An old article about ideas UO and Crowfall developer in PVP

I was asked in DIscrd for information about the change in Ultima Online from only PVP to PVE shards too, and what happened. They hold many of they players, but the pvp ganked were lost.

Gordon walton is related with Crowfall, SWTOR and other games


He mentions that it disenfranchised the “hardcore PvPers” because they now had to prey on each other…
PvP aka player versus player, in what way could a player in lets say a wolf consider he was a hardcore PvPer after attacking and defeating an unarmed non-combatant?
I submit that forcing PvPers to engage in combat with other PvPers isn’t disenfranchisement at all, but instead the true measure of hardcore.
Most PvE characters that I know do so only as a means to fuel their PvP, just sayin’
I seriously doubt that a dedicated non-combat area is a good idea, rather I would prefer if ganking just for the sake of ganking with little or no possible reward of stolen loot (perfectly fine) as it were was viewed with disdain and scorn as it should be.
Clubbing a baby seal is only acceptable if you truly need the fur.


Bollocks, this is a game not RL.


“I regret some (but not all) of the outcome,” Walton began

I’m not sure you really need to read much further. Splitting the population with Trammel was a fatal gut wound that sent UO into obscurity.

You can try to assign blame whomever you want to, but the reality is Eve Online (and the old Ultima Online) wasn’t designed to function as a pure PvE game, or a pure PvP game. Shoehorning a game designed one way into another type of game is a recipe for disaster as Trammel shows.

Eve online is what it is. CCP has more sense to make such a suicidal move. Pandering to players that can’t handle loss isn’t a viable path to growth for Eve Online. Sure, CCP/PA could make a play to capture such players with a new game, like perhaps this secret MMO that they are turning Nova into set in the Eve universe, but Eve Online itself isn’t going to change, even if that means it will be confined to a niche forevermore.

Eve Online has a well established brand, and you can’t easily morph that into something else without almost certainly destroying your street cred with your current fans. So why would you want to try? Just make a new game.


Let’s not and say we did.

CCP, bless their hearts, can barely manage EVE Online, even with the playerbase helping them. Their side projects have been fantastic failures.^

EVE Online is CCP Games. The sooner CCP realizes this and throws themselves 100% into EVE Online, the better for everyone.

^ Yes I realize some of the side projects helped develop tech that could be potentially invaluable to EVE Online.


This was one of the care bears that destroyed UO.

Within 6 months the economy was completely gone.


Dust514 wasnt a bad game… aside from being PS(2?) exclusive title FPS shooter.


ps3 and it was like COD multiplayer with equipment loss, once you pushed back your enemy far enough they would loss all but 2 respawn points. 1 on the ground that everyone camped, and 1 in the ship above that dropped you around the same area. you could die at the spawn point very easily once you got pushed back and than farmed.

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A more recent example of that, and of developers putting their personal feelings ahead of the business is the horror story of The Secret World.

The developers, FPS players, convinced management to turn TSW into a shooter. The UI was soo bad they had to resort to banning the discussion of it.

Needless to say it was a mediocre shooter and flopped.

Trammel made UO an empty shell of a game. I have not heard of stories from ultima online. I do not see them in mainstream press. In fact, i can’t remember seeing them in the main gaming press sites for…i don’t even remember how long. A decade?

And the softening up of eve has been having the same effect.


The pretend-PvPers who need weak sheep to hunt are having their usual, fact-free discussion on this.

The people who designed, created, and ran Ultima Online for years are unanimous in their stance that non-consensual PvP was bad for the game. Non-con PvP is only good for the 10% of the audience who are lame pretend-hunters who can’t handle actual combat with a challenging opponent.

Non-consensual PvP always loses more players than it retains. That is why there isn’t a single major MMO out there featuring non-con PvP for any stretch of years. They either tone it down, or they die.

From the article:
"I regret some (but not all) of the outcome," Walton began, going on to explain that the rampant PvP was driving away over 70% of new players to UO . The creation of Trammel doubled the playerbase, but he said that it disenfranchised the hardcore PvPers who now had to prey on each other instead of PvEers.

"I also learned from my UO experience that it’s really hard to change a brand," he wrote. "Inherent in the UO brand was the fact it was a gritty, hard core world of danger. We were not successful in bringing back the (literally) hundreds of thousands of players who had quit due to the unbridled PvP in the world (~5% of former customers came back to try the new UO , but very few of them stayed). We discovered that people didn’t just quit UO , they divorced it in a very emotional way. But we did keep more of the new players that came in by a large margin, significantly more than the PvP players we lost."

PvP driving players away. Retaining far more players than they lost through shedding the non-con PvP. UO’s population peaked about three years after Trammel was introduced… it hardly “killed” it or left it empty.

