PvP Zone Combat Edit
Combat in the four zones is probably the most popular form of PVP. It has a freewheeling style and all kinds of strange builds and teams show up there.
All four zones have a level requirement to enter; the lowest is level 15. All contain various Badges, Temp Powers, Missions and mini-games designed to tempt PvE-oriented players into PvP land, or perhaps to give PvPers something to do while waiting for the enemy to show up. All also contain NPCs. Some are aligned to the Hero or Villain factions; others are neutral. Neutral and enemy NPCs will give you debt if they defeat you.
Three of the zones allow PvP combat only between Heroes and Villains. (At least until some joker throws a Confuse-type power into the mix.) In Warburg, you can fight players of your own faction, but still can only team with members of your own faction.
PvP Arena Combat Edit
Arena battles are set up in advance by players for the format they choose in a controlled environment. There are many options: duels, two teams, multiple teams, large scale free-for-alls, various types of limits on levels, power use, classes and victory conditions. The Arena uses special maps which are chosen randomly for each match.
Two common formats for Arena battles are 1v1 duels and 8v8 battles between Supergroups who focus on PVP. The latter mostly occur on the Test server, described by Positron some months ago as the official cross-server PvP area. (This would be funnier if he had been kidding.) Test is also a good place to find pickup PvP matches.
SG 8v8 battles usually feature a team of players with Level 50 builds specialized and drilled to complement each other. A typical SG match is best two-out-of-three 20-minute rounds. Today, Hero SG vs Villain VG matches are unusual. This is usually attributed to stronger or advantageous Hero powers which Villains cannot match.
The PVPEC created two SG ladders, one each for Hero Supergroups and Villain Villain Groups. After an initial tournament to determine ranks, the SG ladder opened on August 3, 2007 with seven ranked SGs. Matches conducted within this system are usually called official matches and organized on the official PVP Arena board.
Base Raids Edit
This is a battle, or a set of two battles, between two Supergroups, both of which have suitably equipped bases. The battles are set in the target SG's base, which may be fortified by special defenses used only in a raid.
At one point, the Devs planned to have raidable bases house one or more Items of Power, which could be stolen by a raiding group, but the Cathedral of Pain Trial where the IoPs are obtained has been unavailable since a few days after its initial release, and all base raids are currently disabled.
PvP Builds Edit
Players who enjoy PvP will typically play certain Powersets and develop specialized builds with them to maximize their PvP advantage.
Characteristics of PvP builds Edit
- Single target attacks for damage dealers
- Perception advantage (buffs for you and teammates, debuffs for foes)
- Slotted Movement powers (the Leaping pool is very popular)
- High To-Hit, Damage and Recharge
- Fitness pool (some builds can forego it)
- Escape powers such as Phase Shift or Hibernate
- The Personal Force Field (PFF) power if available
Characteristics of PvP Powersets Edit
A dedicated PvPer will often play a Powerset they find advantageous. For example, most consider the Scrapper Spines set stronger than Dark Melee or Katana, and Super Reflexes better than Dark Armor or Invulnerability. However, a skilled player can overcome the limitiations of a "gimped" set that they play, especially if they don't face off against the most powerful players running the most powerful builds and teams. And in the zones, numbers and skill are both more important than build.
In any case, give careful thought to Powersets and build before going to PvP, and especially before creating a character especially for PvP. Bear in mind also that dueling, team Arena, solo zone play, and team zone play can all differ in what is most advantageous.
PVP Servers Edit
While PVP can and does occur on any server, more PVP players means a better chance to get into a fight, if you're looking for one. After i13, PVP activity on servers other than Freedom and Virtue is sparse, consisting mostly of the occasional official event. As a venue hosting players and SGs from any server, permitting ready duplication of toons and enhancements, and boasting a long history of high-level Arena play, Test server may once again be important for PVP, but before its closure for i14 beta testing, Test server PVP activity was at a low ebb.