So try harder…

More PvP talky talk, only a bit more ranty this time!

Tobold made a post today talking about Raph’s PvP post, to which I responded to back here. Yes, confusing blog interlinking at its best here folks.

Tobold for some time now has taken the stance of ‘positive sum’ for PvP, meaning everyone involved has to come out ahead, winner and loser. His reasoning is that no one wants to pay $15 a month to be kicked around daily. He backs this up by quoting a fellow guild mate who was complaining about the recent changes to honor gain in Alterac Valley in WoW; the change being the loser gets far less honor then they did previously, in an effort to emphasize winning.

This made me wonder, at which point did we all get so soft that we can’t accept defeat, that we all expect a cookie for effort regardless of the outcome. This reminds me of the parents who want to put a scoring limit on high school sports, or who want to give every team a trophy at the end of the season regardless of the win/loss record. Hugs all around. Good thing the real world works like that too right, otherwise we might be setting our kids up for a harsh dose of reality whenever we finally expose them to it. Good luck with that speech when little Tommy gets cut from the team, even though you have been telling him he is a winner all along.

The sad result of carebearing PvP is that people stop caring. The reason people AFK in WoW PvP is that it works. You still get a cookie, so why put the effort in? It’s the same reason you see level 20 players queue up for the 20-29 battleground. Sure they can’t do a thing in the match, and more than likely lead to their sides defeat, but since they get points anyway, why not? You can be the biggest asshat in the world, and WoW will still reward you. You will eventually get your easy-mode epics just like everyone else, even if you have never actually won a single round of PvP, or ever bothered to work as a team, or learn actual strategy.

With EVE still growing, clearly there is a market for PvP that actually matters, where being an asshat has consequences. EVE has negative sum PvP, but it’s only negative to those that refuse to pay attention, or stop to think once in a while. If you fly out in your new battleship to low-sec, without scouting or knowing what you are doing, you should learn a pricy lesson. The next time you buy that expensive ship, maybe you will be a bit more careful, and actually respect the world around you. It’s an MMO, sorry, you are not the hero. If the only thing you can handle in a game is to be the center of attention at all times, I suggest a single player game.

And before anyone leaves the comment of ‘it’s a game, I play for fun’, I’ll counter with so does everyone else. If I queue up to PvP in WoW, it’s because I want to have fun and PvP. It’s not fun to finally get in only to see your side is half full with AFK and lowbie players. You know you are going to get rolled, and the only question left is whether the other side is going to farm you in the middle for a bit, or just run up and down the field to end the battle quickly. Give WoW a harsher penalty for death, and all of a sudden the afk and lowbie farmers are gone, and what is left is people that actually enjoy PvP for the competition, people that have half a clue to what they are doing. All of a sudden Tommy asshat either learns to play nice, or continues to get kicked around until he does.

I hope that Warhammer online does not take the ‘hugs all around’ approach to PvP. Not only would that bastardize the lore of Warhammer, but it would lead to the laughable PvP we see in WoW. Tobold wonders why players would bother to defend Keeps if they don’t get some personal reward for doing so, even in a losing effort. I wonder if that thought ever crossed the minds of DAoC players when they defended Keeps or raided for relics, or if EVE players ever bothered to consider some new shiny when they go out and risk a kitted ship in a PvP tourney…

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Dark Age of Camelot, EVE Online, MMO design, PvP, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to So try harder…

  1. Swift Voyager says:

    Some people complain that Eve is too harsh, but that’s what makes Eve so exciting. I’ll give an anecdote from my Eve experiences yesterday. While traveling in a familiar area with lots of friendly forces around, I ran into some PvP’ers and lost about three or four weeks of income in less than 30 seconds. As the saying goes: “don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose”. So I lost 4 weeks worth of play money. It’s play money, and I was playing with it when I lost it. Losing that amount of stuff will really get your heart thumping. In fact I’m still riding the adrenalin wave today. Personally, I don’t see how playing a game where there are no negative consequences for losing can come close to that experience.

  2. Talyn says:

    Removing the “WAR is a WoW clone” sentiments I sometimes see, on the PvP front these two titles are drastically different.

    Something I’ve longed for in an MMO is what I call (for lack of a better term) “meaningful PvP.” Overall, I’m not a huge fan of typical MMO PvP, although I did get exalted in AV back when I played WoW just for a couple of the rewards. AV was fun, it had goals to achieve in addition to the carnage, and was the closest WoW ever came to having any meaning whatsoever to the combat. Otherwise WoW’s PvP is just a leaderboard competition, and just like taking your kids to their softball games, everyone wants that reassurance of “you’re a winner, no matter what,” with an accompanying hug or clap on the shoulder.

