Several years ago, I started up a new Alliance Priest on a brand new PvE-RP World of Warcraft server. Since it was new there was an influx of population, including a surprising amount of roleplaying PvPers, most of whom played horde-side. They became known for rolling into Astranaar, Goldshire, and other lowbie Alliance areas and picking off NPCs and questgivers, and the Alliance quickly worked out a system to be able to easily get levelcapped players into those areas to defend them. On off nights, the Alliance would seek their revenge, steamrolling into the Crossroads. Eventually Tarren Mill & Southshore would be the prime PvP location of choice, and many, many epic battles were had there.
The crazy thing was that even though we were participating in open world PvP on a PvE server, there really weren’t many complaints. The roleplaying community was strong in those days, and it seemed perfectly reasonable to include PvP as part of that roleplay. Both sides were quick to defend their lowbie hubs and players… again, part of roleplay. Alliance and Horde were not tea-time best buddies. They hated each other, and though their players got along perfectly fine out-of-character, they loved nothing more than to kick some opposing-side tail in-game. As a server, we all knew each other, friendly rivalries were formed, and we would gather on the server forums at the end of the night to congratulate each other and laugh over our defeats.
I’ll never forget one night in particular. Some guildies and I were roaming in Elwynn forest and found three Tauren taking out NPCs in the tower next to Westfall. They were flagged. We, the lowbies, weren’t. But instead of flagging first and then attacking, we “blue-flagged”; that is, we attacked while still in PvE mode and getting the first shot in with no warning. We defeated them, but we also never heard the end of the way that we did it. That, my friends, is where I learned about having honor in the way you PvP.
See, it wasn’t that we defeated them… they were out looking for PvP. But you know in the Karate Kid movies where both fighters bow to each other before the fight? That’s a sign of respect and honor. Flagging up first would have been the respectful thing to do. It seems like such a little thing, but it can make all the difference in your out-of-game relationships with your fellow players.
This concept of honor in PvP extends to other PvP situations as well. I still enjoy open world PvP, but play almost exclusively on PvE or PvE-RP servers. Why? First off, yes there are some times that I want to be able to quest safely, without worrying about being ganked at any time, and there’s not a thing wrong with that. Second, if you want open-world PvP, there are ways to find it, even on PvE servers. I’ll admit that I’m not opposed to heading over to an opposing quest hub and stirring up a bit of trouble within reason.
Here are my personal rules of open-world PvP:
1. Attack quest hubs, but don’t kill all the quest NPCs at once. Give them time to respawn so that non-PvPing PvE questers can still turn their quests in and aren’t completely held up.
2. Don’t try to “take over” a lowbie quest hub unless there are defenders there. The goal is to get defending players of the appropriate level to show up, not to hold up questing PvE players for hours.
3. Don’t attack lowbie players. Even if they’re flagged. If they’re more than 5 levels below me, I’ll let them go on their way, even if flagged, unless they attack me first. There’s no honor in killing a level 10 if I’m level 50.
3b. The exception to the above is in the case of a major battle between two sides… if there is a hectic epic PvP battle going on, I’m not going to pay attention to the level of the players in it. Enter (and flag) at your own risk. Or if a level 30 is terrorizing a level 10 quest hub. Yes, I will defend my side’s quest hubs from attackers, no matter the level.
4. Look for world PvP in the zones that correspond with your level. If you want to PvP, you want it to be a fair fight, and that means with people of a similar level.
5. Don’t camp. At all. Ever. Go on with your business unless your opponent seeks you out looking for another fight.
Some would probably suggest that this is carebear PvP, and they might be right. Perhaps it is. But when I do PvP I want to do so in a way that will have both sides saying “/em salute” rather than “/em pee”. Unfortunately it seems like die-hard PvPers and die-hard PvEers both antagonize each other, when actually they’re both perfectly valid playstyles and not everyone falls neatly into one of those two camps. There are many, many players that enjoy both PvE and PvP.
I also have to give Trion a big high-five for implementing an auto-flag toggle. Now players who absolutely do not ever want to PvP don’t have to even risk getting flagged, and that’s a wonderful feature.