A PvP MMO Subscription

I really like Warhammer Online.  Sure, it has its problems, but Mythic seems truly dedicated to the game (unlike some other newer MMOs).  It has some level of PvE, but I have Lord of the Rings Online for PvE.  Public Quests, I hope, will shape the future of MMO PvE content, but Mythic has laid down the charge that its focus is RvR.  So, I really only use the game for MMO PvP.  And, that’s the problem.  I am subscribing to a PvP MMO.

I am very happy with Mythic’s short term updates, and I am very excited to see the alleged 14 pages of updates notes for patch 1.10 of Warhammer Online.  Just long term I am not sure what the value is to subscribing (read: vesting myself) in to the hobby of a PvP MMO. 

In PvE MMO games, like Lord of the Rings Online, there is that feeling of the developer updating “further along.”  When Turbine updates the game with a Book update (as opposed to just a balance, optimization, and bug patch) they push the story further down the road.  We get new quests that expand the storytelling of the world, new instances and dungeons, and sometimes even new regions.  There is the value in receiving the content, but I think the bigger value is knowing that over the next big rise there will be more.

In PvP MMO games, like Warhammer Online, that feeling of moving “further along” isn’t quite there.  In Warhammer Online the ultimate encounter of fighting and taking down the King has been in the game since launch.  They can make more ultimate encounters when they add in the other capital cities, but that isn’t “further along.”  That’s just more of the same re-skinned.  The expansion is lateral.  Lateral expansion would also cover more scenarios, more classes, and more skills.  Lateral expansion is great, but at the end of the day it is usually more of the same.  The challenges pretty much remain the same whether you kill a player in one place or another.

Without moving “further along” the value in subscribing the game feels much less than a subscription game that does move “further along.”  This is compounded by the fact that plenty of other non-subscription PvP games laterally expand their content with new maps and class updates for free.  So, in my mind I am trying to figure out the difference.  Why is a PvP MMO game worth subscribing to?

This is not an “I quit” post.  Mythic has my business until at least April ’09, and I plan on playing Warhammer Online weekly.  I really like the game, but I am having a little trouble finding comparative value in subscribing with Warhammer Online versus a PvE-type MMO… especially at the same price.  This was a very hard post to write, and I had to completely rewrite it three times in the hopes I could get my feelings across.  Is my subscription really just paying the cost of admission with the lateral expansions, or can Mythic give me the feeling that they will somehow be able to move a PvP MMO “further along?”  Hopefully by April I can figure out the value in subscribing to a PvP MMO.

–Ravious
Who died and made you f’ing king of the zombies?

20 thoughts on “A PvP MMO Subscription”

  1. I guess it depends on what we are looking for in a MMO. I really have no desire for that “further along” feeling (I save that for work). I am looking for an enjoyable experience in the game time I have.

    I don’t play WoW for that progression either, as there is really no chance of me getting to the end of the story.

  2. That’s almost, but not quite, the opposite for me. In a PvP/RvR-centric game, like WAR, I feel like I can tell MY story in an environment that’s similar to, but not the same as, everyone else’s. In LotRO and WoW, it’s just me observing a story, and getting to pick up some pieces on the edges, which are the same pieces as everyone else.

  3. Sounds worn off..but you pay to have fun. The story telling in warhammer is great..though well hidden. I have no idea of LotRO, but it sounds like they made a great game story-wise..

    There is a fundemental difference between stories in an PvE and PvP environment. PvE MMOs tend to have the need to progress vertically. In general I think that just adding higher-level content and items that are stat-wise better is nothing to draw the money out of my wallet, adding new stories on the other hand is as long it’s not the old scheme.
    No matter what type of game, I want to enjoy the time I spent there and this does Warhammer for me (though I sometimes sound more frustrated than I really am ;)).
    Lateral expansions can be also very fun and I don’t see the need for only vertical expansions/additions.. If you search for great stories, there is no need for better items or harder mobs ;) (I hope you understand what I mean).

  4. Zizlak, I guess that’s what I have to get used to. I am used to subscribing to the “further along” content in LOTRO, WOW, CoX, etc., and getting laterally expanding content for free TF2, Q3, UT, etc.

    So it’s weird subscribing to something I normally would get for free as a service. I realize there are magnitudes of complexity in difference between PvP FPS and MMOs, but still.

    I guess in my mind I made the link to subscriptions and future “further along” content as the standard.

  5. Its weird to me too to be paying for the same thing. Battleground only WAR shouldn’t have an equivalent subscription price, it could learn a lot from guild wars, the first successful Fantasy PVP MMO that I know of. (or is that Lineage?)

  6. Actually, I think the PVE is just a cut below WoW. I’ve never played LoTRO past a demo so I can’t really compare the two. I actually think I’m getting quite the bargain getting this quality of PVE along with a healthy heaping of RVR.

    BTW, I believe you played Destro on Averheim. Just wondering which server your guild ended up going to with the transfers.

  7. I feel about the same as Ravius. I think the fantasy of massive PvP battles where everyone was actually fighting for their side and for a real cause would be awesome. The reality, however, is that it simply isn’t possible on a technical scale yet and most PvP players could give a shit about causes or factional loyalty. They want to “pwn faces.”

    I’ve never been a believer that PvP and RPGs even work — at least not the vertically scaled MMORPGs we currently play that use levels and gear with stats.

    Story-wise, did WoW ever have one? Or EQ2? Or…? They had small stories if you gave a crap to read the quest text, but nothing really had a continuing storyline other than Guild Wars and now LOTRO — both games where you *CAN* reach the end of any of the stories without needing to be part of some uber raiding guild.

    While I’m enjoying Moria, I remain disappointed that it continued the vertical climb by raising the level cap. But then I’ve always been more a fan of having a lateral expansion with perhaps only a very gradual vertical gradient. Guild Wars did this masterfully — it was a shame the game even had those 20 “tutorial levels” at all because the rest of the *real* game was all lateral content at level cap but it managed to continue the challenges without needing to fool with outdated systems like levels, level caps, etc.

  8. A very uplifting picture. ;) It was a good match, lots of back and forth. At least I poured enough oil on you guys at Ghrond’s to heal the bruises and burns you caused. =)

  9. My main issue with LoTRO is that while it has a story, at best you just get to watch it, and you know EXACTLY whats going to happen at all of the key points. It felt like re-reading a book, and that’s just not something I’ve ever really liked. Never saw much of a story raiding in WoW, other than the story of a Ony the loot pinata never dropping my axe.

    But as others have said, many people would actually prefer lateral expansions in an MMO. Having a new area to fight over, or new classes to group with, mixes up PvP enough to make it seem new, without resetting everything you have previously done. The worst thing to ever happen to DAoC was ToA, and that was literally a pure “further along” expansion.

  10. Naturally any game is judged by one’s own taste or “what one is looking for” in a video game, my comment is no different.

    In my opinion however, you are absolutely right, but you didn’t go far enough, in critisizing WAR’s lack of diversity.

    Warhammer sold themselves out as a slash and burn PVP game, period. LOTRO on the other hand, sold themselves on their narrative strength. Both are equally one-dimensional though, and given their relative lack of *overwhelming* success, I think we can deduce the gaming community at large, wants more than just one dimension in order to subscribe.

    Clearly Warhammer, greatly over estimated the interest in their game, which is why we’re seeing so many servers coalescing, creating “virtual retirement” for over half the servers the game launched with.

    When the game has a full set of races, classes, more diversity in the builds; better emotes, better RP tools, and becomes a “real boy” (instead of a PVP-based wooden puppet), I will return. Until then, there are too many other games, on a variety of platforms that I can choose from.

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