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Thread: The MMO "Community", "PvP", and Conquest

  1. #1
    Ascendant Kyera's Avatar
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    Default The MMO "Community", "PvP", and Conquest

    Warning: This is moderately tl;dr, and you're bad at video games.

    The introduction of Conquest and the problems arising from the second day following its launch onward highlight a very real problem within the MMO community (if we can even still call it that). In effect, Trion has repeated the same error in community judgment that they committed, to some extent, with the introduction of PvP rifts (which should not have been a "failure" as many proclaim them to be) and, to a greater extent, the same error that EA Mythic made when launching Warhammer Online. The "product", in all three cases, was designed for a community that clamoured loudly, wanting an objective as a focal point/catalyst for the open world-style PvP they all said the craved.

    The problem, in all three cases, is that the community doesn't actually want to PvP.

    The modern MMO community -- and it's hard for me to put a date on it, but I'd say this style shift hit around the 2006-2007 period, as gear creep started to pick up steam -- honestly does not give two [expletives] about killing players for all of the reasons players, at some point in the MMO timeline, used to kill players: griefing, trash talking/bragging rights, challenge, or a larger-scale goal like faction pride/dominance. They want to PvP for one reason and one reason only -- working towards a carrot they're chasing -- and will only engage in the most time-efficient and easiest method of generating whatever currency, ranking, or drops they're hunting for, oftentimes trying to grind it out as fast as possible before complaining that it's "tedious" and that they have nothing to do when they hit the end game.

    Now, don't think I'm saying this is an entirely new problem -- even back in my DAoC days, you had people that would hop factions to chase relics and/or ride whichever zerg was dominant, or idiots that would farm each other for realm points, so these [expletives] as individuals are nothing new -- but the scale to which it is a problem has grown and grown and grown over the past five years.

    I first, personally, encountered the problem in great quantities in Warhammer Online, though not on my server (oddly). For those of you that didn't play Warhammer Online, it was a game with a lot of potential that was rushed and horribly mismanaged by EA after they turfed a bunch of Mythic staffers. The core PvP mechanics in this game were Scenarios (akin to Warfronts, only with far more variety) and a two-faction realm war system that hinged around conquering keeps and battlefield objectives with the intent of pushing towards and invading the enemy's capital city. While a good idea in concept, it was plagued by all of the usual two-faction PvP problems (namely no population correction mechanism), and had one other major problem in its early days: the first tier of PvP gear, Annihilator, dropped as a piece of loot from castle sieges (in gold bags, which were randomly assigned based on a nebulous contribution mechanism and a random roll). The other tiers similarly dropped from higher tier PvP/PvE conquests (killing mobs in instances was required for the top two tiers, initially), but they were still quite a ways off at the onset of the game.

    Ostensibly, this was to reward players for a successful siege; however, on at least one server, the 'chase the carrot' juggernaut reared its ugly head, as players from both factions (in large quantities) began to organize rotating zone/keep trades, alternating undefended keeps in a giant circle [jerk?] to get everyone their shot at PvP loot. Nobody gave two [expletive]s about Order vs. Destruction or curb stomping the enemy on these servers -- they just wanted their loot. This wasn't, of course, the only time Mythic made a bad PvP decision around chasing the carrot (the Sovereign gear redesign + RR90/RR100 cap increases come to mind), but it was blatantly obvious within the first few weeks of people hitting 40 and the end game. Considering Warhammer was marketed and pitched as a PvP game, yet one in which 95% of the population didn't actually want to PvP, it's not surprising that it struggled and eventually flopped when this was combined with bad decision making from the people in charge.

    Prior to the Conquest spawncamp, I honestly don't think Rift has had anywhere near the troubles with this that Warhammer ended up having -- namely because there wasn't a similarly exploitative way to grind prior to the Conquest spawn camp -- but there were plenty of tells that people in this game were a) driven by chasing a carrot, not a desire to PvP, b) going to cry about anything that was inefficient or slow in that "grind" to chase the carrot, because they don't actually want to PvP, and c) going to take advantage of any potential exploit to grind the [expletive] out of it and cap out as fast as possible, because they don't actually want to PvP.

    For example,

    * The grind "speed" debate: some people say it's too slow, and that they struggle because of a gear gap (which was only ever significantly large in the P1-P8 era, but I digress), while others say it's too fast, and they're bored/have nothing to do (because they powergrinded to the cap and got bored with "just" killing players).
    * The complaints about PvP rifts not being "fun", which in reality always hinged around how the rewards (aside from notoriety) sucked, and how they died off when people started to hit rank/rep cap -- again, because the carrot was gone.
    * The exploitative abuse of PvP rifts for favor/prestige generation, resulting in resets/rollbacks, because people weren't interested in playing them as intended -- they just wanted to get that carrot.
    * Prior to the abuse of Conquest spawncamping, the tears surrounding the gains in Conquest outpacing the gains from warfronts, and people talking about how Warfronts should see increased rewards because, without them, there's "no point in queuing warfronts" -- because they're an inefficient means to get to the carrot.

