Wednesday, February 25

When PvE becomes enforced PvP and diversity is discouraged

Now I've had my ups and downs with Age of Conan, from release and those first blissfull 40 odd levels through Tortage and beyond until their bug fixes became bigger bug additions and I rage quit in disgust at their ineptitude after the first 2 months.

A new game director and a couple of months of patching later, having not found anything that I enjoyed, I decided to give it another go, a decision I haven't regretted over the past 3 months and I've loved every minute of this beautifully rendered game, it's sturdy lore and its grittyness along with some very good decisions by the new GD, a promising future and a fun but overly large guild (read my previous post and the decay of the fun part - which has great relevance to this post) had me singing it's praises and combatting the left over woe posts from those early players who never wanted to give it a second chance.

All good things must come to end is a saying and why it should be so is something I would usually leave to the pessimists to ponder, sadly I can't help but feel and say, after what now feels like a lifetime of support for AoC - FC you seriously F****d this one up!

Last weeks patch introduced consequences to owning a battle keep
  • Owning a Battle Keep means that any guild can declare war on your guild whether you consent or not
  • Any guild involved in a war has all of it's members flagged for PvP during the siege timeslot (48hrs)
  • PvP is open FFA PvP in all areas except Khemi, Old Tarantia and Connal's Valley
  • These rules apply on all servers regardless of ruleset
  • A guild cannot get rid of its battle keep unless it is destroyed and captured by a guild who don't already own a battle keep
At present this is being hotly debated on the forums, the GD has offered to 'look at it' but I think I may be joining the pessimists on this one and we are now seeing the end of diversity of play styles and therefore playstyle opportunities within guilds in AoC. If your in a big guild whose leaders decided that hey a BK might be fun then really if you dont want to have your playstyle or play times dictated to you you have no choice but to leave.

I relish the idea that you can, with consent, enter into differing playstyles and enjoy everything the game has to offer, I also relish the idea that a guild can cater for differing playstyles and therefore offer more opportunites to it's members.

What FC have effectively done is said this : You cant enjoy the big, fun sounding PvP aspects of the game unless your a PvP player willing to get involved in FFA PvP, PvE players who don't want to be zerged while questing are now excluded.

Of course there is talk of declerations of war with rules that warring guilds should follow but knowing the nature of MMO players can anyone honestly put their hand up and say they will work ? It will only take one idiot to turn the well meaning rules over when those who enjoy PvP jump at the chance for sweet bloody revenge.

It's never a good idea to limit choice in an MMO so what possible positives FC envisioned with this are currently escaping me.

Update: Due to the feedback from players this is now going to be reversed much to the relief of many, question still remains as to what positives they had in mind when originally putting this in ? it also begs the question of what exactly is the process that leads companies to make such unpopular moves and why do they seem so blind to such outcomes as we've witnesed with this?

At last good sense has prevailed but my opinion is their creative decision making process is rather questionable.


  1. During the 48 hours you are marked as PvP-er, how can attack you? All players, or just the other PvP marked players (ie. you own guildies and the attcking party)? I would suspect the latter, which basically means there is not too much change in being ganked while doing some quest in the fields of the death.

    I actually think it is a cool idea they added this in. Once in a while your guild and you are in trouble. It is not some sort of permanent PvP. And if the Bk is attacked you don't have to defend it.

    It could be a problem if your guild leaders think PvP is fun and continuous start wars against other guilds. And in that case you are indeed in the wrong guild if you are not interested in it.

    I think you got carried away a bit by too many crying foul without reason poster on the official forums. To me it looks like a great addition to the game, which is very much in line with what AOC is/was supposed to be like.

    Of course I could be all wrong. And I have easy talking from the sidelines.

  2. It sounds like Funcom is getting desperate.
    Willing to chance implementing changes that are obviously unpopular. AoC for all its good PvE content, is actually a PvP centric game. However it sounds like a hardcore Impact PvP loving developer managed to 'sell' his ideas internally. Why the hell they'd consider implementing what are essentially Ruleset changes across various servers with different Rulesets is beyond me.

    How that'd get them subscribers back is even more beyond me.
    For a PvP centric game, their PvP system and Ruleset has been lackluster from the start, not moving beyond the most basic gankfest until months after release. They made improvements to it, but from the server merges I didn't get the impression that this brought them much improved subscriber-counts. So I can understand them going for cure-or-die measures, as that is the point they're at I fear. However, to do so in a way that's bound to alienate the PvE/Raiding crowd, is simply stupid.

