You know, one of the most hilarious things I get to listen to a lot as an MMO player, and not exactly one who sits and boasts or brags about my gaming experience (sarcasm), one of the funniest things I actually get to hear (other than being called a nub) is that I am a care bear. This always strikes me odd considering the fact I am almost always pro PvP in games, unless the system is just horribly skewed and completely broken to the point that even bothering to PvP is just a massive waste of time (more than it normally is). Of course, then when it concerns this and I actually do PvP a lot of these people, especially the ones that think they are among the best of the best, I typically end up railroading them, and then they start calling me cheap, I wasn't playing fair, etc, etc, etc.
PvP is always a fascinating subject to me because, in the grand scheme of things, as long as you are winning, the game is balanced. But the minute someone comes along and wallops you, the game needs to be rebalanced and fine tuned. I don't care what type of person you think you are, the minute you get beat, you are screaming at your screen, or holding back screaming at it, and sitting there saying something was cheap, that is broken, or the best of them all, the person that just walloped you is hacking. Of course, this is not to deny the fact that there are situations where this occurs, and in some areas, occurs more frequently than it should, but in general, the first instinct of a player, no matter how cool or collected, is to rage at just having been defeated at something. Depending on company, their composure may hold back, but as time wears on, that composure slowly fades away as they end up getting beat more often than they think is possible.
Now this thought came about when I was looking over the cliff notes on TOR's PvP system they have set up, and I will say, on paper, I like it because I reminds me of WAR's PvP system, which was, in my opinion, is one of the better PvP MMO systems on the market. Of course, that is about all that WAR does, as it's PvE is absolute rubbish. And this got me thinking over the various years, for nearly 14 years since the early days of UO, how I just find it funny how people call me a care bear or something because I don't sit there and boast about PvP being the only thing that matters. Of course, my personal point of view is that for a good sandbox game, PvP would need to be a pivotal aspect, however, due to the highly immature nature of PvPers in this day and age of internet gaming, the mass market will probably never actually grow to accept PvP in that capacity, so it will always need to be regulated and controlled as long as the average MMO PvPer has the mentality and self control of a four year old who's been fed several dozen pixie sticks.
Is that an unfair approximation of PvPers? Yes, and no. Yes, because not all PvPers act this way. No, because, quite frankly, more act that way than the more "civilized" PvPers would like to believe. On average, for every one decent acting PvPer, you can probably wager at least three others are gibbering, hooting dick holes that aren't worth your time. This is the result of the competitive nature of PvP mixed with the anonymity of the internet allowing people to do what they can't normally do in the real world, even though they would do it in a heartbeat if they were allowed to. And the sad part is, while most people will profile these people as being under the age of eighteen, the startling reality of it is, many of these people will be in their late twenties to mid thirties. And no, that isn't even made up, that is a factual statistic concerning MMOs in general. The average age of an MMO gamer falling around thirty.
But enough of that, the point of this blog really wasn't about PvPer mentality and such, but the fact that I just wanted to talk about PvP, and just generally share with the fact that I actually do enjoy to PvP, even if I don't sit there and shut my life away inside a PvP zone every minute of my log in time of any game I am playing. Of course, some of the excuses some PvPers make for reasons why they don't PvE in games also is some of the funniest non-sense I've heard to, but we will get to more of that later.
Following up my views from my last blog about APB:R, something I will put forward. Do I think APB:R is going survive it's second incarnation? Short answer? No. Long answer, speaking as a PvPer, the game is just too flawed. The imbalance is monumentally obvious in that game, enough so that even an outsider can identify the flaws straight away, the servers are still unstable, memory leaks are still prevalent, lag spikes are phenomenally bad, and people just can't be bothered to even play the game for free from what I can see. Seriously, if the game has any following it won't be much higher than when Real Time Worlds was running it, because GamersFirst has cocked the whole thing up so badly that the game just isn't the fun that was originally delivered. And they expect people to pay money for the premium stuff. At best, they will probably make money on people with the clothing editor (make being generously stated), but past that, people will most likely stick with Team Fortress 2 or even Brink instead of APB:R and I don't see the servers having great populations on them. There is just too much monumentally wrong with the game now, and a lot of it was just created recently.
Now, as far as my PvP experience goes, I am not a major FPS person, or shooter in general. The reason for this is because I don't have the money or time to constantly keep upgrading my system every other month just to keep ahead of the curve that most of these hardcore serious FPS PvPers do. My latency is always superb, but people depend their ability in an FPS on perfect FPS rates as well as millisecond times, that becomes too much, and I just don't care to try and keep up with that non-sense. That is too expensive and for something that only provides enjoyment based on that moment, it isn't worth the time to me. The modern FPS relies on twitch factors that are more machine based than actual person based and the end result relies less on strategy these days and just more on hardware performance. That's all and well for the muscle machine enthusiasts, but just isn't my cup of tea.
