Of World PvP and Battlegrounds

The thought of world PvP and battlegrounds has been on my mind lately as I think on the subject of dynamic content and experience games like Rift and WoW with their battlegrounds.  We really hashed out this subject a lot when WAR launched and we saw the immediate negative effects from their scenario/battleground system.  Over two years later we are still seeing games launch with battlegrounds while trying to emphasize that there is open-world pvp too.   The two can not co-exist as they are.

World PvP should create a sense of connectedness between players, to both each other and the world they’re playing in.  When done well, and even poorly sometimes, it changes the world for players or at least their perception of it.  Is it dangerous?  No longer accessible?  Something I want to claim for my realm or want to defend lest it be taken by the enemy?  These feelings are then experienced 24/7 — or at least they should be.

What happens when you introduce a system that compartmentalizes PvP is that you take away those feelings, thoughts, or desires.  You take away the connected feeling between the players and most definitely the world.  Another problem that arises from the battleground system is that you often see them mistakenly being the source of the best rewards.  Now we’ve lost the experience and the drive to be apart of your world and interact with other players.  It’s been replaced by the path of least resistance, the desire for improving oneself and the selfish nature that comes along with it.

Themepark designed games thrive upon this idea of creating ways for players to want to focus on themselves.   They also focus heavily on the path of least resistance and upon variables they can control.    While I won’t say that this is a bad thing, because clearly millions love it, I will say that I believe there is a viable alternative and in my opinion a better way to present PvP.

Dark Age of Camelot accomplished something that many overlook.  DAOC could easily be considered a close relative to the themepark model.  The PvE zones or realms were like continents accessible only by your fellow realmmates.  There was absolutely no PvP that went on in the world.  It had dungeons, albeit not instanced but rather open, and a few quests, grinds, rare spawns, and in its good ole days only a minor drive (yet still a drive) for better gear.  However, it also had another focus.

Accessible only by a portal, DAOC had these places called Frontiers which housed the entirety of the game’s PvP.  For all intents and purposes, these could be looked at as 24/7 battlegrounds.  They were ginormous though and at times felt bigger than the PvE lands.  In them were Keeps that could be claimed and defended.  What else was in the zones?  There were PvE mobs that provided some worthwhile benefits like EXP that people wanted.  These frontiers also housed Relics which were inside large keeps called Relic Keeps.  These Relics bestowed upon the owning Realm gains to various things like EXP, damage, etc.

DAOC also had battlegrounds, yet they were not like WoW’s battlegrounds.  These were like miniature versions of Frontiers and no bigger than Alterac Valley if it were squished wider.  A keep was in the center and it was vulnerable 24/7.  The goal?  Own the keep.  That’s it.  It was one of the biggest successes of DAOC and spawned the battleground phenomena.

The point of all that DAOC talk?  DAOC seperated PvE from PvP and made PvP voluntary.  At the same time, they created such a large open-world PvP frontier that players forgot they were separated.  They also created a desire to go there to PvP because of relics, guild and personal prestige, the fact that it was the only area to PvP, and because players took pride in owning the land.  There was also the fact that the best PvE open-world dungeon became available to only the realm that currently owned the most keeps.  Note: Physical ownership of keeps mattered and there as no ridiculous point system for zone ownership.  Your realm owned a keep or it didn’t.

Why then can’t this work in themepark games?  The answer is that it most definitely can work.  It can work in themepark games just fine and absolutely thrive in the more open or sandbox styles.  The small-scale focused compartmentalization and reward taking the focus off of the world and the connection between players would just have to go.  It’s a complete opposite of everything world PvP tries to accomplish and actively inhibits it.

I’m anticipating that within a year we’ll see a studio announce a pseudo-themepark pseudo open/sandbox like DAOC with PvP being separated from the world and voluntary, but woven into the game’s soul.   LotRO was soooo close it hurt with the Ettenmoors.  All they needed were more meaningful claimable objectives (like Keeps) and a more fleshed out Monster system (ideally 3 sides).  It’ll happen soon and it will, hopefully, open some eyes.

  • Battlegrounds as they stand are nothing but arcade game versions of PVP. There is no over-arching strategies involved, and often times they promote less fighting when you mix in PVP with objective scenario type battlegrounds.

    If you want to see the definition of failure when creating “battlegrounds”, look no further then WoW and Alterac Valley. PVP simply does not occur there.

  • First of all, the DAOC battlegrounds were not really “battlegrounds” as they are known now. They were really “Open-world PvP zones limited to players between level X and Y”.

    In WoW, there were 10 parallel universes of AV, WSG, AB existing at the same time – none of them directly affected the global world. They are really instances of “Game Rooms” for players wanting to PvP with no risk and I think most people today would agree that this is the bona fide definition of “Battleground” in an MMO.

