What is PvP?

March 27, 2008 at 10:37 am (Game Design, PvP, Warcraft, World of Warcraft) (, , , , , )

Time for a “design for Blizzard even though they will never see it” post.

If you go to the official boards, one of the things you’ll hear over and over again with regard to battlegrounds is that there is “no PvP in PvP.” I disagree. When the horde and alliance raids run past each other in Alterac Valley and rush to the bosses, who is standing in my way of winning? It’s not the archers in the towers. It’s not the pathetic wolves/rams. It’s not even Drek or Vann. It’s the other raid. Just because we’re not killing, them doesn’t mean we are not competing with them. That my friends is Player versus Player. I’d even go so far as to say most gearing, cosmetic upgrades (netherwing drakes), non-combat pets, damage meters are all a form of PvP. Without other players to compare yourself to, there is little point.

What the people are really complaining about is lack of PK, Player Killing. This is a completely different concept. This is where the only objective is victory in battle over another player. The difference between PvP and PK is the difference is easily seen between battlegrounds and arenas. Battle grounds have win-conditions based on non-PK objectives, while arean’s win-conditions are the PKs. If you’re the guy posting “no PvP in PvP” get it out of your head. you don’t want PvP, you want PK.

This isn’t an argument against PK. I think Bliz really has neglected a certain gamer base that would like something to have fun beyond arenas. The problem with PK is it’s boring. You die or your opponent does. Over and over. Arenas do great because of the 10 games that most teams limit themselves to. If Arena points were accumulated for each win and players did 100s each week, I really don’t think they would be thought as cool as they currently are.

So, what are some easy ideas to vary the PK game? I think a “juggernaut” version of arenas would be fun. A player on each team gets double damage/healing, double hp/mana, and immunity from CC and interruption/spell pushback/disarm, but moves at 80% speed and 50% reduction to healing (an additional MS-effect would reduce it to 75%). First team to have their Juggernaut die, loses. Arena maps would be fine places for this.

Another idea that is not strictly PK, but a BG that leans more that direction would be a PvE type King-of-the-Hill. Rather than race to each other’s leader, bring in/back a third faction and make it a race to kill that boss first. Take AV, remove the Stormpike and the Frostwolf, and bring back the Winterax. Specifically, Korrak the Bloodrager, and put him in the center of the Field of Strife with a few adds. Also, remove SF, IB, and SH graveyards to prevent graveyard zergs and emphasize healing and rezing.

First team to hit him, gets the tag. Can they burn him down before the other side wipes them and gets the tag? Korrak would not regen health nor could he be healed by NPCs or the non-flagged team to add some strategy as to when to wipe/tag, and the reinforcement count lowered to 300 would prevent a strictly PK event. Ivus, Lok, air support, and the calvary could become a major part of keeping the opposing team off you while trying to kill the troll.

Arathi Basin. Each team starts with 2 objectives capped (stables/mine, farm/lumber mill). Players drop tokens when they die away from a friendly flag. This prevents a penalty for defending and a risk for attacking. These tokens are used to cap flags rather than the 10s channel. You have to bring 10 tokens to convert a flag from enemy to neutral, and another 10 to convert neutral to friendly. Now the team that has the most PKs, has an easier time keeping flags, provided they are coordinated enough to have 1-2 people collecting them. The goal rather than trying to gather resources, teams are just trying to claim them. When a team has no claim to any resources they lose. I think a reinforcements timer would also be necessary to prevent infinite games.

WSG actually needs help the other way. Even before 2.4, the only reasons to play were 1) you absolutely needed WSG tokens for some item, or 2) you were part of a premade that was just there to farm honor. I doubt the 2.4 changes to increasing damage to flag carriers (low cost) will have any effect given the change of no diminishing returns (high reward). When a coordinated team wants to farm honor, they’ll just camp the opposing teams flag room so when/if he dies, they can grab it again.

One of the biggest problems is that it’s easy to walk out with very little honor and no rep. This is because the objectives center around 2 single objects/areas. The solution is to spread them out. Right from the beginning, have 3 flags spawned: one in current flag room, and one in each of the houses/huts. A team can carry only one flag at a time, and they can cap a flag anywhere one of their flags remains. This virtually guarantees at least one cap for both teams. As you lose flags, defense becomes easier since there are fewer places to defend, offense also becomes easier to the losing team because as time goes on teams must push deeper into enemy territory leaving flags undefended.

All of these ideas, can be implemented on ‘old’ maps with technology already in the game to create new and varied styles. It would be possible to flip from one style to the other for different weeks/months. Have WSG1 for April, and WSG3 for May. Maybe one week a month, the Frostwolf and Stormpike need to repel the troll uprising rather than each other.

Just some thoughts…

I have a few more on making world PvP/PK fun, but that’s another post.



  1. PVP ou PK « Cavaleiros de Vera Cruz said,

  2. Antistone said,

    I think you’ve latched onto the wrong distinction. You can assign scores to any PvE game and then try to get higher scores than other players, but that doesn’t make the game PvP. A PvP game is one where there’s a player on the other side who is directly opposing you, reacting to your actions, influencing the course of your game, and trying to stop you. A race may be competitive, but it isn’t PvP in the usual sense.

    That *might* mean that you’re trying to kill each other, but that’s certainly not necessary. There are lots of PvP games that don’t even [i]involve[/i] killing. Ever play Settlers of Catan? Scotland Yard? Mario Party? Sports?

    I haven’t played any of the organized PvP in WoW, but if it involves ignoring the other team as you run past them and try to complete your objective more quickly, I’d say the criticism “there is no PvP in the PvP” is 100% accurate.

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