Guild Wars 2 and its lack of PvP servers

Some time ago, a friend asked us about “open world PvP”. When we told him that there won’t be any PvP servers like you have them in World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic, he was upset. He couldn’t imagine a PvP game without PvP servers. For him, PvP isn’t fun without world PvP.

The question is: Why doesn’t Guild Wars 2 have PvP servers and is this good or bad?

What we would gain from having open world PvP on every map would certainly be more excitement and a more dangerous atmosphere. It doesn’t really work in the existing game, however, because there are no two (or even three) factions battling each other. As those of you who have been following the game for a longer time already most likely know, the world of Guild Wars 2 is threatened by the Elder Dragons. In order to survive, the peoples of Tyria need to stand together and just can’t afford having a war with each other. Of course, there are rivalries and more. But all in all, having two factions fight against each other wouldn’t make much sense in this world.

From a gameplay perspective, it’s nice not to be divided because of that. How many people who play(ed) World of Warcraft would have loved to play (insert chosen race) just to have their friends tell them that this isn’t possible because they play the other faction (in this game’s case, Horde or Alliance)? This won’t be a problem here. All races fight on the same side. There will also not be dueling in the game. At least, not at its release… but that’s just as a side-note in case you were wondering. ;) Back to the actual topic: There will be no ganking or fighting people from your own server. This ultimately means that the players on your server aren’t part of “the other side”. They’re on your side. They’re not the enemy.

The whole game’s concept seems to revolve around this idea. If there’s a gathering node, don’t hurry. It will be there for you even if a zillion other players are running towards it at the same time. Everybody gets to gather from it. If there’s a mob, don’t worry if somebody else hits it and loots it. You will get the same XP no matter if somebody hit the mob or not. You will get the same loot that you would have gotten if you had not had somebody help you. Other players aren’t competition. They’re on your side. I know I’ve had it happen (in World of Warcraft), that I’d wanted to get to a mining node when a player from the other faction arrived and wanted the node as well. As we were on a PvP server, they attacked me. While we were fighting, another player from my own side came by, saw us fight and took their chance: They gathered from the node and disappeared. The node was gone, I was dead, and the player hadn’t even thought about helping me. They’re not required to do so, I know that. But the game actually rewarded him (with giving him the mining material from the gathering node) by not helping me. So when you can’t fight – over loot, mobs, gathering nodes – the game at least doesn’t encourage selfish gameplay.

The game does have open world PvP! So don’t get me wrong here. I like open world PvP occasionally. So something like this concept is perfect for me. Quite often, I just want to climb mountains, enjoy watching the game’s sunrises and sunsets, go gather stuff, hit a few mobs, do anything BUT turn around twitchily on every corner because an enemy player might be there ready to attack me. The good thing is that this kind of “attitude” is perfectly valid in Guild Wars 2. If you’re in the mood for “just PvE”, then stay in the usual world. If you are in the mood for PvP, go into the Mists (the open world PvP where your server’s players fight against two other servers’ players or go to structured PvP which is something like battlegrounds in WoW or warzones in SWTOR). PvE and PvP is neatly separated which means that if you meet a player from “the other side” (server in this case) on the PvP map, you know that they’re there because they want to PvP. They’re not there to pick up flowers and bring them back to their grandmother’s hut. If you’re in the PvP are, then you have the same goals and want to spend your time similarly: Fight other people.

I just hope that the maps are big enough and the subjectives encourage people to spread around the maps. In Warhammer Online, it happened quite often that we fought zerg vs. zerg and apart from the game not performing well when lots of players met, it was also boring. You just hit whatever was closest but there wasn’t that much strategy involved. I can’t wait to go roam through the maps in smaller groups and have interesting fights! I don’t think I’ll miss PvP servers. If you ask me, I will get the best of both worlds.

15 responses to “Guild Wars 2 and its lack of PvP servers

  1. Pingback: GWOnline.Net » Guild Wars 2 Weekly

  2. I love that there’s not going to be a separation of servers and have always hated ganking. I’m happy that they went this direction.

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  3. I’ve always preferred my PvP combat with opponents who were “en garde” and a challenging fight. Ganking and griefing is a waste of everyone’s time (including the ganker) and demonstrates no noteworthy skill whatsoever.

    Any players who desire the feeling of “open world” PvP simply needs to head over to the mists and enter the WvW combat. The only difference there is; all of your opponents also chose to enter those vast (freakin’ HUGE) maps, and are also looking to mix it up… if you catch an opponent “unawares” in that area – shame on them – they should’ve known better.

