I read a recent post from MMOG Nation via MMOWTF today that got me thinking, or rather re-visiting an idea. The post pointed out the differences in PvP mentality going from a PvP server to a PvE one in WoW, with the perhaps surprising result that ganking and asshats were far more common on the PvE server than the PvP one. I say ‘perhaps’ because for longtime PvP fans, this is not that surprising.
Like the rest of the internet, the more anonymous and unaccountable you can be, the further some people are driven into asshat mode. The reason people played nice for the most part in EQ1 was because reputation got around quick, and if you acted like an ass, soon the server would know and you would be blackballed. In Asheron’s Call (Darktide at least) reputation was everything, since at any point anyone could gank you. Instead of outright chaos however, the players on DT generally followed guild rules and limited ganking to marked targets. In Dark Age of Camelot, at the highest RvR level, being respected by your realm meant being a team player, someone who could be relied on. Those who refused to follow orders or play as a team soon found themselves being rejected from group runs and the best parts of RvR.
On a much smaller scale, being a total dick on a PvP server in WoW might make you enough enemies to hamper your gameplay. Perhaps players will remember your name, and go out of their way to kill you whenever you are spotted. It’s not a huge penalty, certainly not anything close to what older games had, but perhaps enough to deter some of the otherwise would-be asshats. On a PvE server, you can be a dick all you want, and with one magic /pvp command, you gain total immunity. It’s not surprising then that those who aim to be dicks, rather than actually enjoying a PvP fight, pick a PvE server.
Moving away from WoW, this raises an interesting question for Warhammer Online. Will we see more of the WoW PvE-server style players, or more of the AC/DAoC style of name recognition and respect? Clearly WAR is a PvP focused game, with the high-end being very group/guild focused. That would lead me to believe players will be less likely to enter asshat mode, with the risk of being shunned by their realm during PQs, RvR skirmishes, and most importantly city raids. On the other hand, EVE aside, most MMO games today do little to limit or punish the bad apples, and who is to say WAR’s PvP focus will be enough to weed them out?