All I Want For Christmas Is Engaging PvP

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One could say that PvP was the driving factor that provided Guild Wars 1 with such longevity. Guild vs. Guild matches, Heroes Ascent, Random Arena battles; one could spend their time doing nothing but PvP and keep themselves occupied in the game.

So why then is PvP one of the most hush-hush aspects of Guild Wars 2 we’ve heard about so far? Some negative Nancies have speculated Guild Wars 2 won’t focus nearly as much on PvP. I’ve even seen some people go so far as to say Arenanet is struggling with balance issues. Neither of these people have played the game yet, but the negative Nancies can’t help themselves.

Instead of talking about what Arenanet has talked about so far, isn’t it more fun to discussĀ  what we want to see? Who doesn’t love filling out a wishlist?

Here’s mine:

Before I start wishing, it’s important to know what we already have.

There have been two aspects to PvP we’ve heard about so far: Structured PvP and World PvP. Structured will work much in the way GvG did, and allow players to use a character who’s maxed out in terms of leveling.

Structured PvP is Returning!

We’ve also heard of World vs. World (WvW), which is a new dynamic for Guild Wars players. This mode allows players to use skills they currently have unlocked and fight it out with other players in a large scale battle. This mode will be continually ongoing, and lower level characters will be able to sidekick up to compete. Worlds will act as servers, so I think we can expect these WvW battles to always be massive. Depending on who’s winning at certain periods of time, there will be bonuses to the victors.

When you say massive, I want MASSIVE!

Massive is a frequently used word in the video game world. We like massive bosses, massive battles, massive inventory bags, massive body structures (both men and women). The word is subjective, and one man or woman’s massive might be seen as another’s tiny. Just how massive does Arenanet want their WvW engagements?

I say let there be no limits.

There are a couple of MMO’s that I’ve played which had the concept of not capping certain areas of PvP. The first was a game called Darkfall. There is no capping to be found in the game as the entire world is one instance. There are various cities/forts which guilds and alliances can occupy, and in turn take over. These battles can happen at any time, which is why it’s vital to always be on your toes.

Huge Guild Battle in Darkfall (yes, it is as fun as it looks):

There were alliance battles in the game that reached somewhere near 300 players. We’re talking scale along the lines of what you see in epic war movies. These battles provided some of the most awe inspiring moments I’ve received while engaging in PvP.

Warhammer Online, while not a successful game by any means had a few interesting elements. Realm vs. Realm combat had a great feel to it, and provided some large encounters to battle it out. I remember having most of my fun while engaged in these RvR contests.

You want to save the villagers, well I want to hurt them…Let’s Get It On!

While there will be no “villains” to play as in Guild Wars 2, it doesn’t mean there won’t be various factions and races with certain agendas. Such a dynamic can be seen in the Luxon/Kurzick dichotomy from Guild Wars: Factions. Why not pit these players against one another in certain areas in the open world?

I’m currently playing a MMO called DC Universe Online. One of my favorite aspects to the game is how heroes and villains will have quests that take them to the same location. The heroes will be charged with saving medics, while the villains are there to subdue them. Imagine quest lines in other MMO’s that have you slaying 10 mobs, only you’re actively fighting other players while accomplishing this task. It adds a whole other dimension that really flips the doldrums of questing on its head.

We know there will be dynamic events to be found within the game, why not have some that pit players against other players?

All these ideas have been taken from other games, what about originality?

PvP is one of the trickiest elements to get right in a game. There are some people who don’t even like PvP, so forcing it down their throats isn’t an option for many developers. So what do you do with the element that only certain people enjoy, and make it so that neither side is getting stiffed. You could go the traditional route and separate the players by their preference. But that typically hinders server population, and leads to all sorts of messes. Plus, Guild Wars 2 will only have three servers per region.

The answer is simple: PvP flagging.

Hey, wait a sec. There have been games which have utilized this system.

True, but there have been few games which have truly utilized it to its full potential. Generally it’s just been something to throw in there to keep the PvP’ers happy.

Instead of just tossing it in, really expand upon it. Give PvP’ers a reason to fight each other.

One such idea I’ve worked up for this article would be a bounty system. PvP’ers would accumulate bounty as they kill one another. Each PvP kill would amount to five gold, or five xp, or any other form of currency. As you kill another player your bounty starts to rise. As you start to rack up a bounty you then can unlock titles, receive special rewards for making it to a certain bounty amount.

All the while other players are discovering who the big bounties are and trying to go after them. Creating a free-flowing PvP dynamic that few if any games have.

Before you get into the details, I realize how such a system could be easily exploited. The designers would have to come up with checks and balances to make sure two players aren’t just sitting there killing each other to rack up money or XP.

Imagine though, having the highest bounty of any character on your server. Talk about feeling legendary.

To the readers: I’ve provided a few ideas to start the wish list, but I really wanted this article to be collaborative. So I want to hear what other people are hoping to see from PvP. Just remember, there are wrong answers in the world of comments. In fact, it’s an example of PvP itself.. šŸ˜‰


About the author: JohnnyV has been a Guild Wars fan since the alpha release, which seemed like an eternity ago. He enjoys nearly all genres of gaming. He’s also an avid asura supporter, so if you’re not down with that silly bookah then you can move on. He’s an admin for the Guild Wars 2 Forum , and also enjoys writing anything he can. Which can be content such as short stories to tech related blog entries, or even writing about Guild Wars! Twitter.

Further reading:

  • Izari

    I think it’s hush-hush cause the pvp will be a big pull for gw2. They probably wanna save it for later to really get people excited.

    I also imagie they are still tweaking it a lot. Pvp is some of the toughest stuff to balance and get right and people almost always bitch about it.

    I’m really hoping for a lot of what we had in gw1. There was a ton of variety and levels of hardoreness to it. I do hope to have the ability to 1v1 / duel but I know people get worked up in those situations about balance.

    I’m a little sad about the lack of open world pvp. I th ink that sorta stuff is super exciting. I see why they wanna avoid it though.
    Silly care-bears.

    Sorry for typos, on my phone and I fail at typing on it.

  • Jlo

    “(…) people go so far as to say Arenanet is struggling with balance issues.”
    Wait, what, really now?? :O
    Of course Arenanet is struggling with balance issues. That is what happens when you produce an MMORPG, you don’t crap out the perfect game with the first game engine test. You test the balancing and then you fix issues.
    But I don’t play PvP, what do I know.
    Well written post anyhow!

    • Jlo

      Oh, and GW1 did not have the perfectly balanced and diverse PvP is has now for a long time and it still rocked, apparently. So even if the PvP aspect of GW2 should not be perfect from the get-go remember that the Battle Isles did not come with Prophecies either.

    • Yea, I don’t agree with the negative nancies. I just have to acknowledge their existence.

  • fallot

    It seems you are looking for something completely different from what seems to be ArenaNet’s intent for PvP. Structured PvP at least should be closer to TF2 or DotA than Darkfall. There’s a solid group of players in a strong community that is looking for the highest level of competition.

    There shouldn’t be confusion between MMO-style PvP (which is basically consensual griefing) and structured competition. “Care bears” doesn’t really apply here. For me, people that take stuff like Darkfall PvP seriously are carebears (unless it reaches the level of deviousness and guile that is involved in EVE that is).

    GW1 had excellent PvP from the get-go, it’s only gotten worse with the expansions and early lack of support.

    WvW may be closer to “real” MMO PvP but I doubt even that will be anything less than competitive.