    The primary difference between WvW (in GW2) and the “open world” PvP from other MMOs is that there are quite a few more STRATEGIC objectives all over the 4 massive maps in WvW, and as you’re moving through those maps, each and every little victory you have actually contributes to the overall success of your world (server) against the other two worlds.
    In other words; you’re not just fighting to fight… in WvW you’re fighting for a cause – you’re fighting towards a victory that is much, much larger than yourself – you’re fighting for an entire server full of people – you’re fighting… TO WIN!
    No other “open world” PvP has ever done that… kept score.

    Having truly epic-scale combat, with multiple points of conflict all happening simultaneously, with both large and small scale tactics, and which offers an actual WIN condition over the course of a fortnight. If you claim to have any love for PvP, how can you not be thrilled by the prospect?

    (Did I mention siege golems? You get to suit up in a giant “mech” and smash face… and pour boiling oil on people attacking the gates… and unload a “missile launcher” style arrow cart into a huge crowd… and launch flaming death from the skies with trebuche’… and …DUDE!)

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    • I’ve learned pretty early that PvP is not for me. Mainly because of the ganking and the griefing. Though I guess it is just part of my nature to not like confrontation with another person. Even on World of Warcraft battlegrounds I would feel nervous as I did not have the confidence on my abilities to stab other people in the face and thus carry my own weight.

      In any case, from what I’ve been hearing of World vs. World in Guild Wars 2 it seems like it will be interesting to give a try at least once. It is an optional thing, separated from the PvE content. If people go there it is just to stab other people in the face. And there is more to do on it than just that so it should make things more interesting and allow even people who suck at PvP, like me, to contribute something. Well, besides serving as practice dummy for the opposing side, I guesss.

      And if there is a siege golem that we can “pilot” then I definitely need to give it a try! Giant “robot” action in a MMORPG? Yes, please! :D

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      • Funny. I just went to WordPress to delete spam and saw that there was a comment that I hadn’t read yet. So apparently, I went to the site just when you posted the comment. ;)

        Anyway. I know what you mean about feeling nervous! The first time I ever did PvP was in WoW (which was also my first MMO). I was really scared of doing something stupid and losing the game for our side. But I also really liked the excitement. I was on a PvP server back then and hated every minute of being in “contested areas”. I grinded my way up by killing mobs close to quest hubs, so I could run back to the guards and hide there as soon as an enemy player approached. But I always loved battlegrounds.

        When I started playing Warhammer Online, I started to love open RvR. Too bad I didn’t like the game per se. But that was one of the parts that I really loved. I’m absolutely certain I’ll like WvW just the same. Since it’s not 5v5 but instead, 100v100 or even more (on the whole map, at least), it’s really not so bad if you do a mistake. The chances are a lot higher that the other side also has a person who does mistakes. ;) And you’re not “stealing” anybody’s place by being in WvW and depriving your team of the chance to have a “better” player on their team because it’s not limited like that. At least, in open RvR in Warhammer, there was space for everybody and nobody really noticed if you didn’t play well. ;)

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    • I fully agree. I never understood the desire for “world PvP” either. Ganking feels like “I sneezed and this guy/gal fell dead. Yay me?” I hope that WvW will make people feel like part of something bigger, something they can talk with their server mates about – the best response one can hope for when they talk about them ganking the whole map in ten seconds flat is “Um, okay?”

      That said, I am not sure whether WvW manages to feel the way everyone hopes; I’m curious about opponents being anonymous (I’ve seen the names are replaced with red/green/blue attacker or something). I think Arena.net are trying to make people feel their opponent is a server rather than particular guilds or people from the server and strengthen inter-server rivalry.

      I’m also wondering whether two weeks does not feel a bit too long.

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      • ArcherAvatar

        Regarding the anonymous opponents in WvW: I think (purely speculation on my part) that it has to do with the fact that you gain ZERO points for killing another player in WvW. ArenaNet want us to see the other players as obstacles on our path towards what the true objectives on the map are.

        The tactics and strategies are much more complex and interesting if you’re not simply looking for the largest clump of players, but rather, seeking opportunities to score for your server via the capturing of objectives that are being over-looked by the other servers. Can you figure out a way to capture that tower more efficiently, and without having to clear every single opposing player? Have they left their guard down in some fashion that you can take advantage of? Can they be lured out of position, thus allowing a smaller strike team from your server to be able to take their fortification more easily?

        It’s just my personal opinion, but I believe that WvW is also actually going to be about controlling supply. Whichever servers are more adept at “playing the map” for the greatest amount of supply for their side are the ones that will more likely win out over the course of a fortnight. Much like in RTS games (such as Starcraft) possessing superior resources can often make the difference in a fight – even if the opponent has otherwise outstanding tactics.

        From a psychological standpoint, it could also make it a more accessible form of PvP for those folks who aren’t as comfortable with smashing face on their fellow players… with them being anonymous just think of them as “next gen AI.”
        PvE guilds from other MMO titles may actually look at WvW as their “end game” content in GW2.

