Wasteland Diaries: Why do I PvP?

A break from the grind.
Lately I've been asking myself, "Why do I PvP in Fallen Earth?" The game isn't designed around PvP combat; it's more of a sideshow. The factional conflict was what made me decide to try it out in the first place. But after getting to max level, I realized that there wasn't a true faction conflict. There were just sporadic skirmishes arranged by the same core of players. So what is it that motivates me to do it? What is it that motivates other PvPers to do it? I can think of a few possibilities, but even if I look at my best reasons as objectively as possible, they aren't even remotely good reasons. Yet I keep doing it.

In this post I will take a look at what drives one to PvP in Fallen Earth. What are the benefits? What are the risk vs. reward factors? Are there objectives or goals? When I look at the cold, hard facts, I'm still not quite sure what motivates me (or the others who still hang around). After the cut, I'll go over all the potential reasons to PvP in FE (that I can imagine) and possibly narrow it down.

Lens flare is cool.
The direct reward for PvPing (and its proprietary currency) is Death Toll. What good is Death Toll? You can buy armor, weapons, ammuntion and gasoline with it. Once you have the armor (which is very good stat-wise) and maybe the weapons (which aren't that great), the only thing left to buy is ammo and gas. Both of these consumables are the some of the cheapest to mass-produce. The expensive consumables are the ones that put PvPers in the poor-house (or force hours of chip-grinding). Consumables like grenades, medigrafts, poisons, and high-end food and drinks are mat-intensive or costly. And with the recent change of half-hour durations on consumables (why?), the costs have nearly doubled. Is getting free ammo and gas enough of a reason to PvP? Nope, not even close.

It isn't even necessary to PvP in the open world to gain DT, which kind of devalues it a little. One can actually get tons of DT just playing Blood Sports matches. That's another thing that would help spur on some Blood Sports action: better rewards. Matches are too few and far-between. Not enough people are queueing up. If you add better rewards, more people will queue and more matches will start. DT alone isn't enough. Awarding chips and XP based on one's performance would bring a lot more people into the matches. This is especially true in the lower levels, where players are trying to level and improve their gear. The endgamers seem to get more matches because they're just plain bored. Is Blood Sports enough of a reason to PvP? Since you only stand to gain DT, the answer is absolutely not.

PvPers can rack up a good deal of faction reputation, assuming they are actually fighting against factional enemies. Since you don't always get to choose who will shoot at you, this doesn't always work to your advantage. For the most part, the majority of endgame PvP in FE is along factional lines and the combatants reap nice faction rep rewards from it. Is gaining tons of faction rep a good enough reason to PvP? Yes, the faction grind in FE is terrible, but once you max out your faction rep, it is utterly pointless to PvP for faction.

Hanging out some Vista hippies in Park City.
PvPers also have access to the rarest materials in the game. The PvP zones have all of the best nodes, and the merchants (when upgraded fully) in the conflict towns have the best inventories. This all sounds great in theory: The factions fight for control of the resources. It also sounds like a great way for PvPers to make chips. In the end, it doesn't pan out. For the most part, the PvP zones are empty, and since the death penalty in FE is almost nil, you aren't risking much to go in there and scavenge to your heart's content. There is also nothing stopping you from having an alt on the other side of the wheel to go on an ingconito shopping bonanza while the enemy holds a town. Is access to rare materials a good enough reason to PvP? Not by a long shot.

Conflict towns and faction control points are objectives in the same way the flag is an objective in capture the flag. Why are we capturing these things? To win? Yes. What do we win when we capture the towns and FCPs? We get access to high-end materials. Are these materials available anywhere else? Yes, they can be found anywhere if you know where to look. I can't really call the towns objectives when the rewards for taking them are this measly. Fallen Earth lacks concrete PvP objectives. I guess that FE PvP is a bit like Minecraft in a way, in that you have to set your own objectives. You could, for example, see how many generators you can destroy in Citadel. Just kidding; no one would do that.

Post-OP battle photo
PvP, when done right, is the ultimate in player-created dynamic content. PvE content is always repetitive in the end no matter how much randomness you inject into it. That's probably the sole reason I tend to gravitate toward the PvP. But the FE devs seem unsure whom they want to cater to. It seems they want to spread the love around. They make content for PvP, PvE and RP playstyles, but their small team will have a tough time keeping everyone happy. To make PvPers happy, it's as simple as giving them a worthwhile reward, at least bountiful-enough rewards to cover basic expenses. PvP in FE costs chips. It should be a way to make chips, not another reason to grind the faction vets in Deadfall.

Lately, there hasn't been much going on in the PvP realm in Fallen Earth. The combat system is new and more streamlined. But a few tweaks to the old system would have been enough. So much wasted effort to give us something that is no better than what we already had. I am looking forward to the territory control system as optimistically as I can. I've seen hundreds of PvPers leave FE out of sheer boredom. The same thing is bound to eventually happen, even with the most hardcore of veterans. The upcoming territory control system had better be something spectacular because we really need something to fight over that's worth a damn. Are the PvPers leaving because of the combat system? No. They are leaving because there is nothing to fight over.

Conclusion: Why do I PvP in Fallen Earth? I have no idea. If you figure it out, please let me know. See you next week.

Ed Marshall has been playing Fallen Earth since beta and leads the KAOS clan. Wasteland Diaries is his weekly column that covers all aspects of Fallen Earth: PvE, RP and PvP. To contact Ed, send an email to edward@massively.com, find him on the official forums as Casey Royer, or hunt him down in the wastelands as Nufan, Original, Death Incarnate, and Knuckles Mcsquee.

This article was originally published on Massively.