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So I've realized that the best PvPer games I've come to like are games where you're risking more than just your inventory. I've found that by risking your "territory" and your "storage" the community self enforces better. Essentially you won't have the random person who goes 'social path' on anything that moves since he's forced to be a part of the community to some extent or Another. Example games to this mechanic is WurmOnline, Haven and Hearth, and EvE Online to an extent.
So just as a pure thought exercise I'm going to bring such a mechanic to an MMO that is more mainstream, with the assumption that gear is now much easier to find but degrades. We'll also go with faction/guild level warfare, and being in a guild/faction as a requirement for crime(essentially player are forced to make larger guilds, to be an actual political entity). To do such I'm going to modify the scent system in Haven and Hearth, where crimes allows players to track your character and in severe cases summon you for a kill(even while offline).
So lets just add in that players can kill someone anywhere, and can loot them anywhere as well. This is not to satisfy the need for hardcore PvPers need to kill anything that moves, but rather to have enough 'karma' to this action that it does not matter where it is performed. Essentially I want murder to be a calculated risk on the part of the player attempting the kill, even in cases where they have the complete upper hand.
When killed the person who died gets one scent, if they were looted they get three scents from their aggressor instead. The victim then can use these scents however they choose(for their own purposes, trading to other players, or destroying).
Now we're going to put factions in a semi-war status that shifts from hot and cold as the players choose. Essentially every faction will have 'inner keep' that are defended by AI, and by human defenders(adding a rule that defenders don't produce scent on their own territory). If an enemy can get to an inner keep they can use any scents, from that faction, to draw the karma from previous murders/thefts. The karma cost would be along the lines of a selection of items from the players inventory/bank, or stealing experience if the items aren't liked.
I feel the greatest turn off in a PvPer game is that flag systems really aren't all that powerful. Even in cases where they are the victim never knows if justice is met. Essentially the victim now has power and/or knows that someone somewhere has karma and is waiting to collect*.
On the other hand PvPers build accounts not designed to grow or interact with the game at all, just to kill. They Aren't designed to level up an gear up, and instead are just fed from a 'Main'. I believe that the role of a moral-less-homicidal killer would really only happen to something corrupted to the extent of not being human(no role), and not having an account designed to actually advance further defeats the purpose of playing an 'RPG'. Essentially a character just for killing isn't worth the risk to most guilds/factions.
*This waiting to collect idea is also the driving force for guild/faction PvP. To just have tension slowly rising as crime happens until a group decides they will draw enough profit from starting a real war/raid. It also opens up the opportunity to politics via colluding attacks, trading and destroying scents.
So thoughts, views, derailments, and/or abuses. the last of which I know a couple already.
Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.
"At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."