Updated Fri, Jan 02, 2009 by Ethec
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.
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.
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.
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.
These icons are available only in Champion matches. Running through the symbol (lightning bolts, axes, etc.) places a one charge spell in your hotbar.
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!