    I do understand them wanting their player base to be spending their time online fighting each other virtually. It's the least expensive form of content as it's essentially User Generated Content.

    The idea seems to be to drive the PvE crowd into PvP gameplay in the hopes that will keep them entertained and subbed longer. Not an entirely stupid idea. Except in this proposal, people are effectively forced to immediately adopt PvP builds for their characters, builds that are vastly at odd with Solo/Group/Raid PvE Builds.

    Phè raises some good practical points about the PvP flag. There's various ways it could be implemented, but their definition of FFA PvP seems to mean that if you're flagged for PvP because some guild decided to declare war on yours (note this isn't something that requires your consent) you can be attacked anywhere outside of the three starting town zones. You'd be flagged for PvP as if on a FFA server. However even on FFA servers it's not custom to have friendly fire, so attacking your guildies is probably not an option. Sorry Phè ;-)

    Frankly, I don't like the idea at all. Frankly, if you like the siege PvP game, you should be playing WAR in stead. There's no nipples and less bloody gore, but the RvR gameplay is to AoC's as Chess is to Tic-Tac-Toe, even though zerging is still the most common tactic.
    AoC is a neither fish nor fowl game. It's trying to become more Hardcore PvPish but by that will not catch up with games like Eve or WAR. Quite frankly, AoC is a better PvE game than PvP game. But as a PvE game it simply misses too much content. For replay-value it is now at about 40-50% of the needed content levels 20-70. But, creating PvE content is more manpower intensive than PvP content (if you don't take balancing too seriously) and I suspect Funcom's starting to realize that as well as that current subscriber numbers don't bring in enough revenue to keep the PvE content team employed.

  3. I didnt get carried away with the forum posters crying foul, I cried foul myself :) Non consensual PvP shouldn't exist on a PvE server when no such concept existed when you rolled on it. Let alone the inherent problems of introducing something like this so far down the line and I still feel that had it stayed it would mean the death of the availability of mixed content for all.

    Its being back tracked now but for me it showed the deep flaws within my guild sooner rather than later, it had its uses :)

    Free transfers end in 2 days so Im going to move my characters over to Crom and set myself up with a nice PvE centric mature guild and concentrate on the game content I really enjoy - Atzels is still the best old skool dungeon Ive come across in any game.

  4. I'm a bit confused by the move to Crom. Unless it is more motivated by a desire to get the hell out of that Guild and make as clean a cut as possible?

    Then again, lots of so-called RP-PvP people transferred to Hyrkana and Ordo St-Michaelis to stay on an RP tagged server rather than regular PvP.
    Btw, my first big warning that it wasn't a guild I'd like was the Guild Master saying he had no idea what the name stood for as he never bothered to ask when he joined. I can't blame you for getting the hell out.

    Crom should have a nice big population, and I've found that one can RP anywhere, at least as far as being in character a bit, as long as one doesn't get stuck up about it and work with the flow of whatever audience there is. What I'm trying to say is, it's less frustrating to be the odd RP-y figure on a non-RP server than to keep running into non, even anti, RPers on a server flagged RP.

  5. Moved to Crom, already finding out about a guild but happily playing solo content and taking my time.

    So far Global isn't as bad as I expected. Massive improvement in the availability of some rather nice items on the trader, culture armor has great looks but at between 20 -30g a piece hardly an easy investment.

    I had an item dissapear during the transfer, a GM looked at it, simply replied there was nothing he could do and said goodbye, I had to spend 2g to replace said item :(

  6. Woot! Great to hear it is working out great for you. A bigger community and better player market are a big plus. And since you had nothing left on Hyrkania it makes a lot of sense.

    Of course this means it will be even less likely I'll see you online any time soon since my characters are now stuck on Hyrkania. I will just have to bug you through our blog then :)

  7. Maybe we should go ahead with that nefarious scheme of yours and bombard him with City of Villains (US) free trials and invites :-)

  8. Lo and behold that free CoX trial wormed it's way into my mail box today, I suspect it's some weird kidnap plan by two even weirder super villains....

    I bought CoV many moons ago now, I got bored rather quickly although I recall character creation being highly entertaining and time consuming. Once my time is more my own I'll come say hi dressed in some suitably outlandish latex garb that should make you curse the day you let me on the same server...

  9. Just curious, the version you bought was Eu or US version?