Fight or Kite: New World’s switcheroo is the best thing that could have happened for PvPers

    
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Fight or Kite: New World’s switcheroo is the best thing that could have happened for PvPers

About a month ago, Amazon’s large age of conquest MMO, New World, announced a huge shift in focus from a free-for-all, full-loot PvP game to a less hardcore PvP game with some PvE features. The MMO at least plans to cater to a wider audience of PvE players while still including much of the larger scale 50 v 50 territory battles, among other things.

I won’t go into all the specific details of what the game plans on including; we’ve already got you covered there. This column is Fight or Kite, where we talk PvP MMOs specifically, so I want to talk about why it was a good move not just for PvE players who wanted a reason to play New World but for the PvPers themselves. Settlers, hold my musket – I’m going in!

The number one feature you need for PvP is a playerbase

It’s really as simple as that. It’s more important than lore, combat mechanics, support mechanics, graphics, and even a good user interface. The absolute most important thing a studio needs in order to ensure that a PvP game has a slug’s chance in a salt mine of coming out successful is having a lot of players.

Easier said than done though, right?

A PvP MMO needs to reach that critical mass of players in order for you, me, and everyone else to have someone to fight. And when a game can’t quite reach that level, it’s nothing but a fizzle.

It reminds me of Absolver, which I absolutely adore. Now there is a game I really need to spend some time and jump back into again. As amazing as the world was, as fluid and beautiful as the combat was, it simply never reached that critical mass of players. Who can say why? I know there are still some dedicated players, but it isn’t the super esport that it should have been.

My game time in Absolver steadily declined as I began to get tired of the fights. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the combat or the fights themselves that I grew annoyed with; it was the fact that with such a dwindling population, I would regularly fight the same players match after match, day after day. There are times when that can make for a fun revenge battle for you. But when it happens over and over again, it gets old.

So, those of you out there who feel cheated and lied to about New World, consider that even from its early testing Amazon must have been able to see the writing on the wall. And you need to realize that we need other people in our game for it to survive. More players in the game is always a better thing.

We’ve discussed sheep and wolves before too. It appears that Amazon could tell it was designing a game for the wolves, just the wolves, and discovering (shockingly) it was populated by nothing but the wolves. And when the gaming wolves get hungry, they don’t turn on each other and battle; they run to where they can get some other easy pickings. As in, a different game. That’s not healthy for any MMO’s population or longetivity.

Fortunately, in Amazon’s case, the villagers actually listened to the crying boy before it was too late. Well, hopefully before it’s too late. If early impressions are accurate, it’s going to be an uphill battle to right this wrong. Yet, if our poll is any indication, many MMO players are now interested when they weren’t before. (Whether they’ll find what they seek is another story, of course.)

We want a game that feels alive and feels like players exist in it. If I just wanted a murder simulator or pure PvP combat game, I’d play Absolver, For Honor, Apex Legends, or any number of other PvP-only games. What I want from my MMORPGs is a world that is alive. And in that living world is a foundation for PvP, among other things. That is why we play MMOs and not something else, after all.

I believe even if the content is basic, good combat and systems can hold players engaged for a while. When I started playing ArcheAge Unchained, I was having a blast even though the quests were very basic and honestly dull. Simply learning the new systems and enjoying how the skills played together kept me logging in. New World already has impressive animations and graphics. The setting seems rich with possibilities. If Amazon makes the right choices from here forward, then it has a shot at making a successful game.

Similar PvP games exist – and they moved to the center too

Yes, I can hear you from the peanut gallery. “What about the dozens of players who liked the game how it was before? What about us?” Well, for players that truly can’t get over the switch, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is there are games you can play right now, today, that include free-for-all(-ish) PvP. The bad news is most of those games that are actually worth playing also realized they need to include a bit more support for the PvEers and hybrid players too.

The previous version of New World centered more on guilds fighting for territory, alongside easy griefing too. So I’d suggest giving Albion Online a peek. It was also pitched as a hardcore PvP sandbox game but has begun to open up to a broader market. It’s free to play on Steam too, so there’s no real harm in trying it out. It’s extremely well populated and constantly being updated and adding new features. It isn’t pure free-for-all ganking in every zone, but you can get your kicks in any place that matters.

Now, if the isometric Warcraft 3 graphics aren’t quite your cup of tea, then I’d recommend Crowfall. I’ve played it on and off over the past year or so and it should cover your desire for guild territory battles when it finally launches. The combat there is quite fun as well, even in the alpha. You can loot your opponents in most of the open fields too. ArtCraft has also included the God’s Reach zones for newbies to get their feet wet in, but for the most part, the game has open faction combat.

