Why Player vs Player in DDO could be a GOOD thing?

Dungeons and Dragons Online is an amazing MMORPG to start, I wouldn’t change much about the game; the content in the game alone is enough for someone to endlessly play due to the brilliant reincarnation system that has been put in place. With that being said, the game lacks any form of competitive option; and while most will argue that DDO isn’t the place for player vs player (PvP), I will make a case for the few that say it does have a place in the game.

Yes, at its core, DDO is based off of Dungeons and Dragons, an amazing tabletop game that has lasted decades without fail, entertaining millions of people globally; with that being said, seeing DDO is an MMORPG it needs to add more to compete with other MMORPG’s then staying true to its tabletop roots.

Player vs Player is a system you can find in nearly every other MMORPG in the market, and while DDO DOES ACTUALLY HAVE A PVP SYSTEM; it sadly is a failing one. There is hope however for a revamped system and the ability to drive players back/introduce new players to play competitively in DDO. In my free-time I have thought of multiple options for Dungeons and Dragons Online to really embrace a player vs player environment and allow people to partake in PvP if they’d like. Here are some of my thoughts in how it can be incorporated into the game:

Player vs Players Universal Enhancement Tree:
Similar to the Reaper enhancement tree system, this PvP tree would offer a unique set of enhancements balanced purely around player vs player; active ONLY in player vs player; just like Reaper. Whether its passives or active abilities that benefit your character in PvP, you can find it in that tree. To gain Player vs Player Action Points, you will need to partake in Player vs Player.

Adding a system into the game that allows a player to gain rewards for participating in PvP and empowering them to be even better in PvP combat; insights a competitive and fun environment for the game. Seeing Dungeons and Dragons Online allows players to utilize enhancement trees as a way to customize and empower their characters, a player vs player enhancement tree would fit in effortlessly and be an easy adaptation for players new and old to learn how to use.

An example of some passives/active abilities that could be listed in the Player vs Player enhancement tree could be:
-*Passive Ability* While participating in Player vs Player, you take 80-85% less damage.
-*Active Ability* Disarm: Enemy in melee range cannot utilize their weapon (cannot change weapon sets) for 4 seconds.
-*Active Ability* Silence: Enemy cannot cast spells for 4 seconds.

Examples:
While on paper, these seem incredibly strong, it works for DDO’s scaling system damage wise for all levels. If you have a level 4 Sorcerer, fighting a level 4 Barbarian for instance. Normally the sorcerer can have maximize and empower and do around 200-300 damage, with the passive ability the barbarian will only take 40 damage, in the same regard, normally a barbarian at level 4 can critically strike in combat with a two-handed weapon for 100 damage, now dealing only 20 damage. At level 4 the average barbarian will have around 90-160 health, while the average sorcerer will have around 70-110 health. So while 20 damage from a barbarian doesn’t seem like a lot, it is still around 20% of the sorcerers health in one hit, and while 40 damage from a sorcerer doesn’t seem like a lot, it is still around 20% of the barbarians health. This passive in itself will help balance out how casters feel in player vs player and how melees feel in player vs player.

You can take this same example and use 2 level 30 players on the extreme, if a Wizard at level 30 can hit for 20,000 damage critical, and a fighter can hit for 6000-12000 damage normally, in player vs player combat with the passive mentioned above. The fighter will only hit the wizard for 1200 damage (this doesn’t include PRR), and the wizard will only hit for 4,000 damage (this doesn’t include MRR). I believe this can be balanced however more testing is obviously needed before being put into the game on a percentage that will feel balanced across all levels.

Introduce a reward system for playing the Arena system:
You heard it here first! There is an arena system already in Dungeons and Dragons Online. It is sadly forgotten about by the masses but it still exists none-the-less. If a new currency was added into DDO that was rewarded from participating in PvP, and a vendor was put in place to utilize the currency, offering gear in many forms/maybe even tomes directly benefitting pvp? (i.e. passive damage reduction/healing amplification gain while in PvP combat?) there would be a reason for veteran players to partake in Player vs Player.

