No one would play gearless PvP

| Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I offer this question: Would PvP in WoW be more or less active (note that I am specifically not using the words popular or fun) if players used a standardized set of gear?

On one hand, removing gear as a factor would allow players to jump right in at any time, with no grinds to get in their way.

But I suspect this benefit would be outweighed by the costs. For one, gear serves as a scapegoat. How good/bad are you? Who knows! Your gear is a factor, and a convenient excuse, allowing bad players to avoid being discouraged and quitting, since they can get better gear and think that will fix the problem.

WoW on the PvE side is driven heavily by gear. I don't think it's a stretch to say that PvE is the dominant element in WoW. It levels us, it trains us. Note the training part: follow the gear, always, if there is no gear, ignore it. Even if PvP gear was completely useless in PvE, the ability to gain gear attracts players, and keeps them going. The hamster wheel may keep more players on than it keeps off.

17 comments:

Ephemeron said...

I believe that's what Arena Tournament realms are for.

Syl said...

I'd say it keeps the right people off....you're quite right that many people in WoW just play BGs (funny enough not so much arenas) for the loot and it hurts PVP as a whole. point leeching / let's lose fast - makes for wonderful games. not.

so guess what, I'd welcome same gear for all in PVP. it would give performance a greater focus and keep the leeches away. glory in actual victory, not more rewards. for once these two being seperate.

Issy said...

I agree with Syl.
Also, one of the things I found in Rift PvPing, was that (and I had no pvp type gear or soul) a lot depended on _how_ you play. I think the correct use of abilities, and communication in the warfront, made more difference than anything else, and it was lots of fun.

Issy said...

I should probably clarify. Fun is my motivation for doing _anything_ (I have extensive test results to prove this :P). So erm.. the more fun something is the more people will do it. Right?

Mhorgrim said...

When Age of Conan first came out, gear was almost completely useless. It meant PvPers had to have total twitch reflexes to stay alive. There will always be class imbalances,which made it occasionally a pain. But since gear makes such a huge difference, you can never really tell if it is pure skills or if its just total gear domination. I would like to see what would happen personally if gear was only pretty shinies and had nothing to do with giving an edge. But then you look at armor mitigation etc and the problem again arises how to balance a fight. Armor would have to have little impact save for shields being able to parry. With the current way of pvp fighting ie tab tgt and blast cool downs, there is little skill involved. If there were blocking moves and parries along with the cool downs, that would be wicked. The game design for WoW isnt meant for such activity though as it becomes a cool down race and not one of real skill per se. The game mechanics would need changing.

If AoC wasnt such a big epic fail start and if they hadnt gone over to gearcentric combat, I would say AoC was the best venue for skill based twitch mechanics and movement. The idea was very sound, the execution of the game though was epic fail.

Tesh said...

Fewer people would play, sure. But it would be better. I've argued for normalized PvP before. I should write up a proposal with more detail.

...but it's probably too late for WoW to adopt. The gear grind mentality is perhaps too prevalent.

Masterlooter said...

Getting rid of the reason 75% of players join any form of PvP in the first place - will increase, or decrease activity? Hrmm, that's a hard one...

Gank said...

Guild. Wars.

Best PVP ever- gear and equipment not a factor. Team work, builds, and skill with your class.

JoeNavy said...

Naked all druid pvp would be awesome!!!

I actually enjoy the gear grind in BGs. And I dispise the arenas. For a mixture of me not being very good at them and the chess like feeling. I can roll into a BG while listening to an audio book and have a great time. No real attention needed.

Shintar said...

I've been enjoying WoW PvP a lot in the last couple of months, and I don't think I'd enjoy it more if there was no gear. I like the framework that gear provides, the way it serves as a reason to keep coming back and provides you with a consolation prize even if you lose a lot. Without that it only comes down to how much you like dominating random people and how well you can tolerate being dominated by other random people for the fun of it, and I don't really care much for either of those things.

Anonymous said...

if i'm understanding you correctly, kleps, i think you need to closely examine FPS and RTS popularity and then re-evaluate your thesis.

-Ben

Nils said...

No one would play gearless PvP in WoW. Because PvP in WoW (as whole WoW) is all about gear.

Make PvP about something (anything) else, and gearless PvP can be a lot of fun.

I've written before: To do something in a game, the player needs an emotional investment. To choose gear as emotional investment may be obvious, but it is not smart.

Klepsacovic said...

@Tesh: "Fewer people would play, sure. But it would be better."
Perhaps, but for an online game there is a counter-force of "more people is better".

@Ben: Despite my constant attempts to compare WoW with them, neither FPS nor RTS are in the same genre.

Tesh said...

Oh, definitely, with consequent economic/design forces. Perhaps that's why it would work best as an option, not an inviolate omnipresent setting.

Anonymous said...

kleps, that doesn't refute my point at all. the pro sport model that wow has been courting since a few years after it was conceived was embraced, and rendered old-hat, nearly 20 years ago in various environments, starting with Quake.

in other words, so long as there are leader boards or some other tangible yardstick for success, there will be pvp, gear or no. this is a fact.

-Ben

Klepsacovic said...

Perhaps I'm not understanding your point. I suggested that WoW PvP with no gear would die out, or at least dramatically shrink compared to current numbers. You counter with evidence that entirely different games, which have never had the burden of gear, have survived not having gear. Different expectations are given by each game, so of course behavior will be different. Apples and orange-flavored hard candy.

Anonymous said...

Another factor, gear is also customization.
If pvp had to be played with standarized sets people would miss that part of the game then.
Maybe customization on gear ain't that big in wow after BC but I'm just talking in general, at least back in the vanilla day you'd see the weird super high stamina warlock that couldn't be killed or all offense warriors or hybrids with unusual ratios of their caster melee stats.

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