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PvPing to PvE and the Backbone of Bigotry

Over the years there has been a persistent issue in MMOs when players have to play one way to get gear for another. This issue has come up again in Mists of Pandaria as players are (once again) running battlegrounds to get gear to for endgame PvE. Whether or not Blizzard should have foreseen this aside, I really have to wonder about the outrage this issue always causes. Okay raiders we get it, you don’t think PvPers should get raid gear for battlegrounds. Got it. Now would you kindly get over yourselves? Same to you, PvPers.

Aren’t we a little beyond getting bent out of shape because of someone else’s reward? Is it so terrible that there could be more raiders and more PvPers to fill out your teams? Give me one good reason why. And please make sure it’s not related to your ego. Thanks.

If you do have a reason, I’ll hear it. I’m open to opinions. But the problem is this: Someone else’s reward doesn’t effect you. Your stats, your skills, and your strats are all exactly the same as they were yesterday. What’s the worst thing that could happen if a player could choose a PvP item as a raid drop? Noobs invade your BG? Well guess what, they do that anyway, Caps Lock Strategist. That’s kind of how these “open access” games work. And if you could buy a PvE weapon for valor/whateverotherPvPstat? The random PuG does better. And your feelings are hurt.

“I PvP’ed for 10000 hours to get that weapon, he shouldn’t get it for raiding!” “I ran that dungeon 40 times while he sat in PvP queue, how is that fair?!” We’re human. I think we can all empathize with those arguments, as far as they go. But here’s the thing, they only go as far as Lindsay Lohan with a dime bag of crank. The only thing the current reward paradigm gets you is the ability to look down your nose at other people for not playing exactly the same for exactly as long as you have. Great accomplishment, I guess.

And if we changed things and allowed a little more choice? Pick-up groups would have an easier time in both raids and 5-mans. Battlegrounds would be invaded by players with actual PvP gear and skill might actually mean something again. And players whose sole skill set involves “get gear win” will run to the forums and rage. But you know what, while they cry on less people will be slamming their faces against a wall because some random e-peen needs validation. I side with the small-peened.

I’m not advocating people get epics for doing nothing, and I’m certainly not saying you should get to be top of the food chain without ever stepping foot in the playstyle. I’m saying that if Joe finds it fun to raid but is curious about arenas, let the guy gear up doing what he knows he likes. He’s paying his fee and, again, what does it really matter to any single person other than him? It doesn’t and the entire game stands to benefit. He’s done his work, so get him some gear to be competitive. Not top of the line, competitive, because if he likes it, he can keep playing to hone in his skill set. Vice versa for PvP to PvE.

I’m also not saying that you should have to PvP to PvE and opposite. Play how you want, that’s the whole point. I used to be one of these guys that believed the exact opposite of what I’m writing here. But times have changed and we’d all better smell the coffee or risk being left behind. Make no mistake, you can leet yourself right out of this genre. Are you really an MMO fan or are just a fan of relative power? There is a big, big difference in today’s market.

At the end of the day, if you’re relying on gear to be your skillset, you’re doing it wrong. Skill will trump gear unless gear is allowed to bury the newcomer. Then you have sheep v. wolves. And who would want that but an egotist, someone who doesn’t want to play to win, but win to play and make you lose in the process. Non-sensical maybe but I’m thinking you understand. Again, big difference.

Hat tip: PvD for pointing this out.

7 comments

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  1. Celendus

    I think Blizzard just wants to avoid what happened in BC with arenas – I’d grind out my weekly 10 games knowing full well I’d lose at least 9 of them. They don’t want raiders to decide they’d rather afk 20 games for a piece of gear than play 12 of them to the best of their ability.

    1. Chris

      Fair point! I think we can all agree, if someone is going to “play” in a particular style they should actually be playing.

  2. spinks

    I suspect raiders are upset because they don’t necessarily like PvP much but it was by far the best (ie. easiest, quickest) way to get their PvE raiding gear together. If you could pick either PvE or PvP and pick whichever PvE or PvP drops you wanted, then no problem. But when there is a mismatch like that, of course people will be upset.

    1. Chris

      I totally agree. I definitely don’t think content should be gated behind particular playstyles. This post is really more about the people who think it’s unfair for people who play the “other” part of the game to join there’s without taking their lumps first. Raiders have historically been very bad about this (joining raids with PvP gear and then daring to roll need on an item, but PvPers have had their fair share of complaining there, too)

    2. Green Armadillo

      I missed this post due to new baby until I saw it in Spinks’ roundup – I agree that incentives have proven far more effective at changing behavior (i.e. I must grind dailies/PVP for gear) than at changing preferences (I.e. still dislike all of the above).

      The question of “taking your lumps” is complicated by this use of cross-playstyle incentives – see Ferrel’s series on grinding losing Rift battlegrounds to get the PVP gear. It is very difficult to make two or more parallel tracks equally challenging, and this rapidly creates an incentive to pick whichever path requires the fewest lumps and then switch back over later. The ways to mitigate this – requiring more skill or making the gear less desirable for other playstyles – diminish the incentive to try the other forms of gameplay, and in some cases actually increase the entry barrier for players looking to cross over.

      And thus we’re left with a situation where reasonable players feel that they have to do something they do not enjoy as a prerequisite for what they actually want to be doing. This rarely ends well for anyone.

  3. sean

    the arguments I’ve seen from the Rift forums go something like:
    a: “I feel compelled to do something in game that I don’t enjoy in order to be BiS in the part of the game I do enjoy” – this goes both for PvPers feeling compelled to PvE, and PvEers feeling compelled to PvP.
    b: those players doing that content that they don’t enjoy, in order to do the content they do enjoy, are much more likely to take a rational approach to said content: ie, afk-ing through warfronts, buying a place on raid groups, etc. Buying a place doesn’t hurt anyone else, but afk-ing for your reward certainly hurts your notional teammates. (Ferrel over at Epic Slant had an amusing series a few months ago about AFK-ing his way to max PvP rank in Rift about this).

    In both cases, the argument boils down to “the extrinsic reward for activity A (ie, being better at activity B) overwhelms the intrinsic reward of activity A”.

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