Before I make my point, a brief timeline is necessary. I started playing in the role playing/fantasy gaming genre modestly– Advanced Dungeons and Dragons in the early 1980s–I dabbled with Middle Earth Role Playing when it came out, bought several of the Battlemech roleplaying books, and read a lot of the sci/fi and fantasy genre. When I first got hooked into the internet, around 1991, it was through an IBMVM machine that was roughly the size of my living room. With that connection, and a telnet client, I found the world of MUDs MOOs and MUSHs, my first experience with online MMOs. I played that game online, almost exclusively, until switching to Neverwinter Nights, Everquest (briefly), Everquest II, and World of Warcraft.
I have made many friends, a few enemies, and had a good time playing each of the above titles–the term “flow” comes to mind, which has become popular in recent times amongst pyschologists. In short, it is the part of your life where you feel most fulfilled. Where you feel active, alert, using as many of your physical and/or mental facilities as possible to accomplish a goal you deem important.
Which brings up one of my two points: the first grew from a post on Dwarven Runes concerning relationships between people in an online enviornment, entitled “More Than Just a Game?” If playing an MMO, whatever title you perfer, fills the above defintion of “flow,” then isn’t that justification enough for playing? Is there a reason, providing your enjoyment of gaming is not detrimental to yourself or your family, you should feel pressure to not admit your pasttime to others? Is it fear of being labeled?
Secondly, and more to specific to me, why do I not enjoy PvP (player versus player) servers? I think the best experiences I ever had with PvP were in World of Warcraft. The battlegrounds were fun, at least for a time, despite the inherient imbalance between the two factions–please don’t argue this point–with a random sampling of some 8 million, the horde tends to dominate certain BGs, the Alliance others. I think across the board this points to game mechanics, and not the more oft heard argument, “Hordz r l33t.”
Recently, Wilhelm asked if I would like to try a PvP EQII server, as the hosts of the EQ2-Daily.com folks do. I responded with a negative, and then tried to figure out why I didn’t like the idea. Another friend, who used to work with me and still breezes through my current building, left the WoW raiding guild and server where we both played to begin anew on a PvP server. I had tried the same thing, and leveled as far as 30 on a Tauren Druid, then decided being griefed and ganked by level 60s all day wasn’t for me. It reeked of something called “pkill.” The term may not of originated on Toril MUD, but it is the first place I remember seeing it.
Pkilling is literally “player killing” and was illegal on Toril, as on a number of other MUDs, while some servers were dedicated to the practice. I am unsure if being indoctrinated for so many years with the idea that pkilling was wrong or if just being harrassed by higher levels quenched my desire to play against other players. It has no draw for me, and probably never will.
Or, I am just not experiencing “flow” when engaged in PvP. It isn’t the best use of my time or resources, at least in my own mind.