Thought of the Day: Duelling new players?

In some games (like WoW) when you head to a prime newbie zone, chances are that you will be inundated for requests to duel. Many of these requests will be from characters many levels higher than the newbies for whom the zone was designed.

I definitely remember creating new characters in WoW and being challenged to duels by people in Goldshire who were at least 10 levels higher and in full (lowbie) PvP gear/ heirlooms.

I’m wondering now why people accept those duel requests and whether anyone finds it fun to duel someone higher level like that against whom they have literally no chance? (Because they could one shot you, for example.) Actually, I also wonder why anyone bothers issuing those duel requests. Is there some kind of achievement for it?

At the same time, it really does highlight for me that there were always players who really wanted a full PvP (or at least a full arena-based) game from the outset. The only mysteries are:

  • a) why they didn’t roll on PvP servers
  • b) why they didn’t try a more PvP focussed game (eg. in WAR you can hop straight into a scenario and be ranked up so as to not be at a massive disadvantage).
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18 thoughts on “Thought of the Day: Duelling new players?

  1. My memory is that WOW started with full open world pvp? I certainly remember being endlessly ganked early doors.

    My preference us for games where pvp is an optional controlled extra, though..
    Rift got this, like so many things, dead right, for me. War open-world PvP nearly worked, bur had the faction issue that Aion tried yo address with their third faction.

    • Nah, there were PvE and RP/ PvE servers right from day 1. Although I guess it was more understandable then that newbies might pick a PvP server without really knowing what that meant back then, because it was a very different setup from existing games like DaoC (which never allowed PvP in starting zones).

      • WoW has contested zones and faction zones. On PvP realms you are automatically flagged for PvP when you enter contested zone and you’re going to be unflagged as soon as you’re more than 5 minutes in a faction zone.

        Faction capitals and the “capital zones” (e.g. all of Elwynn Forest) were never contested and you didn’t get flagged for PvP there.

  2. Well, there is the “Duel-icious” achievement, but that only applies to your first win. After that you don’t get much tangible out of it.

    I really don’t know what some people get out of this. Just the other day I was leveling a new ‘toon thru Darkshore and a lvl 25 was there hitting up any of the lvl 15-20 players passing by for duels. Why? He never answered. Did beat the tar out of him though.

    Then again that could be the answer. They might just be players that love winning PvP battles, but are very bad at it. Easier to win if you have a good 5 to 10 levels on your opponents.

  3. The players who issue these challenginges can’t believe that’s even possible. They are so shocked that for some time they consider it fun. It works like a cheat code: it makes games ridiculously fun for a very, very short time.

    It’s perfectly human, by the way, to act like this. No need to argue that these people are especially poor/stupid/unedicated/evil/have issues or anything, really.

    Bruce Almighty is a popular movie about the short-lived ‘fun’ of being overpowered; about living without rules that constrain you.

    • I think I would argue that the players have issues, though (the issues might be that they’re playing the wrong game!). Aside from preferring to ‘duel’ newbies on a PvE server than level up, play on a PvP server (where you really could gank newbies if that was what you wanted to do), or play the actual battlegrounds, there are some people who spam duel invites — it goes beyond them having fun and into being actively annoying/ harassing.

      So I guess I wonder where the fun is. Are they all kids, is that it?

      • Where’s the difference to playing a rogue on a PvP realm and gank lower level player instead of leveling up?

      • The difference is that duelling is always consensual so you always hang around for the other person to agree. (ie. if you wanted non consensual ganking then that’s standard play on a PvP server really). And secondly that duelling doesn’t give xp so you can’t level up that way, there’s no real reason to do it in terms of rewards that I know of.

        But if you mean why do some people on PvP servers like to gank low level players instead of levelling up, then unless it’s on a game where you need to capture and hold territory or somesuch then I guess it is similar. And I’d say those people are probably playing the wrong game too.

        I was hoping someone could explain to me why people do that.

      • I really don’t know why people would do it repeatedly without getting bored, and I’ve seen the same people happily duelling much higher level characters when they in turn get one shotted. It’s like there’s some kind of fun here that I really can’t see, and usually I can at least understand why people find some things fun that I don’t.

        If I wanted to be controversial, I’d write about sexism. That always gets people going.

  4. there were always players who really wanted a full PvP (or at least a full arena-based) game from the outset

    These players really don’t. If they did, they could go there. If they went there, they could try to gank newbies to their hearts’ content, but then bigger players could come gank them. They don’t want that symmetry. They want to push around the littler kids on the playground, and they can trick or taunt some of them into an unfair fight.

    They are there to harass and abuse people to the extent possible, and they get to do so in almost perfect safety because they understand the structure of consensual PvP.

  5. I’m with Zubon. The duel-spammers are wannabe bullies, hence the reason they pick targets much weaker than themselves and they way they will keep spamming invites or insulting emotes in an attempt to shame or irritate people into accepting.

    These people are never going to go to a PvP server because they aren’t the biggest sociopath on the block, and the last thing they want to meet is someone tougher than they are (and the second to last thing they want is someone equally tough who can beat them – losing is bad for their fragile egos).

    Meh. Personally, that sort of behaviour doesn’t appeal to me at all because I don’t care about winning, per se. I want the feeling of achievement that comes from winning against a worthy opponent. However, I recognise that not everyone is wired the way I am and gaming culture seems to have a lot of a “winning is good, losing is bad” mindset to the extent that people value cheap wins over challenging matches with a risk of defeat.

  6. A) Good luck finding level 25 Horde out in the world. And have fun running back after every death.
    B) They like WoW.

    Honestly though, I don’t consider that niche group of duelers any more bizarre than the other sort of “PvP” going on 20 ft away in the Goldshire Inn. Why don’t they go to Second Life, etc?

  7. i liked lowbie pvp until it was nerfed.

    my lvl 1 twink rogue undead ghost walked all the way to goldshire and teldrassil in the days before XP could be turned off.

    best kill was a lvl 10 lock. regularly killed lvl 6-8s and groups of 3 or 4 lower levels. the tricky part was getting them to flag for pvp. duels helped with this.

    in the end lvl 1 twink enchants were pretty much completely nerfed. but i had 100+ HKs.

  8. Most of the duel spammers are just silly kids passing time.

    Most of the duel accepters don’t know what it’s about.

    WTB “ignore player” button on the Duel window or at least an “automatically decline duel requests” button.

  9. Ah, nostalgia. I remember when I first started playing. Heading into Goldshire, or the main Alliance base in Westfall, and having a good 20-30 players, many around my level (zone level), jumping at the chance to duel.

    Now I’ve noticed, a few years on, that many just ignore them. There is no big group of players in set locations. Levelling just seems like a highway now and there’s no time to stop, or have intervals.

    My observations anyway :)

    - Jamin

  10. I was playing a level 6 Dwarf Mage the other day and a nitwit level 6 Dwarf Warrior (in a dress of all things) was just ambling around challenging everyone. When I ignored his challenge, he offered it again a few times and started lobbing insults.

    I just watched to see how long he’d try in the face of no response.. It’s fascinating, watching some people. He tried a half dozen times and offered four insults (loser x 2, baby, chicken), then wandered off to fight neutral boars. I almost felt bad for the guy, but not bad enough to light him on fire and teach him a lesson.

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