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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » The worst arguments against FFA PVP

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Novice Member

Joined: 10/06/11
Posts: 731

OP  10/23/12 4:02:06 AM#1

It seems to me that whenever a game is being made that does not feature a 100% safe world wherein PVE is the main focus, the woodwork comes alive with infuriated gamers. Some of them seems to be deeply hurt by the fact that the game in question is not catering to their particular tastes, others just want to vent some frustration about FFA PVP and PVPers in general, and yet others seem to want to teach the devs how to earn more money by adapting to the mainstream market instead of following their own vision.

The same old arguments always return, however, and it's fascinating to see how they're recycled despite being so shallow and baseless. Some of them are based only on prejudices, but are often touted as fact anyway. Most of them are extremely stupid and also insulting.

Let me list my favorites (in no particular order):

"People who play FFA PVP games are sociopaths"

This is a very common misconception, based on a failure to distinguish the difference between a virtual world and the real world. People who think every FFA PVPer is acting out his irl self in the game are beyond delusional; if this argument was valid, you could also claim that PVE players enjoy slaughtering endless amounts of innocent boars and spiders irl, or that someone playing the market in WoW is a shrewd capitalist irl - or simply that so-called carebears are all spineless cowards irl.

I think it's not only stupid but utterly insulting to imply that a whole subset of the MMO community consists of sociopaths, just because they happen to enjoy a different style of games than you.

"People who play FFA PVP games are cowards"

This argument is related the preceeding one, but while the sociopath angle comes from hobby psychologists spouting armchair diagnoses, this one is the result of a more moralist view. Some people seem to be under the illusion that PVP should be somehow "fair" and "balanced", and that anyone who has learned to use tactics, terrain, numbers, abilities, experience or anything else to their advantage, is a coward who are afraid of a "fair" fight.

In short, this is scrub reasoning. The bottom line here is that PVP is about winning the fight, not roleplaying a knight in shining armor. Bringing some friends, knowing the terrain, getting the jump on people, etc, is all part of the game.

Those who use the "coward" argument should just stick to their MOBAS, BGs or WOW duelling.

"FFA PVP games are nothing but gankfests"

This is my personal favorite. Not only does it reek of hurting butts, it also illustrates some people's total lack of understanding of how FFA PVP works. What the hell does "gankfest" even mean?

First of all, the term "ganking" is now widely misused. No longer does it mean a group of people killing a lone adversary, but rather just killing someone in general. In a way, the "gankfest" argument is just as moralistic as the "coward" argument - it's rooted in the idea that open world, non-consensual PVP is somehow unfair and that a game in which unprepared, ungeared, or unexperienced players might die at the hand of another player automatically turn into "gankfests".

The root of the problem here is that many people confuse the FFA logic with the themepark logic. They believe that farming mobs/harvesting/questing in peace is some sort of human right, and that getting killed by another player while doing it constitutes an infringement of this human right. What they fail to realize is that the whole point of a FFA game is that the world is not 100% safe and that the game should be played accordingly.

If that's not your cup of tea, play some other game. You've got plenty to chose from.

"FFA PVP is a griefer's paradise"

While griefing of course happens in FFA games, it would be very naïve to think that PVE games are somehow safe from it. As a matter of fact, griefing can be much worse in games like WOW, where someone can harrass you in many ways without you being able to do anything about it. If the same situation occurs in a FFA game, you have the freedom to kill the harrasser, take his stuff, burn down his house and harrass his guild in multiple ways.

In other words: yes, FFA PVP is a griefer's paradise, but so are all multiplayer games. In FFA games the griefer has to be a competent and dedicated player to get away with his griefing.

"FFA PVP games are not commercially successful, which means they are bad"

Probably the worst argument ever. First of all, it's just false. EVE is one of the most successful MMOs of all time, with a strong player retention and a very active development - despite being an almost ten years old niche FFA game. DayZ, a buggy FFA mod (with permadeath) for a buggy military simulator, has attracted over a million players to date, a standalone is in the works and the WarZ, a simliar game from another dev, is getting loads of attention as we speak. Darkfall: Unholy Wars is another upcoming FFA title with a lot of hype.

