Don’t put your PvE in my PvP, and vice versa.

SUWT 17 is out, and as always, it’s high quality podcast goodness, go check it out.

Near the end of the podcast a post of mine is linked and discussed, with the hosts talking a bit about PvP. I could be wrong, but I’m fairly sure none of the participants are particularly huge fans of PvP, which made the discussion a bit more interesting for me, someone who has long since declared PvP gameplay the cream-of-the-crop in an MMO game if done right.

I think the best point made on the podcast on that topic was the comparison between WoW PvP and a first person shooter, and how FPS fans play their game for the simple fact of playing it, while WoW PvP players seem to play only for the end reward, or however many points they earn towards some reward. This brings up a very important point; WoW players are not PvP players. The appeal of WoW was never an amazing PvP experience (somewhat funny considering the lore WoW is based on, but yea), the appeal has always been a superb leveling game, one which is very solo friendly and accessible to the ‘common’ gamer, both in hardware requirements and game difficulty. Players played to grow a character, gaining levels and get new, better gear. Once you hit the level cap, you are left with only items to grow, and at some point, PvP became the best/easiest source of items, funneling the PvE community into battlegrounds in further pursuit of growth. You can’t blame the players, they are only doing what is available to them in order to play the game they want to play, that being the PvE game. PvP is currently a minor inconvenience, or grind, before they return to PvE.

The major problem with PvE-based players is that they bring the PvE mentality into PvP, and when the rules of PvP are placed upon them, they are not happy. In a raid or quest, if you kill something, you get rewarded. You don’t get rewarded sometimes, and rarely does something kill you without you expecting it. Monsters don’t gank you, quest givers don’t scam you, and quest items don’t run and hide to keep you from finding them. PvE has a defined time=reward ratio. You put your time in, you get the reward, guaranteed.

PvP does not work like that, or at least should not. Even the best plans fail, a ‘sure thing’ could be a trap, and that ever helpful player might be setting you up for the kill. In comparison to PvE, PvP is far more open in terms of possibilities and consequences. It’s not ‘point A to point B’ gameplay. Some days you win, some days you lose, and the separation between a good and bad player is in the ratio. Win 90/10, you are good; go 20/80 and you might need some work. But even that 90/10 player has bad days, days were you get constantly ganked, or a bad disconnect hits you at the wrong moment and proves very costly. It happens to everyone at one point or another. The PvP player knows and accepts this; the PvE player will find it unfair and harsh.

Now I’m not saying all PvE players should avoid PvP like the plague, if anything they should give it a shot, many might like it. But it has to be quality PvP, in a game build with PvP in mind, not an afterthought. If you base all PvP perceptions on a few ganks in UO and WoW’s battleground, I would agree with you that PvP does indeed suck. Base it on a relic raid done right in DAoC, an EVE tourney, or Asherons Call Darktide, and your opinion might change. And if it does not, that’s cool too, you are simply not a PvP fan, and no one is going to force you. Just like the best raid instances don’t convert everyone into a PvE fan, no matter the quality of the zone/instance.

At the same time, you should not force your PvE-based view on a PvP focused game. Don’t expect quest focused, item based, ‘play without interference’ gameplay, just like PvP fans should not expect much when they queue up for a BG.

That is really my biggest fear for Warhammer, that the PvE community will over-influence it, and what was once a PvP based game will instead be WoW 1.5. The greatest unknown right now is whether PvP can be the base for a mass market MMO. History will tell us ‘no’ if we focus on games like Shadowbane or Fury, but that would be like arguing that PvE is not mass market because of games like Vanguard or Asherons Call 2. The truth is in all of the above, it was not the type of game that made it a failure, but the simple fact that those games were not very good to start with. If Warhammer has WoW-like polish and execution, I see no reason why it can’t hit that magic ‘mass market’ level, even if it is based on PvP gameplay.

If WAR delivers on all those PvP promises (a big if at this point), I get a bit worried when I hear PvE people talking about WAR, and how they hope it will be the next ‘it’ thing for them. If done right, it won’t be 100% safe, bad days will happen, and more often then not your gameplay will be based on the players around you. The ups and down in a PvP world are more extreme than those in a PvE world, and it’s those extremes that make it enjoyable for those that enjoy that style of gaming. It will be those same extremes that turn off others. I just hope the message is clear enough on day one for expectations to be set properly.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Dark Age of Camelot, EVE Online, MMO design, Podcast, PvP, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Warhammer Online, World of Warcraft. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Don’t put your PvE in my PvP, and vice versa.