Introduce a Rating/Ranked system for competitive in PvP:
Dungeons and Dragons Online does lack a ranked system in which players can thrive, and show off their accomplishments. For example, if the developers implement a system in which you and “x” amount of allies can que into an arena or slaying ground of sort, versus a group of players around the same skill as yourself; and your team wins the match, you should be rewarded with a point/ranking system, along with the PvP currency mentioned above. An example of a solid ranking system is as follows:

You start at 0 rating, every win you gain 50 points until you reach a median ground (names subject to change obviously) i.e.:
Recruit: 0-500 rating
Combatant: 500-1000 rating
Elitist: 1000-1250 rating
Nemesis: 1250-1500 rating
Arch Nemesis: 1500+ rating

In this example the median ground is Elitist at 1000-1250 rating, meaning that wins around this rating will only end up rewarding you 10-20 points per win, instead of the consistent 50 a win. In doing so, making Nemesis and Arch Nemesis incredibly difficult to achieve, while still be possible.

Implementing a system of this sort will allow players to brag about their rank and increase the competitive drive for players to compete to better themselves/their ratings.

To Conclude:
While I agree, yes, Dungeons and Dragons Online is based off of the tabletop Dungeons & Dragons; it still is an MMORPG and still deserves to be as competitive as competing MMORPGs on the market. Player vs player is something nearly every MMORPG offers, including DDO, I believe the system DDO has in place is more of an after thought and deserves to be renovated to allow new/old players experiencing the game to take a break from the instanced dungeons and have some fun with their friends casually OR competitively. Implementing a system that works for DDO will take a very long time, and will have a lot of balancing revolving around it to make it feel fair for every class/multiclass combination. If anyone wants to pitch ideas, or ask questions – Feel free to do so in the comments of this blog post OR message me directly on Twitter (@BehemothTwitch)!!

I will be talking more about this in future blog posts as since I was a teen playing DDO, I’ve always imagined what the game could be if it had a competitive side. I was a very high rated player in World of Warcraft for a long period of time and love the competitive side of many games, I’m sure I’m not the only one out there believing in a system like this. I know Dungeons and Dragons Online can implement this, it will take time but I would gladly help in any way I can.

Dan, DDO Savant

9 thoughts on “Why Player vs Player in DDO could be a GOOD thing?

  1. The name of the MMORPG is Dungeons & Dragons Online. Meaning its D&D played online. D&D/AD&D is a party based game, NOT a single player against another single player. If you want that type of play, try Mortal Kombat! DDO does not need to waste time expanding the current PvP, it needs to remove it in my opinion. DDO needs more important fixes……i.e. lag, 64bit engine.

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    1. As I stated in the post, I get the core of the game. The fact of the matter is, its an MMORPG that is lacking a part of other MMORPGs. If you wanted to play D&D, go play D&D, but don’t even compare the two when one is an online VIDEO GAME and one is a tabletop game.

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  2. I’m not a fan of PvP games in general, so my feedback will likely contain that perspective’s biases.

    PvP in many games equates to Pay-to-Win (P2W). Just “No!” If you want to play against me in a Pay-to-Win game, let’s just compare bank account balances and call it a day. DDO already has many P2W features. P2W isn’t a concern because it’s not a zero-sum game: If you win, I don’t (necessarily) lose.

    This consideration applies less to DDO:
    PvP in some games is a result of lazy coding in that the developers don’t want to spend the effort, resources, and time developing quality AI and challenges for their players. Instead, the devs are convincing their players to fill that gap in the game. In fact, those players are paying to work for that developer instead of the developer paying for and doing the real work. It’s a brilliant way to make money, but one I don’t support with my money.

    While PvP could be added to DDO and perhaps actually improve the overall experience, I think there would be far better improvements to DDO than adding in PvP. In addition, there are a lot of risks that need to be effectively mitigated up front. I’m not a fan of Slippery Slope arguments against a solution, but they are factors that need to be considered and mitigated. Both of the issues I described will never start out as a problem, but unless those problems are addressed, the slippery slope to DDO’s demise will be nearly certain.

