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The Great PvP Debate

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Mignone and Fuller argue their preferences when it comes to PvP

Editor's Introduction: Every Saturday, we feature a debate between two writers here. If you have any ideas, do not hesitate to post them in the comment thread linked at the end.

Garrett Fuller: PVP is the most important part of MMORPGs for me. I love beating other players knowing that they are angry on the other side of their PC. In looking at different types of PVP I enjoy small group combat the best. The most fun I had was running 8v8 in DAOC. We had some really good teams and great players who worked well together to beat up on the Hibs and Albs. This to me is the most fun.

With more and more MMORPGs flooding the market in the next two years there are tons of variations on ways for players to beat each other up. Instancing Battlegrounds in Warcraft was a good idea but simply failed due to the long wait to get in and fight. I would like games to keep a system that works. Use castles, keeps or towns but don't flood them with NPCs for players to kill. Players want to fight players and that is the bottom line. I would like to see keeps that give a signal to players in game that they are under attack and have the guild or group be able to port there and defend. Maybe keep a few NPCs around but nothing that would take hours for the attacking team to clear. I also think that having full out PvP zones is the best option. Not instances which force you to wait in line. Players need safe zones to develop their characters in; once they feel comfortable then they should enter into the open area and fight it out.

Frank Mignone: For Me, PvP shouldn't be some gimmick. Player vs. player is a means of play, not a place in the world. I get so annoyed with peeps standing around in WoW waiting for another 'session of PvP'...a bunch of people not playing a game, yea that's PvP evolution in the right direction, right? You realize you deserve better right?

I prefer open PvP with consequences, No rules, just consequences. This means if you want to step up and kill someone in your faction, go ahead. However, expect the guards to run you out of town and start living a bandit's life. If you want to go fight in an arena, go nuts, but please do not make that the only place. I hate artificial rules that make no sense and 'PvP zones' fall under this label. The potential consequences of my actions should dictate how I behave and not some arbitrary rule set. Meaning if I don't want to have to live as a bandit, I can't be a murdering thug.

The Realm vs. Realm (RvR) play of Dark Age of Camelot does add a neat feature to PvP. It allows territory to change ownership basically as a result of PvP game play. This should be a hot 'consequence' of PvP game play, but the sum total of PvP in the game. The more freedom I have in a game, the more drawn into the game I feel.

Garrett Fuller: I think PvP is an essential part of every MMORPG out there. Games that have no PvP really surprise me. I know people like doing quests and running dungeons but playing against others is a tradition as old as the two-player option in the arcade. Developers should look for different ways to enhance games and contests that players can compete in. Not just fighting each other, but doing opposing quests which can impact the game world. I have to admit despite the appeal to kids, Toontown online had some cool ways to compete against other players (the racing comes to mind). With everything being instanced now-a-day anyways why not add some other elements to PvP. Don't get me wrong I still think there should be battle fields and random fights all the time. That is what makes games fun. Most of all I want to play a game where I am not waiting thirty minutes to enter a fight. Even if I have an hour to play at night, I should still be bale to get the most out of that hour. I think many game designers miss that fact in their end game.

Frank Mignone: Again, more gimmicks. I had lots of fun playing the mini-games in the single player Final Fantasy series. It didn't keep me playing past the main story though. PvP should be more like the many random battles that occur in those games and less like the mini-games I played for a temporary break from the game, within the game. I've no problem with PvP mini-games; they would be fun...but if that is the extent of a game's PvP, color me elsewhere.

Give PvP more weight in the game, like XP gains from player-kills and let the world be physically altered by my actions. 'Pirates of the Burning Sea' will have realm vs. realm play similar to Dark Age of Camelot. However, many restrictions and rules limiting how and where you can PvP are all part of the package too. It's like development studio's are thinking, we can't be bothered with creating a system of action/consequence letting you behave however you want so long as you accept the consequences of your actions, so we just disallow the behavior all together and simplify the matter. Hey, at least the graphics are pretty. PvP is becoming more and more a gimmick or an afterthought of the modern MMO and it's driving me mad!

Garrett Fuller: There is nothing wrong with using some PvP mini-games. I think it would open up the end game for players. The biggest problem many MMORPGs have is what’s the end game point? That solution can often be found in balanced PvP battles. Developers should continue the search to find better ways of player competition in any game system. While things like capture the flag or hold the castle are fun, there should be more out there. Heck, maybe we’ll see a patch one day in Warhammer Online to play Blood Bowl! Until then I think developers and players need to look for more ways to allow competition.

With that let’s turn it over to the players? What do you think? Are static PvP battles enough for you? Or would you like to see more options for your end game competition against other players in the world?

You can comment on this debate here.