Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Between a Rock and a Fel-Corrupted Apexis Fragment

I was about ready to give up on Warcraft last Sunday. Well, at least I felt that way for a spell. Prior to this, my Sunday afternoon in gaming looked promising. I had a good chunk of time carved out to play, something I find less and less of these days. My plan centered around my main objective for the afternoon: the round of dailies in Tanaan Jungle. I hearthed to Vol'mar, but before I could even grab one quest, I was dead.


As I made my way back to my body, the four Alliance I'd spotted had multiplied into fourteen or more. Horde representation was limited to corpses on the ground and those unlucky enough to appear in Vol'mar via login or hearth, only to have their lives quickly snuffed out. This continued for the better part of two hours, from what I could tell.

It was a familiar scene. The Alliance and Horde bases are ripe for these sort of encounters, and I witness the aftermath in Vol'mar more often than not. A sense of dread accompanies each use of my hearthstone, or cast of Astral Recall. As much as I hate it, this is the game working precisely as intended. I have that straight from the horse's mouth. But this post is still me complaining about PvP on a PvP server, so continue on at your own risk.

Why. Why why why did I roll a toon on a PvP server? The answer is that at the time, I wanted a more "real" experience. This is where my current self gives my past self a reprimand in the form of "You fucking twat you didn't even PvP much to begin with, how is the ability to have your PvE goals rendered impossible by something inherent to the game server's design a more real experience?"

Open world PvP allows and encourages other players to absolutely demolish my gaming experience, consent for which I gave when I first joined the server. The obvious solution is to transfer away, right? I wish. It's a hell of a lot more complicated than that.

I don't play on my current server because I'm a heavy role-player nor do I play there because I particularly enjoy World PvP. I play there because that's where I found the best match when it came to a community the last time I was trawling through the Recruitment forums. I've said many, many times in the past that if it weren't for the people I play with I wouldn't be playing this game. Transferring for me would signal the beginning of the end.

Still, the whole experience left me wondering some things. Allow me to gripe.

Why do Vol'mar/Lion's Watch NPCs hit like wet noodles?

Where the fuck are the pandaren guards from the Timeless Isle when you need them? At least those guys were annoying when players first set foot there and engaged in PvP. Do I even have guards in Vol'mar? You want me to believe that I'm the commander of this outfit...that I'd give my blessing to the most shittily defended base on the front lines of the most threatening warfare we've seen on the continent? If that's the case, strip me of all land, titles, and accompanying privileges. Send me the fuck home. I'm an undeniable failure.

I guess it's cool that Gargash the flight master can be kited far outside of Vol'mar and held hostage. You've got to hand it to that guy for his zeal and tenacity when it comes to the effort he puts into holding off opposing forces. But come on, Gargarsh! First rule here is YOU DO NOT ABANDON YOUR POST.

You're fired.  

Would the game experience benefit from more structured rules to open-world PvP?

I can almost hear the collective war cries from the PvP advocates on this one. Cannot fault that response.

PvP happens. I know, and I'm OK with it as part of the game. What gets annoying is the scenario I've outlined above: I've got a chunk of time to quest, yet I'm prohibited from doing so. While I'm attempting to grab quests between corpse runs, I'm killed repeatedly. The PvP is slowing me down, sure, but now because of several deaths in a short span of time, I'm given a resurrection timer. Now I literally cannot play the game. I suppose I could stick my thumb up my ass (that's where I keep my garrison hearthstone) and play around with my mission table for a minute, but I don't find that to be a very compelling alternative. Granted, the Horde side on my server does the same thing to the Alliance at Lion's Watch. It's a vicious cycle.

I don't know what I'm looking for here. And it's not a legitimate want, given I am on a PvP server. I don't want the game changed for a large group of people just to fit my fancy, but after I've ratcheted up to that two-minute death timer, I think it'd be nice to have a guarantee that I have more options than simply logging out.

Again, this stems from my choosing to be on a PvP server, and the experience that I'm looking for is readily available on a PvE server. I've outlined why that's not an option for me at the moment. At the same time, I question if having an unassailable enemy force holding the main PvE quest hub hostage for hours at a time is exactly what Blizzard had in mind for open-world PvP engagement. 

Could Blizzard perhaps include value-added services with each expansion purchase?

It must be clear that players don't necessarily choose their server based on its designation type, i.e. PvE or PvP. Some players may not fully understand what it means to roll on a PvP server. Some players may not know that even on PvE servers, it is possible to engage in open-world PvP. My problem is with how tightly we're locked in to the server we choose. 

I've advocated in the past for there being additional services included when a player buys the expansion. Wouldn't it be neat if a server transfer and faction/race chance were included with the purchase of each new expansion? Wouldn't it make sense to have those options, given how players come and go? A returning player with the ability to easily play with friends on his/her established toons without the prohibitive costs of character services seems like a win-win to me. 

Can we have cross-server guilds? 

I think the one legitimate gripe about this would be the watering down of a server's community. But I'd counter the community is only as large as the one you engage in. I play on a high-population server, yet my in-game community is limited for a few dozen people. It wouldn't matter what server I was on, just that I can continue to play with them---people I've now traveled across half the country to meet. While it's feasibly possible to do now, it's not possible to do under the same guild banner. 

With current cross-realm technology, I can't imagine we're far off from the ability to host cross-server guilds.  As the game ages, communities continue to get smaller and smaller. It would make sense to support what you've got. This would be the perfect solution to the problem I'm experiencing, and I'd exercise the option in a heartbeat. 

There. Do you feel better? I feel better.

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