Archeage and the Path to Predictability

I keep hearing people bitch about how much damage the cloning of wow has done to the industry. How every product us the same and flitting between each release like a plague of locusts. I’ve been a part of that and even I yearn for something more… How could you not? But then, I continuously see the call for games to change; games that are maybe trying to be something different or give a different experience. That have pieced together the resemblance of a soul yet we want to stomp all over that and cram it back into that overused mould. Archeage is trying something different a least by a little, the iteration it is now is more themepark orientated but there is still a little charm there. Charm that mostly comes from certain PvP elements which many have been attacking and so, that means for me it’s time to get my flame on.

CHAR

Bio Break recently had a pots about this and it made that black bile rise a little from the pit of my stomach. I see a list of quite valid complaints in that post, several note worthy ones and a few more personal and yet, the only argument I see from this side is “waaaah!, this game isn’t catering to me”. Well Boo fucking hoo. That is entitlement speaking and no, me saying that right now isn’t contradictory… it is accepting of a game for what it is and what it provides. Constantly asking for change on every single product is entitled, and quite damaging in my mind. If your after more of the same I seem to remember a large release called ESO you can indulge in, the single player “mmo”. Or how about Wildstar, what we were apparently making out as the the patron saint of mmo rebirth. Oh that’s right, most of you dropped it after a month and are now lavishing after a new mmo carcass.

Do you really understand what a PvE server would involve well, it would no longer be that Sandbox or sandpark many have been excited for. It would become just another themepark in a long line of themeparks with a farmville addition… and not a very good one at that. The questing is sub par, the dungeons are adequate, the end game is minimal and it’s the same grind you’ve been doing for years… Some of you decades. Those trade quests well, glorified escort quests now. Naval warfare, pretty much becomes meaningless, and the entire criminal system pretty much becomes pointless. A post from Geek spinkles, an avid player and care bear supports this same thing as it’s is the PvP elements that make the world more exciting and without those the whole experience would be pretty predictable.

Predictable… When you think about it that word is pretty much the death of an mmo. Once a game become predictable there really isn’t any content left, the game been completed and any play after that is just robotic. Predictable… going through prescribed motions rather than playing a game, hitting that lever for the next pellet. I don’t know about you but I want my gameplay to feel far more than predictable. I want to open up a game and not know exactly where that session is going to take me. We should be embracing this unpredictability but from this WoW approach to design we’ve been hypnotised into the safety of near every element being controlled. There is a certain appeal in repetition but when that’s the entirety of the experience then you no longer hold a person’s interest for long.

You want the same old bullshit over and over again with a different paint job paint job fine, gorge yourself on the billion other titles out there catering to your exact interests. A mass of follow the leader ftp garbage but leave the few titles trying to do a little something different alone. This is a billion dollar industry that has become nothing more than eating the fallen and regurgitating it back up, time and time again. There is a place for more, the interests of its players are more diverse than that and for fuck sake, just leave the ones wanting to be different alone. Not everything has to cater to your exact whims, not every title must have its soul erased so as to appease the fickle masses long enough for them to ravish it’s carcass and leave it buried within its shallow grave before moving to the next. Differentiation in the market is a good thing and if you are actively trying to remove that well… you are everything that’s wrong with the industry right now.

carebear

Now Syp says that we are scared, or threatened by the idea of a PvE server and that is true but only in part. It’s not for the fear of losing easy targets like him, a bountiful land of noobs to frolic through while killing with abandon. No, that is the least of my worries. It is first that the development needs to change in order to accommodate this new PvE server which it would. More content to be developed for these locusts, changes to systems that had PvP in mind when developed. There are a whole range of elements that would need immediate and ongoing development and this would take away from development in other areas. It would no longer be that PvP sandpark people were excited for, just another MMO with a watered down approach because they try to appeal to everyone and yet satisfying no one. The pve crowd will move on within a couple months and the PvP crowd will get even more resentful at the carebears ruining another potential MMO.

I think it’s funny also how it’s often said that the PvP payers need the pve ones, those carebears but really, I think it’s the other way around. If the combat and systems are interesting enough we are satisfied for a long time. The prevalence and popularity of death match style multiplayer games and the whole moba industry is a testament to that. It is actually the PvE players that need us; to add an element of unpredictability, to make the world and experience more dynamic and create something more akin to a world rather than a corridor filled with quests. If you actually want to improve the experience you should be asking for things like greater accountability for a players actions, not removing such interactions entirely.

evil kitty

Now for Archeage , I’m partial about it so far. It certainly has some faults but I’m willing to try and experience the game for what it is. It’s time to move out from that pillow fort we’ve been enshrined in for so long, make some friends and try something new. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you want but at least it will be a new experience and something more than the repetition of the familiar and predictable. And for god’s sake, lets move beyond expecting MMO’s to always fit within that tired design and celebrate the differences.

#Archeage #Sandbox #rant

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50 thoughts on “Archeage and the Path to Predictability

  1. The PvPers manifesto right here.

    I read Syp’s post, and I too felt as combative as the players on the forums that he referenced. The entire industry (outside of instanced pvp or the call of duty series or MOBAs as a whole) is built on PvE. PvAI more like. And I’ve been a major supporter of PvP because it does create ever-changing dynamic content. Sure there are RP servers that do some pretty amazing things in other MMOs, but it’s still not dynamic, and it usually equates to do some frivolous stuff and standing around a bunch. The ability to have the dynamics that games like EVE had (and I’m glad Wilhelm brought that up) where PvE players can still participate in farming/mining/economy — whatever — is where PvE players could still get some fun out of PvP games, and maybe even learn to enjoy them. Supposedly the majority of EVE players stay out of the PvP areas.

    One way or the other, I am all for diversity amongst games, and not just with race/class/sex issues, but also for the types of mechanics they use. There are very few successful PvP-only MMOs, and if ArcheAge is able to bring a new one to the fold without catering to the entitled folks, I’m all for it. I actually just got a closed beta invite yesterday, so I’ll be checking it out myself next week.

    Kudos for the article. Well done.

    • Tell me: what’s dynamic about PvP that’s not also dynamic about RP?

