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PvP for People Who Aren't Asshats
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 Post subject: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:07 pm 
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What do you feel is the main motivation for players in a non-gear based pvp game such as; Eve, PotBS, Planetside, cRPG, Shadowbane? (any other examples?)

How do you keep players interested if gear plateaus within a month or 2 of playing?

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Last edited by Diggles on Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:27 pm 
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I would first question the underlying premise that games like PotBS and Eve are not in fact gear based.

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Naval Action: Arsilon - Spain (PVP1), France (PVP2)
EQII: Arsilon - Wizard, Thalena - Fury, Ulrok - Berserker, Valience - Dirge, Ashlyn - Ranger
Elder Scrolls Online: Thalena - Templar, Arsilon - Dragonknight
GW2: Thalena - Elementalist
Rift: Arsilonne - Warrior, Arathon - Mage, Valience - Cleric, Arrienne - Rogue
Aion: Thalena, Arsilon
APB: Arsilon - Enforcer, Thalena - Criminal
EVE: Arsilon
Global Agenda: Thalena
POTBS: [British] Arsilon Gunn, Thalena Biggs, Amazing Mumford
Star Trek Online: Ar'silon - Klingon, Thalena - Federation
WAR: Arsilon, Valience, Thalena
WW2OL: Arsilon


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Arsilon wrote:
I would first question the underlying premise that games like PotBS and Eve are not in fact gear based.


In PotBS/Shadowbane, you could create an account and within a week be using the very best gear in the game. In games like WoW, EQ, Rift that is simply NOT the case. You have to grind for hours, days, months..and in less than half a year that stuff will be outdated by newer better stuff. Thats how MMO's operate and keep players in the hamster wheel.

Any game that lets me give money to equip friends is most certainly not really a gear based game.

Non-gear based games have item durability and that the playing field is roughly equal as far as the items go.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:05 pm 
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So is it a matter of how easy/hard it is to get gear or or the impact gear has on overall gameplay?

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Naval Action: Arsilon - Spain (PVP1), France (PVP2)
EQII: Arsilon - Wizard, Thalena - Fury, Ulrok - Berserker, Valience - Dirge, Ashlyn - Ranger
Elder Scrolls Online: Thalena - Templar, Arsilon - Dragonknight
GW2: Thalena - Elementalist
Rift: Arsilonne - Warrior, Arathon - Mage, Valience - Cleric, Arrienne - Rogue
Aion: Thalena, Arsilon
APB: Arsilon - Enforcer, Thalena - Criminal
EVE: Arsilon
Global Agenda: Thalena
POTBS: [British] Arsilon Gunn, Thalena Biggs, Amazing Mumford
Star Trek Online: Ar'silon - Klingon, Thalena - Federation
WAR: Arsilon, Valience, Thalena
WW2OL: Arsilon


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:10 pm 
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Arsilon wrote:
So is it a matter of how easy/hard it is to get gear or or the impact gear has on overall gameplay?


ITEMS ARE NOT PERMANENT, therefore NOT gear based.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:01 pm 
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Planetside and Shattered Galaxy is another good example.


The motivation and primary focus in those games are the strategic elements of the game. Who controls what, what can they control, why control a specific strategic element and why did they lose control of a strategic element and how can they get it back. Strategic elements can be fixed area's of control, resourses, quest or challenges that only appear if a team controls X and other things of that nature.

Their are also Tactical elements. Short term gains that can lead to strategic elements. For example: Jump gates in Shattered Galaxy or spawn points in Planetside.

If the premise of the game is to do and changes things from a strategic perspective then personal gain is minimized. Gear based games are only important to games who have no strategic point. Games like WoW, Rift etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:41 pm 
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My argument has always been that games should be able to shift away from "self-improvement" and towards "clan improvement". Your clan could be your player-run guild, like EVE, or it could be a fixed NPC team, like POTBS or Planetside.

