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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: PvP Servers

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday July 5 2007 at 11:19AM
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Rant: PvP Servers

 

As the next generation of MMO's start to be seen on the horizon, one trend that we can see is a focus on PvP as a vital aspect of the games.  I personally am in the belief that PvP is the best endgame an MMO can have.  No PvE only game can ever put out enough content fast enough to keep up with the pace of its gamers.  Even the smallest amount of content takes a lot of development time, and when you factor in tweaking and testing, developers will always find the player base hot on their heels.

 

In a PvE game, the end game usually will end up consisting of raids that involve a large number of players.  Due to the often time gimmicky nature of these raid bosses, once the strat is discovered to beat them, the raids become more of a routine chore then something exciting.  We have seen this in World of Warcraft countless times when new bosses are introduced.   One guild gets the world first kill on it, the strat is learned, and the bosses starts getting killed by a large number of raids across all servers.  The real problem with this as an endgame is that it becomes very hard to justify the tedium over time.  Kill boss, get strong loot, kill stronger boss, get stronger loot, kill super strong boss, get super strong loot, and the cycle goes on forever.

 

Now let's throw PvP into the equation.  Suddenly the prospect of PvE raids becomes a lot more justified.  Kill boss, get loot, obliterate other players!  The beauty of PvP as an endgame is that if it is done in the right setting, the players will write the story instead of the developers.  Players will find themselves seeking out other players, rivalries will form, and players will actively seek out these people.   Even in the event that your PvP rival is a complete and utter idiot, in most cases he or she will still be more unpredictable then a raid mob who uses the same gimmicks every 30 seconds.

 

 

PvP Servers

 

PvP servers provide the best environment to play on as far as endgame goes.  Every MMO should have at least 1 PvP ruleset server.  I know some developers will cry about the lore and the story and all that crap, but they need to face the music.  The people who are PvP oriented honestly don't give a flying crap about your lore and story, they want blood and mayhem.   As a devloper, you should bite your tongue and drop all the lore crap for just a single server because by its existence, you will sell many more copies of your game that otherwise wouldn't have been bought.  Brad McQuaid may have been a terrible manager of the Vanguard project, but when it comes to making people swallow mouthfuls of crap, hes the Wolfgang Puck of bullshit and spin.   He was smart enough to toss in the PvP servers when VG launched because he knew it would sell a lot more copies of his game.  There is a right way and a wrong way to implement a PvP server, so let's take a look at some of the more successful MMOs and their approach....

 

 

World of Warcraft (RvR)

Seriously, I don't know WTF Blizzard was thinking or who they think they are fooling.  There is a really good reason why WoW's PvP is the laughing stock of the MMO world.   They have contested zones that aren't really contested, no penalty for death, graveyard rushing, and instanced PvP.  I remember playing when the game first came out before the battlegrounds and having a good time.   Ever since battlegrounds they have systematically cut the balls off of PvP and those who seek it in its natural setting.   It's actually to the point where there is literally almost no difference at all between the PvE server and the PvP server.  Congrats to Blizzard for making the most trivial, meaningless, and unskilled PvP ever to grace the MMO genre.   If WoW is your first MMO and you think your some sort of tough guy in PvP, your bragging rights are about on the same level as a toddler talking smack about how he can tie his shoes. SandLOL?

 

 

Everquest 2 - Nagafen (RvR)

If your looking to play a modern MMO with half decent PvP servers, this is probably your best bet at present time.  As usual, Everquest 2 has taken things much farther then WoW.  As someone who has and is playing on the Nagafen PvP (highest populated PvP) server, I will be the first to tell you that not all classes are created equal in PvP.  Where it does shine however is the fact that none of the PvP on Nagafen is instanced.  All PvP takes place on the overworld and inside of non-instanced dungeons.  The other interesting aspect is that they give you the power to change which faction you are on.   If your team seems overpopulated, you always have the ability to exile into the 3rd party team, and from there a full switch to the other faction.  The PvP rewards can be time consuming to get, but it is worth the trade off to have world PvP making this the best choice among more modern MMOs.