So, it seems FFA games can attract quite a substantial audience. But even if the above argument was based on facts, it would be false. All games do not need WoW-like numbers to be successful, and a product can be extremely qualitative without being a mainstream hit - otherwise we would all be eating at McDonald's read Twilight books, and watch Hollywood movies exclusively.

FFA is not for everyone, but its audience is not as small as some people like to claim.

"This game would be great if it had a PVE server"

This argument usually comes from people who claim to be sandbox players. They want "a game like this" just without the FFA PVP, and so they come to the forums of said game clamoring for a PVE server, hoping that the devs will suddenly change their development focus just because these players want them to.

It is a very stupid argument and shows a total lack of understanding for game development. Usually the reasoning goes like this: "adding a PVE server is very easy and would not impact the PVP server in any way, so why are you guys so against it?"

Well, to begin with it's not that easy. A separate PVE server would require a lot of the devs' (often limited) resources, since it would differ in fundamental ways from the PVP server. A FFA game's whole core systems are built around PVP, so just changing them is no trivial matter. Designing and coding a separate ruleset for a game that is not designed for said ruleset would be a terrible waste of time and effort, and for what? So that people who don't even like the game to begin with can play it?

No, some gamers need to realize that games exist that do not cater to them - and never will. If you don't enjoy FFA PVP, don't play FFA PVP games. To each his own. You don't see FFA enthusiasts coming into the LOTRO forums demanding a FFA server, now do you?

"The devs will want to make money, so why don't they just remove the FFA PVP and attract more players?"

This line of reasoning is usually accompanied by some hobby economics bullshit, and just goes to show that sadly, many people believe money is the ultimate be-all end-all and that anyone not pursuing ultimate profit rates is out of his mind. These people can not understand that some devs primarily want to make a good game, a game they want to play, not make shitloads of money.

Of course, most devs need to make some money, or the game will die. But as mentioned above, all games do not need to have WOW-like numbers to be successful. Removing FFA and catering to the mainstream would be contrary to the core philosophy behind a game like DF, DayZ or Salem. It would not be the same game.

Also, it annoys me that some random forum people have the gall to try and tell devs (who have usually spent years developing the game) how to run their business - as if these entitled, spoiled, selfish internet brats knew better what the game in question needs. This of course goes for a lot of badly thought-out, opinionated bullshit floating around the gaming community, not only regarding FFA PVP games but games in general.


Well that's all folks. Please feel free to add your own examples of prejudices, failed reasoning and bad arguments!

  User Deleted
10/23/12 4:17:06 AM#2

Very, very good post OP and pretty much nailed it.


There are of though ofc a few solid arguments for people to use against FFA pvp, at least as to why they have no interest in it.


E-Sport PVP:

If you are only seeking specific, equal team size, e-sport style pvp which is completely and utterly about small team combat and zero macro scale factors then clearly FFA pvp will hold little interest for you.


Only enjoying pvp as and when you choose:

Well that shouldn't really need explaining. Some people simply don't want to be pvp "on" all the time.



FFA pvp is not always that accessible in so much as it doesn't give 100% certain pvp on tap.


As you say though, many people instead of stating one of the quite reasonable arguments above, revert to simplistic attacks on the style of pvp and the players taking part in it. Which demonstrates both a lack of understanding of the core concept and something of a pissy attitude.





Joined: 5/21/08
Posts: 2735

10/23/12 4:25:16 AM#3
Your first subject is always my favorite. They refer to PvPers as sociopaths, because they're seemingly unable to distinguish between fantasy and reality. You know what thats called? Psychosis. So a bunch of psycopaths calling people sociopaths... quite amusing.