Then, rather than fighting to get to the Mountain King because he drops a sword that you want, you would always be fighting to improve your team in some way. Taking over the Mountain King's lair lets your team claim it and start crafting Mountain Swords. So it may still be of benefit to you, but more to the point, it benefits your entire team. When some other team takes that position away from your team, then your whole team is hurt. You will personally lose the ability to replace your Mountain Sword when you lose it but this hurts the team as a whole more than you as an individual.

Planetside and POTBS both scratched the surface of this concept, as does EVE, but I think a lot more could be done.


Anyway, that's basically my whole position on the subject:

* Remove "personal incentive"
* Create "team incentive"



Incidentally, I think "gear based" can mean two things:

1) A game is "gear based" if you spend most of your time doing things that get you gear. Rift qualifies but so does EVE, under this definition. In EVE, you aren't killing NPCs for hours because it's fun or because it benefits your team -- you're doing it for cash (and materials), which gets you gear.

2) A game is "gear based" if gear is a sizable factor in determining the winner of a fight (rather than player skill).

Planetside is probably the best example of a game that is not, by either definition, gear based. You aren't fighting for gear and all gear is readily available to everyone.

Rift and WOW are the best examples of games that are gear based, since everything you are doing is for gear, and that gear has a large impact on combat.

EVE is gear based by definition 1 but not by definition 2.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:19 pm 
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Slamz you really didnt answer the question at hand. What is your motivation for playing games like Eve, PotBS, Planetside. What is the draw that keeps you playing instead of leaving after a week/month/etc. What motivates you to play it?

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:47 am 
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For myself, a game needs both elements to hold me. Probably my favorite MMO to date has been DAoC because it had both personal incentive and team incentive. A game that has only one of those two elements can be fun for me but its ability to hold me for a long time are questionable.

There is a thrill to improving your character whether it be through gear or through skill advancement through a system like DAoC's realm rank system or the new Planar Attunement added to Rift. It is a character advancement element that gives you something to be constantly striving for to improve yourself. I realize this has nothing to do with gear. It is an alternate path to character improvement and one I prefer to the gear treadmill. That was another thing I really liked about DAoC - you did not need a whole lot of gear obtained through rare drops from PvE content, player crafted gear could get you by just fine and pretty much any gear set, even at end game, was going to have player crafted gear as part of the set.

By the same token there is a thrill to achieving an objective that advances your side in a conflict. DAoC managed this through two different avenues. There was the whole Frontier system with the towers and keeps and the number of towers and keeps you controlled had an impact on your side. Then there were the relics which were yet another objective that had an impact on the side as a whole. This is where Rift currently fails - there is no driving force behind PvP or PvE beyond what it does for you personally.

I think that to have a real chance at holding people long term that a game needs both of these. Either one by itself, I think, will fail to hold a large number of people for an extended time.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:13 pm 
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For both Planetside and POTBS it was being part of the outfit/guild that was making a major impact for its side.
In Pirates i played with you all and being part of a guild that made a big impact was a blast, as long as we had enough players in the game (and enemies) the game kept my interest.
I felt the same about Planetside, i didnt play with you all in that one. I was part of a Mobile Infantry outfit and out specialty was heavy suit base breaking. I lost interest in Planetside when the population dropped. To me Planetside is one of the best games ever to come around. I think if they had kep updating the game with new suits/vehicles (outside of stupid ass robots) they could have kept the game interesting.
To this day one of the coolest moments in game for me ever was when i was flying a misquito (before i was in a outfit). I was flying anti air and was passing over the battle lines. I passed over the arty firing over the lines, then over the main battle line with infantry supporting armor...it was just like a fricking history book covering modern warfare. Christ i hope they do PS2 right.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:29 pm 
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Zirak wrote:
I think that to have a real chance at holding people long term that a game needs both of these. Either one by itself, I think, will fail to hold a large number of people for an extended time.


