Open world PvP

Massively ran a 3 part SoapBox series on why MMOs should abandon raiding. The 3rd part of the series contains links to the first 2 parts.

It’s an interesting read… the main argument comes down to resource utilization and what percentage of the player base takes part.

There is a great quote in the 3rd article about open world PvP:

Raids as a staple in MMOs are, ultimately, just like open PvP: They were something that seemed necessary for a while, something some people liked and a lot of others disliked… and they ultimately are holding the genre back.

And this I heartily agree with.

The kind of PvP I enjoy is battlegrounds style: separate zone, limited numbers, maybe even some objective like CtF. Guild Wars had the best implementation in their Alliance Battles: fairly balanced small numbers (12 on 12) where the fighting occurs in a separate zone. Guild Wars 2’s PvP is more zerg-like since the number aren’t necessarily checked. Plus, GW lets you create a PvP-only character so level and gearing is a non-issue. GW2 up-levels you as well (I think – I’ve only gone into WvW on a level 80).

Even WoW’s battlegrounds are fun – the major downside is the level restrictions are quite large (a decade, at least it was the last time I went in). LoTRO’s PvP is also OK, but since the two sides are totally different and there isn’t any number balancing it can be fairly lopsided.

All of the above PvP implementations (both Guild Wars games, WoW battlegrounds, LoTRO Ettenmoors) are in a separate zone, so when you are in the mood to PvP, go there and get your fill.

But in open world PvP, I’m not sure what the design actually selects for. Between level differences, class differences, gear differences, and possible numerical advantages (lets say outnumbering your target 2 to 1 or more), I’m not sure what comes about from open world PvP other than attracting opportunists and gankers, basically the scumbags of the MMO community.

I’ve seen the argument made that that PvP worlds produce better PvE players. But I don’t see how. What I’ve learned is that being outleveled is a disadvantaged, being outnumbered is a disadvantage, not grinding the same gear quality is a disadvantage, being in the middle of fighting PvE content and being jumped is a disadvantage, and that ranged attackers have a significant advantage in starting fights and running away if things don’t go well for them. None of which helps me in any particular way. Besides, correlation is not causation and it could simply be players “better” at MMO-type games also like PvP, not that playing on an open world PvP server makes them better (where “better” boils down to more progression down end-game content).

Now a RL confession is… I’m older than your average gamer. I’m well into my 4th decade and creeping up on my 5th. 😉 My reflexes aren’t as razor shaped as they… well they probably weren’t ever razor sharp haha. I can play the content well enough but against another person, I react slower, especially initially. If it takes me an extra 0.1 seconds to interrupt or use some critical defensive skill, that might be something I can’t recover from. Imagine I were attacked by my clone except a Horde (enemy faction) version and we both execute the same rotation and skills. Except I am late on a handful of them by a tenth of a second. Yeah.

It’s times like this where I like EVE’s gameplay. It certainly isn’t “twitch” and is more about your planning in advance what modules you fit to your ship. And if someone else does attack you there are multiple avenues for responding: coming back in another ship (basically the MMO equivalent of changing classes), or putting a bounty on them (no real analog in other MMO’s). I also like that EVE lets you stealth (i.e. fit a cloak module) on basically any ship. Granted some cloaking modules will have major drawbacks, like a movement penalty, but many times it is handy to be invisible while gathering intel. In WoW, only a few classes can stealth (rogues and druids as far as I know) and otherwise you can make a potion to do it for 18 seconds… bleh.

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3 thoughts on “Open world PvP”

  1. It’s this where I think the design of the mmo really matters. For a standard themepark with huge power curves then no, open world pvp is more a nuisance, and at worse an immense frustration rather than an interesting mechanic. For a sandbox it can bring so much more to the game. Many more playstyles and make mechanics more complex to handle based on the player interaction

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