Roleplay definitely lends a very interesting dynamic to PVP and its something I’ve engaged in for a little over twenty years. Roleplay gives context and consequence to PVP that game systems simply don’t. I think this is why table top RPGs are so popular.
I am going to explain what I said earlier a bit further now that its had a chance to sink in with those who’ve read it. This next part is a reply to the thread in general.
Let’s start with a bit of a scenario that is very real and for many, very familiar. One starts on a new server. Its PVP, it has raid hours, and no dynamic build damage on. It could be a private server or a funcom provided one.
You pick out how you want your exile to look, you giggle at the random crimes selected, then choose a name and start it up. Something something year of the cobra and all that. You begin just south of newbie river with nothing but your wits about you.
Can you jump right into PVP?
Not really. You can wail on someone with a stone tool or weapon if you’re maniac enough. But to do so will get you a trip back to the desert. You gotta gather rocks and plant fiber. You’ll spend the next hour or so getting some materials to try to get together something to get a bit of a start. You gotta PVE for a while.
If you’re doing this alone, its a bit tricky as you need to setup out of sight and out of mind. If you’re with a crew, you’re able to get established a bit quicker. In either case you spend the next few hours over a few sessions trying to get some materials to get that first base setup. Something that will keep the thieves off of you, but something that you hope won’t draw the attention of those who might want to kick you in.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that you pull it off. Its been a few days. You’ve hit 60, you’ve got a setup with your crew if you’ve got one. And you’ve got something you can reliably fend off attacks during raid times or at least appear as such to cause raiders to go offline someone else who’s a bit of an easier target.
You’ve hit that sweet spot where you can progress and maintain your holding. You just gotta get logged in for five hours a day to keep it going. Its been quite some time but you’ve got something going you can be proud of and you’ve spent a ton of man hours gathering resources, converting bricks, making alchemical base, farming legendaries, getting thralls and the whole shebang.
You’ve done a ton of PVE content, and maybe you’ve PVP’d a bit. Maybe dueled some friendly neighbors, beat down some attackers who bit off more than they could chew. Or maybe even succumbed to the temptation and offlined someone else. Temptation born of greed… or perhaps a little paranoia… or a little bit of both. Or not, maybe we’ll let the example here be truly altruistic, attacking those who attack them first. In either case its been dozens of dozens of hours spent, maybe even more by this point.
But all good things don’t seem to last and it happens. Either you couldn’t be online, or if you had one you’re crew got into another game. Or some other thing happened that you or your clan missed a raid night. You don’t login to your normal rooms but the desert, naked as that first minute you made a character on the server.
You go back to your base and its been pretty well cleaned out. Just a few decaying foundations left as they bombed to the ground looking for loot maybe hiddin in the floorboards.
What was the effing point? Is what many would be asking themselves. They spent all that time getting resources, finding a spot, getting thralls and pets, and getting all that stuff. Just to lose it all to one technicality of missing a single night.
But what actually was lost here? What time was wasted? These are actually the important questions here.
Time spent playing in PVE was wasted. Progress in PVE was lost.
When you chose to play on a PVP server. To PVP.
Does no one else see a problem here? Why are players engaging in PVE when their intent is to PVP?
Well obviously you can’t just expect everyone to sit south of the Newbie River and click each other for 4pts of unarmed damage till someone gives up and lets themselves die. You PVE so you can get an advantage. So you can get a weapon, some armor, and a base to store the goods in.
PVPers spend 99% of their time PVEing so they can get some advantage or at least keep up with someone else who has so they don’t get obliterated when the 1% of PVP actually happens.
I’ve said this in the past. But its ironic because PVPers spend more time PVEing than PVE’ers do. They have a MUCH higher expenditure of resources on average than a PVE’er and thus need to PVE more to replenish it. They are more likely to lose armor, weapons, and expend elixirs and potions and food due to their foes being human beings than some CPU controlled thing that draws a line and engages events when a distance is closed.
And what I find strange is no one seems to have a problem with this. Well not exactly.
I’ve seen servers try to challenge this notion. You have these arena servers where you’ll start at 60. You’ll get a full kit. And you’ll duel each other. While these kinds of servers are quite common in some circles. They’re hardly the way people want to play.
Why? Because its boring.
Occasionally someone will start up a server and have the bright idea of allowing people to make their bases in some accelerated fashion. Maybe use the fancy new creative mode we got. Or use some form of accelerated 10x in everything form of farming with a Pippi kit to get them started on building. In either case you get some time to build, maybe a few hours or a few days. And then you slam into each other in a massive server wide purge thing.
Again… these servers aren’t incredibly popular and even if some have fun on them initially. Its not going to give you hundreds of hours of play.
Why is this?
Well… there’s no stakes. Its like playing poker without bets. You can do it. But it doesn’t have the same thrill.
There’s another thing that some private servers do, that seem to be popular. You’ll see this among those PVP servers with 50/50, 70/70, 80/80, and even higher playerbases. Servers that don’t allow the offline raiding.
Well… then the solution is to turn DBD on. Right?
I think you would see immediate results to DBD being on and an immediate relief of current PVP symptoms. But it would likely not be a cure. DBD has its own issues. And it works on some servers with active admins to prevent the exploitation of some of its issues. I’m not going to go into those here because it really is its own discussion.
Suffice to say I heavily believe issues would arise out of other problems with the game and PVP within it. And we’ll end up at square one.
There’s another thing to look at on these servers. Many of which have active moderation and even require raids to be declared and scheduled so that an admin can be present. This is to ensure the reasons behind the raid are adhered to, and the response to the reason for the raid is proportional. So there’s no raiding someone down to the foundations in the majority of time.
This means you can PVP without fear of wasting all that time in PVE.
There’s also the issue of stakes. You’re playing by rules, and you’re trying to be the best within those rules. But you do have a chance to lose such wagers. But the loss in such wagers are not catastrophic.
RP-PVP servers take this a step further in that you can have In-Character repercussions. In my time playing Conan Exiles, as well as other games over the last two decades, I have seen the full gamut of stakes in RP. Character death (and subsequent reroll, either soft or hardcore, up to and including starting a brand new character, or simply renaming an existing one and changing their looks to effectively make a new one), to losing valuables, status, freedom (getting enslaved), facing scarring, mutilations, and even loss of limbs (in RP, though mods are getting close to replicating that in mechanics) or even losing one’s dignity in ways that are not fit for the rules of these forums.
The easy solution is to roll up a character on one of those moderated servers and abandon those servers with absent or hands off admins, as well as funcom provided servers. Its even easier than trying to get aforementioned servers to turn DBD on.
Doesn’t fix the underlying issue however. Because even in heavily moderated servers. Crap happens. Sometimes collateral damage happens. Sometimes someone flips a lid and violates the rules in a major way. And even though you can be reimbursed for the trouble, rebuilding from scratch sucks.
And at the end of the day you are spending a majority of your time PVEing.
No. The solution I believe is to reduce the amount of PVE in PVP. That is where the discussion needs to be. Dynamic Build Damage has little effect on your ratio of time spent PVPing and PVEing. Same with playing on moderated servers. In both those cases would benefit from this philosophy.
For raiding to be fun for everyone, there needs to be less time or at least equal time spent in PVE as there is in PVP. At the same time, there needs to be stakes as well to keep the thrill.