1 vs 100

First off an aside – I have been travelling one week on and one week off the past two and a half months for work and while it has been a lot of fun travel (no Alabama yet, Murf!) it doesn’t lend well to gaming time, and I am not posting as much as I enjoy too. That being said, it is probably going to get worse over the next 10 days – I am on my way to New Zealand and Australia. I am sitting in the airport right now before my 5 hour flight that leads to my 14 hour flight, and just wanted to say that I’ll miss you and try to stay in touch. If you don’t hear from me, rest assured it’s the Aussies. (This post was supposed to be done a week ago but due to the travel just finishing it now)

A lot of PVP Podcasting chatter over at Contains Moderate Peril and Couch Podtatoes (both from TGEN) about PVP. Two of my favorite games that I spent the most time in were PVP based (DAOC, BF2142) and from my experience there are three things that should always happen to have good PVP.

1 v 100

No character/item should be invincible. It’s terrible design. Any PVP game where the level difference get so vast that one side is untouchable is a recipe for failure. I have argued (a lot, and often) that an iterative level system (if you must have one) would be a simple additive system – any combination of levels  in addition is the same power level of the sum.

For example, in WoW, a level 90 character today on an open PVP server could kill 1000s of lower level characters without even a scratch. In my example and preference:

  • two level 45s would be a fair fight with a level 90
  • 90 level 1s would be a fair fight with a level 90
  • a level 85 with a level 5 teamed up would beat the 90
  • 10 level 9 characters would make a fair fight versus a level 90

This alone would change the dynamics of open PVP servers and be a worthwhile rallying cry for low level areas to band together to take out any higher level intruders. Currently, the options are run and hide, phone a friend, or log off. This fragments the player base needlessly.

Levelling Faux Pas

PVP games shouldn’t revolve around levelling. PVP shouldn’t be time gated. It segments the population unnecessarily and is simply a revenue driver tactic. if there is levelling it better be short and easy, and/or that you can still be competitive without being max level. (ie: items in BF2142. etc.).I have heard arguments to scrap levels all together but I think we as players still want a semblance of progress in our RPG based games – just not a feeling of being completely useless until we hit some artificial “cap”. Even League of Legends has “levels”, but they don’t detract from the game and are a good gate to learn and experience the game to make a better overall experience for people.

Goal Driven

There has to be a larger goal than just killing others. Objective base PVP gives context and purpose to engagement. The senseless killing doesn’t lead to as good of a potential gaming experience. DAOC excelled in this, as do lobby games like BF2142 and LoL even. There can be layered goals (smaller and larger) but goals gives the purpose of conflict, instead of just conflict for the sake of it.

In the end my personal PVP preferences on what is existing is that I like safe zones and fair fights. The three principles above are my personal preferences on what makes great PVP (or could – the 1v100 isn’t standard in non-lobby games) and it is with great yet mixed interest I wait for Camelot Unchained to see if they learned lessons from DAOC and embracing the niche role necessary to break away from the mainstream.

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