Novice Member

Joined: 3/02/08
Posts: 2051

10/23/12 4:37:42 AM#4
This is exactly what a sociopathic,cowardly,ganking griefer would say to defend their non successful,bad,pvp only games of limited appeal!!! :-0

Novice Member

Joined: 4/25/04
Posts: 69

10/23/12 4:45:23 AM#5

Let me be a devil advocate hereand try to defend those arguments :)

"People who play FFA PVP games are sociopaths" - This ones is true to one distinct type of players. To call them pvpers though is misleading, real pvpers enjoy challenge they love to fight other peoples becouse they are far smarter and more dangerouse than any AI yet created but this guys don't want to fight others for challenge, they just want to make others feel as bad as possible, it's aparent in EVE. They are minority but very vocal and visible minority. From this misonceptions are born that all pvpers are like that. True pvpers are usually far more deadly and far less vocal ;)

"People who play FFA PVP games are cowards" - This one is about same type of niche "pvpers" as previous ones. Those guys never fight when the outcome isn't 100% decided before fight even begins. As you mentioned EVE this is visible when "pirate" gang camp gate and hostile fleet with decent numbers shows up they all run for the hills even if they have 50/50 chance of winning or more. Hell the 5-6 guys sometimes run from 2-3 guys if they notice they are prepared for fight and want to fight.

"FFA PVP games are nothing but gankfests" - As all above this mostly is misconception created by this group of peoples that love to spawn camp, noob zone camp and such for the "tears". This happens often enough and on scale big enough to create such arguments. It's far more visible when 5-10 players gang of max level run around noob zones killing everything than small scale pvp going on everywhere. Most gamers aren't stubborn enough to go beyond such experience and discover true game they quit with "it's gankfest" comment.

"FFA PVP is a griefer's paradise" - It's easier for this minority to "extract tears" in FFA PVP game and do it on larger scale so it's more apparent in this games thats why this argument got born. It can happen anywhere yes but easier to do so on mass scale here. In pve games such guys are staling one guy, kill steal his mobs and such, but it's usually one griefer one victim scenario.

"FFA PVP games are not commercially successful, which means they are bad" - no counter arguments here. All types have it's own audience so...

"This game would be great if it had a PVE server" - same no counter arguments here, moslty such ffa pvp games have not enough other content to be viable with only pve, especially not enough cash sinks to make crafting fully viable profession on long run, also lack of other content make them boring as hell very fast.

"The devs will want to make money, so why don't they just remove the FFA PVP and attract more players?" - This is same argument as above just stated in diffrent way

Retired EVE player (7 years in same game was more than enough) so my counter arguments are mostly based from this one but not exclusively.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

10/23/12 5:12:07 AM#6
"arggh I'm going to loose all my hard earned epix"

Because most ffa games just don't do gear that way AT ALL.

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

10/23/12 5:16:09 AM#7
Your first point is a good one too.

I've rubbed against far more "interesting" personality types during my misguided year or so of heavyish raiding back in vanilla wow than I ever have in pvp guilds.
  User Deleted
10/23/12 5:17:01 AM#8

People who don't like something will always find arguments, often good and valid, to convey their dislike.

To be honest, I couldn't care less. Let them cry. It feeds my soul. I may be a sociopatch & a coward, if you wish to call me that, but I'll *always* experience more joy from killing someone who feels they should be left alone in a ffa/pvp environment.


Spotlight Poster

Joined: 12/27/08
Posts: 991

There's some lovely filth down here.

10/23/12 5:28:37 AM#9

This is as well written a post as I've seen on these forums; all the points ring true.  The detractors, of course, will disagree and find counters to the points you made, OP; that's fine, as opinions vary.  I, however, will consider their opinions to be a product of hallucinogenic party favors and disregard them completely.


Here's my take, all based off of the three years I spent in Darkfall:

1.  I play Darkfall, and I'm not a sociopath.

2. Those guys jumping into Aradoth solo to fight 10 people at once are not cowards.  To ttake it further, there are a LOT of military veterans I've met (myself included) who play Darkfall.  Guarantee we're not cowards.

3. "Gankfest" is soooo six years ago.

4. There are ways to fight the griefer.  Unless that griefer and bindcamper is Scrubby Bear - then you're pretty much screwed.

5. The common perception is really "FFA PVP games scare the crap out of me, so they are bad."

6. No.  No PVE server.  Just no.

7. No again.


I suppose that's my TL:DR.  Again, brilliantly written and executed piece there.  Should be on's mandatory reading list.  Kudos.