On the other hand, I love to PvP in MMOs and strategy based games. There, your latency is more key as well as your actual thinking, planning and strategy. Of course, there comes the rub. Unlike an FPS shooter (mostly) MMO and strategy based games rely more on the actual game being balanced towards certain aspects. One thing off results in the entire system being cocked up instantly and the cries of nerf can be heard across the universe. Well you will hear that anyways anytime someone gets whooped in PvP by someone with more skill than another person, but we are talking blatantly obvious imbalances. Things like powers that are making someone immune to damage completely, or attacks that decimate entire fields in one shot, or even powers that let you do things that weren't originally intended, like getting into a keep without having to break the front door down.
MMOs are complicated, many times more than FPS games or single player or even their multi-player variants. It only takes one bad power or such to just throw everything out of whack and the cries for a nerf to come crawling in. Of course, on the flip side is the hilarity that the people that do abuse the obviously broken stuff will go out of their way to make claims that it is indeed balanced, even though it is plain obvious to anyone that a power that basically says "IWIN" is in no way balanced. This makes the gulf between a PvE and PvP player very large because neither camp want the other to interfere with each other, but both camps like to believe their side of the fence exists in a vacuum.
Now, my personal PvP experience (when I started online computer stuff since I been technically PvPing since consoles and arcades as a young child with games like Killer Instinct and such) started in UO in 97. Needless to say the concept of an MMO was new to the world in general, let alone me. At first, I didn't like it, because I lost everything and such and all that I worked for was gone. But eventually, I came around and started to work and get better at it and pace myself. Of course in the early, burgeoning days of UO, PvP was very much hit or miss because only a handful had broadband and 56k was still the big thing. Eventually that changed and of course the world changes almost overnight when you get broadband.
As time went on I learned how to only carry what I needed then and there and I have to say, became a rather proficient PK hunter and a master mage duelist. But that was ages ago in the MMO world of things. In today's MMO world, PvP is relegated to back corners and such to avoid offending the eyes of people who think PvP is a stupid waste of time, and to me they are closed minded. Of course, I also think of PvPers that think of PvE as a stupid waste of time being equally as closed minded, since in my experience a player can be even more predictable than a computer program AI. But that's another point entirely.
Now, if I were to rate MMOs based solely on their PvP experience, the list would probably be a quite long one. No game has quite nailed it and PvP is something that's always being adjusted and changed and rebalanced all because of a few people that go out of their way not only to min max builds, but to find broken powers to make things unbelievably unbalanced. These type of people, of course, generally hide behind excuses like they are trying to make the devs fix it faster and such, or that the power is not broken than people just need to learn to play or other such rubbish. So, instead of actually listing a list of MMOs, I am going to list MMOs based on what I think, at the time when i played them, were the most fun and balanced PvP systems, the worst PvP system, and the cock up of the year award.
Now, considering how I have stated in various places this, it should come as no surprise, but I consider WAR to have one of the best PvP systems, when I played it. Now, the rub here. Why did I stop playing WAR? Well frankly all there was was PvP in that game. The PvE game was dreadful, to say the least, and if you tried leveling up straight through PvP you will be grinding hardcore. Not to mention, because they followed the WoW model (despite Warcraft was a blatant rip off of Warhammer) even a minute gear difference pretty much cocked balance up especially in the lower level ranges. But given MMOs in general, this was the most fun and balanced of my PvP experiences in MMOs to date.
Now, PvP systems in general go, I'd have to say the worst PvP experience on the market goes to Cryptic. Sorry Cryptic, but you guys just seem to make a PvP system then give up on it. Things are always so horribly broken or imbalanced. If I were to rate the three games as they stand from best of the worst to worst of the worst, City of Heroes would be the best, (better before the stupid i13 changes) with the absolute worst being Champions Online. There is no sense of balance and only a tiny sliver of builds are even valid in any of it, which just is atrocious planning. A lot thought needs to be taken in but honestly, I think Cryptic has just given up over all concerning PvP for Champions, and probably Star Trek Online as well. They don't control City of Heroes anymore (and I haven't played since the i13 patch), but I know that PvP is even worse than ever.
And finally for the cock up of the year award, this will go to GamersFirst for completely, boldly, and bluntly fucking up the entire APB experience. The game is hugely imbalanced, they removed fun aspects (car chases for instance), and have done nothing major to address the startling major issues and concerns, and also trying to throw the wool over the eyes of the populace as a whole concerning the major issue of hackers. The servers are unstable, the game has a HUGE memory leak, and the balance is just plain non-existant. Key advice, you don't try to take a system that was perfectly balanced before (minus a few problems) and try to improve it. You fuck it up.
Now, that all that is out of the way, I will say after reading the info on TOR's PvP systems, it has caught my interest there. The rest of TOR is debatable. I love to actually PvP. I like to PvP quite a lot. I am nowhere near as good as I use to be, and strangely enough, some people actually think I am making some bold claim that I am some goddess of PvP. But having the experience and such throughout the years of MMO PvP, I do have a bit of knowledge concerning what is balanced and what isn't in an MMO, and this allows me to spot a power more easily based on what it does as being imbalanced and planning a basic set up with it. A lot of people don't like that it seems, and ironically they love to claimt hey want to balance such things. And it still does amuse me when people call me cheap because I beat them because they think I am a care bear and they find out differently.
Anyways, please leave comments below, I would like to hear them.