Why I dislike “Open PVP”.

This hasn’t come up, and likely it won’t (I mean, this blog purports to be about archmagery – which it is – not server rules), but it is relevant (I mean, archmages play somewhere) and well, this is a blog and my feelings on matters are ostensibly what people come here to read. Well, that and for the inside scoop on all things awesome. For today, though, it’s feelings.

Once upon a time, players in WoW started gaining points when they killed a player of the opposite faction. On an “Open PVP” server, this could happen virtually any time in a “contested zone”. So you’d be level 25, in Ridgewood. Questing. Then a band of lv50+ guys who were tired of grinding or instances would sweep in on horseback and just annihilate you. Ride you down and stomp you, effortlessly into the dirt. Spit on you. Dance around. Laugh. “Hey Thade,” you might say. “That’s reality! That’s ok because that’s the experience of real war.”

This is medieval-style war (WAAAGH!!) so mindlessly killing someone based on (literally) a racist dividing line is a-ok (however thematically disgusting). That’s right. You’re green and I’m pink. You die. In some places and ages in the world, killing an opposing faction member regardless of their stature means I gain honor, even if only in my own eyes. Honor isn’t mutual respect. It’s about me kicking your ass. What’s that? I’m an armored and trained knight and you are a farmer who’s never lifted a weapon in your life? Tough. You are pink. I am green. Ding! Honor. I am clearly stronger? This is clearly no contest? Bummer. Here’s your free corpse-run. Ding! Honor. Thank you, Mr. Game Designers, for rewarding me points for this behavior.

You might feel that “Orks” are just plain violent and would never /bow. But then, there is a player behind that Ork. A real-life human being, who (just like me) has feelings and aspirations. A real-life human being who one would think has the capability of being respectful.

There is another way PVP could be done, and I couldn’t help but think of it as I slowly grew disgruntled about watching my back for the inevitable posse of murderers. One that would resolve the paranoia, the digital cross-culture disrespect, and would make Open PVP ok. Let’s call it MMO *Bushido*.

Let’s face it. Taking someone much weaker then yourself down in an instant does not and should not garner “honor”, in points or in spirit. It should be a grave dishonor. I wish instead that people would fight with respect. Make your opponent aware of you. Make sure he/she is ready and not clearly afraid or weaker. Then duel them. The victor gains honor. If a weaker party picks a fight with you, it would be equally disrespectful to not fight them. The victor gains honor. Whenever you kill someone, if you don’t have to run off to kill many other opponents, would it kill you to use the /bow or /salute emotes instead of /spit and /lol? Samurai who wanted nothing more in their lives than to kill each other would still grant one another dignity and respect. Samurai A faces Samurai B. They bow. They fight. A kills B. When later speaking about Samurai B, Samurai A speaks highly of his fighting ability, his strength, and his honor. Why not we Warriors of Warhammer? Srsly, think about it! When you kill somebody then later brag about how incapable and imcompetent they are, how does that reflect on you? Not nearly as well as when you say “Hey, that guy was freakin good. I beat him by the skin of my teeth.” But you beat him. Honor. Ding. …If only.

I’ve seen posts regarding the global respect of the MMO environment: how it was once very respectful and has slowly descending into the proverbial poop-collector. I know that, even if the game imposed a penalty for killing helpless under-powered players, there are those that would still do it. I know my wish is a shallow and unrealistic dream. But in the large chaos of skirmish warfare between armies, few take the time to /spit because after you are down they have many other foes to deal with. There I might feel the disrespect as someone has a moment to gather themselves because he and I were the last men standing. And for that once-in-a-while, my enjoyment in the game will not diminish.

But if I want a break from it and still want to play the game, I want that priviledge. I shouldn’t have to be afraid everywhere. This isn’t a real war. It’s a game I’m paying to play. It’s a game that you are paying to play too. Seriously, you might enjoy killing someone weaker than you unawares (you are weird @_@), but how do you feel when you are killed by someone stronger than you, when you are no match for them at all? You get furious, don’t you? Furious that you can’t seek out retribution? Or maybe you get all giddy inside “Heehee, yay, a random corpse run. I love those.” (In this case, you are also weird @_@.)

“But, Thade,” you might say. “In WAR, you can’t see emotes or dialogue from the opposite faction. You never even see them poke fun at you.” Be that as it may, the fact remains that I know they are doing it, or would do it if I could see it. That is why I don’t play Open PVP. It’s probably because I was the guy bowing to people after I killed them. I think they took that for no better than /spit though. Why, you ask? I dunno. Maybe it’s because that’s how they think. And they outnumber people like me. And they may continue to do so, because I will continue to /bow.

This is not real. It is a game. And I’d rather play a game where Bushido was the law of PVP instead of “Right of Might” mentality. I don’t think I’ll ever find such a game that involves more players than me and a select few RL friends, but hey: that’s why I dislike “Open PVP”.

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~ by thade on July 15, 2008.

6 Responses to “Why I dislike “Open PVP”.”

  1. I share your view, and I look forward to the chicken mechanic shaming those who seek weaker prey.
    When WoW was new, the developers promised something that never got implemented – dishonorable kills. Gankers were supposed to lose honor for killing weaker players.
    So, this concept of bushido in MMOs is not new. Mythic implementing something to enforce it, however, is.

  2. I agree. Open PvP servers should have the option for me to punch gankers in the face.

  3. I think the ganktards on WoW PvP servers just did it to be cruel. There was no benefit gained for killing an opponent >10 levels lower than you if I remember correctly. That said, WoW did little to enforce “honourable” behaviour.

    I think WAR has this all taken care of with the chicken mechanic. For example, while there will probably be quite a power disparity between a level 1 and a level 10 in T1 zones, at least level 11s won’t be able to prey on the weak.

    I will play on a PvP server if they are made available simply because I am playing WAR to RvR. If two factions are truly at war, I don’t think there should be any safety from it. I accept the chicken mechanic because it prevents griefing but I also played WoW PvP servers and getting ganked, however rarely it occurred, didn’t bother me either. I accepted it as a design of the server I chose.

    Hopefully, there will be server types for both of us to enjoy.

  4. I think you’re right about there being no benefit other than whatever cheap thrill it gave them, but it still stings. Granted, I did sign up for a PvP server to see what it would be like. I do enjoy chaotic pvp – I’m an oldschool Doom/Quake/Unreal Tournie junkie – but when you jump into a FPS you expect to be surprised constantly. I just couldn’t get that thinking to mesh with my MMO brain.

    I’m sure they will have both server types eventually; they’re probably worried about population distribution or something statistical. It’s almost a shame though; you strike me as someone who’d be fun to have as either an ally or opponent. Means I’ll never get to zap you ;)

  5. Yeah, we kind of discussed that in our last podcast. “Will we all play on the same server?” There are some pretty big philosophical differences between Syp, Keen, and I, so I don’t think it will happen with us either. :(

    I guess that’s good for the show though, since we come from different viewpoints!

  6. /QFT, to be sure =)

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