Player vs. Player (PvP) in EverQuest 2
by Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle
PvP seems a little bit out of place in the fundamentally cooperative game of EverQuest 2. It isn't, and probably never will be, a mainstream thing, and to be clear about this: if you're playing just for experience and loot, you won't get much out of what EQ2 has to offer in the way of PvP. It's not (at all) about character progression- perhaps when it's fully implemented we'll see how arena battles can effect the laws of Maj'Dul (as promised in the billed expansion features). For now, it's about fun and competition and a little break from the mid-to-high level grind.
But this doesn't mean that there's anything half-baked about the PvP features that are currently live. Arena combat is a blast; with three types of team-based rulesets (the classic "deathmatch" and "capture the flag" and the original "destroy the idol") that resemble what you might find in a game like Quake or Unreal Tournament. All that's missing on the Arena end is a context (like scores, a ranking system, or the aforementioned ability to effect Maj'Dul's political scene) and more arena fighters. But let's start with the new dueling system.
Duels and Duelbets
Player vs. Player action can occur anywhere in EQ2 via /duel and /duelbet. First of all, there's no death penalty or item damage assigned as a result of a duel. At worst, you might lose the food and drink you were digesting and the poison on your blade in a /duel (duelbets are a little different, we'll go over these in a moment). Second, you have to agree to a duel before a player can attack you.
Note that you cannot be in the same group as another player you wish to duel (but one or both players can mentor within their seperate groups, but cannot unmentor once combat begins). When both players agree to the duel, a blue glowing ring is created around the combatants. If either player leaves the ring, they lose. The winner and loser of a duel are announced to everyone nearby.
Duelbets work exactly the same as duels, except one or both players ante up coin or an item that they'll hand over if they lose the duel. Again, both players must agree to the bet before the duelbet will commence.
Why duel? It's fun if you're evenly matched! That's a big if, since there's plenty of ego-maniacs out there that would love to make you an example of their superior level, skills, and equipment. Also note that classes that solo the best typically duel the best; a lumbering heavy tank might be indispensable for a raid, but his massive hitpoints won't do much if they can't outlast a ranger's DPS. Oh, and note that ranged skills/spells are often a must if you dislike being kited by a veteran duelist.
If you're looking for some meatier PvP combat, check out the Arena perched high atop the city of Maj'Dul. Any arena combat (at this point) involves teamwork; if you join an existing match you'll be auto-assigned to team red or blue.
Types of Arena Matches
- Team Deathmatch - Red and blue teams square off to frag as many of the opposite team as you can.
- Victory conditions - 10, 20, 30, or 50 kills for your team.
- Strategy - Stick together unless you know what you're doing! Divide and conquer is a risky advanced strategy.
- Victory conditions - Destroy 1, 3, 5, or 7 idols.
- Strategy - This is about territory control, since it's going to take some concentrated damage to destroy an idol (at least when playing Champs). Again, move as a team. If you can do that and leave 2 players around (more if you're playing a more open, less defensible map) to guard or harass players attacking your idol, all the better.
- Victory conditions - Capture 1, 3, 5, or 7 flags.
- Strategy - There's a number of strategies, perhaps the most common and conservative of which is to take the bulk of the group into the center of the map, wait till you've killed a number of the enemy at once, and while they're on their timeout send your fastest person in for the flag. Tail the runner with your healer and don't stop till you're at your flag. The rest of the group should bog down attackers, Fearknights with their knockback ability are especially adept at this.
The Arena Maps
- Court of Doom - 4 elevated platforms and an open "courtyard" area in the center make this one fun for deathmatches.
- Maj'Dul Arena - A balanced arena with a well-developed "catwalk" elevated area.
- The Dungeon - Wide open except for some "machine gun" bunkers and a raised area in the center, this one's great for fast-paced encounters.
- Protected - High walls and lots of ambush-friendly "sniper alleys" make this one tough on invaders in Idol or Flag matches.
If you're hosting a new match, your most fundamental choice is whether to allow players to compete as themselves or as "champions" - variously skilled and equipped pets that you can choose to fight as. The advantage of using Champions is that if you're playing with a level 53 and a level 42 adventurer, when playing Champs everyone is on the same level. You can also assume a variety of identities just by purchasing and choosing different Champions- a tank can become a speedy flag runner just by choosing their "Tae Ew Hunter" as their Champion. Two more pluses are a greatly simplified spellbar (you'll only have 5 combat abilities / spells to start with- less is more in fast-paced arena combat) and the abilities to grab icons that grant one charge of a powerful spell. These icons don't spawn in player-character matches.
- Champions - "Pets" that you can choose to play as. The following quality assortment of champions is available from Sumixum the Arena Master for 6 silver a piece:
- Player Characters - You compete as... you. It's like a duel, but in a bigger ring with more allies and opponents.
Other Setup Options
- Time Limits - How long the match lasts.
- Options: 10, 20, 30 minutes or infinite
- Time between matches - How much time to re-balance and organize the groups in between matches.
- Options: Host starts, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes
- Allow observers - Whether or not you'll allow cowardly gawkers to enjoy the action.
In the Arena...
The following icons are available in both Champion and Player-Character matches. Again, these are items that are instantly applied to your health or power pool- though they look like potions, there's no need to equip and use them.
- Blue vial - Replenishes power
- Red vial - Replenishes health
These icons are available only in Champion matches. Running through the symbol (lightning bolts, axes, etc.) places a one charge spell in your hotbar.
- Lockdown (yellow star) - Roots target
- Feedback (purple shield) - Debuff which lasts 20 seconds on the target, and knocks him back with 83 extra damage.
- Rune (blue shield) - Wards caster against 600 points of damage
- Detonation (yellow axe) - AoE DD + Stun & throwback
- Champion's Fury (red axe) - Enlarges caster by 30%, DPS increased by 720%, 120 point AoE DD for 15 seconds
- Bound (green lightning bolt) - Throws caster back, think mechwarrior liftjets :)
- Flash (yellow lightning bolt) - 130 point DD + stun
- Thunder Clap (red lightning bolt) - DD for 100-200 damage plus stun
- Surge (blue lightning bolt) increases caster's speed by 60%
That's all for now! As SOE has recently performed a PvP poll asking players whether or not they want more PvP options on all servers or only on specific ruleset servers, we're probably going to see more in the way of Player vs. Player action. And when we do, we'll update the guide!
Have PvP questions? Have a bone to pick with how SOE does PvP? Join our PvP forum thread and let's discuss!