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Reader Comments (153)

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:11PM (Unverified) said

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In my experience a lot of the "roleplayers" in MMOs only want to be story tellers. They have their ideas and characters all worked out, and that's that. Most of them meta game instead of actually roleplaying within the chosen game's storyline, essentially turning everything into a glorified chat room where they try to hook up with everyone. That's why so many of them hate PvP; it interrupts their story time. What is so astounding to me is that so many so-called roleplayers actively despise PvP. One would think that if they were truly roleplaying within the game they chose to play, that they would embrace the PvP aspect. What's the worst that could happen, you die a few times?

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:22PM CCon99 said

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@(Unverified) Most of my RPing friends are huge fans of PvP. I remember in the good old days of early DAoC, the best RvR was on Percival which was the official RP server at the time. Even known gank groups from other servers eventually came to Percival and wound up getting their butts kicked back to their original server or the good ones found a way to work better with their realm community which just made more great RvR for everyone.

I really wish they would make a DAoC2 already, if WAR would have just took DAoC, put a Warhammer theme on it, then updated graphics, it would have been huge!
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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:32PM Dblade said

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@(Unverified) You can't really RP and PvP though, both tend to require different mindsets. PvP needs very game-centered builds and requires specific styles of play often opposed to an RP concept. In Champions Online that was a huge problem, as many people made concept characters that simply didn't work with PvP due to not following the correct build.

You also can't RP without cooperation of others, and FFA PvP is about as uncooperative as it can get. RP is very easy to grief, and FFA PvP gives a lot of tools to grief. PvPers also like to grief-they love unbalanced fights in PvP FFA MMOs, and are doing it mostly to ruin someone's day when it's non consensual.

It just doesn't work. You should know Jef, covering AOC: didn't the rp/pvp server fold?

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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 4:00PM jeremys said

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@(Unverified)

I can understand this. I love jumping in and out of roleplay, and that's because I usually bounce my story-driving shenanigans off the in-game story. I also like making at least one character on a PvP server, because as far as that type of roleplaying goes the PvP is an added option providing more for me to do in the MMO.

@Jef

Great article!
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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 4:31PM aurickle said

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@Dblade
Well put.

In any civilized society, there are severe limitations on murder -- aka laws and punishment. At the same time, only a very small percentage of the population is sociopathic enough to commit such a crime. So you have few potential criminals, combined with severe punishments that severely limit the number of potentials who turn into actuals.

The problem with FFA PvP games is that I have yet to see one that actually bothers to realize both sides of the risk vs. reward equation. They'll create systems that allow these kinds of activities, but not balance those systems out with harsh penalty systems that will discourage all but the most determined gankers/PK'ers. The net effect is that a disproportionately large percentage of the population gives in to their dark sides.

This is made all the worse by the fact that death in a game is pretty much meaningless. In the real world, society bands together against things like murder because it permanently removes people from the playing field. Kids are left without parents, or are never born at all. A society that does not create and enforce rules against death will eventually collapse simply because it can't replenish itself faster than it's killed off. But game worlds aren't like that.

Essentially, the majority of the FFA games are actually a simulation of anarchy. This is the opposite of what will appeal to most RP'ers because for most RP to be meaningful it requires a certain level of cooperation between players.

I would love to see a sandbox where PK'ing is certainly allowed but is met with severe penalties. For example, while you are flagged as a murderer your death penalty will be much more severe than that of someone who's not. Where murderers find it very hard to operate within society but are instead forced to the fringes. Of course, such a game should also have places that are lawless and so most of these penalties won't apply. Even better would be if mechanisms could be introduced that allowed players to control portions of the game world and set their own rules/laws regarding PK'ing and other things.

To an extent, Eve has done a lot of this. The problem there is that outside of killing other players there really isn't very much to do in the game that's particularly interesting. And this, ultimately, is the problem that's repeated in all the other FFA games that I've looked at. The vast majority of mechanics focus on killing or tedium. Given the choice, is it any surprise that most people choose killing? In order for a sandbox to be created where the FFA and RP crowd really have a chance of co-existing with minimal friction, the developers are going to have to introduce a lot of new non-combat mechanics -- or develop AI that makes combat against mobs as much of a challenge as it is against players.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 5:09PM SgtBaker1234556 said

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@aurickle

Quite right.

