PvP Hotspots

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.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Combat Systems, Darkfall Online, Housing, MMO design, PvP, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to PvP Hotspots

  1. Max says:

    Well than its a bad design for “hotspot”. I cant compare this to STV as WoW was never pvp centric, though I had lot more pvp in vanilla wow /per minute played than in DF

    If you made pvp centric mmo provide ability to actually have meaningful pvp on demand. – there are many ways to do so, so I wont elaborate into that part,but point is if I login and want pvp I better get it in 10 minutes, without roaming countryside for hours. And no – ganking akfers/farmers is not meaningful pvp

    The fact that vanilla wow on pvp server had better pvp than any “pvp” mmo to date speaks volumes about quality of the latter

  2. Joseph says:

    It’s interesting that a player in the “best PvP MMO on the market” isn’t guaranteed to find PvP when they deliberately go looking for it, let alone find meaningful PvP.

    Aventurine doesn’t help the cause either by implementing features that segregate and spread players out. I suppose that they’re kind of stuck with fundamental design failures such as a huge world, use-based skill gain, and an overabundance of resources. Though it’s mystifying that they did not understand that conflict is generated by a smaller, claustrophobic setting, scarcity of resources, and a character progression scheme that promotes doing something worthwhile in the game world as opposed to leveling up a skill via ridiculously repetitive activities.

    But why exacerbate the problem by adding sea fortresses on opposite sides of the map, spreading villages and player housing across that huge map, and adding even more iron nodes? Why not remove stat gains from easily unattended activities such as swimming into a wall? Why not embrace the fact that the game appeals to a niche audience and not the huge population that would turn such PvP hotspots into real, actual PvP hotspots?

    • SynCaine says:

      Well I don’t think you can really ‘fake’ meaningful PvP and make it so it’s on-demand. In other words if cities/hamlets changed hands more often because sieging was more common, at some point the meaning behind owning property would fade (WAR keeps as an extreme example).

      As for finding PvP in general, I’ve never had an issue with that. I know certain cities will always have players, and I also know the more popular spawns that players farm. I think a lot of that grumbling is from people who don’t really try, and just expect PvP to come to them at all times. Anyone actually playing who can’t find PvP when they go out is doing something wrong.

      • Joseph says:

        I’ll never understand this sentiment. You’re basically arguing that the amount of impact found in PvP is directly proportional to the amount of boring shit through which you have to wade before you get there.

        Why does it suck when you get killed and lose your stuff? Because you had to endure watching a fucking progress bar for hours to gather materials and craft it.

        Why does it suck when you’re halfway across the continent, get ganked, and end up back at your bind point? Because you rode your virtual horse for an hour, in silence, seeing nobody and doing nothing. Now you’ll have to do it again.

        That’s not impact and it’s not meaningful.

  3. Max says:


    Well I don’t think you can really ‘fake’ meaningful PvP and make it so it’s on-demand.

    There are many ways to do so – caravans with resources traveling at predefined paths , at predefined times. Same with nodes ,etc etc.

    If at any given point there are few limited targets in the world, given worthy rewards. PvP will be there. Provide a way to get to that target relatively fast (5-10 min) and there you have it – pvp on demand, without being instanced


    think a lot of that grumbling is from people who don’t really try, and just expect PvP to come to them at all times.

    I expect a lot more pvp per minute played DF(or eve) can provide. And again I dont consider free roaming ganking a worthy pvp. Its is just zerging down targets.

    hy not embrace the fact that the game appeals to a niche audience and not the huge population that would turn such PvP hotspots into real, actual PvP hotspots?

    I think their target audience are not actually pvpers. Its the epeeners who enjoy beating on noobs with their characters which were grinded and macroed for 6 months

    Most people who enjoy competitive play enjoy the process not a grind. And so many of them play dota, wow arena ,etc.- those games have at least something right (combat itself, fast action and level field without grind) , while they do lack persistence and meaning it is better than grindfests

  4. bludd says:

    Just like in soviet russia ,in darkfall you come to pvp. p.s wicked blog man

  5. Andrea Bargs says:

    Max: 2, Syncaine Flambouras: 0

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