I wanted to start a thread about how big scale pvp is being implemented in current day MMOs. To start off I want to point out what I mean by "Big Scale PvP". Its pvp that happens in big zones/areas with many players(give or take over 50 on each side). This means battlegrounds/arenas don't count neither does open world sandbox pvp. Again, I am not defining what "Big Scale PvP" means Im just establishing what it means for the purposes of this discussion. Keep in mind, I havent played many of the old school games so you guys can keep me in check.
Lets start by detailing the current implementations:
- 2 Factions: This can be seen in games like WAR and TOR, were two factions pit against each other.
- 3 Factions, 1 of them is NPC: We have seen this in Aion, were there are two player factions and a third NPC faction.
- 3 Factions: Yes its DAOC, TESO, TSW. 3 player factions going against each other.
- 3 Servers: GW2 is the only I know of that uses this setup. 3 servers go up against each other.
If anyone feels I left any style of pvp out please let me know. With that said I want to examine what we have. Lets start from the beggining:
2 faction pvp might be the least desirable. In paper it seems fine but there are two problems with the implementation. One is that its per server. This means that you will see many servers were one side is always beating up the other, which takes us to the other downfall. The fact that its just two factions. If one is too good then you run into very big problems because you basically end up with a bad apple server.
Not to say this could be done better though. For example, most sports are played by two "entities". How do you keep a balance? by rankings and matchups. There will always be bad and good teams you just have to balance them. WIth current day setup this is not possible since it all lives in one server.
3 Faction, 1 of them is NPC
This is a noble attempt at fixing the 2 faciton problem. Bring in an NPC faction into the mix. Unfortunately this shares some problems as well. One is that your NPC factions AI has to be really really good. You don't want them beign useless or overpowering, but just the right mix. Two is that you lose the sense of pvp when one of the factions is not player made. It can for some cheapen the experience.
3 faction pvp looks to aliviate the problems we see with 2 faction pvp by introducint a 3rd faction. Here you have more balance since you expect that a super power faction can be countered by two others. One problem is still is that its per server. You can still see servers were it will be a ghost town or just one side can be way too overpowering.
It does bring a good bit of meta game since factions can create alliences and mix up things a bit with a bit of drama.
This looks to model more after arena based pvp. Have servers battle against each other and rotate them and try to match them agaisnt good competition. This too has big problems. One is that you need a big population in order to keep the system working well. Another is that it can break the sense of animosity and rivalry that is constantly present when the pvp is in the same server. There can still be rivalries, but in a different way.
So, that is what I think of the different "Big Scale PvP" setups. What do you think? How viable is a 4 faction pvp or more? would it be better if all types of pvp were server vs server based instead of per server?What do you think are the pros and cons of these and others and what do you think would be a better approach?