WoW! Thoughts! — On Encouraging PVP in Mists of Pandaria

Thoughts on why the changes to world PVP aren't going to change anyone's minds about participating.

So as those of you who listen to the Mashcast may know, I play WoW, and I play it enough that I’m not allowed to talk about it.  These are my thoughts for this week in WoW…

I keep reading about how much better PVP is going to be in Mists of Pandaria.  Mists is being designed to encourage world PVP.  Guards in cities on PVP servers will be weaker.  The Vale of Eternal Blossoms will place the Alliance and Horde hubs near each other to encourage skirmishes.  The Black Market Auction House will be unguarded.  Cross-server realms will result in more people encountering each other in low level zones.  And while all these actions will encourage PVP enthusiasts to PVP, I can’t help feeling like Blizzard is missing out on how to get people out and fighting others in the world.

The first choice people are given when rolling a character, even before deciding faction, race, or class, is which server they would like to roll on.  Those who know they like PVP will choose a PVP server and those who don’t will not.  This works fine for people who understand the differences in what they are choosing, but there are people who may not realize the restrictions of their decision so early in their game experience.  And while it shouldn’t take too long for a player who rolls on a PVP server to realize that they might be happier (and safer) rerolling on a PVE server, its too easy for someone who might like world PVP to fall into the trap of rolling on a PVE server.

Blizzard claims that you can flag yourself for PVP to get the experience, but PVE servers are vastly different in terms of population.  The vast majority of people on PVE servers do not engage in world PVP.  Flagging yourself for PVP on a PVE server still means that you will be ignored by the bulk of the world population.  There are dedicated members of each faction who will lead city raids or crossroads attacks, but these attacks only serve to irritate people on PVE servers and cause them to disregard PVP even more.

When hostile combatants assault a city where their counterparts are unable to be attacked, the only thing that they can target is the NPCs.  As a result, these raids slaughter quest-givers and merchants.  While that may be considered a victory by the attacking party, it is anything but for the opposition.  By selecting to roll on a PVE server, players who don’t understand optional-PVP  may expect their character to experience no negative consequences of PVP.  Nothing is more frustrating to someone who has limited time to play than being unable to turn in quests because the required NPC is being camped in Crossroads.  This is when someone who might like PVP gets turned off from it for good, if they aren’t turned off by the game altogether.

We’ve all endured griefing at the hands of PVPers.  Perhaps we’ve dished it out.  We’re also not the typical WoW player.  Case in point: right now you’re reading an article about WoW.  Most casual players spend their time playing the game, not reading about it.  But just because the casual stereotype is someone who plays PVE, it doesn’t have to be.  If they weren’t griefed and discouraged from PVP early, then they might be more open to it later.  Players need to come to it on their own terms, not have it thrust upon them.

My belief is that PVE servers should not allow for world PVP.  Players can still duel and battlegrounds and arenas would be unaffected, but no one would be able to run in and target NPC’s vital to another player’s game.  This would allow people to play unaffected until they are prepared to step into a larger world.  That said, every character should be given one free server transfer that would allow them to migrate to a PVP server when they are ready.

I could see the PVE servers becoming leveling servers where characters would work to get to max level, and could then migrate to a PVP server when they’re ready to deal with ganking and griefing.  This way, if someone wishes to never be affected by PVP they don’t have to, but by level 85 or 90 they should have enough experience with battlegrounds or dueling that that they would be open to moving.  And the free server transfer could be used at any level, so that once a player realized that a PVP server is where they should be, they could make that move and be done.

Mists of Pandaria is going to have two factions in close quarters competing for the same resources, and it’s going to lead to bloodshed.  If these two groups don’t get along, the dissent between the PVP’ers and PVE’ers could destroy Azeroth as we know it.

WoW! Blurbs!

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Aubrey Plaza recorded a second WoW commercial that never aired.  I wanna throw people into Ragefire Chasm!

Diablo III banner rewards for getting the MoP Collector’s Edition.  But will I get with the Diablo III Annual Pass???

Nick Zielenkievicz
Nick Zielenkievicz
Nick Zielenkievicz

Senior Producer

Host of WoW! Talk! and The Tauren & The Goblin. Sometimes known as the Video Games Public Defender. Wants to play more Destiny and Marvel Heroes but WoW is all-consuming. Decent F2P Hearthstone player. Sad that he lost the Wii that had Wrecking Crew on it. Would be happy if the only game ever made was M.U.L.E. Gragtharr on Skywall-US. Garresque on Ravencrest-US.

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