Home > MMO > Where have all the PvPers gone?

Where have all the PvPers gone?

Waaaaa *cough*

Waaaaa *cough*

There’s a tremendous amount of talk in both the media and the innerWebs about how much of a disaster Warhammer Online is. Prior to its launch, WAR generated a lot of interest, both from MMO addicts as well as your usual Warhammer gamer. Of particular interest was how WAR would fare towards knocking down World of Warcraft, the world leader in MMO customer acquisition. Oh, and the whole Realm v Realm PvP design stuffage they were bringing to the table. (The Mark Jacobs leaving Mythic/EA won’t be part of this discussion. You can go here to read all about it). Thanks to having EA as a publisher, expectations were extremely high, many boxes were shipped and sold, hundreds of thousands of accounts were created, and hundreds of servers set up and taken to the masses for squig loving. As it stands now, WAR is considered lucky to have 300,000 active accounts, whereas the game that I work for is seen as a success story for having the same number six years after launch. Expectations are a bitch, man.

In general, I am not a PvPer, with the exception of some time as pencils in Battlefield 2 and 2142. Many games are fairly hardcore when it comes to PvP, and in my long history as an MMO gamer I’ve pretty much stuck to the PvE is where to be mould. I’ve always been the kind of gamer who makes an easy victim, who is always afraid of losing my toys, and who will always wind up with man jizz in my face afterwards, cleaning myself off with the ruined tatters of a bloodstained cloak or something (and no, I don’t RP either =P). This changed to a degree when I got BF2. I learned to enjoy the adreneline rush of the play in a structured environment where I was expected to be shot at by other players, and I was expected to shoot back. I was as good as my mouse was steady. When World of Warcraft released battlegrounds, I checked it out and had a lot of fun, despite being told I was a moron for wielding a shield (how else was I going to stop spellcasters from casting?!). What attracted me was the fact that battlegrounds are closed environments specific to PvP. Death was only important within that realm; my regular gaming could go on as scheduled without fear of getting my ass kicked while killing a boar. You still won’t see me on a PvP-specific server ever, however. I’m still loving the PvE too much in any game for that.

Which brings us to WAR with its Realm v Realm and scenario content (there are other types of PvP, but I’ve not yet enjoyed them). Each map has a specific area dedicated to PvP. If you enter the area and stay for ten seconds, you’re PvP flagged. If you fire off one of the cannons at warcamps you are also automatically flagged for RvR PvP. There are some missions that you can do in these locations (usually to check out a flag (PvE in a PvP environment!) or kill “x” number of players), but mostly it’s a capture-the-flag kind of thing. You can also siege keeps and stuff. I think every game should have some sort of gameplay where hot oil is dropped upon you while you’re battering down a keep door.

Scenarios are very much like battlegrounds: instanced PvP maps with different objectives. Each tier (there are four per race) has three scenarios. These are generally limited to time or point wins: you get a certain number of minutes to win with the most points; your side can also win if they get 500 points before time is up. These maps are generally quick, filled with a lot of death, and a tremendous amount of fun. They are also excellent XP earners, and if you gain enough RP you can purchase some rather excellent weapons, armor and accessories.

Public Quests (aka PQs) are also a rather interesting addition to the game. PQs are in public spaces with a number of different goals that need to be completed in a certain period of time. As you progress in each chapter (which usually has several PQs assigned to them), you gain influence points. IPs have three tiers wherein you can acquire excellent loot as a reward for participating in that chapter’s PQ’s. If you successfully complete the PQ, you and those who participated are rewarded with a loot bag, the quality of which depends upon your level of participation in the PQ.

I spent a good amount of this weekend playing WAR. In addition to running missions, I wound up mostly soloing PQ’s for influence points. Every once in a while another person would show up, which would piss me off because I was farming for IP so I could claim phat loot. While farming, I waited in queue for scenarios, first in tier two, then tier three. I played about 15 hours this weekend. That’s a lot of IP. And ZERO scenarios. Not one. I spent 15 hours, mostly during what should be American weekend prime time, with not one scenario played.

I don’t think this is how WAR’s designers meant for the game to be played. PQs are meant to be played with other players. Scenarios as well. Here I was geared towards playing with others, something I am not at all known for (ironically, considering I’m an MMO player), and I spent the weekend soloing against my will. Even Altdorf was a ghost town.

My friend RJO pointed out that there are probably a lot of players checking out the new Land of the Dead map. This is probably true, however, there were still a handful of players such as myself not getting boners over Zandri. WAR is also most probably going through the beginnings of the traditional summer slump, when players are out of college and into their pools and parental narcotics stashes.

There is also a rumor that WAR will close down more servers in order to get the populations closer.

Regardless, where have all the PvPers gone?

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