August 23, 2011 Leave a comment
I lightly participate in Prime’s forums, but I do lurk fairly extensively. One thread did entice me to respond, as it was a wide arching discussion on a subject that interests me: game incentives. Here is my post.
PvP incentivization is a very hard thing to get right. Hard core PvPers just want everyone to go out and fight, for the sheer thrill of pitting wits and talent against an opponent. That wish is a (pleasant) fantasy on the whole. Creating wide open fields, devoid of any compelling objectives will not entice conflict. What draws people into battle is a scarcity of resources required to complete an objective. The resources don’t need be tangibles, but they are usually the easiest to implement.
Examples help clarify.
EVE online is arguably the most succesful PvP MMO currently. Beyond just a sandbox game, its distribution of rewards and resources compels players to seek out dangerous and unsafe regions to get the greatest acquisition of goods, wealth, and control. WAR got players out to fight at first by placing vertical progression rewards in the world,but as expected, once the community achieved that goal, conflict dropped – the impetus for going out was gone. This shows us something else, whatever incentive is used as the driving factor, should need to be continually renewed/defended to encourage constant participation across all spectrums of the player base.
It’s important to recognise the motivational differentiatiors between PvP MMOs, and other PvP genres. FPS’s, MOBA’s, and RTS’s don’t have the persistance and long term progression to contend with. So the need to make a renewable motivator does not exist. Creating a PvP system that requires players to partake for no other reason than to fight won’t work in the MMO model long-term.