n. Acronym for Player Vs. Player
1. A type of game wherein human opponents primarily compete against one another.
In a world where gaming has moved from the 8bit sprites of our heros to the highly detailed and evolving worlds in MMOs, most players play games now to have a rewarding experience, enjoy a great story and to have a pleasing social experience. Other players play for one reason: to beat you. Player v. Player, or PVP for short fills that void in the gamer’s life. Not all players who play MMOs enjoy PVP, but there is a large number of the gaming playerbase who love and thrive in this environment.
There is something to be said about playing against another player, rather than learning how to defeat a boss and then knowing what he will do over and over again. Playing against another living, thinking human being adds a challenge not found while questing throughout the gaming world. PVP allows us to really see “who is the better of us?” and do so in an environment that is first legal, and ever changing.
Making PVP Meaningful
Most games try to give their PVP some explanation in the story. TESO is no different.
As already stated in previous articles, PVP in TESO will mainly take place in the province of Cyrodiil. The three factions of the game are currently in combat vying for the imperial throne of Tamriel. As stated in our original article detailing the “goals” of the development team, the game wants to make PVP “meaningful.” It shouldn’t be viewed as just going into Cyrodiil and combating other players. There are real goals, and consequences for the actions taken place there. As the factions vie for the throne of Tamriel, they will use Cyrodiil as the major combat zone for the culmination of that conflict. Whoever takes over the Imperial Throne ends up actually becoming Emperor in game!
The Nitty-Gritty: What We Know, and What’s Coming
So what do we know about PVP so far in TESO? Here are some facts already detailed in former articles to bring you up to speed:
- The entire province of Cyrodiil is your battle ground. The topography of the land is copied off of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion so those who played the game should be familiar with it. Also, the size of Cyrodiil is larger than the province of Skyrim in TESV.
- The province will also have smaller towns to capture and help with the strategic flow of PVP.
- All three factions will be involved, creating some of the largest PVP battles we have seen in a MMO to date.
Some new information was given to us at last week’s summit regarding PVP:
- You can start PVP at level 10
- As of now there are not specific stats or attributes that will directly effect your PVP prowess
- Also as of the publication of this article, there is no PVP-specific gear. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be at launch, but the design team is still fleshing out this idea. When asked why, Matt Firor responded: “There’s good reasons to have it, and there’s good reasons not to have it.” We’ll let you know if this changes the minute it’s released.
- Siege engines are used in massive battles and certain elements of the environment are destructible.
I would like to reiterate that last statement: “Siege engines are used in massive battles and certain elements of the environment are destructible.” This was on display during Thursday’s preview day presentation. Brian Wheeler, the game’s Lead PVP Designer, showed a video displaying the awesome capabilities of PVP in the game. For starters, PVP is supposed to be a massive ordeal, pitting players versus each other to achieve a goal. So the video showed a massive battle for a city featuring 200 different players in the battle at once. Yes, 200! Now one might be skeptical about this, maybe some of the characters shown on screen were computer AI controlled sprites, but we were assured this was not the case. “Each player is an employee of Zenimax Online Studios,” Wheeler iterated. None of the other devs even showed a hint of disagreement on that statement.
So as the attacking force neared the city, siege engines were fired up to start battering the walls. The minute a wall was destroyed by the siegecraft, the melee was joined. 100 v. 100 battle going on seamless in front of us, the attacking force rushing through the newly created “door” to the keep. As battle was joined, pockets of 1 v. 1, 10 v. 15, and 20 v. 20 fights broke out as each person fought for control of the city. As the camera panned out, you were treated to an all out war scene unfolding in front of you. While capturing cities might be a strategic advantage to your faction’s claim to the throne, this doesn’t mean all massive battles will be held in cities. Open field battles will also spark up across the landscape of Cyrodiil, making the province an all out warzone.
Now Cyrodiil may be the province under the most constant siege of PVP armies, but that’s not all you can do there. According to the developers, there will be content for both solo, small and large groups, and raid sized groups. Dungeons in Cyrodiil will be public, so the same social experience will apply here as they do the rest of Tamriel. In addition to PVP, there will be some PVE content in Cyrodiil as well, making the area feel like it is not a “PVP-only” zone.
Tackling Lag Head On
One of the major sticky points in any MMO is the issue of server lag. While server lag is a game-wide issue, it is more prominently felt during large sequences of combat during PVP. Having 200 players on screen at any given time can do a number on any server, so how does the development team combat this? First of all, it should be noted there are not multiple servers for the game. North America and Europe will have separate servers, but other than that all you need to do is log in and play. This is possible due to what the development team calls “Mega-server technology.” While they didn’t go into great specifics on how this was done, the game runs smoothly despite all of the unique connections running off the same server. Also, the game developers have stressed in previous interviews and articles that the game is being developed with lag and lower end machines in mind. Taking lag and performance into account when you build something makes it a lot easier to iron out issues when they arise.
While PVP was not available to play during ESOTR’s gameplay at the media summit last week, the video shown was definitely makes our mouths water when we remember that the video shown isn’t even the final product. Many additions and refinements will obviously make their way into the game to help make this feel even more fresh and exciting!
Stay tuned to The Elder Scrolls: Off the Record for all your latest news on anything The Elder Scrolls Online!