Have you been wanting to play a open PVP MMORPG game but don’t know which one to play? Well you have come to the right place. Over the past several years open PVP games have been my kind of MMO, so I have some experience I would like to share with you. I have not played every open PVP game out there, but I’ve played a few good ones and have heard about some others, and can help you chose which is best for you.
-Skill Based PVP
-low grind to make a viable character
-High diversity in options of play style
-Full looting everywhere (possible con)
-Everywhere is dangerous, even NPC guarded areas (possible con)
-no classes, you customize your own build
-Some game mechanics
To me, Mortal Online is the king of hardcore open PVP games. It has many drawbacks, but if you can get over them, can be one of the coolest games you ever play that you will never forget.
Enter the immersive sandbox world of Mortal Online. It is only first person. You have directional attacks and blocking. Almost all items are player crafted, each material having an effect on the crafted item. You are your character, no classes, so you make your own build. There are primary skill point limits, so you have limited skills per character making each character its own specialized person (but you can have 4 character slots per account, so you can still do several things). You can tame the mobs you find out in the world. Ride mounts. Build player made cities. Siege them. You can fully loot dead players, minus a select few bound items (your rags, your junk worn weapon, your spell book, and vet point cape/loincloth cosmetic). Localized banking, meaning what you bank in a town stays in the town. And so on.
The criminal system is also pretty decent, but not without flaws. What I mean is that it has a good balance between fun and penalty for going red. The problem being that PVP groups pretty much need to go red, and staying blue has little value. The way it works is you have a murder count timer. It takes 8 in game hours to tick down 1 murder count, and you need 5 to go red. Attacking a blue player while being blue makes you go grey. Grey is criminal but for only 2 minutes (time restarts with combat, so it won’t end while fighting). NPC town guards will attack criminals. So if you want to live in lawful NPC towns, you have to stay blue. The good thing is, that you can still get kills here and there and stay blue, and just AFK the murder counts down. The flaw, is that blue might not mean a lot to a player who has lots of time to AFK, so it gives a false sense of security when you see other blue players who could still be criminals. The penalties for being red are that NPC guards will attack you, and you get attribute stat loss from resurrecting at normal priests. You can usually get these stats up quickly, but it can be bypassed by using your guilds priest, which gives no stat loss and is generally the ideal option. The flaw with this is it makes it harder to be red and not have a guild. And obviously, another option to stay blue is to only attack criminals, which has no penalty.
All that being said, mortal feels extremely cool. You aren’t watching yourself attack an enemy, or aim botting something down, or jumping around all over the place. You actually feel like you are having a fight. There’s some running around, but it’s not a run jump around fest.
Mortals grind is very minimal, for most things. Basic things like getting your athletics, swords, armor training, etc all skill up very quickly. In game macroing is allowed, so you can extremely easily max your swords and stuff up on another player in a couple hours. Some things in a couple nights. Some crafting related skills like high end metals can be very expensive to grind up, but the general things you need to play are easy to get up. Gear wise, currently low end gear is very viable for foot PVP, so you don’t need to worry much about a massive gear grind. Mounted and spell books can cost a lot though, so you may not want to start with those, although basic spell books are still very cheap. Also getting an advanced crafter can be very expensive. Requiring a massive gold grind. But being a crafter is more of a luxury option and not a necessity that needs a low grind. I view having an advanced crafter as one of the end game aspects of the game. If you need gear you can always trade, so you don’t have to grind out crafter characters.
Now to the cons. I love Mortal. But the game has a lot of massive flaws. Many issues have been fixed over time, and some may be changed in the future. But I’ll still tell you my current issues with the game. Just remember that even with the flaws, it can be an amazing game.
First of all, it has a lot of your sketchy glitches and bugs that you can expect from a low budget indie MMO. They have fixed a massive amount of bugs since I first played the game. Some issues of getting stuck, glitching up certain walls, sketchy AI going into walls, and so on still exist. Which can be very frustrating.
