The state of world PvP is clear to most people so I won’t dwell too much on the complaints. So suffice it to say that those servers in which the minority faction is heavily outnumbered, world PvP isn’t healthy nor competitive. Flight masters are constantly dead, boats/Zeppelins are practically inaccessible, and popular dungeons may take numerous corpse-crawls to access. The infrastructure that makes play reasonable is ravaged.
So, consider some possible intervention that could help steer the course of world PvP closer to something like the “spirit of the rules” and away from the current toxicity which is inherently unstable and a form of a perverse “positive feedback loop” which may promote one of the following outcomes:
- Players of the minority faction become fatigued with the extreme obstacles to play and switch servers to where their preferred faction is dominant until servers are largely mono-factionalized.
-This has clearly undesirable consequences in that a healthy faction balance on servers makes for a more interesting play experience and contributes largely to the structure of an MMO based around warring factions. Largely mono-factionalized servers reduce incidents of world PvP, creating an unstable equilibrium, further driving the faction disparity.
- Minority faction players stick around but are severely hindered in the available content, and are discouraged from continuing their subscription or resorting to reducing their play-time, effectively resulting in the same outcome as 1).
Thus, let’s consider some possible interventions assuming the trend continues and we are interested in maintaining a semblance of the world PvP structure without resorting to an exodus for a large segment of the population. In order of increasing interventionism(inb4 “no changes” or “u chose a PvP server, dummy”).
- Free transfers for characters of the dominant faction on a server to a server in which their faction is the minority.
a) Optional addition of limiting all server transfers(including paid) to servers where their character faction is either in the minority or very close to parity.
-This solution is entirely non-intrusive to the mechanics of the game and can only help to encourage faction-realignment, though the degree of which is possibly minimal.
- A system in which after a character has been killed ‘x’ number of times in world PvP, they become “de-flagged” from PvP(even in neutral zones)for a period of ‘t’ minutes/hours.
a) An alternate system in which a character becomes “dishonorable” for ‘t’ minutes/hours after ‘x’ PvP deaths.
-These solutions alter the mechanics of the game and would require testing though they may result in a more guaranteed change in gameplay experience without grossly altering the experience for those interested in “the spirit of the rules” for world PvP.
- A system which incentives server transfers by increasing xp gain rate from the baseline value by ‘x’ percent correlated to the severity of the server faction imbalance.
E.g. A server with a 61/39 imbalance would result in the minority faction gaining an increased xp gain rate in some way proportional to the 22 point faction deficit.
-This solution, although more clearly interventionist, strikes at the heart of the faction balance incentive structure. It’s likely that if the xp gain proportion is tweaked reasonably, this incentive could likely result in very closely balanced servers and is self-correcting(a negative feedback loop), resulting in a stable equilibrium of 50-50 and favoring neither faction in the long run.
(note we should reevaluate the state after the release of battlegrounds to see if this world PvP fiasco really was just a short term problem, thus no changes should be implemented until a period of review following BGs.)
Choosing a faction can be thought of as making an economic decision. Economic decisions are driven by incentives, some of which when considering faction choice are: PvP racial abilities, aesthetic preference, faction map layout, and not the least of which is perceived likelihood of leveling ease/PvP ease.
Ultimately, without a change in either incentive structure or mechanics, it’s unclear that anything in the state of world PvP can or even should change.
Feedback and discussion welcome and encouraged.