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the Lonely Altar

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#68 If I made The Elder Scrolls Online

Posted by Tierless Tuesday December 31 2013 at 2:01PM
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I’ve recently been in touch with a long lost love. Like a fine wine she has gotten better with age. Due to some technology roadblocks I wasn’t able to enjoy Skyrim for far far too long. I’ve recently come back to her and I have to say her mods are looking fantastic. I feel like she's a brand new game and I love her more now than ever!

Skyrim got me thinking, if I made TESO, how would I have done it? How does one capture what is one of the very best single player games of all time, as an MMORPG? How do you keep other players from ruining the Skyrim experience? Do I go the UO/SWG way of “your not the hero but you can LIVE in this universe”, probably not, TES fans are used to being the hero right?

How could I be the hero if 2000 other players on my server are? Should I have PVP? Do I make it like GW2 but darker and more Skyrimmy? What makes Skyrim special? That one I knew the answer to. The same thing that makes all of the TES games so great, a giant open world where lots of bad things can happen, and it’s my job to handle those things in the way that I see fit.

1. Giant Open world full of chaos

2. Open class ability allowing me to make choices on how I want to play

Now I’m getting somewhere but how can I create the same feeling when you're waiting in line for your NPC to spawn so you can kill them and be the hero....phasing! Perfect. If phasing can’t be done to that scale then go the AOC route. (Looks at TESO) So far so good...as long as it’s is a big open world and NOT and disjointed world of instances like WOW has become. (notes WOW has become D3...)

Do we have PVP? Sure why not, people like to PVP right?

How to do that...go all in, make it a huge focus in the end game, but make it so it’s something you can toggle /pvp on /pvp off (with 15 minute wait time to avoid sploiting). We need factions or we will just end up with big guilds fighting bigger guilds so at some point the player must make a tough choice and pick a faction to PVP for. But what are they fighting over? Now we need various control points and capture points, or maybe we just need the WAR approach and have the very end areas, the very highest level areas, also be the areas your side can capture and hold for rewards. The holding faction can decide if they want to “allow” players that are NOT PVP flagged but also NOT part of their faction into the area. Keep in mind this is where the best loots and materials and pretty stuffs comes from...that might make for some interesting scenarios. Maybe have a few of these areas with one master area?

I dunno, maybe that would work, maybe it would just be too chaotic and messy? (looks at TESO, sees a system where your are the “King” of PVP instance #45). Ok, so they didn’t go all in on this aspect but very few MMOs every really have the guts to go all in on PVP...

As long as TESO utilizes the open dangerous world I could see myself spending some time in it. That PVP system sounds pretty unappealing but maybe it functions better than it reads. Either way I’m willing to flip a coin on this one and hope it comes up fun. I’ve been MMOless for a long long time and miss that lovin feelin cause it’s gone, gone, gone, woaoooo-oooo-wo. Looking at TESO and what I’ve seen and read it has the potential to al least provide a proper single player experience comparable to other TES games. It sounds far too “solo PVE” to be my new MMO home, but maybe if I adjust mah expectations a bit, it will be a quality TES “feeling” experience.

#67 Another 2014 Predictions Blog Part II

Posted by Tierless Sunday December 22 2013 at 6:58PM
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Is it stupidity or blind faith in one’s self that makes someone arrogant enough to think they can predict the future? A little of both I suppose. Now where were we...

Everquest Legends - This is the first MOBA to excite me! I look forward to watching this one develope over the next few years.

“But Tierless I haven’t heard anything about an Everquest MOBA, wtf?” That is because I made it up, but I think we will see one in development before too long wouldn’t you agree? I can guarantee you one thing about it, it will not be called Everquest Legends because that would confuse brands with the other EQL. ;)

Everquest Landmark  (AKA Landamark)- Consider me a mark! This game will continue to overshadow EQN. Not because EQN sucks but because EQL seems farther along and because EQL = pretty Minecraft, people LOVE Minecraft, people also LOVE pretty, so by default people will LOVE EQL. I see this game being successful and becoming a beloved hit by many gamers. The stuff people will create will be incredible and exploring it in EQL will be incredibly fun. If they allow for PVP options in L this MMOer might just have a home for a while. The issue for this game will be how it impacts it’s sister. I see EQL and EQN headed down a path similar to EVE. As EQL begins to detract from N, draw more players, and outperforms it (imo both will do well but L will do slightly better) EQ fans will start to turn on L for “taking resources away from their game”. The winner of the battle will be SOE as they win moneys for both games and end up only competing with themselves.