 

 

Dark Age of Camelot - Andred / Mordred (FFA)

This was probably the some of the best times I have ever had in an MMO.  A true Free-For-All PvP ruleset where you could attack anyone of any level anywhere outside the capital cities.  Unlike many PvP servers, the "Dreds" as they are referred to, the FFA format allows communication between all players since there are no factions, only guilds.  This allows for 2 very important aspects.  The first being the abilities to have a real political environment, the second is ability to talk smack to your enemies.  Of course we can't forget that along with these fun features, DAOC comes with the best PvP reward system in an MMO and capturable castles and relics that have a real impact on the battles.  Unfortunately DAOC is growing a little long in the tooth, and these servers are now a ghost town, but to this day this is probably the funnest MMO experience I have had in my career.

 

 

Asheron's Call - Darktide (FFA)

We can't talk about PvP servers and not talk about Darktide.  One of the most extreme PvP environments ever created.  Upon creating your character, you are presented with a warning message telling of a horrific existence that awaits you beyond the portal.  A warning which rings true the second you enter the world and find a crew of people waiting where new players arrive to give them a nice warm welcome to the server by baptizing them with a battle axe and stealing everything except your underwear which is unlootable.  Unlike the previous examples, a death on Darktide will cost you a lot more then your dignity.  Your killer will be walking away with one or more of your valuable items, which includes your equipped weapons and armor as possible drops.  Darktide also had guilds, basically the "Blood" guild which made up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the servers population and everyone else.   Being a member of the Blood guild however didn't guarantee your safety.  Also unlike previous examples, Darktide allowed you to kill anyone....including your own guildmates!

 

 

At the end of the day, PvP has been proven to provide player-driven content to give games an exceptional level of staying power.  Games like Lord of the Rings Online will undoubted find themselves struggling to produce content fast enough to keep up with the rate its players will consume it.  If these developers are in the business to make money, then shelfing the lore and giving us 1 real PvP server may be prove to be a wise financial decision.  PvP is going to become a much more predominant force in this genre.  Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Darkfall, Fallen Earth, and Aion are all coming with PvP built in different ways.  Gamers should be able to find some comfort in the fact that in the next generation of MMOs, hopefully we will be in the driver's seat and less dependent on developers to spoon feed us content.

 

Paragus 

Co-leader of Inquisition

www.inqguild.com

vajuras writes:

Good article. Sucks AC1 darktide let newbies get raped like that lol. Should at least spawn them in a safe zone and they shouldn't get any penalties for dying for first few game hours. Perhaps put them through a training camp first don't just spawn them in an FFA area what were those devs thinking lmao

Thu Jul 05 2007 12:02PM Report
cmagoun writes:

I never played DAOC, but I wish I had.

Still, I am on the fence on PvP being the next gen's saving grace. I think there are a lot of people in the MMO community that are carebear or semi-carebear (and I think a growing number) at heart and you just won't draw them into the same sort of PvP environment for which you seem to long. Maybe... but I don't know.

My problem with PvP is that they all force a mentality of PvP for the sake of PvP. They focus on the battle and not the war. Focusing on a larger scale conflict gives PvP meaning. You aren't just ganking someone because you can, you are ganking them because doing so deprives your enemies of their much needed resources.

I want to see PvP environments that include a significant PvE component, allowing a trader, a merchant, or a questor to have an impact on control of a town without having to PvP. Of course, in participating on the war effort, this otherwise carebear player would make himself a target for the opposing factions. This allows both PvP-minded and PvE-minded players to fight for the cause in their own fashion.

In any case, I always enjoy reading your rants and hope to see more.

