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How to Ruin 3 Faction MMO PvP

TESO Cyrodiil Instances

I can see it now…

If you ever have the desire for a guide on how to instantly ruin 3 faction MMO PvP, and guarantee no chance of it ever recovering from a shallow and meaningless themepark experience,  The Elder Scrolls Online appears to be writing the book. Yeah, that’s harsh, but I’m shocked more people aren’t saying something.  Here’s what I’ve learned from various media who were able to see the game in action.  Personally, I hope they have it all wrong, and if they do someone speak up.

Since there is only one “mega server”, Cyrodiil (the PvP zone) will be split into multiple instances to accommodate population. Players are assigned a campaign when they create their character (or reach level 10 or something). The campaigns are apparently NOT integrated in any way (I thought they were). There’s really no way you can spin that to sound good to anyone who knows something about open-world persistent RvR.

Problem: There’s no true sense of permanence or achieving a victory when you duplicate a zone.  Even if you call them “permanent instances,” even if they are technically open all the time and mimic servers, nothing is ultimately hinging on your campaign.  “How’s Ebonheart Pact doing in your campaign? We’re losing.  Oh you should transfer over to campaign B since we’re totally dominating here!”

If a certain campaign is struggling, the devs will funnel new players to that instance/campaign.

Problem: Developers getting involved in who is winning?  HANDS OFF the battlefield!  That’s the entire point of having three factions: let the battlefield balance itself.  So not only are there population caps on the battlefield and multiple instances, but the developers can choose to, at their discretion, help the people losing side by giving them more players.

When you hit level 50, you can go to the other faction’s PvE areas.  At that point you’ll be able to communicate with the other factions, and even make friends and run dungeons/play with the other factions. [Source]

Problem: They are supposed to be your enemy!  You wake up each morning with a burning hatred and passion to wipe them off the map, not plan to raid with them.  From a PvP perspective, this is a mistake.

So let’s sum up what we have so far:

  • Multiple instances of the Alliance War zone creating no continuity between Cyradiil and the rest of the world.
  • Funneling population where it’s needed to alter balance by automatically assigning players a campaign.
  • Grouping up and PvEing with your opponents

In short, how do you ruin 3 faction MMO PvP?  You instance it on a mega-server.

I’m curious to learn how I’ll be able to meet up with friends in campaigns.  According to what I’ve read, new players are assigned a campaign to participate in.  What if we get assigned different campaigns?  What if my guild of 20 wants to go play together?  How do we get into the same campaign?  Can we transfer campaigns instantly? All I’ve read is that transferring is “limited”.   Why are these even questions I have to ask?

Remind me why this system exists?  Remind me why the alliances exist, and why they are fighting on instanced battlefields but chummy in dungeons?  The Elder Scrolls Online should just drop this PvP charade altogether and go straight PvE; clearly their PvP is a tack-on.  I can’t understand why anyone would ever think these are good PvP design principles.  If I can see the huge problems this far away, why can’t the people in charge?  Who is deciding to forgo servers, one static battlefield, and a real sense of faction-based fighting in favor of this shallow disconnected and seemingly meaningless themepark nonsense?

Update: I removed discussion of point funneling because I believe the interviewer mistook “alliance points” for what I have recently learned as personal points which just happen to be called alliance points.  I don’t think the campaigns funnel points to see who is winning overall.  If someone knows more on the subject, I’d appreciate the clarification.

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Comments

  1. Even if I don’t care for pvp I clearly see the problem you mention. One of the rare times I have played lot of pvp was in vanilla wow..Funny cause I didn’t played lineage because of pvp but I played pvp in wow…Anyway, after some years I am sure I know why I liked pvp in vanilla and I also know when and why I stopped liking it.

    In vanilla we had server based battlegrounds. Every battleground I met the same people and I fought the same people. I knew the names of every player in my server, I had my friend list full and also used a notepad next to me in my desk for aditional notes. I also had a blacklist for enemies I was hating the most :) I wasn’t fighting for points or battlegrounds objectives, I had my rivarlies and had specific enemies to fight. I reached a point when just reading the name of the enemie in miliseconds I knew what class he has and how he is going to beat me..

    Once we moved into a x-realm battlegrounds I have started losing my interest. One by one games was more and more boring and the whole battle changed from known enemies, alliances and rivarlies into a “point score” game..

    But the problem of the megaserver and multiply instances of the world is not only a pvp problem but I see it being problem on PVE too..how is supposed a community to be forged if people are changing “worlds” here and there?Will I ever meet again with Jim that we did some group quests together and it was fun? Will I see him in the next leveling zone?(of course it has leveling zones, another problem and something not related to elder scrolls)

  2. @John: You bring up a point I didn’t even mention. Given the number of people who will undoubtedly play, you won’t have those familiar enemies. knowing my enemies, even by their looks (DAoC didn’t show names) gave us a rivalry on the battleground that sometimes was more important than the objectives. X-Realm / Megaservers destory that mechanic. Very good point.

