An Average Player and PvP

TLDR: Give me a reason to care about the faction-vs-faction conflict on my server and I’ll fuel the fires of the PvP machine gods.

I’m your seemingly average, arguably casual, generally solo, PvE player who has an appreciation for PvP activities.

So beyond OPR (for the inconsequential adrenaline rush and rewards cache), what will make me actually PvP?

Short answer: Caring about the success of my faction.

Call this “caring” whatever you like (loyalty, pride, favorite color), but the important point is that it’s not automatic. Just because I’ve joined a faction (within hours of starting the game) does not mean that I give a damn about that faction.

But there are territory bonuses for your faction; this encourages supporting your faction.
Except the gameplay influence of those bonuses is overshadowed by other mechanics. These bonuses are incidentals; they don’t drive player behavior.

What I argue happens is that players put down roots that support their individual gameplay loops and when factional conflicts affect that loop, players weather it like a storm (apart from the most egregious taxation).

Since we can’t sell/move houses, we’re encouraged to flag up for…defending those individual loops. Sure, but this is not caring about my faction.

…my faction to control the territory. Companies actually control territory, not factions.

…the defending ‘bad’ company from my faction. New management might be better.

…the defending ‘good’ company from my faction. Here’s the chicken dinner.

…the attacking company from my faction. Whomever that might be, for better or worse.

“For better or worse.” This gets to one of the issues, summarized as: who the hell is Insert Company Name? Are they a good company? Successful against invasions? War victories? Taxation history? Member count? Leader name? Formed when?

Add this anonymity to the fact that invaders are semi-randomly determined after players invest their time pushing the conflict meter and we’re left with a system that only supports “caring” for defensive PvP on behalf of a good company, our own individual gameplay loops, and/or (arguably) our faction.

It’s an MMO, you’re supposed to join a company.
I agree, and i also support NW having company-centric mechanics wherein companies have significant power (and responsibility) and I (as a solo player) must adjust my gameplay to their decisions.

The problem is that my perspective will resonate with small companies. Smaller companies are no different than a solo player when it comes to faction-vs-faction and territory mechanics.

Then join a larger company.
That’s an option. However, it’s also the option that slowly leads to static server maps wherein mega-companies dominate an entire server.

The inverse is the healthier option for a server. Players should feel pulled towards smaller companies thus increasing their power and opportunities while larger companies should feel increasing pressures that test their cohesiveness, power, and control.

“How do we encourage more wars? How do we encourage more PvP?” These are the obvious questions the devs have been addressing with the market centralization and the flagged luck bonus. While both of these changes help, they ultimately miss the mark.

So, what’s the solution?

In my opinion, getting people to care about their faction is the best general direction. But since the mechanics are so company-centric, simply caring about our own faction won’t be enough.

I do think public company histories would help. I think empowering small companies would help. I also tend towards “extreme” mechanics like gathering resources in enemy territory automatically flags for PvP. But without mechanics that foster testing large powerful companies and more territory flipping, these extreme mechanics would just be detrimental.

At the end of the day, the best I can do is try to identify the problem and express what would get me more involved.

Be well.

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