The PvP Files: Where the Real Gaming Is

One could be forgiven for assuming that the real gaming in MMORPGs goes on inside the virtual worlds created by developers and played by millions of people every day. While it’s true that the endless hours spent logged in to games such as World of Warcraft or Everquest II count as playing the game, it is definitely not the whole story. There is another level of gaming that occurs outside the games themselves, one that enables players to form bonds across different games, genres and platforms. One that can be played at any time of the day, logged in or not. This is the real game, where reputations can be made or broken, were enemies can brag and recruits found. This is the world of the message board. 

Message boards are nothing new, obviously. Anyone with some server space and a free copy can put up a message board. But communities are formed from far more than this. Gaming forum communities can generally go two ways – the generic “all games discussion” format (such as this site for example) or the “game specific discussion” format (official or fansite game-specific forums) but both provide outlets for players to communicate when they can’t actually be in the game, usually while at work or school. We can’t always be in the game, but we can (almost) always be on the message boards.

For games featuring PvP, forums form a large portion of communication between players. While you might never have the opportunity to run into someone in game, there is plenty of time for a detailed discussion on the merits of armor in-between running reports or doing term paper research. Players can debate the relative merits of PvP in assorted games and why one game was better than another. Not only can player reputations be made or broken, but the (in)famy of their guilds as well.

NOTE:  I have not included poster names because they can be found in the original threads which are linked. Threads linked in this article may contain strong language and other NSFW content.

1 : “Anyone from..?”

Players like a sense of familiarity when PvPing against others.  If you know the guilds you are fighting against, it can give an idea of what level of competition you will be seeing.  If you’ve gamed with/against someone before, you have a sense of what to expect from them, either good or bad.  Frequent posts looking for people from other games can be found on most forums, especially while waiting for a beta to open or during the beta phase.

Any clans from “old” UO…” from the Darkfall Online (pre-beta phase) forums:

I know about SUN, who else is coming? SIN? CvC? “Somehowfamoustag”… There are plenty of others, any clans currentely waiting for DF coming from ultima online? Not just OSI, any clans from any of the better free shards?

Looking for the Lost Brethren (Befallen) from the Everquest II Vault Community Board

Hey there,
Odile and I are trying to track down some of the old Brethren to see who might be thinking of going to Vanguard. (or whatever games)

Heres a link if you want to say hello.

This doesn’t have to be just X Lost people, pretty much anyone we were friendly with who is looking at Vanguard could stop in and say Hey.


Serenity Now post from the World of Warcraft (WoW) forums:

I’m just wondering if you’re still together. I’m in the same PvP pool for cross server bg’s but I havn’t seen anyone from you’re guild…just a question =).


As guild interest in a game fades, players tend to move on to other games or simply take a break.  Message boards also help players get back in touch with others they might not have gamed against recently.  “Looking for…” types of posts also lead to board “debates” about what game was the best to play and which guilds really deserve notoriety. 

2 : “O RLY? YA RLY!”

Next are the “my guild is better than your guild” type posts, also known as trashtalking. These are generally intended to be troll posts designed to generate flames from others.  They also lead players to recount the good old days of yore, when their tiny, ragged band of PvP gods took on thrice the amount of enemies at once and thrashed them all in seconds with nary a scratch on their armor.

The Mercs have won Darkfall already. from the Darkfall Online forums again:

Hi. Just wanted to say. Your guild has lost. We have won. Don’t bother trying. Mercs always win.

[insert babble about gods and worship and noobsauce here]

Seriously. Your guild sucks.


God you people are TERRIBLE at this game. How about someone provide some challenge and quit letting us Mercs roll you? I mean, I know it’s scary when we show up and all, but we’re just people like you too, albeit we’re kinda like gods as well. But hey, you might be able to kill one of us if you manage to ally all the guilds on the server and show up to fight all at once and lag one of our members out….


Blood Clan LOL from the Shadowbane forums:

You had 1.5 groups at our def. bane with few FA you hired. Another 2.5 groups at our mine during *OUR* primetime and you only managed to derank our mine lost at bane to 14 M2S. Got killed at mine with your 4 groups and never came back.

Thought after a few years you guys would get a little better…but anyways good fights see you guys soon.

