Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Men from the Boys

Ah, the World of Warcraft PvP Honor System.

I'm sure that sometime last week the gates of Hell crack'd, freeing only the smallest and pettiest of demons to prey upon humanity. Many of these despicable creatures hollowed out the souls of employees at Blizzard and began making decisions in their stead. The result? The new PvP Honor System.

Let's take a look at what has happened since the system landed:

  • Popular questing areas in the mid-game have been rendered useless by gangs of roving NPC-killing thugs.

  • Level 60 characters are hunting down and gang-killing level 48 characters for "Honor"

  • Alliance groups are camping Horde targets and Horde-slanted instances

  • Players on PvP servers report not being able to live long enough to really play, thanks to bloodthirsty gangs of gankers

  • Places like the Undercity and the Alliance camps in Stranglethorn are routinely wiped of NPCs

  • The "I threaten to quit but end up not quitting" quotient on the official forums has increased seven-hundred-fold, while the "I already cancelled my account" quotient has grown exponentially

  • The gameplay experience for a sizeable number of players has been sacrificed in favor of the small number of high-level, PvP-interested players who are happy with the change.

Visiting the official WoW forums (a maddening and faith-in-humanity-draining experience on a good day) reveals two sides: those who feel the game was ruined, and those who tell the former group to stop being a bunch of babies. The casual gamer's MMO of choice has become a ganker's paradise in less than a week.

Really, this just serves to remind me why I think that most people who play these games should just be destroyed. Those who just want to run around and quest and play (and who joined PvE or RP servers to do so) have had their play experience ruined by Honor-hungry gangs of bored high-level players. Basically, Blizzard has chosen to reward some players for making the game unplayable for others.

Well, unplayable isn't exactly true. PvP-server players can travel in groups and generally be careful, even though that won't stop a level 60 group from annihilating a group of level 50 players and getting "Honor" points for it. Folks on the PvE servers, however, don't have the option. To get Honor points on a PvE server, you have to attack opposing-side NPCs and hope that players get angry enough to try to stop you. This ends up with round-the-clock NPC killing, which causes the deaths of generally every NPC in a town. If you're questing in zones like the Hinterlands, Arathi, or Stranglethorn, you're likely to find that your griffon/wind rider master is dead, as are all of the quest NPCs and merchants. This means that people, many of whom don't play WoW for any type of PvP interaction at all, cannot turn in quests, cannot travel to other flight points, and cannot sell or buy items. As much fun as that sounds... well, it doesn't sound like fun at all. And Blizzard's system encourages it.

The baffling thing to me is that Blizzard has a decade or more of dealing with online morons to draw upon. How they could put forth such a naive and stupid system is beyond me. Thus the devils-from-Hell theory. The other theory is that they did it on purpose, which makes my head explode.

Oh well. Maybe I won't be playing Guild Wars alone after all.