Category Archives: pvp

The fairly incomplete and badly illustrated guide to PvP in The Secret World

Having spent upwards of twelve minutes in the various PvP battlegrounds of The Secret World over the past week, the KiaSA team are now masters of the ancient art of peeveepee, and ready to share their secrets with you…

There’s no general world PvP in The Secret World, which is excellent if you want to team up with friends from different societies to tackle daemonic hellspawn, less useful if you want to sneakily kick a Dragon in the nuts and feed them to zombies. To sign up for PvP either hit “P”, select “PvP from the menu or click the little crossed swords under the mini-map. You’re then presented with a map with three destinations: Fusang Projects, Stonehenge and El Dorado. Select one of these and hit “Join”, you’ll be placed in a queue, and when there’s an available space you can join the battle. Above the “Join” button you’re given a choice of three possible uniforms that broadly correspond to the traditional roles: High Powered Weaponry for DPS, Reinforced Armour for tanks and Integrated Anima Conduits for healing. The uniforms slightly adjust your stats (e.g. High Powered Weaponry boosts damage by 5% but reduces healing by 5%), and also give a visual cue as to what sort of opponent you might be facing, though with the flexibility of builds in The Secret World they could also be bluffs; someone in a healing uniform might really be an undercover tank focused on self-heals… Uniform chosen, it’s time to fight!

Blowing a Fusang

The Fusang Project is ingeniously concealed under the PvP section, but is actually a completely different type of warzone, a Player Avoids Player area. When you first enter the zone you should see a terminal with three available missions: Capture a Facility, Capture an Anima Well and Kill 10 Players. Under no circumstances pick up the latter mission, it’s a trap, take only the first two. Then, open the map, look for a mass of players from your society (also know as “the zerg”), and run towards them. If you see an enemy player on the way, ignore them completely; if they attack you, stand immobile, thank them profusely as they’ve probably saved you some running, wait to die, then check the map for the closest respawn point (Anima Well) to as many of your society as possible. Select this well from the dropdown list, respawn there, and join the zerg.

All being well you should be heading for an enemy-held Facility. There are four of them on the map: East, West, South and Centre. Each is guarded by an automated turret and forcefield outside the main gates, and a big old Guardian Type Monster thing inside. When you arrive at the Facility everyone should stand near the turret and mash random keys until it’s dead, then run inside and mash random keys until the Guardian is dead, then someone clicks on a thing, you claim the facility, and get stacks of XP and PvP tokens from the mission. If you forgot to pick up the mission beforehand, you’ve got time if you’re quick to pick it up from the facility itself after the guardian dies. If you’re lucky the turret might already be down by the time you arrive at the Facility, if you’re *really* lucky you pitch up just as it’s captured, and you get your XP for nothing and the tokens for free.

After phoning in the mission completion run outside, and hopefully at least a few people will be heading for an enemy-held Anima Well; tag along with them, stand near the well while it’s captured (or click on it, if nobody else seems to be), phone in the second mission for more XP and tokens, then leave the zone with all speed. You can return once the timer on the two missions has expired, if you like.

If your society is so dominant that it holds all four facilities, or so unpopular that there’s only three of you in the zone, leave at once. You may be tempted to try and “fight” some “players”, but that would be silly. The Fusang Project is a cunning allegory, demonstrating that if we all just work together and seize the means of production from faceless entities we’ll be showered with rewards, but if we turn upon each other and fight then everything just bogs down in pointless slaughter, and nobody gets cake and medals.

Stonehenge! Where the demons dwell

If you actually want to fight players, Stonehenge is the destination for you. The Stonehenge battlefield in The Secret World is an implementation of the summer solstice at the actual site. The Dragons represent a bunch of new-age hippies, anarchists and similar types trying to get to the stones for some sort of festival that probably involves joss sticks and falafel. The Templars are law and order, representing the police who want to stop them, and dish out a beating to some crusties while they’re at it. The Illuminati are the press, ostensibly there to observe but really trying to engineer a fight for some good pictures, and as they simultaneously represent both The Daily Mail and The Guardian, they’re equally hated by both the other groups.