      I see people throw this term around a lot. Dynamic suggests unexpected things can happen in game, and to that end whenever there are players around doing ANYTHING, the game is dynamic. The constant threat of losing assets you spent a lot of time to get doesn’t add dynamism. It just adds risk. So what is this dynamic gameplay you all are referring to which can only be present when players are killing each other?

      • The dynamic you are missing is that killing isn’t necessarily what is meant by PvP. It’s the dynamic element of HUMAN INTELLIGENCE which eclipses that of AI, and can create conflict from nothing, can create situations that wouldn’t occur when it’s a program run by a script. Tell me that running the same stupid pattern in a dungeon or raid over and over again doesn’t get old fast. Tell me that it would be more fun if you knew the enemy was able to actually ADAPT to what you’re doing, rather than wondering why he can’t hit you with the fire, but some other dumb player will stand in it?

        I think that people who swear off PvP are afraid of a challenge. Each camp has its trolls, sure, but I think pro-PvP gamers are mostly looking for something dynamic and engaging. We are tired of the rails.

      • I knew you were going to kick out the old “but people are intelligent!” reasoning. It’s really all one has with the argument you’re trying to win 🙂 But it falls flat.

        I think you’re giving PvP a dynamism that in practice isn’t actually there and you’re definitely overstating the “intelligence” of player on player combat in an MMO. Running down a village road getting ambushed by a player (and probably the same player, since PvP populations are intimate) isn’t any less predictable than running down that road with friends to kill an elite mob. They’re functionally the same with intelligence having the same impact on the excitement of events. I cite again the various popular PvP games which are stale at best and in which the most exciting things that happen don’t involve combat (EVE, where great politics are far more common and intriguing). PvP is every bit as predictable as PvE.

        And even if I take your word, this doesn’t explain how human intelligence in the PvE aspects of gameplay are non-dynamic or less exciting. You conveniently only talk about AI as if that’s all players do when they’re not fighting other players, but we both know better 🙂 You mentioned RP, and I think that’s a fine example of exciting gameplay that is TRULY dynamic (quite possibly the only playstyle in current MMOs that *is* dynamic in the true sense of the word), but so is adventuring and trading, things that are done with humans no less intelligent than your average PvPer. There’s no extra intelligence to add intrigue to your random battles. There’s nothing intelligent about a siege which must occur the same way each time, nor the battlegrounds, or arenas. The PvP you describe happens pretty much ONLY in MOBAs. Please point me to a PvP MMO where the intelligence of the fighters made it oh-so-dynamic and awesome …and in which there wasn’t an equally intelligent PvE playerbase providing the same thing. I’ll give you 3 years to find such a game. By then there might be something new out which meets your criteria ;P

      • Okay, the first dynamic that comes to mind is negotiation. As I said below (in your comment) PvP isn’t necessarily about players actually fighting. It is about the threat of being forced into fighting. A lot of actual fighting can be avoided by negotiation. It can be avoided by threats. It can be avoided by intelligence gathering. From what I read, there would be a craptonne more big fights in nullsec EVE if the spy networks were not so effective.

        Risk-taking isn’t dynamic in itself, no. But the level of risk changing through actions other than your own, that is dynamic. In ArcheAge, for example, higher-level trading runs require you to traverse PvP areas. Without PvP, you would find the quickest, safest route and use that forever more – until the devs change something. Even then that change is constant and you simply adjust to the new conditions. With PvP there will be no such thing as the quickest, safest route overall. It will only ever be the quickest, safest route for that trade run. Now, it could be (and probably will) that the quickest, safest route will remain the same for long periods, but the fact that you will never know exactly when that has changed, or for how long, is what provides half the gameplay.

        —-second comment—-

        I’m not sure if you’re trolling or not here, because none of your arguments make sense.

        “Running down a village road getting ambushed by a player (and probably the same player, since PvP populations are intimate) isn’t any less predictable than running down that road with friends to kill an elite mob.”

        Wha…? You mean running down a road, not knowing whether you’ll be ambushed, is the same as running down a road to specifically look for a mob you know is there? Ooookaaaay.

        [your whole second paragraph…]

        What the actual frack. Seriously?

        Can you negotiate with an NPC? Bribe them? Turn them against other players or other NPC’s? Do they have needs that change from day to day, depending on what else has been happening to them? Can you talk them into not attacking you? Chase them off? Threaten them into compliance? Partner with them in new businesses? Trade information with them? Can all these interactions have different results each time you try them?

        Didn’t think so. Here’s the thing. PvE and PvP are both problem solving activities. In both, your tools to solve them change over time. But in PvE the problem is the same every time, whereas in PvP it is a different problem every time. The human intelligence that Izlain talks about is the problem presented in PvP that is absent from PvE.

      • Examples of dynamism which occur directly or indirectly due to the presence or the possibility of PvP combat:

        PLAYERS

        – Dynamic play on a tactical level, in which your opponents adapt to your tactics. If my team plays the same Arena team three times in a row I can almost guarantee that they will shake up their tactics if they lose, and vice versa. By contrast, Garrosh does the same thing every time, and the onus is more on flawless execution. Both take skill, but the former is arguably more “dynamic”.
        – Dynamic play on a strategic level, again, in which opponents adapt to your strategy. ESO just concluded its first series of 90 day campaigns, and in the Wabbajack campaign the Altmeri Dominion faction fielded a raid team of ex-Emperors which was clearly superior to everyone else. After being consistently smashed in local fights, the heads of all the guilds in my faction put their heads together in a war council and agreed on a delaying “quagmire” tactic, in which the location of the AD team was always reported in zone, and whichever group currently engaging would simply tie down the enemy for as long as possible.

        WORLD

        – Dynamic environments. What would otherwise be the same zone day in and day out on PvE servers becomes a battlefield on PvP ones. Stranglethorn Vale and Southshore (pre-Catacaclysm) on PvE servers were just run of the mill questing zones. On PvP servers they could be places of extreme danger given the proximity of enemy factions. Some of my best memories of WoW come from the battles which occurred in Southshore, battles which would not have taken place without the possibility of world PvP.
        – Dynamic circumstances. I ganked a lot on Illidan, where the Horde outnumbered the Alliance 4500 to 1. What would start out as a gank would quickly evolve into 2 versus 1 fight, then 3v1, then perhaps more as the gankees rapidly called in reinforcements from local chat and/or guild. Sadly on Illidan it was always just me getting banished to the graveyard eventually, but on more balanced servers I loved how simple 1v1 encounters can escalate dramatically into fully formed brawls. In EVE a pilot accidentally warping into enemy space sparked off the battle of Asakai.

