Player vs Player or PvP in MMORPG games is one of the things that can make or break a game. It can even turn a mediocre game into a good game. Sometimes a game is designed with PvP in mind from the beginning but all too often it’s just tacked onto the MMO like an afterthought. Here is an overview of the most common types of PvP content in massively multiplayer online games.
Note: This is a discussion about PvP. Read the current list of the best Free PvP MMO Games if you are looking for that.
PvP in MMORPG Games
This is the type of player vs player content that most people who have been playing MMORPGs for years are most familiar with. It’s the simplest and arguably the most fun type of PvP. Basically, a player walks up his avatar to another player’s avatar in the game and starts attacking right away. In the old-fashioned “kill and loot” playing killing system, the players killers (also called pkers) can pick up the equipment and items left behind by the players that they killed.
That is no-rules pking.
Games do have some restrictions in that some areas or even entire servers are non-pk/non-PvP. Level restrictions are also common. This is to stop higher levels from picking on lower level players too much.
In games where PvP was always part and parcel of the player experience, non-PvP servers created later on might be derided as “carebear” servers, i.e. places that hardcore PvP’ers view as too boring and lacking in challenge.
Another common and very popular type of PvP content is the king found in strategy MMO games, for example, MMO real time strategy games. With this particular type of combat or war game, PvP is the main reason why players join and the MMO is built with this in mind for the first.
Examples would be city building war games where players take control of a city and then build different structures like a barracks, farms, houses, etc. that each have different functions like gathering resources, training troops, researching new technology, and so forth. All of these contribute to the military or economic strength of the city. The goal is to build up defenses and wealth while sending the military forces to attack other players’ cities.
These types of games are very popular because the online aspect of the MMO means that there are always many other players to attack or ally with at any given time.
Duels, Arenas and Tournaments
Although at first glance these types of PvP content look very similar to player killing, dueling, combat arenas and player tournaments are really not the same as pking.
While pkers are allowed to just randomly attack players (including those who do not want to right or those whoa re not ready for combat), duels need to be mutually agreed upon. Typically, one player will click on another to send a duel request and the battle is only initiated when the other played accepts the duel request.
Combat arenas are special places in the game where people who are looking for a challenge can join in the fun. Tournaments are multiple battles where the winners of the previous battle must fight each other until the tournament is won by one person, the champion.
Sounds fun? This is one good type of PvP content that can be added on later in the MMO game’s development. The problem with this, as with other PvP content, is balancing the races or classes fairly so that every player can enjoy PvP. If one class is more powerful, then the imbalance can cause a lot of frustration for players who play other character types.
Faction vs Faction
Nowadays, Faction vs Faction aka FvF has become increasingly popular, too. How does it work? When players start playing the Faction vs Faction MMORPG game they have to choose a particular faction.
Any faction that they choose is at war with some other factions. Players can only attack people from enemy factions. This fosters a powerful “us vs them” dynamic in the MMORPG.
Clans or guilds are player groups in an MMO game. Clan wars are large-scale battles fought between groups. This can arise spontaneously via forum or world chat challenges but normally it is set up by the clan leaders ahead of time. They can be very informal and organized just by players or there can be in-game support for MMORPG clan wars.
Sometimes the developers of the MMORPG will set up special PvP events with prizes or special awards. These can be very rare, one-time events or in some MMOs, there could be a daily, weekly or monthly regular PvP event.
When MMORPG players talk about PvP, they normally mean having their avatars battle it out in the game. However, PvP is a broad term that also encompasses other non-combat player vs player content such as mini-games (games within the MMO) like puzzle games, multi-player Battleship, pet battles, collectible card games, etc. Combat can also be combined with mini-games like a big PvP battle of “capture the flag.”
PvP in MMORPG Games: Conclusion