  3. Imagine if DAOC used this moronic approach.

    “We just raided their relic keep in Emain Macha 22 and are heading back! How’s it going in Emain Macha 14? Still losing?”

  4. Keen,

    You probably overestimate how many people will play this. Sure you won’t run into the same people too often the first month, but this thing is going to set 3-monther records. This isn’t Ilum bad for RvR, but it’s certainly at least Warhammer City Battle bad. I’m sure you’ll be running into the same folks more often than not quickly enough.

    I expect most folks interested in the game for the RvR aspect of it will quickly return to guild wars 2 after trying it out for a bit. Unless the combat itself is just unbelieveable ground-breaking or something. I don’t expect that at all though.

  5. @Ferovar: I know. I can already see it now. Two months after launch people will be saying how 3 faction pvp in DAoC must be just a bunch of people blinded by nostalgia because it didn’t work the same in TESO. I can already see the comments here from people claiming times have changed and we can’t go back.

    If only people open their eyes right now and see why this is going to fail, and why it isn’t like past attempts which have worked.

    @Gali: No, I think even after 3 months there will still be enough people playing to have even less battlefield recognition than GW2. Gw2 at least puts you against static groups of people whereas in TESO (from my understanding) it really is a ton of instances separating the entire game’s population.

    Even WAR had rivalries early on because the same players were going up against each other in almost every major encounter.

  6. I may be wrong but I thought champions are just like servers? I remember they said once you join a champion you will not be able to switch to a different one without suffering some penalties (like lose RR points).

  7. @Rasli: That’s a mechanic I wish I understood a little bit more. From what I have been reading in interviews, like the one on Massively for example, it’s clear as day that players can be funneled into different campaigns and that multiple versions of Cyrodiil will exist.

    I’m trying to figure out how Champions will solve anything other than lightly alleviating the issue of playing iwth a bunch of random people every time.

  8. I’ll be surprised if there are more than 2-3 full RvR instances, with another 5-10 partially full w/ one side dominating by month 3.

    I’m certain you’ll be finding enough ability for player recognition on most nights by that point. Of course, the RvR game will be in it’s death throes too, so nobody will care.

  9. Howdy Doody says:

    One of the terms I hate in the industry. “Mega Server”! If it’s instanced, why do I care if it’s on one mega server or a farm. Instanced is Instanced!

  10. just wanted to correct you on this part Keen :

    “When you hit level 50, you can go to the other faction’s PvE areas. At that point you’ll be able to communicate with the other factions, and even make friends and run dungeons/play with the other factions.”

    you will not be able to communicate, or even see the other faction as you will be in a phased/cloned version of that area where upon you will only see others from your own faction who are there at the same time.

  11. @Merketh: I think we have some conflicting info.

    Here’s what was in one of the interviews/articles:

    Sage assuaged most of my fears, however, when he mentioned that once you hit level 50 and decide to play in another alliance’s areas, you’ll be able to play with friends in that faction. So at the endgame, things begin to open up and you can group up, chat, and run dungeons with players of other factions. The one area where things remain separate is, of course, the Alliance War in Cyrodiil. [Source]

    As I mentioned in the beginning, if the media/press have their facts wrong, or someone at ZeniMax is passing on the wrong information, that needs to be clarified asap.

  12. I tried to tell people the same thing when TSW and GW2 were coming out. People saw “three-faction pvp” and assumed that meant it would be implemented just like dark age of Camelot. I said back then, and I’ll say again here that persistence and differentiation are essential elements to this sort of pvp system. TSW’s problem, other than not focusing on pvp at all, was the lack of persistence in the world. They had their different factions, but the battles were instances and always resetting. Guild Wars 2 promised to swap your server enemies, essentially making them impersistent, but what really killed it was a lack of conflict. You were basically fighting a bunch of parallel universe dwellers who had gone through the same experiences as you.

    It looks as if TESO is going down the same road. It’s sad to me that I had the most fun in warhammer pvp than any game since warhammer came out. The reason isn’t because warhammer had an amazing pvp system (though I am a huge proponent of some of its design choices) but rather because I got to know so many people playing it, and had a lot of friends and rivals and enemies.

    However, it could be tough sometimes for a developer to perceived the same things that players do. I often wonder if it happens so often that devs say “we’re going to do things this way, and it’s going to be great,” only to later think of something like population balance or severely limiting player content or the woes and torments of figuring out which of the thousands of servers your friends could be on because you can’t chat with them briefly over the Internet to find out (he said, rolling his eyes) and decide to change, alter, and pervert good design choices.

