Thursday, November 6, 2008

Newsflash! WAR Isn't Really PVP

I'm not the first person to have noticed this, but I'm not sure if it's really sunk in for anyone in the general gaming public. People still go on and on about how Warhammer's PvP is what makes the game so blatantly different from WoW, and then people go off on tirades saying that WoW is totally ripping off Warhammer, because they (Mythic) "get PvP".

While I'm all for competition in the marketplace, and certain elements being borrowed from other games, Warhammer isn't the huge revolution everyone is making it out to be.

For those pissed that WoW is going to 'steal' Warhammer innovations like PvP XP, or queueing for battlegrounds from anywhere, I invite you to reread those last 5 words before the comma again. Queueing for BATTLEGROUNDS from anywhere. BGs are hardly some big revolutionary idea that Warhammer had, they just slapped a lamer word on them that's harder to abbreviate and pretended like it was clever. While I applaud their intent to offer 'more than 4', the other day I was shocked (shocked!) to find myself in something other than Tor Anroc. I know there are three available, but in my ENTIRE time in tier 3, I've played 'the dam one' once, and I think my entire team were dam virgins as well, because we got the barrel thing and didn't even know what to do with it. The entire round devolved into just random fighting, because no one bothered to read the load screen, and everyone was so amazed by the lack of lava.

That's two. I still don't even know what the third one is.

Battlegrounds aside (which I don't really consider to be 'pee vee pee' in the way WAR IS EVERYWHERE intended it to mean, let's take a look at RvR, the big kahuna.

Hmm... taking a keep can be done with 4 people, assuming no one on the other faction is there to stop you, and even then, it's an excercise in (gasp!) PvE mechanics. Tank the 4 champs and hero, peel champs one at a time (or just AoE, whatever), heal the tanks and DPS, collect renown. Grats, you just fought Moroes, but he was in a 'keep', and had less abilities. Even if the other side is there to stop you, the basic strategy involves CCing (or ignoring completely) the opposing faction, and just killing the NPC.

Even the super duper endgame 'city taking' is a PVE affair. To quote Tobold (who's basically paraphrasing Saylah):

And then the endgame consists of first avoiding enemy players by attacking them when they sleep, and then a phase in which BY DESIGN the enemy players are locked out of their city, and the attackers play a big PvE raid public quest to kill NPC defenders and ultimately the king. So at best this is half-half PvP and PvE. And if you attack early enough it becomes 99% PvE. It's like playing WoW on a PvP server, where you might need to do a little PvP to get into the raid instance, but once you are in there, it's only PvE.
Sweet. Awesome PvP you got there.

To say this is constrained to Warhammer is silly, but to say Warhammer's PvP (RvR, XyZ, whatever) 'rises above WoW's implementations' in any way is ridiculous.

Taking a look at WoW's PvP offerings, Arena is the only thing that even comes close, because it eliminates NPCs from the scene. Taking a look at Alterac Valley, why do you suppose everyone just runs past each other?

Because the point is to kill the NPC.

As long as THAT is the goal, there will never be meaningful conflict. Here's a shocking idea: make AV have a capture point. Get ten players to channel a spell for ten seconds in a shared altar in the direct center of the field of strife, and whoever can pull it off first wins. Why a shared altar? Because if they were in the opposing player's bases, we'd just run past each other again, duh. It needs to be something to FIGHT over, even if it just devolves into a huge zerg.

I don't mind zergs... zergs are fucking fun. Cut out all the bullshit in the map... hell, make AV the size of WSG, but just no flag capping. 40 players to a side, WSG mapsize, zerg-a-lerg-a-ding-ding GO. With so many peple in such CLOSE PROXIMITY to one another, I think a few spells would start to go off, and people might accidentally attack each other in the rush to click the altar. God forbid a chain reaction occurs, and people actually begin to fight. :(


Melf_Himself said...

You're right, Mythic really do need to do more to make people actually fight each other in RvR.

Sometimes great fights break out, but those are few and far between. Mostly, people actively plan to avoid the other players, since you get more lewts that way.

Ixobelle said...

It's not only Mythic, but yeah... a good dose of player interaction is needed on every front.

Cronoo said...

I remember AV before they made all the changes to it, back at 60... Sure there were more NPCs, but there was actual PvP too. Most of the time objectives got flat-out ignored because it was more fun to just kill each other for 5 hours.
What ever happened to pvp like that?
I mean, sure most of the people were doing it to rank up in the flawed honor system...but atleast it was fun.

Krimspins said...

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times. Arena is the ONLY true PvP test in major MMO's today.

If you have high arena ratings congratulations, you are a good PvPer. If you top the damage charts in AV, congratulations you suck. There is a reson MLG and Blizz award money for being dominant in arenas and NOT in BGs.

Sorry to reiterate this again and again but it is the simple truth.

Tesh said...

Throw some friendly fire into the mix, and whee! Actually, friendly fire AoE spells may well break up those zerg fights.

Ixobelle said...

ahh... friendly fire PvP spells may very well deserve its own rant. I had almost forgot about that ;)

Melf_Himself said...

@ krimspins: Ever heard of Guild Wars?

Re: friendly fire... don't get me started, I love the idea. However, I suspect the mainstream wouldn't because they like to button mash and would cry nerf :/

Shiro said...

Those shining moments where you find an opposing warband is one of the most fun things that happened to me in WAR. To bad it only happened once.

Tom Phoenix said...

NPC`s in PvP are not necessarily bad, but they have to be implemented in a way that they are either not the main focus or are the main focus in a way that it supports fighting among players. A good system for the second would be something like the last mission in Warcraft 3 (I know it is an RTS, but I am trying to make a point here) where you have to capture all four obelisks before you gain access to the Frozen Throne. Now replace Frozen Throne with important NPC and the two fighting armies of AI units to...well, fighting armies of many players and you have a great formula for PvP.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Shiro. Even if you're in a party trying only to seek out other parties, it's still beyond rare that you become some great defender of the realm or side or hut whatever.

Having the door busted down and rushing to block it was a rush. Yeah, happend once. WAR RvR is like playing the lotto of fun, Odds are against ya, but you keep on tryin'.

Geoffrey said...

I just bought Warhammer Online over the weekend. I am very disappointed in just about every way.

The PvE is very very bland. I had no desire to do any more quests after I had done about 3.

Scenery seemed very uninspiring. Does not compare to WoW's zones at all.

Combat was sluggish. There seemed to be a disconnect between my actions and what was happening on screen.

The battlegrounds were worse than WoW's. Just terrible.

What were these people thinking, and how did you stomach getting to level 40?

One other note. Because PvE was so terrible, I stuck to gaining experience through scenarios until I got to level 7 or so on my Magus. This left me with a strange feeling of not really having experienced the actual game. I think this is why WoW gives no XP for PvP. You bypass the whole game and it feels wrong somehow.