Is PvP A Prison Experiment?

Sometimes it can really seem like random PvP groups are a cruel social experiment. But is that just the nature of the beast?

After one too many random battlegrounds with, shall we say, less than 100% committed teammates, against premade, organised forces, Erinys of Harpy’s Nest was close to cracking.

And in an essay which I think most WoW players who have poked their head inside a battleground will related to, she spends some time exploring what goes wrong, why, and what could be done to improve the entire mess

“At the moment, random battlegrounds are the Azerothian equivalent of the Stanford Prison Experiment staring the geared as the Prison guards, the bullies and the aggressors and those without as the Prisoners. Even with the patience of a saint, it’s hard to keep your tongue when for the fifth or sixth time in a row you end up with people who haven’t gemmed, enchanted or bought any PvP gear at all. Who flop over dead the second someone glares at them and then blames you for not keeping them alive even though according to the combat log that Mage did 120k damage to them in 2 spell rotates. In that AB I referenced earlier, just like Prisoners in that experiment, they turned on each other in an attempt to prove to the “guards” that they, unlike the others had value. Under pressure, the community devolves at a frightening rate earning us a horrible hateful reputation. In many cases, they don’t even have to be losing to attack others, even a slight setback can cause an outburst. The current battleground system with it’s random teams, premades and gear differences is set up to turn people against each other. ”

I’ve not read many discussions of the internal pressures which can cause larger MMORPG groups to turn on each other, and Erinys has an interesting and compassionate take on the problem. She’s not blaming the players here (botters aside) so much as the design of the system which causes a pressure cooker of frustration to build up.

I’ll be interested to read the follow-on discussion from this one!

What do you think? How can we take the lid off the pressure cooker of random PvP? Is there even a problem?