You don't need a personal item based game to accomplish what you are looking for. Shattered Galaxy did it by improving your base equipment with new upgrades as you level. Planetside did it by giving you access to greater amounts of load outs as your character advances, same with POBS.

All three of those games allowed character developement and unique load outs with out gear playing a major roll. Gear in POBS played more of a roll then the other two but in general I think most people would agree it was not on the level of the majority of the MMO's.

Their is enough precedence out there to show that the next purple piece of equipment is only important to players if you play a game that makes it important.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:28 pm 
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Diggles wrote:
Slamz you really didnt answer the question at hand. What is your motivation for playing games like Eve, PotBS, Planetside. What is the draw that keeps you playing instead of leaving after a week/month/etc. What motivates you to play it?


My answer is that I am motivated by team play elements.

I think I enjoy knowing that this tech base will let our team roll out tanks as much or more than I enjoy knowing that downing this boss will possibly net me a new sword.

Really, I think games like WOW are "single player, social network" games. That is, if you took away all the other players, you could have just as good of a gaming experience (and indeed, I think Elder Scrolls and similar games prove precisely that). All they're really adding by going "massively multiplayer" is a social component so that when you get your new sword, you can say, "Hey everyone! Look at my new sword!" That is the extent of usefulness of other players. You have no reason to care that in another dungeon, some miles away, there are other players killing some other boss. It matters not one bit to you. The social aspect is a big improvement over single player but from a technical standpoint, those other players are extraneous.

Whereas in a game with true team play, like Planetside, I care what the other players are doing miles away because it has some impact on me; and what I'm doing has some impact on them. That's a real multiplayer experience. That's the kind of gameplay that keeps me interested.

In POTBS, I want to patrol the St. John's red zone because I want those traders to get that oak shipment through safely. It's good for me; it's good for the team. I want to stop the enemy from flipping Bridgetown. I want to see us capture that French port. Team play - team goals.


I find that to be a bigger motivator for me than "hey, I found a new hat on this corpse".

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:48 pm 
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Interestingly enough, I like to bring up games like World War 2 Online in these types of discussions.

Basically after a few hours you can rank up to use all the "gear". WW2OL has a serious problem of motivating players to stay subscribed. Game problems aside, I think that you have to have motivation to move forward.

If Skyrim was subscription based, why would you continue to play after the main story? You'd have to have more LOOTZ to go for. Expanded storylines. But not many people want to play more storylines with the same gear. You'd want to feel even more powerful.

Even games like Call of Duty. Players hit the cap, have all gear available, and then RESET their guy to level 1 so that they can forge through the "unlocking" process again. Its part of the fun. You want to feel like you're advancing in someway and you didnt do anything except reset to level 1 and do the exact same thing over again. Check some "time played's" on these games. People are getting up into 50 days played.

Warcraft keeps going strong because of the gear advancement. Sure, its a single player based social game, but at least theres something to move forward to. New dungeon, new sword, better pvp gear. If you're stuck with the same gear, but a new dungeon is available..... I sincerely dont think that the added content keeps 11 million people subscribed. I think you have to have gear advancement, reputation advancement, guild advancement, etc.

Even if you just want to PvP in WoW, you can spend a few hours a week getting some points, and within a month you can be fairly well geared out and then your skill comes into play. But Im 100% sure that if you gear out your PvP, play for a few months, you'll be happy when the new season starts and the new tier gear is out. Because now you have something to strive for instead of just winning games.


Gear advancement or just general advancement is the motivation that keeps players paying. Without "advancement" your game dies.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:02 pm 
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For example. Warcraft. Taztik and I play about 2-3 hours on Tuesday and cap our conquest for the week. The new season started a few weeks ago.... That first week we grinded out about 4000 honor. You can get about 500 honor a day, playing 1 or 2 BG's and getting your daily bonus. We've probably only invested about 15 hours over three weeks and basically have most of our new season gear and are capping conquest on Tuesday to get the Season 11 elite gear.

