Posted on 2015/10/03 by

When Arenas Attack

This week, I tried playing on a different server from my usual – you know, keeping things fresh, and all. My normal server plays like a pretty typical Hunger Games server; there’s a cornucopia, limited items, and implied instructions that you’re just supposed to kill everyone else who’s there.

This new server had all of the above, with a few added features. First, there’s a longer period of invincibility. Most Hunger Games servers give you a bit of this; it gives players a chance to go to the cornucopia and grab as much stuff as they can without being immediately killed. Yes, this is unlike the books or the movies, where the cornucopia is just a bloodbath from the start. On my usual server, however, the invincibility does not last for an incredibly long time. If you stop and camp near the middle of the playing field, other players will come, find you, and engage you in combat almost immediately.

On this new server, on the other hand, there was more time given – over 100 seconds. This doesn’t seem like long, but in Hunger Games time, this is an eternity. I wasn’t too sure why, at first – I grabbed what stuff I could from the chests in the middle, and started walking away, a bit more leisurely than usual. Nobody even tried engaging other people – it was just a mad dash for stuff before running away in different directions. I had so much time to get away and find a hiding spot, so it wasn’t a big deal if I wasn’t super prepared. Honestly, I was carrying almost nothing:

Pictured here: me carrying… not a whole lot of anything. Really, I’m not very prepared.

And then it started to get dark. Really dark.

Looking at the cornucopia as the sun sets

Looking at the cornucopia as the sun sets

This is where this server differs from other servers I’ve played on: almost as soon as the game starts, it gets dark. Dark, in the Minecraft world, means that monsters will appear. And while this is okay for a bit, due to the extended invincibility of this game, it very quickly turns into not okay. Monsters were everywhere, and with such limited supplies, I found it very difficult to survive. I really felt as if the arena was out to get me almost as soon as the game had started. There were a few chests around, but they were few and far between, and none contained anything I could really use to protect myself. So I ran.

This is different than most of the other servers I’ve played on, and it ties in with some of the ideas that we were throwing around at our last meeting. What would happen if the arena was more hostile towards the player? Would players react differently towards both the environment and to the other players? Certainly, it made it more difficult, and seemed to be a bit more true to the books in the sense that the game (pretend it’s the gamemaker from the book series) throws unexpected elements at you that ultimately steers you towards other players (and your death).

Sticking with my theme from last week, though, I noticed an emergent behaviour in many of the players: teamwork. Players were banding together to fight off the monsters, even though they didn’t establish teams/alliances at the beginning of the game like many try to do. It seemed like something that happened more out of necessity. Truthfully, it’s a lot more satisfying to win by killing your opponents rather than just have them all die off because they can’t defend themselves against the elements. Perhaps that’s what players were doing.

Two players fight off hordes of zombies near the cornucopia

Two players fight off hordes of zombies near the cornucopia

I didn’t make it to morning, so I don’t know from my own experience. Would players have helped me fight off zombies, or just let them kill me? Would they kill me themselves and then run away from the horde? I’ll play around on this server more and see if this is a common occurrence!

 

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