Just spank me and get it over with
Jan 17, 2008 23:50:05

There is an old adage that reads "If it isn't broken, don't fix it." There should be a second part to this phrase - "If it is broken maybe you should have done it right in the first place, huh?" Bornnak, a Blizzard "blue" poster had this to say recently in the official WoW forums:
"In our continued efforts to support fair gameplay in World of Warcraft and to provide a positive experience for players, we are currently taking steps to ensure fair and enjoyable competition in the Battlegrounds. Starting immediately, we will be issuing warnings and penalties, including suspensions and the removal of Honor points and recently acquired Honor rewards, for non-participation in Battleground games.

We are taking action against thousands of accounts immediately, and will continue to monitor these situations and regularly take action against violators"
- Bornnak, Blizzard poster on the official forums

If you are interested in reading what is rapidly becoming a threadnaught (it is currently up to 23 pages) you can do so here.

First let me qualify all of this by stating that I have never gone AFK in battlegrounds - never. Not even in Warsong Gulch (a virtual game of capture the flag for those few of you out that who have never played WoW). As tempting as it has been to go AFK in Warsong Gulch when the winning side hides the flag, stretching out what would normally have been a quick and decisive victory into a slow and painful experience, I don't do it.

Yet there is a reason that players stretch out battlegrounds "ad nauseum" for endless periods of time. Sometimes it is simply that the players have the mistaken idea that killing the same players over, and over again will accomplish anything short of a bad reputation. I have been in Battlegrounds that have stretched on for hours with some players, concerned over the honor they have won, simply begging to end it all.

But the real reason for all of this is simple - the design for PvP in WoW was broken to begin with. No, I am not talking about the gang warfare on the open range that we find on PvP servers - that is a different animal altogether. I am talking about instanced battlegrounds. The simple fact of the matter is that the game design used in instanced battlegrounds is broken - period. This is not something that is limited to WoW. What does stand out as singularly unique is Blizzard's reaction, as seen above.

"...we will be issuing warnings and penalties, including suspensions...for non-participation in Battleground games."

So if I am a player that has decided to take advantage of the poor game design and go "AFK" it appears I am going to be spanked for being bad. It appears that now the players who are there for the loot they are able to earn and nothing more are going to get more than just a notation on their report card that says "Does not play well with others."

But wait a minute here. Who created a game design with mechanics that reward greed and reduce PvP to little more than "inventory management" as Richard Garriott so aptly put it? Now after encouraging endless cycles of Raiding for better and better loot - after reducing PVP to little more than a way to get the best gear in the game - after literally shoving this game mechanic down everyone's throat Blizzard is going to punish players for acting out the simple human greed that they have encouraged all along?

Give me a break.

If Blizzard wanted players to engage in PvP for the simple pleasure of doing so (and that is where I derive my greatest enjoyment of it) they, and all the developers that continually copy them, should redesign PvP altogether rather than continually applying Band-Aids to the problem in the form of patches and "fixes."

Personally I want to really enjoy good PvP. I don't want the outcome to be determined by the fact that some body who bought gold, or won a roll in a raid somewhere, has managed to bring a Howitzer cannon to a knife fight. The outcome should be determined in what seems to continues to elude developers...

PvP should be based on skill and tactics - not gear and who has the biggest gun.

Imagine that!

Good PvP should be like a game of chess. All of the players should start out with the same base abilities, based on class (like the pieces of a chess board) but who wins is determined by skill. Gary Kasparov (the youngest chess champion) and I can both start with the same pieces but he will beat me so fast it will seem like the New York Jets playing the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders in the superbowl.

Will things change in 2008? Could be - Warhammer Online might live up to expectations. Tabula Rasa might exceed expectations. Is the 800 pound Blizzard Gorilla worried? Maybe - they are working on a new MMO after all.

See you online,

Julie Whitefeather

Submitted by Brent on Jan 17, 2008 23:50:05 CST (comments: 4)


'Actually..' by Scott
Submitted on 2008-01-24 15:03:10 CST
I just returned to WoW to catch up on PvP in the BG's and kill some time with friends after a 11 month hiatus.

Much of what you're saying and asking for Blizzard has attempted to implement with changes to how the BG's and PvP works.

The addition on resilience to armor, meant that no longer did burst/crit rule the day, and the one shot kills are becoming a thing of the past. It takes a lot more careful strategy and timing with the use of abilities to kill another player.

With the split of armor design between armor acquired from Raids, and that acquired from BG's, you no longer have the problem of Raiders just dominating the BG's with gear non raiding PvP'ers would never have a chance of getting. Some pieces from Raiding may help, but nowhere close to what it used to be.

On the flip side, somebody who grinds BG's for the rewards, will only see the benefit of that gear in PvP, as the gear isn't optimized for raiding, thus keeping them from abusing the faster gains of PvP gear.

All in all the gear situation is nicely separated now, not sure I agree with its implementation 100%, but it works, and I'm happy as an older casual PvP player to have an avenue to get good gear and enjoy the game without raiding.

There was also a recent announcement that they'll be curbing pre-mades, so hopefully we'll see that abuse by organized groups dominating BG's as a thing of the past. It's not much fun getting streamrolled by 10+ guys on the other side when you're playing with a bunch of other stranges and no vent or plan, and I've been on both sides of that.

As for competition, I'd count Tabula Rasa out, I think that it'll will get written off rather quickly as not worth the additional development by the execs involved. Warhammer is likely to be the only serious contender, with Conan having some potential as well.

'You know' by Fraeon
Submitted on 2008-01-25 17:40:03 CST
This problem with PvP is easily solved by adding time limits to the battlegrounds. Arathi Valley is my favourite simply because it'll be over in time as opposed to something like WSG where griefing by turning the game into stretch is possible.

Time limits. Why aren't they in all battlegrounds?

'Time Limits' by Scott
Submitted on 2008-01-25 18:21:31 CST
For the most part they are.

AV has the re-enforcement points that works really well to putting a stop to stalemates when the game devolves into mass open field pvp.

AB has the flag capture points system that eventually will end the game.

Eye of the Storm has the capture points and flag, so either way you're either holding the majority of towers or running the flag to win by points and end the game.

Warsong Gulch is really the only one that's left open to potential griefing by hiding the flag and turtling. I'm not sure if there is a perfect fix for that BG. If you did a fixed timer that didn't punish the winning team for hiding the flag or turtling, they could just hold the flag until the timer ran out and they won.

With the majority of players in BG's simply there to grind out honor points for rewards their only major concern is how they can put the least amount of time/effort in for the most honor points. AV being the most popular because just like a year ago, once again it provides the best honor gain of all BG's for time spent (providing both sides play according to the established strategies and don't turtle).

'Hmmmm' by Fraeon
Submitted on 2008-01-26 08:18:35 CST
"If you did a fixed timer that didn't punish the winning team for hiding the flag or turtling, they could just hold the flag until the timer ran out and they won."

Isn't that what's happening already? The only difference being the fact that the losing team gets so fed up with the whole ordeal that they just start leaving instead of waiting for the match to be over.

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From the desk of Julie Whitefeather


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