Its a Dead Horse, but Someone has to Beat it.
So… the first word about PvP has come, and it has been Good, for the larger part of the players, and Bad, for a few sadistic, evil, mean, self-centered individuals who like nothing more than bullying little children and sitting naked behind their PCs, killing other people’s characters. Yes, it is time to beat that Dead Horse one last time, and we’ll beat it really well, and once we’ve beaten it to the consistency of milk, we’ll leave it at that. It’s time to talk about PLAYER KILLING! WOOOO!
But before we start, I shall outline the Flogging of the Horse. I shall start with Flogging the Bad People’s side. That’ll be the column you are reading. After all, the Evil PK-ing Scum does deserve a flogging for their mischievous acts, and I have a whip (with nine tails, no less). Next week I will flog the Nice People. They also deserve a beating, because they place their own self-centered needs in front of the need of those who want to hunt. And last but not least, I shall not flog anyone but write down my own sordid little history, and with the help of a little hindsight, make sarcastic comments and provide a lot of you with insight in the mind of a player killer. That would be me, yes. Needless to say, I shall flog vehemently, sarcastically, and hard. I shall beat and smash, break and grind, and mash and trash. This is the last time it is possible as Diablo III will not contain non-consensual hostility. Here we go!
You’re playing Diablo II. You are near Diablo himself, in Normal, and someone enters the game. It?s a level 80. Maybe he wants to help you? You party up, and then, without a warning, he types something insulting? and presses the hostile button. You think ?uhm, that’s not supposed to happen? and before you know it, the level 80 sorceress, which is what it is, is on the screen, kills your character and the rest of the party, and then proceeds to kill Diablo for the fun of it, leaving you with your mangled corpse and a pile of gold, if you are that lucky. You respawn in town, try to get at your corpse and get naked-killed, as the term goes. This happens a few times, and eventually you leave the game. You enter a new game, pick up your body in town and leave it at that for the night. Why did that guy enter your game? Purely to spoil the fun? Most likely yes. Someone wanted to bully you, wanted to giggle at your screams, and wanted to act like a general jerk. There is no telling what or why they do this apart from the fact that they seem to enjoy it. Do they have the right to do this? Well, since they have a level 80 character, they sure have the might to do this. They smash up your game, kill your character, kill the quest and spoil the fun. PKs are the scum of the Diablo Earth, and as far as you are concerned they deserve to be shot on sight. I think we can all agree to that. It is griefing purely for the fun of griefing.
There also used to be a cute little method which was called the ?thorns-bug?. A paladin converted a whole bunch of monsters, turned on his Thorns Aura, and once the conversion wore off, the Thorns aura stuck to the monsters for an additional three seconds. Any melee char attacking the monsters suddenly suffered a what, 700% damage return effect, and died instantly. Lame, annoying, and since it was death by monster, stupid. It’s a whole different league of griefing. Also annoying are the pricks who load a TP full with monsters while you are not watching. I don’t really know what gets into those people? there is no way you can defend yourself against it, and no way you can stop it. Some people are just idiots, and battlenet seems full of them. Well, it is full of them.
Thing is, although annoying, you pick up your corpse and move on. You never realize how truly devastating this kind of behavior can be for someone until you enter Hardcore. In Softcore, player kills are a nuisance. In Hardcore mode, Player Killers are the absolute, utter, most debased Evil that Walks the Earth. No monster or set of Monster mods strike such an amount of fear in the hearth of a HC player as the player killer does. The sound of the hostile bell going off is like an alarm? everybody sits up and pays attention, and either scrambles to a new game or immediately portsls to town. At least, the wiser ones do? the few that don?t invariably suffer from ?accidents? at the hands of the PK. If you have just spend twenty hours getting to level 30, 40, 50 or 60 (and yes, I know, you people are all leet and get to 80 in two hours but you know what I mean), what more fun can there be had than seeing that character die a totally meaningless death at the hands of a player killer? They ruin someone’s hard work, they kill off the character, and in HC, that means ?exit?? bye char, bye gear, bye time and bye enjoyment. Responses to this vary, but most of them include ?no-life? and ?no-brains? and ?n00b? and other, less savory compliments aimed at the mother of the PK.
You just have to be a complete sadist, or not care about someone’s feelings, in order to be a PK and to kill someone else’s character in Hardcore. Most PK’s are armed to the teeth, characters capable of dishing out say 1000 listed damage at clvl 12, and this means your PvM character stands no chance whatsoever defending himself against those things. No, PKs are mean and sadistic. Worst of all they force their behavior upon you, while you are questing and having fun. Not fair at all. If it were a duel where both agreed lethal force was acceptable then the outcome might be ok, but it isn’t. You did not ask for it, you did not want it, yet they entered your public game, killed your character and ruined your day, week, or in some cases (and this happens more than one might expect) your interest in Diablo II.
It gets even worse when there are hacks and cheats of all kinds involved. Some attacks remain onscreen whilst the character itself is in town, and when the hostile button is pressed those attacks WILL hit the players who are still present in the world of Sanctuary, fighting against the monsters. Put an automated script between the attacker and his prey and you have a very vile combination. This severely disrupts the game, disrupts your ability to play Diablo, and in the case of Hardcore players, has all but destroyed public Hardcore. The remaining HC players huddle in tightly knit groups and only rarely do they venture outside in the Big Wide World to meet new people. Passworded games are a) invisible to other players and b) protected against anyone who doesn’t know the password. All in all, HC online play has been driven underground, and SC gaming is disrupted because some people must derive the size of their egos from killing other people’s characters.
Arguments have been made back and forth, and one of the best arguments and biggest discussions on the net was that of Sirian, who made a point, and rubbed it into Blizzard’s nose. However, nothing changed, and Diablo II remained open to all kind of griefing scum. Thank god that’s over now though. Diablo III will not have non-consensual PvP, and PvP will most likely only be possible in certain ?arenas?. This means griefing will be limited to a little bug abuse and a little bit of waypoint/town portal loading, and that can always be avoided by clever players. I’m rather curious as to how the whole PvP system will work in D3, but I am sure we will see. The PKs for one thing can look for another game to practice their pointless deeds. I hear Eve Online is a good place to start ? another old game that has non-consensual hostility.
Baranor’s Den is a weekly column that explores all things RPG and fantasy, with a special focus on the Diablo series. Views expressed in this column are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net. Leave your comment after the column, or email Baranor directly.