Of PvP Servers and Games

PvP gives you ways to punish undesirable behavior. Nothing suggests to someone that he may have violated community norms quite the way decaptiation does. Really open PvP lets you take that option to those nominally on your own side, like the guy who parked a mammoth on an event NPC or that other guy who is constantly spamming in town.

PvP also gives griefers far more opportunities for undesirable behavior. How much time are you willing to take away from your plans to police those who are just in it for the lulz? And MMOs reward nothing if not time: how are your levels and gear relative to this guy who obviously has far too much time on his hands?

In practice, PvP policing will take place only where griefing and ganking would be inconvenient for the top tier of characters. Level-capped enemies rampaging through the mid-level zones? Meh, they’ll get bored and leave before I can be bothered to get there. They’re killing the auctioneers? Oh, it’s on!

Seriously, who has time to stand around the newbie areas just in case someone decides to pick on them? That’s what we have NPCs for! If only we did not fight far away from the NPC guards…

: Zubon

11 thoughts on “Of PvP Servers and Games”

  1. Yes, ganking is a serious issue. Leveling 1-80 I took so much of it, that I spent the first few weeks of being capped (and pvp geared) in runing around low level zones, /yelling “Any gankers?”.

    It was… disappointing. They almost always tried to run, terrified by the sudden loss of invulnerability.
    Mercy was denied :)

  2. There was some guy on an elephant sitting right on top of the Captain lady for Pirate Day. A DK pulled him off, he ran, and we all attacked. Then while playing my DK in Hellfire, Honor Hold falls under attack from 4 guys. They rape the crap out of me, I respawn and stay hidden, they have a friend who is my level who tries to jump me, I kill him, stand in the doorway of my hiding spot and start dancing, and get one shotted again.

    I don’t get the whole, let’s go kill people who can’t possibly fight back, thing.

  3. Bonedead said:”I don’t get the whole, let’s go kill people who can’t possibly fight back, thing.”

    The word you’re looking for is “bully”.

    The best ganking story I have happened back in Burning Crusade in WoW. My daughter and I had rolled a couple of new human characters and we were playing them in the new player zone of Northshire Abbey. A pair of Horde trolls, probably mid-50’s judging by their gear, came in and killed all the quest NPC’s. They /danced and emoted while one-shotting NPC’s and the odd brave level 3 who attacked them. This went on for several minutes, then suddenly there was a flash and both trolls dropped dead instantly. Standing behind them was this tiny level 70 gnome mage — nobody saw him come up.

    If someone wants to kill guards, then whatever. The moment they start killing low-level questgivers, that’s it, I’m’a bringin’ my main..

  4. You have nicely summarized why the whole “FFA PvP lets the players police themselves” argument is crap. While true in theory, the proportion of players that are willing to take time out of their schedules to be complete douches will generally far exceed that of players that are capped, geared, and willing to take out time to play cop.

  5. The only time I’ve seen people patrol the newbie zones was my guild on my RP server, we were undead scholars who also defended Brill whenever we heard it was being attacked. But that was all about role-playing and not pvp. Raiding an alliance town would get us a stern in-character lecture from the guild leader.

    The funny thing was new players thought we were a pvp guild, since we’d be in Brill fighting the enemy. They would get disappointed quickly and leave when our meetings consisted of standing around talking about how to subvert the Apothecary society.

  6. I think pvp policing is best done for now by bots. EVE Online is a good example. In high security space, the police come and kill you for bad behavior. In low security space they come rarely or not at all in zero sec. This “security” system could be easily duplicated in a fantasy MMO but I haven’t seen it done yet.

  7. Player policing only works when you give players the tools and incentives to police themselves. When you allow high level players to massacre all the quest givers, and the only potential repercussion they face is a 5 min run after a respawn on the off chance someone higher than they kills them, you’ve allowed griefing with no risk.

    In order for player policing to work you’ve got to have a system of real loss and penalty – otherwise, you’ve simply allowed crime without punishment. Just as important, you need a game system which is built around horizontal advancement – such that new players can overcome older ones, provided they have some knowledge, experience, leadership, teamwork, ect.

    Of course, I don’t support models that rely completely on player policing – though I wouldn’t say they can’t work. Still, I think some level of hand holding and protection for new players is essential.

  8. Sure would be nice if low level gankers would drop some of their loot when you killed them. How many pieces? How about the same number as how many greys theyve killed in the last hour? Phat lewt!

  9. Personally, I think some sort of policing system that gave real-world rewards might be a good solution. Something along the lines of a player would receive X amount of free game time for each kill of an opposing player found to be ganking lowbies. Surely some sort of formula could be worked out that could determine when a player had been ganking based on their level, the level of their recent PvP kills, and the level of the zone they are currently in…

  10. As for policing, weren’t the most of the NPCs and merchants in EQ ridiculously high level monks that’d slap you sideways if you accidentally auto-attacked them? I don’t understand why WoW would have NPCs that aren’t either stupidly high level or completely immune to combat.

    Once upon a time, when Battlegrounds didn’t exist, Onyxia was considered an end-game raid and the hand of Ragnaros was next to godliness, people actually PvP’d in world.

    We’d gather up and kill a few noobs only to coax out the high level people and have a wonderfully chaotic time battling it out on equal footing. I presume this sort of thing is completely dead.

    I can see a more sandbox style game allowing the NPC’s to be slaughtered but within WoW it really makes no sense to me.

  11. World PvP in WoW seems to be a joke. At least, that’s how I’ve been seeing it from this late perspective intro to the game.

    They just seem to be outlets for people to revel in level disparity. Haha, I outlevel the NPC, badaboom, dead NPC. Haha, I outlevel the idiotic lvl 50 who hit our town’s NPCs, badabing, dead Horde/Ally.

    The only thing slightly sad about it is the mentality it breeds, that low levels = worthless. Little wonder why WoW is so unfriendly to newbies.

    I ended up on a PvP server, which made me slightly nervous at first, before realizing there wasn’t much to be concerned about at this stage of maturity of game.

    Firstly, no one’s even around in the classic zones unless they’re a leveling alt, or they were just passing by. Plus maybe the random high-level griefer.

    Said high-level griefers are often pounded into the dirt by 2-3 other high levels (who were mostly likely leveling before logging onto their alts, and called one or two other friends to help out).

    And a level disparity in WoW just results in roadkill, not a PvP fight.

    Fortunately, the “victim” just loses a couple minutes of time by running back to their corpse. The “killer” was often on his way somewhere else, and just threw an overpowered bolt as an afterthought, as if the lowbie was just another grey mob.

    A reaction to dying is rarely rage, but more of “Huh. What happened there 2 seconds ago?” *checks combat scrollback* Ah. Killed in three hits while fighting a mob. *rolls eyes*

    No loss, no big deal, no way around it if you didn’t notice the red name in the distance, just a force of nature you had the random crappy luck to run into. Shrug, sit around as a ghost for 5 minutes if you’re nervous your corpse is being camped. But my guess is WoW players rarely have that kind of patience anyway.

    Guess the bullies have gone to other grounds where they can get “meaningful” PvP where loss actually hurts the other player.

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