  • simplicity is something i think lost in many MMOs today. instead they try to attempt convulsive systems to accomplish everything but end up with nothing. This is majorly effects open world type game dynamics most.

  • I absolutely love BG’s for precisely the reason you seem to dislike them, they keep the pvp out of way so I can focus on playing the game. Even in games where pvp is entirely voluntary, having to account for and balance around pvp makes for a poorer gaming experience for me.

    BG’s let the ‘lawl i pwn u’ kids have their fun, neatly compartmentalized away from the things I care about. So I can focus on enjoying the game, without having to be mad at other factions or players.

    In DAOC, there were players who Hated, Loathed, Despised people who they never even met, simply because they were one of the other factions. In wow, there are people who will kill someone of the opposing faction when they have no reason to, and nothing to be gained from doing it. Players like that are messed up in the head, and anything that keeps them away from me and my friends I’ll view as a good thing.

  • The only people that didn’t know it was a mistake to do BGs and open world PvP together in WAR were WAR’s developers. I hope you’re right about someone trying to put out an MMO with DAoC style PvP. With the current crop of MMOs I’m starting to think that I’m in such a small niche that all these developers are just writing me off. I’m playing the Rift beta and I want to reward them by subscribing for the revolutionary idea of having their game ready for launch but I can’t. The basic game theories they’re using for PvP are no different then WAR, if I wanted to play Rift I wouldn’t have quit WAR.

  • Completely agreed. Not sure what to add to this except that this imaginary DAOC2 HAS to have 3 sides. 3 sides is a problem for theme park though. DAOC style leveling was much easier to make then quest heavy game like WoW or WAR. I think that total development time of leveling PVE in DAOC is probably on the order of 10-20% of WoW leveling development time. This imaginary perfect game will also have to be made on the cheap side (estimating 300 to 500 thousand subscribers TOP) so this is a big consideration.

    @Michael clearly this sort of game will not be for you. DAOC had Gaheris for players like you, WoW has pve servers. Not every game has to cater to every player (recipe for failure over the last few years)

  • @ Michael
    You clearly don’t like PvP content, and that is fine. Some people simply do not enjoy that kind of game, such as Tobold. However alot of people who are not simple ‘lawl i pwn u’ kids, in fact as someone who enjoys PvP I sort of find that insulting.

    DAoC was an accidental success. It worked for a couple reasons that when thought about make perfect sense, but at the time no one really would have guessed.

    The Frontier’s had extremely good EXP spots. This got people out their leveling.

    You Frontier’s had points of value, not just interest. They bestowed rewards on your realm for having them. You didn’t get the reward for TAKING them, you got it for having and keeping. This is why keep swapping was never even considered.

    Three factions offered the players the ability to create alliances when 1 faction grew to strong. This enabled a very strong sandbox feel to the over all community. You could actually participate in politics.

    It was persistent. The Frontier’s didn’t reset every 10, 20, or 150 minutes. They stayed how they were until players changed them.

    I could go on and on about DAoC, but I think these were some of the most important features as to why it worked. Other developers have tried to copy some of these features, but they are doing it wrong. You can’t just copy one or two features from a game and expect the same results, especially when you alter the feature. You have to understand WHY those features worked and how they relied on each other to motivate the gamers in the right direction.

  • As a lover of consensual and balanced PvP (not a fan of open world gank fests), I loved DAOC mix of battlegrounds and contested zones. It just worked so perfectly.

    I was really hoping for the same thing from WAR but was severely disappointed that everyone just queued for scenarios because they were quicker to level through. The rest of the game was barren and it was a real shame.

  • Im not a huge fan of Claimable Objectives. After being out of DAoC for 6 years now (I played for 2 years on Guin) I can safely say I despised DAoC PvP. It is to reminiscent of WAR PvP and I hate despise and loathe any thing promotes Zergyness.

    Battlegrounds do one thing and one thing well, it promotes and fosters fairness in numbers and balanced populations in an unbalanced world.

    I lvoed runnign gank groups but the thing was we spent 75% or more of the time runnign around looking for people to kill, as you dare not venture out into Emain Macha since you were liable to get zerged.

    And dont get me started on Mile Gate camping and 3 minute Crowd Control, Training the targets down one at a time. I did love DAoC at the start but I never ever look back with rosey tinted glasses becasue I see what the past held for me.

    Any game that comes out that fosters unbalanced open PvP objective driven zones will fail IMO.

  • @Thallian: Yeah that wasn’t clear at all, sorry. The Ettenmoors had those keep-like things, but it wasn’t definitive enough as a claimable keep, at least when I played. The zone was also too small without any significance. It also needed to ditch the idea of monster players or flesh them out more to make them compare. I’m revising that part of the entry to reflect my clarification.