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    1. I really appreciate this feedback. The well thought out response means a lot. I agree 100% with what has been said, I don’t think PvP needs to be Pay to win, I feel thats very mobile gamesque. With that being said, I do agree that PvP doesn’t need to be added, yet. I think there is a lottt of content that can be added beforehand. It would just be a nice addition for someone like myself, who enjoys a very competitive environment – specifically tournament style gameplay. Again – thank you so much for the reply

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      1. To introduce fair PvP you’d had to rollback DDO before Otto boxes were introduced. #pastlivesmatter πŸ™‚

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      2. I do agree slightly but also thats just part of character progression and how far you can push your character. PvP would still revolve around how well you use your character, even if it doesnt have an equal amount of past lives. I do agree past lives help, but I know a 3rd life could easily take a triple completionist if the 3rd life knows how to play better. Theres triple completionists that still don’t understand some core mechanics in DDO

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  3. PvP is an interesting concept, but there’s no way the base game could implement it until the balance between different classes comes within a closer margin. Would you allow for Class Enhancement Trees to be used in this system? Racial Trees? Feats? Other (massively game-breaking) Universal Trees that allow one-stat builds to flourish?

    I feel that any implementation of a PvP structure would have to take into account the massive disparities between the strengths of individual classes. Rogues are capable of trapping and spotting enemies, but there is NO WAY they would fight a paladin on equal footing, or hold a candle to a bear druid. Similarly, how would a Pale Master wizard ever lose to a fighter?

    It’s not that these ideas are bad, nor that DDO couldn’t support them. I myself have seen countless comments lecturing others on the invariable standard of DDO as a party-based game (wherein, in current, party gameplay results in effortless gameplay due to power-creep), but this isn’t what I would cite as the reason to avoid PvP for the time being. It’s not that PvP is bad for unifying parties, or that toxicity is only catalyzed by the inclusion of competition in PvP situations (all of which are arguments I’ve seen to forego fostering PvP elements in DDO); in short, it would be a balancing nightmare.

    DDO’s structure grants inherently weak classes, such as clerics, the ability to play a style suitable to a diverse party β€” the only cleric I’ve seen beating a favored soul in current having exploited the Feydark Tree to get force-damaging broken injected into a non-damaging class. Rogues are assassins (which doesn’t play well with the prevalence of deathblock) and trappers (who have no value in PvP), with the only viable specialization being Thief-Acrobat (pigeon-holing players into one rogue style); thus, the structure of the class would have to be revamped for a new gameplay mode. I love the idealism of this idea, but a Universal Enhancement Tree would only portray how busted this whole thing is.

    I’m not one to say that “busted” doesn’t matter in PvE (I wouldn’t party with alchemists pre-nerf, because I got to do nothing while they nuked the dungeon), but it matters infinitely more in PvP, where reaction time and tactics are paramount, and careful coordination is key. Having one class be 300% stronger than another would not be conducive to a fun PvP experience, and the rework required is far too much for realistic expectations. I myself played WoW PvP profusely, and effortlessly (and gearless-ly) steamrolled everyone I met with my Barbarian Occult Slayer in DDO (and got steamrolled when I fought my buddy’s naked Ravager haha!). Fighters lose to paladins inherently, artificers lose to CC Sorcerers, and everyone loses to silly-heals favored soul with a 3-paladin split (okay, that last one I haven’t fully tested in PvP, but WOW, can those nerds HEAL!!!) … sometimes, some classes are just better than others.

    That said, interesting ideas! Reworking the game’s core balance would be required, unless you made a divorced element of PvP (“Gladiator Mode”) that existed only in PvP settings and left the base game alone. In my opinion, the only way for PvP to happen realistically in DDO is to allow players to make PvE- or PvP-oriented characters who can then compete ONLY in those modes, OR disable all non-class features of a class in PvP combat and only allow players to choose from a (WIDE, WIDE) variety of PvP-oriented styles (the equivalent of 3 Enhancement Trees with different abilities and perks, plus given elements such as class-unique abilities for stunning, snaring, movement freedom, and the like). Both require a lot of work, but not nearly as much as properly balancing this poor, wonderful game we all know and love.

    Love to talk about this kind of stuff, and since you’re the first one to really post positive things about PvP in a long time I don’t really wanna backhand the idea, but let’s just say I miss DDO in the old days. It was never super-balanced during my time with it, but now?

    And yes, after about a year, I figured out DDO had a fairly robust PvP element to it beyond taverns. I might get something like that going, but for that to work, I’d force people to be Level 1 to compete in it haha! Take care, my friend!

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