    When I heard TESO had a system in mind to get players into enemy territories after the somewhat large backlash of incredulous potential subs, I thought it would be something clever. Nope. It’s a really stupid and arbitrary kind of system. Oh, you hate these people, and you’re trying to kill them, but it’s cool, you finished 90%of the content at home, so you can pick ONE new faction to go to! No desert till after you finish your vegetables! Arbitrary systems can be just as annoying and immersion-breaking as anything else in an MMO.

    So, how do devs deal with these problems without creating bigger ones? Are they even really problems? Some would say they aren’t. I’m not one of them. Of course I think that population balance is an issue in open world faction based pvp. However, there are ways to deal with it without creating another problem. Of course I think limiting content that players receive because of faction locking is a problem. It’s not so much that players would feel nipped (though I’m sure some would, even if each faction had more content than all of world of warcraft, which is about a metric buttload) but rather the effort and resources put into creating that content. Creating three separate pieces of equal-quality and -quantity content is a huge task.

    I sure hope Camelot unchained gets funded. And I hope even more that it will deliver.

  13. Gankatron says:

    “Problem: Developers getting involved in who is winning? HANDS OFF the battlefield! That’s the entire point of having three factions: let the battlefield balance itself. So not only are there population caps, but the developers can choose to, at their discretion, help the people losing.”

    I am going to play DA here and claim that this actually is likely a good thing. I’ll even guess that they are doing this after learning from GW2’s pitfalls, which would be commendable as learning from previous mistakes is needed to advance the genre.

    RvRvR was imbalanced and initial imbalance feeds further imbalances until it all spirals out of control leaving RvNilvNil.

    I contend that the benefits of continual balanced game play for all factions involved outweighs the benefits of a feeling of dominant victory for a single faction.

    GW2 had permanence in a sense, but that was often the unfortunate realization that you had better take off your gear in preparation for the coming week of lop-sided ass-beating.

    In short I would rather have a situation where whenever I decided to join the battle I could get into a balanced skirmish, as opposed to potentially facing either an overwhelming victory or losing scenario for the foreseeable future.

  14. here is my rant on the bogotters article from massively.com
    http://massively.joystiq.com/2013/03/19/the-elder-scrolls-online-interview-paul-sage/#continued

    and my rant..
    “…not sure how this works? you can explore and do content in enemy territory and its meant for solo play? how is questing in enemy territory BY YOURSELF considered good for solo play, is pvp disabled in these zones? This is one red flag. I myself am a PvP player, so I’m asking this from a PvE player mindset. I would be concerned if I was PvE humping care bear.

    I also dislike how they keep reiterating that Cyrodil, their “PvP/RvR” zone or however you want to phrase it is so massive. So what? Size counts for nothing if you don’t have the appropriate content to fill it (or the players). This is another red flag. Trying to entice your would be player base with this sort of gimmick might have worked on me in the past but after so many failures I will not be fooled again. What happens when this super awesome “mega server” starts to hemorrhage players, suddenly this massive RvR zone seems even too big because of the lack of action within it.

    Also I’m not sure how these million dollar game development companies are having such an issue with this culling problem. Meanwhile, I’m logging on to the wreck that is Warhammer Online and getting in keep sieges with 100+ players on my screen (lol i know right?) and every single one of them loads. This confuses me.

    I almost stopped reading the article when he mentioned that you can play with “friends” on the opposite faction and do dungeon runs with them? Are you serious? Playing with the ENEMY faction? WHY WOULD I FUCKING WANT TO DO THAT? Talk about ruining immersion. To me this is almost like saying “we expect our player base to bleed out in a few months, so in order to combat that we’re allowing cross faction pve friend humping to make it seem like we still have a player base.” Unbelievable. I had hopes for this game but this article has all but abated those hopes I’m pretty sure.

    “The game is going to get more difficult, and the gear is going to get better to match that.” – Gear treadmill, as to be expected. Was hoping one day a company might find a way to get rid of this but they way mmos are designed I guess it will never happen.

    Heres to hoping A Realm Reborn and Camelot Unchained are actually decent. TESO seems not.”

  15. and heres my K&G rant…

    this is going to be another themepark piece of shit mmo its going to ruin the elder scrolls franchise just like SWTORO ruined the Star Wars IP, which I didnt think was possible after the prequels had come out.
    they should have just focused on a multiplayer game with private/public games for up to 4-6 players. with game play from the last 3 elder scrolls games morrowwind/oblivion/skyrim and just called it elder scrolls 6.
    i hope something major happens and the studio gets shutdown before this disaster ever gets released.

  16. Any time you add instanced PvP to something that should be persistent, you ruin it. If winning is a matter of amassing points across all instances, you’ve complicated it and detached players from feeling a sense of accomplishment.

    I’ve been saying this for a while, but development teams working on major MMOs are morons. They are failing at the highest level of development.