    @Branith: Thing is, DAOC didn’t fail and as you pointed out it promoted zergs. In fact, I feel it spawned (no pun intended) the term “zerg” as used in PvP since it supported the largest number of players in PvP at a time from any game I had ever seen previous. Yet at the same time, it also promoted the roaming 8 mans and the gate camping (which I loved). It managed to foster all those things simultaneously.

  • @Branith Zerg is a lifeblood on such game, without a zerg you get an elitist only club that kills the game. I loved the 8man but for it to be fun there had to be a 80 man zerg that catered to more casual players. Zerg and zerg leaders in particular were the players who actually were maintaining and building Realm unity.

    There were things I hated about DAOC, things like parry and block being broken for almost 2 years. Pets going through everything (also god damn druid pets). Broken los in keeps everywhere. and tons of other stuff

  • I got 99 problems but a Zerg ain’t one. Sorry, couldn’t resist. In fact, jotting that down for a future entry. Zergs aren’t bad if the game supports them.

  • mmm these Frontiers sound exactly like the Mists in GW2. you know – where all “world PvP” will be located (as opposed to all PvE in the original world)

    ANet has mentioned something about capturing some locations and objectives, but is yet to reveal more.

    There are differences of course – there are no 3 fixed realms, rather each week 3 servers are paired to participate in PvP in the Mists.

  • I think that “World PvP” v. “Battlegrounds” is the wrong way to make the distinction. Though it is a little unintuitive , the best “World PvP” I’ve had has not resulted from saying “Gee, I’d really like to go do some open PvP, I’m glad this game supports it” Rather, it emerges from other goals.

    I think EVE Online does it best, and I’ll illustrate what I mean by giving an example. Lets say I (or my small corporation) want to become the most well known crafters in a region of space. We have several options, we can engage in purely economic warfare, and try to get to the top that way. We can go closer to the source and engage in attacking whoever is supplying the competition with their materials. We can hire mercenaries to do that if we don’t want to our selves (thus hiding the intent behind the attack perhaps!). We can get ahold of key crafting blueprints that no one else has access to or deny those same blueprints to our competition.

    This “World PvP” can actually gave NO “physical” violence if done certain ways because the PvP emerges not from the mechanic of “hey lets shoot at each other” but rather people genuinely competing in the game for things. I’ve had long stretches of very meaningful PvP in EVE Online while barely even flying a ship with an offensive weapon.

    That doesn’t mean meaningful PvP is never just pure fighting/war but I think that if you design the game with “hey, people should fight over this stuff” it really isn’t all that impressive in the context of a whole MMORPG. (I think there are exceptions to this rule, but I would say they are probably outside the MMORPG genre, such as Planetside, or World War 2 Online, but I really think you are trying to hone in on RPGs and not shooters).

    I’m not sure this is 100% coherent because i haven’t typed it up before and the point has sort of been floating without form through my head, but I’d be interested to hear what other people have to say about it.

  • @Mala

    I agree 100%. PvP shouldn’t be just about, take that keep. It should be about politics, trade, crafting, and all those things. Developers are focusing to much on straight forward confrontational PvP. They are just looking at one aspect of PvP and trying to make it work for an entire game. Game communities don’t flourish off of one feature.

    I would LOVE to play EVE, I even tried once. It has such a high newbie learning curve I didn’t stick with it. (other games were funner/easier to figure out) This is probably the reason, I feel, that alot of people don’t play EVE.

    In the end meaningful PvP doesn’t stem from just a well placed carrot, but it also factors in everything it took to get you to the carrot and the garden in which the carrot is planted.

  • @Mala: You’re describing one of the beautiful results of a sandbox game. I agree, it’s amazing when it works out.

    I’m speaking strictly to the “let’s go out and stab each other” PvP here, though, since I’m trying to broaden my thirst for meaningful world PvP to themepark style games (the dominant model today). Technically I’m speaking also to the romantics like myself by trying to put forth the idea that some people do care about owning territory and having relics as sort of a “we’re better than you” carrot.

    Somewhat related to what you’re saying is DAOC’s Darkness Falls — the best PvE dungeon in the game that I mentioned. Often our goal was “we want this dungeon” and then we say “how do we get it?” The answer is to go out and help those PvPing to procure more territory than our enemies so that we could go right back to PvE. Did we have to PvP? No, but by doing so we had other rewards supported by the game.

  • Zergs dont promote skill, which is why I hate them. Sure they might be sort of fun as long as your not a melee, then they are fucking horribad.

    However I would much rather have balanced small scale battles of which battegrounds and Arena type settins offer vastly more skill based PvP combat.

