Baranor’s Den #7: Its a Dead Horse, and We Have the Right to Beat it.


Its a Dead Horse, and We Have the Right to Beat it

Welcome to part two of the Dead Horse. We’re talking about player-killing here, and we are talking about it one last time because non-consensual hostility is out, and regulated PvP is (most likely) in. I’ve taken it upon myself to beat that horse once again, and once only. Last week I mangled the PKs, this week I defend them, and next week I look onwards to Diablo 3.

So… non-consensual player killing is out. There’s no understanding that particular decision though, since PK-ing wasn’t really a problem in Diablo II. But more on that later. First, we shall take a look at why we are allowed to PK people, and why we are not a bunch of meanies who only dare to show their sadism online. First and foremost, although this might feel as playing the Devil’s advocate to some, we need to split some part of the PKs from the others. We are therefore going to separate the legit players from the non-legit players. First we are going to define “legit” in this context.

You see, definitions and word-games are at the centre of this debate, so I must make sure you all understand what I mean when I say “legit”. “Legit” means you are not using any 3rd party programs during gameplay, nor are you using stuff that come directly from the 3rd party programs or are a result of playing with said 3rd party programs. Therefore, if you get a charm from someone who uses maphack or pindlebot, you aren’t “legit” anymore. If you use a script to TPPK people, you most certainly aren’t legit anymore. The amount of cheating taking place on DII’s battle.net is rather astounding, and it is important we separate the bad from the really bad, so to speak, before we continue.

So… when I say “PK”, I mean “legit”, aka non-hack or cheat using PK that doesn’t use any dupes or cheats. Get it? I’m not defending the rights of the cheaters here, as, ahem, as far as I am concerned, they can bust their modem with a hammer and eat it. Or their router, these days… at any rate, they aren’t welcome here. Now that we have established that fine line, let us take a look at the rather small populace of battlenet that dies to the PK.

Only the overly stupid, overly brave, overly obtuse and the AFK die to a PK. I mean, come on, you hear the hostile bell, you see the crossed skull and bones on your screen, how much more information do you want with regards to the fact that you are about to be assaulted by someone who wants your ear? You have to be really stupid to miss that particular signal. Unless of course you play with the sound off and don’t pay attention to what’s happening on the screen anyway because your minions do all the work, in which case you are a Necromancer and everyone wants to see you dead because you cause massive lag on the server… should have picked a real class. So, in a way, death by PK is like the survival of the fittest… only the truly stupendous, uninformed or silly die to a PK. The vast majority of players know they should simply S&E or go to town. These days there even is a 10-second timer for taking WP’s after you hostile, so if you can’t run away in ten seconds, you never will. I don’t see that as a particularly large problem.

Secondly, why, in Tyrael’s name, do you complain about a feature which was put in the game and works as intended by the designers? The hostile button and the non-consensual hostility was placed there by Blizzard so that anyone can go to town, press that button and assault someone they do not like. Despite the countless arguments that have been fought over it, the button still exists, and anyone claiming it should not work that way is simply an idiot.

Third, you have played Diablo II before right? If you create a hardcore char (and all you SC players can shut their yaps now, the only real problem with PKs is in HC), you know its going to die sooner or later, unless you are as careful as a mother hen or as skillful as Chuck Norris, and thus, death is a constant factor for your character. You also know that non-consensual hostility exists. So why do you complain and yell about it if you enter a public game that someone is after your life? Isn’t that what you had expected? Do you also complain when playing chess if someone takes your queen? It is part of the game! Stop whining.

Then there is the argument about “being twinked up the wazoo”. They yell “unfair” when your level 13 charger paladin, who can give Big D a run for his money, assaults a level 20 or 30 and rips him to shreds. Let us put that to a rest once and for all. There is no argument. I mean, if you play Quake 2 Deathmatch, and you have the rocket launcher, and the other guy has only the silly pistol he started with, do you consider his “untwinked” status when you blow him to kingdom come? I doubt it. You point the Rocket Launcher at his feet and let it rip. +1 frag for you! So, since the hostile button exists, hardcore more exists, you enter Diablo II Multiplayer and tick the HC box, you accept that someone can come and kill you with gear twinked and mauled so bad you can hardly recognize it as “fitting for the level”.

And lastly, we have the argument that its not “nice”. Following the line of the button, the fact that its Hardcore, the inherent acceptance of the PK because you enter online DII and play in a pubbie game, where does “nice” come into this? Same goes for “mature”? there’s no reason to state PK’s are immature, because you yourself prove yourself to be immature because you fail to see that PK’s are part of the game, and therefore part of the Diablo World. No, there’s no debate whether or not true pk-ing is ethical. It belongs in Diablo, in the same way that chess allows you to take pieces, and Flatout comes with the ability to ram the other cars out of the track. Its all in the game, and therefore everything goes. Statements to the contrary are simply BS.

As an added bonus PKs add spice to the world of Diablo. Not only do we have the monsters, we also have the unscrupulous villans that are the PKs. This is fun! No, PK-ing should be in the game, and it’s a shame its not in! PK-ing allows for roleplaying, and it adds an added sense of danger to the game. The problem is not the PK’s, but its all those cheaters that use scripts to PK. We can all agree those are no fun at all


email Baranor 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.

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