With the craziness surrounding the
target="_blank">Darkfall release really reaching a
head these last few weeks, an interesting subplot arose in my
competitive vision. While href="http://wow.tentonhammer.com/" target="_blank">World
of Warcraft definitely
has garnered its own share of PvP fanatics, there’s a
distinct difference between faction-based PvP and open PvP. In fact,
there’s so much difference between the two that entire
communities have sprung up around games – style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online
Online in particular – that espouse
the novelty of having a truly open world where anyone can gank anyone
else anytime of the day or night.
release has open PvPers in a frenzy.
So why do these communities exist? What drives these players of short
tempers and bloody blades to band together in roving bands of homicidal
tendencies and blade-in-the-dark conspiracies? I have a few theories
(and they’re only that) and some opinions, but I certainly
encourage everyone to jump in and help me figure out why these open PvP
titles create such a stir.
1. Hostility Feeds Off
Hostility – The most obvious theory in my list
points to the natural flavor of these players and their desire to have
more of it. It takes a special type of person to play in an open PvP
game: the vast majority of open PvPers seem to take pride in their
skills while also being eager to jump into the fray with anyone that
steps over that imaginary line. These players are like that guy in your
local bar that is always itching to be the first one to throw a punch,
even when the offense is little more than a spilled drink. These
individuals attract more of their kind simply by existing, and the same
can be said about the uber-aggressors in open PvP communities. These
guys want to fight you, and they want to fight you now. It’s
not a bad thing, but a community built around these individuals
certainly has a high risk factor involved for the new player.
2. Gamers Want That
“True” Experience – Few MMOs
since the original EverQuest and Ultima Online have really felt like a
“true” experience. I use the word
“true” in this case to define that sort of
table-top gaming experience that many of us grew up with. While it
still seems technically impossible to allow gamers to do everything
that you might be able to do in an imaginary world like D&D,
the concept of having a group of developers making your game to simply
“give you the rules” and nothing else is exotic and
enticing. EVE Online
has displayed this idea time and time again, and both style="font-style: italic;">Mortal Online and style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall seem to
have this theory behind their development teams. Gamers want to feel
like their world is limitless and the very notion of open PvP drives
that point home. Once you start building faction-based PvP into the
game, there’s already an automatic wall that you’ve
built around yourself. Even EverQuest (at least in the early days) gave
you the option to chat with “The Priest of Discord”
and make yourself PvP-viable.
Open PvPers Love the
Challenge - As we’ve href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/64708" target="_blank">written
about on Ten Ton Hammer over the last few weeks, many online
gamers are looking for the game that stops the hand-holding and lets
them go into the world to discover things on their own. In these games,
the learning process becomes part of the game itself. On top of that,
players that learn through trial-and-error often feel invested in their
game to the point that once they’ve given a solid chunk of
hours, there’s no going back. Open PvP ups that ante tenfold.
Even with a “safe zone” available in many open PvP
games, players still feel that the challenge of open PvP forces them to
dedicate themselves to their game. Even though I haven’t had
an opportunity to jump into Darkfall yet, I feel an almost
gravitational pull towards the game simply to see if I can be savvy
enough to work my way up in their world without falling prey to another
character. Even if it did happen, I know I would do my best to track
that person down once I’ve reestablished my character in the
Online looks to provide phenomenal visuals for its players.
4. Roleplayers Love Open
PvP – Wait, wait, wait. Before you all start
jumping up and down and waving your arms in the air like you just
don’t care, let me explain myself. While it may not be
necessarily true that “roleplayers love open PvP,”
I think it is true that roleplayers love the idea and expanding
boundaries of open PvP. Think about it for a second: Roleplayers are
all about freedom and creativity. While many games offer a nice
framework for RP options in their game, nothing seems quite as honestly
limitless and “creative” as open PvP. Although
their may not be hundreds of active roleplaying guilds scrambling to
get into games like Darkfall,
I think there are a number of roleplayers on the forums of these games,
and these roleplayers tend to be very, very vocal. I know
there’s a fairly large contingent of roleplayers in style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online, and
there were plenty of RPers in the RPvP servers in href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/aoc" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan.
Don’t believe me? href="http://forums-eu.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=1034618"
target="_blank">Just ask these girls.
5. It’s a Fad –
Just like the fashion industry, the massively multiplayer online gaming
space is just as susceptible to fads as the next arena. While it may
take developers several thousand times longer to create a working MMO
than it takes fashion designers to create the next
“hot” t-shirt, players can certainly be swayed into
buying and participating in games that they might not have had any
interest in a few years ago. A little more than six months ago, no one
had heard of Mortal
Online and even fewer people had any interest in style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall. Yet here
we are at the start of 2009 and players are clamoring to get into style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall and
drooling over the premise of Mortal
Online’s open PvP. Not only that, but EVE Online
is heading up their biggest marketing push to date, re-releasing the
game in stores and hoping that their open PvP ideals take hold. These
communities are coming together simply to embrace this growing fad.
While the excitement may or may not last forever, it is certainly
causing quite the stir.
No where can I get in line to get a copy of style="font-style: italic;">Darkfall?
Agree with me? Disagree? Let me know on the forums or simply drop me a
email. Otherwise, keep your head low because you’re
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