Roleplay in EVE environment tends to work within limits (see, CVA vs. Ushra'Khan - RP conflict that lasted for years) - it's a great setting, the Slavers (Amarr) and Freedom fighters (Minmatar) - everything is set for conflict and great RP - if done right. Unfortunately, it's not done right very often.
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Posted: Dec 29th 2010 7:45AM Irem said

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@aurickle
Absolutely spot-on.

I would love a game with FFA PvP if there were risk involved in killing another player. One of the reasons I'm excited about the World of Darkness MMO is that it sounds like they might be willing to experiment with that and come up with a system in which engaging in combat is a serious choice.

RP that revolves around politics, diplomacy, and spy games is what turns my key. In most themepark MMOs, that's very difficult to do, because there are no actual consequences for screwing up--it's too easy for people to Mary Sue their way out of a bad situation, and you usually can't talk to the faction that can actually hurt you. But unless people are forced, to some extent, to roleplay (corp politics in EVE was a good example), it becomes far too easy to grief. People need to be given a reason to interact in that kind of environment beyond swinging swords at each others' faces.
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Posted: Dec 29th 2010 12:18PM Djinn said

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@aurickle
I wish there was some way to bump this up even more :)

100% right.
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Posted: Jan 4th 2011 2:20PM covertAHhps said

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@Dblade AoC's FFA PVP is very different than say Darkfall's though. They have PVP zones and gankers that camp the entrance to those zones and small areas in which people do quests where gankers can easily find them. That is an enormous difference . .. especially in a game like AoC where you are forced to do quests and content to unlock additional quests and content. Games like EVE and Darkfall, you have such vast open space that you can easily avoid PVP if you want to. Sure there are times where you cannot, but its nothing like AoC and most themepark FFA PVP games.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:18PM Cavadus said

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Great article, actually. It's really a shame that the bulk of roleplayers have been indoctrinated against FFA PvP. You think they'd jump at the chance to actually bar fight instead of just hurl text moves at one another. I think at their essence though a traditional RPer simply isn't competitive and is more than a little dramatic which would explain why they take getting PKed so personally.

I'm a big RPer, having carried the flag for server wide RP events back in Tabula Rasa, but I'm a PvPer first (it's simply where the real challenge lays).

There aren't many like me out there.

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:19PM warpax said

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FFA pvp is not for me. I refuse to be unwilling content for the stereotypical pvper..
you know Ive NEVER seen a mature, courteous, nonbully pvper.. the genre encourages a lack of these qualities.

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:43PM Vegetta said

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@warpax

Lots of people were in Anti Squads back in the Glory (Pre Tram) days of UO, They would group up and actively hunt Reds/Pks. Not everyone on a FFA game is out to get you. These games make grouping very important and in my busy life now I don't have time to LFG or wait on guildies who may also be too busy to play. So I prefer not playing FFA games. Its just easier.

Personally I don't mind getting killed but getting ganked by a group and then looted isn't much fun. Trying to start out in a FFA game with no guild/friends can be very daunting (and frustrating) to new players - unless they spend a lot of time researching what to do to stay alive long enough to do anything productive. Most people wont bother with that and after getting dropped a few times will say screw it and go on to play something else.

I still think a sandbox pve game has a place. Post Tram UO was pretty enjoyable and there was still a lot of ffa fun to be had in Fel. (Plus Faction Wars)

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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 6:10PM esarphie said

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@warpax There are a few courteous roleplaying people who like to play in a pvp setting... you don't notice them, however, because they don't constantly kill people. They just prefer to have that as a final option, rather than having it completely prevented by the game mechanics.

Of course, they're completely overshadowed by the noisy, juvenile, determined-to-prove-they're-not-roleplayer majority who flock to any server labeled "pvp".
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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 9:38PM Machinator said

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@Vegetta

I was one of those RPing PvPers in UO (Pacific) you speak of. I had multiple characters and guilds playing both sides of the fence too. NEVER since have I found a game that allows me to do anything close to the things I did in Ultima Online /cry
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Posted: Dec 31st 2010 5:38PM sourheart said

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@warpax

I take offense to your blatant stereotyping. I love to PVP, and I'm not such a bad guy.

