MMORPG's and PvP: The Line

This isn’t really WoW specific, but since that’s the only MMORPG I have experince with PvP in, that’s the one I’ll be using. I’ve seen all sorts of opinions here in past threads about what constitutes fair and unfair PvP (I’d use “honor” and “dishonor”, but they really have zero meaning in WoW) and they seem to be all over the map.

Some say that a 60 ganking a 1 is OK or that six 50’s beating down a 20 and camping his corpse is no big deal. Others believe that it’s wrong to attack a player that’s much lower level but still cons green or to attack someone who’s just doing quests. I know there are lots and lots of people with high level characters who pick on other players for no other reason but because it was done to them in the early levels.

So where do most of you folks draw the line? Do you think that pretty much anything goes on a PvP server that’s not strictly forbidden by the rules of the game? Is “the enemy’s the enemy” the only rule that should govern players’ actions or should there be some mechanism in place for preventing the stuff that doesn’t benefit players, such as high levels killing low levels? From what I can tell being a relatively new player, Blizzard pretty much just pays no attention to anything in PvP and lets the community decide what’s fair. The only thing I’ve witnessed them caring about is players getting on rooftops in enemy towns, which seems odd.

Do you think that pretty much anything goes on a PvP server that’s not strictly forbidden by the rules of the game?

I kinda feel this way, which is maybe why I mostly played WoW on carebear servers. I guess in an ideal world, a kind of “gang law” would develop on an untrammeled pvp server in which notorious gankers become targets of guild-killing, stuff like that – IOW a grassroots justice system, or at least organized gang warfare, develops from the player base.

Whether this is fun or not I don’t know (highest toon I’ve played on a WoW pvp server was only 28) but I think you at least have to be prepared for anything to go that is allowable within the game rules.

You’re just going to get a rehash of a debate that has already been carried out in several other threads, but I’m happy to participate: in my mind, there should be some mechanism so that everyone has what I would call “equal opportunity,” meaning that if player A beats player B, player B could just as easily beat player A under the reversed circumstances. So, if you gank me when I’m low on health, or fighting a mob, or with four of your friends, that’s fine. I could just as easily do the same to you. But a level 60 should not be able to gank a level 1, because that’s something where the level 1 could never return the favor. A 60 attacking a 55? Sure, that’s fine. A 60 attacking a 40? Shouldn’t be allowed except in defense (using the same PvP flagging rules that are already in effect or, even better, a gradual-penalty system like Planetside’s).

I think there’s also two questions: what the game should allow, and what the player should actually do. My feeling is that any fight where the other player has no chance of winning is just kind of dumb. I see people do it all the time – a 60 attacks a 30, or five guys jump one guy, or someone jumps someone else while they’re fighting a mob and at 5% health. Sure the game allows it, let’s not even get into that discussion, the thing I never get is why on earth you would bother doing that. You get nothing from it. If you’re being at all honest, you have to admit that your side gains nothing from it. You annoy another human player. I’m sure this thread will fill up with gankers explaining that they do it because they’re RPing a war, or because it might make things .000000001% for some other player on their side, or because everyone did it to them while they were coming up and now they’re going to extract some revenge (on a totally unrelated person FTW!). I don’t get it.

Well I’ve been PK’d unfairly my fair share of times, and I return the favor whenever. So, I gotta say, anything goes.

or because everyone did it to them while they were coming up and now they’re going to extract some revenge (on a totally unrelated person FTW!)

I do get this. It’s not a rational reason but it’s a human reason. People tend to piss downward after they have risen in the ranks of any organization. Not saying I approve but… there it is.

Blizzard should add dishonor for ganking people who are grey to you. And they should set it up that doing it once in a while doesn’t affect your honor that much, but doing it a huge amount gives major honor penalties.

They won’t, because people like to use the defensive argument of “But when I’m AEing in a town raid I don’t want dishonor for killing 20 level 2s”. But there should be ways of mitigating that (say, calculating that you are doing damage to many more people near your level). Also, if a low level attacks the high level first, the high level should be able to nuke the hell out of him.

I’d play exclusively on PVP servers if there was something stopping high level gankers. But as is, I just get tired of it after a while, as much as I like pvp.

I’ll advocate Planetside’s system again. If you attack a gray player who isn’t flagged PvP, you accrue “ganker points.” The more damage you do, the more points you get. Do a lot of damage in short period of time and you get even more. Ganker points decay over time as long as you’re logged in. If your ganker points ever reach a certain level, you start incurring penalties – dishonor, faction loss, all the way up to being unable to attack in PvP for an hour or a day or whatever. What level of points it takes to get there is something that can be calibrated (and adjusted as necessary) to make sure that occasional ganking – such as in defense, or because lowbies got caught in your town-raid AE – doesn’t get you a penalty, but that regular, deliberate ganking, will. (Yeah, someone could still go on a gank spree once a week, let’s say. But that’s a lot better than now, where people can gank endlessly.)

Planetside has this exact system in place, and it works like a charm. There is no griefing to speak of in that game. And you can have some friendly fire incidents, or even deliberately TK someone every now and again because they’re doing something stupid or griefish (like blocking a door), and never get any penalties.

I’d never play on a WoW PVP server, but I’ll happily play EVE, mainly because while PVP in EVE is non-consensual, the system gives players the tools to avoid being ganked in a lot of cases. OK some days you just get unlucky and all the tools won’t save you, but there’s no equivalent of the WoW automatic ganking all the time after level 20.

Of course, Blizzard give players the choice of consensual PVP servers, so I don’t have a lot sympathy for people who roll on a PVP server and then complain about it.

The PvP/friendly fire system in Planetside is probably one of the best, innovative things about the game, aside from polycrewing I think.

