I think ‘PvP’ is the new ‘nerf’. Remember back in the day anytime anything bad happened, it was called a nerf? And nerf was this dirty word you used to blame the developers for everything going wrong in your MMO? That’s the reaction to PvP now. As soon as it pops up, out comes the mob to burn it at the stake and save humanity from the horrors. Ah the fickle MMO crowd, how we love you.
In my post below I talked a bit about ‘impact PvP’ and my hopes for it in Warhammer. It looks like I should have defined ‘impact PvP’ first, as there seems to be some confusion about what exactly that means, and what it does NOT mean.
Impact PvP does not mean UO98, where I can go around and gank you at will, 24/7, and completely ruin your gaming experience while collecting your head to put on my vendor for the world to see. We all accept that what ‘worked’ in 98 will not work now. It does not mean AC Darktide either, another free-for-all PvP setup. No one is asking for a mass murder simulator when we ask for PvP.
I also don’t mean WoW PvP, which sadly consists of one meh form, and one trash form. The meh are the battlegrounds, where skill and common sense are thrown out in favor of a point grind for shiny epics that are eventually handed out to everyone who logs in. While not downright terrible, battlegrounds are a poorly tacked on feature in WoW that are terribly imbalanced due to WoW’s PvE focus. Fun little distractions, they are a poor representation of actual PvP.
The trash is the STV ganking, pointless for both the ganker and the victim, and the pinnacle of what PvP should NOT be. Sadly WoW PvP is the ONLY PvP experienced by a large portion of today’s MMO population, so it’s no wonder so many people hate it. Hell if WoW PvP was my only experience with it, I would jump right on the carebear* train as well.
What I do mean when I say impact PvP is what happens in a game like EVE, a game entirely driven by its PvP, a game where everyone is affected from its impact. The reason the miners and mission runners are able to profit is due to PvP, the reason the market works is due to PvP, and the reason players stick around for years, not months, is due to PvP. Even if you have never fired a single shot at another player, and never been shot yourself, PvP has impacted you.
And the groundwork for such a system has to be set early. Why else can CCP (the developer of EVE) manage to balance so many ships and fittings, keeping so many of them viable options, and Blizzard can’t seem to balance Paladins vs Shamans? Lets not kid ourselves here, the reason both sides have access to both classes now is because after many attempts, Blizzard caved in and gave up; the easiest way to balance anything is to make it identical. Warhammer has that chance now, with its multitude of classes. They don’t need (and should not) be equal, just balanced enough to make it work. Sounds simple, but its hard to nail down, yet not impossible.
So while I completely understand people’s apprehension about PvP, especially from the WoW-only crowd, I also think too many people are selling it short. Remember that an MMO is a virtual world, one that SHOULD be player driven, shaped not by the latest patch or update, but by the community that logs in each day. Don’t sell PvP short in the assumption that it’s only form is a 10 on 1 gank performed by a group of 13 year old kids, but rather the very basic nature of me vs you. Also don’t assume the only form of PvP is actual ‘physical’ combat, the ‘who has better gear or faster fingers’ stuff. PvP is just as effective in an economic sense, or something as simple as spreading rumors and distrust among your enemy. Illidan will never care that you undersell him in the market, or that you spread a false rumor about him, or that you just snuck in and took all his resources, but players will. They will care and react, and you will react back. It’s endless content without the need for a new instance every three months.
*Oh, and while I throw around the word carebear, it’s purely because I am entertained by the word and its UO-inspired context. Don’t get too caught up in it, I ‘carebear’ just as much as anyone else when I log in, even in EVE.