Thursday, August 08, 2013

Destructible Terrain and Griefing

Another major element EQ Next is promising is destructible terrain. I think it's going to be an interesting experiment.

The immediate question, of course, is how long will it take for everything to be destroyed? What will the anti-griefing measures be like? For example, if a monster can destroy a city, I foresee someone kiting a monster to the city at every opportunity.

It's kind of sad how everything can turn into a tool for griefing. Destruction can lead to griefing. Creation can lead to griefing. For example, people can take up all the free space with buildings, making it hard for new players to start. Or they crowd out existing players.

I think there could be a lot more work to be done with costs in MMOs, especially non-linear costs. For example, maybe maintaining 5 buildings costs 1 resource per building, but maintaining 10 buildings could cost 2 resources per building. Or something where it's easy to destroy one piece of terrain, but gets harder and harder to destroy more terrain.


  1. From what I've read the incidental damage from combat will 'heal' over time. no firm timescale yet, but the world will restore itself.

    The only events that will permanently alter the landscape are rallying calls - which take potentially months to go through the stories and changes.

    So SOE have thought about the greifing potential. Lets be honest, if they didn't, all their painstakingly created world would be rendered down to the core within a month

  2. I suppose Landmark will give them an early opportunity to witness just how far griefing will go at least where it relates to crafting/building.

    I too suspect destructable landscapes will offer untold opportunities for griefing: blow up the bridge someone is crossing? How about the floor above a magma pit? There's also the more subtle potential annoyances of this in a shared space - people destroying stuff before you can even look around / read the inscription / take a screenshot. It could give a whole new sub-definition to photobombing!

  3. I'd presume there'd be a debuff or something else applied if you were part of multiple griefings. Of course, they may not be able to kite a monster that far.

  4. If there is a possibility to kite at all, the distance is not a factor. Kiting Omen into Ogrimmar was fairly common trick even when Ogrimmar had no gates to Azshara and kiters had to go all the way through Barrens and Durotar...

  5. One way to control griefing is to control the means of production and destruction.

    In most virtual worlds, the cost of destruction is nothing. You kill an enemy, it cost you nothing (except the time it took). Maybe a bit of armour repair at most. But what if you needed tools, like in Minecraft, that wear out. You want to destroy a building? You need a sledgehammer that takes a long time to damage the building, and that wears out quickly and must be replaced. SOE controls how quickly the destruction takes place and how quickly the tool wears out.

    Same thing for building. You need raw materials, which you (or somebody) had to dig from the ground, using a tool that wears out. By controlling the rate at which the raw material is produced and the rate at which the tool wears out, SOE control the opportunity for ganking and make sure that ganking is not a cheap operation.

    I predict that the biggest craft market will be in picks and shovels.

  6. Healing is the best solution. If the terrain heals back in the time it takes you to wreck 10 structures, then the world will be fine. One (or five) griefers can't do enough damage fast enough to seriously impact the game. A single player, yes, but not the game.

    If they want to get really clever, then they can tune the healing times, based on how much damage a player has been doing (meaning, if be only breaks 1 thing an hour, it heals very slowly, but when you are breaking lots of stuff, the stuff you started with heals pretty fast.)

  7. BTW, it's the same with building. There have to be ongoing maintenance costs, and they have to scale. Make them exponential (the second bldg costs 2x, the third costs 4x, the fourth costs 8x) and it won't be much of an issue, because anyone willing to spend that much in resources SHOULD be allowed to grief the server... for a day.