Other day I tossed out an idea for Age of Conan FFA PVP Server. I was trying to point out that a server without death penalties kinda blow. But the way my story was phrased my point wasn't too clear
Anyway in this blog I want to briefly focus on why I think PVP servers without Death penalties kind of suck.
One player phrased this issue very well:
"Death penalty matters not. Its all about fun. If PvP is fun, people will play."
I would anwser this as a yes-no. In mmorpg space, people usually don't engage in PVP unless they get a reward. In City of Heroes, the PVP zones were always kind of deserted (no rewards). In World of Warcraft, PVP became a LOT more popular when Honor system was introduced. World PVP surged to new heights. All of a sudden, players came from everywhere. But then Battlegrounds came and then World PVP took a nose dive.......
See, a lot of people think PVP is pointless. Why? Well because they lack Victory Conditions. In FPS, table top, cards, chess, checkers, RTS, sports, or ANY other genre we have Victory Conditions. Wars end. In mmorpg space when there is no DP (death penalty), wars go on forever and ever. Players fight like immortal gods. There is no conclusion. No victory. World of Warcraft added Battlegrounds as the anwser which is a portal into an FPS of sorts. That works in a way but now World PVP is dead.....
But what about World PVP? Well there is a reason Blizzard is pulling players into Battlegrounds. It's much easier to enforce victory conditions there when you have NO DEATH PENALTY
In games with a Death penalty like eVE Online wars see a logical conclusion. When pirates assault our base and when we kill them they dont rez. They say, "gg bro". The reason why is because they are looking at up to an hour trip back to our terriority plus they have lost valuable resources. Victory Condition. The winners own the top of the hill and the losers are all dead.
Imagine a long conflict between two Guilds. One Guild keeps killing the other over and over and taking their resources. What do you think will happen? The losing Guild will be forced into surrending. Sometimes they will try to make peace, merge, or pay a tribute to YOUR guild. Victory Condition.
In Starport players earn XP for killing others, doing quests/missions, and a tiny bit for killing NPCs. But what nets you big XP is taking over enemy planets, stealing assets from other players, and of course scoring a big kill. Victory Condition. That is good PVP. At the end of the era, the server even announces a WINNER. Needless to say Starport has a harsh DP on all the servers. Any player owned assets can be stolen or destroyed at anytime whether you'rte online or not. Makes no difference. Your ship can be destroyed at anytime / anywhere and all cargo is forfeit. Item decay is in play as well.
Anything else is -POINTLESS-. Player looting can get us there. Long travel times can get us there. Item decay alone can help get us there. Hell, exiling the freakin' victim from an area that is being sieged can get us there. Hell even in Guild Wars players cant be rezzed unless a player helps you. No self rezzing. I understand why mmorpgs cant do this but come on its not hard tossing out examples here
In every other genre we have Victory Conditions. For some reason MMORPG is the ONLY genre where players think its okay to fight all night long pointlessly. Screw that. I'm too old for that crap. I want to get my fight on, get my rewards, and go to bed.
Looking forward I am glad the Age of Conan developers agree with me. Border Kingdoms will feature Keep battles and fighting over player controlled terriority. So at least Border Kingdoms PVP looks promising on paper! Warhammer Online will have Victory Conditions all over the place for sieging captial cities and so forth. This too, looks like a good move on paper!