Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Somehow, Agirra has achieved the rank of "Grunt". The ranks reflect your player versus player (PVP) activity and your character's honour, and after a few games in Arathi Basin I found myself with as high a rank as the clan's most dedicated warrior.

Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch are games within the game. They have different focus, Warsong I think is mainly a "catch the flag" game while Arathi Basin is about holding at least three bases for a certain time and collecting resources, but the idea is the same: inside these arenas you can expect to have your character attacked and killed, and you are expected to do the same to others. Your opponent is no longer a NPC which follows certain programmed reaction patterns, but other humans with all the unpredictable behaviour humans are capable of. NPC-killing strategies don't work, while human psychology does. NPCs are not daunted by a huge sword and plenty jumping, nor do they hold grudges. Humans do both, and the last with a vengeance.

I am not much of a PVP player. I have to admit I don't like it while doing regular play. When my character gets accidentally flagged for PVP by attacking a civilian alliance NPC I hide until it goes away. But in the Arathi Basin I like it. It's what that game is about, and the few times when my character can actually make a difference for the group, I am delighted.

But I am learning to do PVP in other contexts. The other day I was doing an escort quest with a clanmate. It was a PVP flagged quest, for some reason we could expect to become flagged for PVP by doing it. This meant that the area was dotted with Alliance looking for PVP - Horde players accidentally flagged for PVP and so open for attack. A dwarf did his best to provoke us into attacking, as we were still not flagged. We ignored him, finished the quest - THEN we attacked and killed the character. That was very satisfying. When we met again later, after we had rid ourselves of the flags, he chose to run rather than than provoke. That felt rather good as well.

Another thing this leads to is the creation of stories. I not only learned something about player versus player activities, and why it can be fun, I also gained an example of how stories grow out of playing. The little story about the infuriating dwarf is nice both IC and OOC, and can be used to explain how while games are not stories, they offer a rich environment for experiences which can easily become stories.

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