        As far as the length of the WvW matches go – I’m certain they will tweak that if they need to, but I think the fortnight is at least partly selected so that even if a server finds themselves trailing in third place, there is still ample time for comebacks, and lead changes. They want at least the possibility for some ebb and flow between opposing servers. If they make the length of the contest too short, then many players are the types that will just throw in the towel, rather than continue the struggle.

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  4. Pingback: Being at the EUFanDay – or: Musings about ArenaNet’s game philosophy « Nerdy bookahs and their travel guide

  5. Pingback: Der EUFanDay – oder: Überlegungen zu ArenaNets Spielephilosophie « Nerdige Bookahs

  6. You people never played Lineage 2 huh?

    Open world PVP without factions can actually be a ton of fun and it feels a lot more natural than the forced alliances in other games. In Lineage 2 you could attack anyone without restriction, ANYONE, and it worked.

    In Lineage 2 if you attack a player your name becomes purple and you’re flagged for PVP. If the player attacks you back they also become flagged and everything is fair as it is a consensual battle. However; note that -anyone- can jump in at this point and not be penalized for murdering either of you, though they will also become flagged.

    If you kill a player that is not flagged for PVP then your name becomes RED, and you’re flagged as a criminal. Players can freely attack criminals without becoming flagged for PVP and a criminal’s chance of dropping gear upon death is increased. NPC Guards will also attack you if you try to enter town as a criminal. The criminal status lasts until you die.

    If you’re powerful enough you can indeed go on a small murderous rampage but there are quite a few players that become unofficial in-game police to hunt and pursue these criminals.

    Sure it’s annoying to die at random to a player, but its more annoying to not have the ability to attack someone that deserves to be attacked. Especially in an RPG environment.

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  7. Been a PVP player since UO. It is an important element in making the game REAL. Now, I understand that some people don’t like pvp, but you as that type need to understand that some people REQUIRE it to enjoy an mmo. I’m not talking about ganking, but I am talking about real world battles between players/guilds. If you don’t understand that, fine, but don’t say we pvper dont deserve our own dedicated server!

    Fact is, pvp is important to a large number of players. It adds a hardcore element to the game. Again, if you don’t enjoy it, fine, but don’t suggest we dont deserve our own server with our own rules.

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    • I don’t think I said you don’t deserve a PvP server. I said that the way ArenaNet designed the game, it doesn’t make sense to have people from the same server fight against each other in the world. Apart from that, they made it possible for those players who only want to PvP and don’t care about other things to live in the PvP map and level up there, etc. So there’s no need to be in the PvE area if you don’t want to.

      Besides, people like me… where did I say I’m not a PvP player? I am. So, that point is moot.

      If you can’t live without PvP servers, then maybe… just maybe… this game isn’t for you and you need to find another game where it is possible. What we, as gamers, need to understand is that we cannot force developers to make the game that WE want. Because there are a ton of players who all want something different and who all think they deserve something. You have to accept that no developer can ever make a game that pleases everyone.

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      • First, Guild Wars 2 is trying to sell itself as a PVP centric game. A vast majority of the end-game content is going to be PVP. So expectations for it to have a couple PVP servers shouldn’t be dismissed. Even hyper PVE games like EQ had a FFA PVP server. I agree that RvR PVP wouldn’t make sense, which is why everyone is asking for a FFA PVP server.

        Additionally, I didn’t claim anything about you, it was more a general response to the comments in general. That said, you certainly seem tickled pink that the game doesn’t have PVP servers. Comments like: “No more having to play on a PvP server (or the other way round) because the majority of your friends want to play there.” comes off as opposing the implementation of such servers.

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        • I think you’re missing the point, which is that due to the way the game is designed a pvp dedicated server is not necessary. What Paeroka is trying to say is that individuals are not tied to a RP, PVE or PVP server just because their one friend was dead set on playing on that type of server, so if they wanted to play together you got stuck playing there as well. Now, with this set up, a hardcore pvp player has a hardcore pvp dedicated area, but his hardcore PVE pal has his PVE area….yet they can still play together and enjoy the best of both worlds without the restrictions most games have.

          Offering a dedicated PVP server ruins what the developers are doing with WvW bonuses, as all the hardcore pvp’ers would migrate to the couple of pvp servers which would mean they would have to be limited to only WvW with other pvp servers (and by now we are losing the whole point of a WvW area). Then they could not participate in WvW with the other severs because they’d get all the bonuses because the other servers are filled with pve players. Just to make it fair, they would have to separate the servers in WvW battles and for the bonuses, and would have to have at least 3 dedicated pvp servers in each area (America, Europe, etc…) which then runs the risk of depopulating eventually and would cause a degraded gaming experience for the players left on those servers since they could never compete with the pve servers.

          What GW2 is doing makes sense for the world the developers have created.

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