Kill stealing

Kill stealing

In online games and especially first-person shooter games and MMORPGs, kill stealing is the practice of stealing the rewards from defeating an enemy from other players. Kill stealing occurs when the rewards for defeating a foe are limited or highly desired, and many players are competing for that same reward. The term is most often heard in first-person shootergames and MMORPGs, where rewards of items and experience points can be substantial, but can also be found in first-person shooters where players are rewarded a point for a kill. Many players feel that kill stealing is a dishonorable practice.

Overview

Kill stealing is referred to when someone uses an AoE move (area of effect) and another character attacks one of the monster that the other character is AoEing.There are two main causes for kill stealing: the desire for the reward and the desire to cause other players grief. Kill stealing is predominantly done to gain the rewards from a kill. Griefers kill steal as only one of their tactics in annoying other players.

One of the most prominent games where the term "kill stealing" is heard is the fantasy MMOROPG "EverQuest". In this game, the experience points and right to the rewards for a kill goes entirely to the player or party that did the most damage to the defeated mob. Some player classes were designed to do more damage than others and could find it quite tempting to "help" other players kill monsters. For example, a warrior might be battling an orc only to have a spellcaster come along, blast the orc to death in an instant and get all the reward, while the warrior walks away from the fight, having lost time and hit points, and gained nothing. This current system is still considered to be an improvement over the original method of awarding experience and right to the rewards that the game began with. In that system, the determining factor was which player did the most damage. If that player was in a group, then that group got the experience. However, if one person outside of the group did more damage than any single player in the group, the experience went to that outside person, even if their damage was far less than the combined damage output of the party. Widespread killstealing of entire groups by single players led Sony to implement the currently used method, which considers the combined damage output of the entire party.

Complaints of kill stealing are sometimes heard in online first-person shooters. In most of these games, the credit for a kill goes to the player who deals the killing shot. Players usually ignore complaints of kill stealing in FPSs because the rewards are less significant and because these games move much faster (i.e., it was probably accidental). Furthermore, in FPS combat, players are usually either allies (in which case the kill's credit going to one player or another has no in-game meaning beyond ego) or in direct enmity with one another. (providing both a justification for cutthroat tactics, and a generally immediate means of redress) By contrast, in most MMORPGs, players may be competing for the same in-game resources, but are not generally in direct conflict with one another. (In situations where they are, such as two opposite-faction players in a World of Warcraft player-versus-player server, there is usually little animosity towards kill-stealing, as there is a means of redress and prevention, and it is seen as part of the generally struggle between Horde and Alliance)

Kill stealing is a rare event in real-time strategy games (for similar reasons as with FPS games, but also due to the larger amounts of killable entities), but does however appear in some forms. In the Defense of the Ancients map in "Warcraft III", kill-stealing can frequently happen due to the money reward given to the player that delivers the killing blow to an enemy hero or creep (although kill stealing creeps is not considered a big event, as the kill would often go to the AI and thus give no money reward to any player). There is also a particular version of kill-stealing called denying, which comes from the fact that friendly fire is near non-existing (harmful spells generally must be targeted at enemies, and regular attacks can only be performed on allies with a low amount of hit points). Because of this, there is no additional penalty for killing someone from your team (as in many FPS games) beyond the penalties suffered by the player killed. Players will therefore attempt to kill a friendly player or tower who is deemed impossible to save, thereby denying (hence the name) the enemy team the gold and experience rewards for the kill. It is also possible for certain heroes to commit suicide (through abilities costing them hit points, or which kill them outright, or by running into "neutral creeps" with no team affiliation in such a manner that these kill the player). Suicide is the most frequent form of hero denial, while creeps and towers (as they are impossible to control) are generally denied by attacks from a friendly hero. As denial only hurts the enemy and is harder to pull off, it is considered skill rather than griefing.

Kill stealing is usually not heard in situations where a cooperative goal is being sought. One member of an MMORPG hunting party will not argue that another member of their party is "kill stealing" from them. Any help towards the cooperative goal is desired with the understanding that the rewards will be shared fairly amongst the participants. The focus of some classes on damage dealing, others on withstanding punishment, and still others on healing or assisting the others even encourages this activity. However, in situations where individual goals are sought concurrently with cooperative goals, as in the online artillery game Gunbound, accusations of kill stealing and requests to refrain from kill stealing are common.

Preventing kill stealing

Many newer MMORPGs implement game designs that distributes the reward more fairly to those who fought a creature. Rewards can be distributed based on how much the player contributed to defeating the creature. A player that does 30% of the damage gains 30% of the money and experience points rewarded for defeating the creature (as it is in "City of Heroes"). A game might have a more sophisticated way to measure a player's contribution to the fight as well. A character whose primary task is healing other characters might be judged based on how much he healed combatants during the fight.

