The Daily Grind: Which MMO gets closest to your ideal PvP mechanics?

Like a boss.

I really like the passive PvP mechanics in Final Fantasy XI. The actual PvP is rather lacking and leaves a lot to be desired, but the whole territory control element taking place as a passive PvP element in the majority of the world is in and of itself pretty interesting. It’s the sort of thing I would love to see more games adopt; it’s not that control is vital or utterly rewrites the zones, but it does make a difference as different nations control different spreads of territory.

For that matter, I suspect some people who don’t like the usual environment of PvP would enjoy the game’s more passive approach to the concept, even if the mechanics of the game as a whole don’t match what you’d like to play. So which MMO gets closest to your ideal PvP mechanics? It may not be your game of choice, but which MMO has a PvP implementation that feels like the most fun to you?

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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SWG before the CU. It happened all over but you never got pulled in on accident if you didn’t want to. It was a part of the world, not a side game, but it took place in the same places pve took place. Plus the Bounty Hunting aspect was fun.

Nicole Roman

Warhammer: Age of Reckoning.


None of them, so we’re building one. :)

mars omg

Age of Conan.

Ardra Diva

LOTRO, because it’s consensual dueling only.


Lineage 2 used to be the best. Castle siege, Olympiad, it used to be the game that I can play more than 12 hours a day. Crafting system in L2 was a nightmare but people can still craft S grade stuff.


EVE Online is as close to perfection as I have ever seen. Especially in terms of PvP ruleset and meaningful territory control (New World’s “territory control” is a sad joke compared to that). Same rules/mechanics could be easily adapted to “ground combat” MMORPG games. Only thing I would change about that is add a “jail” mechanic, meaning if you have been marked as criminal (by attacking other players who are not marked as criminals and whom you’re not at war with, in a “high security” territories) – someone (NPC police or other players) can capture you and put you in a “jail”, where your account is essentially temporarily banned (you can’t play a game for certain period of time and can’t create new accounts using same personal data while your primary account is in “jail”).


This – Eve is the only MMO I PvP in and its pretty much all I do in that game (and love it).

I think its a combination of the meaningful territory control but most importantly (as anyone familiar with watching your typical standing fleet feed to a doctrine setup organised gang :P ) the fact that group tactics and coordination on the battlefield are paramount. In every other MMO where I’ve dipped into PvP its been pretty much the disorganised rabble, every man (or woman) for himself.

Oh yeah and gankers are indeed pond scum (also cowards who run away every time you bring people who’ll fight back). I’d be fine with making concord’s response nigh on instantaneous and making gate guns matter.


My opinion is that PvP mechanics are there to make players care about why they are fighting. They are a reason to fight. Some may say, an “excuse” to fight and to keep fighting.

Again my opinion, is that they provide a kind of stake which changes the nature of the game in the same way as playing poker with real cash rather than monopoly money (the stakes) changes the game itself, changes how the game is played, and changes who the victors tend to be. (for example, I often win when playing poker with monopoly money, but rarely when playing with real money).

This can work on many different levels, from whether you lose your gear if you die (a stake in the same way as losing cash in a poker game) to the victory of who you are fighting for, whether it be your guild or your faction or whatever (also a stake in the sense of “what is at stake”). You and whoever is fighting with you, don’t fight in the same way when you are fighting “for something”.

That is not to say that a game should provide this, that this is necessarily a goal developers should aim for; many players are perfectly happy fighting for no reason at all, and there’s nothing wrong with that, what people often call “playing for fun” as opposed to the more serious “playing to win” -without any stakes at all- can be enjoyable, relaxing even (as opposed to the stress of losing your loot when you die or of losing a castle your guild occupied), which is what many players are looking for in a game.

That’s the thing, I think ideal pvp mechanics are a matter of personal preference, so “ideally”, something that would make everyone happy would provide meaning to those who need it, where fighting is a means to an end, but at the same time provide the opportunity to fight for the sake of fighting as well, for those who simply wish to do that. I think a good example of a game that achieved this in its early years was PlanetSide 2.


“PvP Mechanics”……very vague, so I guess I would break it down into the various components that comprise the whole PvP experience.

  • Combat Mechanics – LotRO (vanilla). The amount of depth involved in LotROs combat mechanics remains unmatched in my experience, certainly compared to modern mmorpgs. The depth kept the PvP fights interesting way longer than other games and also allowed for a lot of different builds and tactics.
  • Group Interdependency – LotRO. Not only were players able to support each other really well, allowing skilled groups to overcome more numerous enemies, the game was also a lot of fun solo, or small group.
  • Progression – None. Good PvP requires players to be as close to one another as possible in terms of power, but virtually all mmorpgs are based on vertical progression. This gives long term players an advantage not only in skill, but also in power. I’ve yet to see an MMO where vertical progression didn’t cut off the life blood of new pvpers, scared away by getting stomped by the vets.
  • Objectives – WAR (DAoC / EvE). Why are we fighting? We don’t necessarily need a reason to fight beyond the fun, but when we do have a reason it tends to increase the fun and longevity, as well as provide more roleplaying opportunities. WAR had the best objectives out of the games I’ve played, but from what I’ve heard of both DAoC and EvE, both were superior
  • Landscape Design – LotRO (ettens). Where we are fighting is just as important as how we fight and the design can heavily influence the fun. The landscape needs to encourage some interesting fights, but also be adaptable to the people getting involved. If the landscape only works when there are balanced teams of 50, then it hasnt been designed well. The ettenmoors looked great, but also had self-balancing mechanisms so that if the sides were unbalanced (v. common), there was always somewhere you could fight that balanced things out.
  • Scale – WAR (EvE). This is the massively multiplayer genre after all, so judging the scale of the PvP is an important factor. The bigger the scale, the more it feels like armies facing one another. WAR had the largest scale PvP I’ve played, but obviously EvE holds the world record

I would have put WAR in there for landscape design as some of the places, like Praag, were amazing. However, many other PvP zones were awful, like the Chaos Wastes, basically just empty plains. Plus their keep design was really bad from a gameplay POV.

I was also tempted to put SWTOR in there as I loved their battlegrounds, some really great designs there. But, SWTOR wasn’t an MMO, plus Ilum really sucked and never worked properly.

maydrock .

Planetside 2 is by and large the funnest pvp I have ever partaken in, all the way up until the population really started dieing off, about the 2 year point.