In somewhat of a continuation from yesterday’s post, and with the idea sparked after reading MBP’s post here, today’s topic aims to examine why so many PvE ‘carebears’ play PvP-focused MMOs, using EVE Online as the example. Not since Ultima Online has a mass market MMO had as harsh a death penalty as EVE Online has, nor has the PvP been less consensual, as literally you could lose your ship at any moment. And yet with exactly that environment, why do some many PvE players exist in what on the surface looks like a hardcore PvP game?
To me it comes down to something rather simple, PvE players need PvP players, even if those very PvP players make life more difficult for them at times. Without the PvP players blowing each other up, making travel dangerous, limiting access to certain areas, and raising the demand of PvP-focused items, EVE’s economy would spiral into WoW territory, where a single mod does all the work for you, and were gold has lost 99% of its value. While it’s impossible to pinpoint the exact percentage of PvP players compared to PvE players in EVE, it’s a safe bet to say there are more ‘carebears’ than PvPers. Something that on the surface is rather surprising in a game that’s almost sole ‘end-game’ is massive PvP. But it goes deeper than just maintaining an interesting economy.
Crafting in most MMOs is a sideshow at best, and complete trash on average, yet in EVE it’s the basis for countless Corporations (guilds), and numerous pilots are almost exclusively focused on crafting. Not just one or two months of grinding out a crafting profession, I’m talking years of playing a character who does nothing but crafting-related activities. And the real kicker? Some of the most powerful individuals in EVE are crafters and other pure ‘carebear’ pilots, as their focus on wealth allows them to hire the best mercenaries to deal with any ‘issues’ that might arise, or makes them highly sought after by PvP-minded Corps/Pilots in need of supplies or production.
How many PvE players dream of becoming a market mogul, feared by killers due to the trading empire they have built from the ground up? PvP goes beyond just who does the most damage swinging a sword, yet in too many MMO’s that’s exactly the extent of it. In a game like EVE, the ‘carebears’ also engage in PvP, it’s just behind the scenes. They do battle with buy orders, finding rare spots to mine ore before someone else does, and undercutting the competition to force them out of your trading area. Rather than just mass selling all your drops to some NPC, the pilots in EVE must find the best possible place to sell their items, and those conditions are 100% player controlled. There are no NPC’s who stand around and accept all the useless junk you want to dump on them for some quick profit.
There are countless other factors that play into the equation, but the basis remains the same; in order to maintain a healthy, vibrant virtual world (not a hop on, go for an on-rails ride), you need to empower both the PvPer and the ‘carebear’. The smartest, most dedicated players should rise to the top, regardless if they focus on mining or ganking. Ignore one, and soon both sides suffer.