In a game that supports nonconsensual PVP, it’s good to have a justice system. It may not help you sleep better after being ganked for you hard earned wares. However, reading trial chat is an endless form of amusement. We already have infamous players (Chalupa) and guilds (Darks Ascension) on the Alpha server.
Crime and Punishment
Crime points are accumulated by participating in unsavory actives such as killing players from your own faction (PK). I spit on such dirty bastards. As well as stealing crops planted by other players. Granted, the only way to steal someone’s crops is if they are illegally planted – not on property they own. We call these illegal farms, which happen routinely but it’s still a crime to take their stuff. I have mixed feelings on this one. Regardless, that’s the law in ArcheAge.
Once a player accumulates 50 crime points, they are flagged in the system as an outlaw. The next time they die by the hand of another player, they are whisked off to court to stand trial. And I mean literally TAKEN INTO CUSTODY. I love the jury system for its worth and in equal measure, its hilarity.
Jury of Your Peers
The accused is resurrected in the courthouse of their faction capital. A jury is formed, including the selection of a judge, from the population of players who have completed the necessary quest. Everyone is physically transported to the courthouse. Jurors can take a seat in the juror’s box, the judge has his desk with a gavel and the accused is at the podium. There are extra chairs for people who want to witness the trial or just hangout.
Players in the Jury Box - Me during my first trial which was quite some time ago
The jury is presented with an innocent option or multi-choice guilty verdict. Depending on the crimes and past record, the game provides the punishment options for the guilty verdicts. If found guilty, the convicted player must spend the specified amount of time in jail AND the sentence must be served during in-game time. The clock stops ticking if/when they log out.
I’m not clear on the maximum sentence. The wiki says 20 hours is the largest sentence possible. However, I’ve seen 1523 minutes which is 1.05 days.
Don’t Drop the Soap
Convicted players are put into jailhouse clothes – striped PJs and placed into a holding cell. From there they can whine in chat as is often the case, play football with the ball provided or go AFK until there time is served. Some however, choose the flout the system further by breaking out.
Yep, you can coordinate a jail break on your own or with friends. For the Western faction, judged out of Marianople, it’s possible to tunnel your way out with spoons. I’ve heard it’s possible to climb to a point where you can glide out of jail for the Eastern faction. You’re not much use even if you do escape. All of your skills are locked. A debuff is also applied that drastically reduces your health. This escapade is then added to your rap sheet and players are likely to give you max sentences from here on out. It’s better to server your time. Doing so resets your crime points back to 0, as does receiving an innocent verdict.
Excommunication and Off with your Head!
In addition to crime points, your misdeeds accumulate infamy point. While crime points are reset by serving time or being found innocent, infamy points are not. There are quests you can perform to reduce infamy by small degrees. If a player reaches 3000 infamy points they automatically become a pirate.
As a pirate, you are removed from your factions, your guild and are kill on sight to all neutral and faction aligned guards. This means you can no longer avail yourself of city services, including the auction house or interact with faction NPCs. Pirates are relegated to using only the services available on Pirate Island.
Of the few trade packs I've had stolen only 2 have ever been turned/cashed in for profit. As the crafter of the trade pack I get 20% of the profit when they delivered to NPCs. I assume that the missing turn-ins might have been legally recognized pirates and as such, they didn't have a way of cashing in on their booty. *shrug*
It's wise to consider the repercussions of being a priate before embarking on a full time life of crime, as there are definite drawbacks. As a pirate you’re also “red” to all players and as such, subject being PVP’d. If you become a pirate and suddenly find it's not to your liking, there are potions you can consume to reduce infamy points. The potions are a Cash Shop item but can also be purchased from other players for in game gold. Word of warning, they are VERY expensive and you need a lot of them. Good luck with that.
Witnesses to a crime or players that come along after, can report misdeeds. Bloodstains are left for murder and footprints for stealing crops. Right clicking either will report the activity – add crime point, add infamy point and describe circumstance on the accused’s rap sheet. This information will be lying in wait for their next PVP death.
As a juror, there are two quests you can complete in order to obtain a decent 1 H weapon called the Judge’s Gavel and a cloak (looks like scarf) that adds + 7 to all stats. The latter is nothing to scoff at as having better is expensive. I have completed the requirements to obtain both items and have yet to obtain better for either.
For the Judge’s Gavel you complete the quest to become a juror and then participate in 10 trials. After you’ve completed the gavel quest you are eligible for the cloak quest. Once again, speak to the Honor NPC in your capital. For the western faction, I was sent off on a bounty hunt to kill two NPC crime bosses.
Becoming a Juror
The quest to qualify as a juror is available at level 30 and is given by the Honor NPC in your capital city. You can’t obtain the quest if you have crime or infamy points. If you have a few, you need to do the civil service quests for your city. In Marianople you can collect trash or clean up horse shit – err animal droppings around the city.
Trash items you see around that part of a civil service quest in Marianople
Players as Entertainment
I always have the Trial chat channel open. It’s an endless stream of player insanity. The trash talk, jokes, half-baked excuses and lies, knows no bounds. It’s my entertainment when running trade packs if I don’t have a podcast to listen to or guild chat is quiet. It’s also useful to know players and guilds accused of same faction killing, so you can be on your guard whenever they’re around.
Even if you’re not a juror you can speak for or against a defendant and I’ve done both. I’ve damned people and guilds I’ve personally witnessed doing same faction killing, which is basically a sucker punch.
Down with PKs
PKers are green to you so you can’t hit them first – members of your own faction. But when you’re least prepared, they turn on a Bloodlust flag, allowing them to PVP you out of the blue. At that point you can engage them but they’ll always have the upper hand as they wait to strike at their advantage.
I call PKers wannabe crap pirates as they’re clearly too scared to go into PVP zones or be in a situation where both parties at least have the opportunity for a first strike. Some will PK you in a PVP zone too which is still shitty but better than doing it in PVE zones. PKers aren’t looked on fondly at most trials. Witnesses to those deeds, even when not jurors, will speak up in chat to help ensure max sentences for offenders.
There was a new guild in particular that started PKing players sailing out of Solzreed which is a PVE zone. Their objective was to kill and steal trade packs. Trade pack stealing happens all the time but usually in PVP zones and contested water. After falling viciim twice before changing my route to land-based until I passed their camp point, I would speak against anyone from that guild who ended up on trial.
They may not all have been guilty but like my mother used to say, "If you sleep with dogs you wake up with fleas." As a guild, they needed to control or disown their rogue element. Much of the trial chat was very heated. I'm nothing if not verbose and I chose to wage a war against them using an available game mechanic.
I was threatened in whisper chat which is laughable. Uh, pixels...game...if you can find me try it...in the mean time fuck off. That guild did not last very long and the PK activity in that PVE zone ceased within a few days. Flaws and all, that's the power of the justice system.
The justice systems isn’t perfect. But what game mechanic this sophisticated and reliant on the players is?? What it is consistently, is lots of laughs. Endless sea of whining. Internet bravado and threats. Collusion. Bribes. You name it and I’ve seen it in trials. It’s a pretty sweet system.
The one addition I’d like to see is an official bounty system similar to what’s available in EVE Online. Quests where players can hunt down and kills the most infamous criminals for rewards. Now that would be very interesting to see play out.