Always Vulnerable

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The situation where players' resources in game instances can be threatened even when they are not playing.

Some game progress regardless of whether a player is playing. When this makes players' efforts or resources be at risk even when he or she is not playing, those players are Always Vulnerable.

Note: This pattern is not about players always being vulnerable when they are playing; it is about players being vulnerable even when they are not even aware of gameplay events.

Examples

Players' resource in Eve Online and their villages in Travian can be attacked even if the players themselves are not logged onto these games. This can also happen in Empires & Allies but the effects are less severe and can be avoided through having declared "neutrality."

Always Vulnerable may occur in Tabletop Roleplaying Games. This is however not so much a question of which particular game system is being used as how game masters handle the question of how to treat the characters of players who are missing a session. Some game masters fudge events so that they cannot die (but perhaps do not get as much rewards as the others) while others let them be in the same amount of danger as the characters of present players.

Using the pattern

There are two versions of this pattern. One is that players' Focus Loci, Investments, etc. can be threaten when other players have play sessions in the game instance. The other is that all players have their Characters, Units, Investments, etc. threatened regardless of if anybody else is playing at all. The first obviously requires PvP gameplay and Always Vulnerable can be seen as a way of modulating these types of games - it makes most sense in games built around Cooperation or Parties since then the other players (or Game Master) can more impartially be Proxy Players (and it may be difficult to find diegetic reasons why the missing player's resources should be safe when other players' resources are not). The second alternative is mainly about having The Show Must Go On in Tick-Based Games or Massively Multiplayer Online Games not remove players' Resources if players leave or take a break from gameplay. Regardless, Always Vulnerable is not compatible with Game Pauses.

Consequences

Games that make players be Always Vulnerable also have Attention Demanding Gameplay in that players that do not keep aware of the ongoing gameplay are likely to suffer negative consequences. This easily makes players experience Tension. Always Vulnerable can focus gameplay aiming at FUBAR Enjoyment to make players have their attention more on their Focus Loci.

For games where one cannot play all the time the server, this makes Always Vulnerable lead to Encouraged Return Visits.

Given that Combat is one of the types of gameplay activities where Always Vulnerable makes itself most apparent, the pattern can be seen as a way to modulate Combat.

Relations

Can Instantiate

Attention Demanding Gameplay, Encouraged Return Visits, Tension

Can Modulate

Combat, Focus Loci, FUBAR Enjoyment, Massively Multiplayer Online Games, PvP, Parties, Resources, Tick-Based Games

Can Be Instantiated By

The Show Must Go On

Can Be Modulated By

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Possible Closure Effects

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Potentially Conflicting With

Game Pauses

History

New pattern created for this wiki by Staffan Björk.

References

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Acknowledgements

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