Everquest Next - This game will keep chugging along and gaining momentum until a hyper hyped launch leaves fans thinking...”um, am I the only one that misses the chaotic freedom of EQL?”. This will be a good game but it will “just feel off” because fans will have spent so much time in EQL by the launch of EQN. You will see 3 factions of fans of EQN. Old schoolers that begin to hate EQL, newschoolers that want EQN to open up EQLesque “freedom servers” with no restrictions, and hardcore EQLers who begin to hate EQNers for “playing the lame game”. Once again the winner is SOE who lol all the way to the bank and begin work on the EQM (MOBA). This game is incredibly excited for both L and N. Why do I think the EQ sisters will create so much drama between them? Because; human history.

FTP/BTP - That pie sure if getting small isn’t it? There are only so many whales in the ocean and the strain caused by “the last trend of the old generation” will continue to see success in increasingly smaller portions. It will still be an option for games that fail at launch because they simply aren’t worth $15 a month, but as we see the true new generation of MMOs that are worth the monthly we will see FTP and BTP become even more obviously the “jumping of the shark” for an MMO. You know what they say, “once you go Free, you can’t go...back?”, ok no one says that and it doesn’t even rhyme but it’s the best I had...

Minecraft-The savior of the genre! Who knew a non MMO would save MMOs? Minecraft will begin to lose it’s followers as more and more games continue to “borrow” it’s concepts but in a prettier package. Why did I include it? Because it deserves it for having the guts to be a big open dangerous world when the developers in this genre couldn’t.

MOBAs-I have tried but I just can’t get into these games. It’s like an MMO without all of the cool features that make it feel like a virtual world. It’s an MMO bared down to small scale PVP matches. Thanks to WOW training millions of people to think that concept is fun, and timing, LOL hit it out of the freaken park. As more and more big companies jump on the band wagon and over saturate this genre players will drift back into ours! The big ones, LOL and DOTA2 will continue to thrive while the others fail. It will look like our genre when WOW dominated and follow a similar path. Speaking of, that WOW MOBA is claiming to be “something new, and unique” meaning it will launch, be less deep, less intense, and more generic than LOL or DOTA2 and end up using some sort of “sub WOW get this game free” gimmick to retain players.

I think that’s all of them...wait, oh yeah, Camelot Unchained-Did you really think I would forget CU?!?! Did you really think I would mix CU in with the other games like some sort of commoner?!?! Like a peasant!?!? I am both shocked and offended! CU deserves it’s own “prediction for 2014” post and I’m gonna give it one!

#66 Another 2014 Predictions Blog Part I

Posted by Tierless Friday December 20 2013 at 4:23PM
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What do I think will happen, wait a sec...What I KNOW WILL happen in MMOs in 2014? (thats better)

World of Warcraft - Lets be honest WOW is gonna be WOW. It will continue to slowly bleed members, then pull a bunch back with an Xpack only see them burn through it and leave again. She was the prettiest girl at the dance but now she is an old Madam. Sure she could teach you a few things but you just can’t get past the aged wrinkles and sagging gameplay. The voxel finally slayed this dragon and made it’s capabilities dated beyond redemption. That knife will continue to twist as the new gen of MMOs featuring godly world building and destruction drives WOWs numbers lower than we have seen in years. I don’t see 2014 as being a good year for WOW and I see 2015 being worse unless they can pull off a truly game altering expansion that can somehow transform Azeroth into a new gen, new tech MMO...but we all know NEW has never been WOWs strongpoint. Rather we will see them continue to transform WOW into a MOBA because; LOL=money.

Voxels - Voxels will keep being the game changer in the genre. You will see two kinds of MMOs emerge, those with destructible worlds and those considered “old”. I catch a lot of flak for saying this but I really think the Voxel has finally pushed us into a truly new gen of MMOs. Minecraft be praised.

