PvP for the sake of PvP

Darkfall: Unholy Wars launched a few months late but those who waited apparently enjoy what was given.  It does sound like a lot of fun and reading through that post gets me thinking about what I do like about sandboxes and what I don’t like about FFA PvP.  (To Syncaine’s credit, he has a fairly detailed post about a PvE sandbox that I would love to play someday.)

What I like is being able to do what you want to do, when you want to do it and never really having a schedule.  There’s no common ride and everyone’s adventure is slightly different than another’s.  I really liked that about UO and early SWG.  Community had a big part in it but the ability to socialize to consume PvE content was where it was at.  Killing dragons or liches, treasure hunting, animal taming, building a craft store – it was all great fun.

What I didn’t like was the open/FFA PvP aspects.  One person could ruin 20 or 50 other player’s nights for no other reason than griefing.  Goal-based PvP makes sense and it’s always around controlling PvE access.  I can’t remember a game where you hunted people for their ears in order to make a coat but there are plenty where you keep people away from a resource spawn point so you can craft better gear.  UO private shards all have this problem and typically move towards extremely aggressive PvP controls.

The thing that lacks most in PvP games is the moderation of the activities.  In the real world, there are laws and law enforcement.  Typically these two combined will keep the general population from attempting a PvP activity (theft, harm, etc…) and those that do are tracked down and punished.  This doesn’t exist in games for a few reasons.

First, players are not online, their characters are and not 24/7.  I could play Jim as a PvP dink and Paul as a savior and most people would never know the difference.  There should be tools to identify a player based on all their characters.

Second, law enforcement is a thankless job, with little bite and no compensation.  When a griefer does it for the lulz, there is no in-game punishment possible to stop them from doing it again.  Short of removing all their skills and gear, or simply access to the game, why would the stop?  Moderation then requires a higher level of authority and then you get into the “god complex” issues.  Mind you, League of Legends has a decent system, even if there are still hundreds of horrible people playing.

The sheer lack of social restraint in these games is incredible.  No one would walk down the street and say “wow, that’s a nice car” and then proceed to break the window, hot wire it and proceed to row down a street full of people.  No, what happens is that you approach the driver, compliment them on the car and have a quick conversation.  I mean, I can’t imagine anyone on this planet thinking it’s acceptable for a group of people to simply walk around town, shooting everyone and then say “it’s to teach them buggers a lesson that crime is always around”.

I get PvP, I do.  It’s the reason we have MMA, boxing or any other combat sport.  There’s a primal need to compete against live people.  There’s a superiority complex that makes us strive to be better, to improve.  What I don’t get is some people’s need to intimidate or harass other players and their ability to find enjoyment in it.

3 thoughts on “PvP for the sake of PvP

  1. What I don’t get is some people’s need to intimidate or harass other players and their ability to find enjoyment in it.

    That’s the wrong mind set for Darkfall. If it helps, it’s better to think of it in terms of an FPS shooter with elements of an MMO. It’s hard to grief and harrass in an FPS because everyone is there for the same reason: PvP.

    Darkfall is for people who enjoy PvP first and then enjoy MMOs. In other words, if you play purely for the MMO aspects, I see the point and would never recommend this game to you. If you play mostly for PvP, then that’s what this game is — PvP and you need to have the PvP mindset.

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    • I like to think that just like PvE, PvP has various flavors to it. Some PvE folk like raids, some the market, some story and so on. PvP is like that too, in that the opponent is a player rather than a PC. Now if you like your PvP from a market perspective, then I guess EvE is the way to go (or any auction house really). If you like the epic battles and sieges, a few games will get that going – maybe Planetside 2 can help. The one on one stuff, or small skirmishes, you can find that in plenty of spots and I’m guessing this is where Darkfall is aiming. There are people who are just there to tick others off, even in PvE (ala Leeroy Jenkins). PvE has little control over this but it also has minimal impact on the large scale. PvP actually encourages this behavior, since it’s the prime method of advancement.

      I’d like to think that LoL started something with their player council to keep some level of social control over the bad PvP stuff. I’d be really curious to hear a PvPer explain why one act of PvP is ok and another is not.

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  2. I agree – PvP doesn’t fit in one box. My point is that if need to be PvP-minded all the time to enjoy a game like Darkfall. You don’t log onto an FPS shooter and expect that you’ll be “safe”.

    Whereas, if you have more of an MMO focus, you are going to sometimes see PvP as an interruption and unwelcome. For the PvP player, the PvP is the game so they don’t complain when PvP happens.

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