You've obviously never played EVE Online, where even pirates can be very courteous and helpful. Being friendly to the players who just killed you can go a long way, asking questions like "how did I die? how can I prevent it?" will usually get you a polite and honest answer.
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Posted: Jan 5th 2011 12:09PM bcrfan said

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@warpax bollocks. You've never really PVP'd then.
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Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:29PM The Ogre said

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The only roleplaying FFA PvP seems to encourage is roleplaying being a trash talking jerk (in my day, we called that "being an asshole", not "being a competitive player"). That goes for any MMORPG with PvP, actually, even when it is (as it should always be) confined to arenas and instanced battlegrounds.

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:29PM Scopique said

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I partly agree with (Unverified) in that RPers who badmouth PvP (probably more specifically, ganking and PKing) are probably upset because they want to do their own thing on their own time. Drive by gankings are monkey-wrenches thrown into their carefully planned machine. Add to that the possibility that not ONLY are the gankers and PKers interrupting the RP, but the gankers and PKers might grief the hell out of the RPers BECAUSE of the RPing, and the grief might not just end at death; they might follow the RPers around and actively try to interrupt their play.

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 3:48PM Sean D said

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I play EVE and I play carefully enough that I rarely get caught with my pants down.

I think one aspect that sandbox games are missing - an aspect that would entice more PvE'ers and reflects our own reality in some way (this is what we understand after all) - is consequence. EVE has it to an extent with CONCORD and hi-sec, and security standing. I'm not sure about Darkfall because I've never played it. A player who ganks another player has effectively, according to the lore, committed murder (among other things) and should be treated as having done so by the system. I don't think a PvE'ers fear is so much that he will get ganked, but rather griefed/camped without any repercussions to the griefer/camper. A system that *allows* such behavior could be said to *promote* such behavior and for a RP'er like you, Jef, this should taste pretty bitter considering there is no way in any conceivable lore that such behavior could be deemed moral and fly without consequences (unless you're playing in a world destined for self-destruction, which is exactly what would occur in a world without some kind of rules for getting along socially with one another).

There are other reasons for why players who prefer PvE don't cross over, of course. There is an arrogance that goes among some PvP'ers that pushes PvE'ers away. It says, "I'm going to grief you until you like it or don't care anymore. After that, welcome to the crew. Now go grief someone until they like it or don't care anymore." The implication is that their way of playing is right and that it's the only true way to play. It's kind of clique-ish and it disrespects the PvE'er.

I like purposeful PvP. There is a great deal of ganking/griefing that goes on in EVE, but there is also a lot of purposeful PvP and there are places where the PvE'er can pursue their goals with a reasonable expectation of security. I wonder if the same can be said of Darkfall.

Posted: Dec 28th 2010 4:25PM jeremys said

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@Sean D

I'm not huge into PvP or FFA PvP, but Runes of Magic is like Darkfall lite. On a PvP server, there is no safe place except your instanced house. Enough killing will raise or lower reputation points and turn you into a hero or criminal. The protection bubble and auto on/off, I dislike. It used to not be that way. It used to be a forced 10 min. cooldown on PK status with no protection bubbles when killed, but players complained about too much spawn camping and having to run away or hide for too long through cooldown.

Theoretically, I love Runes of Magic's system. There are even different reward/penalties depending how far in the green or red you are with rep points. If you are within 5 levels of the other player, they can drop loot too.

But, the view I have always seen all too often is that players who give their opinion are always saying they dislike PvP in RoM.

I also agree that PvP in WoW isn't really PvP, because there's no consequences. They've made it so everyone wins and no one looses, so it's barely meaningful to get PvP points. To me, it's also just heighened the annoyance factor, because the only "meaningful" consequence left is that you are annoyed with having your in-game play interrupted by a corpse run. RoM just uses instant respawn.

But like I said - I believe many voicing their opinions would actually prefer WoW over RoM PvP. I think it boils down to a lot of players that want PvP, want it because they want to gain something, but they also never want to lose anything.
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