    Now I am all for Open world PvP as much as the next guy and I feel that a frontier based system like DAoC can deliver it the best but the reward vs risk must be on par as skilled small scale PvP combat. Things like Darkness Falls and to a certain degree the relic bonusses is what made DAoC fun, however to me keep capture and defense coupled with milegate camping and zerg warfare as a melee character was hooooooooorible.

  • @ Branith
    This is not rose tented glasses what I’m about to say, though I can see that it may be perceived as such. One of the very first major PvP battles I did in DAoC, before Darkness Falls or any other major patch… was a 100 vs 100 zerg at a gate, I guess that was the Mile Gate you’re talking about.

    The Albs and the Mids just spent hours killing one another, then after each battle the winner would fall back and let the loser rez. Both sides would regroup, and BAM do it again. It was a chaotic zerg but we were describing it as the Braveheart charge at the time.

    The existence of a roaming enemy zerg creates a community on your realm. You have to band together or die. That is the whole Massive part of the game. Even WAR was atleast able to hold on to that part. Pick up PvP groups in Frontiers was never a hard thing to find. It created a bond, that whole Realm Pride thing. 8 man groups were fun, but 8 man groups didn’t make the realm.

  • I think that is the issue. Open World PvP requires a large army because the bigger your army the stronger you are. This helps foster a team or realm spirit/pride. Your army is fighting the other army over items or points of interest that have a lasting impact on your realm.

    On the other hand instance BGs create a very balanced type of encounter that require no real concern for your faction or realm as the outcome of the instanced BG has no bearing on the rest of your server.

  • I have a similar memory Epiny of about 400 (about that, we almost crashed the server at 450) sieging not a relic keep but just a normal one. We held out for three hours of non stop mayhem.

  • @Mala & @ Keen:
    I agree about the need for economics to have high importance in a PvP sense. And Darkfall (the pvp 1 realm access only dungeon of DAoC) provided that, as the tokens that dropped were valuable to all. They were used to purchase gear from the in-dungeon venders which could then be salvaged for it’s base materials. So whether you were a crafter or someone just there to farm tokens to sell, it was win-win for all. It satisfied both the pvp crowd and pve, which is a goal I’ve not yet seen satisfied in any mmo pvp since DAoC (although I haven’t tried eve).

  • 3 factions, centralized pvp zone, pvp objectives, classes that were dependant on other classes, immuniy timers. DAoC was successful for alot of reasons, but look at what those design decisions did to the output. In DAoC you could log on and decide whether you wanted to zerg/seige, run a group, or go it solo. It provided for 3 different types of pvp experiences all in 1 zone. No other game I know of can provide that. Forget whether you prefer 1 type over the other, an MMO should give you all 3, heck it should give you those same 3 choices on the PvE side too. . .in fact it should offer all 6 choices during every phase of the game. I should be able to log in at lvl 14 and decide that today I’m going to do some raid PvP for awhile and then I’m going to solo some mobs, then group pvp.

  • @Keen

    From a “theme park” standpoint I actually think PvP and PvE need to not be separated in the minds of players to work out. The number one thing people hate is when PvP infringes on their PvEing. If a game could get people shooting for goals (even theme park goals), instead of it being delivered via quest, I think it would be better off, but maybe even that itself is sandboxy.

    Let me put it another way. You were talking about Rift invasions lately and I made a comment that really a Rift dropping down on you while questing isn’t much different from getting attacked by some player if PvP is on, and it seems like a lot of people have just as much problem with those randomly spawning Rifts as they do PvP because it gets in the way of their goal (completing the quest). If we could give people bigger goals in a zone maybe, this would work out better?

    Random example: Imagine you are in a zone in an MMO. Your sides goal is to get a certain amount of resources collected, maybe ever 10 resources you are responsible for collecting, you get a small bonus xp and an item or cash reward (similar to the quicker ding feedback of quests). Now imagine rifts spawn and start lowering your count by pillaging your stores, and for resources you protect you also complete those “quests.” It seems like you could construct some kind of “structured” system which would give people the kind of short term quest -like goals they like, with frequent rewards, and all at the same time allow random elements (whether hypothetically PvE or PvP) to play a role without discouraging people.

  • @coopertopper:
    minor correction: the dungeon is Darkness Falls, (Darkfall Online is another ‘almost great’ game IMHO)

    I totally agree with the benefits listed above, as well as the satisfaction dervied from the ‘realm’ goal to gain access.

