An open question about PvE to PvP transfers (and a hitherto unpublished rant).

June 30, 2009 at 6:00 am 16 comments

My guild was crit by summer — and a quick glance at the realm forum tells me we aren’t alone!  It suddenly seems like everyone is recruiting, and Surreality is no exception.

I bit the bullet over the weekend and posted an abbreviated version of our standard LFM in the Horde recruitment forum.  I’ve always been leery of cross-server recruitment (a $25 fee + the 30-day cooldown = far too much pressure for me!, especially since I tend to view even a trial /ginvite as two-way commitment), but we’ve already called one raid at Yogg-Saron due to poor attendance and forgone several hard modes in favor of an “easy” 22 or 23-man kill … so if I know if I don’t fill those open spots with quality players, we’ll find ourselves bleeding members soon.

In the hopes of standing out from the crowd, I went with something a little different for the subject line of our cross-server recruitment thread—

Serious Raiding.  Casual Schedule.  Yogg down.

—and it seems to be working!  We’ve already gotten several promising applications. 

Anyway, a question came up in an e-mail from a potential applicant that I’m not entirely sure how to answer:

I’ve never played on a PvP server but as I couldn’t PvP my way out of a wet paper bag I don’t see how that will work.  I’d spend all my time doing corpse runs while I tried to pick flowers I suspect.  I could learn to PvP I suppose, I’ve just never had the time to learn that aspect of the game.

So, as I said, I’m torn.  Do you know anyone in your Guild who has experience moving from a PvE server to a PvP one?  Would love their thoughts.  Thanks.

We’ve actually only recruited cross-server once, and it worked out amazingly well (but don’t tell him I told you!  It’ll go straight to his head, which is already weighed down from his hair care regimen.  Silly Blood Elf.  ❤)

Of course, I’ll ask E. to chime in with his thoughts, but since he’s ridiculously busy with real life and multiple perspectives are always better than one … I thought I’d just throw this one out to anyone who cares to comment. 

So: if you’ve transfered from a PvE realm to a PvP realm recently, I’d love to hear about your experience!

*   *  *

Of course, I realize a lot of it depends upon the server.  I went digging through my unpublished drafts and found this old (but still relevant) critique:

One of my guildmembers habitually refers to our server as Black Dragonfail

Now, fail has become something of a dirty word in the WoW community, so I typically only use it to be self-deprecating.  (“Sorry about that wipe, guys.  I’ll try to stop failing now.”)  But in this case, I agree.  Whole-heartedly. 

I hate my server. 

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you’re probably aware of my Carebear-ish tendencies.  I don’t particularly enjoy PvP — in the world, or in the arena.  My warlock spent exactly enough time in battlegrounds to earn her Medallion of the Horde, and even then, only because it was required for Mount Hyjal.  Meanwhile, my shaman has never so much as participated in a duel outside of Orgrimmar (although we did manage to kill a rogue once, after he tried to gank us in Icecrown.  I have to admit, that was a /glee-inducing experience!  No matter what class I’m playing at the moment, I have a warlock’s instinctive fear of rogues — so killing this one as a resto shaman was as much of a rush as I’ve ever gotten in PvE.)

All things considered, I’d probably be most at home on a Normal Roleplaying server.  BDF is the exact opposite: a PvP server that is exceptionally hostile to roleplayers.

 … but that’s not the reason I hate it. 

Or, rather, that’s not the whole reason.

I hate BDF for its highly competitive PvE culture — which may well have evolved out of its highly competitive PvP culture, but has become an issue in and of itself.

The PvP Influence (?)

One complaint I frequently hear levied against PvE is that it’s “scripted.” 

To extend the metaphor: think of a PvE server as a theater troupe.  The script doesn’t change, but the actors do.  They trade roles around, rehearse each performance and continuously strive to improve their costumes and props.  

In other words, they work together towards a common goal.

It’s a cooperative environment.

In contrast, PvP — especially arena-based PvP — is by its very nature competitive.  There’s you and your teammates on one side … and the entire battlegroup on the other. 

