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.