Then comes the issue of general game balance and more intended mechanics. With specialized characters and lots of play styles, there’s some things that you will have a really hard time with by yourself. Your foot mage will have a very hard time beating a foot fighter 1v1. It’s really easy for hybrids to just run away and heal, and repeat. If you can’t dismount and kill the mounted before they can re mount, they will get away 90% of the time and heal. Mounted in general is just not fun to interact with due to the bad ultra gear based breeding system (maxed bred mounts are better than any other possible mount by a large amount). Mounted mages are just the lamest thing to fight ever from foot. Some weapons can be really gimpy and not cool like fist weapons (although a lot of stupid op stuff has been nerfed, like weakspot weapons and dual strike, so it’s been improving).
And then there’s the player base. You can’t overly fault players for this, but the players will abuse anything needed to get a win. If they need to do really lame things like call a mounted zerg to a foot fight, not leaving the guard zone they are camping at until they have an unfair advantage. Players with unsafe quantities of salt all over the place. The player base has had its ups and downs player count wise, but if the player base is down the game can get a lot less exciting.
Overall, the game can be really cool, and I can highly recommend it. It takes a special kind of player to play it, if you can’t handle sketchy indie game mechanics and balance then it’s probably not for you. But if you can get by those and you want to run around in an immersive world and get some very good feeling PVP, you can most likely overlook the down sides and not look back for a long time.
Darkfall – Ride of Agon or New Dawn
-Open PVP outside the main NPC towns
-skillbased, but gear influenced PVP
-large scale clan warfare, like sieges
-full looting outside protected NPC towns
-Large grind to be end game level
-Gear is still a factor and may require grind
-Extremely limited diversity in play styles
-Some game mechanics may be frustrating
There are currently two re launches of Darkfall. Rise of Agon (already out) and New Dawn (currently in open beta, game is coming out soon). Both games are the same base Darkfall, but have been going in different directions, but both have done quality of life updates and reduced the grind. I will mostly be talking about RoA, which I played for a while on release and have been following.
Darkfall RoA is a skill based, no classes open pvp sandbox game. You can level up skills and get better gear, but generally the biggest factor is your actual skill and skill of your group at playing the game (as long as your character is developed enough to have the necessities of PVP). You can put these skills to the test fighting other players, and participating in clan wars and sieges. The game is full loot, so when someone dies you can take all of their items on them. But don’t worry, your bank stays safe. There is an alignment system, so killing blue players will make you go red, and you will no longer be safe in blue NPC towns. You can get alignment back from farming in dungeons and praying at churches with gold but is generally not worth the effort. You can still live out of red towns or your clan holdings though. Blue players can chose to live out of guard tower protected NPC towns, but all the good resources and mobs are away from these cities, so generally you want to stay away from these anyway unless you are a newer player needing town protection.
To sum up how Darkfall feels, it’s like a strange hybrid child of WoW, Minecraft, and Ultima Online. Which sounds like a really weird combo, but it’s the best way I can think to describe it, so bear with me. If you haven’t heard of Ultima Online, it’s pretty much one of the first hardcore open PVP MMO’s, that every open PVP game feels like a knockoff of. So the game feels like WoW because it has quests, tons of spells to hot bar spam, and different gear tiers. It feels like Minecraft because you can run around jumping and shooting bows and magic while having to aim yourself, and then the hardcore aspects come from Ultima Online.
So if you don’t like WoW or Minecraft don’t worry, the game is definitely its own game. Overall it has plenty of normal MMO aspects, grinding skills up, crafting, gathering, and no classes. So generally, you can do whatever you want. RoA has lowered the grind significantly with front loading and diminishing returns, so you don’t need to worry about having to grind too much to be able to have fun. The stats are worth more early on, and skill up fast early on. So you don’t need to grind for excessive amounts of time to be PVP viable.