  17. @JT your comment have a lot of hyperbole. Because they will probably fail on pvp(as any other game in last years) doesn’t mean the whole game will fail. It has some interesting pve things. I liked the game+ and the game++. Is like diablo style, where you replay again the content (or the content of another faction) in a more difficult mode with better loot..it will also have 30 Dungeons..It will have the guilds of elder scrolls where you can be part, advance ranks and unlock new abilities..

    if the world is really huge then I see it have a success in pve, which is what I care for. We still don’t know much about the crafting system also and how important professions and economy will be. I don’t have high hopes for sure but also cannot say that it will fail. And by fail what we mean?if it can keep 400-500k subs for long period it will be success in my eyes, while lot of people judge a game by wow standards.

  18. Keen, Merketh is fine look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGrflK6An6Y
    12:50 mark “while you are in those regions… you will only see daggerfall players that have completed the daggerfall areas”. Plus the way campaigns generally are understood is that they are like a server for the AvA only you do not switch them other than at a heavy cost. So when it comes to AvA you have to as it looks like you will need to make sure before hand that you select the same campaign as your friends. Plus campaigns from what I have read are not dependent on each other where did you get that info?

  19. @Alex Taldren: Agreed.

    On a TESO fansite I’m being raged at because they claim what I’ve said here isn’t true. My response is simple: Based on the interviews and news released yesterday:

    – Are there multiple versions of the same zone that players are randomly (or not randomly if a campaign needs more people) assigned? Yes.

    – Can players transfer to another campaign? Yes.

    – Are you PvEing with your enemy? Yes (pending validity of the interview)

    – Can we all be playing in the same world yet in one campaign we’re losing and in another we’re winning? Yes.

    To me that sounds like there’s no real alliance pride or sense of fighting in PvE alongside the same people you fight with in PvP. It’s almost like PvP (AvA or whatever) becomes a completely separate game — a side event — because it isn’t incorporated into the community; it’s detached. There is zero integration into the rest of the world if it all remains separated by random draw which campaign you participate in.

    @Kishmet: So there’s a dev telling one site you can talk to and play with other factions, and another dev saying you can only see players of your faction who have completed some story. Wonderful. As for the points thing, I’m questioning the validty of that as well. I think the interviewer mistook personal points for earning points for your alliance.

  20. Are you refering to an article or a video because I think an article saying that but what they stated there was not a quote. At most paraphrased so I am still a skeptic that you can talk to other faction members. Not saying I just like strolling into the other faction’s areas suddenly populated by my faction but at least I can explore them.
    The bit I refered to about the transfers was not at least intentionally referred back to my linked video. I’d still like to know where you read/heard that campaigns are interdependent and not seperate from each other (since that is what, after posting your questions on two ESO forums, people just did not buy)?

  21. @Kishmet: I don’t think they are linked. I have corrected that error, as did the article. Unfortunately, that’s even worse. Now they are completely detached from the rest of the game. You might be in Cydradiil A winning, and I might be in Cyradiil B losing. When we leave Cydradiil and return to the rest of the world, none of what we did in Cyradiil is connected to the rest of the community.

    I can’t decide if I prefer the points funneling to an overall victory or a detached and inconsistent separate game that begins to cease feeling like a connected MMO.

  22. I know what you mean Keen I guess I’m still wearing my Ring of Optimism and trying to see how this might work somehow (that’s your cue divine intervention btw). From the looks of it there is a lot of PVE stuff in Cyrodil as well so maybe if endgame is mostly located there you won’t have that kind of an issue and whenever you do it’s likeplaying Vanilla zones during BC and you just say that what happens in Cyrodiil is happening 6 months in the future from th POV of the faction areas? I don’t know but that could work

  23. TESO might be an awesome PvE game. In fact, I suspect it will hold at least a few months of fun gameplay. The actual PvP fighting might be fun too, but I can’t fathom why they’re ruining it all with a flawed long-term plan.

  24. I don’t think half of this article or its comments are true.

    Playing with opponents in opposite factions will not happen, that journalist misunderstood. I’m sure he meant play with friends (of the same faction).

    Also what leads me to believe this whole campaign megaserver vs is heresay is that the game is fully socially integrated… It just wouldn’t work if the game worked in the fashion you describe it here.

    I’m going to do some research but I cannot see how the majority of this can possibly be reliable information. However if it is, I agree the game will be ruined. I would estimate around 70k core players EU and its 2k per cirydiil.

  25. have you seen the IGN and ZAM articles of late? IGN said something with a dubious use of quotes that there will be no raids “as that is not Elder Scrolls”. Whereas ZAM demoted raids to the so called adventure zones which are not going to cut launch and made it sound like glorified world bosses that possibly might instanced (bullet points at the end. Worst case scenario we have a worse flop than SWTOR.

    http://uk.ign.com/articles/2013/03/19/the-elder-scrolls-online-just-might-be-awesome

    http://www.zam.com/story.html?story=32045&storypage=3

  26. @Kishmet: Yeah, some sites say devs have commented on raids. I have no idea anymore. All I know is when there’s this much confusion, something is fishy.

