The Daily Grind: Should MMO PvP be about skill or loot?

    
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Classic Guild Wars was a bit of an awakening for me. I’d grown up in MMORPGs where the PvP was often predetermined by your level and your loot rather than your physical skills, so when Guild Wars equalized the playing field in PvP, I was really intrigued. I didn’t do tons of PvP there myself as I wasn’t in one of the big PvP guilds, but I voluntarily sat through spectator matches watching PvP for fun, something I seldom (read: never) do nowadays. It felt like watching actual talent instead of running the numbers on who had ground for the best loot.

So it still baffles me that so many MMORPGs insist on making PvP about levels and gear. Why are we still doing this? I guess there’s a lot of pressure to allow people’s gear- and level-related efforts to have some effect on PvP outcomes, otherwise they may as well be playing some random shooter instead of an MMO. But… ug.

What do you folks think: Should MMO PvP be about skill or loot?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Ardra Diva

it’s funny how I can totally embrace PvP in games like World of Tanks/Warships and the Battlefield series, but find it completely triggering-abhorrent in an MMO. I guess my brain accepts that war games are just like that, and my brain apparently thinks an MMO is more about smelling the flowers.

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Graham Tobin

Skill……
Pvp was great fun in ESO at start. It was a massive brawl. You had about 50/50 chance to kill or be killed. Mayhem and fun.
Modern day pvp is one person vs 5 noobs and the solo will usually win. I don’t pvp anymore.

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Jo Watt

Both.

Loot should make your character more powerful in a sense that say a fresh max lvl might not be able to take on someone who has been playing and gearing for a while.

However Skill also in a sense that people being the same level doesn’t allow Loot to kill someone within a couple hits.

I mean I think it’s fair that someone who has played and invested more time holds a bit of an advantage for a brief time until the other gears up.

Now in the case of battlegrounds and arena modes I tend to think balance is fine since not everyone will be at the same point in gear progression.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I don’t do PVP, so my opinion is worth very little. But I think it should probably be skill based, and not based on levels and gear. Just because it doesn’t *seem* like it would be a lot of fun to log into a game and get smashed into a carpet stain by someone with so many more levels and gear stats that they may as well be invincible. Doubly so if it turns out to be the kind of player who *enjoys* stomping on people who can’t possibly fight back.

One of my main experiences with PVP was in WoW, ages ago, on a PVE server that allowed people to choose to set a PVP flag. I was in one of the low level questing areas, and there was a group of absolute jerks making it impossible to do anything. Because they were strong enough that they were just killing all the NPCs – quest givers, merchants, town guards, all of them. They weren’t doing it to lure out enemy players either, because if anyone even close to their level showed up they’d vanish unless they outnumbered them five to one. If they hand numbers, they’d gank them and then corpse camp them, while going right back to murdering NPCs as fast as they respawned. In a few cases, people got frustrated enough to take a swing at them, and were instantly obliterated. They apparently had been spending the entire *weekend* doing this.

creationguru
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creationguru

I am kind of in the middle. PvP should depend on the skill of yourself and others but at the same loot should matter otherwise what are you risking with PvP if there in nothing in it for the victor.

I for one see PvP as an aspect of the game that adds the danger and risk/reward of venturing outside of your safe space. This is also where horizontal skill progression and loot that is disposable becomes king and few games offer this. Where vertical level and gear progression can fall flat unless it is linear in that if I have skill and I can overcome 2 tiers higher but the massive curve of power on level hurt this when a level 60 can just bulldoze a group of 50s with no sweat where in a more linear game those 3 50s would be able to tackle the 60 no problem.

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Graham Tobin

Pvp is adrenaline and fun. Not risk. It is tactics and strategy.
Gear over balances most games in many ways.

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ante b

Both

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Anstalt

Skill, every time.

I want to win a PvP fight because I’m the better player, not because I have better loot.

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Ardra Diva

the less psycho ones will say skill. it was always about the hunt, and proving you’re the master to those folk. those who say loot are the really dangerous ones. the ones who stick a knife into you while you’re sleeping in your tent. glory? bah. gold….

thy chain i have doth yanketh, forsooth.

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Rndomuser

Definitely skill. This is why I loved playing EVE – you can put a lot of real life money through PLEX into putting best modules in your ship and instantly training skills for highest damage but this will mean absolutely nothing if you will get caught by a group of more skilled players at some lowsec space even if they are in ships with much cheaper modules. Even in large battles I’ve seen smaller groups of people in less expensive ships win the battle against larger groups of people in more expensive ships with more expensive modules. Of course the game has to be designed this way from the very beginning, where the emphasis is given to open world PvP and group fights instead of focusing on small instanced fights.

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laelgon

If I can’t no-life a game to then dominate other players with my vastly superior numbers, why would I no-life the game in the first place?

Most of the reason to PvP in games like Darkfall, Albion, Crowfall, Mortal, etc… is for resources. Either from controlling territory or looting it off other players. Those resources only matter because they are used for gear that makes you more powerful. If the gear doesn’t matter, then the resources don’t matter, then controlling the territory with those resources don’t matter. So what are we fighting over? All you’ve got is a giant deathmatch map.

The long grind for gear is often just a way of delaying the arrival of the deathmatch. Eventually everyone ends up with maxed out gear and mountain of replacement sets, so all that’s left to fight over is bragging rights. Wins and losses stop mattering, and usually the combat isn’t fun enough on it’s own to warrant continued play.

And murderdomes are incredibly popular. Battle Royales and MOBAs just don’t ask you to invest all of your free time into them if you want to have fun PvP. They just give you the fun PvP.