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My 2 Copper's Worth

Well we're on a website dedicated to MMO's so I'll give you one guess as to what I'll write about. And no it's not mustard.

Author: ivan50265

Consensual PvP

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday June 14 2009 at 9:46PM
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   Hello again all.  I hope everybody isa havig a fun weekend leveling toons and what not.  I myself have been finishing inFamous on the PS3 which I have to say I really like it.  I also had the chance to catch The Dark Knight on cable and have to admit I forgto just hw damn goo that movie is.  But I digress.  Enough about me.  I have been perusing the forums of some titles currently in developement and have seen the idea of consensual PvP bandied about.  So today I thought I'd dig into it a little bit.  So as always enjoy.

   As a player of MMO's I like to play in both the PvE and PvP worlds.  I enjoy tackling the challenges the designers of the game comes up with as well as taking on other players in some good old fashioned PvP.  As a player who like to play in both PvP and PvE I also understand that there are player who enjoy one better than the other, and even some who refuse to participate in one or the other as well.  I understand that this is a matter of preference much like the preference of solo or group play.   Now I'm guessing that developers want to maximize their existing gamespace allowing for PvE and PvP to coexist and not upset either population.  So the innovation of consensual PvP shps up to save the day and allow all players to live happily everafter and conflict only emerge when players were in the mood for it.  All in all on paper sounds good, right? Well sometimes.  Let's break down the good and the bad of consensual PvP.

   So let's start off by taking a look at the good, or more importantly where consensual PvP works.  The first place you can see consensual PvP at work in a good way would be in MMO's where there is no underlying conflict between factions of players.  Some good examples of this would be LOTRO, DDO, or CoH before CoV was added.  These examples show us a world where the players tend to be fighting on the same sides towards the same goal.  Consensual PvP in these MMO's tend to be in the way of dueling or in arenas, or in the case of LOTRO in the way of monster play.   All of these are excellent examples of what consensual PvP has to offer friendly competition among players no pride, equipment, or territory lost, and most importantly no hurt feelings of the players which makes developers happy.  Consensual PvP works very well in games without a factional conflict, and is a safe way to make PvP a less competative option, but still an enjoyable option for those who wish to participate in it. 

   For the record I would just like to say consensual PvP does not work in MMO's where there is factional conflict in its stroyline. Now I know that seems a little harsh, but stay with me on this one.  Let's take a look at one o the most talked about MMO's of all time Star Wars Galaxies.  Now when the game first launched there were always talks about the big galactic civil war.  Their attemot to iterate this in the game space were broken battlegrounds and consesual PvP everywhere else where you had to choose to flag yourself for PvP in order to participate.  What this led to was a galctic skirmish between the two factions at best.  Occasionally you'd see a fight break out, but the feeling of a civil war was really never accomplished.  Now can we blame it on all the idea of consent before fight not really. We could also look at WoW.  PvP largely there is considered a joke because it follows the rules of consesual PvP no gains to be had or losses to be endured.  WAR attempted to put loss and gian into their PvP with rewards for taking keeps but forgot to add the reward for successfully defending it.  One other idea they had that actually made sense was in the end game where the more ground you took the more areas of the city that would be unlocked with dungeons and the such in them.  Where I'm getting at is if you are going to have a game with conflict in its background a risk/reward PvP is needed for anyone to want to participate. 

   The inspiration for this blog came from the forums for Star Trek Online.  There is some disappointment surrounding an anouncement that PvP in the neutral zone ill be consensual PvP as opposed to open PvP.  Now this wouldn't be so disappointing but since the back drop of the game has the Federation at war with the Klingons.  Now someone with even the most basic Star Trek knowledge would guess that if there was going to be a war between the two the neutral zone would be the most logical place for the conflict to happen. With that conflict now being consensual in the one zone where you think the war would be the most intense and moved to the outer reaches of the play space the whole war seems to lose a little credibility in my opinion.  To me it seems devlopers of high profile titles at present are afraid of alientating any players from any aspect o their game so much that they are willing to defy simple logic in order to try and keep every potential player happy. 

   I'm not trying to say the mechaninc of consensual PvP is bad in every instance, but I will say that it is over used by devlopers and investors who have embarked on the futile quest to capture the same mega success as WoW.  As stated earlier consensual PvP works in envrionments that do not center around a factional system, but if you want to center a game on a conflict give the players a conflict they can see and be a part of with tangible rewards like territory gained and content unlocked rather than the same old play war get equipment we've seen for so long.  Give us the contested game space and let us fight for it with real gains that can be felt not only by the PvPers fighting for it but by the PvE palyers as well.


Well that's al for me for this week. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on conesensual PvP are feel free to leave a comment below. 

Until Next Time