(Not coincidentally, EVE’s best year ever was the year after Crime Watch was introduced.)

The design of EVE means that PvP needs to be integrated into the game throughout, and encouraged, and enabled. But to pretend that a “wild wild west” approach of free-for-all PvP would be good for the game is simply stacking denial on top of willful ignorance.

Pay attention to the facts. The world won’t adjust to your cherished beliefs just because you really really want it to.


PvP is inherently reductive.

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It was PS3. I purchased the console just to play it. It wasn’t really bad, but the performance on that old console was just ■■■■. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience at all coming from a PC. I played it a couple of times and then repurposed the PS3 as a blueray player.

So yes I would say the thing that killed Dust was their idiotic decision to put it on ps3. I don’t know why they couldn’t just release that on PC, it was a finished game and I think there would have been an audience for it on PC. At least this way they would have had something to improve on. Why would you throw something like this just away and not even try?

This was in a world where there was almost no notable other PvE MMORPG. This has massively changed since then. When UO released trammel they destroyed an absolutely unique game that had no replacement anywhere (until EVE showed up in my opinion). But making it consensual PvP only they attracted a crowd that had previously not much choice of other games in those categories.

This all changed only a few years later. Now you have WOW and a literally dozens of PvE focused MMOs that specifically target those needs and do it very very well. Those games are designed from the ground up to cater to this payers and present them first class entertainment with massive amount of quests, interesting interactive storytelling in a PvP free environment. Those games are designed for this.

EVE on the other hand was specifically designed to attract the people who enjoyed the pre-trammel gameplay. And there are players that enjoy this. EVE could capitalize on this niche for the last 16+ years because there was literally no other game that tried to successfully enter this small but still lucrative market. On the other hand there where hundreds of PvE focused MMOs who tried to compete and almost all of them failed as the market for this type of game was completely saturated.

We are pointing this out for years, but apparently it is extremely hard to understand that EVE has not the slightest chance in the PvE MMO market. EVE’s PvE is pure and utter garbage. It is boring and almost instantly repetitive as hell. One could say that even here CCP caters to a “special” niche player base who likes to torture themselves with this unbearable, dull and extremely bad excuse for a PvE experience.


If making highsec safer was so good, then why did player counts and game activity enter a prolonged decline after that bump? Not only is CrimeWatch 2.0 still there, but there have been several other major buffs to highsec safety since then, and activity, especially in highsec just keeps going down.

Reading the CSM minutes you get the impression there is an overwhelming consensus from all stakeholders that the current problems with Eve aren’t that there is too much PvP going on - it is that there is way too much PvE going on in this game. Ok, maybe not PvE per se, but too much safe and overly lucrative PvE as compared to destruction. Yes, the game needs balance, but everything suggests the game is stagnating in a cesspool of wealth and safety, not being abandoned because it is too dangerous.

That is a different issue though than Trammelizing Eve. UO may have gained a temporary bump from splitting their game by tapping into a larger pure PvE playerbase but at the cost of their brand and the core idea of building a virtual world, and the two resulting “games” could not compete with pure PvP and pure PvE games that were built that way from the ground up. History shows it a failure.

Eve would suffer the same fate no doubt. CCP needs to find a way to make space for newer players to compete and progress without being completely dominated by the established players, while simultaneously making the game harsher on those with the most power and resources.

It’s a tall order, but everything CCP has said recently indicates they totally get the issue. The real problem is how to get there. There is a lot to fix in Eve right now, and CCP not only doesn’t seem to be making progress, but is even falling behind with their recent decisions.


That’s a better read than the article. My favorite part is the end where he talks about the plans for Crowfall:

Another interesting thing to note is that the push for bigger audiences leads directly to more “accessible” experiences. (that’s code for directed experiences, that are more forgiving, less intense games which cater a broader group of players). There are plenty of big companies out there making those types of games (and plenty of players who want them).

We are specifically making our game for players who will like the kind of experience we will create, not trying to cast a wide net to get a mass market audience. We want the folks who will appreciate an intense gaming experience with real risk, winning and losing. While we want as many players who are engaged in our game as possible, we won’t need millions of players to make our game work.

So our game won’t be for everyone, and we certainly don’t want people playing who aren’t enjoying the experience. This is supposed to be an activity we experience as fun after all!

This perfectly describes what I’ve always thought was best for EVE, why I’ve opposed the “softening” of the game in the hopes of getting people to stay.