These discussions can be expanded to include the players of one server versus another as well.  From the WoW forums, A quick note to other realms:

Dear Other Realms,

We appreciate you coming to our forum just to boost your epeen by saying that Illidan sucks. Just realize that everything you think about us, we think about you. So as long as you think you’re team is wtfpwning someone on this server, somewhere we’re wtfpwning some jackaninnie from your server.

Thank you!

Posters to threads like these quickly form sides, either supporting or mocking the original premise posted.  Accusations of foul play, claims of cheating, cries about inaccurate memories all abound while the spin begins.  Even supporting screenshots “proving” one guilds pwnage of another ultimately prove nothing to the participants, because those images can be countered with ones showing the opposite result.  Yet without the medium of the message board to debate on, these discussions would never take place.  New players can get a general idea of the environment and atmosphere from the amount of trashtalk threads at any one time.  Interested in joining a guild?  Check out the game forums, because they can sometimes show quite clearly how a guild is viewed by those they compete against.


Bragging rights is probably one of the biggest reasons for players to post on message boards.  Players post screenshots of their exploits or movies they’ve made showing PvP ownage in order to get the word out about their in game prowess.  No matter how good someone is, it doesn’t really count unless you can prove it to others in some way.  The easiest method, of course, is posting to a message board because you have a large, built-in audience who will either compliment or mock your accomplishments. 

Darktiders come. from the Darkfall Online forums:…ver=D arktide
Anyone killed me or been killed by me?…c ID=52.topic
hahaha…. I got owned.

Google your characters names + darktide and see what you find. Post of course too. By the way, is tally around any more?

Even better than bragging though, is getting called out by someone else (either a friend or an enemy) for your actions.  When someone posts about getting killed, either to compliment their opponent or to trashtalk them, it serves the same purpose – getting the word out to the larger playerbase.  Other posters join in, either supporting or discounting the original poster’s point-of-view. 

@jthiin from the WoW Illidan Realm forum:

u are by far the worst hammer of rag warrior i have ever met.
maybe if i didn’t leave my limited invul pots in the bank it wouldve been fair game vs your numerous greater fire pots. l2p rather than use those kind of consumables in pvp. any good warrior with hand of rag can beat a mage of all classes with ease if u know how. maybe ur guild shouldve thought of giving ur hand of rag to a member who wasnt 12. u suck.



WOW Another Carpet Bane From lkk AND disorder  from the Shadowbane forums, Mourning server:

You guys just love to [censored] huh? And you just don’t give up. I would think you have had enough beatings…but hey we’ll wipe you again.
See you when they go live.

Typical posts can also include “List the X guild/player/class”. 

Server’s Meanest Players from the WoW forums, Dragonmaw server: 

This is just a random epen post to determine the meanest players on dmaw.

This is usually subjective, but most of the time a pattern can begin to emerge.  If a guild/player/class is consistently mentioned in someone’s list, then their reputation tends grow as well, in a “If everyone says that X player is so awesome, then it must be true.” And the converse is true as well, someone getting listed as the worst guild/player/class must not be very good according to popular belief.  Because we all know that if it’s on the internet, it must be true! 

4 : “Looking for a few good…”

Guilds benefit from the use of message boards (in addition to private guild-based ones if they exist) by being able to advertise their existence.  Not all games have a guild recruitment function (EQ2 is the only one that I personally know of), so how are you supposed to make yourself known to others outside of immediate game surroundings? 

World of Warcraft has an entire forum dedicated to guild recruiting across all servers, while Shadowbane uses server specific forums.  Everquest II has stickied threads (for good, evil and exiled guilds on the PvP servers) on the individual server boards for listing guilds that are recruiting as well.

Now, the dark side to forum recruiting is the perceived opinion that your guild is a “zerg.”  Forum recruiting is typically seen as open recruiting (aka “accepting anything with a pulse”), especially during a pre-beta/beta phase of a game and is generally frowned on in a PvP environment.  And even worse perception of a guild would be that it is a “vaporware” one, meaning it was formed specifically for a game in question, especially during the pre-beta/beta phase of the game development.