The Elder Scrolls Online - See SWTOR. I have not played this so my statement it based on what I have seen, read, and heard. TES is headed down the exact same path with one major disadvantage, I don’t think TES fans are willing to look past an abomination in the name of the IP the way we Star Warsers are. What has become TES’s biggest disadvantage should have been it’s advantage. All they had to do was take the sandboxy TES games and make them for multiple players. Sacrifice some of the “you’re the hero” for LIVING in a challenging world of danger! Instead it looks like we have something that is more like Diablo III with an instanced PVP option. IMHO the feature that drove me to TES games was an open world full of danger and consequence, and TESO seems to be the exact opposite of that. I LOVE this IP and I hope I am wrong and I hope I can enjoy TESO for a few years. Unfortunately hope is often wasted on the naive.

Kickstarter - The next year will start to clear up the and define the KS funded Game concept. We will begin to see some of the games crash and burn with our funds while others will maintain and even succeed. I’d like to think the majority will come to fruition but that is simply unlikely. I foresee many KS games getting exposed and many fans becoming bitter. Such is the way of things when relating to love or money, often a KS concept game involves the most stringent of both.

I’m just getting warmed up, I know, it’s that freakin cold out that all of those worlds merely warmed me! Part II will be up soon, I wouldn’t wanna keep the millions, and the Tierless means millions!, of my readers waiting.

#64 Tierless vs His Broski; a tale of SWTOR

Posted by Tierless Tuesday December 17 2013 at 4:55PM
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My friend, no, we are more than standard “friends” we are...Broskis!!! My Broski (thats better) started playing SWTOR. He likes the game, is excited for the space stuff, and loves the story of his bounty hunter. My Broski also likes the Michael Bay Transformer movies because my Broski is like normal world me (me being the bizarro world version of him obviously) and he loves most things that give him a bit O’ entertainment and to be honest I’ve always been a bit jealous of that “contentness”. I mean, he can watch ANY movie and be like, “that was cool /shrug”. Meanwhile I generally don’t want to invest the time into a movie unless I feel watching it can provide me with some form of previously unthought about perspective, philosophical concept, or incredibly creative story...

“Hey T-Broski how is that burger?” “Good.” “Hey Tierless how is that burger?” “Well, it didn’t alter my worldview, inform my political stance, or change my religious beliefs so I don’t feel like it was worth eating and I regret taking the time to do so, I should have went with tacos instead, I find them so much more...profound...” Yeash. Side note, I have decided there are two kinds of people in the world, those that love tacos and those that hate everything. Back on topic I wonder what would happen if we merged into one being, Super Saiyan style (OMFG auto correct spelled Saiyan right for me meaning it knew what it was, that is cool). Rather than forming one leet SS I assume it would be kinda like that time Evil Buu ate Good Buu, but with exactly the opposite amount of muscles.

My point is we of teh interwebs often tend to get sliiiiiiiightly wrapped up in our e-personas we forget to keep things in perspective. It’s those times that a good Broski like the one mentioned above can really help ground things and take them back to cheeeeeel man, just cheeeeel. You can learn a lot from someone that enjoys things you are supposed to enjoy. Being a bizarro version of that can be frustrating at times. Things that are funny to most people (like Duck Dynasty) make you wanna put your head through a wall meanwhile things that aren’t supposed to be funny, like someone getting their head put through a wall, are hilarious to you...

Due to his inspiration I have decided to turn over a new leaf. To change my spots. To re-roll a new toon and give many of the games I’ve taken issue with in the past a second chance. I’ll try to look at them through new, less jaded eyes. After so SO many years of watching the form of entertainment I love more than any other circle around that big ivory bowl it’s hard not to judge the book by it’s concept art cover, but from here on out I promise to be a kinder, gentler, Tierless. Tierless 2.0. I’ll even give old SWTOR a second look, yes, I’m serious. I mean, it’s Star Wars, if any one thing can get me to look blindly past flaws, it’s that!