Even I (a total a supporter of non-consensual pvp as seen in EVE) can understand that as along as there is ANY of it in EVE, EVE will remain small and niche. Just like how lots of folks quit in the blackout rather than be farmed with little notice, so goes the rest of the gameing world

Some of us who aren’t totally pvp focused (like me) will play a game like EVE because we like surviving against the odds. The kind of person who enjoys being a PvE player in a game of hungry PvP wolves is like Indiana Jones, getting the loot is good, getting away with it is the best. But most MMO gamers aren’t like that. Even most EVE players aren’t like that which is why most stick to high sec

People aren’t going to change. But neither should EVE, there are now space games that totally let you fly in space and not get PvP’d , there is a place for everyone, and those who don’t like non-consensual pvp have other options. I think they should take them.


EVE forum.

Look, Karak, I get that your need to hunt noobs in safespace makes you blind to facts, but please don’t assume the rest of us are blind because you choose to be.

1996 - The Realm Online (Sierra)
1997 - Ultima Online(PvP)
1998 - Lineage
1999 - EverQuest, Asheron’s Call
2000 - UO: Renaissance(Trammel-PvE)
2001 - Dark Age of Camelot(RvR), Anarchy Online, Runescape
2002 - Maple Story, Earth and Beyond,
2003 - ShadowBane(PvP), Lineage II, Second Life, Star Wars Galaxies, EVE Online
2004 - EverQuest II, WoW, City of Heroes

Ultima Online grew faster and retained more players for 3 years after the release of Trammel. All the developers point out that unlimited PvP was costing them players. It was not ‘Trammel’ that reduced UO playership, it was competition from newer and better games.

The only thing ‘unique’ about UO was that they allowed the tiny portion of the playerbase who can only get their jollies from kicking puppies to drive away hundreds of thousands of players, who then badmouthed the game to everyone who would listen.

Yes, there are players who enjoy this. And the playership on PvP servers throughout the genre shows they are a small fraction of the entire audience. If they weren’t a small fraction, everybody wouldn’t have left Felucca for Trammel.

The whole problem with “unlimited PvP” is that it caters to a small portion of the audience, who require other people to be their victims. These pretend-PvPers don’t want to fight other PvPers: for the most part they only want easy kills on people who don’t want to PvP, or are entirely outclassed.

That’s an unsustainable gaming ecosystem. People will not pay money and keep playing to be your victim. They leave, and they badmouth the game to everyone. Eventually the game dies off.

Absolutely agreed. EVE’s base concept requires PvP, and the PvE almost certainly cannot be made engaging enough to hold player interest. (It can be made better than it is now, though.)

The difference in opinion here is that “non-consensual PvP” (kicking puppies and knocking over old ladies) is not the only way to design PvP into a game. It’s the way you and a small fraction of other players like, sure. It’s the way EVE works because EVE is poorly designed for both PvE and PvP.

The fact that another poorly designed game was kinda fun (for a small group of PKers) for 2 years back before it had serious competition is not a good case for saying “But EVE should be designed this way!”.

It’s a bad model. It’s unsustainable.

EVE can be designed for real PvP. But only if CCP pulls their head out of their arse and stops listening to either the “make it safer!” crowd or the “bring back jetcanning!” crowd and actually learns how to design a game to support PvP in a manner that doesn’t cannibalize it’s own player base.

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EVE enjoyed its’ best year ever for a year after CrimeWatch was released. It wasn’t a ‘bump’. It continued to decline after people gave it a chance for another year, because CCP did not address the core issues of the game.

PvE was still boring as hell. PvP was still unbalanced and too infrequent. The NPE was still shite. Gankers gradually re-learned new ways to gank and brought ganking back. Wardecs were still shite.

They made a useful change: that change brought an increase in playership, but one change doesn’t fix all the bad design problems in one go. And CCP consistently fails to even be aware what the core design problems are so they never fix them.

Yes, and that is the design issue that CCP seem unable to address. They either allow PvE’rs to exploit various mechanics until the whole game is swimming in resources without much real conflict, or they allow PvPers to drive off players. They’ve never figured out that you can design a mixed PvP/PvE game without leaning to one of these two extremes.

Um, no. Please refer to my response to Karak above. Making Trammel saved UO and allowed it to grow for another 3 years until major competition entered the marketplace. As for ‘failure’, UO is still being played today, with a reduced playerbase. Much like EVE is still being played today, with a reduced player base.

Agreed. Unfortunately I put no faith at all in CCP’s “we get it, we’re making changes” talk because they’ve been doing that since 2008. All they’ve ever shown is they really don’t get it, and anybody at CCP who does get it is told to shut up, let the boss have his way, and then quietly ‘deprecated’ out of the picture.

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Don’t try to spin this that hi-sec is safer than it has ever been and yet the player count keeps dropping as if that is to blame.