One of the biggest aspects of the game is clan wars and sieges. You can have a giant fight of over 100 players in multiple clans all fighting in 1 battle over a city or holding. Control of these holdings is an important factor in the end game and is the main aspect of the “sandbox” part of the game. You can’t build everywhere, but you have some control on what is in your holding. These holdings can also have mines and things that give good resources making them worth fighting over, which promotes PVP.
The game isn’t perfect though. I can’t tell you everything good and bad about the game, but I can give you the main cons. One of the biggest to me is actually just how the movement feels. Your character is perfectly fixed to the camera, enabling super sharp turns and unrealistic and non immersive movement and dodging that can be very frustrating, especially to new players. Having no “classes” can limit the amount of play styles. To me it kind of has “runescape” syndrome. That being everyone endgame is generally doing the same few things. You have “destroyers” (your heavy fighters with bows who don’t use much magic), and you have your mages. And then heavy hybrids in the middle. That’s about it. Everyone uses the same GreatSwords for weapons, and people generally use the same magic spells. There’s a lot of other options in the game, there just isn’t that much reason to use them when there’s no special class that gives you a reason to use them. Also, some game mechanics can feel really gimpy. “Bunny hopping”, magic knock ups, easy to land AOE spells and hit scan rays that you cant really dodge if the enemy knows what they are doing, etc. Note that these aren’t massive issues when you can do them too and they have drawbacks, but if you don’t like them or use them it can be very frustrating. Also, when you are new you will get cut down by players who have out grinded and out skill you, giving you an extra disadvantage. The game is skill based overall, but when you are less skilled and under geared never helps. Also the gap between a low skill player and a high skill player is extremely large, making it so that when you are new it is very hard to even put up a fight with veteran players. Overall the general “feel” of the PVP just feels pretty lackluster and dated and could use a overhaul (to me). But if you enjoy the PVP like many of the other players do, then it will feel fine.
Overall if you want to run around, have some fun PVP, get some sieges, lots of group action, then Darkfall RoA could be a great option for you, if you like how the game feels.
Darkfall New Dawn is similar but has some key differences, and many small ones, so I cant say them all here. A main difference though is local banking and no teleportation. In RoA, you can teleport to your bind stone, and your house, your capitol city if you are blue, and there is global banking. Global banking being that your bank in every town is the same. New Dawn took a different approach. You cannot teleport, and your different banks are not connected. Some like this, some don’t. The reasoning behind it is it can cause more people to live out of a local place, creating more of hot spots. It can also help to give a more immersive feel, although Darkfall generally lacks immersion to begin with. The down side, is localized banking and no teleportation can feel more tedious if you need to travel or move location.
Black Desert Online
-Has the ability to open PVP
-Good character creation
-Non skill based style PVP
-Large penalties to criminal style players (the ones who enjoy open pvp the most)
Black Desert Online is also a possible option for those looking for a open pvp sandbox style game. Enter a beautiful immersive third person world. Here you can partake in excellent PVE combat, great character creation, crafting, taming, guild sieges, and more.
Seeing that this article is on open PVP games, one important thing to mention is how this game’s open PVP works. After level 40, you become a target for open PVP. Any level before that, you can toggle PVP on or off but you can’t get attacked if you don’t want to. After level 40, you can always be attacked outside of safe zones. If you turn PVP on you can hit players and players won’t get a karma penalty for killing you. Turning PVP on pretty much means you are looking for a fight. When you kill players that have PVP turned off, you will gain 5000 karma points. If your karma gets too high, you will be attacked by guards and other players can attack you even in safe areas.
The game is class based with a excellent character creation system. There is a drawback though. The classes can have a fixed gender, so while you have great character creation abilities to make a amazing looking character, you may not even be able to make what you want because your class you chose can’t be the gender you wanted. This isn’t an overly big deal though, because many of the classes have a similar counterpart, like the witch vs the mage.
