PvP and Feral Gaming

I am starting to raise money for the Extra-Life event http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=29102

As a promise, I will play any game that you choose so long as you donate.  The tournament will still be held, just waiting on a bit of information before making any final decisions.  However, I encourage that you sign up anyways and try to raise as much money as possible.  This is a good cause and I know I will be taking the day off work to participate.  There are only two charities I support, this and To Write Love On Her Arms, which is an organization about raising the awareness of teen suicide and self mutilation caused by depression.  But back to Extra-Life, its a good cause and it raises money for research so that children can have a second chance at being a child.  I thank everyone now who donates towards the cause and I will even be adding towards the cause as soon as I get paid.  Anyways, follow the link, you can donate and suggest a game in the comments section, if its multiplayer I will play it with out.  If I have a computer that can stream, I will stream it.  I will only be accepting 24 games as that’s how many hours there are in a day and I want to give all games a fair play.


With only a 2% lead, the people have spoken and Feral Gaming will now begin production.  But, before I do anything to the site, I want to explain what this means exactly.

Feral Gaming is a casual PvP and Indy game website.  I am at a point in my life where I cannot be a competitive gamer and I am sure many of you are in the same boat.  While I absolutely love PvP and always have a blast doing so, the only type of guides out there are for people who want to be competitive or aimed at competitive type builds.  Elitist Jerks is a great website, but is highly unapproachable from the standpoint of a casual gamer.  When I come home from work, I want to play a few games to relax.  I don’t want to come home and get more stressed out about a game and be stressed out about work.  And while PvE is definitely fun content (and once Guild Wars 2 comes out I will be doing PvE content and covering it from an Engineer standpoint), ultimately PvP is where I spent most of my time. Also, this continues into the rest of the post.


Indy games are always fun and, generally speaking, hidden gems that do not get as much press because they are not paying thousands of dollars in advertisement.  Think of Bastion.  A fantastic game and won many game of the year awards for both general and Indy categories.  There are also many games like this, that while fantastically built games and fun, that get overshadowed by the behemoths like Skyrim and Modern Warfare 3.  My hope that by giving them, even the slightest press, will help those developers continue to expand and provide more unique experiences than what the market is filled with now.


The next bit is that the site will be built over at Blogger over the next couple of months.  So Feral will still exist and I will continue to post about Guild Wars 2 information (especially since they Beta events are coming up and more information will start to pour out).  The structure will be the same but I will be bringing some people on board to help me out.  The reason for this is that when the site expands, I want to bring more people in to allow for more coverage of things.  I already have one person in mind to cover the Indy game aspect of the site, and I will be doing a bulk of the PvP coverage.  This includes guides for maps, classes, characters, you name it.  However, I wont let this get in the way of what Feral Engineer is all about and that is the discussion of Games and Game Development Theories.  I will exclusively cover the Engineer in Guild Wars 2, talk about the various PvP maps, explain things to the best of my ability and just try to provide as much information as possible without it spreading directly into the competitive side of things.


There will be ads on the future website.  The reason for this is to allow me to cover more content without having to strain my living expenses on a hobby.  Yes, this website is a hobby of mine as well as Gaming, the goal is to make the site Feralgaming.com rather than .me or .blogger or whatever.  All the money made will go back directly into the website.  Not to my wallet.  I have no intention of this site actually being a life style, I already have a job that I like and I want to keep this as a hobby and not a job.  However, if you guys do not like Feral Gaming, I will keep this site separate for the time being before merging it directly over to the main site.  It is clear that while most of you want me to cover more games and content, a good portion of you guys do not and I do not want to make anyone feel like I am neglecting them.  But, as I said in the last post, we as gamers should not limit ourselves to only one game.  Game developers put in thousands of hours developing a game and we should be willing to put in some of our time into playing those games.  I know that if any of you guys were to develop a game, I would feature it.


So with all of that said, its now time to talk about PvP.


Over at Gamebreaker.tv, Mike B always states that the future of WoW is PvP.


This is definitely a sentiment I agree with.  But not just for WoW.  Realistically, PvP is what makes games stay alive for far longer than they are supposed to.  Lets take a long look at Starcraft.  Starcraft is a game that has survived the test of time.  Many new RTS games have come out since it was created, but something allowed it to continue onward despite new competition.  Warcraft 3 is the same way and Starcraft 2 will also be the same way.  The reason for this is because its a game that thrived on its competitive scene.  This game became so popular that it was a flagship title for the eSport scene today and is technically the national sport of Korea.  While the campaign was fantastic and the story was well done, it is not played today because of its story.  Starcraft 2 is the same way, great story, but nobody plays it for the story alone.  This is a prime example of how a game has survived ten years without a sequel.  Warcraft 3 is the same way, you can easily play against people in that game or pick up DOTA and start playing that.