Arenas are fun as hell, but once we cap and we cant "advance" for the week, we move onto other things. Go play Star Wars or whatever. The advancement stops, and we wait til next week when our valuable few hours of play time can be used towards advancement.

We'll most likely gear up this way, hit the cap and play a few randoms. Then another 6 months go by, the season ends and we repeat the process. Its enough fun in small doses to keep us subscribed, and this is why WoW is successful. Enough advancement to keep you interested, and if you want to play 100 hours a week, you can cap your PVP, PVE, all your reps. But for the casual players, we can pick out PvP or PvE and cap over the course of time. The weekly point caps make it viable for someone who plays 10 hours a week to keep up with someone who plays 100 hours a week, at least on a side scale.....

WW2OL I subscribe for a campaign one time every six months. Play the campaign and unsubscribe. They'll be an exact campaign down the line to enjoy, but I play because I enjoy it, not because I can advance. If they had a type of advancement, maybe I stay subscribed longer.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 4:17 am 
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People play FPS games for the challenge and for the fun of it. Leveling up and or unlocking things is just icing... sometimes. If you need to level up or unlock things in order to have fun then the game just isn't doing its job. Granted some games combine leveling, killing things, and getting loot into an art form. That would be the Diablo style games. With Diablo 2 as the King (soon to be replaced by Diablo 3).

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:46 am 
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All the popular FPS games are turning to unlocking guns, abilities, badges, sidearms, equipment upgrades, etc etc.

Advancement.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:56 am 
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Alio wrote:
All the popular FPS games are turning to unlocking guns, abilities, badges, sidearms, equipment upgrades, etc etc.

Advancement.

The idea of advancement is that it keeps current players interested.

The problem with advancement is that it keeps retired players from ever wanting to return. I will never play WOW again largely because I don't want to spend months playing "catch up" before I can get back to the gameplay I liked, which was endgame PvP. Similarly, TF2 advancements sapped a lot of my desire to play it -- I log in and get hit with something that I can't access myself and will have to spend time trying to unlock.

I don't think WW2O is a good example of the dangers of not having advancement. That game has a hard time holding players because it's very very slow paced. It's a simulation, not an action game. I think if they threw in MMORPG style advancement it would actually hurt them in the long run because people would still eventually get bored of sitting in bushes and want to take a break, and then they might never come back because who wants to be a perpetual newbie in a PvP game?

So WW2O is one of the games I can actually go back to periodically -- something I would never do with WOW and at this point probably won't do with Rift. I think advancement does help retention but guarantees a slow death for your game by discouraging players from ever coming back.

Advancement also separates your players. Games like WW2O are the ones where anyone can log in and play together immediately to mutual benefit. You can't do that in steep advancement games like WOW and Rift. We *could* group but it would be the higher level player walking the lower level player around and basically powerleveling them, which, as a form of gameplay, always feels pretty absurd -- like playing a single player game and putting it into "Baby's First Game" difficulty mode. It just ends up being a chore you have to do in order to reach the gameplay you want.

I also think advancement is anti-new player in the same way it's anti-returning veteran. Who wants to join a big PvP game one year after launch when you KNOW you're going to spend a month or three getting owned until you work your way up the advancement tree? "No fun for 3 months" is a lot to ask of a prospective player.


Basically I think advancement causes more problems than it solves.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:00 pm 
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I don't want to play any modern FPS games because of the advancement crap. Well that and my twitch game play days are behind me.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 5:51 pm 
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Zouji wrote:
I don't want to play any modern FPS games because of the advancement crap. Well that and my twitch game play days are behind me.


most modern ones have vehicles, which arent all that twitchy. Shooting stuff while in a tank/apc or being a door gunner for a heli I would consider arcadey than I would twich skill.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 7:09 pm 
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When WW2OL put in CSR (Combat Stats and Records), I'm willing to place a bet that it helped retain more players than it drove away. CSR, to me, is an idea of advancement by means of a scoreboard. CSR didn't exist for the first couple years.

