I have been playing FFXI for just a little over two months now and enjoy the game thoroughly. For example, I was just reading on another thread on the FFXI General forum that some players were frustrated by the "grind" of the game mechanics, but I think this "grind" is what makes the game fun.
However, the one thing that I have found lacking in this game is a strong PvP element. I have to admit that because I am a new player, I have not done Ballista yet, and I think there are other PvP "minigames" as well. But that's exactly the point: any PvP that goes on in this game is simply a side-show. PvP plays no real strong role in FFXI.
I'm not talking about adding more PvP minigames in FFXIV. I'm talking about being able to kill any player, at any time, in any area. This adds a whole new element to the game -- anyone who has played an MMO that does feature PvP can attest to this. There's danger around every corner. Arguments among players can be solved not with words but with fights. "Trust" among allied becomes enormously important. And so on, and so on.
Anyways, here are my main arguments as to why adding PvP would be better:
1.Something about killing a computer just isn't the same. For example, once you figure out the mechanics of how a certain monster fights, it's game-over for the monster. By and large, the monster will no longer surprise you, as it is programmed to fight with a certain strategy. THERE ARE NO SURPRISES when fighting a computer program. On the other hand, human players are not simply streams of code -- they can think tactically and strategically, and they can pull out surprises. Fighting is much deeper and more complex when it's human versus human. I fenced for 3 years in college, trust me when I say that combat is INCREDIBLY deep when you are trying to win a fight against another person that can also think/react/plan/feint/surprise/etc. And fighting with humans would constantly be "fresh" and "new," since players would devise new strategies to respond to old strategies, and combat would evolve over time.
2.If you want "community" play, this will bring "community" play! The only other MMO I played was Asheron's Call. The thing I liked most about that game was the social dynamics that were created simply because there was full-on PvP in that game. It would be difficult to describe such rich social dynamics in a short space, but an example may be sufficient:
It evolved into a situation where players had voluntarily organized themselves into two groups: the "Bloods" and the "Antis." They fought "wars" against each other. There were camp "raids." Think of it in terms of Linkshell versus Linkshell battles -- what better way to build "community" than by building a group of people whom you trust and depend upon for protection from "enemy" characters. The "us" versus "them" aspect of the game was very powerful, and I think it brought me closer to my AC friends than I am with my FFXI friends. We "died" together against our foes on the field of battle. There was betrayal, backstabbing, and scandal.
I can't possibly do justice here to the complexity of community built under the mechanics of PvP, but hopefully I've gotten the point across.
3. Make "safe" areas in town. This would be similar to the "zoning an agro" concept -- if another player attacks you while you are outside, you could run to town safely. And if towns are "safe" areas, players could craft/trade/socialize without fear of random killing. The ECONOMY aspect of the game would not be effected by PvP if there were areas that players could safely gather and trade.
4.Make some, but not all, servers feature PvP. If SE is still terribly concerned that most players don't want PvP all the time in-game, then make some servers PvP, and some servers not PvP. This would be a smart business strategy: cater to a whole separate niche of players that like the MMO experience but also want PvP. Those players that want PvP can play on the PvP servers. Those that don't want PvP can play on the "Player vs. Computer Only" servers.
An example to support this: when I started FFXI two months ago, I had a real life friend start with me. He quit after the first week because he really wanted to see PvP in the game. That's $12.95 per month that SE was passing up right there -- and I'm sure this has happened thousands of times.
To conclude, there are so many complexities and rich game dynamics that are brought on by having a PvP system. So PLEASE SE, consider having some of the servers in FFXIV be PvP servers!
Edit: Fixed a typo...thanks for pointing it out. Obviously a freudian slip that I wanted PvP in FFXI also!
Edited, Jan 28th 2010 2:47pm by GadsdenFromTitan