Your side scores points in Stonehenge by having the most (live) players within the big circle in the middle of the map, so what you really want to be aiming for in this battlefield is:
1) Standing in the circle
2) Killing enemy players

What you should *not* be doing is:
1) Standing outside the circle
2) Being killed by enemy players

As this is pretty complex stuff, here’s a diagram to help out. Look up your standing-in-the-circle-ness on the X-axis, and your killing-or-being-killed-ness on the Y-axis, and check the resultant advice in that quadrant:

Stonehenge Battlefield Guide

El Dorado, Mysterious City of Gold

Unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about the El Dorado battlefield for two reasons. Firstly it seems less popular than the others, so the queue for it is much longer. Secondly, upon joining the queue I’d fire up YouTube on the in-game browser and spend the next hour singing along with the theme tune to Mysterious Cities of Gold, thus missing the “Join” window if it ever did turn up. Aaaaahhhh, ah ah ahh ahhhhhh, searching for the cities of goooooollldd…

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.

I wonder whether PvP MMO games such as All Points Bulletin should adopt a gear system which is inverted to the norm for most MMOs, such that players start with powerful gear that degrades to a constant level, rather than having to work up to the level of gear of the early adopters by struggling against those same – now seemingly overpowered – early adopters.

It’s like have an Olympic race where you’ve trained yourself to be an excellent athlete at the four hundred metres event with times towards the low end of the forty second bracket, but when you turn up you find out that all the runners who competed last year now have bionic leg replacements that mean they can run it in the low thirties. The problem is that the only way to get bionic legs yourself is to win against the guys who already have them. So your competitive goal actually turns in to trying to convince one of the bionic competitors to give you a piggy back, and the whole race turns into some sort of perverse bionic Grand National with unenhanced jockeys riding around on the backs of whichever bionic big boy they can convince to carry them.

I just don’t think PvP is compatible with the traditional gear system of MMOs because game knowledge and skill is already a massive obstacle for the new player to overcome, layering on an additional artificial ‘gear gap’ makes for a game that will be inordinately intimidating to all but the most dedicated of masochists. This is why I think Counter Strike was (perhaps still is) the darling of the FPS online world for so long, because it used gear to allow players to specialise into different roles based on their personal preference or what the map demanded, without creating any sort of gap between the new and veteran players; yet if you visit a Counter Strike server as a new player you will know who the veteran players are quickly enough, because they will be the ones who understand the map and use its terrain to their advantage, but if you play carefully and craftily, you have every much a chance at killing them as they do you. This is why I think that adding gear levels to FPS games in order to keep players grinding away at them is such a massive mistake by gaming companies, because yes, you may well keep the early adopters invested in your game for longer, but once your game has been established for a week or two you essentially close the doors to a huge proportion of the potential new player population.

When you take these things into consideration, it quickly becomes clear just how good EVE Online’s skill training and ‘ship role’ systems are for allowing players to have disparate levels of ‘gear’ and yet still participate in PvP in a meaningful way.

Today’s post was brought to you by the phrase ‘Oh look, I’ve been two-shot by a magnum having emptied my entire automatic rifle clip into them without any discernible effect’, and the command ‘/quit’.

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

Folk cramming themselves into Aion like spawning salmon, they realise they’re floundering towards a huge faction-imbalanced end game, yes?

As I mentioned in the above quote from Twitter, I’ll be interested to see how the end game for Aion pans out. At the moment I see a lot of frustrated people wanting to roll Asmodians but being blocked by general server queues or the balancing mechanics that NCSoft have in place; therefore these people are rolling Elyos instead, just to get into the game, because, as we all know, joining up with a faction that you don’t really empathise or connect with is always a strong foundation for a long and distinguished PvP career. It works for mercenary groups because they are rewarded handsomely to do so, I’m not so sure that there’s such an incentive in Aion.

And I have to question, on a sanity level, whether it was a sound idea to aim an MMO with an end game focus of PvP at a Western audience when one side looks like the offspring of Disney’s Fairies and a candy floss machine, and the other side looks like the resultant spawn of a blood-bathed orgy between The Crow, Edward Scissor Hands, Marilyn Manson and a Balrog of Morgoth.

They’d have been better off calling the game Care Bears vs PvP Nutjobs Online.