Dark Union Is A Noob Guild from the Darkfall Online forums:

Um correct me if I’m wrong the dark union is a noob zerg guild who talks way to much shit, and invites every one they can with any standers or guide lines.

So and So is RECRUITING!, again from the Darkfall Online forums:

I love seeing “elite” guilds with their open recruiting. Better yet, they are recruiting off a message board to a game that has not even been released. I am going to laugh my nuts off at these guilds when DF does (sometime before I become a senior citizen please) release. You guys are going to be loaded down with carebears and the “ooo gimmie!” players.

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe I’m the only one who wasted three minutes of his life to type it….LOL

Overrunning your enemies by sheer force of numbers isn’t the way to promote how good a player/guild you are.  Team tactics, staying small and dedication to a goal is a holy trinity for PvP.  If your guild can manage those three, then you will have no problems backing up any bragging on the boards. 

There is another reason why guilds profit from open message boards – gamers have long memories, and with the game gypsy mentality that many have, moving from game to game means there are almost always new faces/guilds/players to get to know. 

Welcome Back Skunk & Casi from the Shadowbane forums, Mourning server:

Sorry about the spam of posts, but when I remember the old days, and how much fun SB was, makes me wanna drink. Guess we are gonna mess around in SB before the perfect game comes out.

Hello Illidan! from the WoW forums, Illidan server:

Hey Illidan greetings from Warsong! 😀

Ive heard some crazy things about this server and i am thinking about transfering (if it allows me)

SoT is back! from Shadowbane, Mourning:

Seekers of Truth have made the migration to Mourning. Sick of the azn zerg on Brail. You can find us sub’d under Scions of JR. Beware though…peeps like Vivid Fearme, Kythe, Ragnorak… and many more have teamed up with Luminaro. Which has become a deadly combination! Good Luck!

Guilds form, break-up, split, merge and reinvent themselves as the games and the players change.  Those groups of young college-aged guys playing UO every night and killing all comers are now most likely to be married with a full-time job and a family to worry about.  That doesn’t mean they don’t game, just that their priorities may have.  Posting on message boards is one way to keep others outside your immediate circle of guildmates and friends up-to-date with what’s going on. 

5 : “Mine boon companions hath gathered their weapons…”

Roleplaying (RP, RPing)in a PvP-based game is a contentious beast, and rarely will you find anyone actually doing so in the game.  The “RPG” part of MMORPG has sadly been misunderstood and floundering for quite a long while now.  Even settling of a definition of what exactly constitutes roleplaying is difficult, because it means something different to each person.  Some players and guilds enjoy RPing within the constraints of game lore, while far more want to have nothing to do with it.  However, for games that have a strong, well-established lore, the presence of RP-centric forums (and servers as well) allows those who do enjoy it to take part.

Roleplaying is especially suited for forums, because you can’t exactly spend huge blocks of time in a game telling stories.  Well, you could, but people would lose the story thread, you’d be constantly interrupted and almost certainly mocked by those who don’t RP.  But in a forum, you have all the time you want to craft a story explaining your character’s previously hidden and unknown backstory, detailing every weapon swing and injury taken.  And other players can respond, expand and participate in your story alongside you.

The Crossroads of Dereth site (for Asheron’s Call) has an archive library of various stories written by players that have been posted over the years.  Most MMORPG message boards have dedicated role-playing forums.

In fact, being a story teller can earn you fame and make your name well known to others whom you would never have a chance to encounter in game.  An excellent example of this would be the stories of Ayatala of Darktide.  She wrote over 40 short chapters detailing her life in game during the early days of the Asheron’s Call Darktide server and posted them on the Crossroads of Dereth forums.  Players from other servers knew about her life on Darktide, and others emulated her.

6 : “Beta apps are open for…”

Related to the trashtalking posts are the “What other games have you played?” posts.  Players try to connect with others on the boards by seeking common games they’ve played.  Some will come out and declare that X game was the best one ever made, and they’d still be playing if only Y hadn’t happened.  Or that other game was absolute crap and anyone who played was a loser pussy who shouldn’t even bother posting with the big boys.