PvP also keeps score.  If you wipe on a raid boss, the worst that can happen is a bad repair bill.  But if you lose an arena match, your rating goes down.  Lose enough matches, and you can even fall out of your bracket, placing rated rewards (not to mention titles, mounts and the like) further and further out of reach.

Because backwards progression is possible in PvP, serious PvP’ers tend to be personally invested in their success and less forgiving of mistakes (from themselves and others) than many PvE’ers.  (Notice that I say most, not all.  I don’t doubt that hardcore raiding guilds take wipes seriously, especially when they are in competition for server firsts.  But most of us don’t fall into this category.)  Rivalries emerge between teams, and falling outs occur within them.

It is, after all, Player versus Player.

Eventually, a culture emerges in which players are accustomed to measuring themselves — including their skill and their worth — according to a tangible ratings system.  There is no corresponding system for PvE; the closest thing that we have is our realm progression thread, which ranks guilds according to the number and recency of their guild-first kills.

If PvE is theater, then PvP is hockey.  It’s competitive.  It’s combative.  And win or lose, tempers will occasionally flare into violence.

It’s just part of the “game.”

The Endgame Culture

As you might have surmised from my extended and very scrambled metaphor (I don’t have anything against hockey, by the way; I’m just picking on my oh-so Canadian boyfriend because he refuses to answer his phone this morning >.<) BDF’s endgame culture is brutal. 

To be fair, the realm’s top two raiding guilds are well-respected.  They don’t participate in forum drama and I seldom see their members out and about in the world because they literally play to raid — and let’s face it, that doesn’t take a whole lot of time these days.  

The #3 guild is the opposite.  It’s members are braggarts, drama-mongers and unrepentant forum trolls.  I’m not exaggerating: this is the guild I once described as hosting “trade channel PuGs for nothing more than the dubious joy of ninja-looting all of the drops to guildmembers who don’t need them (and, in many cases, can’t equip them) over PuG’s who do … and then mocking anyone who dares to complain about it in trade chat and on the realm forum.”

As as childish and mean-spirited as this is, it pales in comparison to some of the other stunts this guild and its members have pulled — such as driving their own tank off the server and staging an elaborate flame war with themselves (using level 1 alts and fabricated drama to implicate an innocent guild in the process).

Karthis asked in a comment if this kind of thing is typical of PvP servers.  I don’t know, as BDF is the only server I’ve called home for any length of time.  But I do know that this kind of attitude — and the bad behavior it engenders — has trickled down to a number of the less-progressed, but still up-and-coming raiding guilds on the realm. 

Sadly, there are now a half-dozen guilds — most of them Horde-side — that are actively attempting to emulate this behavior.

Of course, I realize that every server has its forum trolls, its trade channel spam, its blatant — and unrepentant — ninjas.  But at the same time, I can’t imagine that many other servers have an endgame culture that actually rewards these things, with attention (not all of it negative!) and that sincerest form of flattery: imitation.

As you can imagine, BDF is a very unplesant place to be right now.  I’m relieved that I don’t have to attempt to recruit off-server, because I couldn’t in good conscience encourage anyone to transfer here.

Now that I’ve ramped up recruitment to look cross-server, that last line is coming back to haunt me. 

I didn’t post this at the time that I wrote it because I found my own logic (especially with regards to a possible PvP influence) suspect.  It was just a rant, really — inspired in no small part by the fact that the realm progression thread was trolled by a level 1 alt who announced that he would be turning off his Of the Nightfall title since it was clear from my guild’s success with the encounter that any old “scrub” could get it.

Fortunately, things are starting to turn around on my home server.  The guild I’m describing broke up a few months ago (although its former — and mercifully absent — leader maintains his e-notoriety), as did substantially all of its fanboy clones.  Several new guilds have formed to replace them, and seem to be much friendlier in general.  The server does have other things to recommend it, as well: a stable economy, a competitive endgame (with Yogg-Saron down, as well as Flame Leviathan +4, my guild is still only ranked 6th Horde-side and 14th overall) and a very active PuG community.  (Each faction has at least one regular — and successful — Ulduar 25 PuG with open sign-ups for appropriately geared players)

I can sell someone on BDF.  The question is, do I want to?


