Rift and the PvP/PvE Chasm: A Treatise on Ganking

This week the PvP/PvE debates finally came to the Rift forums and with a vengeance.  There have been no less than four threads in the past couple of days about some aspect of PvP and what is fair and what is not.  I knew it was coming, it comes in every MMO with PvP, I was just hoping it would take a little longer.  Game forums are so much more pleasant without this endless debate.

If you read HorRIFTic Intentions at all you know what kind of player I am.  I am a PvP’er, through and through.  Don’t get me wrong, I love PvE but I live for PvP.  Always have and always will.  I can not count the number of times in WoW that I completely dropped whatever PvE activity I was doing to kill a few Horde.  Thats the way I like it.

It’s in my blood.

Further confession…I am a ganker.  Blame it on leveling Alliance on a Horde dominated server in WoW.  I gank often and will continue to do so, given the opportunity.  Now, I tend not to camp players nor do I tend to kill lowbies unless they are of a rival guild or someone who has caused problems for me or friends in the past.  Still, I subscribe to the “red=dead” way of thinking.

So, guess what the forums threads were about?  Ganking and killing lowbies.  A combined 16+ pages of debate on what should be allowed on PvP servers and what should not be.  Level limits, safe zones, bounty systems; they were all debated back and forth, back and forth ad nauseam.

So, what do I think?

Leave PvP servers alone.

No level limits, few safe zones and as few anti-PvP measures as possible.

But…..but…..what about the lowbies?  What about the poor, defenseless lowbies?

My answer:  Who cares about the lowbies?  We were all lowbies at one point.  PvP servers should be a rite of passage.  You level, you get ganked, you dust yourself off and start again.  Higher level camping you?  You call for help.  You don’t rely on some artificial level limit to help you.  On a PvP server, if there is a PvP solution to a PvP problem, then that is the solution that should be used. Nothing else works and inhibits play.  Let’s take a look at some of the ideas espoused in those threads to protect lowbies.

  • A Murder Point system.

This is a pretty simple one and is one used by Age of Conan.  Each player has a level limit on players in which he can attack, say ten levels.  If he kills someone greater than 10 levels below him, he receives a Murder Point.  Gain enough Murder Points and he can no longer go into cities without being attacked.  Sounds great, huh?

Its not.

What happens in this system is reverse griefing.  Packs of lowbies running around and attacking higher level people, who can not fight back for fear of getting Murder Points.  Lowbies stand in AoE to give higher levels Murder Points.  Higher level characters travel with lowbies, who shield them when they are attacked.  Again causing the higher level player to get Murder Points.  I can tell you from experience, it sucks.

  • Can not attack anyone +/- 5 levels from you.

Aaaah, now this sounds reasonable!  In this system you are completely unable to attack anyone who is more or less than 5 levels from your level.  Can’t touch them at all and they can’t touch you.  Now this system sounds like it has all its bases covered, right?


Imagine you are traveling with your lowbie friend.  Helping him with quests and you are having a dandy old-time.  Then, of course, a group of players attacks your friend.  You jump to his aid….but, oh wait….the attackers are too low for you.  You can only stand there and helplessly watch as your friend dies.

Let’s take this a step further.  You friend who is nearing the level cap, say level 44, asks you to join his Rift group.  You jump in and suddenly the Rift is attacked by the opposing faction!  Alright!  Some PvP action!  Except, again, everyone is more than 5 levels from you.  You sit and twiddle your thumbs while the opposing force massacres your group.  What fun!!!

  • The Chicken System

Ahh, the good old chicken system from Warhammer Online.  This one is fun.  Anytime a high level player enters a lower level PvP enabled zone, he turns into a chicken!  Now, I must admit this is funny, unfortunately it also sucks.  Badly.

On the Rift PvP servers almost every zone is a PvP zone. This means that you will be completely unable to enter any zone below your level tier.  Want to help your friend level?  Too bad.  Want to go and collect some crafting mats?  Nope.

Basically half the game is off-limits for you now.  You turn into a chicken any time you enter them.

Whoo-hoo!!  Nothing like having over half the zones in the game completely useless for you!  I wanna play this game!  Where do I sign up?!?!

Nothing like traveling Telara as.....this.

Look, I understand people want to protect the lowbies.  Really, I do.  They are so damn cute.  But every method to protect them ends up being artificial and problematic.  It just does not work.  The best thing in the world to protect a lowbie is a tight-knit faction community.  That is all you need.  Lowbie gets ganked, lowbie calls friends, ganker gets killed.  Its pretty simple. And it works.

Want another way to protect your lowbie self?  Don’t roll on a PvP server if you don’t want to be ganked.  There will be plenty of options for PvP on PvE servers and you never have to worry about getting ganked.  PvP will be consensual.  No one will gank you, higher levels won’t attack you and everything will be fine.  See how easy that was?

But, please….Please!…don’t try to change us.  We roll PvP for a reason and, whether it appeals to your sense of fairness or not, it is a valid reason.  We like PvP.  We don’t want it limited by some artificial, broken system.  We want to gank and we even want to be ganked.  We can’t help it.

It’s in our blood.


