Objective-based PvP in WoW

There’s a part of WoW’s PvP system that I still haven’t commented but that truly interests me.

Right from Cosmik’s comment:

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to joining my team-mates in running past the enemy players in Alterac Valley and totally not killing them just so I can engage in some PvE against the Battleground boss first.

He is obviously sarcastic, but that’s an important theme.

I like goal-based PvP much, much more than “deathmatches” and mindless kills. I hate what DAoC became in the last years. With organized 8vs8 skirmishes and almost zero interest in the keeps and territorial control. I like territorial control. That’s one soul of PvP.

It looks like in this case Blizzard went too far. The objective (and reward) are so appealing that the players have learnt… not to fight.

This is an old discussion, in part already examined.

One of the problem at the core is that the conflict isn’t “real”. So the players learn how the game really works and exploit it. They see past the fiction.

But I don’t want to talk about that. Let’s see the possible solutions.

Well, this is one of the main issues that I tried to solve with my proposed PvP system. The Hotspot idea.

The point is not to find the right balance between the single kill and the objective, the point is to understand better how PvP works. My idea was based around the “convergence”. PvP action needs to converge. An objective should be an excuse to meet in a point and fight for it.

In the Hotspot idea the “points” were still gained mainly by killing other players (and without the stupid diminishing returns), but you gained more points the more you fought close to the Hotspot. The idea was basically to think these objectives as “magnets”. The closer you are the more points you get, so they make the PvP action to converge in that point and have a conflict.

If there’s one Hotspot, then it’s in the interest of both faction to control it. The Hotspot, aside the “magnet” effect on the points, had two functions. The first is to slowly build a bonus, like a multiplier to the points earned by the faction that controls it, so in the interest of the other faction to take the Hotspot back as soon as possible so that the multiplier doesn’t grow. The second was to slowly build up a “bounty” (for every kills scored in the meantime) that would work as another incentive for the other faction to take it back. When the Hotspot is conquered all the players in the area would be rewarded with the points in the bounty pool.

That was a simple solution to have goal-based PvP while still encouraging the players to fight each other, as you would get almost no points by conquering a deserted Hotspot.

The problem was that the system was designed for the world PvP. So how you “fix” the problem in Alterac?

The scenario you *expect* is: meet in the middle and starting to “push” to slowly gain territory till one of the faction is pushed back and the other can score a victory. The original Alterac battles could last many hours in fact and it wasn’t rare than one player logged out before the whole thing was over.

The scenario nowadays is: the two factions rush in opposite directions. Neither of them cares about what the other does. The “defense” is completely discarded and wins who can score a victory faster. Instead of a “collision” you have a parallel competition. Alliance and Horde play at the opposite sides of the map. And a battleground lasts half an hour on average.

Now, the duration of a single match is a design problem, and the “content” in the BG should get tweaked till the results are considered satisfactory. It’s pretty obvious that the right choice should be between the too quick current battles and the first ones that lasted way too much. From my point of view an average of 1/1.5 hours should be the target for the Alterac battleground.

But how to fix the problem at the core (the fact that the two factions don’t really… fight)?

It’s simple. The reason why they don’t fight is because the progression of one is disconnected from the other. I mean, if Alliance wins, the Horde could have been 30 seconds away from scoring a victory itself. The real problem is that disconnection.

Company of Heroes could be an inspiration for a fix. Instead of just graveyards and two different, independent battlefronts you add objectives that must be held so that you can score a victory. In short: you force one battlefront instead of two independent ones (or even: you design a more open-ended battleground when you need to hold multiple spots at the same time to score a victory as in Dawn of War).

Let’s say (A) is the alliance base and (B) is the horde base:

(A) x1 – x2 – x3 – x4 – x5 (B)

As it is now the alliance can fight at x5 while the Horde is fighting at x1. That’s the problem.

The fix: in order for alliance to reach (B), they have to conquer and hold all the “x”, from 1 to 5. Same for the horde in reverse.

This forces the action to “converge” in one point. One battlefront. The territorial control is progressive and linear. And the players would fight each other and try to slowly conquer territory and defend it, instead of avoiding each other.

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