I demand satisfaction!
The challenge system is HellMOO's core PvP mechanic. Despite its themes and first appearances, HellMOO is not a fully open-PvP game. Instead, the challenge system decides who you are allowed to attack, as well as where and how you may attack them. It's also complicated, confusing and often messy, so buckle up.
Note for carebears: Carebears are barred from all PvP. The challenge system has almost nothing to do with them with two exceptions, and these are deliberately marked. If you are a carebear who just wants to know the bare applicable minimum, use ctrl+f with the word "pink".
Anatomy of a Challenge
A "challenge" is a free pass to attack someone with fewer consequences and restrictions. For example: Without a challenge, you cannot attack someone in a green zone. With a challenge, you can.
The most basic challenges involve two people: the challenge sender, and the challenge receiver. The sender gives a challenge to the receiver by doing something hostile towards the receiver. Depending on what the hostile action was, the receiver then has a limited-time "challenge" from the sender, during which time they can attack the sender much more easily.
A Challenge System Example
Below is a simple example of the challenge system in action. This is a very basic example; most real challenges have more strings attached.
- Greedo and Han Solo are in a green zone.
- Greedo s Han. This gives Han a challenge from Greedo.
- Han is free to shoot Greedo first, even though the two are in a green zone, because Han has a challenge from Greedo.
- Greedo still cannot shoot Han, because Greedo does not have a challenge from Han.
- If Han opens fire on Greedo, however, Greedo is of course free to defend himself.
- If Han does shoot Greedo while he has the challenge, the attack will not issue a challenge to Greedo.
- After ten minutes, the challenge expires, and Han is no longer free to shoot Greedo in a green zone.
Types of Zone
In the above example, the green zone was very important. "Zones" are a central part of the challenge system, and understanding them alongside challenges is critical. There are three types of zone:
- Green zones disallow all PvP combat by default, unless challenges are involved as in the above example.
- Getting around this limitation with exploits is against the rules.
- Explosives also don't work here.
- Some relatively harmless acts of PvP are allowed here, such as insulting people or ing in their face. These actions will send a challenge, leaving the aggressor open to immediate retaliation.
- Looting of bodies is also possible here, and will challenge (for 12 hours).
- Yellow zones are "challenge-PvP":
- Any player can attack any player here, but the consequences are very serious.
- Attacking a player who has not challenged the attacker will give a challenge from the attacker to the attacked player.
- These challenges work identically to the Greedo-Solo example; the challenged player is free to attack the aggressor in green zones.
- The challenge length for this behavior is much longer, lasting twelve hours.
- Red zones are open PvP:
- Anyone can attack anyone with zero consequences (though attacking people generally ruffles some feathers).
Other Aspects of Challenges
Most in-game challenges are nowhere near as simple as the skirmish between Han and Greedo. This sub-section lists other facets of the sytem.
One super-important note: challenges do not tick down while offline. If you have challenged someone for 12 hours, you must log 12 hours of time connected to HellMOO on that character until the challenge expires.
Methods of Challenging
Here's a handy table of actions that will issue a challenge:
|Nonconsensual habbery||2 minutes||without allowing first; use .|
|Insulting, hacking Gangland cameras||10 minutes||Using thecommand on other players or hacking the Gangland cameras that another corporation owns.|
|Installing plane modules||1 hour||Installing modules in planes that aren't yours. Rightly so - 99 times out of 100, this activity involves the self-destruct module.|
|Focus abilities||6 hours||Using, or to mess with people, even in green zones. is exempt from this.|
|Aggressive actions||12 hours||Attacking/grabbing/looting/butchering players as well as attacking plane hatches. This doesn't include dragging bodies.|
|Picking*, barging, challenging||2 days||Picking only challenges if you pick A) inactive players or B) a lock that someone who challenged you first is scanned into or hiding behind. For example: their corp HQ or their friend's plane.|
|Permachallenge||Forever||. This also permanently bars your character from entering the FCPD precinct.|
Challenges and Picking
PvP is not limited to attacking. Players can also pick the locks of other player's apartments, which is usually much more serious than killing them. Getting your skull cracked open is a mild to severe inconvenience. Getting your front door cracked open can lead to the loss or gain of several months' of effort in just a few minutes.
