Battlegrounds - PvP's Autistic Cousin

Friday, April 22, 2011 | 7

It is very difficult to capture the excitement of being hunted in a MMORPG for the first time. Back when virtual men were virtual men, bandits and murderers were commonplace and when you inevitably got liquefied by a superior opponent, death had tangible consequences. It was great!

In the late 90s, what got me hooked on online gaming was the concept that evil people were out to get me regardless of what I was doing. Eventually, I evolved, and became what I feared (circle of life, yada yada). Sissies complained, but ultimately kept playing and learned to enjoy it due to lack of a safer option. Looming over the horizon was a relatively harmless attempt at regulating player versus player combat, but the result destroyed PvP forever.

In case you don't get it, consensual PvP in all its forms is the worst thing to happen to online gaming in history.

Think about what would happen if someone decided that they were going to give the impoverished (or anyone) unlimited money on request with no strings attached. Terrifying, I know. Do you think they would take the money and use it to buy clothes to go to a job interview? No. They would take the money and spend it on whores, or booze.

Whores and booze are modern MMORPGs in this extremely unnecessary metaphor. Even though people would ultimately be happier living in a fantasy world that is spontaneous and full of adventure, they would never take the chance because they're being given doses of the weak stuff at zero risk to themselves. Why would they ever try and understand what the disgruntled players of yore are preaching, when they've been getting PvP on the reg from games where PvP serves absolutely no purpose.

I salute some of the more recent games for trying to resurrect the love of open world and full loot pvp, but sadly in the current situation, none of these games will ever achieve main stream success because publishers consider the equation untested and risky.

I hate to say it, but the only way there is ever going to be a passable open-PvP/full-loot MMORPG is if Blizzard makes it. They won't though.



  1. This sounds less like you're acknowledging an actual problem and more like you just slipped on a pair of rose tinted glasses. Yes, yes, battlegrounds were god awful, boring repetitive tripe. But really, full on, loot your corpse of everything you own is only moderately enjoyable when you aren't always the one being looted, and in MMOs, a genre that is less about "Skill" and more about the amount of time you spend playing, this is a horrible concept that rewards those who got to it first and few others, it's basically all the very worst parts of games like Evony.

  2. Well obviously in current MMORPGs a high risk/reward system would be impossible due to the way the games are engineered. There would have to be a much larger emphasis on player ability, and items would need to be easily replaceable. This can be done easily with a functional economy and free-trade, but Ron Paul isn't involved in the MMORPG industry.

    Battlegrounds are just a way to satisfy the complainers who don't think that PvP belongs in MMORPGs, and I simply can't relate with those people.

  3. See, that's just it, if everything is easily replaced, then why would I bother looting anything to begin with?

  4. To put it simply, because volume is the goal. You attain wealth by scavenging and scraping together enough money to buy x or y... Ideally this would be in a sandbox environment where you could invest in property or something that aids the guild mechanics.


  5. I've been thinking actually, what if instead, there was a ranking system to drive the game onward. And the higher your rank, the more powerful you are, this giving you a direct incentive not to loot, but to dominate. I doubt it would work but having to work your way up from nameless pawn and cannon-fodder to high ranking general of power (Who gives a severe rank up to people who kill you while a sever rank down to you.) The hopeful result would be a consistent shift of power between players on either side, sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down but you're always fighting to get back access to the death lazer bombardment skill.

  6. Sounds like a vague iteration of what WOW tried with their zone-based pvp objectives... I simply will never subscribe to any system that doesn't have some form of risk attached to pvp... I just like the idea that I could either gain or lose something from fighting in an open world because it makes things much more exciting.

  7. Unfortunately Wow never stuck to it, mostly because they never tied an actual reward to openworld pvp, it was just something you did up until Grand marshal's / High Warlord's sets came out with The new Epic 40v40 battlegrounds and the effect was almost instant.


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