Advancement doesn't necessarily need to be better gear.

WW2OL hasn't tried anything as far as doing squad advancement. I can't come up with a lot of ideas, but surely there is something in there that can be useful. There's nothing implemented for player advancement other than the rank system which after rank level 5, means absolutely nothing.

I don't think that player 1, who has played since day 1 should have any more equipment upgrade on a Tiger than a player who just unlocked Tigers has. All Tigers should remain the same, and we'll assume that the day 1 player has an advantage simply because he's a more experienced player. But, there's still ways for players to "advance" through the game. Just not sure what they are.

I am sure that games that want to thrive and want to continue to draw players must have some form of advancement. Probably not true 10 years ago. But today's teenage gamers, aka the majority of your playerbase, have been tuned to require advancement. I dont think a game can go without anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:42 pm 
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Slamz wrote:
Then, rather than fighting to get to the Mountain King because he drops a sword that you want, you would always be fighting to improve your team in some way. Taking over the Mountain King's lair lets your team claim it and start crafting Mountain Swords. So it may still be of benefit to you, but more to the point, it benefits your entire team.


The problem is getting people to give a flying rats ass about the team, which is difficult enough in most non massively multiplayer scenarios let alone on a larger scale. Why guard the flag so your team can win (and by your team winning you personally net more honor) when you can just go fight in crossroads trying to get that last killing blow.

These kind of incentives don't tend to work with casual players who aren't on with enough regularity to care about the team and who are much easily motivated by the promise of shiny new loot.

Not to say that other games aren't viable, but since the idea of most developers is to grab a piece of the mmo pie they are probably going to go for the most mass appeal possible - and they've seen the success of WOW and want to cash in on it.. Lowest common denominator.

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The problem with advancement is that it keeps retired players from ever wanting to return. I will never play WOW again largely because I don't want to spend months playing "catch up" before I can get back to the gameplay I liked, which was endgame PvP.


I think WOW has kinda realized this and with the seasons these days they've made it so you can jump in and have at least competitive gear pretty damn quickly.. I resubbed a couple times in the past couple years for brief stints and both times had a full set of pvp gear just from bgs, and while I wasn't the best you can certainly at least play fine.

I think they've realized that the initial model of having to raid BWL with 40 people enough times to get enough DKP to gear up was a bit much (as much as I loved BWL)...


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:33 pm 
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I do like recorded statistics and am completely in favor of games doing a better job of recording them. One of the best things in EVE is the "killboard" concept that records your kills, your deaths and all of the major factors of the battle including who was in it, what ships they were flying, what loot the dead people dropped, etc.

You could have "advancement" in the sense that you gain ranks or leaderboard position or something. That's perfectly fine. As long as it doesn't translate into I'm driving a Tiger tank and you're driving a piece of crap Czech tank from 1938 because I played for 2 years and you didn't. (I'm also okay with some ramp-up, but the pace should be tied to the complexity of the object. I don't need to cast "Fireball" for a week before I am ready for "Fireball 2". I might need a week to drive a Czech tank before I'm ready to understand the Tiger, though.)


I also think there's a question of "disenfranchisement" -- are games meeting the desires of most human beings who would like to play games or have "MMORPG gamers" been culled into an audience of advancement whores with the other gamers simply being disenfranchised because there is no AAA MMOG game that meets their needs?

It's like having a restaurant that only serves seafood and draws big crowds so you declare that seafood is the most popular type of restaurant and the others can only ever be niches. And then you compare your 50 million dollar business to Bob's Hot Dog Cart on the corner and declare that this is further proof. I know FPS players and RTS players (and even RPG players) who do not play MMORPGs because MMORPGs do not meet their ideals for a good game. We assume WOW is the desire of the majority but we don't really know that. What AAA game has really tried to meet the needs of an FPS audience? Or an RTS audience? We've got the big successful seafood restaurant but everything else is either another big seafood restaurant or Bob's Hot Dog Cart. Nobody ever risked opening a big new steak house.

