Well here’s part 1 of my PVP writeup. I’m putting this guide/article together mostly for myself to put down notes for a game I’m currently writing up..maybe a book at this point since it’d be easier, but whatever. This, in theory, will help out all the people out there who don’t know a whole lot about PVP, or those carebears who don’t see what the big fuss is about it.
This section I’ll be covering the different types of PVP Rules. From what I can recall, there are 4 main types of PVP rules with 1 sub type. I’ll go into each one individually stating some of the pros/cons of each, then tell you which I think is best, most involved, etc.
1 – No-PVP
Basically this is for the people who like to hold hands and frolic in the woods while hugging some trees. No battling, outside of duels. Everyone loves everyone, lets all be friends mentality. While this is great for the casual person who likes to play laid back, for most people I know, it gets rather boring. These are mostly social kind of games, which are great for a graphic intense chat room with some general enemy encounters.
Pros – These are quite self explanatory. You won’t get randomly jumped while hugging a tree. Generally you also have a ton of friends…or at least people who can deal with you enough not to /ignore you. Some of these types of games have rather interesting social features and involved crafting/guild structures.
Cons – The biggest one is that once you kill Master Boss Alpha III you have basically done everything in the game. There’s no real variation, since the PVE AI is the same, so you are stuck doing only social things, or repeating the same quests/killing over and over until the devs get around and make a new Master Boss Alpha IV. This is the game breaker for me, which is why I would never play a PVE only kind of game. I like to at least mix it up once and a while.
2 – Flagging
The second type of PVP is a flagging based PVP environment. This is where it’s mostly PVE, but those few brave souls can basically hit a toggle switch which says “Hey I’m not a complete carebear, feel free to attack me”. The easiest and most recognizable game to notice this in, is WoW on one of their PVE servers (not including their battlegrounds). In the open world environment if Alliance is near a Horde and both are unflagged, they just give each other high fives and go about their business. Now if one was flagged and the other wasn’t, the non flagged person can initiate the fight by attacking, and viola PVP.
Pros – Are pretty obvious. You can turn off your flag if you are waiting for a spawn or just don’t want to be bothered. No griefing technically is a good one too, as you can’t be spawn camped. If you have your flag up when you die, just reset it when you respawn and you can’t be attacked.
Cons – These are again a deal breaker for me. By having a flagging system in place, the non-flagged person who starts the fight has the greater advantage. They can prepare before the fight, get the initial first hit or 2. While this can happen in any situation, if a flagged person notices someone getting ready to attack, they can’t outsmart them and attack first…instead they can “abuse” the system and instantly turn off their flag rendering the attackers setup useless. Some games, such as WoW have a timer to prevent this, I believe it’s 5 minutes from the time you turn off your PVP flag until it goes into affect. This generally limits the depth of the PVP experience to being very few and far between random encounters which someone can chicken out of by unflagging. Not my thing.
3- Realm VS Realm, Faction VS Faction, Race VS Race, etc
This is when there are multiple factions in a given game, and by making a character of one faction, the other faction automatically becomes the enemy and can be PK’d almost on site, depending on the game and their specific “safe zones”. Many games have adopted this kind of situation, originally coined by Dark Ages of Camelot. While the different factions/realms were separated, in the designated “war zones” any enemy you find, regardless of level, can be killed.
Several big titles have come out/are coming out. Of course Guild Wars 2 has an adapted system of this called WvW (World vs World). This is a decent mechanic, but all mirrored classes and a 2 week server swap kind of limits the full interaction here. Two titles coming out are also adapting a similar system: Elder Scrolls Online by Bethesda and Camelot Unchained (working title) by a smaller indie company City-State Entertainment (headed by one of the founders of Mythic Entertainment - the makers of Dark Age of Camelot (DAoc)). These two games seem to fully get the idea of a Realm VS Realm game - 3 unique factions with unique classes for each one.