However, picking is not normally allowed without a challenge. As long as Greedo never challenges anyone, his apartment is impenetrable. But as soon as he challenges Han, Han is free to pick into his apartment for as long as the challenge lasts. Note that just because the game allows Han to pick into Greedo's stuff doesn't mean that the law will be happy about it. Han will face apartment security or police intervention if he picks in front of cameras.
Other picking considerations:
- The act of picking itself will issue a challenge if it is not the challenge sender's own lock, but rather someone else's lock which they are scanned into or hiding behind. If the lock belongs to the challenge sender, picking won't send a challenge.
- Almost any door in a red zone can be picked no matter the situation. This does not send a challenge. Even carebears are not completely immune. Any pink's plane that is parked in a red zone has a grace period of a few hours, and after that time it can be picked like any other door in a red zone.
- Doors cannot be picked while their owner is offline, regardless of challenges. There is a grace period for this to stop people just spamming disconnect while being robbed: for 10 minutes after disconnection, locks will still be open to PvP. After that, they're locked down until the owner logs in again.
- The exact same logic applies to bashing down doors as opposed to picking them, except that the challenge for bashing a door is 12 hours long rather than 48.
Challenges and Corporations
The vast majority of players are in corps, unlike our solo riders Han and Greedo. This complicates the system further:
- When one player challenges another, the challenge sender not only challenges the receiver, but also the receiver's entire corp.
- This means that the challenge sender is vulnerable to full retaliation from any of the receiver's corpmates.
- If a player sends a challenge...
- any locks that the challenge sender is scanned into will become pickable.
- their corp HQ will become pickable. This happens regardless of whether the sender is scanned into the HQ lock.
- and then hides behind a lock that they are not scanned into (such as inside a corpmate's apartment), that lock will still become pickable.
What Challenges Allow
Challenges open the floodgates to a wide range of retaliation. Here's a full listing.
- The challenge receiver can...
- attack the sender on sight almost anywhere in the game.
- pick into the sender's apartments/boats/planes/etc.
- pick into any other locks that the sender is scanned into, as well as their corp's HQ, as detailed in the Challenges and Corporations section.
- Bartenders will not defend the challenge sender if they are attacked by the challenge receiver on the bartender's tile.
- All of these retaliations can be made without sending a return challenge, except for certain picking cases.
Exceptions to the Challenge System
Aside from red zones, there are other special exceptions to the challenge system.
- Players wearing fursuits can always be attacked in green zones, regardless of whether they've challenged anyone or not.
- Carebears cannot challenge or be challenged; they are completely barred from engaging in PvP. If a pink exploits game mechanics to engage in PvP, they are breaking the rules.
- Outlaws (players who do not respawn and are marked with a + next to their name) can attack players in any zone without a challenge, and can also be attacked in any zone without a challenge. They cannot, however, be picked without a challenge, and they will still send a challenge if they attack.
- Some zones have all PvP disabled, regardless of challenges. These zones are usually strange or exceptional, and will give a message like "You get the impression you shouldn't be doing that here" when you try to attack.
- Planes which have had a player inside them cannot be freely picked in red zones; they must become vulnerable by the challenge system first, as if they were in a yellow zone.
- Doors owned by players who have been inactive for 60 days or more are pickable without a challenge. Picking these doors will also send a two-day challenge to the door's owner.
Reading about the challenge system here is just words on a screen, and does not show the whole picture of HellMOO PvP. The implications of the system on actual HellMOO gameplay is a topic of long-standing debate, and far beyond the scope of this article.
For a (very lengthy) historical overview of thoughts on the subject, try - be prepared to wade through tons of posts and comments on a clunky interface.
However, there's some common-sense advice anyone new to the challenge system would be wise to take away:
- Being in the same corp as a picker is a good thing. People will be afraid to challenge you because being picked is very bad.
- Challenging people without a plan is a bad thing, and can lead to a ton of problems. This is doubly true if whoever you're challenging has a friendly picker.
- Idling in red zones is a recipe for disaster. There are plenty of (relatively) safe zones that the game hands to you on a silver platter - you default-spawn in one, for heaven's sake. Don't be dumb, don't dither around in red zones, idle responsibly.
- Being in a corp with muscle is a good thing. Get on the same side as powerful people and you will be much safer.
- Don't be that guy that idles in a green zone after forgetting to remove their fursuit!