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Columns: Hardcore RvR

By Tim Eisen on January 13, 2016

Hardcore RvR

Most people consider “hardcore” PVP to be free for all, full loot PVP and to the purists anything less is “carebear”. “Realm vs realm”, as coined in Dark Age of Camelot, is considered to be PVP’s friendly cousin. Its PVP with a focus on realm/faction wide co-operation. The very fabric of RVR goes against the very nature of hardcore PVP but words and their meanings are not stagnant. Is RVR in Camelot Unchained more hardcore than hardcore PVP?


To understand this question we must briefly look at the history that has defined hardcore PVP and RVR. Skipping MUDs not out of disrespect but out of necessity lets go right to the allfather, Ultima Online. UO defined the original concept of hardcore MMORPG PVP, although back then I believe it was thought of as standard pvp. You fought everyone and when you died you could lose everything you had on your corpse to your conqueror. Dark Age of Camelot came marching in a few years later and while it added never before seen depth and strategy to the combat, it utilized RVR which was PVP with less loss and more “safety” than had been seen in UO.

Hailing from and a FFA PVP MMO or two I have often seen PVP and RVR discussed. The general consensus among the hardcore communities seems to be that RVR is not hardcore enough to appeal to them. Camelot Unchained, being DAOC’s 5th cousin, has seemingly fallen into the same class but does it belong there?

CU is not free for all PVP and it does not feature full loot, we know death will sting and something or things will be lost but we don’t yet know exactly what. It clearly does not fit the definition of hardcore PVP, but I can’t help but think CU might be changing the term RVR to surpass hardcore PVP as the most impactful and personal form of PVP in the MMORPG genre.

In Camelot Unchained you can’t just kill your enemy, you can kill your enemy then capture their land. But you don’t just capture their land, you capture their land then literally float it away to your side of the game world, but you don’t just float it away, you float it away and decide if you want to claim, disassemble or burn your enemy’s buildings! That sounds like some pretty hardcore PVP to me. It’s one thing to kill my character, it’s another to kill and loot them but to me it’s an entirely whole new personal PVP.

Yes CU will have safe starter zones but even Darkfall and EVE have safe areas, given I am jealous that in EVE you are never truly safe. Outside of those zones everyone in CU is under the same rule set. No structure beyond that safe area will be safe from your enemies and there will be reasons to motivate building beyond those pearly gates of safety.

“Tierless you fool I don’t care about a carebear house, I play these games to fight yar!”

But do you care about a guild hall? Maybe not. How about a defensive structure that helps give you an edge in your battles? Maybe. How about a structure that both gives you an edge and protects a rare resource from which you can make better weapons and armor to be more effective in combat? I’d think so, I mean, it’s only logical isn’t it? Just want to fight and just want to win fights are two very different things and in my experience the majority of PVPers are more motivated by the later than the former. Suddenly losing the means to your superior edge have more significance.

Also understand that the persistence of the structures in CU affords them the opportunity to acquire great meaning over time. The longer an entity survives the more significance it will hold among the players. One can imagine the uproar that will come when those buildings finally burn and fall, or worse yet, get floated off on the island and now aid the enemy!

Traditional hardcore PVP meant you lost gear and weapons, it was personal, but is it more personal than structures that may have stood for months or potentially even years becoming property of the enemy? Is it as painful as watching structures that have become a symbol of your realm being broken apart and used to build weapons that will be turned on you! Is it as motivating as capturing structures that have become a symbol of stability to the players of your server-effectively turning them into symbols of the unpredictable excitement of RVR in Camelot Unchained?

It all comes down to perspective and what objects you covet in MMORPGs. I enjoy looting my enemies. It feels real and it feels personal. I love the feuds that can be born from that type of PVP. I love the excitement and vulnerability and risk associated with them, but when I think about those things the same feelings apply to CU, just through a different form of personal gain and loss. Instead of taking your armor, I burn down your house. Instead of taking your weapons, I burn down your guild hall. Don’t care about houses or guild halls or forts? OK fine, I’ll take your land. You might not care about that, but I’m guessing most players will be pretty attached to one of the three. If you are one of those players, then the evolved RVR of CU might feel pretty “hardcore” to you.

Tim Eisen / In my columns I walk the line between fan and critic as I document the development of Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and Chronicles of Elyria.