Posted Thu, Jan 24, 2008 by Boomjack
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I'm confident that most of you would agree that player versus player (PvP) combat in MMOGs could use some freshening up. North American titles have historically been light on PvP, while Asian games have been virtual hunting grounds. At first glance this appears to run contrary to cultural beliefs, but in truth it makes perfect sense.
Ultima Online was a free-for-all player versus player bloodbath. Some players reveled in it, while others were driven away, in many cases to EverQuest which had no PvP at all. UO was a chaotic virtual society that seemed to either entangle or repel a player.
Dark Age of Camelot appeared, a shining beacon in a genre bereft of ordered PvP and changed the way that developers pictured the player versus player environment. It changed the way that they envisioned it. Unfortunately, it didn't much affect the way that they designed it.
EVE Online launched and with it a thread of order was woven through an otherwise chaotic PvP system. Some areas were safer than others, patrolled by virtual police, though nowhere was truly safe if somebody was out to get you.
World of Warcraft put PvP in a comfortable, safe little sandbox, separating it from the player versus environment (PvE) game except for a few rare zones. WoW also allowed players to partake in PvP servers, which were somewhat of a return to the chaotic days of UO. The starting zones were safe, and you couldn't be attacked by your own faction, but otherwise you had to have eyes in the back of your head at all times. Battlegrounds became a means to acquiring equipment and items that otherwise might be out of the reach of players who did not participate in raiding. PvP became another advancement channel for both prestige (ladder rankings) and items.
Age of Conan, due out in May 2008, will give players the choice of playing on a PvP (a free-for-all type server) or a PvE (you choose when to PvP) type server.
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