Nate Combs has a series about Eve on Terra Nova, and his latest post got me thinking again about Eve, Dark Age of Camelot, and why I enjoy their PvP mechanics so much. It was a link to an earlier post on his blog that prompted this response. I started this post as a comment to that post, but once I go beyond a certain word count, I feel guilty clogging up someone else’s blog and figured I should just post it here.
Nate references a Dave Rickey comment from one of Nate’s earlier Terra Nova articles about Eve, and he posted a quote from within Dave’s comment on his blog.
“So each player puts themselves, or at least their alliance, at the center of events and interprets them in that light…Even if they *lost*, the experience was far superior to anything CCP could direct, because they felt involved, engaged, *important*. Even if they were just one cog in a PvP machine, they get a derived sense of meaning that a developer event, no matter how well scripted, could never provide.”
This was the brilliance of DAoC for me. I can’t tell you how many nights I stood side-by-side with realmmates on the Albion milegate in Emain Macha, watching forward for incoming Albs and listening to intel about Midgard forces who might be surging down from the north. Hibernia was under siege for months on Percival, and it forged a wonderful community. Mythic gave us the sandbox, but the players made the stories. It was an exciting period of gaming, even though we getting our asses kicked and didn’t hold relics for a very long time. Eve is the first game for me since DAoC that carries that same sense of possibility, of urgency, and excitement.
In a PvE game, death is almost always a penalty. Eve and DAoC provide the opportunity to die with honor, and to give and gain respect to your foes. Even though you couldn’t speak with other realms in DAoC (and maybe *because* you couldn’t speak to each other), a simple emoted salute or bow by a victorious combatant, over the slain body of his opponent, was more valuable than any loot gained in PvE. I suppose the same is possible in a big PvE raid; someone saves the raid with a timely heal, crowd control, etc., but PvP is so fluid and dynamic that each night feels different. I guess PvE is a little too scripted for me.
Not that there’s anything wrong with scripting! I don’t want to sound like I’m saying WoW or EQ suck because of their PvE raids. I think there’s some fantastic gameplay there for people who enjoy that sort of challenge. I’ve been lucky to fall into a couple good PvP communities in my gaming career, though, and the excitement of PvE rarely lives up to the adrenaline rush of PvP. For me. YMMV, bla bla bla.
Even when I lose in PvP, I feel like I’ve gained something, or experienced something unique and dynamic. I don’t get that same sense when I die in PvE. I love playing WoW, but I miss that sense of everyone coming together in a huge PvP fight, and miss feeling like the results matter.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve actually played more WoW than anything else since Thanksgiving. It’s easiest to fit into a busy family/holiday schedule. I kinda don’t want to log into Eve until Trinity is launched, because I’m excited about the new shiny graphics. Plus, the semester is coming to a close and I’m supposed to be doing A) a presentation for my paper, B) my final take-home exam, and C) actually writing my paper. WoW fits in nicely for study breaks. Class ends right around when Trinity launches, so I’ll be fullspeed back into Eve until at least the holidays.
If you enjoyed Nate’s “Fly Safe” article, check out the rest of his series on Terra Nova too. They’re all linked in “Fly Safe” in the last paragraph. Props to CrazyKinux’s speedlinks for the link, I would have missed it Thanksgiving holiday if I didn’t see his speedlink to Nate’s latest article.