Bear with me folks. This one will wander a bit.
Massively has a Daily Grind article up with the following question.
Do you think a game needs to include some form of PvP to be successful? Or can a game go with a purely player vs. environment or cooperative approach and still succeed?
Now I've my own question based on the whole PvP thing. Not is it necessary to be successful but rather, what does it or could it do to the structures that come about in games.
In City of Heroes there is some PvP both through arenas and pvp zones, essentially though I've always treated it as a PvE game. A few years ago the Silver Guard was redoing its website and one part of that was a picture for the front page of all the available members wearing the Guard uniform and basically showing off the colours. A group effort, a sign of unity and all that jazz.
Boy did it ever go wrong.
Firstly there was one member who at the time didnt have the ability to enter Supergroup bases because they had to be the only person I think I had met who didnt bother getting CoV (if memory serves, a whopping $1 increase in the monthly sub at the time, I could be wrong). What do you do in this situation? Personally if I couldn't be where every other single player in the group was, I wouldn't hold things up. No... that's too easy. So this member (to be honest I've forgotten the character name otherwise I'd be all for the shaming) basically had us all relocate to Atlas Park. Atlas is the armpit of the CoH universe, partially due to it being one of the two newbie zones (don't hate the noob, help the noob) and partially because the Atlas statue has a big idiot magnet in it that summons hyperactive morons.
Secondly, despite it being a group photo and the group having colours, several members refused to wear them. The Guard never enforced a uniform like some other supergroups, but personally I would have thought that throwing the colours on for the sake of thirty seconds wouldn't have hurt. Excuses ranged from "I don't have a uniform" to "I prefer my shades, the Guard ones clash with what I want".
Finally it was down to getting people to position themselves in a sensible manner. Top tip, if you have an 8' tall character, stand behind the 4' ones. Wait for the Atlasidiots (polite name) to get out of the frame. Wait for the afkers to reposition. Wait for the sun to come up as this has now taken so long we're in our third night cycle aaaaand finally click.
It wasn't a bad photo but I still as you can guess have a sore spot over all the nonsense that interfered, especially the fashion comment.
Compare and contrast a straight PvP game. We'll take a few examples.
Planetside, also a few years back, had several outfits making in game promotional/recruitment videos. Cue many many more players than the maybe two dozen Guardsmen standing in formation and having a mexican wave style salute to the camera. You were in the military now and you followed orders.
Massively gave a one-shot of Darkfall Online with an "Inquisition raft fleet". Players coming together and, even if their vent server is filled with penis jokes and bash.org style nonsense, forming a fleet to take the waters they want.
EVE.... just EVE.
Why does it appear to take a game or setting where the prime opponent is other people for our imaginary otherselves to show discipline that they wont when facing a computer? I know of course there are exceptions to both sides of this and of course no amount of roleplaying or discipline survives first contact with the enemy.
Is it something in ourselves? Are computer controlled enemies unworthy of displays of restraint and discipline or are other players such a threat that we look down on displays of axecrazy? Will in game AI advance to such a point to challenge this?
Finally in the 80/20 split of Warhammer (i.e. 80%pve 20%pvp inverting in later levels) that I once heard quoted play with this? I've seen some instances of people following orders and acting in concert in ways I wish bands I've been in could, I've also seen everything degenerate into a zergandpray. Does Party 2 always listen to the Warband leader and cover the postern? Or does this only come later when it is clear it's you vs another meatbag?
I'm in the guilditary now, but I think no one got the memo.