Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast (I believe it was Too Long Didn’t Listen) during my morning commute when one of the hosts, Syp, mentioned RP-PvP servers and what the deal with them is. As someone who plays on RP-PvP servers I thought I’d explain the benefits of this server rule set and why I’ve come to make RP-PvP servers my home.
History of a PvP Hopeful
I started playing MMOs with World of Warcraft and from my first character creation I’ve been playing on PvP servers. My initial thought was that by narrowing my multiplayer experience to cooperative only, especially in a game with opposing factions, I was effectively limiting the ways that I could play with other people. For the first year or so I constantly rerolled and bounced between alts, rarely ever getting a character above level 20, and into contested zones. It wasn’t until the summer before the release of the Burning Crusade that I made a serious attempt at progressing farther than Ashenvale.
I rolled a new Shaman, on a new server, and told myself that I wouldn’t play another character until either the expansion came out or I made it to level 60. A few days later I found myself sitting in Orgrimmar looking for a Ragefire Chasm group. After about a half hour of futile searching I decided to roll a Warlock alt to play in the meantime. Before I knew it that fresh little Forsaken Warlock was my first proper main. Soon after, with my first taste of Tarren Mill vs Southshore, I was hooked on world PvP. I ended up tooling around with a few open world PvP groups and had a lot fun. By the time TBC launched I had quit the Warlock and moved on to a Tauren Druid. Said Druid was my first end-game character. I leveled him to 70, joined regular battles over Halaa (always busy on my server at the time), small skirmishes in Hellfire Peninsula, and 1v1 battles in the daily zones. It was the best PvP I experienced in WoW.
Things changed with the release of Wrath of the Lich King, at least on my server. I guess it was the combination of Wintergrasp and the lack of open world PvP objects, but open world PvP seemed to completely die. Gankings were always an issue but at the same time they were balanced by the enjoyment of evenly matched encounters, no more. The situation was only made worse by the sift in faction balance: originally Alliance-heavy, the server became more Horde dominated. And then the second great Blood Elf Influx, more commonly know as the introduction of faction transfers, pushed that imbalance to absurd proportions that only fueled the gankings. Horde player would jump at any opportunity to actually kill an Alliance player, and then Alliance player took it out on lowbies. Even Wintergrasp turned from a simple Horde zerg into a slew of siege engines just bombarding the Alliance graveyard for half an hour. I couldn’t stand it anymore.
Uh, I thought this was about RP-PvP…
Yeah, I’m getting there. I had enough so I started looking for a new server. I hit the forums and eventually found myself in a couple of RP-PvP server forums. The people seemed nice and everyone kept bragging about how great the world PvP was there. So I rolled a couple of alts, gave them a try and loved it. People were friendly, no rogues with names like Xxkillerdudexx or Istabyou waiting to gank you, actual open world PvP and best of all: great immersion.
Even though I’m not much of and RPer, I’ll create a back story and play along with RP but I won’t seek it out, the environment cultivated by RPers is unparalleled. One instance in particular comes to mind. I was running around Ironforge when a low level Gnome comes up and, in character, explains that this is his first time in Ironforge and that he needs directions to Tinker Town to meet some friends. I play along, tell him how to get there, and he was off on this way. A little later I encounter a group of Gnomes on a walking tour of the city and the one who stopped me earlier is among them. He stops, waves and thanks me. I return the gesture and he continued with his tour group. Little things like this made the world feel so alive.
I ended up not spending too much more time in WoW, bounced around some and then moved onto Rift last year. This time I started on an RP-PvP server but found something new. In Rift I encountered RP in PvP. People put thought into how and why they were attacking each other and, without a language barrier, were able to express it. The most epic encounter involved a mid-to-high level Defiant Necromancer who turned himself into a Gloamwood raid boss. He followed around death rifts and invasions while yelling taunts about his minions conquering the region. Eventually a bunch of us lowbie Guardians grouped up and managed to take him down. He shouted a final warning of his impending revenge and left us toasting our victory. Since then I’ve played RP-PvP exclusively.
Would I Recommend It?
If you enjoy PvP but hate the type of community that typically grows on dedicated PvP servers then yes, go for it. Are there any downsides? Of course, a couple. Dedicated or hardcore PvPers probably want to stay away. There seems to be a lot of people who are just in it for a good time and don’t care about being that competitive. That’s not to say there isn’t competition or that people don’t take it seriously. The competition just isn’t as feverish as it is on dedicated PvP servers. Likewise, dedicated RPers might want to steer clear. RP seems to be more centered in guilds with very little in the open world, I’ve been playing on two different RP-PvP SWTOR servers since launch and haven’t encountered any impromptu RP. You will also find many people, like myself, who are there for the more mature community rather than the RP.
All the fun of PvP but with a nicer community and less assholes. If that sounds like your kind of thing then give RP-PvP servers a try. I don’t regret it.