    @Kae0r: Well if you find any inaccuracies let me know. I think I removed the one blatant error, and clarified my wording on other issues, to represent what the majority of people believe to be the truth. PvP still seems disconnected from the rest of the game.

  27. There is no hope for TESO. I believe your first post about this game was about how they shouldnt bother with PVP and just focus on good PVE gameplay because they cannot do the PVP right. This is still true…

    In general, most problems can be solved in a somewhat reasonable manner but in TESO the PVP foundation is rotten to the core and it will be one huge mess. It will be nothing more than a big battleground…or…in this case…many copies of the same battleground.

    3-way RVR is the new sexy thing (together with sandboxes) and it just isnt enough to provide a good gaming experience. There are so many critical decisions to be made and if you just do not have the technical capabilities to do it right then you shouldnt do it at all. If your graphics are too good to put 200-300 people in one battle on screen then dont bother with any faction based open world PVP. It is a waste of resources. 3-way RVR is merely one small part of a sucessful faction based RVR and just because it provides some very specific advantages.

    You hear so many times how WAR failed because it didnt have 3-way RVR…that may have become a reason why it would have failed in the future but it never got there. It failed for other reasons – it never had the chance to fail because of the lack of 3-way RVR. Just because a game has 3-way RVR we shouldnt assume it will be good…it is one single aspect…there is so much else to screw up…as seem in GW2 and now TESO.

  28. “Why are these even questions I have to ask?” I had to laugh.

    All this confusion. The same tacked on PvP battlegrounds… I wouldn’t be surprise if you queued for BGs. There’s going to have to be a new word coined for how spectacularly this game is going to fail. Like flopdango.

    If SWTOR has shown us anything it’s that you can’t just bank on your ultra popular IP to make you money in the MMO world.

  29. This whole instance thing – it isn’t an ‘cross-realm instance’, each campaign is a server basically. Megaserver just sounds like BS – its just like encapsulating all WoW servers in one invisible umbrella server which the dev team can control to keep pop even.

    Done some research on your points:

    As the above states, the whole “you wont see the same people over and over” this will ofc happen as one campaign is just a semi-perm server, you just have a choice in picking your initial one. This leaves me wondering what the point is in social integration unless it just helps you roll on the same server initially as your mates.

    On the ‘Developers messing with the battlefield’. In essence they will only add NEW PLAYERS TO THE SERVER. I found this quote:
    Sage explained that if the Ebonheart Pact on one particular campaign was struggling a bit, the devs could assign an influx of new characters to that faction to even things out. It’s not a perfect solution as those players may not choose to engage in PvP, but if one side gets too strong, the other two factions can work together to beat it back.

    Bare in mind Paul Sage is the Creative Director… not the RvR director… that’s Brian Wheeler.

    On the whole campaign/instance/server/megaserver thing i found this article:
    http://tamrielfoundry.com/2012/10/interview-brian-wheeler/

    Tamriel Foundry (TF): It was great to finally see some of the PvP, but one of the biggest shockers of the day was the megaserver announcement. That is obviously going to have logistical implications for how you handle PvP. Tell us more how you handle that unique challenge.

    Brian Wheeler (BW): When you sign up for the military in real life, you get assigned to a campaign and that campaign has a duration. It seemed to make sense to give people that same militaristic comprehension of how PvP in Cyrodiil would work in a mega server. There will be a campaign that you sign up for individually or as a guild. For as long as you go into Cyrodiil, you are going into that version of Cyrodiil and that campaign. You can always go help out your buddies in their campaign if they need help, but there is a bit of a restriction on that. We don’t want players to hop back and forth frequently to help out friends. We don’t want to have a situation where it’s like “OK, everybody flood this campaign tonight”. We have restrictions on that so that the campaign doesn’t get flooded and overloaded, also we want you to feel like while it is a megaserver, this is your home and your community. I want to play with these people that I see in this campaign all the time.

  30. If this fu*ks the game up i presume they will change it, after all they said if the people want it they will implement it.

    It seems like the majority of people in this post just want the game to fail which is a shame.

  31. @Kae0r: Basically just confirmed all of my points.

    – While the PvP isn’t cross realm, you’ll be playing in the PvE world with everyone. So the only time you’ll hopefully be going against the majority of the same people will be in the campaign you choose.

    – People CAN go to other campaigns and play in them.

    – I already stated only new players will be automatically assigned to losing campaigns, so that’s the same.

    The questions we want answered are:

    – Are the different campaigns connected in any way, or when I leave my campaign and you leave you campaign, and we meet up in the rest of the world, is there nothing connecting our PvP experiences?