ArcheAge Unchained actually lets you grief in zones that are at war (about every few hours, and there’s always at least one leveling zone ripe for the griefing). It’s perfect for the griefer who wants to chase around lowbies trying to complete their PvE quests. I’m sure there are plenty of other games that I don’t play as much that you can get your griefing on in too.

One thing you will see in all those games is at least some form of relief for players who don’t want to PvP or don’t want to feel like they are under siege at all times. That’s what Amazon has come around to, which is really not that novel an idea.

Griefing is not PvP

One last thing before we close this one out. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it to your face again: Griefing isn’t PvP. It just isn’t. From a practical standpoint, there is no difference between a high-level player face rolling someone who isn’t prepared and stands no chance of fighting back and someone who smashes ambient creatures and level one mobs. I understand there is probably some reverse-bully, God-complex mentality where now you get to be in charge deciding who gets to play and who doesn’t. But that isn’t player vs. player combat and you know it.

I know there are some strong opinions about the New World change-up. I’ve read the polls and the comments, and I’ve definitely seen the concern over the fact that the game doesn’t appear to have enough PvE in it – yet – to justify the “switcheroo,” especially not if it’s really launching in May.

Yet, I still think we can find some common ground here. We all want to see this game do amazing things, and we want the experience playing the game to feel amazing. Can we agree that broadening the playerbase, giving it a wider overall appeal, is better for the game and for you? We need other bodies in the game to actually PvP against. This shift actually gives the game that chance.

Every other week, Massively OP’s Sam Kash delivers Fight or Kite, our trip through the state of PvP across the MMORPG industry. Whether he’s sitting in a queue or rolling with the zerg, Sam’s all about the adrenaline rush of a good battle. Because when you boil it down, the whole reason we PvP (other than to pwn noobs) is to have fun fighting a new and unpredictable enemy!

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memitim

Yeah…no. All those extra players don’t mean anything to PVPers if they don’t want to PVP, especially when they all leave in a month anyway because there’s no PVE content.
The best thing that could have happened for PVPers and PVEers alike is the game getting delayed by a year while they sit down and come up with an actual game design and a roadmap for where it’s going.

Currently they have neither and they aren’t gunna change that in a month. The whole 50v50 but you only get in if the alpha nerd likes you faction war thing is a joke, 50v50 itself is a joke…there are games that don’t call themselves massive with bigger matches than that, defender chooses the time for the battle…you can tell these guys haven’t made or even played a PVP MMO before (Spoiler: they pick a time when none of your players are online instead of their own primetime since they can defend with 10 when they know the attacker will only manage 3) and it’s all just a massive GW2-style AOE fest anyway…when this was first announced I didn’t expect much so I’m not really all that disappointed or surprised it’s a shitshow…maybe it’ll be a good game in a year or 2 assuming it lasts that long…

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Solaris

I was an Alpha tester. While I was disappointed at the shift, I’m still going to play. The game has a unique atmosphere to it and the siege system sounds interesting. Look forward to giving it a go. Would be nice to see if a dev can hit a middle ground and make it work.

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kgptzac

There’s a fundamental confusion over the “wolf versus sheep” analogy, as it only makes sense to describe “griefer vs victim”, which is stated (and that I agree), not proper pvp.

I can’t think of a better word than “lame” to describe the devs wanted to build a “pvp MMORPG” and feign surprise to see griefers. It reminded me of the initial FF14 release where the devs wanted to recreate the wheel and deflected suggestions that are commonplace in other mmorpg. In any sense, New World’s devs’ apparently inability to predict the outcome of its basic design of their game does not spark confidence in my eyes.

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Stiqman

With the new graphics they just need to blend DAOC pvp with some of EVE’s loss/looting mechanics and economy. They would have 95% of the “new” game people are looking for.

kjempff
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kjempff

For once I can agree 100% with a massivelyop writer.
You can argue if there could be a better way than the “closed club” territorial pvp. There is no doubt that optional pvp is the only thing that works, and that a healthy pvp world WILL need all types of players, call them sheep&wolves, creators&destroyers or whatever the name.
Griefing, ganking and all that is not pvp, option to kill anyone in a game has nothing to do with freedom, and no punishment, crime or flagging systems has ever worked in any open world pvp game (and no your super awesome idea won’t either).

shadanwolf
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shadanwolf

The devs are now stumbling in the right direction with the game. it’s very concerning that many of the games decision makers had no idea the game was going to be a pk filled gank feast. How do you spend millions and not have this homework of understanding done ?
The game is veering toward a similar design to a great pvp/realm vs realm game Dark Age of Camelot. But their understanding is still far far from complete. Scheduled keep fights is just plain dumb. Small guilds/company are punished because there is never a surprise attack that could allow them to beat a bigger guild/ company.

PVP—there should be areas that are pvp zones…go there and you have assumed risk. Avoid all risk by staying in the pve area’s. No flagging oneself.You choose by where you choose to play what might happen..