Another approach is to make "help" from other players something that the original player consents to. "World of Warcraft" has a system of locked encounters that prevents players from helping others in killing a creature unless help is requested. Also, it has a system of "tapping" a mob; the first player who damages it will always get the full experience, loot and kill count. For boss encounters and such, there is an "instance"-system, in which every party gets an own copy of a place which no other group can enter. In EverQuest 2, once the warrior attacks the orc, the wizard cannot attack the warrior's orc unless the warrior uses a special yell command for help. "Tales of Eternia Online" and "Final Fantasy XI" both use similar systems.

"Guild Wars" has a system where the item rewards from kills are randomly assigned to a player and the gold is shared among the party. This means that also a supporting character such as a monk or ritualist will get their fair share of loot, even if they didn't damage the enemy at all.

"MapleStory" awards experience to any user who attacks the monster when the monster dies. For example, if you attack a monster only a few times and walk away, while another person comes up and kills the monster, you receive a small percentage of the experience, while the other person receives the rest. Also the person who does more than half the damage will receive the right to all rewards. E.g. a beginner does 10 damage to a Blue Snail (which has fifteen health) and a warrior does 50 damage, although the warrior did more damage, only 5 of that was on the monster; therefore the beginner has ten seconds to pick up the rewards before it is open to other players.

"Flyff" has a system where if one player has targeted a monster, no other player can attack that monster unless they are in the first player's party.

In "World of Warcraft" solo play, the PC who aggroes an NPC gets XP for the kill and the ability to loot it, once he deals any damaging attack to do. NPCs under the player's control — called minions or pets — do not fulfill this requirement. The monster is "greyed out" to other PCs. If the monster is skinnable, no other PC can skin it until the original PC loots it, but there is nothing, so far, to prevent another PC from camping the corpse and stealing the skin. In group play, each living party member near the monster on its death gets experience and kill credit, as well as loot. The default loot setting is round robin starting with the party leader, but rare items are rolled for by a percentile die (d100). In the loot system, some items are freely tradable ("BoE," or "Bind on Equip"), whereas others cannot be traded to other players, and can only be used or sold to NPCs ("BoP" or "Bind on Pickup"). It is considered bad form to roll on a BoP item without clearing it with the group first, or to roll on an item that your character cannot use when another character has expressed a need for it, akin to ninja looting.

In Disney's "Toontown Online", if the player has already attacked a "cog" and another player joins in and finishes the "cog" off, the first player still gets the experience points for the damage done to the "cog", effectively ensuring that players that partake in the combat get their share of experience points.

In "Dystopia", players are given points for kills or assists. At least one point is given to the player who deals the fatal blow, but other points are distributed according to damage, ensuring that a kill stealer will only get a limited amount of reward.

In "RuneScape" there are "single-combat areas" where only one player may attack an NPC or a monster at a time, which makes kill stealing impossible. There are also "multi-combat areas" where any number of players can attack an NPC together, in which case the player that inflicts the most damage "sees" the loot and can take it; after 30 seconds all players can see it. Sometimes there are "team kill-stealers" who fight a strong NPC with a team (mostly bosses like the King Black Dragon, the Chaos Elemental, or Kalphite queen) and if they see the loot (often worth a large amount of money) they take it without telling other teammates about it or sharing with them. This often can be noticed when one member of the team walks to the center where the boss was when it died or uses the "telegrab" spell, and when other teammates notice a "team kill-stealer" the stealer is kicked out of the team. Other kinds of kill stealing such as "EXP stealing" are impossible because the EXP system gives the EXP immediately when a player inflicts damage to the NPC and not when the NPC dies like other RPGs.

In "Perfect World International" experience is distributed according to one's contribution so that a player who merely runs in and lands "only" the killing blow gets relatively little EXP, as opposed to if they had taken on the target all by themselves and won. Also, while one may enter a dungeon regardless of whether or not they have the relevant quest (referred to as the infamous "fb"), those who do so for their quest receive a special quest item that will let them enter an instance of the dungeon exclusive to the party ("squad"), and the holder of the quest item will upon successful completion of the quest be guaranteed to receive their quest reward(s) along with certain future quests and interactions.

ee also

* Camping — another practice that arises when players compete for rewards
* Ninja looting — improperly taking the reward from a defeated creature
* Powerleveling — powerlevelers are frequently blamed for kill stealing
* Team killing — player who intentionally attacks and/or kills his own teammate in multiplayer computer or video games

References

* Koster, Raph. [http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/gdc.html CGDC Presentation: "The Rules of Online World Design"] .

External links

* " [http://cityofheroes.gameamp.com/article/viewArticles/100.php Kill Stealing: A Logical Deduction] ", an opinion article on kill stealing in "City of Heroes" and MMORPGs in general.


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