Monday, September 24, 2012

Always Off...?

Some people just want to play their own way... ^^

Some people don't like PvP.

I'm not one of them, as it happens. I enjoy wading in and having a good biff, I suspect because I began my career in Warcraft doing just that (I moved from PvP to PvE to play with my husband). Early experiences tend to lead to such enthusiasm, of a desire to take part in all the aspects that a game has to offer. However, I realise that one of the overriding reasons why Warcraft has maintained its popularity for so many years boils down to the vast number of ways it can be played. That inevitably includes those (including my husband and a fair number of people in my Warcraft gaming sphere) who don't give a rat's ass about PvP at all. They are here to play a game, albeit steeped in combat, but one that does not include a conscious decision to engage other real players in battle.

With the upcoming expansion, we are placed in a situation where the game is pitting us against each other at every turn: questing becomes an Us v Them scenario. I see with the introduction of Cross Realm Zones that many people, regardless of their realm status, want to escalate the tension and the fights regardless of what others might consider acceptable behaviour. There's a problem with this however: some people, mostly found playing their games on PvE realms, aren't interested in anything other than the pre-arranged battles in the upcoming expansion. They don't want to engage in World PvP, they're not bothered with Battlegrounds, they simply want to play the game in a style that is roughly akin (ironically) to those who Twink, turning their XP off to enjoy a certain level of BG action.

They want to turn PvP off altogether.

There is a fundamental problem with such a stance, the way things currently stand. Look at the title of the game we play. It's a World of WARcraft, guys! You can't ask to turn off a part of that just because you don't like being ganked when you accidentally click on the stupid flagged mage who appeared in your pile of aoe-d mobs. You need to be more careful, you need to embrace the conflict and the thrill of the graveyard camping... actually, you know the problem with seeing both sides of an argument? Its the fact that you always end up unconsciously deciding your position is more morally upstanding. Its inevitable, because even when both differing stances have merits you'll always fall on the side with the greater emotional attachment. Yes, non PvP-ers should suck it in, they should fight and heal and rez regardless. No, actually, they should get respect for what they want, just as much as everyone else who plays a niche in this game (and I know there are many, many of those. I don't get RP, but that's a post for another time.)

The problem then becomes how to implement a TRUE PvE environment.

With CRZ introduced, the LAST thing Blizzard are looking to do is introduce any new kind of server designation, but I reckon if we could create a couple of True PvE Realms they might get a fair few takers. It would be a place with no World PvP AT ALL: in fact, all PvP zones would be turned off. No Outland targets in Hellfire or Zangermarsh, World Arenas disabled, no Captain's Chest in Stranglethorn or Darkmoon Faire Pit Fighting... I know just how much World PvP is placed around the environment even in PvE. There are people conversely who just don't care, they simply want to quest and do dailies and raid and five man without ever having to touch any of these 'challenges', and they do. The advent of CRZ has heightened the irritation of many who are now forced to adapt their play style to avoid opportunism from many of those ON THEIR OWN SERVERS in taking HK's and forcing a change in other's statuses. I think PvP really needs to be consensual on both sides, don't you?

The True PvE server therefore is never going to happen, because design is defaulted to PvP (for good reason, see game title ^^ ) The other viable alternative therefore becomes an 'Always Off' setting for PvP. I reckon for it to actually work you'd need a 30 day CD on it, so once it's on there's no going back. I'd bet if the option was offered most people wouldn't care about a cooldown anyway because they'd simply turn it off and move on. These people would not be bothered if the Stormwind King got attacked and people begged them to help. They'd simply avoid the quests with a PvP element and do something else (yes, I'm looking at World Events too, I genuinely believe that some people would be happy not to be involved in the School of Hard Knocks at any point :P) This is what they do anyway, so why cater to them to begin with?

That's also a good question, and I go back to Twinkers as justification for suggesting such an ability should even be considered. For starters it's niche, but it is popular. It doesn't bother anyone else and it does not hugely impact on the rest of the game world. In fact, the only people who know they've turned their XP off are the people who have, everyone else just carries on as normal. The only way a CRZ griefer would know they'd encountered an Always Off player is when they try to kill them 'accidentally' and can't: the problem then comes with how people would react when this happened. The key difference I'd make with this is not to have it as an in-game function, but available like Parental Controls are now, at the account level. This would allow those people who wanted to remove PvP across a single account, rather than having to do it on a character by character level in game.