The major drawbacks to this game as a open PVP game are that it is grindy and gear based. If you want to grind a lot and win due to better gear, then you have found the right game. If you want skill based PVP though, then this probably isn’t what you have been looking for. The game has many great aspects, but to be top tier and win lots of fights, you need to grind a lot. Stat loss has been removed, but it still takes many many hours to get high stats, and lots of effort to get high end gear that you can lose on death, makes it a chore to get that open PVP fix.
Haven and Hearth
-Truly unique game
-High risk, improves the hardcore factor
-Bad PVP and PVE
-heavy penalties to criminals, making the play style much less fun
-large grind to accomplish anything
Haven and hearth is pretty much the definition of “hardcore sandbox MMO”. The map is random generated at the start of the world. Its fully sandbox, you can build and claim pretty much everywhere, and you can attack players pretty much everywhere. Oh, and you lose your character on death (but you can inherit when you make a new character to get some of your character back, but the stat loss is still very large compared to other games).
The large sandbox world of Haven and Hearth is very addictive and time consuming. You are able to find a place in the world. Gather resources where you want. Create a house where you want, out of wood and other gatherables. Grow your base, expand, ect. All while progressing your character, increasing your fighting abilities, crafting abilities, and so on. The game uses a rather different progression system. You buy skills and level your melee combat and other skills with learning points. You get learning points from questing, and studying curiosities. There’s various different curiosities, and different ways to obtain them (such as foraging, and crafting). These will give you a certain amount of lp after a certain time, and they can continue to study while you are logged out. What this means, is that you can progress your character while you are logged out. This helps to make the game more “casual” player friendly, in that it helps the players you don’t have hours and hours to grind away progress. The character attributes also use a rather different progression system. You gain stats like strength and constitution from eating food. Just like curiosities, there are many different foods, quality of foods, and ways to get food. There’s also a sort of diminishing returns system to the need to spam food. You have a modifier that the higher it is, takes longer to replenish, and goes down when you eat. So if you spam a lot of food you will have a very low modifier, but it replenishes faster to prevent it from going down more. But if you don’t have a lot of time to play so you can’t eat a ton of food, your modifier will be higher. This helps to close the gap between casuals and no-lifing, where no life grinding will progress faster, it helps the casuals to not fall as far behind.
PVP wise, haven PVP is terrible. You play the game for hardcore death, and nice sandbox. The PVE is also terrible. Generally if you know the game mechanics, you are the the skill ceiling. There’s a little more you can learn and skill might matter a little in an even fight, but the chance of a fair fight with the same gear and stats is pretty much non existent. So generally, you win because you have better stats, gear, or both. If the combat system is trash, then that also means there’s not really anything good about the PVE either.
The game has also added some pretty gimpy mechanics in an attempt to help the player base. Which is very understandable, because who really wants to play a game that they are just going to get stomped out by veteran players they can’t compete with and lose everything constantly. So they have added a few less hardcore mechanics, like being able to summon ghosts to attack the criminal player that will kill them if they don’t log in. These scale with your character and, and if you have a group to help you fight it when you log in aren’t a massive threat. But if you are solo, or arn’t able to log in every single day after you commit a crime, you might just log in dead. Other care bear mechanics to note are that running into another players base to raid disables your ability to PVP, because it wasn’t fair if they forgot their gate open or something like that (and they apparently wanted to make it so people could leave their gates open to promote trading. But is a failure of a mechanic in my book, in a world that is supposed to be immersive sandbox and hardcore). Lastly, you can’t fast travel after committing crimes like theft. Making it so that if you boat out for an hour and commit any crimes, you can’t log out and need to ride back, because criminal characters can’t truly log out, so you need to log out inside your base.
So even though I just made the game sound terrible, it still has a place in this world. It is the most sandbox of all the hardcore open PVP games. Darkfall, Mortal online, and others claim to be sandbox but pale in comparison to the sandbox of haven. The PVP may be lacking and some mechanics may be a little overkill in the hate on criminal play styles, but if you wanted to roam around, explore, gather, build your base, and so on, while there is always the risk of player attacks, haven may be the game for you.