This isn’t a large post, yet a very important one which hopefully ends the “is non-consensual PvP is good for a game or not” dabate? No it’s not a decisive argument in either way. It’s decisive in a sense that the question itself is wrong and shouldn’t be asked.
In a game, always a pixel avatar does things against your pixel avatar. In EVE a spaceship comes to blow up your spaceship. Or your spaceship goes to blow up that spaceship. During combat various modules are activated and at the end usually one spaceship blows ups. Does it make any difference if that other spaceship is player controlled or not?
Actually, if the game companies wouldn’t make special tools to identify player characters, we couldn’t even know. Imagine that there would be no local channel and the name of the pilot wouldn’t show up on the overview. You would only see a Merlin or a Retriever or an Erebus. Without these artificial tools you could only say “I destroyed/was destroyed by a Merlin”. Would the game be any different? People die to rats all the time. Do you think this player is happier that his 7B Machariel was lost to Blood Raiders instead of xxPizza?
The question that you should be asking is “should people be defeated in the game or should they always win?”
The answer of WoW is “they should only win”. The worst thing that can happen to you in WoW is simply not advancing. And no, PvP doesn’t change that, if you enter a battleground and you capture zero objectives, score no kills and totally graveyard camped, you will lose nothing and earn honor points. Blizzard could advertise their game with “everyone is a winner here”, they don’t do it because it would scare away non-players and decrease the self-esteem of the bad players who are very sure that their progression has anything to do with their skill or effort instead of welfare given out by the developers.
PvP being consensual or not is a completely irrelevant point. You can easily design a game with consensual PvP only (or no PvP at all) and yet with losses: Diablo hardcore mode is a good example. Similarly the non-consensual PvP in WoW PvP servers (bored top levels oneshot leveling newbies) doesn’t change WoW as the victim lost nothing but a few seconds. While evaluating the game, ignore PvP status and seek if the player has a chance to lose or he can only win regardless of which buttons he pressed.
When players and developers focus on the PvP status instead of loss status, we get the chimera of EVE highsec. It is practically safe PvE-wise, NPCs don’t gank you at the gates, belt rats can be handled by T1 drones of mining barge, mission rats rarely if ever kill missioners. On the other hand PvP-ers can kill ships at will. The two must be matched. If highsec is meant to be a safe place where people can lol around, than PvP losses has no place either. If highsec is meant to be a risky place where you get some backup from the Empire NPCs, then the pirate NPCs should be much more aggressive. The problem of the newbie is that he can lol around at will, everything is nice and shiny and then bang, suicide ganked and podded with all his assets going down. If he’d be losing frigs left and right to scramming mission NPCs in the end missions of the career agents, then he’d both be expecting losses and also learn to tank his ship at the cost of cheap frigs instead of battlecruisers. If belt rats in 1.0-0.8 would be serious risk to his Venture, he wouldn’t be losing untanked Retrievers in 0.5 to Catalysts. If Guristas would suicide gank his Badger I on a gate during a L2 hauling mission, he wouldn’t lose a Badger II with 300M cargo.
The infamous learning curve comes from the game being incoherent: laughable NPCs + vicious players. Either tame the players by taking away their ability to hurt other players or buff up the NPCs so the newbie can practice on his own speed.
PS: You laughed on 300M Drakes or 100M T1 cruisers? Then you’ll love this!
- Gevlon Goblin