How the devs cannot understand how flag/no flag won’t constipate conflict is beyond me. By eliminating all player looting…a players death is just an inconvenience(though the killer can get rewards of money and other things .

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Robert Mann

Yep, and the zone boundaries are the next thing to consider. Unless they are instanced, they need something to deal with in and out tactics.

Flagging is an old method that really doesn’t work as well as one might wish. It tends to lead to various griefing exploits in turn, or just spawn camping town NPCs and daring people to flag up with a ton of hostiles there. It’s almost always about extremely unbalanced PvP in any fight under those conditions.

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traja

Without scheduling what tends to happen is early morning assaults. At least that is how it goes in every game where you can attack an enemy fortified position at any time. I’m not sure what the ideal solution is though since schedules clearly have huge problems too.

shadanwolf
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shadanwolf

My position is to have non scheduled fights. Every choice has it’s pluses and minuses . Scheduled fights plus opt in pvp IMO makes the game very predictable, very dull. Removing player looting makes pvp risk free except for the inconvenience of releasing to your bind point.
DAOC is almost 20 years old. Their system which allows fighting at any time…with no player looting is a proven system that players still pay a monthly subscription to play. No need to re-invent the wheel when you can see a proven system in a monthly sub game.
That’s my 2 cents.

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traja

Yeah you are probably right. Maybe instead of schedules it could be limited hours of the day. That is of course bad for players who play outside of their own region but at least it would prevent “pvp” at 5am :)

Player looting is probably too hardcore but only having opt-in PvP in all areas is too much in the other direction. Really I would need to know more details of the game to say which system would work. Players predictably do the easiest and most efficient thing. How that plays out in a PvP system comes down to the details. For example in WoW it means ridiculous amounts of faction stacking.

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Dankey Kang

The million dollar question for me is: Does this game have fishing?

TGWolf
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TGWolf

I don’t mind the opt-in PvP change all that much. The benefits of a large player-base are probably worth it. The faction vs faction only PvP is a terrible idea though.

If I understood this correctly and they are indeed adding this, then it’ll ruin any kind of player driven politics, outside of the scheduled stuff. I really hope this isn’t the case or they at least re-consider this.

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partiesplayin

Player caped pvp events are a lose lose situation. And large organized guild or even a group with a good leader or some shot callers on coms with devastate any group they come up against . So I don’t see this as being a good thing at all. This is not the game people wanted this will be the most boring mmo there has probably been in a long time what even is this game ? it’s not really an MMORPG in the standard sense it’s not a mmo survival game and it not a hardcore pvp mmo so what the hell is it….? It was supposed to be 10000 people on a map fighting for dominance now it’s a few hundred maybe 1000 people doing what exactually … Waiting to be zurged by an organized group of 50 people that they stand no chance of fighting off ? Then what there’s no talk of mounts or vehicles or ships or even any dungeons .Hmm I’ll have to see how this one plays out but probably won’t be getting it at launch if at all. They seem to not know what the hell there making.

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Arktouros

Was pretty funny because there was a forum post from a person who was living in a settlement and had signed up for the 50 v 50 PvP event and the territory owners had actually chosen to remove them because they had no idea if they were a spy or not as well. So the people living in a settlement who want to fight for their settlement owners and help defend the town can be denied that as well. Can see in the posts below by Random.

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Matt Comstock

Yeah that sucks. So how do you get into the 50 v 50 pvp sieges anyhow. Does the Governor or guild leader select who can participate? Do you sign up and just hope you don’t get axed? Any kind of vote to kick mechanic?

Feels like a significant oversight if one person can unilaterally remove someone else from participating, especially if there are spots open, and that person is a stake holder in the settlement…

EDIT: went back to Random’s posts — looks like the answer was there already “you can apply for any current wars that your faction initiated but the company leader selects people who will participate in the 50v50 instanced war, you cannot participate if that person will not select you for any reason.”

still seems like a significant oversight that one person unilaterally controls who gets to access end game content.

Further EDIT: Well I suppose that is incentive to make sure that your guild/faction is familar with you…

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Yes you sign up for any active wars as a defender or attacker and then wait if you will get approved by company leader which is defending their fort or attacking other company fort. You do not have to belong to a company to sign up for war but you depend on the company leader’s approval. If they do not like you – they kick you from the sign up list.

If a certain company holds all forts on same faction as you are and if they do not want you – all you can do is delete your character and make a new one to join same server or make a new character on another server if you want to participate in wars. You cannot switch factions on same character and right now you cannot create more than one character on same server.

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Leiloni

And here you guys are complaining there will be no politics or drama lmao. I highly doubt that already.