(the following took place a few hours after writing the above blog)

After rolling through some SWTOR forums in research for a potential re-trial I saw something that even Tierless 2.0 simply can not forgive. THEY ARE CHARGING FOR FREAKEN HOT BARS! You actually have to PAY for a SECOND BUTTON BAR! WOW, just WOW. I always joke about paying to download, paying again to log in, paying again to walk but I didn’t think any games would take that model seriously! Grats SWTOR you are in fact the greediest MMO I have ever encountered. Worst of all that game has basically been reduced to the same model SWG was using. Milking hardcore Star Wars fans like myself with cosmetics because we HAVE to pay because; Star Wars, yet it STILL lacks most of the features that made SWG great 10 years ago!

...

Ok, rough start, mushin no shin, hummmm, hummmmmm, ok. I am calm. I am at peace. I am Tierless 2.0...as, of, righttttt...now (big exhale). We will forget about that little side track with SWTOR...they can’t all be like that...right?

 

#63 Promoting a current MMO vs a WOW Killer!

Posted by Tierless Thursday December 12 2013 at 7:53PM
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Often change isn’t realized until long after it occurs. Once in a great while we can see it happen in an instant. Lets take an over exaggerated look at how MMO promotion has changed recently.

(Current) 1. Look into crowd funding for your game. Do some reasearch and get some feedback on if it’s something players would be interested in.

(Old) 1. Acquire an IP that you think can give you insta subs and compete with WOW.

(Current) 2. Start Kickstarter (or other form of crowd funding). Tirelessly make as many rounds as you can to promote the game and spread the word to players you think would be interested.

(Old) 2. Put out a CG Trailer hyping the game as the “next generation of MMORPGs!”

(Current) 3. Offer exclusives for backing the game, gamers love exclusives!

(Old) 3. Put out a dev vid with some more CG talking about the mind blowing things your game will do. Say you aren’t trying to kill WOW but think “there is room for both of your games” “you're not the WOW killer but you wouldn’t mind achieving some of WOW’s success”.

(Current) 4. Trickle out the info. Slowly pull back the curtain on your MMO and the concepts it plans to implement.

(Old) 4. Make another trailer, this time with some gameplay (that really isn’t) and more CG claiming your game will do old things better than they have been done and new things that have never ever been dared before!

(Current) 5. Form a symbiotic relationship with the backers, you need them, the hope your game restores their faith in the genre. Continue trying to promote enough to reach your funding goal.

(Old) 5. Claim your game is new, fresh, never been done, and, just maybe a threat to WOW, maybe.

(Current) 6. Grats, you funded. Now the even harder work begins. Hit the grind but remember, you have those pesky backers that are always starving for new info. Keep making media rounds when you have something to show, keep the backer morphine drip coming, keep grinding.

(Old) 6. Claim your internal testing is going incredibly well (despite the contrary). Claim your feedback has been off the charts good and players are in shock that you have crafted such an incredible piece of playable art, AND IT”S ONLY BETA OMGGGGG! Mention your early “conservative” projections put you within WOW striking range.

(Current) 7. Funds are tightening, they always are. More media, more promo. You want to hype but not too much. You want to spread the word but not over promise. It’s a long hard road but you haven’t felt this liberated in years!

(Old) 7. Drop the bomb on your loyal original IP fans, your game is a lot different and “more advanced” in many ways than WOW BUT will feel VERY familiar to WOW players. (hide this info in between teo CG trailers)

(Current) 8. You have a bit of game, time to do some youtube vids announcing new paid beta backer tiers beginning in the next few months (hopefully).

(Old) 8. Hit the EXPO circuit. Make SURE the ONLY reporters that get any access get it in a private viewing room where it is subtly hinted that they are special but should the information being reported be “overly critical considering it’s an early build” that access may be revoked.

(Current) 9. Your early early early testing starts. You don’t have much but it’s enough to slap some more vids together showing some of your features and put out an update on beta.

(Old) 9. Announce launch date (mid November) with a CG trailer and interviews where you talk about the WOW killer rumor that you “didn’t start”, how your game is a lot like WOW but on steroids, and how betas is ahead of schedule (despite being behind). Only grant previews and interviews to the “loyal” reporters.