    Since I’m enjoying memory lane, I’ll also point out that there was the realm bonding experience known as ‘clearing DF’ (darkness falls). As great as it was PvEing there to aide in my crafting, I always enjoyed the hunt for enemies from the other two realms who choose to remain in the dungeon after their own realm lost access. Knowing some enemy was killing our low level realm mates caused me to lurk about for hours at times trying to make the place safer to hunt. Of course, I also loved returning the favor and hunting the enemy after we lost access!

    There really is something to be said for a limited access, shared zone. Hopefully there will be similar implementations of this in future games.

  • Uh.. let me send out this crazy idea.

    Happy Fun Guyz should do a comeback to DAOC. If only to relive the BG’s and claim one keep.

    I miss Thidranki so much 🙁

    I was really disappointed during Rift’s Beta 4 when i saw that the Warfronts were copy of the non-persistant WAR scenarios. That killed it for me.

    I want DAOC’s battleground / frontier in a new 3 sided game.
    and 20+ unique and easily identifiable classes 😛

    Daoc, how i miss thee


  • @anyone who disagreed with me. Did you play a non-melee class? Becasue I can assure you that playing melee in these huge zergs is nothing more then being cannon fodder to all the ranged.

    I played a Smite Cleric on Guin and it was semi fun zerging, but as soon as I got my melee Friar to 50 the whole MG and zerg camping wasa huge turn out.

    I pretty much sat in the back being the anti-stealth ganker and it was fun at the time but in hind sight I realize it kinda sucked. Melee is just not enjoyable in large scale zerg warfare.

    Dont get me wrong I enjoyed the hell out of 8v8 gank groups, and clearing of Darkness Falls of the opposing factions, or holding out as long as possible but again msot of these activities involved small scale and more organized combat, of which I feel promotes skill abaove all else.

    But again to each their own I guess. After WAR I can pretty much guarentee i’ll never play a large scale zerg style MMO again becasue its just not my thing. WoW has only kept me engrossed for the last 2 years due to Arena. 3v3 Arena is by far the most enjoyment ive ever gotten from a MMO.

  • Zergs…. love em or hate em. Played a skald, druid, thane, blademaster (shield spec ftw), voidwalker, animist and a few other classes.

    Zergs were really a missed bag, when the alb zerg was out in full force, it sucked. When MG or BK standoffs started, it COULD suck. Though when the braveheart charge came and the albs were chased back to their BK, it was fun. (and then some tool aggros the guards).

    But when the zergs were balanced and on the go, it was fun. When 2 sides banded up to steal another’s relics, it was fun. And when the guild got together and 16-manned the zerg, THAT was fun.

  • Zerg experience depended completely on your realm’s organization. Being a lifelong mid on a very organized realm and playing Thane. Just as RAs got introduced mids on our server realized something, we had a TON of melee and very few casters.. so zerg vs zerg standoff especially vs hibs = lose.. So standard operating procedure of the midzerg became the all out charge. With the way daoc system worked in the open the charging zerg will win (interupts and giving your own casters and healers room to cast) so being melee I actually liked open field zergs.

    I actually have a theory on zerg warfare. John Keegan wrote a book on the History of Warfare where he describes different mode of war. The stadof zergs are the primitive cultures (the way primitive tribesman fight), as society evolve men prefer to close to the hand to hand seek decisive victory 🙂 so the more organized your realm was the more melee it would utilize.

  • Im playing wow at the moment, I picked an Alliance heavy server and made a Horde character.

    Hes 85 now and having great fun going to places where me and my friends know Alliance will be and just causing so much carnage that there is soon a big battle royale going on and its great fun.

    I do believe that world pvp could be and will be so much better though, whether it be WoW or another MMO and if I was Peter Pan, this would be my happy thought! 🙂

  • The problem I see with open-world PVP is that it is always unbalanced. You never have equal numbers and its always some bottom feeders ganking someone 10 levels lower then themselves. BGs put everyone on an even playing field. BGs didn’t kill WoW, Arena killed WoW, along with the introduction of Resilience, which can be attributed to Tom Chilton, Tom is the anti-Christ of WoW. he has done more harm then good to WoW PVP.

  • @Trimethicon

    Spoken by someone who has very little MMO PvP experience outside WoW. Don’t take that personally, just realize that your view may be a little jaded. You also come off anit-WoW which hurts your credibilty.

    You can have EQUAL sides in open-world PvP. We did in DAoC. That is why the 3rd army is so crucial. You must have missed my post about politics. When 1 army grows to strong the other two band together.

    People who gank are symptoms of a larger issue. People don’t consider it a PvP server unless you can kill anyone, that shouldn’t be the case. It would be VERY easy to make someone say 10 levels below you unkillable UNLESS they are flaged as such. This is the system we wanted when WAR announced it’s PvP servers. Killing anywhere but if you gank in a lower Tier you turn into a chicken.

