Dispelling the myths about full PVP
There are inevitable debates that pop up during the development of high-profile, triple-A MMOs.
This purpose of this thread is to dispel the myths about full PVP that grow back like weeds every time you cut them down. Hopefully this thread helps some folks see the point of view of those who are waiting patiently for a triple-A game with full PVP.
So what is “full” PVP? Here are some of the defining characteristics:
- PVP is “on” throughout the entire world. (No place is 100 per cent safe, although there can be some areas with strong protection like hi-sec in EVE.)
- It's integrated with the other mature game systems in a meaningful way -- like the economy -- where everything from crafting to territory control are designed with PVP in mind. (Integration with other well-developed systems is where a lot of the indies fall short and why we need a triple-A title.)
- It involves risk v.s. reward in a big way. Getting the best resources means venturing into unsafe/contested territories.
I may need to expand on the defining characteristics after other folks weigh in.
1. You just want to grief me.
- This is the self-centered argument of someone who was scarred for life in Ultima Online a decade ago and can’t move on. We actually don’t care if you play the game. In fact, if you dislike full PVP then we hope you don’t play
2. “Why should I be forced to play your way? No one is forcing you to PVE.”
- This makes it sound like you’re already a paying customer for a game and we’re pulling the rug out from under you. If a game is in development and you find out it has full PVP, you aren’t forced to do anything. You can simply play a different game. If you do play and get ganked, then you still made a conscious decision with regard to risk v.s. reward. And you lost. No one forced anything on you.
3. It’s PVP v.s. PVE and people who enjoy PVP are a niche.
- This creates sort of a false dichotomy where you’re looking at a niche of gamers – those who only want to PVP – and ignoring the huge market of folks who want to PVP AND PVE. So the most passionate arguments are usually between those who want ONLY full PVP and those who want ONLY PVE. Both of these are arguably niche, but then again League of Legends is the most played game in the world with only PVP.
4. Okay - but the majority of people want PVP on their terms.
- How many triple-A MMOs with full PVP have they even been able to try in the last 15 years? Who's to say they would find a triple-A game with full PVP distasteful? Games like Darkfall don't count, because they don't have mature systems to integrate with the PVP.
5. The answer is simple: Just let people flag themselves for PVP when they want to engage in it.
- Things go wrong when you take a game designed for full PVP and let people opt in/out whenever they want. Take, for example, the risk v.s. reward characteristic. Human nature compels us to get rewards using the path that involves as little risk as possible. Even people who love risk would be stupid not to turn PVP off because it puts them at a distinct tactical disadvantage. This is like Game Geenie or any number of other hacks and it would break any game designed with full PVP.
6. The answer is simple: Just implement PVP and non-PVP servers.
- You might as well have two different games, because full PVP requires a dedicated dev team to succeed. Remember, it’s not just the ability to attack people. It’s the integration of PVP with other game systems and risk v.s. reward. While a game with dedicated full-service dev teams for each server type would be great for players, it could also hurt publishers’ return on investment.
7. Look around at the limited number of PVP servers on popular games. This is proof that the market for open-world PVP games is niche.
- The only thing this proves is that gamers don’t like a server where a core game mechanic has been merely “turned on” as an afterthought to the game’s design. The PVP is often meaningless in these games because it isn’t “full” PVP and is essentially in its own vaccuum.
Okay, so that’s what I was able to come up with so far. I’ll probably refine this and come up with a “v 2.0” after all of the arguments are made.