Your orginal statement is in fact false. Hi-sec is less safe than it has been for many years. Gankers are many and they have mastered their trade. You’re lucky to autopilot a t1 fit battlship through hi-sec now without a ganker group desperate for kills deciding to blow you up. The fact that they’re now attacking such worthless targets goes to highlight how dire the situation has become.

Someone will claim, “well you shouldn’t use autopilot then”. Says who? It’s a feature of the game. It’s very handy for a player who just fitted out his new battleship to be able to set autopilot to the system he plans to play in and then use that 20 or 30 minutes to get some real life stuff done then come back to playing. Some claim he deserves to come back to his ship destroyed and character podded. Such toxic elitism will never be good for the game. If that player now quits, who really loses out? Here’s a hint, it’s not the player who quit who loses.

The present day EVE reminds me of the final days of UO, before they had to introduce Trammel as a means to stem the loss of players who were leaving due to how bad the ganking had became. I recall mass groups of red player killers banding together and sweeping through dungeons, all the mining spots etc, killing all players they could find. That’s where EVE is now. Bored nullsec players have been massing together their gank alts on the pipes between the empires, such as Niarja for example, and blowing up any target of value. (and these days, any random player)

They used to exclusively target item packed freighters of high value. Over time the number of such targets has diminished, and the number of gankers has increased. We’re at the point now where they will target empty freighters and even battleships. Don’t even think about taking a highly tanked faction fit battleship through there, because even if you have EHP of over 250k, they will still be able to kill you. There is such a lack of targets (sheep) for them these days that even target t1 fit battleships that yield no financial incentive. They literally just gank for the sake of it. That’s where we’re at.

Some examples of this: They suicided over a billion isk worth of Talos BC’s to destroy an empty freighter of a random player, for no reason at all. - Again, a freighter ganked by 16 gankers. Another purely random gank that is pointless to have done. Who knows how many such victims go on to leave the game. - This time they used 27 gankers to wipe out a random orca who was passing by. Some great gameplay right there. Am sure the victim found it very fun. - Random empty freighter. 20 gankers. - Another low value freighter. 20 gankers. - A random Drekavac, only 250m value. 16 gankers. - A random 600m armor tanked Bhaalgorn. You wouldn’t expect that. - 535m random machariel gank. 20 gankers. - A T1 fit 250m dominix - 19 gankers.

This is where we’re at. This ■■■■ has been happening for several years now and has gotten worse over time. It all began when gankers realised they could suicide gank freighters who were moving through the 0.5 connections between the empires in “high security space”.

I remember when the gankers used to claim you’ll be safe if you carry a small load. Carry many billions and expect to die. Well, those days are long gone. There are many more gankers now, and many more groups who do this. Meanwhile the targets are drying up. That’s why we now see kills like those listed above. Empty freighters and battleships that don’t even have any loot worth ganking for are being ganked because the players doing the ganking are getting ever more desperate for kills. It’s the natural evolution of when ganking is allowed to run out of control for so long, you end up with not enough sheep to keep the gankers satiated. Where did all the sheep go? Quit.

Exactly the same situation that happened to UO that lead to the creation of Trammel. Which greatly increased their player retention interestingly enough.

I’m not saying CCP should remove ganking. But CCP should take action to stem the worst of it, which occurs at these 0.5 and 0.6 pipe systems between the empires. It’s actually much worse than it used to be and you even see it occur in 0.7 to 0.9 now as well but not as much. If I were CCP I’d change it so the routes typically taken by players on trips between the empires have much faster concord response times. Could be achieved by simply raising the sec status of these systems to at least 0.9 or even just set them to max security.

It is quite shocking that for all these years this has been taking place, with the playerbase in decline, that CCP has still not realised that when a player makes a trip from Caldari space to Amarr space or Caldari space to Gallente space, they expect the trip to be safe. None of the sytems they pass through are flagged as low security. Yet they may as well have no security because the odds of being destroyed when making this trip are high.

Why wouldn’t concord give greater security to important trade routes that see heavy ganking? Remove the ease of ganking in these highly ganked routes that many players regularly travel through and it should bring about a big reduction in the amount of pointless ganks taking place on unsuspecting players who assumed their trip from Jita to Amarr would be a safe one. - This one is a bit crazy. 96 billion isk killed. Looks like the player was moving everything he owned. No surprise they ganked this one. Wonder if he’s still subscribed. (No activity from him since the gank). I think one thing this shows is that there are players who believe if they are moving through high security space then they are safe. If that leads to a situation where they lose everything and quit, it’s a loss for CCP.

On top of how ridiculous the ganking situation is, we now have random trig and star npc ganks. Which is nothing more than npc ganking of hi-sec players. As if the game needed this, with the state of player ganking being what it is.