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Arktouros

Faction vs Faction systems have no inherent politics because the system artificially decides your politics for you. This is a big reason why I avoid Faction vs Faction environments because it’s the second most brain dead solution to PvP. The first being opt out PvP flagging. The drama on this game will be similar to what you see in other themepark games like WOW where one faction dominates a server and thus there’s no competition. Much like the people in WOW classic complaining on all Horde only servers having no open world PvP and their PvP queue times are long.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

And here you guys are complaining there will be no politics

Limiting a certain person from experiencing certain content is not “politics”, it’s just “griefing” in a different way ;-) The company leader could do the same if they know if you are, for example, a female player, or a player of certain race, or you did not respond to that player’s demand to share your gold, or for any other reason. You do not need to actually be a spy.

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Matt Comstock

One character per server, is that just in testing, or is that supposed to carry over to launch? While limiting, it seems like a mechanic designed to keep people from being a “spy” that the one person was ousted from the siege for being accused of…

You may have answered a question I posed in the comments far below. So one guild/company can have multiple holdings, and could potentially monopolize an entire territory/zone/etc?

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Arktouros

Explained above why they did it :)

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Matt Comstock

Indeed it was. Flitting back and forth between threads in this conversation is discombobulating me. But, it would still seem a way to counter the “spy” scenario too ;)

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Arktouros

I guess.

Our feedback was fine, we’ll just buy a second account like we do in every other game like this. All it does is penalize those who aren’t financially stable enough to buy multiple accounts lol

Hell some people were buying second accounts for the Alpha using the Chinese beta key seller websites.

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Arktouros

My current understanding is this, I haven’t really spent much time on this test because honestly I find it very depressing to play it at this point.

When a Company is formed it becomes part of the faction of whomever is the Guild Leader. When territories are first available, it’s a bit of an economic rush to get money as fast as possible to get a land claim. Once a Company does that, they can set a siege window such as like 8pm – 9pm EST lets say. During that time if any other guilds from other Factions declare war on them there’s a lottery of which guild wins the Guild War slot, it is not guaranteed. If the company is on the same faction as you are, you can’t declare war on that company.

At that point people who are part of the settlement can sign up for the 50 vs 50 but the leader of the Company gets to determine who gets to go basically. So if you’re not in that Company you could be completely and entirely excluded from the mechanic entirely. As Random covered if your faction owns all the territory you can’t declare war on them.

They limited things to one character because people were using alts to bypass the criminal system. You could just leave a maxed out murderer on the account with enough stats to be effective in PvP then have your normal character you were careful not to go murderer on. You could also let others soak up the murder counts so you stayed criminal. You could also log to PvE alts and have them store/pickup all the loot off murderer characters then log out as a PvP bank.

Another example of something they had no solution to so they just removed the feature from the game (:

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Robert Mann

Yeah, that’s likely to happen because spy tactics are super-common.

Ideally that would mean building relationships, but the likely result is just upset people. Reaching out to others is strangely difficult for most people in a game.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Since my other post got flagged for links, I will reply again.

Can we agree that broadening the playerbase, giving it a wider overall appeal, is better for the game and for you?

Yes, absolutely. A perfect MMORPG game will always try to attract all kind of players with all kind of play preference, doesn’t matter if it is PvP players or PvE players. You chose a wrong game, though.

In New World, what they actually did is made game worse for everyone. They do not have any good incentive for PvP players now. Currently there is a 10% XP buff if you flag yourself for PvP, however the buff is small enough for people to not care about it and if you will raise the buff amount – the players who level without any intention to ever enable PvP flag will complain about unfair advantage.

So we established that any kind of buffs are not a good incentive and cannot be balanced. What’s next? The 50v50 instanced battlegrounds. I will not post my own impression about them, I will just let screenshots speak for me (I can still attach them). Now tell me again how this works for “broadening playerbase” ;-) Counting in the fact that there are no raids, dungeons and only single world boss so far, with “end game” being “you craft stuff that everyone else can craft and your crafted stuff is not necessary to kill any NPC – you can easily kill lvl25 NPC as a lvl9 player with quest gear by dodge rolling and spamming your primary attack” ;-)

P.S: Pay a very, very, very specific attention to my last screenshot. In case if you do not understand – you can apply for any current wars that your faction initiated but the company leader selects people who will participate in the 50v50 instanced war, you cannot participate if that person will not select you for any reason.

nw war1.PNG
wars nw.PNG
nw thread1.PNG
nw thread2.PNG
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Leiloni

A lot of your comments sound like things that can and should be addressed in testing before release.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

A lot of your comments sound like things that can and should be addressed in testing before release.

All of this can be fixed, yes. If they would give few more years to develop this game and completely change the design of territory control and add huge optional lawless zones. They could also add dungeons, write a good story, make a better questing system with optional ways of leveling up, make crafting better, make housing better with larger houses and unique house designs. They do not have this time and so nothing will change in significant way.