Focus in Competitive RvR
I frequently ponder on MU* server ideas, even though I don't have the time or energy to actually run a MU*, and one of the issues I have recently been banging my head against has to do with RvR design. For those of you who are unfamiliar, RvR stands for Realm vs. Realm, coming from Dark Ages of Camelot, where factions compete with one another. I've come to see that RvR can be divided into two distinct styles that I've called Politics and Culture, because of where the tension between them lies.
In Politics, factions tend to have the same culture, mostly agree on rules of decorum and how society should be run, etc. The fighting is basically about who gets to be in charge. House Doe and House Smith don't like each other, because they've fought a few wars against one another over the centuries and House Doe currently holds sway in the Senate which threatens House Smith's future prospects. Or to use a cyberpunk example, Doe Inc. and Smith Holdings don't like each other because they are both competing for control of the dilithium market. In this style the
In Culture, factions compete on a more fundamental level - difference in philosophy, religion, culture, etc. The Doe Republic is a military dictatorship that focuses on order and discipline, and the Smith Tribes are a bunch of loosely confederated, pacifist hippies. There is a basic disagreement on how they view society functioning.
My issue is that I do not believe a MU* can have a population that is big enough or, more importantly, have enough effective staffing to engage in both. Your server either has to focus on the internal politics of Rome during the Punic Wars with PCs striving to gain the upper hand against the each other in Rome while also cooperating with them to keep NPC Carthage from destroying them, or focus on Rome vs. Carthage with the internal politics of both being minimized so the competition and battles between the two PC cultures can take center stage.
So which style of RvR do people prefer more - scheming and politicking in order to gain a few more seats in the Republic Senate or fighting in the streets because the industrialist Doe Dwarves are purging the land of the tree-hugging Smith Elves?
To be honest, I'm not sure it really matters what the scale of the conflict is as long as there are enough levels of conflict to go around. If all the conflict is where only a few people can get at it, there's going to be a lot of boredom going on.
In my opinion, it's more important to have a reason for your warring groups to have something to make them all come together, and give them a reason to RP something other than fighting each other. It doesn't matter whether it's a neutral city containing the school of magic for the known world, that one bar where the bouncer's a dragon and the barmaid a god but the beer is so amazing people will come back from the dead for another pint, a big external threat that wants to eat the the world, an invading army in the hundreds of thousands, or the empty vastness of space that neither knows nor cares that they exist. There needs to be a reason to come together as well as a reason to fracture apart along the faultlines, or your playerbase becomes scattered and divided.
@Grayson Right. The assumption was that there would be a "Citadel" or "Babylon 5" that is the central grid for a MU* where everyone can meet up and argue or make peace. I was more curious if there is a style of competitive RvR that people prefer. Do people prefer House Lannister fighting House Stark for the throne of Westeros or the Centauri bombing and enslaving the Narns?
My preference in general is for competing factions within a larger war. I generally prefer the politics to be Character vs Character and the combat to be Character vs Environment. I think that this generally means that there are fewer CvC deaths, which tend to be the ones that cause the most disgruntlement and calls of favoritism (you’re going to get disgruntlement and calls of favoritism even if the characters are just competing over a seat on a bench).