rule of thumb, aggressive actions towards players already flagged as Aggressive or Evil have no effect on your Karma.

PvE Actions

All creatures in Fractured have a specific Karma and Alignment. Depending on your Alignment and their own, killing them may result in a Karma gain or loss.

The general concept is quite predictable: killing a Good Creature triggers a Karma loss, while slaying an Evil one triggers a Karma gain.

One thing to be noticed is that PvE is intended as a way to “adjust” your Karma, rather than revolutionize your Alignment. Therefore, a few exceptions to the rule above apply. A couple significant ones: an Evil player doesn’t gain Karma by killing Evil creatures, while a Good player can lose it killing Good ones, but it won’t drop below 0 anyway.

Temple Offerings

A Temple Offering is a monetary donation that can be performed once a day in the home of one of the Gods of Fractured.

Temple offerings are an effective – albeit expensive – way to change your Karma towards that of the God you’re donating to. Offerings given to Elysium, Tyros and Nelena have a positive effect on your Karma, while money pledged to the dreadful Babilis cause a heavy Karma loss. Donations to Neutral Gods such as Iridia and Galvanos instead have no impact on your moral stance.

Other than (possibly) changing your Karma, a Temple Offering increases the favor of the God towards you. If high enough, you might even get bestowed a Divine Blessing, or assigned a Divine Quest to carry out!

Divine Quests

Divine Quests are missions obtained at shrines and temples that must be completed by anyone who wishes to become the Champion of a God. Fulfilling them triggers changes to your Karma, pushing it towards the Alignment of the God in question.

By becoming the Champion of a God, you are granted a unique blessing in the form of a permanent status effect, plus the chance to use one or more Divine Abilities that don’t have to be memorized. The number and power of said abilities depend on the deity’s favor towards you and how well your current Karma matches the God’s one.

The Three Planets

Now you know what it means to choose an Alignment, how your race and your Karma restrict your possibilities, and what the consequences of each choice are. It’s time to have a look at the three planets to see how each Alignment and crime are treated there!

Arboreus

Arboreus Mood Painting

Arboreus is designed to be the ideal home of PvE lovers. It features large areas accessible only by Beastmen and characters with Good alignment, and a great degree of protection from hostile PvP in the rest of the world. How great is such protection? Let’s go through that together.

First and foremost, travelling to Arboreus is no small feat for a Human or Demon character. It requires good planning and is generally expected to be a group effort. Moreover, and more importantly, things get exponentially more difficult for players of Neutral and Evil alignment, who not only have to work harder to gain access to the planet, but also find it harder to stay.

Indeed, only Humans with Good alignment are allowed to walk the lands of Arboreus for a considerable amount of time – 20/40 real-world hours, thus being able to explore a good portion of the world at once, collecting resources and acquiring knowledge.

If you’re a Human with Neutral alignment, you can also stay for a while – around 5/10 hours, penalized only by a slight stat debuff. However, if you get flagged as Aggressive, you are immediately treated as Evil, suffering all the penalties explained below.

If your character has an Evil alignment and you manage to enter Arboreus, well, now you’re in trouble! The planet itself, pervaded by the primal energy of Elysium, immediately starts fighting to repel you. You become heavily debuffed, and normally pacific creatures turn aggressive against you, seeking you out to rip you apart. Even worse, you are only allowed to stay on Arboreus for half an hour at once, and you are quickly drained of all vital energies if you step into a Good-only area.

TL;DR

If you play as a Beastman on Arboreus, you’ll often wander zones completely devoid of hostile PvP – particularly as a new player, and you’re unlikely to be the victim of an aggression from other races in the rest of the world as well. If you’re Evil and looking to travel to Arboreus to go on a killing spree, you won’t succeed – you’d rather have a clear PvE / gathering objective in mind and complete it as fast as you can!

Syndesia

Syndesia Mood Painting

Syndesia has been designed for those of you who are looking for a balance between PvE and PvP, strict rules to prevent senseless griefing, and a competitive environment ruled by opposing guilds and alliances.

The Human homeland is a world deprived of the primal energy that still exists on Arboreus, and can therefore be accessed by Good, Neutral and Evil players alike, without them receiving any buff or debuff. Moreover, it’s the easiest planet to travel to from other worlds – a feature that has turned it into the economic center of the Elysium System.

The degree of protection enjoyed by players on Syndesia is location-dependent, and varies according to the laws established by the guild in possession of each town and its surrounding territory. No hostile actions are permitted in Good-aligned towns besides during sieges, while protection outside of city walls depends on the efforts of the sovereign guild or alliance. This includes hiring NPC squads who hunt down and dispossess any player marked by a criminal flag such as Thief or Assassin. Starting towns can’t be conquered, are always Good-aligned, and their territories strictly patrolled.

Beastmen on Syndesia lose the powers they are granted on Arboreus. Other than that, they can stay on the Human planet as long as they like, finding shelter at any town that allows them in.

While the planet itself doesn’t force them out, Demons have a much harder time walking the lands of Syndesia. Away from the reach of Babilis, they not only lose their Demonic powers, but start leaking vital energy after a couple hours, which forces them to get back to their homeland. Eclipses are a notable exception, since Demons lose neither their powers nor their energy as long as Tartaros is casting its evil influence on the Human world.

TL;DR

On Syndesia, players of all alignments coexist, while the overall safety of each territory depends on the guild controlling it. If you’re a new player, you enjoy a rather large safety net. As you progress, playing with an organized group is advised, but not strictly necessary. Want to be a criminal? That is possible and potentially rewarding, but punishment for your crimes won’t be light!

Tartaros

Tartaros Mood Painting

Tartaros, the Demon planet, is the land for all of you hardcore MMO players who want to enjoy competition at its finest. PvP is strictly Free-For-All, aside from the Nests where new Demons are born, and no punishment or limitation is imposed on Evil characters and criminals like Thieves and Murderers.

Travelling to Tartaros is extremely challenging for any Beastman, since not only they lose the buffs they are granted on Arboreus, but also become the target of the hate of Babilis. The Evil God enjoys stacking curses on the poor fellows, who could end up dying just because of them – if they don’t get slayed by Demons, that is.

Unlike Beastmen, Humans are generally tolerated by Babilis, who sees a potential for corruption in them. They aren’t directly penalized like Beastmen, but slowly lose Karma over time, unless they enjoy the protection of another God. Tyros, for instance, grants total immunity from the influence of Babilis – but of course, that comes at a price too. While the dark God is not able to reach their souls, it is more than willing to let its children do the dirty job! That is why, one hour after stepping on the planet, the presence of any protegee of Tyros is made known to all Demons in the area!

TL;DR

With open PvP, full loot, and no punishment for crime, Tartaros is a harsh environment for Demons – let alone for other races! Beastmen are directly penalized when travelling through this Evil planet, while Humans have a slightly easier time, particularly if they enjoy the protection of a God. Regardless of your race, any expedition to Tartaros should be planned more than carefully!

The Next Episode

In our original plan, this update was to be dedicated to town building, management, and conquest. The heated discussions arisen on the forums about PvP convinced us to prioritize a different topic – but we’ll soon be back on track!

As a reminder, the series of updates on civilization will cover themes such as:

  • Inhabitable areas: where can you build, and what?
  • Town states: haunted, ruined, unclaimed and claimed cities.
  • Conquests: massive sieges or open field battles?
  • Organization: keep your town running properly!

See you soon and don’t forget to let us hear your voice on our community boards and social media!

DISCUSS