Why MMO PvP is Awful & 4 Ways to Make It Fun

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Posted on January 16, 2013, James Murff Why MMO PvP is Awful & 4 Ways to Make It Fun

Player vs. Player (PvP) in an MMO is the easiest way to send your frustration levels skyrocketing. In almost every instance, from World of Warcraft to Ultima Online, it is a labyrinthine system that punishes new players more than helps. With such a steep learning curve, it’s not unusual that PvP has not been that successful in most MMOs. Players simply don’t want to be wrecked and tossed to the wolves with little to no feedback as to what they did wrong. Looking up guides is almost necessary for anybody but the most dedicated PvPers.

This is a major problem. If I can’t play the PvP in an MMO without wanting to put my fist through a wall, that’s bad design. But what makes PvP so frustrating? Why does it send the average player – like me – into fits of convlusive fury? There’s something wrong with the standard design of these systems, but it’s not entirely apparent what. At least, until you play other PvP-oriented games like League of Legends or competitive shooters. After partaking in the likes of Quake 3 and Dota 2, the failings of the MMO PvP system became all too clear. Thankfully, so do the solutions.

Naturally, these thoughts are hardly the be all, end all of MMO PvP design. Rather, they are colored by my experiences with PvP as a secondary way to play an MMO. Even in games like Guild Wars 2 or Warhammer Online – titles known for their PvP-centric design – I tend to treat PvP as an alternative to standard PvE rather than the sort of dedicated craft many PvPers do. If you have some thoughts on how I’m wrong, or other possible solutions, make sure to drop a comment in the discussion!


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