Friday, July 10, 2009

I'll have the PvP, hold the PvE

With Aion's release in North America approaching, there have been some interesting discussions on the nature of PvP. It can come in many different forms, but I am only really interested in two general implementations. Things like Arena based PvP don't really do it for me. Instead I like open world PvP, which can be separated into two basic schools of thought.

The first would be PvP-focused. This is the path Mythic took with their RvR in WAR. The RvR areas (lakes) do not contain much except for PvP objectives. In fact, it is a mostly dead area containing no npc's except for guards. This means that if you are in the lake, you are here for PvP, as there is no other reason to be there.

On the plus side, you get opponents that generally want to PvP. Motivation is very important in a game. If players don't want to PvP but have to (or would be stupid not to be in the area), then it can cause trouble and dissatisfaction. Whereas if both parties want to fight you can end up with a pretty good time for all.

There is a downside though. There is really no point to being in these areas unless PvP is going on. One common complaint levied against WAR is the lack of small group PvP. This can be traced to the PvP focused zones. Without npc's and other things to do for the solo/small group players these small group pvpers don't have much to do. Battlefield Objectives are for smaller groups, but still require a certain class makeup and usually a full group.

The second school of thought is to have a PvE area that has PvP elements as well. This , for the most part, describes the Ettermoors in Lord of the Rings Online and Aion's Abyss. You get a big zone, fill it with PvE content and also add in PvP objectives.

The PvE content in this area, which is usually some of the more rewarding content in the game, attracts all types of players. It also gives them plenty to do (PvE wise). They are known as the sheep. PvP players are the wolves. This is a broad generalization of course and players can and do fall somewhere in between.

Since there is a lot of PvE content which can be done solo and group, you tend to see a lot of small groups out in the zone. Many are engaging in PvE content while others are looking to gank them. For the purposes of this post, ganking means attacking a player while they are fighting an npc.

Ganking can lead to actual PvP in some cases. Eventually, as word spreads, it will grow into an all out large scale battle. Many other times, those who are ganked just go somewhere else to do their PvE and the gankers look for new targets. It isn't all bad though as sometimes your gank group comes across an opponents and you get some real PvP. In LoTRO I have sat around stealthed in my Warg just waiting for someone to try and gank some bait. It can be fun and exciting.

This kind of zone is also good for people who like PvE and PvP. WAR's Land of the Dead is similar in concept, but seems to feature less PvP and more PvE. Options are a great thing and I fully support them in MMOs.

You know what also bugs me about these zones? All the aggro you pick up from the plethora of NPC's. I just want to get to the fight, leave me alone! :)

How do you like your PvP?

I prefer my PvP without the PvE. It isn't a big surprise as I tend to avoid PvE content these days. In the Ettermoors, I never really touched the PvE content. I also am not a fan of ganking or being ganked. Attacking an opponent who is fighting an npc is weak and not much of a challenge. Ganking a ganker is fun but generally a small part of the game.

PvP is fun for me when I know my opponent is there to fight. It was very frustrating when WAR launched because people were actively avoiding the fight. In LoTRO it is also frustrating when people come to the zone just looking for the crafting materials or to farm npcs. The minute you attack they go elsewhere or hide. That is my fear for Aion's Abyss as well. Many players will be there for PvE. Some will discover they like PvP and seek it out, many will not.

In any case, I'm glad we have so many MMO's to choose from that offer different options. It is a great time to be a MMO gamer.


If I wanted to play a pure PVP game, I'd go back to my FPS roots. Plenty of PVP to be had there with no annoying PVE to get in the way.

Really looking forward to what Aion has to offer.

What does a FPS have to do with this? PvP != FPS.
I like MMORPG's, but instead of scripted enemies, I prefer human ones.

PvP means Player versus Player. So FPS = PvP.

Plenty of human enemies to be found in FPS without any scripted ones.

I posted my reply here:

I love this topic!

@Slurms: thanks!

@Winged: FPS is just a gameplay mechanic, PvP is an activity. It sounds like you are saying PvP has no place in MMORPG's.

I guess I understand where you're coming from but the pure PvP setting isn't dynamic enough for me. I'm not saying I like to gank, but look at everything you wrote up there. The PvPvE mix you wrote about up there gives you way more options that a pure PvP offering.

In an RvR lake:
- Kill people taking a BO (technically that's ganking)
- Kill people taking a keep (ganking as well)
- Kill people running from A to B

In a PvPvE setting (e.g. The Abyss):
- Kill XPing on NPCs (ganking)
- Kill gankers
- Kill questers
- Kill crafters
- Kill people running from A to B
- Kill people on keeps
- Kill others roaming solely for PvP
- Kill botters (/applause)

Now add on top of that the fact that you'll find WAY MORE smaller sized groups in the PvPvE area and for me it just can't be beat. I predict zerging will be much less of a factor in Aion than it was in WAR.

Sure, there will be zergs, but at least there will be more options for soloers or small groups to do in the zone.

And as for ganking -- you can totally avoid it if you want to play with honour. Just wait for them to finish a mob before you attack. Getting ganked? Yeah it sucks, but at least it gives you that burning desire for revenge. I never got that in WAR ever...

@snafzg: You're right that PvPvE does give more options. Can't argue with that. It comes down whether those extra options are fun for you/me.

The side effect of those options is it allows smaller group warfare. If only we could accomplish the same with purely PvP gameplay (no ganking).

The BO/Keep taking is technically ganking, but the NPC's are not really a threat.

You misunderstand. I was merely suggesting dabbling in FPS if you find yourself unhappy with PVE elements in your PVP.

Technically, attacking a force taking a BO/Keep is ganking. However, the mindset is vastly different. Those objectives are out there for the express purpose of instigating and initiating PvP. Their entire design is to push the enemy. This is vastly different than having a purely PvE reward and system where it is also possible to PvP. In Aion, players in the abyss will be harvesting nodes/farming npcs for an increase in EXP/Gold/Mats for a purpose outside of PvP reasons. The Abyss Point system is the only meaningful reason to PvP at this point, and I don't even know what the motivation to do that is yet. Honestly, is just sounds like WoW RepGrind 2.0

There are three main reasons to PvP in the Abyss:

Experience points: You gain XP from killing players and it is actually a viable way to progress through your ranks.

Abyss points: You gain a miniscule amount of AP from killing mobs in the Abyss and lots of points from killing players. AP can be used to buy top end gear. Your AP also determines your PvP rank, which, aside from vanity ranks in their ladder system, can eventually make you more powerful by granting unique abilities.

Keep raiding: Apparently, it isn't much different from WAR, but taking keeps unlocks further top-end PvE raid content.

I'm not sure if players will drop loot or cash, but I hope so.

The other element that Aion has is rifts.

Rifts will open inside your PvE zone and take you to the enemies PvE zone. You can buy temp bind stones so when you get into the enemy PvE zone you can set up a base.

The rifts are not always open as far as I understand and when they open you have x amount of time to go through them.

So I guess going on the descriptions in this thread, Aion encourages ganking :-)

The most fun my guild has had for a while has been playing on the Chinese Aion server and entering a rift and causing havoc in the PvE zones.

Once we reach 25 we move more to the Abyss, rifts are bring the PvP in the first 25 levels.

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