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Bill Murphy: Down with Match-Made PvP

By William Murphy on March 17, 2011 | Columns | Comments

Down with Match-Made PvP

I know it’s partly a balance thing. I know WoW’s Battlegrounds grew match-made PvP into something insanely popular. But I can’t be the only one out there who wants Dark Age’s Battlegrounds to be the norm instead, can I? Arenas, Battlegrounds, Scenarios, Warfronts… they’re all just “games” and team sports when what I want is a virtual war.

This is going to be a long laundry list of “wants”, so bear with me.

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I’m not saying that PvP needs to be mandatory, and I’m not even saying that match-made content needs to be completely forgotten.  It has its place as a filler, or as small-group content for PvP folks.  But I want entire zones that are dedicated to the constant struggle between two or more sides.  I want more than one zone dedicated to the cause too, not just a “Wintergrasp” rehash.  I want the bulk of end game to be shaped around this ongoing struggle.  Warhammer sort of dropped the ball for me because the RvR Lakes were barren, more like deserts, and people wound up focusing mostly on Scenarios because they were balanced. 

It also ties into the End Game equation for me.  I always find myself completely bored after a time at the cap when all there is for me to do is run dungeons or take part in matches of PvP until I have enough “tokens” to get gear.  I appreciate getting new items as a form of alternate character advancement.  I can even appreciate the occasional match for my PvP fix.  But what I’m really waiting for is a company bold enough to make some truly epic PvP maps that are always running, always changing, and always up for contention. 

I know there’s the issue of factional balance, but I think this would work best in a three-faction situation.  I’m not trying to inflate their ego even more, but as I think about it ArenaNet’s World v. World PvP in Guild Wars 2 sounds very much like what I’m hoping for.  Now, I have no real idea how it will play out, but they’re promising massive battles with siege weapons, keeps, control points, resources… you know, a warzone that’s constantly being fought over.  I don’t want the battle to be won, everyone to shake hands, and then rinse and repeat again.  I want to be able to log into my game, find out where I’m needed in battle, and charge forth. 

I’m not saying that somehow magically this would keep me in one game for ages.  I don’t think that will ever happen for me the way it used to.  There’s too much choice out there now.  But I do know my tastes, and if there’s one type of end-game I still crave long after I ever experienced it, it’s a persistent war between factions.  It didn’t work for me in WAR, but it did in Dark Age of Camelot.  I guess I’m still longing for a repeat of that formula all these years later.  I want players who don’t necessarily want to fight to still be contributing to the war via crafting or PvE missions in these zones.  I want people to still have their dungeons, and their raids… I just want this all out warfare most of all. 

I think about DCUO and how much of my free time I’d lose if there was a persistent zone that was all about the battle between Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps with heroes and villains acting as mercenaries in different ways throughout the zone.  I think about Rift and how I’d love a whole area that used the game’s dynamic technology to create a constant atmosphere of chaos where the victorious were rewarded.  Basically, whenever I get into a game the one thing I find lacking winds up being the implementation of meaningful PvP.  Now I know there are games out there that still do, or are going to do what I’m asking for.  But with those games I’ve either found them lacking in other ways, or they’re just not my cup of tea.  Then when I find a game I really enjoy like DCUO, it’s missing the one key ingredient that would keep me around for years at a time like DAoC once did. 

So, I say once more after this long and rather whiny diatribe: down with match-made PvP.  Up with the real war.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.