        META

        – Dynamic, player-driven politics. Doone talks as if the meta-game politics of EVE is distinct from the act of PvP itself, when actually it is the presence of player conflict which drives its existence. Without the threat of war there is no actual impetus to create power blocs like the Goons, N3 and Solar because nothing would be at stake. EVE associations evolved from corporations to alliances to mega-coalitions because of the null sec wars.
        – Similarly Doone divorces economics in EVE from PvP as well because it suits his argument. On the contrary, PvP is a fundamental aspect of the EVE economy, because the destruction of ships from PvP bloc wars creates a massive demand for new space craft all the time. So rather than being separate and distinct, the economy and politics of EVE are intrinsically tied up to world PvP, regardless of how sparsely it may occur. I don’t buy Doone’s argument that because something happens rarely it is somehow “thin” and intrinsically worthless. On the contrary, I would argue that all the best things about EVE Online – the politics, the skullduggery, the economy, and the player-driven narratives – are all driven by the presence of sovereignty and world PvP.
        – Dynamic player-driven narratives. PvP is not the only generator of player-driven narratives, but it’s one of the more interesting ones for my own tastes. I see history as a conflict of factions, ideas and people, and I find the replication of this on a micro-scale extremely fascinating. I found the rise and fall of the original Darkfall Empire interesting, in which one bloc spread out across the entire map then imploded from within. EVE’s bloc wars are endlessly intriguing. ESO’s PvP campaigns are its saving grace for me, because encapsulated in the Wabbajack campaign is a dynamic, ever-changing struggle between three different factions, each with its own heroes, villains and various other dramatise personae. Complex. emergent and player-driven narratives interest me, and one of the best drivers for that is conflict.

        These are some of the reasons why I like PvP in my virtual worlds, because the very presence of it enables many of the following features I have enumerated above. Doone might like to define PvP narrowly as the sole act of local player combat because he detests it, but I see it as a much more fundamental part of any virtual world eco-system. I’ve been on a quest for meaningful world PvP for a long time, and it’s because I can see beyond the ganking and the griefing and am willing to relinquish some control over my own playtime to have these dynamic features incorporated in the virtual worlds I inhabit. Not the choice everyone makes, understandably, but my own nonetheless.

      • Everything all of you name positions PvP as a combat feature. And you’re making the logical fallacy that combat is the reason PvP feels dynamic and is the only way to add risk and negotiation to games. That’s false and I think you can both see why. Arguing that you want PvP so that you can combat other players is different than arguing that PvP is the sole means that players can get risky, dynamic gameplay. Negotiations are a political activity which do not require PvP. So let’s make sure we’re being honest here: you both are only arguing that you want to do combat in games. Your other arguments don’t require PvP. You can get them from any other aspect of gameplay if the designer includes it.

        @Dahaka: I don’t know if you’re intentionally misunderstanding me or if I’m not understandable. The latter is definitely possible but right now it’s not clear. My statements about running down a road and fearing you’ll get ambushed isn’t dynamic. You will always fear you get ambushed there, this doesn’t change. and the player ambushing you isn’t likely to change either. This idea that in PvP everything is so unpredictable, happens so organically, and players never know what to expect is false. Again, you’re trying to say that PvP is dynamic because it’s done with other players and ignoring that PvE is also done with other players. PvPers aren’t any more dynamic, intelligent or exciting than PvE players. And I don’t know why you think that’s the case. PvE is NOT strictly players *fighting*, let alone *fighting* AI. It’s also not strictly players talking to NPCs. This reduction of PvE to these two things is dishonest. My point is that PvE adds the same amount of dynamism and intelligent gameplay as PvP. You may disagree with that, but that doesn’t make it less true.

        As I reply below, it’s the risk and consequences, the sense of adventure that you all really crave. And that doesn’t even require combat (PvP) at all. Now I understand that you WANT combat, and that’s fine. But pretending that it’s the sole means to a dynamic game is disingenuous. This is why EVE provides some of the best PvE in the genre, because it has consequences. And this is why other PvE games are stale by comparison. It’s the economic and political aspects of gameplay which provide the dynamism and it makes perfect sense when you think about it.

      • @Duke: Sorry forgot to mention just one thing in reply to you. You continue to paint PvE as solo players taking on AI and talking to NPCs. Yet Roleplaying makes use of everybit of the world, much more of the world than PvP. So tell me again about how zones are empty and unexciting without players killing one another. PvE players play with one another. That might come as a shock to some of you, but it’s true! 🙂 And player interaction provides dynamism to any feature – PvP and PvE included.

      • The part of the argument that you are failing to grasp is that I’m not saying PvP players are more intelligent than PvE players. We all know these games can be played by kids and I assume the average adult is smarter than the average kid, so I’m not going as far as to say you’re dumb because you don’t see my point.

        What I was saying is that human intellect is varied and inherently better than that of a script.

        A script gives an object a set of guidelines to follow and has designed responses. Once those responses are learned, the perfect run equation comes into play. It’s all about who can do it first, faster, better. That isn’t the case with PvP worlds, because people have different motivations, and I think that’s where it’s important for players who shy away from the actual PvP combat to populate the world. They drive the economy that helps the PvPers do their thing. They also can provide services and while doing so, might actually be faced with some PvP and since they have formed bonds with other players might be able to prevail and learn to enjoy the world for what it is.

        At the end of the day, this argument was spurned because people are bitching about wanting an ArcheAge PvE server, when it was clearly a game designed to be open world PvP. If you don’t like that, don’t play the game. If you do, then enjoy.

        It’s unclear at this point whether or not you’re trying to understand something that escapes you, or just egging the discussion on for controversy’s sake.

