PvP rewards without a cost for failure
Let’s start the new year off with a discussion about PvP. I was thinking about why PvP — more specifically RvR/WvW — hasn’t succeeded or ultimately been a lot of fun for me in the past few years. We had a brainstorming session on our Ventrilo server, and I think we nailed it.
PvP has too many rewards in all the wrong ways, and there is never any consequence or punishment for failure.
Take Guild Wars 2 where taking a keep grants a huge sum of points. What happens when that keep is lost? Nothing that matches the bonus for taking it. What happens when you retake that keep? You get another huge sum of points. Why defend? Why would anyone when there is more to gain from losing it and taking it again. Players will always seek the path of least resistance where they gain the most reward. Then there’s the fact that death means nothing. Die and you can be back at the keep in 4 minutes tops. You probably miss out on next to nothing.
Here’s why taking and holding keeps in DAoC mattered: Losing them sucked! The frontiers were a great place to exp. When the enemy owned the keep near my favorite spot, guards would patrol and often kill me. More players were also likely to be in the area. Losing that keep also meant losing a bonus to experience; Leveling in DAoC wasn’t easy. Losing a keep also meant losing relics with bonuses we wanted. All of that might have been enough, but there’s another reason losing the keep sucked: Darkness Falls. Whoever owns the most keeps has access to a dungeon with the best loot exp’ing locations.
Here’s a way to start fixing WvW/RvR and that type of PvP:
- Remove immediate rewards for taking keeps. No point gains, no experience.
- Implement more indirect rewards like a dungeon for having the most keeps and meaningful/sought after rewards for being on the winning side.
- Create ways to indirectly punish players for losing them. For example: Guard spawns I mentioned or not having access to an extremely desirable location. Losing ground also means you probably won’t be killing as many players, so you probably won’t be on the winning side gaining points for killing other players.
- Make keeps/holdings more difficult to siege.
The lack of risk and indirect loss for failing in PvP is game breaking for me. If you’re not happy with the PvP in a game you’re playing, see if the rewards outweigh the penalties. Chances are you’re not actually PvPing at all — you’re just gaming the system.