One of the problems I find, not just in games but also in life, is that people have an unwillingness to accept logical truth. There is a basic dichotomy to any competative game: if someone wins, someone else has to lose.
Look at something non-MMO, like Baseball… the teams with the most wins last season still lost just over 40% of their games. The Mets and Yankees finished with .599 records. 97 wins and 65 losses. And its considered a pretty good season. Yet somehow, in PvP games, lots of folks find that ratio, dying 4 out of 10 times you enter a fight, to be completely and utterly unacceptable. On the other hand, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had a .377 season, 61 wins and 101 losses. More than 6 out of 10 times, they lost… if people can’t accept a 40% death rate, a 60+% rate would drive them completely off the “unfair” deep end. If you are winning 6 out of 10 fights… someone out there is only winning 4 out of 10.
There seems to be, among players of computer games, a feeling that somehow them being human playing against a computer (even if its actually another person controlling the enemy on their screen) gives them an edge, that the game will be “more fair”. Of course, the idea of “more fair” is a total waste of time. There is fair and there is not fair. Something cannot be more or less fair, once it stops being fair it is not fair. What they mean by “more fair” is that they will win more often. Against computer AI in most games this is true simply because the game doesn’t learn. It may kick the crap out of you all the time when you first play, but as you play more you will (should) get better, and the computer will not. Eventually, you’ll win all the time because you will have learned all the moves it is programmed to use. Computer games are old dogs, and they don’t learn new tricks.
But when a player takes control of the enemy, now you are playing against… you. When he loses, just like you, he’ll learn. The both of you will learn, and keep challenging each other, and over time what will show is that one of you is better at learning than the other and therefore stays ahead better, winning more often. One of you will be the Yankees, and the other one will be the Devil Rays. And there is nothing wrong with this. Its true. Its logical. And from the point of view of the Devil Rays, totally and completely unfair.
So, what’s the answer? There isn’t one. Like I said, its not fair, and that’s just the way it is. But I will leave you with a thought…
It comes from the movie Rudy, about Daniel Ruettiger. Rudy doesn’t make the real team, but he makes the practice team. In practice, one of the real team guys yells at Rudy for trying too hard. Rudy fires back with this great line (which of course I can’t find right now) about how he has to do his best in order to keep the real team at their best. When you PvP, keep in mind that you may not win all the time, or even most of the time, but by God you can make them work for it.