When getting your way is not enough: PvP

I’ve seen a few people on gaming community forums talking about what’s wrong with MMOs. Some say it has to do with the structure of the game, others say it has to do with the entire community, and others say some aren’t social enough. The truth to it, however, is that what truly ruins the experience in an MMO are the sore losers, and the majority of those sore losers are heavily involved with PvP. Of course, why wouldn’t they be; what other aspect of the game is there an outlet that encourages you to be a tremendous douche as part of the experience?

An outlet for assholes

PvP is definitely what’s wrong with MMOs these days. You can’t swing a murlock without hitting an MMO that doesn’t make a central theme or a big deal about it. Warhammer Online proved that bit fantasticly well by making the majority of the game focus around PvP on some level. And while it started off well for WAR, it ended up playing the same tune on the fiddle some months afterwards. It’s inevitable; PvP attracts assholes. They like being an asshole. It’s their favorite thing to do. They already have the power of Internet anonymity; giving them the tools to finally hurt other players is the next step up on an ego trip.

Keep in mind, however, that I am talking about the douches that specifically go into PvP in an MMO just to be a douche. PvP in some MMOs can actually be quite fun–if everyone is a good sport and understands the concept of having fun. The trouble is that the opposing force to that bit isn’t small at all; they actually number quite frequently and usually band together as one large force to partake in massive douchebaggery. These are the guys that say they perform in-game exploits on a massive scale and disrupt game play for a lot of players was all done “for the luls.”

Yes, how hilarious it is to have these people ruin the game for everyone else. Aren’t we all glad we are paying a monthly subscription to be an outlet of fun for these douches? Oh, what’s that, you’re not particularly thrilled about people exploiting the game to ruin your fun so they can have fun at your expense? What kind of human being are you? Clearly one that shouldn’t be PvPing in the first place, and if that’s the case, then you should really rethink about playing MMOs. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not an insult at all. If it is something you don’t want to deal with then I suggest either to stay away from the PvP zones in games altogether, or if a game has a PvP server, stay the hell away from it, because that is where the lower retches of humanity lives.

It’s all about me, me, ME!

The other trouble to PvP is how much attention it may be getting from the development team. Even in games where PvP was never supposed to be a central idea, like LotRo, the mechanic has been getting a lot of attention simply because more and more people are speaking up about it. The trouble, however, is the way people speak and what they are speaking about. I don’t even have to play other MMOs to know that the PvP section of their forums is full of threads about how PvP is “imbalanced.”

You see, as an outlet for assholes, PvP is their home. They live there and they like to have fun there by killing other players. However, when they are on the receiving end of a death, then the game becomes imbalanced. Completely and unfairly imbalanced. After they spend copious amounts of nonstop time playing PvP, they also find that if their class doesn’t have a “I win” button then their class is weak and any class that does better than them is over-powered. If PvPers aren’t complaining about PvP in general, then they’re complaining about other classes, calling for their immediate nerf and stirring up the beehive (and, in some cases, they’re probably just “doing it for the luls” as well).

You see, “imbalance,” or the level of playing field, is something that is foreign to a player that calls their home in a PvP zone. If every fight isn’t a total stand off or a 30 minute shuffle, then the game is completely imbalanced. What’s that about teamwork and playing your role? No, to hell with that. We’re gonna do this shit like Leeroy Jenkins. I’m too awesome to have to be a team player. I’m a one-man army. Now where is my “I win” button? I’m dying in a part of the game where player death is expected; please nerf that.

The red-headed step-child

Like with all things that involve good sportsmanship, it’s important to remember that PvP is not about you or me. It’s about them. You know exactly who I am talking about. You will be able to distinguish them quite clearly; they are the ones that say they are above and beyond a simple player to an MMO. They are the PvPers and anyone they don’t recognize or who doesn’t agree with their far-fetched opinion is a PvE carebear. They are the angriest players of them all, hell bent on screaming as loud as possible to explain why PvP sucks in the game they are playing, and yet, miraculously, continue to play the game anyways.

The trouble to this is that these are the guys that bring down the communities to MMOs. They are the ones that give an MMO a bad name. Want to know where the majority of douches are in WoW? They’re PvPing. In LotRo? They’re PvPing. They’re on the forums, complaining about how if they don’t get on-the-minute updates to PvP that “balances” the game then they are going to spam the board and throw a temper tantrum, like what is currently happening on the LotRo boards. Turbine has given PvP its own developer and what have they done? They tried to get him fired. And now, with the next Book patch on the way bringing a majority of changes to PvP, they are unhappy because, apparently, Turbine has been “ignoring” them.

These are the douches that bring down the game; that hurt more than help. They cannot be pleased even you try as hard as you may, and some developers seriously are. But to see the good name and community of LotRo smeared by a bunch of children who want to get their way by throwing a temper tantrum is just absolutely disgusting. At the beginning to LotRo the developers constantly said PvP was not a central issue; that there would be no changes to classes on an aspect to balance game play. Of course, that all changed when PvPers cried. And cried. And then cried some more. Essentially that is the true role of a PvPer; if you aren’t whining and bitching like a two-year-old then you aren’t doing something right as a PvPer.

