Last year, I profiled Fitocracy, which isn't a video game per se but a gamified fitness regimen that draws from concepts familiar to role-playing video games. One MMO analogue it lacked, however, was the idea of player-vs-player combat.
Well, that's no longer the case. While Fitocracy on Monday revealed its system for PvP duels, it was beaten to the punch by rival WeightTraining.com, a fitness social network, which on Friday set up PvP "Battles" of its own.
On WeightTraining.com, members may search out and challenge anyone they want to a Battle — most reps, most weight, most cardio time. It's all on the honour system, of course, but at least you know you won't get clubbed to death by someone with superior gear, or ambushed at the water fountain by the alpha male on your server. You can reject any challenge.
Jeffrey Crews, of WeightTraining.com, said the PvP angle was deliberate. "We figured that if we could allow users to battle each other in everyday fitness activities, then we'd be creating a system where users could motivate each other, and create a system that would allow a person who doesn't know many exercises to get involved," Crews said.
WeightTraining.com says it is working on a smartphone app that will integrate all of these features. Fitocracy already has one. And it, like the website, features a new "duel" button that allows you to challenge someone. The feature was just announced on Monday.
The duels are offered in a whimsical manner — a message saying someone slapped you with a glove, offering you the option of running away or fighting. There are 10 smackdowns, including heaviest bench press, most distance run and the like. But a big difference is Fitocracy's PvP requires "Hero" status, which runs $US4.99 a month (or $US44.99 a year).
Again, the biggest divergence from actual PvP is the honour system; both contestants have to be forthright in what they have done for the week. But if offered and contested in a good-natured way, bringing a little more geek culture to the weight room is probably a good thing.
Now, if Ben Bertoli suddenly goes all Lord-of-the-Flies and brings PvP to his "sixth-grade MMO" Class Realm, then we're all in deep trouble.