The Purge

PvP for People Who Aren't Asshats
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 4:20 am 
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Let's see if we can make a list of the different forms PvP can take, and some of their pros and cons...

Structured PvP aka battlegrounds

This is tightly controlled PvP meant for a "fair" experience -- 8v8, that sort of thing. It could be ranked (like WOW Arenas) or unranked (like WOW battlegrounds) but the main thing that separates this form of PvP is that it's a tightly controlled contest with well defined rules.

The disadvantages of this form of PvP is that the limited battle space can get boring quickly and in most cases the matches are so small that you can't play with all your friends. (Usually the game actively tries to break up "pre-mades".)

Probably the BEST example of a good Structured PvP game is the Warband cRPG mod -- the teams are so large that you can almost always do a "premade" and it's not a big deal. Your premade is 6 people out of 100 on the battlefield and you won't be the only premade there (on your team or the enemy's). You can also join matches in progress so you don't have the battleground problem of "waiting in a queue for the next match".

While cRPG does this well (mostly due to the huge teams), I think in MMORPGs it has become the worst form of PvP available (mostly due to the tiny teams).

...kind of funny, really, that cRPG, which is just a free mod to a mostly singleplayer game, is more "massively multiplayer" than all of these modern MMORPGs. I mean, 8v8? What is this, an XBox?

Sandbox PvP aka "open world"

This is generally where you have a PvE world where you can incidentally kill other players. There's no game-defined purpose to the PvP, it's just an option.

The biggest disadvantage of this form of PvP is that without direction, PvP can be meaningless or difficult to find. EVE may be one of the best sandbox PvP games out there but it's pretty common to go for days at a time with no real PvP -- most people don't want to fight you and it can be a struggle to force them to! In most MMORPGs, open world PvP becomes meaningless as the good PvE content is instanced away (and therefor not available to be fought over).

Some of the better sandbox games (other than EVE) may have been Shadowbane, UO and Everquest (basically games that predate "instanced content").

A common complaint is that sandbox PvP usually isn't "fair", which is why instanced PvP became all the rage, but basically a number of people just need to man the fuck up and develop a little common sense when it comes to avoiding the zerg.

Directed PvP

This describes games like Planetside, DAOC and Battleground Europe (also Warhammer, but Warhammer did a really bad job of it).

In this style of game, rather than PvP being an option inside of a PvE setting, PvP is usually the primary focus -- in some cases PvP may be the only thing to do! You log in and while you may have a number of options on where to go and what to do, there are distinct objectives to aim for, which are persistent and "real world" (not instanced).

The disadvantage of this type of gameplay maybe just be that you aren't completely free to roam around the world, doing whatever -- objectives that aren't part of the "front line" may be closed or have limited options available. It's the price paid to keep combat focused.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:34 am 
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Economic PvP

Games which have a working market system allows players to not only fight physically but through financial means. Like playing the stock market, you never see your opponents and the PvP can drag out for extended amounts of time. The goal is to control a market item, drain your rivals funds, or to create an environment to fuel your own monetary needs with less work.

Advantages of this play can be: Less playtime requirements however this depends on the market system setup. It is more of an intellectual PvP vs button mashing combos or twich based combat. You typically don't need groups to enter into combat however finding a niche in a market might require some teamplay. Does not require fast leveling or gear.

Disadvantages: Its not flashy and therefore can get boring easier. Experience is dependant on the market system which includes a players ability to obtain currency easy. Most games allow players easy access to gold and this can make market PvP a marginal role. Economics rarely is a focal point to game design.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:14 pm 
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Good point. I was thinking entirely of physical PvP but Pirates of the Burning Sea and EVE both had really good and interesting economic PvP as well. I probably spent almost as much time doing economic PvP in those games as I did fighting people.


On that note you could also have:

Strategic PvP

This would be a game that offers some level of strategic decisions to make that can have long term impacts.

Battleground Europe would certainly qualify. Pirates of the Burning Sea had this in the sense of teams deciding which enemy ports to take over. I'd say Planetside had some "strategic PvP" in the form of those modules you could take out of the caves -- basically with a little foresight and effort you could give your team a relatively long term advantage. I'd also say there was strategy in hitting up backline bases to soften them up and disable critical services. (e.g., disable the enemy's only tech plant and nobody can bring out tanks)

Basically if there's something you can do that will change the PvP game for more than an hour, it might qualify as a form of strategic PvP. (Versus games where nothing you do matters at all, or only matters for a really short amount of time.)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:01 pm 
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I would think Strategic PvP would really be a subset of the previous forms mention - ie. to what extent does this pvp influence long term strategic game play.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:32 pm 
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I think what Slamz is refering to is when a smaller group of players chooses a direction for the greater masses. So for example, I'm a High Command player in WW2 online. I place a order to attack Sedan with two full Panzer Divs and decide when to move in additional supplies ect. Now I've setup a PvP situation for my team and they are fighting because of that action and supply decisions. Same as a port flip in PotBS, where a group puts a port into contention which sets up PvP in that area for the entire realm with a chance to take the port over to your team.

So, this type of world map PvP can setup the other types of PvP but it effects the overall game/RvR goals.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:25 am 
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It's kind of like PvP foreplay then.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Yeah it's not "PvP" in the sense that your character is directly doing anything on a tactical level but it's still "PvP" in that you are having a wider strategic impact on the PvP gameplay.

Imagine, for example, that GW2 had a supply system that required someone to oversee supply distribution to the various forts. You might make a strategic decision to move extra supplies to this one particular fort because you want to do a long holding action there. It's still a "PvP" decision in the sense that the only reason you are doing this is for PvP but it's PvP at a very high strategic level.


If you played the "Empires" mod for, I think it was, HL2, which was kind of a combination RTS/FPS with a commander placing buildings and researching stuff, the commander's role would be "strategic PvP". Researching a new tank engine is a PvP decision, albeit indirectly.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:17 pm 
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Actually, that would be an interesting addition for GW2. Anyone not able to get into the "capped" warfronts, could work on supplies...

Or maybe not anyone, or the larger population server would have an unfair advatage. But I could easily see some kind of crafting related supply chain that could be maintained outside of the mists, where the decisions to make certain materials impacted what was available in the mists themselves.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Proxy PvP

Games set up much like fighting games where you exchange control of the character you've built for control of a pre-generated character and face someone else also playing a pre-generated character. The only example I can think of that most of you would know about would be the jousting mini-games that came out with Wrath of the Lich King, but there are some games like League of Legends or several mech-based games where that is the main focus.

Cons: No way to differentiate between characters,
Pros: Exclusively skill based.

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