A poll from the Darkfall Online forums asks What game did you come from:

What game did you come from:

  • Ultima Online
  • World of Warcraft
  • Shadowbane
  • EVE online
  • Other (post)

What happened to the Face of Mankind? from the Darkfall Online forums again:

I remember being very interested in this game, only to try it in a chaotic stage quite some time ago. The gameplay consisted of people mainly running around shooting eachother with little or less purpose or concern for accountability. Now it seems like the graphics has been tuned up a notch and that things are improving through patches and added content on a regular basis. It seems like a larger addition is coming up soon. I’ve seen through a batch of screenshots, there are more factions now + combat with aliens. An alien world etc is being added.

I think i’m going to try this out again now to see if it’s improved. If anyone has been following this game, and/or plays it, it would be great to get someone elses opinion of it now compared to before.

Face of Mankind (MMORPG)

This type of debate is the reason why there is such a large selection of games, and why each one isn’t exactly the same.  And when posting to a pre-beta/beta game forum, it also gives others some insight into why you do or do not like certain features of the game being waited upon.  Was your first game UO or AC-Darktide?  Then you probably love free-for-all (FFA) PvP and can’t stand the idea of faction based combat.  Did you like leveling in EQ1?  Mindless treadmill grinding is your thing.

Word of moth about a game can help to make or break interest in a demo when presented to the PvP or any gaming community.  Simple posts asking if anyone’s played the beta or demo of a new game being hyped can lead to posts about why the game is going to rule or suck depending on the poster’s point of view.

From the Darkfall Off-topic forum Quirky Free PvP Game:

As most of you know from my history of posting games in the past I’m a big fan of any strange quirky game I can find.

This week’s Goty Discovery is this little indie game called Toribash.

The game is basically a Turn-Based Fighting Game. Sort of.

The game is really unique and difficult to master. The game works as such:

The rounds are about 120 “seconds”. The game starts at 120 and time is frozen. From there you (and your opponent) will select actions for your different body parts (ie. Chest-turn right Right Elbow-contract etc) and when you’ve made your first choices pressing spacebar advances time by 10 seconds.

The animation you started with your initial moves stop midway and you can continue to tweak and move your body. The moves you create can range from useless (WTF I twisted and turned and now I’m just sprawled on the ground) to badass (Whoah I just grabbed his head and sprung myself over his body tearing his head off and throwing it at his back while still in the air!). The fights then replay smoothly without the constant stopping of time and replays can be saved for awesome fights and such.

Winners are deduced by scoring hits not by health. One fight shown in the intro to the game itself shows a guy holding another guy’s head and his arms tearing off for some reason – and then he made his detached arms start beating the guy’s head in. It was really kinda odd but pretty friggin funny.

Fights can also be really mindless for us newbs but from what I’ve seen players who’ve taken the time to figure out the best ways to maneuver they’re bodies can get some pretty wicked fights going. Single Player is mainly training against a mannequin and Multiplayer matches is where the game really is.

The game is pretty difficult to be honest but for some reason I keep restarting the game after having decided I was tired of it. It’s fun but isn’t easy in any capacity. I usually just play on any of the three American Servers (not the PRO servers).

(Make sure to DL the updated Server List txt from the homepage after installing the game)

Posts in off topic forums can sometimes generate far more hype for a game than just advertising alone.

“Extra! Extra!”

Being in game is like being at a large social gathering or a sports event.  Everyone is taking part in the same event but it’s not practical and usually not possible to meet and speak to each person there.  But it is possible to read about it in the papers the following day.  Forums take the place of the news reports and have the added bonus of being able to add to your own viewpoint to the story afterwards.  A better analogy might be blogs since they tend to be much more immediate and real time than traditional print mediums.  Information travels quickly and can be spread across a wide spectrum of players in a very short period of time.  Spreading the word is the purpose and the information being related (bragging recruiting or whatever) doesn’t matter.  What matters is the size of audience that you can connect with. 

As Mr. Universe says “Nothing can stop the signal.”

This was originally posted over at Grimwell Online with a link to the forums for discussion.  I’m leaving the forum link out because the GO forums are closed to new members and will be shutting down soon (Grimwell needs to turn his site strictly into a blog for work related reasons).

Also it seems there was a clean-up of posts on the Darkfall Online forums so some of those links may no longer exist.  I apologize for that but I have no control over those forums.

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