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Goblin’s Corner: Population Imbalances in Open World PvP


Goblins Corner Head 1

Population imbalance in open world pvp is an issue which many players consider when it comes to chose a side in a MMO game. Although this issue doesn’t occur to have great impact into PvP results, it influences the player’s choice in certain degree. This imbalance can’t be controlled or cured completely and this is the main reason that many MMOs chose not to have open world pvp into their gameplay. This is the one side of the coin. If we look at it from a different perspective  this very issue can be an attractive element to this gameplay for many players. The idea of huge – epic battles which aren’t fair and equal in numbers, can give a great challenge to players, especially the ones who are outnumbered. In some cases, when the battle is over and the few won the many, the joy is even greater than killing a raid boss or something similar, simply because in such battle, the mind and skill is the winning factor rather the strength of numbers. Many guilds – or group of players – who overcame such challenges referred themselves to the movie 300, taking great joy for such result.

PoP Imba -Warhammer_Online

Although Open World PvP is a great place for memorable moments and is one of the strong element of a MMO (Massive Mutliplayer Online) – it applies directly to the terminology of the genre MASSIVE -, it can be turned into deadly boomerang against the developers, if they don’t take the right measures to execute the project correctly. Warhammer Online (WAR) had the problem of population imbalance on serious level. One of the main factors which occurred those imbalances was the choice between two faction instead of 3. That’s the key element for a successfully Open World PvP. The ideal number of faction is 3 for the simple reason that 2 factions can work against the other. This also opens additional options such as tactical betrayals between factions and such. Those kind of things can’t exist on a PvP world of 2 factions only. In that case, if one faction is weak, its pretty much dead for ever. Players leave the server or re-join to the winning side. This is what happened with Warhammer Online. Another important factor for WAR’s failure in this sector, was the huge aesthetic differences that the two factions had. Players value their character’s look in such degree that sometimes can be a crucial factor for their choice of which faction they will follow.

In games like Dark Age of Camelot (Daoc) and Guild Wars 2 (GW2), where there are 3 sides, the issue of imbalance population still exist but it doesn’t affect the final result. GW2 has some serious issues in Open PvP, but those issues had nothing to do with the population rather than it’s current system for winning the round and the transfers between servers. Even though these issues affect certain amount of players, GW2 Open PvP is still enjoyable and offers great battles for smart strategies.

PoP Imba -Guild-Wars-2

The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) is the next triple-A MMO with 3 faction Open World PvP and many players already have concerns about the population imbalances. We still have a long road ahead us before TESO will launch and also more additional infos will have to  revealed to us for Open PvP in order to have clear picture. With the right coordination, Zenimax Online Studios (ZOS) can implant the right mechanics to prevent the impact of population imbalance into the final result. They are already on the right track by having one mega server, which means each faction will have at least some hundreds of thousands (100k+). On a global scale the imbalance between factions won’t be a major issue if we take into account that one campaign only holds 2000 players online at any given time split into 3. That means, most of the campaigns would be balanced in terms of population.

For once, tactics and experience win against numbers. That’s the beauty of Open World PvP and players who follow this type of PvP, know it very well.

Be brave, enjoy it and stand your ground against the hordes !

PoP imba -elder-scrolls-online_pvp-battle

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