      • Also, I brought up RP in the first place, and I already acknowledged it being the equivalent in dynamism on a PvE server. But from what I’ve seen of RP stuff happening, yeah it’s cool for people who are into that, but it’s not for me. Honestly I don’t see the point in getting married in a game (unless it’s like Skyrim, and she opens a shop for you) and I don’t see the point of some of the other events people come up with. Just like you might not see the point in the things I describe in my ideal game. But that’s the end all be all of this argument. Games need to be varied in content, not homogenized into the crapshoot themeparks we see all over the market. I would like my kind of game to be untarnished by the carebear elite. So I think it’s at a point where we all agree to disagree.

        Choose your side wisely ;P

      • OK, we can ignore your statements that PvP is great because INTELLIGENCE, which in no way implies that PvE lacks this quality. No way, its not like you were trying to show what makes PvP different! Thanks for clearing that up!

      • Doone, I’ve seen how intelligent you are. I refuse to believe that you can troll this hard by accident.

        We have stated over and over that the human intelligence factor is talking about the player’s opponent, not the player hirself. Interacting with another human is way more dynamic than interacting with an AI. When AI programming approaches the complexity of human intelligence, then and only then does this factor become irrelevant. You keep ignoring our crystal clear statements in favour of insisting that PvE players are just as intelligent as PvP players. Nobody has said otherwise, nobody WILL say otherwise, I don’t know why you keep spouting it like it is the ultimate rebuttal. It isn’t.

        You keep insisting that politics are PvE. You are wrong. Politics is ALL PvP. All politics is backed by the threat of force. Trying to incorporate politics into an MMO without the threat of force is like playing poker or blackjack without any betting. And if politics are in the game, then the economy is inextricably linked to it, and thus a part of the PvP.

        “I don’t know if you’re intentionally misunderstanding me or if I’m not understandable.”

        Oh, it’s definitely the latter.

        “My point is that PvE adds the same amount of dynamism and intelligent gameplay as PvP. You may disagree with that, but that doesn’t make it less true.”

        Of course I (we) disagree, because it IS patently untrue. You have given us no reason to think it is true. All you are doing is deliberately ignoring our clarifications and repeating the same muddying arguments over and over.

      • @Dahaka: I see you HAVE misunderstood. By a large margin. And the major point you’re missing is that PvE’ers play with other players, not just AI (as you all continue to falsely claim). It’s called cooperation, I think. And just as PvPers interact through combat, PvE’ers interact also through combat, but through other methods as well like trade, politics, and adventuring. I thought it was obvious, because I’m not sure why you think PvE’ers don’t play with these same intelligent and dynamic people PvP’ers play with. The sole difference is they don’t combat them. That’s it.

        When I say PvE’ers are intelligent, I’m countering that PvE’ers don’t *only* play with AI. They play with other players. Just like PvPer’s do. I assure you i haven’t ignored anything you’ve typed and have responded to each of your points. I don’t think I’m the one missing any “crystal clear” points here 🙂

        ” Interacting with another human is way more dynamic than interacting with an AI.”

        I know. I’m just not sure why you think PvE’ers don’t interact with other players. Now I haven’t gone so far as to assume you’re trolling, I just think you’re not paying attention to a word I type. Probably you’re skimming or something, but in any case I have no idea why you think PvE’ers don’t interact with other players, just like PvPers do. That’s just crazy.

        Also, PvE’ers play with other players. Like PvPers do. Sorry, I can’t get over that 🙂

        Listen, PvE players are NOT nearly as alien and stupid as you guys are making them out to be. Honestly, there’s not a single reason someone should have to explain to you that PvE players are *exactly* the same kind of players, except they prefer not to combat fellow players. They prefer cooperating or diplomacy or other general politics of interacting in MMOs. Really, you don’t need to take things away from PvE’ers to make the point that PvP is worth something. They both have value their own. The same intelligent and dynamic gameplay you find in PvP can be found in PvE sans competitive combat. I wish you all have experienced this, it’s quite amazing I assure you. And it happens all the time. I promise I’m not lying about mine and the experience of millions of other players. There’s politics and dynamism and intelligence and all that great stuff you love about PvP on the PvE side. I swear!

        As long as you’re speaking from the standpoint that PvE’ers only interact with AI and PvPers only interact with other players, you’ll continue to miss the point. I just ask that you actually read what I typed. PvP and PvE are just features for cooperation or competitive gameplay. That’s it, nothing more.

  2. O.o *hands out some sweet candy to remove sourface*
    I read both ur post and bio,s so my answer might be aimed for both posts i guess.
    I think the pvprs should get to have their game. There is soooo many games out there catered to the pve’rs so i dont really get why ppl is begging for things to change or cater to them. I feel like its like telling a gameproducer to change their game from sci fi to fantasy cause thats what I prefer.

    I think people are starting to feel a bit entitled in some way, perhaps spoiled like everything is around them and evolve around them ? Spoiled children wanting everything and anything. But I never see the harm in just asking for something, as long as its just asking rather then screaming and making a fit to get your way.

    Not sure how to say or if I should, but If I had points and thoughts like you which are very good, id leave the rant out.Bit to sour post for me to actually enjoy, feels like you are insulting people instead of trying to say “hey, look at this” then maybe you could change some point of views 🙂 but there I go being a carebear trying to change a rant to something else heh.But no harm in just making suggestions tho?

    I do hope they keep the game as intended 🙂

    • haha.. not really sour face. I actually have a good time and a lot of laughs while writing these posts and those who have read for a while know to read with a sideways glance and only semi seriously. And meh, what can I say… I like to rant and haven’t done one in a while =p

      And yes I’m most definitely insulting people.. but I still respect those I am. They have their opinions and interests as I do. A butting of heads is interesting blogging to me and it would be rather boring if we weren’t.

      Also, I generally find that when i do have the confrontational styled rants they elicit more conversation and reach a wider audience… the power of link baiting lol.

