Why your combat region sucks

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

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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.

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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!

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4 thoughts on “Why your combat region sucks

  1. I’m in a total agreement with Aeon analys… So far, I’ve seen only one “combat sim” running with some relative “success”… Won’t name it, but I guess most of you know of it… Place running with a lot of bots and only holding Free for All PvP events (no teams, even if their dedicated system allow them. Personally, I didn’t see or heard about, one Team vs Team event…) Will say that blasting bots could be fun, but it has some limits… One of them being you couldn’t use anything else than weapons or vehicles (fat chance with that, entering the place with a tank is like having a big one target painted on you, and the heavy bots are all top marksmen) dedicated to thier combat system… Sure… it’s eliminating all the “cheating” and balancing issues,… but… well… limiting the numbers of weapons aviables too…

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  2. You have many interesting points and I would add something.

    #1. What’s popular in SL?
    I just read inworld someone telling: “it’s difficult to find combat in SL other than in Gor”. It’s also told that Gor is still the most popular roleplay (or one of the most popular). Indeed, if you search for “roleplay”, and you sort for traffic, you get… tons of sex and furry sex places, and:
    – Sin City (~80k traffic): “forced sex, kidnap, BDSM combat”
    – City of Hochburg (~52k traffic): Gor BtB, “rape, capture, combat”
    But we want to blow stuff up, no? Let’s search for “combat”. You get again those twos, near the top the list, and loads of Gor places and various vampire, capture, sex stuff. Exceptions are a Final Fantasy place (~14k traffic), a ninja place, a zombie combat (~12k). The first vehicle combat is just below (Iron Arena, with A-T tanks, people hanging out at the entrance mostly), then Gor, Gor, furry sex, Gor… Warbug… Gor… Tulagi is currently ~2k, but there is rebuild in progress and I know sometimes it hit about 10k traffic. I hardly ever seen anyone in the tank arenas there anyway, but few times.

    So most people use SL as 50 shades of stuff simulator even regarding combat. Yeah, it feels like we are attempting to use a “porn game” as a flight or combat simulator. Maybe if you want to make Jeogedot popular, you need some poseball and your bombers should drop dildos (kidding).

    #2. There is something outside SL
    You should also consider that nowadays, if you want just to blow stuff up, you can play War Thunder and similar games and I don’t think SL can compete with those.

    #3. SL can offer something more than just a game though
    What SL offers as a plus is the social experience, mostly. Besides sex above, and virtual dating, you can make friends that share your same passions… and to get into any kind of drama and “troublesome” people (to tell it kindly), as you noted. One comes to your region to have fun, not for drama etc, so eventually he or she gets tired of that. So I can understand the iron hand and whatever you try. Combat perhaps isn’t the best place to make a friend, but when I meet a sporty minded one and there is reciprocal respect and esteem, rather to childish ones and inflated egos, that’s exactly what happens.

    #4. Drones!
    There isn’t always someone around to play with, and when people see nobody is around, they tend to go elsewhere, where other people are. So you keep having few visitors. Or someone prefers PvE rather to PvP or the cooperative combat.
    So drones can help to entertain your visitors that populate your region.
    They kinda work and fighting drones can be fun. Zombies sims, for example, had a moderate success. But those zombies were fighting back and your points were shown on a score board. Drones in Jeogedot instead are just targets: it can be fun to sink them for once or two, then it doesn’t offer much else in terms of variety, challenge and rewards. It could be improved and become quite funnier, I think.

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    • Well the thing with the vehicle arenas, that span multiple sims is the way traffic gets calculated. Traffic only counts when an avatar was at least 5 minutes in the sim, before leaving. Impossible to have, when you got vehicles that constantly cross borders. That is why Olds never really had high traffic numbers, but generally speaking a high activity. Traffic is somewhat misleading.
      And yes i agree that most roleplay in SL is overly sexualized. I gave up on roleplay in SL a long time ago. I rather play a nice game of Pathfinder twice a week than to play in SL. The value is just better. And i do not need to wait 10 minutes for a para-roleplayer to finish their novel of nonsense.
      About the drones.
      Well the VICE drones are indeed just targets, VICE is limited like that. Try the MCE drones. They flak the shit out of you. Sure there are no rewards still. But they are definately a challenge. So much of a challenge that i had to gimp them twice because people been moaning that they are OP 🙂
      I agree on the social thing. But social does not equal roleplay. But yes i think a lot of people are looking for social connection. That is why a lot of groups advertise themselves as “families” and try to pose as close-knit social communities and so forth. But the social friction in and with those groups is often so high that i wonder how they persist.
      And lastley i do not really count gor sims or those dark fantasy sims into the sims that fall into the categories i described. they are awkard but somewhat legit roleplay sims. I would not say that any of them are combat sims. I mean the CCS guys been screaming like pussies the moment black ops introduced explosives. That should tell you a lot about it 🙂

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