Pros – Generally very easy to find someone to fight. The enemy is easy to distinguish, most games give enemy players a Red nameplate. This coined the phrase “Red is Dead”, meaning anyone with a red name, was kill on sight, regardless of levels. When having opposing sides, the PVP can be more involved, meaning there can be objectives that can be fought over. In DAOC and WAR there were keeps that people fought over for control. DAoC’s system was better, but that’s a discussion for a different day. ….. . By having an Us VS Them system, there generally is a better community and, if done properly, can instill a sense of Realm/Race/Faction pride.
Cons – If implemented like WoW where both factions occupy the same areas, you can get griefed, spawn camped, and zerged by the opposing faction when all you want to do is your quest. Granted you can call in some backup and have a good old fight, but 90% of the time that doesn’t happen. If someone annoys you and is in your faction, you can’t kill them…sad I know since there are plenty of same-faction people I’d have loved to kill when I played DAoC.
4 – Open PVP
With this system, anyone can attack anyone at anytime. You always got to be on the lookout because you could be scouted out and are potentially prey all the time. Then again you can be offensive and attack other plays for fun and profit. The community on this kind of server is usually tight knit. Except for the spewing of rage and tears on the forums when someone gets killed…but that just adds to the hilarity and fun of this server type.
Pros – This is by far the most exciting and potentially frustrating system. Easy to pick a fight if you are in the mood. Enemies everywhere, you can test out your skills. Every time you log into this game, it can be a different situation. Some days you will want to be offensive and go player hunting, some days you can be a little defensive and avoid fights to kill monsters for some cash, other days you will get killed non stop due to some deuche with nothing better to do. Another big pro is if you need a specific rare named monster for a quest or awesome item and you see someone else there waiting, on the other server choices you are out of luck. With this rule set you can kill him, then claim the beast for yourself.
Cons – No rest. You can never let your guard down as someone is most likely watching you, waiting for a weak point to attack. Easy to get griefed by other players with too much time on their hands. You generally die….A LOT. This system usually brings in the worst trash of the MMO crowd, but also brings in some of the greatest people you will ever meet in a game.
5 – Guild Warfare / Clan VS Clan
This is more of a subset system and can be implemented in any of the previous 4 systems. Basically it’s when one guild declares war on another guild. This allows the 2 guilds in question to fight anytime they see each other. Sometimes there are rules in place where a larger guild can’t beat up on a smaller one, sometimes both have to agree, whatever the situation, it can be tons of fun.
Pro – Usually it’s very competitive. The best of both guilds duking it out for power, money, land, reputation can lead to some great and hard won fights. Helps bring a guild together as well as add some competition and grudges to the game.
Cons – Can be abused if no regulations are in place a “Zerg Guild” can dominate all the smaller guilds, ruining the experience for them. If mixed in with an Open PVP system, can have tons of adds into your guild vs guild fight, making a victory tainted. If added to an RVR system, can take away from the realm community as one guild will not help out another guild who is being attacked by the enemy faction.
Well those are the basic PVP systems that I can recall seeing in the past, I may have missed one or some of the pros/cons, feel free to let me know of anything I’ve missed.
Now for my opinion on which system I like the most. I personally enjoy Realm VS Realm system with the Guild warfare thrown into the mix. This gives the game potential for a great community, as well as adds some inter-realm competition. By having the RVR system, there can be objectives, keeps, tug of wars, etc but not be overwhelmed with non stop PVP and constant griefing. In the long run, I believe an RVR system will have the most involved and intricately designed PVP, assuming it’s done properly (not like WAR). There also needs to be something in place for guilds to fight over, whether it be land, mines, ranking, whatever. That way there is variety and you are not always facing the same enemies all the time.
I’m a fan of smaller scale PVP, small force vs small force. With the setup that I expressed, I think it gives the best opportunity for this kind of a fight. It takes more skill when fighting equal number of skilled players, rather then lemming rushing the opposing faction. Hopefully ESO and CU will be able to grasp the love I had for DAoC's RVR system. Only time will tell.
You know what I think, but what do YOU think? Did I miss something? A Con really a Pro? Lets hear what you have to say. Keep an eye out for Part 2 of my PVP series. Will be covering PVP areas.
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