So if you're burned out on arenas right now like I am, you've probably been sitting around being bored with wow pvp. I decided to give Age of Conan a try with a good buddy of mine who loves killing people just for the sport of it as much as I do. Well ok, maybe not as much as I do, but he's damn close.
So it took me a couple days to get up to where I am right now, which is level 19, and I've gotta say... I'm digging the ffa pvp in this game quite a bit. If you are someone who loves the thrill of the hunt, and the excitement of being hunted, then you will like the pvp in this game. It's basically all world pvp. Outside of the newbie town, you'll find dozens of mini-instances and mini-dungeons. When you zone in, you (and your group if you have one) gets randomly thrown into one of the half-dozen instances of that particular area, and you're free to roam about and kill as you please. In WoW terms, think of it as 6 instances of deadmines going at any time for everyone, and you can expect to bump into other players/groups as you go through the one you were placed in. So while you are questing, you also have the freedom to go ruin other peoples' days. And I love it.
I think we spent more time over the last couple of days roaming around and farming newbs more than anything. If we happened to be in the right area for quests, well, that was purely a bonus. So in that sense, we'd go around town gathering up all the quests, and then picking a place to go farm some newbies and make them nerdrage, all the while slowly accomplishing our quest log as we went. I also like the fact that PvP doesn't reward you for any reason other than the pure, simple gratification that shooting someone else in the throat can offer.
You don't get people participating in pvp for fabricated or alternative reasons, such as "farming honor" in WoW, which I find to be extremely boring. It's my personal philosophy that, as long as you create a system that allows for pvp, people will participate in it and play in that sort of environment if they enjoy it. If they don't, you have to end up creating these horrible "incentives" such as honor rewards and things like that. To me, you wouldn't need those if PvPing in your game was fun in and of itself. You wouldn't need to incite people to keep PvPing for gear if the PvP itself was a blast. I think this is something that Blizzard has really lost sight of with WoW. Did you play Warcraft 3 to farm points to buy better gear? No. You played simply for the sake of playing, and dominating your opponent. That philosophy is simply gone in World of IncentiveCraft.
In that sense, I will say that I hope more games in the future follow the Age of Conan philosophy and simply let players choose when and where they have their pvp engagements at. I would take a hardcore wow server if it meant that I could follow other people into their instances (even my own faction), and kill them as necessary. Sure would save a lot of customer service tickets about "he said this" and "she said that". Let them have it out on their own, and simply make it known that being killed will happen, and that crying about it will do nothing. You want justice? Exact your own revenge.
As my favorite Team Fortress 2 character would say: "Keep crying, BABIES."