Tis the season (war is a dish best served during summer after all) so let’s be jolly and talk about PVP. Crowd funded PVP games specifically. They are, after all, somewhat of a specialty of mine. Before you ask yes, I resent myself which is why I’ve funded more games than I recall, each promising some kind of never before seen thing with lots of never been done stuff all wrapped around the only thing I require, PVP. Despite giving them my funds in exchange for little more than hope I’m still not quite sure how PVP in most of them will work itself out.
I say work itself out because in the games that allow for (mostly) open PVP it generally sorts itself out through the beauty that is survival of the fittest. The ability to start with nothing and build (or survive) yourself into something is one of my favorite MMORPG mini games. PVP, be it physical, economical, etc., is the key to that equation. I like PVE, but I don’t play MMORPG’s without PVP. I’ve always felt the best PVE is done in single player games and I’ve never enjoyed the scripted group PVE stuff. I need the excitement of the unknown and PVP provides an infinite supply of it where scripts fail after the first few attempts. Oh, how I miss having a PVP MMORPG to live in. (fondly remembers old times with fondness)
Back in my day when you spied a known character you realized they put in the time and had a skillset that went beyond being a glorified errand boy. Go here, fetch this, kill ten rats. In the old games players could earn something tangible that transcended superficial carrots like levels and gear. They earned respect from their peers. That respect gave them a reputation that mattered in the game’s universe.
The games of yore weren’t easy or consistent. Your play session could be absolutely terrible with little fun and lots of dying. This is where the younglings usually wine about my porch and shotgun flashbacks to a rougher time when men were men and women were…well, also played by men…Strange unpredictable times! Unfortunately, erratic death addled play sessions weren’t the best way to grow your game. Survival of the fittest both in PVP and player retention I guess.
I like to think we of nostalgic PVP crowd funded fandom are especially brave. We took the risk for the thing we love! Bravery and stupidity are often bedfellows. Could anything else be expected of us? MMORPG players are well trained in parting ways with our money. We happily rent a game for $60, pay a monthly fee to play it, then – when the game dies – watch our purchase disappear before we do it all over again. It’s such an effective business model the entire electronics world has adapted it and none of us care because we gotta get those additional mega pixels, FPS and faster streaming of things that distract us from facing ourselves and the lives we do our best to distract from….or, maybe some of us…I…I guess. Certainly not MMORPG writers…
The great crowd funded PVP hope is a child of many things. Timing is most important. Nostalgia, bravery, marketing, stubborn contrarianism perhaps? More experienced developers from established studios you say? No, they lack the bravery to try these ideas. Ideas that aren’t doable you suggest? I reject your reality and implement my own. Promises that are unobtainable you inquire? We are changing the genre! A deadline that is unhittable? I got two words for ya, soft launch! Ok that last one didn’t sound so cool…
Take on the impossible and you will either defeat it or go down in flames, either way you end up with more respect than the person who never tried at all. Besides, 50/50 odds are pretty good, aren’t they? Like, every crowd funded campaign has a 50/50 shot at succeeding. After that every game has another 50/50 shot at launching. I’d wager the odds of success in terms of financial return compared to consumer satisfaction aren’t quite so kind.
History is full of people thought mad but we forget than many of our greatest thinkers were considered mad right up until they were proven genius. The crowd funded PVP games either will or it won’t. Hell, the way the world works even if they don’t thousands will say they did out of denial alone. It’s a strange great time for PVP fans. It’s like the wild west of early MMORPG’s reconfigured itself into the wild west of crowd PVP ideas.
Anything is possible and every option has its own unique story to tell. What’s my point? I hate it as much as I love it but at least I have something to feel for. Maybe that is the point. It’s better to have flawed games funded under auspicious circumstances than no games at all. Maybe that is? Maybe we don’t need one. I might not like crowd funding my PVP dreams but I’m infinitely happier to have them to fund then not have them at all.