Exactly. I used to be a huge fan of PVP. I played Ultima Online, I played on the EQ PVP server, and I played on the DAOC PVP server. There were always assholes and exploiters and cheaters (plenty of them!), but the ratio between them and good PVP has wildly skewed in the direction of the emotionally damaged asshole for my tastes.
Back in the DAOC days, I ran around with a group of 3-4 friends on one of the PVP servers. We were a mix of classes from different realms, but we were playing in the Midgard region. Ever since we were L10 or so, we were constantly bumping into this guild called the Shanks. We were leveling up at the same pace, so we were constantly running into each other and fighting over the same areas. They killed us dozens of times, we killed them dozens of times. We were KOS to each other. No opportunity was missed to wreck the other group while grinding EXP.
But that was outside the cities. Inside the capital where PVP was disabled? We laughed and joked around all the time. We’d do conga lines around the capital while our friends were doing some crafting or whatever. We’d mock each other when we just had a victory, but there was no shortage of compliments either.
It was a rivalry, yes, but a very good natured one. We as players didn’t hate each other, certainly not the people behind the keyboards. We just loved to “hate” each other in-game. It was always fun running into each other in the wild, because you knew a good battle was about to be had. And there were plenty of times when a full group of 8 Shanks would run into me while I was out solo, and there’d be no fight. We’d just wave to each other and I’d move on my way. What fun is a 8-on-1 gank? That’s not fun, that’s just being a dick, and we all clearly knew the difference.
I cannot find that sort of PVP anymore. PVP now is about domineering, it’s about bullying other people and thumping their chests as they spawn-camp some poor newbie who’s just trying to get his or her feet under them. Fundamentally, it’s about ruining someone else’s fun, not creating fun in a competitive environment. Like I said, this element has always existed, but in my experience that’s pretty much all it is now, and I have no interest in it.