Sunday, January 9, 2011

My Love/Hate of PvP - And Why PvP is to Blame for Everything

The 10-Day Trial. The most impactful moment of my gaming life. I gazed at the screen and thought to myself, "it sure would be cool to play games on my computer, this World of Warcraft thing, whatever it is, could be fun." That fateful day I gazed at my computer screen and only wished that I didn't have to pay in order to play.

Then I looked closer. "FREE 10-DAY TRIAL!"


And thus my online gaming life began. I ran through my first, then second, then third 10-day free trial, and each time I did I found a class that I loved more than the last. One day, as I strolled into Goldshire, I saw this dude (Warrior or Rogue, can't remember) holding a rather large weapon (for which I call him Big Sword Guy, or just BSG for short). I wondered where he obtained such a gift, for I didn't recall any such weapon dropping in the starting area, from a mob or from a quest. BSG invited me to a duel. I was afraid because I had seen how he had punished others with his big sword and I had no desire to be another victim to his blood lust.

Then I agreed.

I think it was the minion of mine that finally did him in, tossing one last fire ball into his face. He bowed to me and congratulated me on a victory well earned. I thanked BSG, then vowed never to PvP...EVER AGAIN!

It was stressful, I gained 17 new gray hairs after that duel in the village crossroads, and had no desire to hasten my demise by participating in a portion of the game destined to grow me into an old-folk home prematurely. No, I would swear off PvP for life, it held no attraction to me at all.

A year passed, then 18 months. I had a dozen toons of all levels, I had began and stopped raiding, I studied all the PvE tips and tricks of every class and spec. But during all that time I still refused to PvP, I had made a promise to myself, there was no way I was going to break that now.

At the time I stopped my raiding life (for a while, to rehab my RL injuries), I still enjoyed playing, but questing and dungeons alone didn't provide something that I had experienced while raiding..."challenging" (let's not debate this today, I'm not in the mood) encounters that forced me to think and react quickly to the situation. What out there could help compensate for that feeling without having to committ so much time to multiple raid nights/week.


And thus it was that I broke my promise to myself, I started to PvP on a regular basis. I had always told everyone that I didn't want to PvP because I sucked at it (which is actually true), but had withheld the true reasons for avoiding battlegrounds, etc. But I was called by the mystical forces of the Universe, did I really have a choice?

One by one I played my various toons of different classes to see which ones I enjoyed to PvP with the most. Basically it came down to who was the most intuitive and powerful classes that my fingers could wield. It may seem strange, but whenever I play with my rogue, I can't seem to win a fight. It's not that I don't know my spells or anything, it just doesn't feel right under my fingertips. On the other hand, the class I vowed I would never play (Paladin) was one where I excelled at PvP.

Love / Hate
I now have an odd love/hate relationship with PvP. I love it because it's not scripted, I can't look up strats for fights, when to move out of the fire and when to stand in the good stuff. No, every fight was 100% unique from all others, it keeps me thinking and planning constantly, never allowing me to breathe or take any mental break. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in PvP that I don't read what people write in BG chat (not that some of it is useful). But I love it because it gives me a chance to use my toons in ways that I would have never dreamed of in any dungeon or raid boss fight.

I hate it because of the unpredictability, yes, the same reason I love it now is the same why I hate it. The most unpredictable thing, however, are the people you are fighting with. In any battleground you have a chance to be grouped with others who understand that particular BG strats or with people who just run around looking for a fight, whether it's one on one or one on eight. It's those times when you find yourself looking up at the Arathi Basin score board and the Horde is at 1440 resources and you and your pathetic Alliance friends are at 300. Ugh.

It's in those bad groups that you often find yourself launching into battle with 4-5 other friends, only to find out that 3-4 of them, upon seeing a fair fight ahead of them, turn tail and run like little chickens crying for their mama. Now you're left with a 5 on 1 situation and you're dead...again!

And it's then that I start to scream and yell and my kids run out of my room because their dad is about to explode.

Life Goes On
So I continue to PvP, and probably will, for those reasons why I enjoy it so. I'll live with the bad, those things I hate, because there is always bad that comes with good, that's life. I am pretty good with some classes/specs, and still suck at most, but I keep trying, and maybe one day I'll get good. At least I know BG strats, so that I don't do stupid stuff and get yelled at. If I lose it's because I wasn't as good/skilled, period. No excuses and I'm fine with that.

PvP Causes Rebellion
Many out there, including myself, often find cause to complain about the bad behavior of others. We question whether or not anyone has heard of oddities such as manners, thougtfulness, and common sense. There are many theories, but I think the root of all evil is PvP.

I hope in reading this section you don't actually believe a word I say, it's all for fun. And so I continue.

PvP is leaderless, anarchy incarnate. It promotes rude, offensive behavior, for all out war, no rules is the only way you can defeat your opponent. In days of Knights and Kings and Surfs, if a warrior dropped his sword in a duel, his opponent allowed him to pick it up, for to slay a defenseless man was honorless. In PvP, it's encouraged. In fact, some classes are even given spells that disarm their opponent so that you can kill them. Nice!

WoW is filled with a bunch of "heroes" roaming the wild without a moral compass. The only compass in PvP is pointed at your enemy, and you hope that the arrow pointing you in said direction can also be used to gut 'em. PvP won't allow leadership, it would burst the dam of honor in order to gain a different sort of honor. PvP is the evil that corrupts all players to behave badly, because in PvP there is no such thing as bad behavior, just kill or be killed.

So PvPers take those attitudes to the streets of SW and Org, and with it find new and unusual ways to troll the rest of the community. Eventually, that reckless hate spread to PvE realms and players, until it became acceptable; or at the very least prevalent, if not acceptable.

So, what do we do? We must destroy PvP once and for all. Then we must turn and destroy all PvE elements, leaving us with only professions and fishing. People will role play fights, BG's, raids, and everyone will be a Kingslayer. The world will be perfect because all the kids will get a trophy. Yes, PvP is the genesis of all bad behavior, and we must destroy it before it infects you and me.

Die PvP! DIE!!!


Tesh said...

In theory, I like the variability of PvP, and it's about the only "end game" activity I would spend much time in. In practice, since gear and levels make for a wide power differential, I ultimately feel that I'm not competing on a level playing field where my skill and adaptability carry the day.

I like testing my skill against others. Huge differences in skill in either direction undermine the fun. Significant differences in non-skill factors that override skill totally kill the fun.

Gronthe said...

@ Tesh: Agreed. Months later when I found out what a Twink was, I felt angry at the big sword guy, he was supposedly on equal ground, trying to duel people of equal level, but the many variables that create imbalances and don't allow for skill to be the determining factor can take away from the fun of it all.