    Resilience was a bandaid for a much bigger problem, though I’m sure it seems easy to blame some figure head. Crits and burst damage was making the Time to Kill, TTK, to fast. Blizzard needed a way to slow it down. The Resilience stat also made PvE raiding gear less important in the PvP world. Thus creating two seperate gear progressions.

    Open-world PvP has been balanced before and it can be again.

  • I’m going to echo Kaybek about Planetside. The reason it was the best open-world PvP game of all-time?

    No stantard leveling.
    FPS-style combat that lacked auto-targeting.
    3 factions, each faction has 2 fronts to fight.
    Credit-based class system that allowed characters to specialize in specific roles (fighter pilot, heavy mech, tank driver, sniper).
    No PvE, which avoids the need to separate PvP from PvE.

    All these things neutralize the “zerg” discussion, as good players can really counter larger forces. And, the gear/dice-rolling that goes on in traditional MMOs is gone, leaving skill at the game to do the talking.

  • @AlexTaldren

    The problem is that Planetside is more of a MMOFPS than a MMORPG. FPS and RPG fans are not always the same group, though they can be. I agree that a game with no character levels and everything is based on player skill is going to be more balanced in respect to the zerg.

  • @Epiny:
    QUOTE: “When 1 army grows to strong the other two band together.”

    These kinds of politics are exactly what made DAoC great. In the beginning stunguard ruled the world (AoE Stun without an immunity timer). Then the hibs ruled, and finally the Alb Zerg-o-Tron.

    In order to win the other 2 sides would coordinate their efforts to take keeps, kill the zerg, and take relic keeps. And for the most part, 95% of the players on each side would
    obey the truce. Even in the chaos of tab targetting at a relic keep with 300 mids, 350 albs and 500 hibs (in the keep).

    Quote: “People who gank are symptoms of a larger issue. People don’t consider it a PvP server unless you can kill anyone, that shouldn’t be the case. It would be VERY easy to make someone say 10 levels below you unkillable UNLESS they are flaged as such. ”

    That flagging is somewhat important, but it also added the fun of XPing in the frontier. One often RVRed on a lower level toon in the early days, or a full group of lowbies would kill a high level ganker. (I once killed a RR10 Druid on a level 28 Skald alt, he got away from his group being wiped by another passing group, I chased him halfway to his Borderkeep).

    I think in the end, WAR failed due to a lot of factors, but a big one was missing out on the 3rd faction. WAR is all about diverse factions, that sometimes fight together against a common cause, but aren’t actually friends.

    I really crave DAoC 2.

  • It didn’t work with aion and the abyss. I think you need to put a one month moratorium on mentioning DAOC, because it sounds a lot like you want to make every game into it, and are romanticizing the ex-wife, so to say.

  • @ Epiny.

    You’re right; my only PvP experience was WoW – up until WAR, Aion, etc.

    But WoW hater? Nah, I’m a fanboy of WoW, not blind love, but I am very real about what the game is and was. I don’t play it anymore, I don’t like it like I used to, but I do think that it is the best MMO out there atm, the best MMO I have ever played was EQ1. Yes, that is why Resilience was inserted, but it created more problems then what it solved. And Blizzard has failed miserably at balancing the two, everything from PVP nerfs affecting PVE, etc. Then you needed two sets of gear for PVP and PVE, total mess. I cut my teeth going head-to-head against other people while playing deathmatch in Half-Life/Counterstrike, I like BGs because it allowed me the chance to jump in and jump out, not sit around corpse camping and/or waiting for enemies to leave so I could rez, or have 10 people cahse around 2 players all afternoon. I did some open world PVP in Warhammer and it was a blast, when the planets aligned, but those moments were rare. And I tend to believe that since no one has been able to duplicate PVP experience from DAOC that it was an exception, not the rule, regarding open world PVP.

    But, I don’t know – I had friends that played DAOC and they were always complaining about one side being too powerful, or having too many advantages, yadda, yadda.

  • @Dblade: Just because the two games have similar attributes or ideas does not mean that we rule out RvR because Aion failed.

    DAOC suceeded and revolutionized PvP for the industry. Aion did nothing and can be considered a failure.

    I don’t see how you can equate the two in any serious way. You can’t choose to ignore facts about DAOC simply because I mention it a lot.

  • I’ll expand a bit.

    “Accessible only by a portal, DAOC had these places called Frontiers which housed the entirety of the game’s PvP. For all intents and purposes, these could be looked at as 24/7 battlegrounds. They were ginormous though and at times felt bigger than the PvE lands. In them were Keeps that could be claimed and defended.”

    Aion’s abyss is all these things.

