First let me start of by apologizing for my lack of brevity, this will likely not be a short read.
I have played just about every major MMO release since Ultima Online (with the notable exception of EQ), I have enjoyed aspects of several game but I have disappointed by many more. My favorite game MMO of all time is Dark Age of Camelot. DAOC did alot of things wrong, from taking 4 years to implement player owned mounts, promoting a leveling system that killed the low level zones and drove away new players and arguably the entire Trials of Atlantis expansion. But one place that is always shined was in its end game PvP.
In DAOC there were three player factions and the entire end game premise was to have these three factions constantly waring with each other in a massive, persistent battle for control of towers, keeps and relics. This PvP (or as they called it RvR for realm vs realm) was not instanced, there was no timer, it has no team balancing feature (in fact it didn't even auto create teams, the players had to make groups themselves) it didn't even have a level requirement. Yet every day and night across its, then, many servers thousands of people would spends hour doing nothing but battling their enemy factions for bragging rights, class improvements and the glory of their realm. It inspired a true devotion in ones own realm and a hatred of the enemy. You wanted to go defend a tower or siege an enemy keep because every one you took made your side stronger, giving your entire realm bonuses in pvp and pve content and eventually control over a massive dungeon shared by all three realms but usable by only one at a time.
All of this was possible, all of it was worth doing because it was persistent. You didn't have to wait in a queue, you just decided to go out to the RvR zone, find a group and go find something to kill (in an area roughly half the size of WoWs Northrend continent). DAOC would have been nothing with this feature, its the entire reason the game was a success. Yet, no game since then aside from Warhammer Online (a game developed by the same people) has really tired to work persistent large scale PvP into its game.
Now jump to Rift, a game that I started looking at about two months ago and a game that has really captured my attention. I have played in the beta events, watched every episode of The Sanctum, listened to the rift podcast and logged more hours on the ZAM Soul Builder then I would like to admit. I fully intend to pre-order a collectors edition this weekend. I have every belief that the game will become as big a hit as we have seen in this post-WoW world, but my one worry is for its long term future. At the end of the day I dont think that what they have planned for end game content at launch, at least as much has been revealed/discussed so far, can hold onto as sizable playerbase as they may have at launch beyond six months. The shadow of Port Scion looms large but we really no nothing about it other then that its a whole zone and it wont be in the game at launch.
In a game that has, so far, spent more time talking about its PvP aspects then its instanced PvE content I find it odd that they have not seemed to use a persistent model for its end game PvP. Instanced battlegrounds are great but get stale after a while, you can add more but its just more of the same. The ability to mount raids into enemy quest hubs and "gank" people doing PvE can be fun but usually just devolves into griefing and without a true objective like capturing territory lacks the incentive to keep people doing it.
Do you think Trion should or will add a persistent, large scale PvP element to Rift's end game content?
Why has no game company tried to employ an end game PvP system like the one used in Dark Age of Camelot?