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Player vs. Player Combat

Editorial By Keith Sarasin on September 26, 2006

Mayson's Musings: PvP Combat

Editorial by Keith "Mayson" Sarasin

Player Verses Player; with one simple phrase many MMO players either smile or frown. It amazes me that still to this day people argue over this addition to a game. The cornerstone of its player base lives by it, while others frown on its addition. Player verses player or PvPas it is commonly referred to, takes place when MMO players come together to battle against each other. There are many debates on the way PvP is implemented in a game if at all. Some people love the idea and other people cannot stand it.

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PVP is a concept that is older then most think. Ever since there have been AI in games, people have wanted to challenge there skills against that of another player. The issues have come up when other players do not like to accept defeat. Hacking, exploiting and other forms of cheating quickly reared its ugly head when a player will not accept defeat. When it comes to AI people can die via monster and no pride is lost, however when another person is controlling that players death the stakes are raised. Many naysayer of PVP are against it for this sole reason. Another controlling factor for people to misinterpret this cornerstone of the market is the fact that in game PvPers can also be misconstrued as “griefers.” A Griever is a person that will take advantage of there class ranking and prey upon the weaker people trying to level. This is frowned upon by many of the gamers that are pro PvP; however this is still a reality for the PvP market.

When the MMO market adds features such as PvP, the genre of the game changes from a single purpose to a multifaceted game. The classes and balancing of the game also dramatically change and adapt to the player verse player style of combat. Thus the communities of PvPers are exposed to the greatest enemy of combat, the “nerf.” To “nerf” something is to take away from its original build or suppress or detract from the character. For example, a thief in a game can obtain a backstab technique that allows him or her to hit for an extra 100% damage on a sitting target. A player vocally expresses their concern that this is overpowered. This is followed by and outcry of other players expressing their discontent with this power as well. The developers hear the cry and thus adjust the class accordingly. Though this is a long process and not as quick as I have explained, still the basic formula is there. The troubling aspect of PvP comes when a development team fails to balance out all the classes to being with. Though nothing can ever be perfect the rebalancing of classes for adjustment of PvP is a hard and daunting task that many games have failed at before. With close inspection one can see that both aspects of the debate on PvP have many truths to them.

With closer inspection of the PvP aspect in games we see some trails emerge. The first that I would like to highlight is the fact that there are many people who play MMOGS that play only for PvP. To contrast that there are people who play for the ability to rank there character and experience the quest aspect and never want to be bothered with PvP. The point that is clear is that both these markets can coexist in one game. Many games have the addition of a PvP server where PvP is allowed on that specific server if one so chooses.

I believe that PVP adds much to a game and that whether you are against it or not it has gotten a bad reputation over the years. To discount its worth is to discount a market and player base that otherwise would over look a great game. No matter your stand point these genres of games have proven their worth and will even more in years to come.


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