As we all know City of Villains looms on the horizon for all of us. There is one hot button issue with City of Villains that just about everyone has an opinion on. That’s Player vs. Player combat. I spent quite a few hours lurking the Official CoH Message Boards and I know I’m a little less sane for it. However, I’ve manage to come up with some conclusions. From what I can tell, most people’s concerns boil down to two things: Griefing and Harassment – This, I know, isn’t earth shattering information. Now, I’ll tackle these issues in a effort to make them much less intimidating.
As I said, the first main concern with any PvP system is grief. Grief is the open hindering of another player’s enjoyment of the game. Generally, what happens is a high level player will attack a low level player over and over again; or it could be a group of people going around killing another group of people. It appears the MMOs out today have really addressed this issue well and I suspect City of Villains will be no different. There is a lot speculation on how they are going to limit the griefing in game but until the beta rolls around we have no definite answers on this. Yet there are some inferences that we can make from some of the details that have been released. Statesman has commented that PvP will be “optional consensual” which means that he doesn’t want to force PvP on anyone. Yet he also states that he and the development team like the idea of having open area for the purposes of massive PvP encounters. To me, personally, this suggests two things – “Old World” Zones will be “optional consensual” and new “Battleground” zones will be implemented in game. If this concept sounds familiar, it should. It’s very similar system to the one Blizzard’s World of Warcraft uses. By going with this concept of PvP, it enables the players to decide whether they want to engage in PvP at all. This may not limit all the grief we may incounter in the game but it will limit the grief to players that know grief could befall them.
The other main concern is harassing and excessive taunting. This, I’m afraid, they will never go away. In a game where you have open communication between players, a portion of those players will always try to abuse the system. People will use foul language, berate and belittle other players as well as intimidate and bully. Unfortunately, there is no getting around this. But to say that these things are caused by PvP implementation is 100% wrong. These problems exist in the system now. There are ways to limit the amount of verbal harassment from the PvP stand point. Cryptic could limit chat between the Heroes and Villains. This would immediately limit the ability of an opposing player to spam you with tells or even to flood the normal chat windows.
With this type of limitation to the chat system and with “optional consensual” PvP and “Battlegrounds”, the PvP aspect of the game would be virtually invisible to those who don’t want to participate. Now even with these “precautions” there will be those that complain on both sides of the issue. What we as a gaming community have to remember is that Cryptic is trying to make the game better. The game needs to expand and grow as time goes on. Without this kind of growth, MMO games become stagnant and people lose interest quickly. Looking at what Cryptic has given us in the past, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in the future.
Now let’s get onto some business. In my last article I stated that CoH did not have an auto attack button. It appears that was I was incorrect. A faithful reader by the name of The Caladus Project pointed out to me that you can hold the control button and click on a power. This will highlight said power in green and once the power is ready and a target is select it will be used. This is in fact an auto attack button. The main difference I see with this method of auto attack you have to specifically turn it on. In other MMOs the auto attack is a button you press and your toon blindly hacks at the Mob. By being able to choose which Power is the auto attack makes it more dynamic. It doesn’t have to be a wimpy attack with a standard animation. One fight it could be Havok Punch and another it could be Charged Bolts. Thanks again, TCP.
October 5, 2004