      I can’t say I’m not being entitled either though. My defense is based on it catering more to my interests. I do feel we need more diversity in gameplay and that there is a space for all styles but I don’t lament that games are made for casuals, carebears and a whole other set of PvP swears.

      thanks for stopping by =)

      • We all have our different writing styles – thank god, else life would be boring, and you are right, people tend to give out responses and reactions when things are stirred a bit 🙂 I am just different then you and a bit more, hmm cautious ? Probably because I have not blogged as long as you and are still trying to find my place. And I like to rant to, who am I to say DONT YOU RANT. I just felt it was a bit harsh 😀 But, I am a softy 😛 *cuddles bears*
        Best of luck with post, excited to see some responces.

  3. The thing is, nothing changes, does it? You could cut&paste EQ for AA in that post and we could be back on the forums discussing the Zek servers fifteen years ago.

    My comment on Syp’s post was that you need to be careful what you wish for. A big part of his argument is that Trion must realize they would make more money if they catered directly to PvE players with ArcheAge. He’s almost certainly correct. Just look at the entire history of the genre. How big a proportion of the MMORPG gamespace is, or has ever been, occupied by Non-Consensual PvP? Then ask yourself is that really because no company has ever come up with a compelling Non-Consensual PvP offer or is it because the potential MMORPG audience is very largely made up of people who seek safety and predictability? Virtual Barbies, that’s the hobby it is, much though people attempt to sell it as something else because they’re embarrassed to admit that, when it comes down to it, they really just like dressing up dolls..

    Do we, as players, really want game companies to base their decisions purely on what will make them the most money? If Trion are satisfied to serve a niche audience with a Non-Consensual PvP MMORPG then that’s their choice. Syp is certainly right to observe that they will make less money that way. As Wilhelm points out in the comments at Bio Break, the market leader in Non-Consensual PvP , EVE Online, probably only has 200k people playing it, even if most of them do pay two or three times each for the privilege.

    I’m with you. If Trion want to leave money on the table, let ’em. I haven’t played ArcheAge yet but my bet would be that if the questing and PvE really is as mediocre as you say AND they insist on keeping non-consensual PvP, they’ll be very, very lucky indeed to get anything close to EVE’s loyal 200k players. We’ll see if they crack and put up their own version of Trammel further down the line but we should at least applaud them for trying to do something (slightly) different, even if we all know it’s in a doomed cause.

    • oh i do agree there, they will end up getting more for catering to that demographic but then, the question is short or long term.. will the get double triple playing for 3 months and if so, how does that compare to what they would get as is now for maybe a longer term crowd. it’s all hypothetical i guess.

      That is the question. From a business stand point and definitely from an investing point but is it good for the game, for the players and for the industry… probably not. If you look at the sales of games like day z and rust well, Id have to say that the market is there but just not satisfied with the current market of pvp mmo’s. Can’t blame them but its still a lot smaller group than say, skyrim… or wow.

      I too think it is doomed though but not becasue they’ve put it in, but because they didn’t go far enough. I don’t mean full loot and all that, just more options for player actions, actual consequences for players going that lifestyle and such. More mechanics to get people invested in the land. Get players more in charge of their world. Let player reputation be a thing again. I don’t know.. sounds rather idealistic but anyway.

  4. ArcheAge is a promising and exciting evolvement in the mmo history and god forbid they ruin it to make it mainstream. Live and let live.
    (Ye im one of the “nice” pvp players. I wont kill any innocent carebear, promise 😉

  5. I agree that it is getting very tiring seeing all these new titles trying to be everything to everyone. Or close enough. It just means they end up very samey.

    You’re right that the reason people like us are scared of games like AA getting a PvE server is that it not only dilutes the population of the existing servers – which is NOT about losing the sheep, it is about losing the economic stability, the feelings of community, the opportunities for actual gameplay with other people – but it diverts precious development time and resources away from the core game. It would also cost them more in maintenance which affects profitability, which affects the rate and quality of updates. I think they will lose out on a chunk of PvE players like Syp, but they will keep a good number of them, and they would lose out in the long term by doing it as they would lose players like us through disgust at the Sophie’s Choice: play on an emptier server with the gameplay you like, or play on a perhaps slightly bigger server with neutered gameplay that is no better than other MMOs.

    I’m definitely one of the nice pvp’ers. I generally don’t like picking fights, but I like the risk of being in danger from other players if I’m not careful. I think I’d like playing as a bounty hunter type though, or a professional assassin. Those are very specific playstyles, so I wouldn’t want to do it too often, but it’d be fun every so often.

    With ArcheAge, the major concern I have is the seemingly mandatory path to piracy. I think it is a terrible idea to force people to repeatedly grief other players in order to eventually be eligible to be a pirate. There has to be a way to get there without pissing other players off.

    • diluting the population was the next biggest concern. having a decent population size is important for any mmo but then for a sandbox you need to worry about the economy too. Economy isn’t too much of a concern for AA as it’s more that self sufficient model but elsewhere definitely.

      It’s hard to tell whetehr it will work out or not in the long term though. By having PvP only will it turn away too many, or will those in like syp get to frustrated with it. Is that a sizeable concern. Will the people that do get into it be more long term, it will they be sufficient. There are too many variables to say which method will be best right now but at least there trying a way that will provide more knowledge about it all.

      Also I believe, but don’t quote me on this. There is a mechanic for you guild to separate from the 2 factions to become your own. Insanely expense but basically creates your own faction. It’s kind of like a pirate as you’re no longer bound to those rules but then, no access to pirate base I believe. Pirate isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be either as its far more restricted in the content.

  6. For me personally the (surprising) lack of a ‘small’ race is more of a reason to give AA a pass than some enforced PvP to get at the ‘good stuff’ . I miss the variety of racial options from older games the most, come to think of it.

    That being said, I think the problem lies in that until Storybricks/whatever they’re trying to do with EQN, MMO AI tends to be dumb as bricks and predictable, so if you don;t want a lot of RNG either you’ll need forms of PvP to keep things lively, at least if the concept of endgame is still adhered to (you could eg make a game about perpetually creating new characters in new settings).

    • there is a dwarf and fairy type race in the works. The original plane was for ten races although some are still being developed.

