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An Earthbound Perspective

Practical perspective on MMO play and practice.

Author: Dengar

The Two Faction Model: WHY!?

Posted by Dengar Wednesday July 27 2011 at 1:09AM
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So, let's cut to the chase: two factions at war don't work for pvp. They just don't. There's little to no reason to change sides, it costs money to do it or forces you to reroll, and creates huge server issues with long term issues that can eventually kill it. This isn't just my FFA nature screaming in rage (because lord knows those other guys almost always deserved it). WoW and Rift have seen it quite a bit- one side's uneven, the other ends up the bitch, and the only thing that may save the other side is if the stronger side gets bored and leaves the game, even for a bit. That's a best case scenario. Don't player deserve more?

I know the game died, but I still feel Asheron's Call 2's pvp idea was the best for factions. Let's leave out the fact that the most important pvp spots to fight for were FFA zones (I still believe that was a great call since FFA allows players to police themselves). I know Blizzard likes their silhouetting (making character models the basis of identifying another player's side and moveset), but people in Rift could deal with it despite some very similar character models and super flexible skill sets that made figuring out your opponent take a little time. People aren't dumb. As long as combat lasts more than 5 seconds and death means nothing (which is the point of theme park pvp, isn't it?), we can figure stuff out.

The lack of silhouetting as a core feature allowed AC2's players to join one of three factions or remain neutral (which, like Star Wars Galaxies, allowed you to pvp but didn't give you any rewards). If one side got too powerful, the other 2 could join up to take down a common enemy. Once that happened, one of the two sides would eventually try to stab the other in the back, and then the other 2 sides would join up and take that side down.

As well, players would change factions. Yes, some would change to the winning side, but we all know those are usually the bad players. In order to escape certain stigmatisms ("Faction A's full of baddies, all the hardcores are Faction C"), good players change sides. This makes it so that there's several factors that can help alleviate faction imbalance.

With that in mind... really, why are we still doing 2 sides? I know the Star Wars movies usually have 2 sides going at each other, but bounty hunters, smugglers, and spies are abound, yet we once again will have another Star Wars game with 2 sides. TOR had a great opportunity to have a third side in it for the profit, Jedi becoming sith, dark jedis coming back to the light side, etc. Instead, the 2 sides are being thrown at us once again, and without any practical way for us players to change things up to help balance things out. Guess we'll have to wait and see how Arche Age's 2 warring factions + hostile third side works out.

zonzai writes:

DAoC had great PvP too.  Having that third faction completely changes the dynamics of combat.  You could be in a raid, about to capture a relic and then suddenly the other faction is attacking your relic hop;ing to get it while everybody is occupied and you have no choice but to pack it up and go on the defense.

It just makes everything you do in PvP so much more critical.  When I heard that GW2 would be incorporating this same sort of open world, three faction combat I was so happy I almost cried.  Thank god somebody figured it out.

Wed Jul 27 2011 4:30AM Report
azmundai writes:

Laziness.

Warcraft.

Inability to think outside the box.

Fear of risk taking.

Corporate America.

In defense of SWTOR (I am not a fanboy by an stretch of the imagination) the lore really argues towards 2 factions. A neutral faction should exist imo .. but of all the game out and on the horizon .. SWTOR would be a 2 maybe 3 faction game.

I dont think there should be factions. I think there should be reputations much like in warcraft, and these reputations should have a shifting political nature. You do quests and earn the respect of faction X which makes you respected (for now) with faction Y until [[ insert some other mechanic here ]] changes the political views and Y now doesn't like you so much anymore but Z ... who hated you when Y liked you ... now likes you.

Mix things up!! You will always have 1 reputation to deal with, get quests from .. etc etc .. but the others shift around you.

Wed Jul 27 2011 1:25PM Report
daltanious writes:

I think if there would be games that are only PVE and games that are only PVP, there would be 99% less threads and complaining of all types.

Thu Jul 28 2011 2:31AM Report
zonzai writes:

Shifting reputations are an interesting Idea.  I like that.   I've seen a  couple of games do that but you can't really change sides in them. 

Thu Jul 28 2011 4:25PM Report
hembot writes:

Did someone really write "Corporate America" as a reason? I can think of plenty of games that aren't American that are all shades of good to suck. The evils of capitalism are what drives two sides? I must have skipped that chapter on video games in Marx's manifesto.

Generally there are two main sides to 99% of historical conflicts. Good vs. Evil is how most people think. "People" includes game designers.

I think it's worth mentioning that 2 side pvp also ends up with developer tweaks in the game making one side strong than the other. Constant use of nerfs as players shift factions etc. Annoying crieds of "stop nerfing me" and the even more annoying nerf bat...It really sucks when you cultivate a character for a certain purpose and find that no one wants you in a group because now another character is so much better. Early tBC Warrior vs. Druid tanking in WoW  is the perfect example. 

Mon Aug 01 2011 1:29PM Report
gothmog56 writes:

now think about it who would want a player who switched sides at the drop of a hat.would you even invite new people on your raid?they may even make a character just to sabatoage your raids.

which is why once you pick a side all your characters should belong to that side.

as far was wow maybe if they made the races more even you would not have the 1 sided you have .

Mon Aug 01 2011 2:13PM Report
WhySoShort writes:

I think part of the reason three-faction PvP doesn't show up much in games is because it almost never shows up in real life. Think of history's most famous wars: WWII, The Trojan War, the Greco-Persian Wars, the Norman Invasion, you name it, it involved two opposing factions. In fact, the only three faction war I can think of is the Three Kingdoms period in China. 

Tue Aug 02 2011 2:47AM Report
Ghilt writes:

You can look at WWII also like war of at least 3 factions (assume European theatre only) - West Europe, Germany, Soviet Union. First, Germany took Poland together with USSR, then Germans alone attacked west Europe, then German turned against USSR, so USSR joined west Europe against Germany.

Tue Aug 02 2011 9:54AM Report
azmundai writes:

I said corporate america because all of the companies are just copying the 1 super successful game. milk it. that is corporate america.

Thu Aug 11 2011 7:38PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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