  1. Talyn says:

    At the same time, you should not force your PvE-based view on a PvP focused game. Don’t expect quest focused, item based, ‘play without interference’ gameplay, just like PvP fans should not expect much when they queue up for a BG.

    Yet isn’t this exactly what Burnet and Friends have been hyping? WAR’s vaunted “public quests” that will incorporate both PvE and PvP into the same content? At least that’s my impression, I haven’t yet seen anything from WAR that even mildly intrigues me other than seeing how RvR works since I missed DAOC and that alone isn’t enough to get me to buy the box.

    I’m still a firm believer in PvP meaning player vs. player not my character’s gear vs. your character’s gear that MMO’s give us. I’ll play an FPS for fun, but I also play because I know it’s one of the few ways in videogaming to get a true PvP experience. I also played WoW’s BG’s for fun. I knew what to expect, it’s simply a leaderboard contest that has no bearing whatsoever on anything once it’s over. Now, having said that, I really did enjoy Alterac Valley because it had quest-like goals. Great? Hardly, but it’s a start. Just like in some of the bigger FPS battles (or even RTS!) where you may have multiple goals or multiple attack fronts to manage, and have to divide teams up to accomplish those goals. Having the NPC’s contribute (apparently Tabula Rasa does this too?) was great but I think having an NPC “boss” was a poor idea compared to coming up with some system of having the “best” (yeah, who or what determines “best?”) player on a team buffed up a bit as the “boss” for the others to defeat, where now your team is really defending another player and hopefully will reinforce teamwork rather than “oh who cares, the Alliance always wins AV anyway, just delay them longer for honor.”

    I’d still rather have PvP that is truly meaningful even for primarily PvE players though…

  2. syncaine says:

    Actually Talyn in a recent podcast they talked about the changes made to RvR and PvP in WAR, and while not directly coming out and saying it, they basically said PvE importance had been greatly reduced, as had instanced battles, and that the major focus was back to PvP, and more importantly open field PvP.

    Not sure how much stock you want to put into rumors, but apparently many testers called them out on going ‘carebear’ with the game, and since then things have changed a bit, to be more DAoC and less WoW. They short of admitted it in a post someplace a while ago. Sorry I don’t have links to any of it, but some google work and you should find most of it.

  3. Talyn says:

    I did read a small blurb someone else quoted about putting more emphasis on so-called “World PvP” rather than instanced battles, but as I said, nothing about WAR has been the least bit interesting for me so the odds I’ll go Googling for info are slim :)

    Instanced battles cannot, by their very nature, contain their much-lauded “public quests” so it makes sense if they’re wanting to put an emphasis on these (in addition to RvR) they’d have to concentrate more on putting these battles in the public world where the PvE-ers are found too.

    To get me into WAR, they’re going to have to make the whole thing have meaning, and meaning that I care about fighting for, not just making DAOC 2.0 with Warhammer art.

  4. syncaine says:

    But DAoC had meaning. It’s hard to explain why, but the players on each side actually did hate the other sides, and you learned to loath seeing certain names come at you and attack you. Plus it sounds to me like WAR will be that +1, with more built-in meaning for the winner/loser.

    I think the best way to describe it would be that Mythic realizing making DAoC 2.0 is actually a good thing. DAoC worked, and it worked very well. If WAR delivers us DAoC 2.0, I would consider that a win.

  5. uzikalfaddim says:

    The different groups want different things from their games. That makes it very difficult for the game designer to make it fun for both groups. I suspect it will end up mediocre for both. Personally I wont play PvP. I don’t need anything to amp up my aggression level.

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  8. Bonedead says:

    For some reason my retard brain decided to take this entire post and summarize it into a statement a small fraction of the size of your post.

    PvPers want their game to be more realistic. We want to lose (well not really but we ACCEPT IT).

    Whereas PvEers want more of a fantasy, fake, element. The good guys always win, duh.

    I’m a hero in the land of blahblahblah, I vanquish foul beats and save fair maidens

    I almost had that dude, the asshole pulled a fast one on me, but I got his fag0rt friend.

    PvPers = fans of karma.
    PvEers = fans of no consequences.

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