    (It’s bad either way because they’ve jumbled everyone together onto one server, thus creating this disconnect between the community you PvP with and the community you PvE with.)

    – Can players from opposing alliances PvE together?

    If I wanted the game to fail, I wouldn’t be pointing out mechanics/features that will be the cause of their failure. ;) I will go on record right now (bookmark it) that if this system goes in, within a matter of weeks or a month, players will be complaining about how shallow, disconnected, and meaningless the whole game feels and a huge part of that will point right back at the themepark-arcadelike PvP.

  32. bartillo says:

    Some people will like it. People that pvp in games like WoW like pvping just for points or gear and will do it for that. they dont care about immersion or if theres multiple instances, they just want points

  33. @Bartillo: I’ll reply to you here with what I said on the forums in response to your same comment: People who like WoW PvP will continue to play WoW. The majority of people I have encountered who are looking at TESO PvP are wanting something like DAoC, or at least something new.

  34. There more info on the megaserver tech here – interview with Dan Dunham, Technical Director:
    http://tamrielfoundry.com/2013/03/interview-dan-dunham/

    I am comforted by the answer the first question. The questions he had to answer in designing the architecture of the server system; How do you bring in communities to the new single-server reality? How do you meet new people and not just have a stream of anonymous faces? How do you still have a group identity in a game this big? Lets all pray he nailed it.

    It seems you are a big fan of DAoC and I really want this to be DAoC2+MORE, I myself still play freeshards…

    All these Directors are part of the team which built DAoC and in practice these systems might be fantastic rather than how they sound on paper.

    Matt Firor – Game Director (DAoC)
    Dan Dunham – Technical Director (DAoC & WO eek!)
    Brian Wheeler – PvP Director (DAoC)
    the list goes on….

    I cant believe they will screw it up or should i say, screw it up to a point where the game is fundamentally broken beyond repair ;)

  35. I don’t understand why the even went the RvR route. Elder Scrolls has always been about the various guilds in the world of Tamriel. They should have built a big open RvR style map filled with destructible/damageable castles, keeps, towers, and resource nodes and cut loose everyone into it in a Guild v Guild setting. Each guild can claim one structure as thier own. Higher player cap possible because there’s no reason to ball up in a zerg with your realm… just your guild. Limit guilds to some population cap participating per guild. Folks would be spread all over the map. Let em fight over the various resource node fields distributed all over the map. All your gear out there is separate from the PvE world and crafted at stations in the GvG map w/ GvG resources. It is all damageable/destroyable over time, and the keeps and guild bonuses are all equally impacted by the resource nodes you can fight over. You get a baseline set of class appropriate indestructible equipment that keeps you from being naked. Heck, you could toss a few legendary pieces of gear out there that aren’t destroyable and are cursed (uremovable when equipped) until you’re killed and then they’re dropped as loot to be rolled on by the folks that killed you. There’d be no other gear like it and it would pass hands as the previous owner was killed. Those items would provide significant advantages to thier current owners and would be very visible. Items like that, and the GvG resources would be the only player looting. It’d be the only looting required. No GW2 Dolyaks. The players are the Dolyaks ferrying thier mined goods back to thier guild keep to shore up it’s walls or build it’s cannons or erect their guild leaders statue, etc.

    Give guilds thier own “talent tree” that can’t be 100% developed, forcing guilds to specialize to a degree.

    Support the whole thing with cool websites and Apps showing a guild leaderboard, current map status, and current legendary weapon possession, etc. Show exactly how many players are currently on the map, and how many from each guild is in there. The secrecy with this type of information is just dumb. Display it.

    Done, Just imagined a permanently self sustaining system that requires no more development effort ever on the metagame. Maybe add some cool additional items or siege weapons over time. Or refresh the map occasionally. Way cooler than any open-world persistent PvP done in years. Something like Eve’s 0.0 space, but on a DAOC type map.

    MMO developers just don’t even try anymore.

  36. and for the individual player, tack on a mercenary system. Let them into the map solo, but with the option of signing up to help an underpopulated guild for payment. Guild can remove mercenaries at thier leisure if they’re unhelpful or to free up space for guildmates that log on. Soloing merc moves on to earn money with a different guild. Add a bounty system, where players that don’t die for awhile build up big bounties (shown on leaderboard website too). Now there’s something for everyone. Guild and soloers.

    This stuff isn’t hard to think up. It all fits the Elder Scrolls IP way the heck better than an RvR game.

  37. @Gali: I agree. This goes back to what I was saying about PvP not being necessary.

  38. I don’t think the fact that players from different realms can play together in pve is going to be a big issue. Players from different servers in GW2 can already play together through guesting and yet players still feel a strong sense of server pride.

    I do think that players from the same pve world playing in different instances of RvR is weird though. It’s going to split community and really reduces that community feeling.

