Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Masochist tweet of the night..."

The essence of PvP in one image
Boy, was that an understatement!

Late last week, WoW's primary PvP developer Brian Holinka, asked this question on Twitter:

Masochist question of the week: Do you play WoW and Heroes of the Storm but you don't PvP in WoW? I'd love to hear why.

Responses that I saw tended to fall along complaints that it's unbalanced, and Holinka sort of got in trouble replying that balance was an experienced player's problem, not one shared by people who don't PvP. I can agree with that...for the most part. But other people thought he sounded dismissive. I think those "other people" should read the question more carefully. 

I am somebody who doesn't PvP. In any game. There are a few places I have tried... Including WoW, but it never takes. And I'm unlikely to purchase a game that was PvP only. That's a bummer with Blizzard's two newest products coming out aimed to be just that: PvP only. I'll give them a try, but realistically, I don't have big expectations. 

Before I get into some reasons why I don't PvP, I was wondering why the comparison between WoW and Heroes was being drawn here. Isn't Heroes still in a closed alpha stage? It may be in beta now...I'm not sure. But, like, Heroes of the Storm might be the most incredible experience of all time that would forever change my view of PvP games, but I wouldn't know because the damn thing hasn't been properly released yet.

Anyway. WoW PvP doesn't work for me because...

It Attracts So Many Toxic Players
Toxic players are the ones who type all-cap expletives for a whole match, are quick to point out how much everybody else sucks and that they must be homosexual because of this. You know the type. In truth, I think these players have always been everywhere, but in my experience, they just seem to congregate in battlegrounds. I'd think this fun-quashing personality type would be at the top of the list for many people who won't darken a battleground's door.

I Don't Like the Pacing
This part is very subjective. I realize that and wouldn't argue with anybody who does like PvP pacing. But, short bursts of high activity, followed by periods of waiting drive me crazy. That pretty well describes the arena, I think. But it's much the same in battlegrounds. Sometimes, I've been giving the good fight in a BG, and then I die, and it just about ruins it for me as I sit in the graveyard waiting to resurrect for 30 seconds. This sort of thing pulls me out of the fun.

It's Not Immersive
PvP feels very meta to me. It's not about the story, it's not about my character; it's really a player vs. a player. I'm not a very aggressive competitive person in real life, and simulated personal conflict is not why I play video games. I want to lose myself in a character but I can't do that with PvP.

I Don't Find a Casual Approach to PvP
I was reading an article that was complaining about how hard it is to get started playing DOTA-type games and I realized those problems really boiled down to PvP in general. Even with the best matchmaking systems, you're rubbing shoulders with far more experienced players who will trounce the ever-living snot out of you. In WoW PvP, the first thing to do is generally build up a cache of better PvP-specific gear, and that just means grinding out a bunch of honor-- losing, a lot-- so that you can theoretically start getting good at the matches. To quote an Internet meme: "Ain't nobody got time for that!"

It's Not Balanced
With respect, Holinka noted in the masochist thread that it would take a fair amount of experience to even know what was unbalanced about the classes. And he's right about that: I wouldn't know unbalanced classes from experience. But I do read blogs and articles from people who would know. And every time I do, I note that Shaman continues to suck in arenas and BG performance, and that discourages me from even bothering to come back and try again. Honestly: I can't remember a time since The Burning Crusade that Shaman had any business doing PvP. 

I think it's possible that Shaman isn't as bad as they say, and in fact that players of every class who are reluctant to PvP find notes in the blogosphere that PvP is unbalanced. At the very least, we're not finding anything our classes are particularly good at in PvP, and that's enough to keep one away.

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