    WAR at least promises the ability to take actual in-game territory. I haven’t kept up at all on WAR development, but if losing a keep also means losing access to NPC’s for trade, quests, etc. and other content, then suddenly having that keep in your faction’s possession has some true meaning to all involved, PvP-ers *and* PvE-ers. It’s a step in the right direction at least.

  3. syncaine says:

    And hopefully that is what WAR will deliver Talyn, but at this point I’m not sure. Rumors on certain boards point to WAR being ‘dumbed down’ to WoW-like PvP. We will see though, hopefully those rumors are unfounded.

  4. Talyn says:

    If I recall, my hope for WAR’s handling of possession of keeps is how Tabula Rasa handled their bases and outposts. If the Bane captures an outpost, the AFS NPC’s aren’t there so your characters are unable to pick up (or complete) quests, no trading, nothing.

    Guild Wars takes a somewhat similar approach. Through PvP or through the accomplishment of difficult PvE objectives, the gods bestow their favor upon one of the three “worlds” (US, Europe, or Asia) of players. Only when your “world” has favor do you have access to the Underworld, Fissure of Woe and other “elite” nearly raid-like PvE areas where the most valuable crafting reagents for armor drops. Originally favor was only bestowed by PvP, so even the hardcore PvE-only players depended on the hardcore PvP of their “world” to win enough battles to open that content. Later, ArenaNet bridged the gap by providing PvE-ers the means to help contribute to the gain of favor.

  5. syncaine says:

    Sounds somewhat like DAoC with the relic controls and keeps. Whoever had the most control had access to the high level super tough dungeon.

  6. Roger says:


    The problem with DAoC style ‘access to the high level super tough dungeon’s is that it takes control out of the hands of the individual player.

    I’m with Tobold on this one. I sincerely do not want my play experience to be in the hands of other people unless and until I wish it to be so.

    In regards to your comment “If I queue up to PvP in WoW, it’s because I want to have fun and PvP. It’s not fun to finally get in only to see your side is half full with AFK and lowbie players.” You have a problem there with AFKers, but it’s not a problem with rewarding the losers, it’s a problem with rewarding the abusers. There are many ways to address such issues, but really, you should know better than to set up straw-men.

    And as for lowbie players? Huh? What? So people are asshats if they want to go ‘experience’ what WoW has to offer for PvP unless it’s on your terms and in the way YOU want them to play? The other side has an equal (if not better if you’re smart and chose Horde) chance of lowbie players, equalizing everything quite nicely. I don’t hear you complaining about lowbie players on the other side ‘ruining’ your game experience with their ‘can’t do a thing in the match’ selves.

    What you’re really complaining about is lack of control where you expect some to be. People are pissing you off for being people and taking advantage of the situation in BGs, yet, you turn right around and reward EVEonline for exactly the same thing, where people regularly gatecamp and will happily blow months worth of work out of the sky for no other reason than ‘because they can’.

    I’m sorry, I expect better from you than incoherent rants.

  7. syncaine says:

    But the reason you have AFK and lower level players in the first place is due to the design. Add in consequence, and magically they all disappear. Stuff like the ‘report afk’ they have now clearly does not work. Why place artificial ways to control the situation when clearly a far more natural one is readily available.
    And I bring up the low level players only because often times they are no different than the afk leeches. If a 23 queues up and goes all out, I’m fine with that. But watch some of the lower levels in a BG, and you will quickly see the majority of them have no interest in actually trying to win.

    EVE is very different, in that a gate camp can be easily avoided. The only reason people gate camp in the first place is that a steady supply of people too foolish to scout ahead play, making them easy targets. I have no issue with natural selection. Oh, and they also due it because generally its very profitable, as long as you know a good spot and pay mind to who exactly you blow up.

  8. Snafzg says:

    Everything I’ve read about WAR leads me to believe it will be set up more like DAOC than EVE but kicked up several notches. You will not lose “realm points” or your equipment for dying. What you will lose is the potential to earn realm points, the keep might have been defending, and quite possibly, your capital city.

