Been reading a few of the “Woe is WAR” posts floating around like Keen’s and on The Greenskin. I’m reminded of similar discussions around Pirates of the Burning Sea (technical issues aside) as the struggle for the soul of the game evolved.
I’m left with the question in my brain of whether a primarily Realm versus Realm MMO can really have any chance of succeeding, or whether the MMO genre is really just too poorly suited to this kind of gameplay.
A persistent world with persistent characters comes with a price that may have some inherent limitations or conflicts when brought into contact with most MMO character progression models. I didn’t play DAOC in its heyday, so forgive the lack of insight there.
I wonder what discussions roiled around the conference room tables when the Mythics and Flying Labs of the world discussed designing a faction oriented pvp game. Without being exhaustive, I’d think they have to have pretty good answers to questions like these, and more importantly, the answers to any of them can’t conflict with answers to others. No small task indeed.
What happens if:
- one side is more popular than another?
- one class is more popular than others?
- there are not enough people to overcome PvE objectives?
- there are not enough pople to overcome RvR objectives?
- the population is spread across a number of regions?
- the population is spread across a range of experience?
- one faction dominates RvR objectives?
- no one engages in RvR?
- if RvR objectives are only undertaken when there are no likely defenders?
- if there are players that don’t want to engage in RvR?
- if a faction is “victorious”?
- if a faction is “defeated”?
- players only have a 2-hour block of time to play?
- if players are unable to coordinate with each other?
and on and on. I’m beginning to think that as soon as you replace factional progression with individual advancement, you’ve lost the RvR game. Likewise, the opposite seems true too– as soon as you replace individual advancement with RvR progression, you lose the MMO game.
A game about “us” seems incompatible with a game about “me” and vice versa. I’m hoping someone proves me wrong.
Just to avoid any confusion, PvP /= RvR and doesn’t suffer the same conflicts. “Warfare” in a PvP game like Eve, for example, is an extrapolation of a one v. one conflict to a many v. many conflict. Though complicated conflicts require specialization and coordination (just like PvE games), Eve remains an individual experience, whether or not you are part of a big corporation, whether or not you are Gallente, Caldari, Minmatar or Amarr.
Ultimately the rewards of the corporate warrior or the doughty miner inure to the individual, and any collective effort via corps and alliances, etc. are at their core still motivated by that individual advancement mechanic. In Eve, thats mostly pecuniary. ISK is King, and all good things come from ISK. In PvE games, that’s levels and loot.
Self selective collaborative group effort is still built on an individual achievement model, just like PvE MMOs. We run the instance to get the loot for ourselves and for our group mates’ “selves” but not for any conceptualized “us”.
My individual interests may have been aligned with those of Varian Wrynn from time to time, but if the King of Stormwind said “Go slay 1,000 scourge”, the first thing that comes to mind is “What’s in it for me?” PvP and PvE allow us to keep individual score. An RvR game has yet to crack that nut.
So can it be done or are we all doomed to me first MMOs?