  User Deleted
10/23/12 5:46:51 AM#10
I enjoy PvP. I can't stand half of the players that flock to that style of game, sadly. I have children at home to deal with, so I'm not intetested in being griefed for two hours online by a gang of them.

Novice Member

Joined: 1/06/07
Posts: 920

10/23/12 6:14:33 AM#11
Originally posted by Roxtarr
I enjoy PvP. I can't stand half of the players that flock to that style of game, sadly. I have children at home to deal with, so I'm not intetested in being griefed for two hours online by a gang of them.


FFA PvP is an awesome system in concept, it is just too easily abused.
  User Deleted
10/23/12 6:27:06 AM#12
Originally posted by Roxtarr
I enjoy PvP. I can't stand half of the players that flock to that style of game, sadly. I have children at home to deal with, so I'm not intetested in being griefed for two hours online by a gang of them.

From my own experience I have seen the majority of childish comments and the default "insult mode" tends to come from the PVE crowd.


Funnily enough in terms of pvp, the worst "crowds" I have ever witnessed tend to be in arena/instanced pvp games/sections of games.


That said you get bad eggs in every single type of game, which is why I wouldn't come out and try and generalise any specific community as "bad" or "childish".


Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 6037

Correcting wrongs on the Internet...

10/23/12 6:33:42 AM#13
Originally posted by Biskop

"People who play FFA PVP games are sociopaths"

This is a ridiculous argument with no evidence behind it. You are fighting windmills here.

"People who play FFA PVP games are cowards"

This one might come from the fact that players actually avoid "fair fights" in FFA PvP. Its not the FFA aspect that creates this, its the harsh death penalty. Harsh death penalty makes people cowards, not FFA PvP per se.

"FFA PVP games are nothing but gankfests"

Gank is engaging an opponent with an "unfair" or any significant advantage. It also implies that the fight is not the victim's choice. It is more like a massacre than a fight. It is what David Sirlin calls a "checkmate situation" where the battle is won even before it begins. And while it is slightly excessive to say "nothing but gankfests", the overwhelming majority of engagements in FFA PvP are "ganks". That is why people say they're gankfests.

"FFA PVP is a griefer's paradise"

You are arguing beside the point. Yes, griefing is possible in any multiplayer game, no one denies that. The argument is, griefing is easier in FFA PvP.

"FFA PVP games are not commercially successful, which means they are bad"

So many FFA games are bad with only one exception it is understandable to make that claim. Their market is much smaller than the mainstream. That is the point. That's always been the point. And you admit this too.

Nothing says a niche market can't have quality. However often they will have less funding therefore they are less likely to be quality products.

Also, like I've wrote many times before, the fastfood metaphor does not fit since it implies your preferred type of MMOs is some sort of delicacy or equivalent of gourmét food requiring sophisticated taste to enjoy which is a preposterous claim to say the least.

"This game would be great if it had a PVE server"

On this point I actually agree with you although I don't think sandboxes need to have PvP in order to be sandboxes.

"The devs will want to make money, so why don't they just remove the FFA PVP and attract more players?"

You can make more in a niche, if you don't have to share that niche, but generally if that was the case, you will have competition in there too. Often the biggest money is made in the mainstream niche, which is the most lucrative one hence it is "the mainstream".

I don't know what you're trying to argue here.


I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky


Elite Member

Joined: 10/29/07
Posts: 17646

10/23/12 7:04:13 AM#14

I have nothing against FFA PvP as such, but I dont really think that PvP games have the consequences right.

You cant just go out and randomly kill people IRL, or you can but there will be consequences. If if you live in Mogadishu or another unsafe place there will still be consequences. Problem is that NPC cityguards or guardtowers arent really a big deal.

A western FFA PvP MMO where bountyhunters and sheriffs hunt outlaws would probably work fine, as long as you have the right ratio between the players.

A fantasy MMO where everyone can murder people everywhere with little consequenses on the other hand gets pretty boring fast, particularly one with a big gap between noobs and vets.