    ” There were PvE mobs that provided some worthwhile benefits like EXP that people wanted. These frontiers also housed Relics which were inside large keeps called Relic Keeps. These Relics bestowed upon the owning Realm gains to various things like EXP, damage, etc.”

    You can quest in the Abyss, and replace Relic with accessibility to quests. Benefits are abyss gear.

    “DAOC also had battlegrounds, yet they were not like WoW’s battlegrounds. ”


    “The point of all that DAOC talk? DAOC seperated PvE from PvP and made PvP voluntary. At the same time, they created such a large open-world PvP frontier that players forgot they were separated. They also created a desire to go there to PvP because of relics, guild and personal prestige, the fact that it was the only area to PvP, and because players took pride in owning the land.”

    The abyss is voluntary, although the rifts made it involuntary. But the Abyss is huge, and had a lot of the things you claim are benefits.

    Aion failed for other reasons, but it is very close to this ideal, and even at its best it didn’t work that well. It’s not a panacea to copy DAOC’s model of warfare. There are a lot of other considerations, and those ones sunk Aion.

  • @Dblade: A Hummer H3 and a Toyota Camry both have four wheels. They both have motors. They both use gasoline. They are both street legal. They will both get you where you want to go. They both have doors, seats, and gauges regulated by industry standards.

    Tell me, Dblade… is a Hummer a Camry?

  • As I’ve mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I’m playing Warhammer Online (WAR) again, and I think some of you guys need to come back and give it another go! It’s better. It’s not DAOC v2.0 (which, I, too, am waiting for), but it’s pretty fun and the Open-World RvR “Lakes” seems to work most of the time.

    Yeah, there’s still some zerg, but most of what I engage in is small-squad tactics — 4 vs. 4, 7 vs. 9 — about that scale. You can tell when you’re going to get zerged, and you can just go and fight elsewhere. The larger problem, as described above, is population imbalances. On my server, Iron Rock, there’s probably 3:1 Order to Destruction. Playing on the “winning” side is easier, so it’s a self-reinforcing problem. WoW had some of the same population balance problems (as I remember it), but it wasn’t as immediately apparent. WAR has a band-aid fix where you get extra exp and renown if you’re on the outnumbered side, but that doesn’t stop you from getting stomped, so it’s hardly a good fix.

    I agree with all the comments about mixing Battlegrounds and Open-World RvR; the worst element of WAR, in my opinion, are the scenarios and perverse rewards from the related reward system(s). People queue up to intentionally lose (just standing in the starting area) because losing is easier than fighting — and the reward isn’t all that different. I remember the same thing happening in WoW — people devising ingenious macros to prevent themselves from getting booted while doing nothing but farming renown or reputation off the efforts of others… The problem with Battlegrounds, which hasn’t been discussed, is PREMADES vs. PUGS. This is a major problem in WAR scenarios, and elsewhere as well. Suddenly you have even numbers (so it’s “fair”), but one side dramatically outskills the other (so it’s not). So then it becomes an elistist thing to get into the right guild to get into the right premade, etc.

    I’d love to see a game where it forced match-ups between players of equal SKILL not of equal levels, where the reward everyone is striving for is to be recognized as a player of high SKILL. Levels and related leveling mechanics are so artificial…

    One of my worst moments in WAR in the past month was queuing up for a battle (scenario) in the Inevitable City only to have 90% of my team immediately abandon the scenario once it was clear that we were fighting a well-organized group. It really left me feeling disgusted that not fighting was considered better than putting up as good a fight as we could have, even if in the end we lost… and people were actively looking for “empty” scenarios, where there weren’t any opponents, so you could get the rewards for winning for free. Now that’s a perverse system!

    It’s amazing to me how some relatively simple fixes would dramatically change things for the better in a game like WAR. Why is it that the players can see these fixes, but the developers can’t and/or won’t? There are some things that are still broken in WAR more than two years after launch that would be incredibly easy to rectify — why is that? Is it really so hard to fix them? As a player, it just seems so obvious what needs fixing and how… and so frustrating that they never get fixed!

    I wonder the same thing about DAOC v2.0 — it seems as if you could make that game easily by licensing various bits and pieces of already-existing code and then gluing it together. Basically, DAOC with a better graphics engine and less crowd control. It couldn’t possibly be that expensive to make that game, so why hasn’t it been made yet? All the 2nd and 3rd-tier MMORPGs that I have tried have been real disappointments because instead of seeing what has worked and then trying to improve on it incrementally, they all try to be game-changing and end up with some horribly broken system…

    I also really appreciated the comments above about EVE. While it’s intense — and has a crazy learning curve, nothing else I have tried created a more realistic sandbox experience. And the other unique thing about EVE — there’s only one server / universe!