    (As an aside, the whole PvP vs. PvE, "make PvP stuff not work in PvE but keep my PvE BIS for PvP" pseudo-elitist stance fits into this in some capacity, but that's another self-destructive community behavioural trait that merits an entire discussion of its own.)

    Now, of course, we have the final ingredient in the [expletive] community carrot cake. Scrubs discovered that spawncamping is the fastest way to rank up in Conquest, so instead of playing the game the way it was designed/meant to be played, the braindead zerglings -- often disappointingly captained by members of supposedly "prominent" guilds -- beeline right for the nearest enemy spawn point at the onset of the round, eschewing the objectives and any semblence of interest in actual PvP (after the first wipe, it stops being PvP) or sportsmanship (another long-dead trait of the PvP community, held by non-griefers).

    Please don't think I'm trying to take any or all of the blame off Trion for the mess that Live Conquest is in its current state -- the performance issues (both in and out of Conquest), design w/ potential for abuse, and other such traits are on their hands -- but they're not the only ones to blame.

    In the end, the problems with Conquest come down to two things:

    1) Trion's seemingly naive or oblivious attitude towards the mentality of its players and erroneous expectations for player motives and behaviour leading to a flawed design; and,
    2) A [expletive] community: a growing trend in MMO gaming.

    So, hey, maybe while we wait for Trion to fix things on their end, we can step up our game to try and fix problem #2, though who am I kidding -- there's clearly no reason to do that.
    Last edited by Kyera; 07-02-2012 at 06:57 AM.
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  2. #2
    Telaran
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyera View Post
    Warning: This is moderately tl;dr, and you're bad at video games.

    Hey you call me bad, i no bad, you bad.... no seriously though alot of the problems with conquest is players need to be told what they are doing isn't right or gamebreaking, they can't just say wow maybe im not suppose to play it this way.

    I blame the sheep.
    IM BACK!

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    Pretty good write up here, I think a lot of the issue is in fact the chasing of the carrot. If there's a faster way to get to that carrot, then generally, people will do it. I, myself joined in on the farm fest on Sunday and doing warfronts in between. The thing about the farm fest is that you don't even have to attack, just standing close to the area is enough. Prior to that, I was doing warfronts + Conquest and trying to play it the normal way. I would not object if they rolled me back in terms of the favor/prestige (and items that I obtained).

    If the carrot did not exist in PvP at all (other than earning points to get PvP costumes I guess), and all players were normalized to have certain stats/gear levels in PvP, I would wonder how much participation we would have and maybe we would have a different type of PvP community as a result.
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  4. #4
    Champion of Telara Puandro's Avatar
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    This is why pvp systems that award you with better gear will always be a failure. Instead of just getting people participating in PvP because they like it you get people who just want to grind the gear.
    Gnarlwood - Belladonna - P50 Rogue
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    Im here for the PvE, not the unbalanced subpar PvP.
    Just Waiting...

  5. #5
    Ascendant Credo's Avatar
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    As far as I'm concerned you hit the nail on the head. The PvP Community died years ago and most that made that community jumped ship long ago. To be honest I might not be much longer myself, it's just not as fun as it use to be with all these immature little twerps with mommy/daddy issues running around in mass numbers.
    Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go curl up into a ball and cry at the memories of stupid keep trading in WAR.
    Even free cost too much now

  6. #6
    Rift Disciple saboikie's Avatar
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    Default Amen

    I can not comment on those earlier games, as RIFT is my first MMORPG, but I certainly echo these statements.

    I was excited about trying out my skill against others, when I entered my first WF, but soon discovered that this game is not really about player vs player. Gear plays such a deciding role, that you can have no fun (read exciting edge of the seat encounters against other players), until you have endured he seemingly endless gear grind. And this divide is vehemently defended by some members of the so-called 'PvP Community", who will use derogatory remarks such as "learn to play" etc. to defend their vastly superior stats. The fact that this deters many players from participating, or abandoning this fun-deprived component of PvP, does not seem to bother them one bit, as it somehow proves some sort of committment to "PvP" in their books.

    So, I can understand why some people will welcome or even actively seek a faster route to this level where you can actually become comptetitive.

    However, the way that Conquest turned out, has really stunned me. I can't actually believe that people can call this fun. Just where is the fun factor in repeadedly pressing the same button while auto targetting characters as they respawn, and have no defence what so ever.

    I simply could not force myself to partcipate in this, even as they realised how this could shorten the grind to the top. So, I am still a lowly R22, but somehow I have truly lost my initial enthusiasm for PvP in RIFT. I just don't find the fun in it I was expecting.

