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Epic Pvp


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I've posted this elsewhere, but thought I'd share it here. 


I wrote this a long time ago during the Age of Conan beta. It was my last attempt to convince the devs to stay the path with their original brutal pvp vision of the game. Shortly after I wrote it, they changed the motto of the game from dark and brutal to "we have boobies" (their words, not mine).

I wrote it mainly to highlight the advantages of a sandbox, why roleplay thrives in sandboxes, and why consequence is so important to both gameplay and plot. It fell on deaf ears, of course, and I thought the post lost until I found it reposted a few months ago by someone who was kind enough to edit out my more colorful language:

“It saddens me that so many people seem to think that the height of PVP is DAOC style RVR PVP where the “little gained, little lost” design is augmented only by epic gear and the PVE grind. Granted, DAOC PVP was good. But it makes me sad that they haven’t experienced anything greater; Epic PVP.

Epic PVP is the type of PVP that you can tell a story about. Years after the game is done and gone, you can reminisce over the sordid details of specific plots within the timeline of the game. You can tell tales about specific heroes and how they inspired, led, and bled. Epic PVP isn’t Counterstrike style kill, wait, respawn, repeat. Epic PVP is just that; epic. Conflict is the root of all stories, but epic conflict is the kind that sweeps you up, shoots you down, and spits you out when it’s all said and done. Those are the stories of Epic PVP.

Shadowbane was one of three games I’ve played with Epic PVP. It was also, quite possibly, one of the worst game implementations in existence. It was plagued with poor server architecture and countless bugs, including one of the worst game-killers; dupes. Despite all that, many pvpers who look back at Shadowbane do so fondly. And we do so because of the epic stories we can tell about it. This is one such story, as I remember it.

The Knights of Obereth were a small roleplaying guild. Early in Shadowbanes history, Roleplayers were looked down upon by the general population as carebears, but everyone learned quickly that Shadowbane roleplayers had teeth. The Knights of Obereth weren’t large enough to attract much attention. They only had about twenty active members. They did, however, have a small city in a highly strategic location.

One day, a neighboring cities guild decided they wanted to take the Knights of Obereth’s city. This guild, the Dark Horselords, had about two hundred active members, and without much ado, they took it. The Knights of Obereth knew from day one that losing their beautiful city was always a possibility, so they didn’t fret too much. Other guilds often folded after losing a city, but the Knights of Obereth were long-time friends from the days of Ultima Online, and didn’t fail at the loss, but rather resolved to fight back. They didn’t know that those actions would be the catalyst for another server war; dragging in guilds across the span of the continent and forcing thousands of people to pick sides in escalating battles that would change the face of the globe.

After subbing to another minor guild, the Knights of Obereth began their operation of terror. Their goal wasn’t to bring a direct fight to the Dark Horselords, because simply put that wasn’t a realistic way to defeat them. Instead, the Knights of Obereth utilized Guerilla Tactics to demoralize their enemy. The Knights raided the Horselords leveling groups. They raided the Horselords cities. They gained a spy in the enemies’ guild and learned where their vendor cities were, and raided those to interrupt their economical supply. During it all, the Knights never gave the Horselords a chance to fight back. They’d sweep in, harass the Horselords, and then leave as soon as the Horselords called in support. The Horselords never had anyone to fight. The Knights of Obereth, led by Naceria kept the pressure on, along with a templar guild led by the insane Agamemnon and his horde of psycho bandits.

The effect worked. The Horselords learned what frustration was. They began to call in allies in order to help them fight back against their smaller invisible enemy. Among those allies were the Undead Lords, the undefeated evil champions of the server. When the Undead Lords came, it earned the Knights of Obereth a hoard of their own new allies bent on breaking the power and threat of the looming dark alliance. After that, the gloves were off. It was no longer a guerilla war, it was full on city taking and offense, every night for nearly a month. Small guilds got sucked into the fight under the threat of, “you’re either with us or against us.” Larger guilds were broken and defeated on both sides.

City sieging was tiring work. As defenders, you waited on the walls of the city, listening for the word from your scouts of the incoming enemy. You had fortifications and trebuchets to protect, and the dual goal of protecting your walls and breaking the enemy bane. As a city taker, you had the similar goal of protecting your bane and breaking through the enemies defenses to take their tree of life. Sometimes, the wait was intense as you waited to hear reports on enemy numbers and movement. During server wars, however, the strategy was far more complex. Sometimes you had to defend or attack multiple cities in a night, and often you had to decide which cities to sacrifice in order to hold onto a more strategic territory. Sometimes allied guilds would betray you. Other times spies would turn key battles by giving enemies a back door into the cities. The only way to truly describe it was Epic PVP.

The server war ultimately ended at the siege of The Undead Lords city. There were several hundred people on both sides, and the work was grueling beyond imagination. The effort was led by Naceria Obereth, the leader of the small guild determined simply to take their small city back. They had long ago forgotten what it was they had started fighting for, why they were killing. They knew only sword, tooth, spell, and the song of trebuchets firing long hours every night.

The effort took several hours. Orders were given and followed. Walls were taken down, and the attackers took to the tree. Ultimately, however, the Undead Lords scorned the attackers and successfully defended their city.

The entire landscape of the server, at this point, was a smoking ruin. The Dark Horselords were all but obliterated. The Knights of Obereth had largely lost their way and their virtue. Other guilds were gone, some sucked into larger guilds, and others dissipated like the ash in the winds. Agamemnon and his band of crazies were still crazy, and the Undead Lords continued to gather souls for Myrkul. Slowly, from the ashes, people began to rebuild.

That, folks, was Epic PVP. It wasn’t about rules. It wasn’t about roleplaying, not roleplaying, griefing, pking, whining, noobs, or ****-talking. In the end, it was just a great story in a landscape of great stories”

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Nope.   I know it's long which will turn away a lot of readers, but it's worth the read for those of us who like to reminisce about the old days.

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Well written and being a part of that must have been loads of fun I am sure.


I expect we will see epicness reborn in Crowfall...



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solid first Post....welcome to the CF boards...




and yes...there will be Epic...or a certain parking lot in Austin will receive a trebuchet bombardment the likes of which have not been seen in quite the while...


but I digress


let the Code build the World and it's Laws....let the Players build the rest...

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Ya know....DAT WAS REAL PURDY!...snif snif... :wub:




Among those allies were the Undead Lords, the undefeated evil champions of the server.

 dis was da purdyest!

Know me and fear me. My embrace is for all and is patient but sure. The dead can always find you. My hand is everywhere - there is no door I cannot pass, nor guardian who can withstand me.


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Excellent post.  I was (still am) a member of the Undead Lords and participated in the war that you described.  I hope that Crowfall can bring back that epic PvP and we will have new stories to tell.

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Nice read.


I'm still more than worried about how Crowfall will bring anything like this back.  How can you really care about that plot of land (the primary catalyst in your story) if you know you only had temporary ownership to begin with (auto-wiping servers), and the game is designed around being forced to fight (to gain "victory points").  You're supposed to battle it out from the get go, with full knowledge that everything you have is short lived - win or lose.


In Crowfall, it seems you don't just play the game, and HAPPEN to get sucked into a situation that through some chain of events devolves into a devastating six month long war.  The game is being designed to force you into combat so that you can obtain victory points and be able to "win" and bring more trophies/items home.

Edited by frobobo
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