In fact, I think Rift shows the risks of trying to do the WOW cookie cutter. Nine months after launch and they have a need to merge servers. And all indications are they did everything "right" -- everything WOW-like, and more. Lots of new content, new bosses, new gear, more advancement, etc. I think something the executives are going to have to think about is whether the risk of doing the same thing is becoming greater than the risk of doing something new.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:59 am 
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Slamz wrote:
I also think there's a question of "disenfranchisement" -- are games meeting the desires of most human beings who would like to play games or have "MMORPG gamers" been culled into an audience of advancement whores with the other gamers simply being disenfranchised because there is no AAA MMOG game that meets their needs?


I doubt there is that much more of a huge MMO audience out there though, the games have gone super casual to appeal to the maximum amount of people - but how many more gamers are there out there that are the type willing to put long terms of time in on a game but simply arent playing because they haven't found "the perfect game". Most people who would play a great teamplayer game are the ones like a lot of purgies who don't really love these games but play them because thats whats on the table.

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In fact, I think Rift shows the risks of trying to do the WOW cookie cutter. Nine months after launch and they have a need to merge servers. And all indications are they did everything "right" -- everything WOW-like, and more. Lots of new content, new bosses, new gear, more advancement, etc. I think something the executives are going to have to think about is whether the risk of doing the same thing is becoming greater than the risk of doing something new.


That might be just a symptom of MMO fatigue though, WOW still draws huge numbers because it was the first and people get attached to toons and normalty, and now old republic pops up to lots of sales... With other MMOs popping up between, its hard to keep subscribers - but there are, altogether, still many millions of subscribers for the latest carrot on a stick gear game.

I don't deny a team motivated gameplay would have some support, but compared to the mainstream not enough to sadly make a lot of the bigger companies with huge budgets give us a first class game in the genre. Look at the games Vllad mentioned, none of them were particularly large commercial successes.

The fact that the big FPS releases are making rank up character improvement awards seems to imply that they've found it keeps subscribers longer. And its logical - the keeping up with the joneses gameplay makes people keep coming back, whereas in planetside I can realize I could cancel for 3 months, come back when they offer the free month to get subscribers back and won't have missed out on anything. Its not good for the player but makes twisted sense for the developer.


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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 4:58 am 
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The games Vllad listed were Bob's Hot Dog Hut. You're concluding that nobody likes beef because Bob's Hot Dog Hut doesn't attract as many visitors as the 5-star Murlock Seafood Palace which is a hundred times bigger and cost a thousand times more.

It's an argument that can't reach a conclusion because we are both forced to guess. Nobody has ever built a AAA team-oriented PvP game.

But if, culturally, it was all about individual achievement, then few would be playing football or soccer and everyone would be doing track or gymnastics. And really, I think the fact that team sports games remain popular as spectator sports suggests that millions of people understand and can enjoy the concept of team play. Maybe if there was a game that let them experience that sort of thing first hand, without a ton of PvE bullshit in the way, they would play it.


The biggest problem for a new PvP team-play game would be clearing the hurdle that WOW established, which is that "all MMO games are for fantasy dorks who like single player games where you hit snakes for 2 years".

They would have to get over this "image problem" that MMORPGs have developed.

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 Post subject: Re: Non-gear based pvp
PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:03 am 
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I think we are reaching a conclusion or at least an understanding.

I think we all agree that advancement, in some shape or form, is nearly required.

Whatever the AAA team-oriented PvP game that we put together will be, a very high priority has to be modes of advancement. I think in keeping with the topic, non-gear based PvP requires even more "alternative" modes of advancement to keep subscribers paying, and in turn, keeping the game alive.


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