      I do hope the storybricks, or whatever can make such drastic improvements on ai and functioning. That I think is the major factor holding back world development right now. Dynamic events were more an improvement on previous functioning, that’s the evolution or at least it sounds that way. tis interesting

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  9. I don’t like seeing games trying to be everything to everyone either. But I also dont think that the choice comes down to a PvE focused game OR a PvP focused one. These are just features. The idea that a game is built AROUND one of these two things is …stretching the truth.

    The heart of ANY MMO is the economy. And economies can be peaceful or wartime. PvE/PvP is neither here nor there in that regard. It’s just a feature.

    So I don’t think that this will break ArcheAge unless the heart and soul of ArchedAge is PvP. The thing is, though, games that claim to be centered on PvP aren’t. Bhags and others have mentioned EVE of which I’m a very long term subscriber. And PvP is not the heart of that game 🙂 Any given night a fifth of the playerbase is on simultaneously and the vast majority of them aren’t fighting in any regard. So there’s a lot less PvP going on in that game than people tend to let on. I get into a PvP squabble maybe 3 times a year (I subscribe at least half the year usually). Granted, I’m in an industrialist, but I have to cross PvP zones all the time. There’s not much going on.

    I think ArcheAge will survive whether it has PvP or not. It will barely survive if it doesn’t have ways for players to engage in peaceful PvE. I’d say this is why EVE has lasted as long as it has. It permits peaceful PvE gameplay.

    • I think you misunderstanding me a little and I’ll probably have to make another post now. I don’t equate dynamic to mean only PvP, not even close just something unexpected during play and this can be from many sources. Rp is a great source, in gw2 I came across a few events like this and they were great. Lotro probably survives on this element alone. I even think Ai can provide this in time as well. Even just grouping with new people can do this. Pvp is but one element and more a focus of this post because that’s the source.

      Unfortunately mmo’s are tending mostly towards a controlled experiences.. Even gw2s events have been designed like clockwork. Grouping is a forgotten element and these games don’t do that well in maintaining Rp.

      I also think games that do have pvp need a balance between it and Pve… Otherwise you have dark fall. Archeage falls well into the Pve side but it’s just because of the world PvP it’s called pvp. It has pvp elements but I would hardly call that the focus as it’s the story based quest grind, plus dungeons with tiered progression. There really aren’t that many elements to support it which is why I don’t know if it will work out as well. I do think though that these mmo’s need to decide which is there focus though. Focusing towards pvp means the Pve and economy are balanced to match.. Same if it’s focused on Pve. The conflict comes from trying to have a focus on both and that’s impossible but yes, balance of content types within. There should be space for Pve, for crafting, for Rp and just an economy of player types.

      As for economy… Have you not read my 4000 manifesto on it lol. It’s an important piece of the world puzzle that is just so beyond most of these titles. I wouldn’t want it for them though so…

      My main argument within there is that a diversity of games focused on a variety of play styles is important, not just this let’s broaden to appeal to everyone. An mmo shouldn’t have to appease everyone all the time. Just have a defined vision and move with it.

      • Replying to both I guess.

        In a way I do think pvp rates a bit more unpredictability. The other styles more rely on the player to engage with them while pvp will change your experience whether or not you want it too. Even justpassively changing how you play by being a popossibility

    • PvP is being thrown around with various layers of meaning here, and I think consistency would be extremely helpful right now.

      You say that PvP is not the heart of EVE. That is only true if you are talking about actual combat. The truth is that EVE would be nothing without PvP. The freedom of players to attack other players with little to no NPC intervention or repercussion is the heart of the game. That freedom is what people like J3w3l and Syp are talking about when they discuss PvP. It doesn’t matter how many people actually engage in fights, the fact that someone CAN initiate fights is what adds the depth to the game. The mere threat of danger is what makes being in the game thrilling (until you get used to the actual level of danger, of course – but the fact that that level of danger can change in an instant is something that keeps you on your toes) and drives the depth of the other mechanics.

      Even something like manufacturing and trading can become filled with danger in a PvP ruleset. In EVE, politics IS PvP. Economics IS PvP. Just like in the real world. If you are a lone industrialist, and a large corp decides to move in on your local market, there is a lot that both sides can do to each other besides pistols at dawn (in space). Disrupt suppliers, hire mercs to hassle freighters, buy up all materials in a reasonable area, ally with other corps to price fix, get other corps to wardec the other, negotiate profit-sharing terms, merge, even just pack up and move elsewhere. All that on the THREAT of violence. Sure, some of it can be done if there is no PvP, but the range of options, and the effectiveness of those options, is vastly improved by the introduction of PvP.

      You say that the economy is the heart of any MMO. I disagree. The economy is the heart of any good OWPvP MMO. PvE games can survive just fine with a crappy economy, because their core gameplay does not rely on participation in it. One of my WoW guildies made the bulk of his money just leveling alts and running heroics, the quest rewards and vendored loot were enough to pay for his raiding costs and some toys. In most PvE MMOs crafting is only relevant for consumables, not core gear. In games like EVE, everything is a consumable. There is a massive difference.

      • love your examples there. PvP is not just active combat events but also the passive changes that occur in behaviour as a result.

        I will say here that I think Economy is the heart of any sandbox mmo but it’s the focus on whether PvE or PvP that matters. It is a matter of balancing around those points then when it comes to the conflict. The availability of resources and their place, the structure of the marketplace, the styles of control and governance, and the types and frequency of loss.

        economy I think is the heart to EvE but PvP is most definitely the balancing factor

      • @dahaka: If you’re referring to me, there’s no various layers of meaning in my statements. PvP is players combating players. Mind explaining what you mean?

        Risk and adventure is all most of you are talking about when you say “dynamic PvP”, but you’re implying that combat is specifically what provides it. And that’s false. Risk and adventure come in many forms and can be injected into any game without PvP. PvP is mainly the risk of violence. But it’s not the sole method of injecting risk into a game. So any argument which tries to position “PvP”, which is coded language for player combat, as “the heart and soul” is intentionally ignoring what makes PvP feel “dynamic” and exciting. And it also ignores that PvE can provide the same thing.

