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Agent Tectonic
9th April 2012, 5:23 PM
So, I've had a recent spark of creating an RPG of my own, and while I debate on whether or not to finish and run it, I'm left with the question on how to handle the PvP (Player vs Player for anyone who doesn't know what it means) elements of it. So, less away from my idea and more on the topic of PvP itself, what is everyone's thoughts on it. Do you like/dislike PvP RPGs? Why/why not? For people who do like them, how would you like to see these types of RPGs improved to appease people who don't like them, and for those who dislike them, what would you want to see that would intrigue you enough to one a try?

In my opinion on the matter, I quite don't understand why people don't like them. To me, I'd rather have the challenge of outwitting actual people than making it up as I go along. Granted, without PvP, one can decide how and when their characters get hurt or something like it, but I think it takes away the fun a bit.

Monster Guy
9th April 2012, 5:44 PM
Didn't Neo Pikachu start a thread on this topic?

PvP is only good when both sides are mature enough to take hits/lose if need be. Otherwise, it drags on forever...

GoldenHouou
9th April 2012, 6:59 PM
inb4Neo.

The way I see it, the trouble with PvP is that one side often tends to be unbalanced. It might not start that way; you might have a good number of SUs on both sides and such, but the truth is people will drop out and disappear during the rp. Oftentimes, one side has more luck than the other, and they manage to keep more players. So suddenly, what was originally a fun war between five people on each side becomes a not-so-fun struggle when that sole PC tries to hold their own against a handful of enemies. And it's a cycle, really; the more people drop out from one side of the conflict, the more likely the remaining ones are to give up as well when they don't find anything/enough to do. A certain amount of players are required on both sides for it to be fun for everyone.

Another problem is, like Mon mentioned, maturity. It's all fine and dandy if both sides are willing to be hurt when plausible, but unfortunately that's not a given with some players.

Then there's... how should I say, it needless PvP. PvP such for the sake of having it, even if the RPG could have very well fared without it. Let's say, for example, that the plot is a group of promising trainers thwarting the plans of TR. The plot is structured in a way that it focuses mostly on the trainers. They have fun obstacles to overcome, they have hideouts to raid, etc. It's pretty much a given they will succeed in what they've set out to do; it's right there in the plot. Now, the GM gets the idea that it'd be cool if you could sign up as a TR grunt! So some people do and find out... they don't really have anything to do. The trainers will go do their thing regardless of whether one player tries to run in on them and fight them all at once or not. Granted, that situation could be helped by allowing the bad guys to sign up as higher ranking members of TR or if the players knew and understood it was their place to ultimately lose, but still. If the PvP doesn't contribute to the fun of the RPG, I don't see the point of having it just because.

With that said, I do enjoy PvP when it's carried out well. Still, I'd rather play in a dysfunctional group of PCs who've set out to achieve a joint goal, where there can be some PvP if the players so wish but where it isn't the main point, rather than in a faction vs faction setting where the whole idea is to fight against other players, but that's just me.

Avenger Angel
9th April 2012, 11:58 PM
In terms of PVP or non-PVP, I like to ask this question. When you play Chess, do you play against someone, or do you and a bunch of friends all take your favorite white piece and just stomp the heck out of the unmanned black pieces? Sure, that stomping may be fun for five minutes… until you realize there’s no challenge, it gets boring, and there’s no harm for procrastinating or getting distracted by something else while your buddies keep stomping the black pieces.

Essentially, PVP determines what kind of RP you’re shooting for. Details below.

In order for an RP to remain active and interesting, the situation always needs to be changing, be interesting, and compel people to participate in terms of fun, challenge, and immersion. That’s the only way it’s going to go on for pages and pages and stay strong in the long term. People need to be in charge of characters that have powerful and influential positions. If they don’t, the novelty of the situation wears off.

Having all your RPers on one side is fine if the only purpose of your RP is to just have some casual character interaction, whoop the butts of bad guys like The A Team, and then take a bow. Forget about going long term or having your RP coming anywhere even close to reaching Page #50. You basically kick butt, kick more butt, and then kick even more butt until you’re tired and something else, be it a video game or another RP, grabs your interest because you're tried of kicking the same butts all the time. Nothing really goes wrong for long in a non-PVP RP, and anything that may look like it may hinder the RPers only ends up helping the characters anyway. People take a loss as an opportunity to gain even more out of it.

Essentially, you start the RP knowing you've already won. The novelty and the surprise is only derived from how it's done and what happens between that. It's interesting at first, but from what I noticed, eventually people stop caring, or they just assume they won already when the "black side" is just down to a king, maybe a pawn or two, and doesn't really have a hope in the world anymore.

Moving on.

If you’re serious about having your RP become huge and epic like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars in size and scale, it’s time to get a serious and intriguing story going on by having RPers on both/all sides so they’re both/all developed, as well as genuinely defended and fought for. RPers not only have to be willing to fight for their sides, but they've actually got to enjoy being on them as well, and that GM better have something that makes it tough to choose a side because they all seem so good and have really cool features and aspects. If only one side looks good and the other seems shabby, forget it. RPers aren't stupid and very few will be willing to be a little selfless and join the "less fun" and "less powerful" side that doesn't have all the good stuff the other one does. They will catch these things even if the GM thinks they won't notice it. And this is especially the case if the "less fun/powerful" side happens to be evil.

In addition, at least a few RPers need to have control over people in high positions of power. If you leave that in the hands of NPCs, those RPers really don't have a leader after all, and just kind of wander without direction from someone that's actually paying attention to what's going on. Even if all those player-controlled leaders do is just select a target and respond to their followers, that's already giving their minions something to do and someone that point them in an unpredictable direction. But yes, they also need to respond to the enemy's actions for it to be fair.

Meanwhile, let your RPers develop and create things, as well as discover things that will help boost their side and change the playing field. This will keep things interesting and will make sure the other side(s) does the same to stay on their feet and remain competitive. Suddenly, people won't be looking for other RPs to join because the change and dynamism in strategy in this RP will compel them to keep taking part. Let the rules of reality be bent (not broken) in terms of fantasy and science fiction to keep things interesting and fresh. Let rivalries form, let ingenuity work its magic, and allow either side to make comebacks so the action stays hot and fierce. Make the penalty for defeat humiliating and embarrassing, but not horribly costly and crippling to the point where recovery is impossible.

Let your RPers be stalwart heroes and powerful elite officers. Don't force them to be lowly grunts and foot soldiers. Save that role for their NPC allies. And don't make it so people's characters have to "start at Level 1" and tediously work their way up the ranks or "train" themselves to use powers and abilities over the course of the RP. This almost never happens because things get too boring before they even reach that stage. Leave that annoying and downright boring hassle for that character's history so they can get it over with quickly, and give them the strength, abilities, and cool features they want to use here and now.

To me, if you want a real PVP RP, try following that.