Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The PvP Political Compass

After reading Tobold’s response to yesterday’s entry and some of the comments, I wanted to take a moment to post this chart I created which I think does a better job of quickly explaining my take on the multi-facets of PvP. One quick caveat that the placement of these are quite subjective and my personal opinion. With that in mind, consider the theory for why I created this chart and not the specific placement of each game.

The theory being that PvP consists of two opposed ideas: Impact and Competition. More of one, takes away from the other in much the same way that political ideals oppose each other on a Political Compass (Liberal vs. Conservative).

In the chart, the ‘Impact-Competition’ axis is really a measure of Equality. Impact games have little equality and the only equality that you get is that which you take for yourself. Competitive games have lots of equality, but at the sacrifice of notable Impact.

On the other axis, we have a measure of the Strategic importance of Grouping with other players. This isn’t related to Impact or Competition, but is a significant factor in the ‘feel’ or ‘objectives’ of your PvP. Obviously, solo PvP being at one end of the spectrum and large Group PvP being at the other end of the spectrum. On this particular scale, I gave EvE a very high “group” score and Arena-style PvP a relative low score despite the fact that it is team based (it’s not much more strategic than Deathmatch, IMO).

PvP in games like WAR and WoW, which have what Tobold calls “positive sum” PvP, have very low impact relative to “negative sum” PvP in games like EvE and Darkfall. HOWEVER, you’ll notice that on my scale, there is a pretty big gap between the low impact in WoW and the high impact in Darkfall.

My issue with Tobold’s idea that people will only accept “positive sum” PvP is that it is based on extremes. There haven’t been many games (if any) in that space in-between WoW and EvE. My belief is that games with slightly more Impact, albeit not at a “Darkfall” scope, could also be popular among the masses.


Anonymous said...

A good chart if one keeps in mind that it only shows the 'typical' situation in each game. Anyone can easily make a case for something being more/less impact/competitive, etc, but that's not really the point.

Jesse said...

What would a Solo Strategy, Impact game be? Something with fast, twitchy combat to make soloing a reasonable combat strategy, a ranked leader board that favors solo kills so anyone that wants to be at the top has to solo, and full player corpse looting to add some impact to it all. Crafting in Impact games is usually important to balance player looting, but in order to promote Solo Strategy something clever would need to be implemented to devalue group gathering. Maybe have all gathering done by NPC's, and players have a choice of buying from NPC merchants or killing NPC gatherers for raw materials to craft with. Maybe have all crafting done by NPC's since crafting and selling to other players does seem a little like a group strategy. Stealth would have to be left out or limited to make having someone watching your back against rogues unnecessary.