Since the C-130 is out and in full swing i had some time on my hands to think about things, whipe clean my inventory and notecard folder and i stumbled over something i thought might be worth dusting off.
I’ve been carrying this along with myself for a long time and i thought to take a stab at that topic again. Be aware tho that this is highly controversial to begin with and might insult the one or other person.
With that out of the way let’s get crackin’!
There used to be many combat regions on SL but that is of the past, there have been made many mistakes, mine myself included that brought them down or still make them a less than desirable place to combat in SL.
1. Combat =//= Roleplay
Let’s start simple. A whole lot of combat regions call themselves out as roleplay sims (RP). Probably by people who never ever played an actual RPG like DnD, Traveller or Shadowrun.
Let’s be clear on this: Roleplay might contain combat sequences to freshen things up, but combat itself can rarely contain any roleplay elements at all. Not on an unsupervised platform like Second Life anyway.
Besides most people who call out their combat region as roleplay, would not understand this meme:
So why don’t you just call the baby by it’s name? Combat is Combat.
People that come to ‘Combat RP’ sims do not want to waste time playing a role. They want to blow shit up!
2. Where is the enemy again?
Having no OPFOR (opposing force) or having to have the concept of an OPFOR in the first place makes for sad combat regions. Yes of course you can sit with your single faction at your region and pretent to be awesome and gang up on any visitor who dares to put on the team of the opposing force. But let’s be honest. It is not really fun is it?
The problem breaks down into two main problems:
A. The biggest group controls the region
There are lots of examples in that category. Basically the biggest group in the region also controls the land and thus has no real interest in having another team on a level playing field. They think that they have every right to do so. You regularly hear complaints that any other team does not get treated fairly or has to fight under conditions that are almost laughable to anyone with half a braincell left. Which leads me to:
B. The setting supports only one faction for real
There are some examples in this category and they mostly go in conjuration with A. but i have seen examples where this got just deployed rather not well thought out to begin with.
Here are some examples of settings i have seen and why they are BAD for combat in SL.
– Vietnam War.
So a big well trained armed force with the newst equipment of that time fights against a guerilla force that overwhelmed them by sheer numbers and concealment?
This is not going to fly in SL. There is no concealment and when did you ever saw that a faction that does not boast any fancy toys outnumbers the one with the fancy toys?
– Korea War
Same thing as above. Just with an emphasis on number superiority. The dogfights might have been sort of balanced. But a region does not live off of dogfights alone anymore these days.
– Basically any conflict in the middle east after 911
A supermodern task force using the most modern weapons, to drive out supposingly terrorist cells out of caves and hidings, with weapons that are probably smarter than their weilder?
Ask yourself a honest question. Would you play on the side of the oposing force under these conditions? No? I thought so.
3. What rules man?
Totally unadministered sims are poision to any community. It remains a fleeting wish of the community, to have just a place where everyone tests their mettle and skills against a likeminded opponent in a sportsmanlike fashion. Until they collide with reality, which shows them that all too many people just play to win, by any means necessary. And if that includes hacking the combat system or use griefer tools to archive their goals, so be it.
Currently the most prominent example of that is the Jeogeot Gulf, but there have been other places that did tried that concept before, but they are all gone or no one visits them anymore.
While the concept of the Jeogeot Gulf is great. I mean a place where anything can be used, and basically no one can get banned (evidently), must sound like paradise to combat players.
Well yes and no. The core problem is security. And i do not necessarily mean security from griefers. While that also is a problem, occasionally a huge one too, it is not really spot on.
Let me try to explain this. Everyone playing in a combat region brings in their freetime to have a good time. And most people i’ve met like to do that, with at least some security net below them. Clear factions, defined combat system, defined staging points (spawns) and of course banned weapon systems that are considered overpowered (OP).
All this does not exist in the Gulf and while i am grateful that we do have that place to begin with. A little more organisation at least would help. Because Linden Labs is certainly not appointing anyone to be the janitor of the Gulf and they are right now terribly understaffed to begin with.
4. Your groups stink.
While i made peace with Joe and Astral Tek at large i often got asked for advise and then ignored. It does not matter, it’s their place and if they wanted it that way…heck, they own the place, right?
Well sorta. This topic is about the groups in combat sims. While it is already really bad if the owner of the place is having the main group as well, it gets even worser if you just invite groups all over the place.
As i rented out two sims for Joe, north of Olds, I watched with great interest what would become of those.
I also got asked for advise on how to gain better traffic numbers and all that and got ignored on many topics. Including: Make your own team groups, keep ownership on those group, do not hand out ownership on those groups and keep them with an iron hand. Instead they invited some notorious brit into the mix, with his own group, who soon and quickly disturbed the peace with drama. I will not even mention how badly the german group fared. I was just face-pawing myself constantly.
As i made Olds i also created groups, one for each team, with me as owner and the officers of the group as managers. I did made the mistake to give ownership of one of the groups to other people (Hello Jewels), Something i will never do again.
Having control over the groups in a combat region gives you vital influence in balancing and foremost control of social dynamics to a degree. You can appoint or relief leaders without loosing an entire group from your sims.
5. Why Olds failed.
I bet you’ve been waiting for that bit.
I deliver it to you straight: Social dynamics on the Internet and me being not hard enough.
What happened is, that the groups i established so nice and smuck started to develop actual real hatred for each other, that went well beyond your typical desired sportsmanship competition. This went even so far that it settled into the ranks of the administrators and i can tell you right away that it is no fun to have your backyard on fire, while the family is fighting over who’s fault it was, while doing nothing.
My fault in that situation was that i could not decide whom of the foul apples to kick. They all have been friends and nothing is more terrible than seeing friends fight each other.
When then my house was on fire, and i was close to a nervous breakdown. Matters solved themselves. i could not keep all the sims going and had to lay off most of them. I closed the sims thinking on how to resolve the problems i created. I came up with the green hell concept but working alone and keeping the sims going was simply not going to work. So i laid them all off eventually.
That concludes my brief visit to SL combat sims. Besides the obvious mocking and humor, i really hope that one smart person will come along and make a combat place that is actually working. I tried it, stumbled and got up again. I would not consider myself failed, because i learned from the errors of others and myself. You can do the same!