PvP in DAoC... hmm, yes... a totally different barrel of monkeys compared to the dull and uninteresting PvP in WoW, for example. Zones with keeps, which were the objectives - capture and control the keeps; some keeps had relics which you could capture and return to you main keep - rather than a boring flag, Albion had Excalibur which could be captured, for instance.
As this was in the day before vent, all communication and planning was done in game, and many guilds had contacts with each other for planning and organising the keep raids. Most often, in my experience, the PvP wasn't just PvP for the sake of it, it happened as a by product of trying to capture or defend a keep. There was amazing co-ordination between groups (which made up the informal "raid"), where by agreement only the group leaders would give commands in group chat, to make coordination better.
The keeps themselves had to have doors destroyed to break in, and keep lords battled and defeated to capture the keep. Items such as doors could also be repaired and upgraded; repairs costing in material good (wood for example), and while a guild controlling a keep would have their guild logo on the banners, and the cloaks and shields of the NPC defenders and keep lords, it would require a cost to the guild in the form of guild points, which were gained from PvP (or RvR) activity. Furthermore, the keeps could be upgraded, which would grant tougher and/or more NPCs, more "health" to the doors etc, but would also spend guild points at a more rapid rate.
While the PvP aspects of the game allowed players to battle each other, the range of abilities they had would allow them to also perform attacks against a keep, such as being able to attack doors. While this was possible, the usage of siege weapons meant more damage was able to be done. These siege weapons were crafted from components, which were so heavy that many people were required to carry parts for them. Then in battle, the catapults, trebuchets and battering rams could be constructed, used and defended.
An important element to all of this is the time taken for all this to happen. A poorly defended keep could probably be captured in half an hour, if done at 3am against a level 1 keep. Most battles for these keeps were a lot longer, often taking at least 2 or 3 hours; attackers not only attacking, but defending themselves against reinforcements from 1 or possibly 2 realms, while keeping siege engines repaired, while the defenders use cauldrons of oil to defend, and try to repair gates etc faster than they are being damaged.
Due to the variety of spells and how they work, there was a lot of jargon used which has long since fallen out of use in other games, for example the distinction between PBAOE and GTAOE - PB being point blank (ie originating from the player character) and the GT being ground target (where you target and area on the ground - in most games now this is just AOE).
There was also a trend for buff bots to be parked AFK at or near the starting area for a realm, so that all groups could have all buffs. Not pretty, but effective.
The main problems with the DAoC RvR wasn't so much with the concept as with the physical - the raw computing power, both at the client end and the server end. Many times raids could fail due to people disconnecting from the lag generated both by the number of people, and from the number of spell effects. The server end could also have problems; many a raid failed when too many people entered a zone - the zone server would crash, effectively wiping the raid. There were times when this would also cause relics to reset back to keep where it originated.
While there were problems aplenty, from group communication and coordination, to server stability, on the whole RvR was fun. I'm not an awesome PvPer, but I enjoyed being able to go along and help take a keep for the glory of my realm. And since I left DAoC, all those years ago, this is one area which has never, for me, been topped by any newer game.
f: Hugh Jones
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