  • @Dblade

    Having played a lot of Aion and DAOC. Here are the major differences between the two that really messed Aion up

    First good..
    1. Rifts were a blast

    Now bad..
    1. No 3rd faction (balaur do not count in any way..) this created a huge number of problems, population wise etc
    2. The gear progression.. from pvp, if you played the game you know how messed up this was. Hiding from pvp for the win..
    3. Quests are not relics not even close
    4. Dredgion has nothing to do with DAOC batlegrounds whatsoever
    5. Fortresses siegeable only at certain times, massive wave zergs
    6. Flight. Made certain characters very hard to play, learning curve of pvp in 3d was just way too much for most people

  • Keen, thing is they both are built on the same ideas in your post. The abyss is very much along the ideals you mention: that you have to bring in stuff specific to one game means the general concept itself isn’t enough.

    We’re talking about cars in general, to use your analogy. If you think every car should be a hummer, well…

    Epiny. Yeah it failed hard. But out of any modern game the Abyss is as close to Keen’s ideas of realm pride and a stand-alone battlefield with keeps and designed to give you pride in your faction. That alone wasn’t enough, and copying DAOC is like Perpetuum copying EVE. It wont have legs.

  • I agree that the creation of (small) instanced pvp zones in vanilla WoW took away from the potential for world pvp, but I’m surprised not to hear more comment about WPVP as it exists now. Your WoW guild’s server is among the best for WPVP due to the combination of RP and PVP aspects of the game. I am not sure how much you have looked into WPVP on ED, but over the summer I spent most of my play time engaged in open world battles of the sort I would think you might be interested in, based on some of your posts in the past.

    Yes, zergs happen, and I’m not sure if that is really avoidable in non-instanced pvp, but many of the battles I took part in (which was only a small portion of what took place) began as 5v5 or 8v10, and continued often for hours ranging over several zones as more and more players joined the battle. The lack of claimable objectives outside of towns to “hold” and force the opposing players to retake may detract in some ways, but in others it keeps the focus on the combat, not the building, and allows the battle to migrate. These battles have zero effect on the world itself, which I admit is unfortunate, but they do have an effect on the players and community, who discuss and argue them long after they take place.

    I’ve played WAR and Aion, I can’t speak to Rift, and I find that, despite it’s many flaws, WPVP in WoW when it’s present still has an edge due to the openness of the world and the combat mechanics. Most servers don’t have WPVP to speak of, even PVP servers, but there are some that do, ED among them. At the moment most of the focus appears to be on leveling and new content, but I’d encourage you to delve into it a bit more when the expansion has had time to mature. 🙂

  • Zergs are immensly boring and one of the major reasons I quit WAR (and Aion cos it was pretty much the same).
    Playing a Marauder I wanted to be good at taking down soft important targets fast, but the zergy RvR of WAR forced me into speccing AoE for the sake of being most efficient in a large scale zerg. Fucking boring and fucking retarded.

    I’m all for open world PvP, the most thrilling moments I’ve had in any MMO was while leveling in AoC. But those moments where 1v1s, 2v2s or 2v3s (we being outnumbered). And those came from running upon other people questing not people out looking for someone to grief.
    WAR oRvR gave me NOTHING, I felt like disposable cannonfodder running around in oRvR zergs, my contribution was some AoE that any other monkey could do.
    No thanks, give me smaller scale more balanced PvP. People will ALWAYS take the path of least resistance (aka zerg) if the game supports it and more importantly rewards them for it.

  • @Proximo WAR RvR lakes lead to a zergs that were hard to avoid, too many choke points not enough room to maneuver.. If those lakes were even 3-4 times in size the whole dynamic would change completely.

    Other problem was that small scale groups were not rewarded properly. In DAOC running a separate group and picking off people was much more profitable then running with a zerg. In WAR? farm scenarios 24/7 /yawn

  • The only one that i never played is WAR, except during beta.
    Well, my 2 cents:
    DAoC use a small BG system until lvl 49 (if i remember well), then you can go to Frontiers, were’s the real fun. BTW i played frontiers, e.g., with my lvl 4x minstrel and i was the minstrel (at 44!) of raid leading group during one of the most hard and long relic raid on Merlin (US server). DAoC has a korean and sci-fi clone, RF Online, with open world pvp. It’s a pretty nice MMO, you must give it a change.
    WoW start with 2 kid of servers: PvP (open world PvP) and PvE (with instanced PvP). But, after a few time, cowards win and… BG and Arenas everywhere, with no more real open world pvp… so boring. And, lol, i really must pay in order to play “Capture the flag”? OMG.
    Rift: ok, those are only beta sessions, but my only one warfront experience was really dramatic, because the map was realy, really small. Sigh… 🙁