    I have played competitive sports in both individual and team capacities most my life. I have never encountered a situation where new players were expected to play naked or near naked against well geared opponents using sticks while their gear opponents used top of the line clubs. I have never encountered a situation where it was OK to jump on the face of the opponent over and over again as they were lying on the bottom of a pile up.
    The players I have played with and against over the years would never think it was OK to do that type of thing.
    Online Player vs Player seems to be about something vastly different than his, and played by a vastly different subset of people, who do not appear to be interested in a fair and level playing field when going up against their opponents, but instead do what we have seen in Conquest.

    I guess my expectations were off the mark. Too bad.
    Comox, R31, retired

  7. #7
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    Unfortunately this post nails it right on the head. A vast majority of the vocal player base quick to pass judgement and complain only want the shiny pixels and better stats and a way to somehow "prove" they are better than the rest by what they are wearing.

    PvP in any MMO is now purely about gear, nothing more. And in my opinion, PvP is the last thing that should be gear dependant. It's like people complaining about Ferari, Red Bull and McLaren winning all the races but then don't see anything wrong with them having bigger budgets than other teams. PvP should be purely about skill and teamwork, nothing to do with gear imbalances, mainly because gear grinding has nothing to with PvP skill but favours those who just have more time on their hands.

    They could implement a reputation gain system based around kills:deaths:wins or something which awards temporary titles, mounts or some such which shows how good a player is at PvP but doesn't just rely on them having better gear and more time on their hands.

    I still wonder how much of this complaining about conquest is based around people not being able to 2-shot noobs any more!

  8. #8
    Telaran
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    Default Gear is bad

    I was also in the daoc camp, and while it has some flaws, the thing it did best was not have a gear grind. You could hit 50, make a decent template and go PVP. Yes, you were at a disadvantage because of the low realm rank, but nothing like the current gear discrepancy games today have. Health pools were more or less normalized. Max damage on a toon was 3x delve regardless of your rank.

    At the end of the day, the "grind" was realm points and new realm abilities - but that was a fun grind that you couldn't exploit to finish in a week - it was a long term deal.

    It's why all the games that come out run into the same problems. After a year, does a new player that hits level cap have an easy time getting into the game? No, cause they need 3 tiers of gear, and this artificial stat to let them live, and a separate set of gear for this, and a different set for that.
    Malg, Rogue pr50
    Nalg, Mage pr40

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    Ascendant Credo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malg View Post
    I was also in the daoc camp, and while it has some flaws, the thing it did best was not have a gear grind. You could hit 50, make a decent template and go PVP. Yes, you were at a disadvantage because of the low realm rank, but nothing like the current gear discrepancy games today have. Health pools were more or less normalized. Max damage on a toon was 3x delve regardless of your rank.

    At the end of the day, the "grind" was realm points and new realm abilities - but that was a fun grind that you couldn't exploit to finish in a week - it was a long term deal.

    It's why all the games that come out run into the same problems. After a year, does a new player that hits level cap have an easy time getting into the game? No, cause they need 3 tiers of gear, and this artificial stat to let them live, and a separate set of gear for this, and a different set for that.
    I loved the damage cap in that game.
    Even free cost too much now

  10. #10
    Plane Touched
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    Objectives are trivial. PvP means killing other players.

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    Ascendant Violacea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lothi View Post
    Objectives are trivial. PvP means killing other players.
    That is like saying obstacles in a race are trivial, racing means going fast.
    New round up of some high rank matches
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    Prophet of Telara Kaelani's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puandro View Post
    This is why pvp systems that award you with better gear will always be a failure. Instead of just getting people participating in PvP because they like it you get people who just want to grind the gear.
    Agreed.

    I was also a member of the beta team in Warhammer Online, and played it Live for 18 months.
    The 24/7 struggle for control of the keeps and capital cities was a big incentive to keep logging in.
    However, the gear created the problems the OP described above, and imbalance in classes and factions tended to "break" the system.

    The "scoreboard" system they created definitely was a step in the right direction.
    Bragging rights which changed on a weekly system (similar to what Rift has created) was a much better motivator than gear.

    In that game, PvP gear WAS PvE gear... and you could choose multiple paths to get it.
    No advantage or disadvantage for PvPing or PvEing your way to cap.
    If you were bad at PvP, then you died in the PvP lakes.

    If they had ever figured out a way to balance classes and factions, I'd still be playing it.
    Oh well...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Violacea View Post
    That is like saying obstacles in a race are trivial, racing means going fast.
    Going fast pumps your adrenaline. Obstacles are a hindrance and a distraction.

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    Ascendant Zaros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lothi View Post
    Going fast pumps your adrenaline. Obstacles are a hindrance and a distraction.
    You only furthered his point by saying that.
    ~Quiescent

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    PvP in this game isn't fun, most people don't even try to enjoy it, they just do whatever gets them their prestige/favor the fastest.

    The few people who play after maxing out their currencies just do it because they hope it will earn them e-peen with the other people who who are maxed.
    Last edited by Cammyle; 07-02-2012 at 12:34 PM.

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