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Is UWO open pvp or can you play as a pve only character?
Originally posted by Shari Is UWO open pvp or can you play as a pve only character?
I believe I'd be correct in saying it's PVP.
To elaborate - a lot of the oceans in-game are 'hostile' waters. These are parts where any player (well, pirates/privateers) can willingly go up to another player and attack them. There are no 'flags' to turn on or off to note if you want to PVP or not. It's just if you are in that waters it's fair-game.
Though there are safe waters, too, where you can't attack anyone.
Technically, the game is open pvp. However, if you're worried about getting ganked constantly, then don't be. I've been attacked in pvp a grand total of three times over the course of nearly three months in playing.
There are some things that sharply restrict how much you can be attacked in pvp. First, much of the game is safe waters. This includes almost all of Europe (with the exception of the Black Sea and Baltic Sea) as permanent safe waters.
The rest of the map outside of Europe is hostile waters by default. If non-pirates kill pirates some, they will become safe waters for a week. If pirates kill non-pirates some, they will become lawless waters for a week. This results in the well-trafficked areas outside of Europe and Africa becoming safe waters intermittently. I've never seen the Pacific, Oceania, or South America (excluding the Caribbean) become safe waters. But that's probably because those areas are so lightly populated that for pirates to fight against non-pirates is very rare, so not enough such battles occur to nudge them away from hostile waters.
Let me come back and explain what safe waters and hostile waters are. Safe waters means that you cannot be attacked by other players if you aren't a pvper. However, if you have attacked other players, that makes you a privateer (if you only attack nations other than your own) or a pirate (if you also attack your own nation). You get some notoriety from attacking and defeating other players, and if your notoriety is too high, then that makes you a pirate or privateer.
Notoriety slowly decreases with time, so if you become a pirate once, you aren't stuck with it forever. If you attack and kill someone once, think days, not hours or minutes, to get back to safe status. The hard-core pirates who have attacked dozens or hundreds of times might have an easier time creating a new account and starting from scratch if they want to no longer be a pirate.
Note that you only gain notoriety by attacking players who are not pirates, and only if you win the battle. If you attack someone and lose, or attack someone and then one side or the other runs away, you gain no notoriety. If you get attacked by someone else and win, you don't gain notoriety. If you attack pirates or privateers and win, you don't gain notoriety. If you're not a pirate or privateer yourself, then most other players aren't, either, so most other players won't attack you. If you are a pirate or privateer, then you're fair game to be attacked by most of the playerbase, and they'll get a reward if they can kill you.
Furthermore, safe waters aren't safe if you're a pirate. Pirates and privateers can be attacked anywhere at sea, with only the exception of just outside of a port. This means that if player A is a pirate and player B isn't and they meet in safe waters, then player B can attack player A if he chooses, but player A cannot attack player B.
Additionally, pirates and privateers become hated by the countries of the ships they attack. You can also become hated by various countries by attacking NPC ships associated with them. This doesn't make you a pirate, but it will make the country hate you. There are some fairly powerful NPC ships that will enemy players if they find them, but will leave everyone else alone.
Furthermore, every port is owned by some country. If that country hates you, they might refuse to let you put into port unless you pay them 1 million ducats every time you want to dock there. That can get expensive in a hurry. There are two pirate ports in the game, Jolo (Philippines) and Nassau (Bahamas), that will allow pirates to dock. If a pirate attacks players indiscriminately, those can end up being the only ports where he can dock without paying 1 million ducats. If a pirate decides to only attack players of certain nations, then that means he has to leave a lot of people alone--perhaps including you.
Hostile waters or lawless waters mean that anyone can attack anyone else. Note that attacking players who aren't pirates while you're in hostile waters means that you become a pirate or privateer yourself. Thus, even if you meet a player in hostile waters, the odds are pretty slim that he'll attack you. Even if you meet a pirate or privateer in hostile waters, he typically won't attack you, although there, there is some risk.
So you should understand that there are considerable penalties to attacking other players. The overwhelming majority of the playerbase (probably over 95% of those logged in at any given time, if you want a ballpark estimate) are not pirates or privateers. Even a significant fraction of the pirates are trying to work off their notoriety, or perhaps newbies who did something stupid that they regret. The major pirates can become fairly well-known, but that's partially because there are so few of them.