  39. @Rasli: In GW2 they feel that server pride because, for the most part, those are the people they see in chat on a regular basis. On a mega server, you’re just globbed together. The “campaign alliance pride” will only exist in that one zone. There will be a lack of unity — there was even in GW2.

  40. >> within a matter of weeks or a month, players will be complaining about how
    >> shallow, disconnected, and meaningless the whole game feels and a huge part of
    >> that will point right back at the themepark-arcadelike PvP.

    Duno about that. Bloggers will complain. Misplaced PvPers (the ones waiting for DF2 and wishing for DAOC2 (nothing personal (really))) will complain. My crystal ball says majority of the players (people who spend more time in a game than on the MMORPG forums) wont even notice.

  41. @Blargh: If it’s just the bloggers and misplaced PvPers, how do you account for SWTOR going F2P, closing the studio, and ousting the good Doctors?

    Was it those same bloggers and misplaced PvPers who caused WAR’s demise? The ‘majority of players’ left those games. How about Aion? Were the large number of players who left Rift and GW2 all bloggers and misplaced PvPers? No, of coarse not.

    The games have issues which go all the way back to decisions like this; decisions with consequences that manifest themselves shortly after launch.

  42. Realm pride is very important and so are your brothers in arms.

    Small scale example. Wow battlegrounds used to be like 1 server side vs the other side. I played a lot of pvp.
    If you played as a team you got noticed and invited to premades. Even outside the premades you learned to know the regular pvpers.
    The same thing goes for your enemies… You recognized them and some had infamy.

    Then they added multiple servers into 1 battleground and it all changed. Strangers everywhere.. on your side and on the enemy side.

    It no longer mattered to me.

    I have not played DAOC, but I can imagen what realm pride is.

  43. Argorius says:

    @kae0r: Your optimism is adorable…I remember when I was like that but after seeing game after game implementing stupid things and game after game “failing” on the RVR front, you start to see that nothing is certain. If it sucks on paper – it will really suck in game. Dont look at promises or what it could be – look at what they give you – what they give you now is a foundation that will not support a long term fun RVR experience. Also, don’t trust them to recognize a bad design – these guys have often huge egos…

    In a perfect world – they would have one big RVR area that could have thousands of players on screen – no doubt about it. Since this is not possible they have to make sacrifices – hence their “multiple copy” solution. Some sacrifices may be reasonable (lower graphics, keep to individual servers instead of a mega server) some are too much and you will not recover regardless of what you do with it afterwards. If you have to sacrifice this much to make your game – just dont bother with RVR – people wont accept a half baked version and that is where this is headed.

  44. I agree with Keen on the just screw the pvp. Focus entirely on pve and flesh out the content with the mega server and everything. I think that would be a much better alternative then being disappointed in crap pvp system, pvpers leaving and pvers leaving because of knee jerk class changes due to pvp.

  45. The only problem with dropping the pvp side of the game is that when leveling is done, it leaves … what?

    There is no raiding from what I’ve been able to discover.

  46. Blame the Elder Scroll’s purists for their bullshit propaganda for derailing all the things that made DAoC the perennial PvP MMO. Removing faction lock is going to be a huge mistake and AvA (RvR PvP) will pay deerley for it.

    As for the mega server, I got to have faith that Matt Firor knows what he is doing and this campaign thing will work out in the end.

  47. @Keen: WAR emptied when it ran out of content at level cap, SWTOR emptied when it ran out of content at level cap, and Aion (“western” version) emptied when it ran out of content at level… 10? 12?

    Agreed, lack of good PvP only accelerated the process, but the vast majority of players in those games, just like any other game, were PvE-ers/battlegrounders, and different/better PvP would not have helped with the attrition. Rift is surviving thankyou very much and it isn’t the good PvP holding it up. Or if you take the view that Rift is not surviving, again, its not the PvP dragging it down.

    Point is, if/when TESO’s playerbase plummets, the quality of the PvP will be a minor contributing factor at best. There will be a rabid TINY slice of gamers who will claim that (warning: hyperbole inc) it was lack of FFA full loot perma death PvP that killed it. Significant number of those would either a) have not touched TESO at all or b) have played it for all of the 15 minutes it takes to grab a screen shot and post an inane comment on a 5th rate blog.

    For the record, that last sentence does not include/apply to THIS blog and its author(s)

    As to whether TESO should have had PvP in the first place.. shrug?

  48. PS (sorry) agree on “just screw the pvp”

  49. This got to be a joke. Megaserver from the moment they used the word always looked like a technical solution looking for a non-existing problem

  50. @Thelg: BINGO! Best explanation I’ve read yet.