        You say EVE would be nothing without PvP but you can remove ANY of the many game features and say exactly the same. So what’s your point? I think EVE is an example of a game that’s the product of it’s parts and removing any one element doesn’t take one thing away from gameplay, but multiple. This just illustrates that remove (insert feature) and the game would be nothing. This is supposed to indicate …what exactly? That said feature is the heart of the game? Nonsense!

        The economy is the heart of any MMO. Even PvE games with crap economies feel like crap. Why do you think this is only important to OWPVP games? PvP is just a feature. It doesn’t make or break any game 🙂 EVE is EVE because there are consequences in combat and in non-combat, and that’s what really separates it’s PvE game from other PvE games.

      • For me, the best parts of EVE are – meta-game politics, emergent player-driven storytelling, conflict-driven economy and meaningful world PvP which allows players to conquer, control and rent sovereignty. Doone’s argument is that EVE is the sum of its parts, and removing any part of it would have an equal effect on EVE’s viability as one of the best sandbox games currently on the market.

        Rubbish. Absolute rubbish.

        Let’s conduct a thought experiment, and remove PvP from the game. Let’s imagine EVE with no PvP, no ability to contest sovereignty, no ability to wage war in null sec. What would happen to EVE without PvP at its heart?

        Meta-game politics – the rise of power blocs in EVE is a direct consequence of the conflict in null sec. There would be no impetus to create the massive mega-coalitions which currently rule EVE because there are no reasons to do so. I cannot think of an equivalent association in any other game which rivals the CFC, which reckons its members in the thousands. The driving force for this association is collective security and the domination of null sec, both of which are manifestations of PvP. Without PvP these mega-coalitions would have never arisen, nor would the associated literary content produced by each faction in the form of blogs, propaganda, podcasts and the like.

        Emergent Player Driven Storytelling – these types of stories can arise from cooperative play, but without PvP you wouldn’t have had the narratives which include the rise and fall of Band of Brothers, the wars against the Russians, the rise of the CFC, the wars against TEST, and the latest war against the Pandemic Legion/N3 bloc. Do you know why similar narratives do not emerge from PvE games? Because it’s always the same, it’s experienced by everyone, and once experienced, they become predictable and repetitive.

        Conflict-driven Economy – as I stated above, the destruction of ships from PvP bloc wars creates a massive demand for new space craft all the time. This demand fuels the economy, and allows traders, miners and industrialists to thrive, and in fact gives rise to a viable, alternative play style which is not PvP-centred, but production centred. Without conflict driven losses you would have the same situation you have in other MMO economies, where you can get to a minimum level by which your toon can get by and then cease production (unless, like Gevlon, the act of accumulating virtual wealth is enjoyable to you). I’m sitting on about half a million gold on my WoW account, and I don’t farm anymore because there’s no reason to do it. The economy in EVE remains vibrant and strong because there’s always demand created by PvP. The last major conflict in EVE came to a halt when Pandemic Legion cried no mas after taking severe losses in the battle of B-R5RB, in which an estimated $300,000 dollars worth of virtual space ships were lost.

        Meaningful PvP – without the ability to contest, control or delegate sovereignty via the use of rental spaces and/or alliance agreements, null sec in EVE would be a very dull and boring place. It has to remembered that everything in null sec can be seized by force, or by the threat of force (i.e. PvP) and so all these complicated mechanisms such as diplomacy, trade agreements, non-aggression pacts, and all the other apparatus are actually a direct consequence of PvP. It’s the human response to the age old problem of unbridled aggression, and to see the CFC basically bring a type of civilisation to the wild west of EVE null space is fascinating.

        So rather than being separate and distinct, the economy and politics of EVE are intrinsically tied up to world PvP. Removing parts of EVE might diminish it as a game, but remove world PvP from its heart and you gut it, and change it from one of the best iterations of a sandbox to a rather pathetic PvE space game with mediocre combat mechanics and dated graphics. I stand by my earlier statement that world PvP is the driving force for many of the things that make EVE great (for me personally), and this desperate “it’s the sum of its parts” argument does nothing to convince me otherwise.

      • “@dahaka: If you’re referring to me, there’s no various layers of meaning in my statements. PvP is players combating players. Mind explaining what you mean?”

        I already did. I devoted a whole paragraph to it, in fact.

        “You say EVE would be nothing without PvP but you can remove ANY of the many game features and say exactly the same. […]”

        Rubbish. You could remove all ratting missions without gutting the game. You could remove exploration and hacking without gutting the game. You could remove PI without gutting the game. The economy would adjust to the loss of revenue from those particular activities, but the core experiences would remain fully intact. The politics would be the same, the combat would be the same, the mining would be the same, the R&D would be the same, production would be the same. Only supply and demand would be affected.

      • I replied to you above as well, Dahaka. To you and Duke, you’re in the territory of flat out calling me a liar when I explain that my experiences with PvE are dynamic and full of interaction with intelligent players. And that’s just rude guys! So let’s scale back the adamant denials of others’ experiences and consider the ways in which our experiences are really similar. Which is to say, there’s so much to our MMOs which isn’t unique to PvE or PvP. The gameplay emerges from the players. Which is why I believe the economy is the heart. We can disagree there, but you should stop there and not deny my and others’ experiences.

        I see you both safely didn’t name the economy or industry in your examples of what could be taken out, even as you claim none of the “core” could be removed and then don’t mention a single core feature aside from PvP — of which industry is most certainly a core. Conveniently talk about mission running and ratting. The only reason you named them is because you didn’t want to admit that manufacturing and industry are largely PvE activities which are core to the game.

        But I’ll tell you what we can all do here. We can respect each others experiences, yes? I’m a hardcore businessman in EVE. I rarely even see ships unless go mining, which is rare these days. I conduct my business through talking with other intelligent, dynamic players, negotiating, interacting with our corporations, contracts, markets …you name it. We PvE’ers participate in the politics of our regions and systems too. All the things you named that you get out of PvP, I get that out of PvE as well. That just shows that those particular things aren’t unique to PvP or PvE. Let’s not make liars of each other by denying our experiences. If we do that, then the conversation is moot. We should be sharing and seeing the things we have in common instead.