So what happens if you're attacked by a pirate? He can't attack when right next to you, but has to have a minimum distance. There is a battle circle, and if you leave the battle circle, the battle ends. Whether it ends because you flee or because one side or the other is defeated, you'll get a green flag marker for several minutes after the battle. While you have a green flag, you can't be attacked by players again. Note that this means that even if the reason the battle ends is that you ran away, the pirate can't just chase you down and immediately attack again.
If a pirate reduces the durability on your ship to zero, that works exactly the way it does if NPCs do. In particular, insurance will pay for your losses, so you might forgo some trade profit for the run, but you otherwise lose nothing except a bit of ship durability.
If a pirate boards your ship and defeats you in a melee battle, then he can take stuff from you just like NPCs. He can take one personal equipment item, one ship upgrade, and some of your ship cargo. He doesn't get to pick which equpiment or ship upgrade items, but gets one at random.
Note that a pirate can't board your ship if he can't catch you. Normally, you move more slowly in battle than outside of battle. There is a skill called "escape" that will let you move at the normal, non-battle speeds. The drawbacks of escape are that you can't fight back if boarded while it is on, you can't fire cannons at all, and it will be a critical hit if you get shot. Thus, pirates can't use escape to run you down and board you, but you can use it to try to get away. If the pirate has a galley and you're headed straight into the wind, you could be in trouble, but otherwise, you could use escape and the pirate may be able to sink you (and you would have your losses covered by insurance), but probably won't be able to board you.
Furthermore, even if a pirate does board your ship, you can try to retreat. If you manage to break off a melee battle after being boarded, then the ship that just boarded you can't immediately board you again. That gives you some time to get away, leave the battle circle, and end the battle.
Finally, there are ways to prevent pirates from even being able to attack you in the first place. One is a blue flag, which is an item in the item mall. A blue flag costs $2, and lasts 1 day, but makes it so that you cannot be attacked in pvp that day. It's not meant that you keep a blue flag active all of the time. Rather, you could keep one in your inventory, and if you see a pirate coming your direction, then you activate it. You might burn through a few blue flags per month that way if inclined to spend the money, or more if you want to spend a lot of time near Ambon.
Another is that if you see a pirate heading in your direction, you can log off. The game lets you log off anywhere in the world, including at sea. The only exception is that you cannot log off while in combat. There is a 15 second timer to log off, so you can't wait until a pirate is practically upon you to log off and get away. But if you see a red name off in the distance (red name means pirate, orange means privateer) and want to be cautious, you could start the logoff process and have the 15 seconds expire before a battle starts. Log back in a few minutes later and the pirate will probably be gone. If he's sitting there waiting for you, then you're safe for a while after logging in or zoning, so you could just log back off again. That the pirate knows you could do this means he probably won't try to camp you--and even if he tries, won't be able to stay there that long without having to head back to port to resupply.
My total losses to pirates in nearly three months of playing the game come to probably around 200,000 ducats. (In the three times I was attacked, I got boarded once, sunk once, and ran away once.) For comparison, a single trade run that I did a couple of days ago got me a net profit of about six million ducats.
Now, you might be worried that open pvp with some looting of the defeated player is not your cup of tea. But you really shouldn't be, as getting attacked in pvp isn't a large part of the game. Even if you're completely reckless and take no counter-measures against pirates at all, you're not going to be ganked every day, or even every week. Well, if you constantly do spice trading runs to Ambon and Ternate, then maybe you will get attacked a few times per week, except for when Southeast Asia is safe waters. A lot of pirates hang out there, as that's the most profitable trade route in the game--but it's also a natural destination for players who want to hunt pirates, so it's hardly overflowing with pirates.
I should add that pirates can only steal gear that you have equipped. They can't steal items that you're carrying on you, but have not equipped. If you want to be paranoid, then you can unequip your good gear when going into an area where you worry that you'll be attacked by pirates. You can equip or unequip personal gear anytime outside of combat, but can only equip ship upgrades while in port.
Thanks for this very informative post on UWO pvp!
Can the different nations declare war and what not?
An individual player can be at war with other countries, but entire nations themselves don't really go to war. Well, in the storyline, Spain fights some battles against England and the Netherlands, and the Ottomans fight against Venice. But there isn't a broader war going on.
If you attack ships (whether players or NPCs) of a particular nation, then NPC ships of that nation will attack you. Your reputation will eventually get back to neutral if you stop attacking them, though. Ottomans will attack you even at a neutral reputation, however.