    The “end game” in WAR is to capture your enemy’s town. Not some rinky-dink town… their Orgrimmar or Ironforge if you will. What will this mean for the losers? They haven’t firmly stated yet, however, one would assume that if your city is in ruins and swarming with the enemy, you won’t be able to access shops, trainers, or quest-givers. In order to balance things out again, cities will spawn stronger and stronger guards until it eventually expunges the foes and things are back to normal.

    Technically, you’re not losing the shiny sword you spent a few weeks raiding for, however, you’ll experience loss in different ways. Maybe you won’t be able to repair that sword once it becomes dull because your weaponsmith is lying face-down in a pool of his own blood and excrement with a Goblin spear lodged up his arse.

  9. Snafzg says:


    “The problem with DAoC style ‘access to the high level super tough dungeon’s is that it takes control out of the hands of the individual player.

    I’m with Tobold on this one. I sincerely do not want my play experience to be in the hands of other people unless and until I wish it to be so.”

    Darkness Falls, the dungeon of which Syncaine speaks, was one of the most fun PvP elements of DAOC before it was rendered completely useless by gear inflation caused by expansions. There was always a threat of running into enemies because anyone inside the dungeon before it traded hands was allowed to stay inside.

    So, if there were 10 Mids inside DF they wouldn’t be kicked out if the Albs suddenly took over. Eventually, the Mids and Albs would meet inside and have an epic battle until the Albs eventually overran the Mids due to numbers (because the Mids lost control, they couldn’t call reinforcements). However, sometimes Mids would hide out for a little while (the dungeon was huge) and cause a massive ruckus after the Albs thought they were safe and cozy.

    Sigh… such good times.

  10. syncaine says:

    Ah thats right, I totally forgot about that aspect of DF, good times indeed. I remember all the stealth classes would have a ball ganking people who thought they were safe.

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  12. Yeebo says:

    The problem with negative sum PvP is it unfairly penalizes “underdogs.” These can be players with inferior gear or new (unskilled) PVPers. It can also be players of a faction that is overall weaker, due to having a poor community (most WoW Alliance players suck at team PvP …I have no idea why but I swear it’s true) or just inferior numbers (see Midgard on most DAoC clusters). Being an underdog and losing repeatedly is frustrating enough on it’s own, even when the rewards for participating in PvP are simply less that those of the winner. If there are no rewards for participating but losing, or even worse if you actively lose progress from a defeat, a lot of new players or players of “underdog” factions will get turned off and choose not to participate. For PvP games to work you need a steady supply of warm bodies, or the whole system starts to break down.

    Case in point: pre-Trammel UO was an extreme case of negative sum PvP, and we all know how well that worked . . .

  13. syncaine says:

    Pre-trammel UO worked out just great, tyvm :)

    But I actually played Midgard in DAoC, and when I switched sides, I actually had less fun. Yes always being outnumbered at times was annoying, but even worse was not having a single person to fight because everyone in the area was on your team. I agree that protecting new players from utter destruction is needed though.

    Remember also one key point, fans of PvP actually like to PvP for the challenge. Give us a good system, and we are all set. Tacking on stuff like honor points and such should be a small perk, not a major driving factor.

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  15. Tobold says:

    I’m not saying that positive sum PvP is “better” than negative sum PvP. I’m only saying that positive sum PvP will attract the larger number of players. Smaller negative sum PvP games like EVE are totally possible, even profitably. As you said “pre-trammel UO worked out just great”, for a small and very dedicated number of people. The other 90% of the UO population ran away to the PvP-free side as soon as they could.

    As EA Mythic is trying to make WAR as big as WoW, and to create a game for the mass market, I’m pretty sure the PvP will be very much on the carebear side. The best you can hope for is a hardcore PvP endgame for the dedicated few propped on top of a mass market game for the average Joe. That would just be like the hardcore PvE raiding endgame propped on the top of mass market WoW.

  16. syncaine says:

    I’m not sure PvP has to be carebear to be mass market. First person shooters are not ‘carebear’ yet are very mass market. I think we make the ‘carebear = mass market’ assumption only because WoW set the standard. PvP as a game itself in WoW is a joke, putting PvP in a bad light.

    If done well, I don’t think you would have nearly the focus on ‘what do I get from PvP’ as you do now in WoW. Remember the vast majority of WoW players play it for the PvE game, and therefor are not the type of players you want commenting on a PvP system.

    I think the real debate is whether there is a big enough market to make a PvP-based game viable on a mass market scale. Unless the WAR being carebeared rumors are true, we will (hopefully) soon find out.

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