Everyone Wins?

Asynchronous PvP creates the unusual possibility of having something called “PvP” that never brings you into direct conflict with another player, where everyone playing wins, and the computer takes the losses on behalf of the players. Reward-seeking players will often create nigh-asynchronous PvP situations.

Given the chance to pick the fight, most people pick fights they know they will win. Given three potential targets to attack, with equal rewards for each, most players will pick the weakest target. Or the weakest (for them) — if you play Scissors, you will choose to attack Paper while you are online, then your offline team will be attacked by Rock.

It can be frustrating to have offline losses you cannot do anything about, particularly if those are scored for competitive rewards, but if PvP must come out to 50% wins on average, everyone seems happier when the computer takes almost all of the 50% losses.

Most of my links there cite examples from Marvel Puzzle Quest, where indeed you almost always win any fight you choose to participate in and lose most of the offline fights. Reference also Guild Wars 2, where karma trains are 90+% PvE content under the name WvW, where everyone gets more reward from trading captures on undefended towers. Look back to the less extreme case of early LotRO PvMP, where most people won most of the time because each team flocked to the battlefield where it was winning.

I can’t say it is much/any worse than the regular PvE grind, apart from the design time half-wasted on PvP content that will not be used for PvP. Maybe I should be pleased for the species that self-interest makes cooperation a favored path even with an explicitly defined competitor. But it seems hollow.

: Zubon

2 thoughts on “Everyone Wins?

  1. bhagpuss

    Karma trains are usually very tedious. There are exceptions. On Yaks Bend they fall into three broad categories in which by far the biggest factor is the Commander.

    The worst Train features a boorish, boastful Commander who is only ever seen when the server is ticking 400+, almost always a Norn, leading a swaggering, swearing, ill-discplined rabble of sycophants filled with entirely unjustified bravado in the face of no opposition whatsoever. All conversation is about sex, dope or loot. This kind of train can run all day until the commander passes out at the keyboard but I can barely stand one even long enough to finish a daily, and even then I have to turn all chat channels off.

    The average, standard Train is boisterous but reasonably good-natured, led by a regular Commander doing his bit for the team. Conversation tends to involve attempts to instruct PvE players on Good Practice and general “school outing” banter. Forty-five minutes to an hour is usually as much time as one of those lasts, although often another regular commander will grab the baton and take over. That’s usually when I drop off the train. I’ll do one of these in a session but more than half an hour gets dull.

    The best Karma trains run when we are being hammered into the ground by one or both servers. That’s when a really motivated, charismatic Commander will step up and offer to run a train to raise morale, even though he knows that as soon as the train is noticed a flying wedge of enemies will knock it off the tracks and into the ditch. Conversation is gallows humor, overbright and ironic, often with some genuine flashes of wit. If you get twenty minutes out of one of these trains it’s a good run. I love those trains and I’ll do as many as Commanders are willing to run, which is usually about three, that being one failure in each map.

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