  51. If there is no rvr outside of the middle zone, when you level in other factions you are merely there to enjoy the new quest lines etc then your community will be your campaign/server. You will only see other factions on cyrodiil. If everyone is locked to a campaign… With one or limited ability to switch, this campaign is basically am extension of your server and you will be encountering the came opposite faction communities. Its like being on a server, I see no problem. It is not that case that you enter a random campaign instance each time you enter cyrodiil.

    My issue, though I’m not sure how it will play out, is that campaigns are temporary. They work on a points basis and reset when one faction ‘wins’. It seems more like a game rather than a perminant tussle for dominance. That said the keeps and what not, when the walls are down they don’t repair even when faction control is switched. Maybe it’ll work, there is no timeframe in place it could be 3/6 months at a time which might be OK. I am fairly attached to permanent non resetting BGs though

    I hated AV in WoW as a comparison but im hoping it won’t be anything like that, its too early to tell.

  52. Kae0r according to an interview Tamriel Foundry did on that only the point leading to Victory reset not the actual “who holds what plot of land”. And the campaign is multi staged with stage 1 being conquer enough stuff outside the imperial city to unlock it and then Stage 2 conquer the Imperial city (at least that’s the simplest way, you could ofc add more stages).

    Keen said something about you being gobbled up outside of PVP with everybody on the Megaserver and that’s not true either. It groups you on a shard with the default parameters being Guildmates > Friends > strangers who have a similar playstyle to you according to the several questionnaires you answer.

  53. Hmmmm not liking the way this is sounding. Getting flashbacks of Age of Conan, (I think the first mmo to implement a cloning zone system throughout the entire game). Not something I enjoyed or would want to ever experience in an mmo again…..EVER! It’s as if the developers totally abandoned the fundamental way a massively multiplayer online world is supposed to work. The concept is simple A. Massive number of people B. Giant world with stuff to do C. Insert said Massive number of people. That is all. The end. D E F G H I J K etc steps need NOT exist. The rest of the alphabet of steps added ruins the concepts that made the genre. A big world that people all play together in. Not a world of invisible barriers and hoops I must jump through first before I can play with the others. How a company going into the genre could get this so wrong is beyond me. I could care less about the IP if the core elements are broken this badly, I just won’t buy it.

  54. well I hate nstancing as much as you do but appearantly fixing the problems you have with rigid realms and not being able to play with you friends and what not is the new in thing… and it is a huge problem I’ll accept that. What I do like about ESO’s approach is that it is exactly adressing that issue by putting you in wth frieds and guildmates and other who like to play like you. That’s good. And it will make sure there are no empty instances either so it merges or splits them as neccessary.

  55. I drew a picture as to how i think it might work:

    http://postimg.org/image/3ztdjasn1/

    full forum post discussing the above here:
    http://forums.bethsoft.com/topic/1450792-problems-with-ava-due-to-the-campaign-system/

    I guess the way I depict it means that each faction has a MASSIVE area to explore rather than splitting a server into 3 and only having a small area to explore. Thinking of it like that it really excites me and the only thing that pains me a bit is that i will never see another factions low level characters leveling up. Only 50s in Cyridiil… and all players will be locked to one Cyridiil server so you still fight the same and build rivalries etc.

    I can see how they may have gone down this route, it makes sense. There is a massive server dedicated to RvR and PvP with dungeons and world PvP… why would you need to go into another factions area full of the other faction who you cant even attack??

    it also bodes true as, when you move factions the devs have already explained that they will be up scaling all the mobs levels and quests to be 50+ so that points towards my prognosis being correct. No under 50s would survive…

  56. xenovore says:

    I see “instanced” or “phased” and I’m instantly annoyed, whether it’s PVP or PVE. And with all the other weak design choices I keep hearing about, I can only conclude that TESO is going to be absolutely nothing like what I expect out of a multi-player TES game. It’s going to be another superficial, theme-parkish MMO along the lines of SWTOR; i.e. it’ll look pretty, but the game-play will be inane suckage. And the community, virtually non-existent. Forget it.

  57. Why anyone things TESO will do any better than SW:TOR is beyond me. They even talk about pillars in their interviews… DOA does not even begin to describe this money black hole.

    The only notable shame is the IP, because the sRPGs have always been solid, and Bethesda does it right. Having a different studio tarnish the IP they build is unfortunate; hopefully the cash they got ends up being worth it.

    As for the PvP, why is this a surprise? 15 years of the genre has driven home at least one thing; PvP is hard to design. Considering TESO won’t get PvE right (feel free to link back to this a month after release), why expect anything from the PvP?

    At least we get to see the usual blogger/comment dummies trying to defend it or explain it away, but even that is a bit of a broken record.

  58. Imakulata says:

    I apologize for asking but what is the problem with PvEing with players you are PvPing against? The thing that comes to my mind is players would grief other factions by having “accidents” that result in trouble for other factions’ players, even though I’m not quite sure how that is worse than ganking. I also think this can be remedied by GMs punishing players who are prone to such accidents.