Entry filed under: WoW.

The return of the Naxxramas power run … ? What does 3.2 mean for us? A guild leader’s perspective.

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ambrosyne  |  June 30, 2009 at 7:45 am

    I transferred to a PvP srever from an RP server. Then I turned around and leveled a PRIEST!…as DISC!…from 1-80 there.

    I can’t PvP worth a damn and did not find it overly obnoxious. Often people will kill you once, and move on. When you’re camped it’s vexing, sure-but that’s when you call in guildies, or simply go elsewhere. As long as you’re not the easily-enraged sort, it’s not that bad, even for the purely PvE minded.

    I think Kyrilean over at Casual Hardcore posted some musing about his transfer to my server. 🙂

    • 2. Elleiras  |  June 30, 2009 at 4:24 pm

      I don’t think it’s that bad, either… except for PvP at summoning stones, especially outside of raid instances. >.< Now THAT"s annoying!

  • 3. Tigerfeet  |  June 30, 2009 at 7:57 am

    If I wasn’t so attached to my guildies I’d be all over you like white on rice.

    • 4. Elleiras  |  June 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

      I feel the same way about you and Unemployed!

      Everytime I decide I’m burnt out on herding cats and managing egos (I love my guildies, but they can be high maintenance!), I bop on over to Unemployed’s site to see if you’re recruiting a resto shaman. >.>

      • 5. Tigerfeet  |  July 1, 2009 at 2:53 pm

        Aaaaaakshully…. we ARE >_>

  • 6. Orgauth  |  June 30, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I’m probably in a semi-rare category of player that has played extensively on all three types of servers (I suppose you could say there are four if you split RP). I started on Boulderfist (PvP) to 70 (15 months), transferred to Steamwheedle Cartel (RP) for 2 years, then recently transferred to Arathor (PvE) – though I did also have a Horde side toon that saw a lot of action on Kilrogg (PvE) prior to the move to Arathor.

    I noted your comment that your ideal is probably RP-PvE. I will warn you now – most RP servers are backwaters for PvE and PvP excellence, because the focus is the latter half of the MMORPG acronym. That’s not to say there aren’t good PvE progression guilds or talented PvP teams – they are just far fewer and further between. And, the talent pool from whch to draw is notably smaller. Lastly, trying to recruit someone TO an RP server will often result in “xfer to lolrp??!?!!one! NO WAI!!!one!!one”. Bear that in mind if you ever get the notion to go to quieter pastures.

    Like you, I wasn’t all that into the PvP scene. I just happened to roll on Boulderfist because that’s where the RL friends were (a familiar story to many, I’m sure). Generally, I feel the attitudes on PvP are far worse (read: juvenile) then on PvE or RP (RP seems to be the most mature), but neither is asshattery reserved solely for PvP servers – it’s everywhere if you look long enough. But – surviving on a PvP server invariably makes you a better player. PvE raiding is indeed a theater company, refining the performance until the critics (i.e. the bosses) are silenced. PvP is unscripted, makes you think on your feet, and that quick thinking will, over time, allow a raid to recover and avoid some wipes.

    Admittedly, the “If it’s red, it’s dead” attitude persists for me(though it also applies to yellow now, being on PvE) – old habits die hard, as they say. I get a Grinch-like grin everytime I see “[my current location] is under attack!” messages pop on the WorldDefense channel. Deny it all you want, but the /glee you felt is someone who enjoys some casual PvP begging to get out. PuGs in BGs make me /cry – doing premade groups is so much more enjoyable. Try it. Arena – I tried in S1/S2, didn’t care for it, though I’m about to jump in the fray again. NOT for the casual PvPer, IMO.

    As for going PvE to PvP (with no PvP server background), it will be a culture shock to the applicant (unless they are active PvPers already). Make sure they are aware of the level of ganking/griefing that exists (mileage varies with server).