I really don't think such a change would have a massive impact on the game world, if off really meant OFF: no rezzes, no entry to BG's, no World PvP participation. Turn your PvP to 'Always Off 'and then even if you did try to do summat you'd be presented with in-game message 'This character is unable to participate in any PvP activity. Visit Battle.Net in order to change your status.'

You know, if Blizz were smart they could even charge 5 Euros for it. I'm betting people would pay.

For many of you reading this, such a change would be a completely pointless exercise. However, I'd genuinely be interested to know how many people would consider such a change not only welcome but something they'd be keen to adopt.It would make one of the biggest concerns amongst the people I know who play on PvE vanish almost overnight. PvP would become part of the game that other people take part in, and not something you can get dragged into without your consent to begin with.


Jonathan said...

A very interesting post as this has been a problem for years; CRZ has merely brought it to the fore.

I think the fundamental thing here is the choice people make. If someone chooses to play on a PvE server, then they have made the choice to not be in an environment where a human player can attack them unless they actively choose to set their PvP flag to on. The game therefore needs to ensure that that choice is respected by not setting the flag on without consent.

The 'stand next to a mob so your AoE hots me' thing is a long-standing exploit of that consent and needs to be taken out of game on PvE servers. So I'd welcome something that prevents accidental turning on of the PvP flag when playing on PvE servers.

As to the solution, I personally don't think it needs anything more radical than to make PvP-flagged players unattackable until you set your own flag (the same way enemy NPCs are sometimes unattackable until an event or something happens). The 'stray AoE' problem would disappear immediately.

I'd happily use that option when not engaging in PvP.

Jonathan said...

*AoE hits me, even. Curse my typing skills! :-)

Loopnotdefined said...

Have to agree with Jonathan, for the most part. I don't think it needs anything more than simply making PVP-enabled targets unattackable...although I would prefer this to be an option you set, and not default behavior. The problem with making this default behavior is that it would actually affect quite a few PVP players, and on PVP realms no less. I think people forget that zones like Stormwind and Elwynn Forest don't flag players for PVP on PVP realms, meaning anybody wanting to react to an opposite-faction threat would have to stop and manually toggle themselves instead of just jumping into the fray like normal.

Jonathan said...

Agreed, I envisaged default on PvE servers and not default on PvP servers.

TheGrumpyElf said...

@ Jonathan

The AoE thing was fixed in BC and broken with the thrall quest line. Not sure if they ever have the intention of fixing it again and not exactly sure why it broke when they added the thrall quest line.

I like to PvP too sometimes. Just not when I am questing. When I am questing I quest. When I am PvPing I PvP. I like to keep them separate and that is why the vast majority of my characters are on PvE servers.

Kamalia said...

I would totally pay for the option to permanently turn off PvP for my characters, Godmother. I hate having my quiet questing disrupted by PvP, and I recently spent a couple hundred dollars to move nine characters (and a guild bank) from the PvP realm they'd initially been rolled on to a PvE realm.

lometa said...

"The advent of CRZ has heightened the irritation of many who are now forced to adapt their play style to avoid opportunism from many of those ON THEIR OWN SERVERS in taking HK's and forcing a change in other's statuses. I think PvP really needs to be consensual on both sides, don't you?"

I absolutely agree! Since teens like options and parents may have to pay for it every time their son or daughter decided to change, I would rather see folks pay in game gold to turn it off and on, like the twinks do. Or maybe they can just fix it! Like you, I began on a PvP server and don't mind getting into the fracas now and then, but it should be my option because I pay to play the way I would like to.

As an aside venting, I'm getting highly annoyed at all of the buginess CRZ is bringing with it. I'm not that much into eSports and leaderboards so it's not been much fun, more like the new patch has already dropped and I'm getting the usual turbulence of a new x-pac.

natalief said...

I would pay 5euros for it and would have when I moved from an EU PvP server to an EU PvE server so many years ago to avoiding being ganked when questing. I don't LFR or do any PvP. I hate the idea of CRZ because some servers in out battlegroup are PvP servers, exactly as you warn. I wonder how to level from 85 to 90 without being ganked but so far my usual playing time of 2 - 4 am (not ideal for LFG but great for gathering and questing - I am nocturnal) has kept me relatively safe. I did PvP briefly in battle grounds (back when there were only three) on my shadowpriest (back before dual spec) but did not really enjoy it and only got to Sargent.

Long rambling comment. TL;DR: I hate PvP, moved to a PvE server for a reason and hate CRZs. I would pay to have PvP AlwaysOff but TBH it should be free to players on PvE servers.