(Current) 10. Beta has been going well, only a year or two to go before launch (hopefully). Despite what THEY said you did it without the corporate monkey on your back, but you're starting to wonder if you didn’t trade king kong for a barrel of backer monkeys...speaking of back to the grind. You can’t afford to miss big deadlines, MMO Inc would love it far too much if you did plus you would have a million backer voices suddenly crying out in terror, that would never be silenced.

(Old) 10. Remove numerous features and launch. Give “loyal” reviewers a head start for launch day reviews. Deny wanting to kill WOW but brag that your projections put you ahead of WOW “at launch”. Mention your game ended up more “familiar” than fans expected but the majority of feedback has indicated your fans prefer it and many are even claiming it’s the “best mmo they have played” and they “can’t believe how much quality, nearly endless content your game already has”. Hint about the first expansion being “nearly as big as the actual game itself”.

Oh the times they are a channnnnnggggggggeinnnnnn. Now we just have to wait and see if the "new gen" of MMOs, the crowd funded MMOs deliver. If they do we could see an MMORPG renaissance, if they don't I believe we the MMORPG fans will finally give up and turn our backs on this cruel mistress forever.

#62 360 around the MMORPG Genre

Posted by Tierless Monday December 9 2013 at 3:55PM
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It’s time for another one of those “pinch of this” “dash of that” blogs where I try to say as much with as little about as many as I can.

1. EQN-L; Impressive, exciting, unfortunately cute but fortunately creative. This one is on my “hope I get into beta but I refuse to pay for it” category.

2. TESO; Has the genre passed this one by? I hope not, I hope to get some PVP and kill some time with TESO but it all depends on if the world is a nice big open box of goodies like every other ES game has been defined by. If not, I fear for the last MMO of it’s era.

3. CU; Things keep on rollin in the right direction. CU might be the best horror MMO to date...did I say horror? Still enjoying being a part of the process. Still impressed with CSEs interaction with the backers.

4. DF; Yes Darkfall. History seems to be repeating itself for this game. When it’s good it’s great and when it’s bad far far too much time lapses without any updates or even information from the devs. Times have changed, players expect more info than ever before, adapt or fade away.

5. GW2; Don’t know. I don't like playing games that constantly remind me that rich people are controlling the world I live in AND the e-world I live in. I’m not a whale and so I flounder ;)

6. MOBAs; I just don’t get these. I mean, yeah they are way deeper and more interesting than FPS PVP but I just can’t get into them. For me PVP isn’t enough. I need to explore new places, meet new people, observe their greatest accomplishments, then burn all of that down and rebuild it in my likeness all while wearing a cool outfit. I just can't do that in a MOBA.

7. The genre. LOL making bank got the big companies to leave us alone a bit, which is good. Then crowdfunding put the control back into the hands of the devs, which is also good, or at least we hope it will be but only time will tell.

8. EVE; EVE is gonna EVE. I’m a WIS mark myself so until that happens (if ever) I’ll just be an EVE news junkie. As always, cool stuff happening all the time, good stories, exciting in dev stuff. EVE still being EVE.

9. Star Citizen; I STILL can’t figure this one out. How MMO is it? What MMO does it resemble? Is it like EVE on e-roids? Is it like a real MMO version of The Old Republic games?

10. Destiny; I STILL can’t figure out if this is an MMO. IMO it looks like an open world FPS with co-op instances where all the action happens...so basically it’s World of Warcraft...

11. The Repopulation; The little MMO that could. I am forever interested in how this one shakes out and I am continuously impressed with the updates they keep rolling out.

12. Gloria Victus; This one scares me, in a good way. I am watching you Gloria, and so far you appear to be both an intriguing mistress, and a dangerous one.

13. WOW; Best for last. Remember when we were all fighting at T-Mill and S-Shore and we thought OMG if they take this, add some stuff we can control, and put us on the borders to the games zones it would be EPIC!...then they instanced EVERYTHING and Tierless never stopped being disappointed...yep, still disappointed.

For the first time in a LONG LOOOOOOOOONG time I find myself more excited for the genre’s future, than disappointed by it, if thats even possible due to the whole space and Time paradox stuff...