A gangwar gangster MMO set during the 20s could also be fun, but there you really dont want to be caught killing members of your own gang.

And of course not all MMO PvPers are sociopaths, that are just the people constantly griefing noobs just for the fun of it.

But the real problem is that in the real world you actually can get killed or jailed for a long time and that is really bad, in MMOs you respawn fast with often little penalties. Murdering people in MMO should be something that you do more as a last resort or during war than something you walk around and do all day out of boredom.


Elite Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 13595

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ArcheAge, and Combat Arms

10/23/12 7:29:05 AM#15
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Biskop

"People who play FFA PVP games are cowards"

This one might come from the fact that players actually avoid "fair fights" in FFA PvP. Its not the FFA aspect that creates this, its the harsh death penalty. Harsh death penalty makes people cowards, not FFA PvP per se.
They avoid "fair fights' because it isn't team-based competition in most FFA games, but rather a warfare or conquest style gameplay. A famous soldier and journalist, David hackworth, once said "If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan your mission properly."  Most MMOs seem to lack the use of cover, reconnaisance, sabotage orother elements of warfare, which often makes them very limited warfare experiences but warfare just the same.
Another important distinction on the "fair fight" front is that there is a very clear difference in how FFA PVPers view the boundaries of the battle and how others do. Whereas most would see the battle as an individual scenario, the FFA PVPer sees the battle as part of the larger war. The former became ready for battle when the first shot was fired and the latter was ready for battle the minute he left the safe zone.
Every FFA PVP MMo should have a page something like this available for new players, as warfare/conquest PVP is a very different form of PVP than battle ground/arena PVP.

"FFA PVP games are nothing but gankfests"

Gank is engaging an opponent with an "unfair" or any significant advantage. It also implies that the fight is not the victim's choice. It is more like a massacre than a fight. It is what David Sirlin calls a "checkmate situation" where the battle is won even before it begins. And while it is slightly excessive to say "nothing but gankfests", the overwhelming majority of engagements in FFA PvP are "ganks". That is why people say they're gankfests.
See above.  which is a preposterous claim to say the least.

Wanted to address those two as they are more about the player not understnading how the game is played than any actual problem with the game.

There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/15/07
Posts: 1338


10/23/12 7:35:13 AM#16
  As carebear and pretty miserable PvPer Im all for yall having your a FFA PVP game.  Better to have the inmates in the asylum then running around Helter skelter  :)

No matter how cynical you become, its never enough to keep up - Lily Tomlin


Novice Member

Joined: 5/05/05
Posts: 1395


10/23/12 7:51:38 AM#17

The problem with FFA PVP isn't that its not a fair fight or that its a gankfest.

The problem is that in (popular) FFA PVP the motivation to PVP is 90% loot, 9% for the lulz and 1% for other reasons.

FFA PVP is a robbery with homicide simulator, no wonder that people think its for sociopaths.

FFA PVP simulations don't behave like real life does in areas where they should, so people recoil from them.


Advanced Member

Joined: 10/24/04
Posts: 116

10/23/12 7:57:58 AM#18


Novice Member

Joined: 3/28/12
Posts: 235

10/23/12 8:06:35 AM#19

My beef with this style of pvp is mostly that it takes another type of play to get into. Basically I have to relearn the game (or go into it woth another mindset from the get-go) and make it all about pvp. Give me an fps any day, because I don't like twitch button mashing, where I have to play so much I have to get my muscle memory good enough and I can hit all the right buttons on the right times...

Only FFA pvp (in the right meaning, not the full loot crap) I enjoyed was TERA, where it mattered where you moved and you didn't have over 100 skills.

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." - John F. Kennedy
And for MMORPGs ever so true...


Novice Member

Joined: 12/17/10
Posts: 375

10/23/12 8:08:07 AM#20
While I will admit I haven't played many of these types of games, I have tried some.  To this end, a game in general is designed for one thing, generally to have fun or be entertaining.   I can't remember which one it was (either MO or DF).  All I remember is spawning for the first time and then dieing multiple times by what I can only assume was a vet.  This is what most people are talking about as gankfest; ie. no fun.  Needless to say, I never went back.
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