— Alan

There’s a very distinct difference between complaining about PvP in general and complaining about people who make PvP unenjoyable. To me, there’s a very fine line between what’s considered within the spirit of the game and what’s not. I just wanted to get a little bit of an idea of what people do or don’t put up with on a PvP server.

I think it’s a given that in an MMO, especially one with lots of leet kiddies playing (as WoW obviously is), any possible griefing WILL be done by someone. I think one goes into that forewarned. You can complain in the sense of asking that Blizzard alter the honor system to disallow certain types of ganking (like what Charles proposes), but if anything is allowed in the game code, it will happen. I don’t see any getting around that and I think it’s unrealistic to expect or hope otherwise.

The other “legitimate” way to complain is to say to your guildies or general chat “This horde guy ganked me! Go get him!” That’s conflict resolution in-game which can potentially have interesting gameplay consequences, if you like that sort of thing.

I should have been more specific, I was referring to people who complain about the ganking, not PVP in general. The only diffference between a WoW PVP server and a ‘normal’ server is the ganking. Battlegrounds, town raids and PVP between two equal groups of players all happen on ‘normal’ servers. It’s hard to imagine Crossroads being raided more often than it already is on the servers I’ve played on. If you miss one raid, you just have to wait half an hour for the next one to turn up.

I think people complain (or at least I complain) for a couple reasons. One is that Blizzard initially said there would be a dishonor system to prevent ganking, and many people rolled their mains on a PvP server expecting that to be put in, but then it never was. Another, probably more important, reason is that I generally enjoy nonconensual PvP as long as crazy ganking isn’t allowed. Although I complain about the ganking currently allowed, I enjoy the aspect of having to look over my shoulder all the time, the tension of traveling through an orange zone that I’m under-level for, not being able to be complacent because I know the behavior of the local mobs. That’s good stuff, that I wish I could get without also having to deal with the +20 gankers. And even with the gankers, I still prefer PvP servers to PvE ones.

Obviously Blizzard realizes that “anything goes” is a bad solution, because they put in the green zones. So it’s just a question of where you draw the line (how much protection there should be against ganking), and I think it’s perfectly legitimate to argue that Blizzard has drawn it too far to one side.

I’m a fairly casual gamer and a fairly pacifistic player in WOW but after getting ganked way too many times, it definitely brings out the vengence factor for me for when I get high enough and can respond in kind. It is a pain to be ganked constantly in certain areas but the world is big enough that I can go elsewhere to level up. The constant threat of being attacked in neutral zones gives the game, to me, an added sense of excitement and even though I don’t like the ganking, I accept it and hope they don’t change it.

Yes, I’d probably play on a ‘halfway house’ server, as I said above I like EVE’s style of non-consensual PVP. Perhaps my view is prejudiced by the fact I play on the WoW Euro servers and by the time the game was released here, it was plain that high levels ganking lowbies was the norm and people knew what they were letting themselves in for when they first started.

My biggest complaint, and the reason I’ve left my 2 level 60s behind on the PvP server I rolled on is mainly with population imbalance.

I very much enjoy the aspects of a PvP server where you never know who’s behind your back waiting to jump on you, the random group vs group encounters.

But when you are on a server where Alliance outnumberes Horde by a pretty large factor, there gets to be a point where things get frustrating.

The Horde town of Kargath, for instance, isn’t really a Horde town anymore. It’s an alliance town, where you get killed before you take a step from the flightmaster.

It would be nice for there to be groups of Horde players banding together to defend the town, but that doesnt seem to happen. I’m not sure if that’s something that’s specific to my server’s culture, but I really feel that there’s nothing in WoW to give a sense of realm pride, as there was in DAoC.

But there does need to be some way of evening out populations. I know from my time with DAoC, realm imbalance seriously screws up the fun factor of PvP. It just isn’t fun when you’re constantly outnumbered.

I’m one of those who, when bored, is not adverse to going ganking in Stranglethorn Vale. I figure its a place that, when attacked often enough, will bring out more equal level opponents.

But by and large, I don’t attack unless its a viable threat. But I generally won’t attack someone if I know they’ll win. That means that a pack of 40s who could potentially zerg me are steamrolled before they have a chance.

When I’m on my 41 mage, I always curse anyone that kills me, 60 or not. I’m a firm believer that nobody should be allowed to gank me. :)

I feel the same. The difference is probably because the battlegrounds in
DAoC are a fun diversion, while the meat of the game is keep defense/
attack and relic raids, with plenty opportunity for interesting RvR. It isn’t
always perfect, but there are good reasons to do non-BG PvP. The relic
bonus helps PvE immensely.

The WoW battlegrounds have turned into the main form of PvP, and the
rewards are part of it. If you can get some guaranteed honourable kills in
limited area with semi-balanced teams, you don’t give a shit about
defending your homeland against possibly larger numbers than what you can

I’m hoping for something more RvR-like in WoW. Until then, characters that
reach 60 will be parked in a major city to gather rest XP until the expansion.

(Link to acronym explanations should go here, but I can’t be bothered)

I got sick of WoW when I was in my mid 20s and I simply could not transit or quest or really anything without someone 10+ levels higher than me killing me every 5 minutes. This was before battlegrounds so maybe it improved when people were given something else to do. It really reinforced my aversion to playing games filled with random people. I don’t like most people, and the self selected group in MMORPGs seem over even less likeable than the general population.

I played Eve (which just got boring after a while) and I did like how you could set a bounty on people. That’s a nice mechanism.

The main problem is that they just get a cheap ship and get one of their friends to kill them and split the bounty :-) . But there are Mecenary Corps who will do the job properly for a price.