Thanks for the great post.
—The main reason for the flagging system is its signalling power. If you are flagged blue, other blue players know that you cannot attack them without some up-front notice. This allows people to cooperate and not be overly scared of each other even in yellow and red zones.
—Of course, just reputation, without flagging, has signalling power too. However, we do not think it’s enough. Even if you are glorious, if you find the right victim with rare gear, you’d still kill him on sight to take his stuff.
—For the same reason, we reset reputation to 0 if you flag red. Flagging red means that you are looking for kills, it’s essentially “contemplating murder” in real life. If somebody told you he was looking to kill somebody, he’d lose all “reputation” for being a good guy, too.
The above factors make our system harsher than the “standard” way of Buying Albion Online Gold it that you describe in the OP. Essentially, it strongly encourges players to pick whether they want to be a) a full blown player killer b) a neutral, who can do the occassional opportunistic kill c) a good guy, possibly hunting down PKs
Here is the pros and cons:
1) Criminal: Can make a lot of kills. But is also in constant danger as he is perma-red.
2) Neutral/slight criminal: Can make some kills while still being able to flag blue. Is a nice target for criminals, as he can be killed without reputation loss.
3) Good Guy: Can’t kill blue players at all, unless he wants to turn neutral. Has best protection from neutrals and criminals as killing him costs a lot of reputation.
Now, why do we think we need a “harsher” criminal system? It has to do with the PvP eco-system. Our goal is to have a sustainable balance between blue and red players in the red zones.
To achieve that, we essentially need to manage the average risk that a blue players faces. If, for example, red players can kill 5 blue players per hour, this is not sustainable. 1 hour of fun for the red players has been bought with tons of hours of grind destroyed for the 5 blue players, the result being that blue players will stop using Albion Online Silver, the result being that PKers do not find victims any more and ultimately quit too -> ecosystem has collapsed, and this effect has destroyed many hardcore PvP games.
To balance the system, we need to make sure that the risk vs reward for the red players and the risk vs reward for the blue player in in line with each other.
For the red players, this means that on average, he would suffer a little less than one death for each kill. For the blue player, it woulud mean that the benefits of being in the red zone (better resources, etc) somewhat outweigh the risk of being killed. At the moment, I do not think we are there yet.