Thu Jul 05 2007 3:26PM Report
Tekin writes: Ok Vajuras have you red any of his bogs at all he has consistently bitched about how water down the pvp in the newer games has become. The fact that in AC1 as soon as you were dropped into the over world there might be a strong possibility that you might be mugged and all your gold stolen were great. The fact that you made your guy in AC1 on pvp server and your balls were on the cutting block as soon as you came into the world made it a fantastic game. You stated should at least spawn them in a safe spot is the same water down B.S. we are talking about you care bear. You kids today cry about having to run a instance a few times to get the gear your after try spending a few weeks or months trying to farm mats or camp a rare spawn some place. You guys want instant gratification when it comes to new MMO’s coming out. And every little thing handed to you right off the bat with ease. I glad to see a few of the newer games are getting back to the old way of things and putting PVP back into games and not bowing to you care bears. WoW killed pvp on pvp servers and made the whole MMO very popular to people that never played them before but they also watered it down so bad they have made it just mind numbing spam clicking Thu Jul 05 2007 3:32PM Report
ivan50265 writes:

Thanx for bringin back the fond memories of treachery and conquest on DAoC paragus. See ya next time.

Thu Jul 05 2007 11:57PM Report
vajuras writes:

Tekin I find it funny you addressed me seeing as how I have written many articles about hardcore PVP blogs you misread my post totally

Fri Jul 06 2007 2:11AM Report
Greatness writes:

I agree that PvP is definitely a great thing for end-game. I play Lineage 2 and the end-game is amazing, castle seiges, guild wars, constant PvP if you join guilds. These guilds also raid aswell but what makes it interesting is that rival guilds/alliances can come and try to mess up your raiding plans.

Fri Jul 06 2007 7:34AM Report
vajuras writes:

maybe Tekin has a point I've gone carebear? I just like to see a person get a tutorial before they get dropped into a dangerous area whether it be PVE/PVE.  anyone has any opinions on this? I guess I have always envisioned players getting a newbie island (like Basic Training). Then kick them out into the wild after they complete it. After that- everyone is free game. Full 100% open PVP with hardcore penalties (looting if there is gear).

Thu Jul 12 2007 12:04PM Report
Ghost12 writes:

Hahahahaha yep yep AC1 Darktide you were indeed baptized by getting killed IMMEDIATLEY upon entering the realm. Sure, it was the roughest times, but it was AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thu Jul 12 2007 12:17PM Report
Paragus1 writes:

That's not a bad idea Vajuras.   I mean I don't expect to have someone tell you how to survive on a PvP server, every game is different and half the fun is learning to adapt.   It would be nice to have a little list of the rules that are different on that PvP server.  For example, some of my guildies are trying EQ2 Nagafen server with us, and did not know that your money would drop on death etc.   It would be nice to just have a little list upon character creation or server selection.

 

The darktide thing was classic!   We used to joke about the warning they gave you about having a harsh existence.   I wish they could put that disclaimer on more PvP servers and take the shackles off sometimes.    Maybe the reason we haven't seen that warning since Darktide is because there hasn't been an environment that harsh since its hayday.

Thu Jul 12 2007 2:34PM Report
Panossian writes:

Right on the money Par. What always cracked my up about MMO's is that guilds were always rated on how "far" they were in PvE which is all about fighting the same robotic mobs over and over again. The only thing PvE proved was how long guild leaders could keep their members asses glued to their seats. End game should always be PvP because its never the same fight and going up against real gamers vs. robotic AI is the real challenge.

Wed Jul 25 2007 8:10PM Report
eloh writes:

I've been away from the MMORPG community for a long while and decided to jump back in, and I've been appalled at the lack of a good PvP game.  I can remember complaining about the defects of AC1, but it was nirvana compared to what's out there now.

What I really don't understand is why developers don't use servers to custom-tailor the game to multiple types of users.  They just use a PvE/PvP dichotomy now, though DAOC was smart enough to allow a pure PvP server in addition to their RvR servers.  Not everyone wants the brutal environment of AC1, of course, but some of us do.  Why not have PvE and a variety of PvP servers, ranging from RvR to true, open-ended PvP, to PvP with horrific death consequences?

I always thought the whole POINT of role-playing was to create your own experience, but, like the old USSR, developers seem to be forcing us into an increasing managed experience with less and less ability to make our own choices.  Bring back the good old days of pure blood and guts anarchy!  At least for those of us who liked it--and give others the option to pick a server that suits their own tastes.

Sun Dec 23 2007 3:50PM Report

MMORPG.com writes:
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