10 Responses

  1. I’m with you on this. I’m not a pvper. I did arena in wow. I played warhammer. Pvp should stay with pvp. What’s with the limitation? Back when I joined EQ1 Zek server I know I was in the pvp zone and all is fair game. I don’t see a point of pvp server having limitation.

    I really hate getting gank. I left Aion because I was force to pvp in pve area.

    I think faction pvp make sense. But chicken. Level limit and others are too easily abused.

  2. I think the threads had more to do with heavy PvErs that wanting to not have to deal with any other player at all on their *PvE* servers.

    But they should realize that if they want to deal with rifts at all (maybe not the invasions, but certainly the sources), then they’ll likely be triggered for PvP imo. Now otherwise (aside from battlefronts, etc), you can be non-PvP all you want. You can quest, dungeon, raid, etc all without any need for PvP.

    But you want to deal with rifts? Come on, this is a mechanic seemingly designed from the start as a PvP centric thing. You don’t just fight off invasions, you *compete* for *territory* and *resources* against the other faction.

    I just don’t get it. I mean, previously to Rift, I was (and still am) VERY much non-PvP. I hate getting griefed, I don’t get world PvP nor battlegrounds, etc… this is different. Cutting off PvP ENTIRELY cuts off at least half the game for you – ahem, just as they say that cutting off cross-faction grouping cuts off half the server to you. *eyeroll*

    • I have to admit that I agree with this, with one exception and that is that newbies should get left alone long enough to get a feel for the game. Under level 10 they can’t be bothered, nor can they bother anyone else. After that all’s fair. I am not good at PvP, never have been, but I still like it. I’m not good at it only because I tend to play healers and support classes. This game has me actually wanting to roll on a PvP server, and I intend to play a class that can deal some damage this time.

      I always get rather amazed at how many people fear getting killed/ganked in a game where there is virtually no death penalty! I mean I’ve played games with perma-death, where ganking meant your character would be DEAD, and I mean GONE, if you died too many times! Now in that kind of a game you hid, you had friends in High Places, and you connived with enemies, making treaties which of course always got broken, but still you did whatever you could to stay alive. Dieing and getting everything you owned looted was not fun, and yet because it brought a real sense of fear…it somehow was fun.

      Now, don’t think I want those harsh kinds of things coming back into my gaming though. I really don’t, but coming from games that were like that, I simply do not understand what all the whining is about. I really don’t. So you got knocked down and killed? Ok..go back to what you were doing or get a group and get revenge. Makes sense to me.

      • I should add the caveat that I do support a non-pvp zone for the first few levels, similar to what WoW had. You were safe on the Alliance side until you stepped foot in Lakeshire or Redridge Mountains on the Alliance side. After that you were on your own.

        Same thing needs to be done here. PvP free until around level 15 or so.

  3. Hmm, its a bit shallow comparing pvp systems the way you have. It uses tha ssumption all games want to attract the same base of player and/or have the same design ethos. Take 3 games and their approach (from my biased opinion based on ym game experiences)

    WoW – pve and pvp mixed in most areas. You could go and gank to your hearts content against chars much lower than yourself. It happened but it wasn’t rife. Mainly because the game design didn’t encourage it. There were designated pvp areas where you could match up against similar lvl chars and all the rewards came through this system. I agree that their approach of “safe zones” for the first few lvls is a good idea to alow new players to learn their class and build up a reasonable set of abilities before going into combat.

    Aion – again pvp and pve were mixed in most areas, again the starter zones were safe. Unlike WoW, Aion encouraged ganking through their game design. The abyss was lvls 25-50 with no distinction between the lvls due to them being hidden. You didn’t know who was attacking you until you were either 1-shotted or put up a decent fight. For me, I just decided to fly away when I saw someone as it was such a waste of time being nailed by someone 25 lvls higher than me.

    Warhammer – Unlike the above two, and even though this was promoted as a pvp game, the pve and pvp aspects were entirely separate. You could quest/level and enjoy the sotryline without being troubled by ebnemy chars unless you chose to. This was made a good system because so much thought went into the pvp system, scenarios and rvr areas were actually fun (granted they were glitchy but they were still fun). Put simply, ganking wasn’t promoted or allowed through their game design.

    Imo, the game designers need to make a clear choice when they bring out their game as to how the opposite factions interact with each other. Warhammer and WoW both had good systems in their own way, Aion really didn’t. Because of this the first 2 games held my attention for a lot longer. In rift, I would like to see an approach similar to WoW. I think factions that share a world will inevitably meet each other, as long as it isn’t promoted to an extreme, I say gank on!

  4. I’m a PvE person, but I agree perfectly with this. If you don’t want to get ganked or PvP, play on a PvE server, it’s as simple as that.

  5. I like murder count systems. I was a murderer in UO and had so many counts i couldn’t go back to being a “blue”. But I think they work well, I also think the communities need to learn to police their servers. A big problem with people who got murderer in UO was that they were affraid and would turn and run instead of fight. I would guess that I would have died plenty more in UO if people just stood their ground, but…. they didn’t and I had 3 houses full of loot to show for it.

  6. Well, as for the PvE vs. PvP server argument, one could always level up on a PvE server and then transfer to a PvP server.

    I think if PvP is in the game, so be it. Griefing/ganking sucks, especially if done to you, but if you sign up knowing it’s a pvp game, live with it.

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