        I’ve only ever made the point in this discussion that PvP is but a feature. Just like PvE. PvP is player combat in the sense that it’s its distinguishing characteristic from PvE. PvE is player cooperation. We don’t need to reduce PvE to AI interaction to say that PvP is awesome. Denying the experience of other players doesn’t make anyone’s point stronger and the only point I’ve tried to make is that these two modes of play are just features. I believe the game economy is the heart of all interaction and everything else is a consequence of that economy.

      • I have experienced those elements as well and they are an exciting part of mmo’s, there are a lot of amazing interactions and dynamic experiences there that don’t involve combat. I think a PvE mmo could and does (if you concider wurm) work because of it. I’m guessing this is what the others are saying too but that a PvP based mmo has these elements as well.. well should if it wants to create a rich experience. The elements you are talking about are important for sandboxes in general.

        The thing is, when you add PvP you have these elements and then your adding on to them with a variety of new elements governed by a range of different motivations. Just thinking about the transportation of goods once you add PvP you get elements trying to control that. Then you might have hired guards, mercenary squads. Contracts of protection and trading alliances.. Larger than that we have trade embargoes and wars all affecting this transportation.

        You can take elements that are solely PvE then add pvp and the breadth of content and playstyles becomes far more diverse, expansive and interesting. PvP just adds so much more to the experience.

      • Thank you, j3w3l. Nobody is taking anything away from PvE.

        Bottom line is that an OWPvP ruleset = PvE + more. A bigger range of options = more diversity.

        I’m done.

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  13. Oh I got a headache so I have not read all of the heated comment above…it looks good and I will come back and read it soon…

    I just wanted to say I loved the GIF 🙂

  14. I’m going to flog a dead horse, because I think I have just cause.

    I made two posts on this thread.

    The first post (1.1.4) is a direct response to Doone’s query in 1.1, in which he asks, “so what is this dynamic gameplay you all are referring to which can only be present when players are killing each other?” In response I wrote a response titled “examples of dynamism which occur directly or indirectly due to the presence or the possibility of PvP combat.” I used personal examples from all the games I played (Darkfall, ESO, EVE and WoW) to illustrate my points. I also took great pains to illustrate that my arguments for PvP are a reflection of my own tastes (quoting myself again: “These are some of the reasons why I like PvP in virtual worlds…not the choice everyone makes, understandably, but my own nonetheless”).

    I wrote a more heated second post (9.2.4) in response to Doone’s assertion that “you say EVE would be nothing without PvP but you can remove ANY of the many game features and say exactly the same (9.2.3).” I VEHEMENTLY DISAGREE with this point, and my counter-argument was that the features which I love about EVE – the rich political meta-game, emergent story lines, and deep economy – would not exist without PvP at its heart. It resulted in me using the words “absolute rubbish” and “desperate sum of its parts argument” in my response. Nonetheless, I felt that I said nothing that exceeded the bounds of propriety. Certainly nothing that Doone doesn’t say himself. In the thread above Doone shows himself more than capable in being equally indignant (“Nonsense!” – 9.2.3), dismissive (“It’s all really one has with the argument you are trying to win.” – 1.1.2) and patronising (“I’ll give you three years to find such a game. By then something new might have come out to meet your criteria.” – 1.1.2).

    Now the latest post (9.2.6) accuses me of (almost!) calling Doone a liar, and denying the truth of his experiences. He takes the high road and counsels everyone to “scale down the adamant denials of other’s experiences (9.2.6).”

    Excuse me?

    I never called you a liar, Doone – I disagreed with you, and put forward points and examples to illustrate my own viewpoint. If you can’t handle that, that’s your problem. In fact, I believe I have more cause to be angry with you, given the amount of times I feel like I have been misrepresented in the counter-arguments you put forward. I’m certainly not denying the truth of anyone’s experiences, which is what you’re accusing me of. That’s bullshit.

    Tell you what though mate. If you can validate any of these accusations with a direct quote and a reference as to where and when I said it, I will apologise to you on this thread, on your blog and on your podcast. I won’t accept inferences because I have no control over how you read what I write, but if you can find a DIRECT QUOTE which supports these assertions that I called you a liar, and that I denied the truth of your experience, then I mean it, I will apologise unreservedly. I have re-read this thread a few times because it is possible that I may have insulted you, but after doing so I still can’t see where I might have crossed the line. I never called you a liar, I never denied the truth of your experience, and it pisses me off no end that a lot of your arguments seem to be based on misrepresenting what I have said or putting words in my mouth. I began with an argument that PvP can provide dynamic elements on a player, world and meta-level, and by the time this argument emerged on Doone’s side it had metamorphosed into “PvP is the sole means to a dynamic game (1.1.5).” What? That is not what I said at all. Where exactly do I say this? In the first or the second post? I looked at them, mate, to give you the benefit of the doubt – I have a bad habit of blogging when I’m drunk, so it was a definite possibility that I could have said something terribly ignorant – but all I can see are my original arguments summarised above. I don’t paint PvE as “solo players taking on AI and talking to NPCs” (1.1.6), nor do I call PvE players “alien or stupid” (1.1.13). That’s you talking, mate, not me. I never said PvErs don’t play with other players, either (1.1.13). That’s such fucking horse shit. All I said is that “run of the mill questing zones” could become “places of extreme danger” with the addition of PvP (1.1.4). Where is this gibberish coming from? In my own blog I argue that PvE and PvP worlds can both create dynamic sandboxes, but given my tastes I prefer PvP ones (source: The Quest for Meaningful World PvP, Part III – World PvP as a Driver for Complex Storytelling). I even say “PvP is not the only generator of player-driven narratives but it’s one of the more interesting ones for my own tastes (1.1.4).” So stop putting words in my mouth. It’s bloody infuriating.

    However, if you can prove that I said these things, I will apologise. Honestly, and without reservation. Quotes me directly, no interpretations or inferences. Use that copy and paste feature. You clearly don’t understand how I think, and any attempts on your part to interpret or infer the way my mind works is just going to confuse us both, so I think the best bet for both of us is to use direct quotes in future “discussions.” I also think it’s disingenuous that you are now taking the high road, albeit after a last parting shot at Dahakha and myself. As far as I’m concerned, you’re the one that dragged this thread into the swamp.

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