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Much Ado About PvP: What us PvPers Really Want, Laced with Personal Opinion

Posted by Naryysys Monday December 17 2007 at 1:00AM
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Before I get started, allow me to say that much of this is biased by my personal opinion on the topic of PvP. I’ve been thinking about the topic lately, and have decided to put what I’ve come to down for those who wish to read it.
            Opinions on PvP are wide and varied, from hardcore perma-deathers to softcore corpse-retrievers, but I think a general rule among those who play MMOs for PvP is this: gear should not decide who wins or who loses a fight. I believe the playerbase is more forgiving to a system in which classes weigh heavily on the outcome of a fight than to a system in which gear gives an insurmountable advantage to a player. I don’t think I have to name any examples of gear-based PvP systems on the market right now, but I would like to mention DAoC as inspiring the point I’m going to make about what I believe is the right way to do PvP.
            Players in DAoC now create things called templates for their characters. In a nutshell, it basically maxes out all the stats of the character, pushing him to the end of his potential. What this little patch of genius means is that gear plays almost no role whatsoever in the outcome of a PvP match in DAoC. Almost everyone in the game is templated if they’re PvPing, and it gives everyone a fairly level playing ground. You have classes which are strong against some classes and weak against others. This is only natural and should be strived for—without this, you would only be able to create classes aesthetically different. I have come to call this the class rule—classes should generally fair better against certain other classes, but that should provide an advantage, not a win, to the player. There is an equilibrium needed here. If the class rule becomes too overbearing, PvP will get stale.
            The beauty of the class rule is that you get a playing experience based more on skill than any other PvP system. To shamelessly plug DAoC once more, many times, battles are decided by which CCer is able to get his or her mezzes off first.  Other times, it’s decided by which healer is able to elude the tanks for the longest.  And yet other times, it’s decided by which team is able to effectively eliminate the other team’s heavy hitters.  There are almost no instances in DAoC in which gear plays a major role in which group is victorious.  Basically, battles aren’t decided by who farmed the most.  I (and I daresay most PvPers out there) believe this makes for a much better PvP experience. Stop telling me who I can fight by the gear they wear, and start telling me that as a cloth wearer, I should be looking for those big, lumbering tanks and trying to avoid those nimble, sneaky stealthers. Stop telling me I should be looking for the guy with the least epics, and start telling me I should be looking for my most opportune moment to pounce. That’s what PvPers want.
            Another slice of genius worth mentioning is AoCs brilliant idea to separate PvP and PvE levels. I think this was a great move by Funcom, and it has really sparked my interest in a game I hadn’t given a look before. Let’s hope that they can continue this sentiment on through to gear. Us PvPers, we’re an odd type. We don’t want to farm, we want to fight. Give us the opportunity to do so without all this raiding hubbub.
After8 writes:

I agree with pretty much everything you've said.  Though I'm skeptical about AoC, but I'll give it a chance when it's released.

Have you tried Guild Wars?  It does a lot of PvP things right.  Equipment and level are a non-issue - a character's ability is entirely based on how they assemble their skills and how they use them.

It has its flaws, mainly being that after three expansions, there's just too many skills to choose from and it's become horribly complicated.



Mon Dec 17 2007 3:55AM Report
Stormreign writes:

Should consider giving Fury a go. Pure PvP game.


I believe that's something a lot of PvPers have wanted. And Fury certainly looks like it would deliver well. I mean, i've certainly heard PvPers complaining about the lack of PvP in most MMORPGs.


Funny thing is, Fury doesn't appear to be that much of a success. The developers even had to file for bankruptcy... Maybe there's just no satisfying the PvPer.

Mon Dec 17 2007 7:05AM Report
eric_w66 writes:

As the OP mentions 'balance' is a key to good gameplay, whether it be PvP or PvE. However, he keeps mentioning 'groups' and DAOC. Well, balance is much more easily achieved in an instance with equal numbers. DAOC was not like this at the beginning. It had unbalanced numbers, the thing that ruins MMORPG faster than anything else.

I'm also skeptical about the assertion of the 'class rule' rock-paper-scissors thing. "So I lose if I go up against class A, but I win if I go against class B". And yet they say it takes skill? No. It doesn't. It might take teamwork and a balanced roster in a PvP instance with equal numbers, but winning 95% of the time vs tanks and losing 95% of the time vs stealthy types means there's no skill involved beyond simple target aquisition and avoidance.

While this 'template' system in DAOC (I long ago gave up on the flawed RvR concept) might make for more competitive and interesting PvP fights, it doesn't solve the problem for most PvP in MMORPG's. Open PvP, or large areas of PvP, lend themselves, as usual, to the 5 on 1's, and 6 on 1's. My experiences in PotBS last night proved this to a T. I was in a group of 5 french ships, there was a group of 5 pirates... what happens? A solo pirate wanders too close to us, we attack him. A solo french wandered too close to the pirates, they attacked him. So instead of a fun 5 on 5 battle, which both sides avoided like the plague, we had 2 5 on 1's right next to each other (and both battles were the same, both of the 'victims' ran for their lives, leading to a boring chase instead of, *gasp* a battle).

Mon Dec 17 2007 9:31AM Report
BlackWatch writes:

I like a lot of what was said here.

Personally, I would like to see a system that isn't 'gear based', but is 'skill development' based. 

Gear based - you do something once, get the reward and are better forever because of the item upgrade.

Skill based - the more you do something, the better you are at it. "Practice makes perfect."

There needs to be incentive for players to keep playing, to keep goals out there for them. But the incentive should be skill development, not 'glowing/shiny new gear'.  Without the 'dangling carrot  players move to different games. 

Skill based does not  mean 'twitch' either.  Skill, to me, involves a deep understanding of game mechanics and how to make the system work for you.  From building your character and really turning it into something that fits 'your play style' and perhaps your 'style of combat'... all the way to actually executing the game plan during PvP.  This shouldn't be 'flavor of the month' generated, either.

Gear should never decide the winner.  'Never bring a knife to a gun fight' doesn't apply if both players bring guns. 

- One man spends all day, every day at the gun range with his weapon.  He is incredible wtih it.  The other guy just passed a class at the gun range and buys a shiny new gun.  The guy with the new gun auto wins if the two men duel? 

- In many games, that's how it would be.  The guy who has spent months with his character would be dominated by the guy who just looted his weapon off of a corpse in a dungeon.

Character class should never decide the winner.  'Heavy weight vs light weight' doesn't mean that the heavy-weight wins every time.  Both the heavy  weight and the light weight are 'hand to hand fighters', but what if the heavy-weight is a boxer and the light-weight is a martial artist?  

-Sure,  one man grew up and became the heavy weight boxing champion of the world.  He trained for years and became the best 'boxer' in the world.  But... now he's not facing a boxer.  What happens?   







Mon Dec 17 2007 11:11AM Report
Naryysys writes:

Maybe I should've posted this in the forums..  Great discussion going on here. :)

Maybe I overstated the class rule system.  I never meant to imply that one class can't beat another, on the contrary, every class should have the opportunity to best another.  Even if it's "If I get the jump and land that root," that's an exception to the class rule that requires skill and strategy.  That should definitely be available to a player.  Maybe "rule" is too harsh a word.  Maybe "class guide" would be better.

Mon Dec 17 2007 1:10PM Report writes:
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