This topic spawned by some discussion raging on over at Tobold’s blog.
My trial through WAR resulted in my belief that sandbox PVP is a miniscule niche, and won’t ever really realistically be able to evolve beyond that, probably due to human nature.
Oh, we like the idea of war, of noble battle and glorious victory. But in reality, once embroiled in it ourselves, it’s not so great actually. Especially when we’re on the losing team.
Basically it boils down to the difference between war and sport. Sport has rules in place. Time limits, set objectives, limited team sizes, etc. And loss in sport isn’t quite so final. There’s always the next game to redeem yourself. Always hope.
War doesn’t work that way, though. You do whatever you can to win. Nothing is sacred. There is no honour in it. You crush the other mercilessly, or are crushed, period. And if you’re the one whose lost, that’s pretty much it. Game Over. Forever.
In short, sport is fun.
Half the reason WAR died wasn’t even so much the crappy engine or graphics or boring design, it was simply a case of, Order gets completely dominated, lose all hope, and they stop playing, and when they stop playing Destruction gets bored waiting around doing nothing and stops playing, and suddenly nobody’s playing. That’s a recipe for fail right there, ladies. How the hell you didn’t anticipate this evades me, Mythic.
EVE is something of an anomoly, but even so I suspect it’s because even it isn’t truly sandbox, not with high/lowsec space and Concorde and whatnot. Remove those elements, turn the game into one big nullsec sandbox and it would probably implode in a month.
Either that or, perhaps, given enough time we are able to collectively create order out of chaos. Most MMO’s, though, won’t last the six years -give or take a year- it may take for that to happen.
And that’s why, for all the complaining that exists around it, arena and bg’s in WoW are a billion times more fun, more fair and more populous than any PVP MMO game out there. There are more people playing the random BG of the day or in arena’s right now than the entire population of Darkfall.
I don’t think unstructured, free for all sandbox pvp will ever make it into the mainstream. We as a species just aren’t wired that way.
War is hell.
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