The reason for this is that PvE content tends to get a little stale after a while.  Bosses are scripted, gear drops are the same, and after the first 5 times of doing that boss (no matter how fun, although Lurker is SSC back in BC of WoW never got boring for me), the fight gets stale, predictable and put on farm status where you go in and do it out of obligation.  Dungeons eventually get exhausted of resources and ultimately get boring (this is just my opinion).  However, PvP is an ever changing environment.  The maps are always the same, but players provide a different challenge than a scripted boss encounter does.  The thing with players is that they will always change the way they play to beat you, which means you have to change in order to continue to overcome them.  Its like a game of rock paper scissors with actual rocks, paper (LOL!) and Scissors.  PvE content always seems like a game of ski ball, its one sided and the only way you win is by doing the same repetitive motions repeatedly until it dies.


Each player has varying levels of skills.  I am decent at RTS games, and pretty good at MOBA games.  In RTS games, I can build fast, I know what to build, when to build, where to build.  But where I lack in skill is micromanaging.  When it comes down to a game of Starcraft 2, it always comes down to who micros better and who has the higher APM or Actions Per Minute (a measurement for your micromanaging skills, as a reference, 300+ is pro level, I am probably in the 150 range which is poor).  In League of Legends (my MOBA of choice), I do exceptionally well in every position except the top lane (there are 5 positions, top lane, mid lane, bot lane carry, bot lane support, and jungle), this is a weakness I know of and am currently practicing to get better at doing it.  But, it is my weakness.  In competitive League of Legends, you have teams of players who specialize in a single position.  In Starcraft, you have people who specialize in specific races or strategies within that race.  In MMOs, you have people who specialize in a particular build.  In RIFT, I played a healer and always did very well as a healer, however, when I played a damage role, I became worthless.  Other people excel at different things and this is what makes PvP so fascinating.  In a single instant, one wrong move can be the difference between winning and losing.  It requires a vast amount of knowledge, not just of your class, but of your opponent’s as well and eSports are exciting to watch.


So why does PvP have the staying power and PvE doesn’t?  Well, in PvE, after you have slain every boss and farmed it for all of its resources, eventually the developers will stop creating content for you to conquer and move on to other products.  And that is their right.  Developers are in no way responsible for your continued playing of a game you bought once.  This is why we have expansion packs, DLC, and sequels.  If the developers only focused on providing free content for their only game, eventually they will go under due to the lack of continual income and the projects become more and more spaced out and minimal.  Think of Diablo 2,  Hell Tristram is the most recent patch and it took 4 years to develop.  Blizzard never dropped support for the game, but they definitely reduced the size of the team to focus on other products like WoW.  Mists of Pandaria is a money grab for Blizzard before they conclude their game right before the release of Titan.  After that, the support will stop coming, there will be no new content, and overall fall into obscurity.


There are two answers for the lack of content, either make it competitive in some way (like the ladder system in Diablo 2), or have user generated content.  So far, the only game with the balls to do something like user generated content is Everquest 2 (we will have to wait and see how this works out for it).  The competitive route is the easiest way of doing things.  Back to Starcraft, the PvP content is what made that game last as long as it has and is still being played in the circuit despite the sequel being out. Blizzard is now starting to take Arena seriously as an eSport and possibly working on a pro tour of sorts.


However, despite this, there are quite a few rules when it comes to PvP.  Most players tend to favor a small number of maps and modes.  The more modes there are, the more saturated it becomes and ultimately become less fun.  RIFT suffers from this problem, it has too many maps and modes.  There are 5 maps when I left and 8 different modes which led to saturation and a lack of people in queue.  League of Legends has 3 maps and only 1 of those maps is a different game.  Bloodline Champions has plenty of maps, but each map is the same just with a different skin.  Starcraft players play on a total of 5 maps but only have 1 mode.  Fewer maps mean larger and more complex strategies can arise, the game gets more exicting.  The mysterious third map will most likely have a different mode as the two current ones are the same mode with different twists (which makes them exciting).


So what does all this mean for Guild Wars 2?  If the game wants to survive forever, its going to have to have an amazing PvP system.  It has to be fairly balanced and most of all, have amazing support.  If Guild Wars 2 PvP becomes an eSport, then it will definitely survive for several years until Guild Wars 3 comes out.  As it stands, PvP is looking fantastic, we have 2 maps already and a third on the way.  If Arena Net can keep their promises and put their money where their mouth is, then we are looking at an outstanding future for the game.  And while they can produce hundreds of maps, keeping it down to a small handful is the best option available to them.  Why expand rapidly and create tons of content for the users if its mostly rehashed?  Players don’t want so much content that they can feed a family of 15, they want content that is fun, works, and most of all, has replay value.  And lets face it, PvP has replay value and is the future of every MMO and online game.


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