Strap yourselves in boys and girls

As a person you are aware that there is a likelihood that you might run into an asshole once in a blue moon (unless you work retail). As a gamer, however, you should be prepared to meet these assholes on a daily basis. Anonymity is an outlet to the socially outcasted and peer-pressured to vent their animalistic emotions. In video games where the aspect to a game play mechanic is purely to just kill one another then you can expect it to be rampant; just as rampant as you would find it on any online FPS game. However, the difference between the MMO douchebag and the FPS douchebag is that you’re unlikely to meet the same douchebag twice in an FPS, whereas you’re likely to know the first name of the douchebag in an MMO. And as long as MMOs make a strong case to develop and maintain an aspect of PvP, then expect to have to deal with the scum of humanity on a daily basis.

Originally written: February 2009

About Agamemnon
Started blogging back in 2007 amidst that whole Hellgate: London fiasco on a blog known as flagshipped.com. Eventually moved on to do my own thing in December 2008 at gameriot.com and started Caveat Emptor there. Wrote there for six months, gained some notoriety, and then left. Now I'm back.

3 Responses to When getting your way is not enough: PvP

  1. Avelives says:

    Largely I agree here, I managed to get into a beta test for a game that is so full of douchebaggery that it is now legendary. Darkfall – this is a game which boasts full loot open PVP at all times and only 1 server. This as you can imagine attracts many totall asshats, but really until you actually play it or hang round the forums for any period of time (6 weeks of my life that I want back I may add) you cannot fully appreciate just how absolutely tragic most of them are. I say most cause maybe 1 in 20 (or less) actually enjoy proper pvp and to some extent roleplay, the rest engage in the usual griefing and generally cowardly behaviour of exploiting broken mechanics and game systems to gain any advantage possible then screaming when someone does it to them.

    I mention Darkfall cause its a game which every new MMO developer should be forced to endure (note the word endure not play) before commencing on any new MMO development. It basically takes all the worst elements of all the worst pvp ideas ever and condenses them into one game, and being entirely focused around pvp it proves that PVP centric players largely speaking are never ever happy, not just not happy but actively obstructive and rude. No good can come of pandering to them, unless you enjoy watching a 24/7 cluster**** unfold and losing customers hand over fist.

    Thats not to say I hate pvp, indeed done well it can be fun, Guild Wars is the opposite of Darkfall, its an elegant pvp game which totally seperates the two activities (pve/pvp) and wisely does away with official forums meaning that the collective whines of the pvp community are castrated and lack any ability to bother anyone. The developers just go about their business and generally don’t listen to anyone, bad in some ways but generally works out great.

    Ultimately though the problem lies in the fact that as yet no developer has come up with a way to provide enough content to satisfy people without resorting to pvp. Its a developers crutch cause it means they can create a system for combat between players and then let everyone beat the hell out of each other without actually having to create much new content to justify the monthly subscription. The day an MMO is made which manages to address this problem is the day that a new era in grief/whine/douche free MMOs will be heralded in.

    • Agamemnon says:

      I heard about Darkfall from some PvMP buzz on LotRo. Apparently they were heralding it as “THE PvP MMO.” Of course these were the people that were relatively griefers and exploiters and lived and breathed PvP (they leveled their characters to 10, hit up Monster Play, and never looked back three years later). But just from what you tell me–full PvP, one server, and full loot–simply echoes my sentiments here. I mean, those are classic examples of BAD decisions for game mechanics. This was supposed to be learned back in the 80s/90s of the days of MUDs. Even SOE learned this lesson with Everquest II, when it took them two years after launch to bring PvP to the game.

      PvP is just never worth the effort for developers. The feedback is always negative, improvements are always needed, and it always encompasses the worst of the game’s community. I’m not sure if PvP will ever be a good thing for an MMO.

  2. Avelives says:

    The most mind boggling thing is that ‘hardcore pvpers’ (it hurts to even write that) still hang on to this idea that games cannot exist without pvp, as though all games have always revolved around it. Indeed especially in the MMO market the reverse is true, the only MMOs which do consistently well are either PVE heavy or have the two elements almost entirely removed, like Guild Wars, you could play that for years and never have to fight another player once. But if you love pvp you could pretty much do that all day long and never bother killing a single monster, to me the Guild Wars model works perfectly and its amazing no other developers have copied it.
    The least successful nearly always focus on PVP with the exception of Eve but thats more down to clever marketing.

    With the exception of oddities like Runescape, Guild Wars is the second most successful MMO behind WOW, pretty amazing for a game which also requires no monthly fee. Their business model was also perfect cause it meant that when you got tired of playing it it didnt matter if you never played again, the way they run the game using yearly full game standalone expansions to raise revenue was revolutionary but oddly hasnt been copied.

    See Guild Wars provides the most balanced and well thought out PVP ever devised in an MMO, indeed before they went off to develop GW2 (out early next year) they used to run yearly competitions with prizes as high as £100,000 for the winning guild. And you know the really surprising thing, the usual griefers, whiners and general asshats which parade around other MMOs bragging about how great they are at PVP, never got anywhere in it, indeed most will scoff when you mention it as true pvp game claiming that only a game where you can spawn camp someone 20 levels below you 24/7 and steal all their items is a true pvp game.

    As a general rule pvpers dont want a fair fight, they rarely roleplay and they often dont care about the genre of game they play as long as enough broken mechanics exist to allow them to grief people they will love it, and for that Darkfall serves a fine purpose. Its a terrible abortion of a game, indeed the word game is barely applicable to it. Hopefully it continues to grow so we dont have to put up with those sorts of people in decent games.

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