    I’ve eaten up enough of your precious comments real estate. I’ll shut up now.

    • 7. Elleiras  |  June 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

      Take all the real estate you want! I appreciate the perspective. 🙂

  • 8. kyrilean  |  June 30, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Yeah the camping isn’t that bad and I was concerned about PvP before the transfer to Azgalor-US. That said I do have somewhat of a temper or at least a highly tuned sense of retribution (Get it? LOL, I play a pally. Hey you get what you pay for.) when I get ganked. It’s a waste of time, but I will sometimes log over and gank them in return.

    • 9. Elleiras  |  June 30, 2009 at 4:20 pm

      But your humor is free!

      … oh, I get it. :p

  • 10. Abi  |  June 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I had transferred my Horde Warlock from a normal PVE realm to the RP-PVP server Twisting Nether and it was a very similar situation. It was basically an RP server ran by PVP’ers that did nothing but grief the RPers and flame everyone in leetspeak via trade chat. I tried to make it work but eventually transferred my Warlock to another server with a bit more research as soon as the 30 day cooldown was over >.>

    I also think that people have a common misconception that if you are flagged on a PVP server you will always get attacked or ganked which isn’t the case. I did my dailies out on the SSO island with no problems and also farmed herbs with no problems. I’m not saying that world PVP isn’t out there but it’s not as big of a deal as one might think.

    • 11. Elleiras  |  June 30, 2009 at 4:27 pm

      I agree with that. There’s also those “oh, that was cool” moments on a PvP server when someone of the opposite faction not only doesn’t grief you, but actually helps you complete a quest or does something else completely unexpected.

      I was fishing in the lake in Crystalsong Forest once when a gnome rogue came running up to me. He smashed a pumpkin onto my head (in the middle of June, no less!), transformed himself into a gorilla using a simian sphere, popped a water walking potion and proceeded to zip around in circles. He was even careful not to obscure my view of my bobber!

      It was hilarious. 😀

  • […] of Fel Fire ponders cross-server recruiting, especially of the PvE to PvP transfer flavor, as well as, how to (or whether or not to…) sell the server as a whole in the […]

  • 13. Rhii  |  July 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    I have been trying to level a character on Aurdon’s server (my mentor over at which is a PvP server (Kel’Thuzad) while I’m taking a break from my main on Aerie Peak (PvE). I played my paladin to 30 over there without any significant problems, but when I got tired of being a lowbie and rolled a DK instead, it was HORRIBLE.

    Outland is gank-land! I’ve never been much of a pvp-er, my main got her first honorable kill this month at level 72. I don’t know how to really work a DK yet, haven’t had much practice so far. I don’t think there’s another class in the game that hasn’t killed me yet. I have not managed to successfully kill ANYONE yet.

    During the one full day that I played as that DK, I think I was killed about fifty times — and I’m NOT exaggerating. It was so bad that I would go to an area, kill two or three quest mobs, get camped for 20 min, then res at the spirit healer and go farm ore in Tirisfal until my res sickness wore off. Then I’d head to a different area, kill two quest mobs, rinse and repeat.

    I think I’ve developed a reputation as the easiest kill on KT, because I was literally followed around by a stealth-kitty druid and his rogue companion and backstabbed no matter where I went in Hellfire. Eventually I got so frustrated with the ongoing problem that as soon as I saw “Faerie Fire (Feral)” pop up in my scrolling text, I’d just stand still and let them get it over with quickly. At least it didn’t waste as much of my time that way.

    Now Aurdon and his wife have told me this isn’t the norm for their server. But they’re both competent pvp-ers capable of defending themselves, so I don’t really know.

    What I do know, is if I try that server again (a big if) and if it’s just as bad a second time, that will be the last time. I can’t and won’t deal with it. It is NOT fun.

    Hrm. I may copy and paste this to make my own blog post out of it.

  • 14. PvPainful | I Sheep Things...  |  July 2, 2009 at 11:30 am

    […] was originally a comment for Elleiras’s post on PvE to PvP transfers, but it got to be pretty long and crazy, so I decided to repost it here as […]

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