#61 5 Reasons You Should Be Following Camelot Unchained

Posted by Tierless Friday December 6 2013 at 10:07PM
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1. Transparency. Unlike that one guy who claimed to embrace it, CSE HAS embraced it. I have never, and fan boy aside I mean NEVER seen a company be so transparent with internal info. The honesty is refreshing. From missed goals and failed attempts to sick workers and failed polls we are seeing it all. Raw and gritty like a reality show that is real (unlike the scripted ones) MMO history is unfolding right before us.

2. PVP. Since I was a little Tierless I have oft dreamed of one thing; to play a game where I could explore foreign and unknown places, where upon I could meet strange and unique peoples, whom I could conquer and take resources from whilst I burn their culture to the ground for daring to be superior to my own. CU may be the first game to give me that humble opportunity and I don’t think I’m alone in my dreams. I think I dream a dream that is shared by millions, and the Tierless means MILLIONS, of MMO fans.

3. Crafting, the kind that makes crafters look at their crafter brethren and ask the question, “Do you even craft, bro”. Although details are limited CU is looking to have the kind of crafting that only SWG could ever compare to, and if you consider yourself a crafter but never crafted in SWG then I hate to be the one to inform you that you may infact NOT be the crafter you THOUGHT you were. That is just how good SWG harvesting and crafting was!

4. “where everybody knows, your name”. What I’m saying is CU is EXACTLY like that show cheers complete with a morbidly obese alcoholic guy that is nailed to a bar stool and smarmy secretly balding leading man that takes advantage of his boss's femininity...ok it’s not, not at all, not even close, not even a little. But, we are still at the point where we are big enough to have the game funded and on track but small enough to where YOU can have a voice. Be seen, be heard, be CU!

5. Mark Jacobs. If you look hard enough you can find just about any angle you wanna take on MJ but the reality is the evidence stacks one sidedly in favor of MJ being an honest, stand-up guy and I don’t think you could find one single founder who would say otherwise. MJ has continued to go to bat for the founders and given us far more sway and interaction than I ever thought we would have.

I could go on but 5 is such a sexy number I have to stop...for now...

Tierless Out (puts on sunglasses, jumps into topless Geo Metro, and drives off into the sunset)

 

#60 Is Everquest Landmark living up to the hype?

Posted by Tierless Friday December 6 2013 at 9:23PM
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So far, yes. End.

Ok, maybe not. I mean, I don’t mean not as in EQL not, I mean not as in it’s NOT the end...not...OH GOD, I probably just lost you didn’t I? Well, I hope...not, for the few that remain I shall bless you with wordsmanship of the highest order! Because; words

After seeing more EQL footage I have to admit, I’m MORE impressed. Yeah the graphics still look like Hello Kitty Online combined with Barbies Disney dream house but good lord to quote a Sith I know, the POWA, UN-LMITED POWA!!!!

It’s like being a god! The second I saw the avatar do a Jedi like force hand movement to shape and move the pieces I perked up. Seeing a Babrie castle, a Mayan temple, and a freaken MECH get crafted was both exciting and impressive.

Do I buy into the fake Kickstarter thing? No. Do I buy into the 90’s Pro Wrestling style vignettes, no. Do I feel comfortable with the cash stuff, heck no. The good news is that is all icing on the cake, the cake being one that I get to bake, from darn near scratch!

I no longer know which I’m more excited for, EQL or EQN. I now see Landamark as Next’s crazy country cousin that doesn’t care if the rebel flags on his mud flaps are offensive. What I mean by that is EQL will not care what we make in it. I’m sure it will look like a bunch of ADHD people on speed were turned loose with a can of spray paint in each hand, and that excites the heck outta me!

An eternally changing landscape of completely random hand made sculptures that you can actually interact with? AN EXPLORER’S DREAM! AN ARTISTS DREAM! OMG what am I missing?!?!?

...

PVP, that is what I am missing. BUT, and I may be the only one, I could swear in the same vid that inspired this blog I heard Mr. EQDev himself make a trollingly passing comment about EQL players HAVING PVP settings! WHAAAAAAAT? NOW you're talking my language. The only thing better than seeing things that are better than I could EVER create is burning them down to make myself feel better to compensate for my lack of createability!

Will EQL feature some form of PVP? I hope so.