The term “PvP Hotspot” is used often when describing some of the additions Aventurine has made to DarkFall since the games launch, and all too often I’m seeing players misinterpret what the design intent is behind these additions, and just what exactly you can expect from a PvP hotspot itself.
For starters, a PvP hotspot does not mean you will find PvP in that location 100% of the time. A hotspot and something like a battleground/scenario are two very different things. You WILL find PvP in a BG/Scen each and every time, but what you gain in availability you give up in meaning or variation. A BG designed for 10 players and with a match length of 30 minutes will almost always be a 5v5 match, and will always end in 30 minutes or less. It will likely play out in a similar manner each time, and generally the reward is pre-determined. A well designed BG/Scen accomplishes its goal of being quick, ‘pick up and play’ PvP, but its role is very different to say, Stranglethorn Vale (STV).
STV is (or at least was) a PvP hotspot in WoW by design. It’s when the two factions generally first meet, and the overall layout was such that they would cross paths often. If you liked a bit of random PvP in the early days of WoW, STV was a great zone. It was not, however, 24/7 on demand PvP like a BG. You could go to the zone looking for PvP and not find a single worthwhile fight, while the very next day you could be in STV just trying to quest and have PvP find you at every turn. Point being, PvP happen more often in STV than in other zones, but it’s one and only purpose was not PvP.
Going back to DarkFall, when villages were first added part of their intent was to be PvP hotspots. Since their introduction changes such as a visible vulnerability counter have been made to help increase the chances of PvP happening, and it’s likely that further changes will need to be made to improve this even further (the ‘what’ of which is another topic). But what villages are NOT is a BG/Scen in DarkFall. They are not PvP 24/7, or even PvP 100% of the time when they go vulnerable. What they are is a location where PvP is more likely to happen, and even in their current state, they accomplish this (just not enough in the opinion of many). If you actively capture villages often, you WILL get PvP out of them. Now even if the rate is 1 PvP encounter in 10 villages captured, that’s still something. What you can’t expect is to go 10 for 10 in encounters, and I think many do, which is both unrealistic and somewhat silly.
It’s silly because you have to remember what else villages do. They are the source of player housing, the source of player vendors, and the source of house-based resources (gardens, trees, slot machines). If PvP did happen 24/7 at a village, player vendors would be worthless, teleporting to your house would be suicide, a snakeweed garden would not be worth the time to place it, and you could not finish watching the slot machine spin before someone bashed you over the head with a club. Not to mention that the more villages you add, the less likely you are to find a fight at any one particular location, yet I’m fairly sure most players are in favor of more housing, not less.
And other hotspots, like popular mob spawns or hamlets/cities, function in much the same way. You won’t find PvP at them 100% of the time you go, but you WILL find it more often than if you just randomly ride around, and so they accomplish that part of their design. Now some do it much better than others in terms of frequency, and there are plenty of changes Aventurine can make to improve this, but the fact remains that if you are out looking for PvP, knowing the popular hotspots and putting together a solid route through them is more often than not going to get you into some PvP. Just don’t expect it 100% of the time, or you are just setting yourself up for disappointment.