Wednesday 14 May 2014

NBI: Do PVP and PVE Mix?

This is actually a topic I suggested for this year's NBI, and a number of other NBI bloggers have posted recently about it:

Arcadian has a good write up on the topic of how these two can co-exist. Mainly if the PVP aspect isn't mandatory and doesn't block the PVE guys from any content.
Doctor Hannah doesn't mind "Responsible" PvP which is difficult given the douche-baggery that comes with the territory.
Doone has a piece on open PVP and fairness which has a great line: " Players will always find ways to avoid it if they really hate it, which might include not playing their game."
Looking for Playtime actually grew to like PvP, as the PvE element gets boring having done the same quests in different games.

My answer, after having experienced both consensual and non-consensual PvP (oh so dirty), is never.

Having open PvP all the time in PvE zones like in the old days of Ultima Online or in Wizardry Online (open PvP with chance of permadeath) really added to one's adrenaline as random encounters against Player Killers (PKs) were just that, very random. Unlike in say, a First Person Shooter deathmatch where you -know- you will be fighting other people, in MMOs it's a matter of some decision making and a lot of luck. Some days you might not run into anyone, let alone PKs. Other days you may have the misfortune of being hunted by a whole slew of them - usually for no reason other than "they were bored".

Doone's piece on fairness also rings true here: often a newbie in a FPS is still capable of serious trouble against a veteran, and usually the teams auto balance each side to keep the numbers even. In MMO's a low level and low geared character has almost no chance against multiple max levelled and epic tiered opponents. Not all PvPers are douchebags though (and not all PvEers are not). I've had highly wanted criminal characters and soldiers of an enemy faction be very civil and helpful to me (or at the very least ignored me seeing my low level) but they were few and far between the more common, PK thug type.

I agree with Arcadian that when developers mix PvE and PvP it's because they are lazy and hoping to get free content by feeding PvEers to PvPers who serve as a luck-gate to whatever PvE objective they were after. However this doesn't change the fact that it is still up to the individual player on how to behave. Do you really leave your morals and decision making when you log into your MMORPG? Do you get joy from ruining someone else's day? If you grief someone enough in game (because you were bored or just because the game wanted you to kill x people this week) that they commit suicide in real life, do you think that's on you? Of course it is. That there are people who think otherwise is part of the reason why these two game styles should never be found together.

Let the killers go kill each other in their own little room(s) while everyone else enjoys the actual game. Otherwise, just advertise your whole game as PvP focused so the rest of us know not to bother playing it.


  1. Well said. Part of the reason I'm not playing Archage is because I don't have an interest in PvP. Such a shame when games that offer a massive amount of interesting PvE elements and then decide that adding the aspect of PvP will make them all the better. Something many sandboxes do.

    Consensual PvP I don't mind. Being forced to defend myself, I just won't even bother with the game. I have played different PvP aspects, open PvP servers and games with this type of play and I can say it was always short lived due to griefing, I just don't have time for it.

    1. "I just don't have time for griefing."

      That is brilliant. Wish I'd thought of it before writing up that lengthy post! Thanks for commenting kaozz! :D

  2. My 1st MMO was SWG. All servers were mixed PVE/PVP, but pvp only happened if you consciously flagged yourself for it, and even then you could only be attacked but other likewise-flagged players. It was VERY rare outside of scheduled events that anyone ever flagged. I never did, even though I did choose a faction in order to play with some friends and be able to heal them while we did pve when they were flagged. I'd get a temporary flag for that, but we were lways off in the boonies and I never saw anyone.

    On to EQ2 which was pve only for the 1st several years.

    On to Rift where it was similar to SWG in that you could choose to flag on a pve server if you wanted, but didn't have to. And eventually they fixed the problem where if someone else flagged they went attackable to you even if you didn't flag and thus could draw you in if you used an AE ability in your pve session. But before that was fixed, that was one of my biggest complaints about Rift -- "you got your pvp in my pve game." Some friends did some warzones early on and I went in with them and I tended to be near the top of the board each time and my friends asked me how I got to be so good at pvp, and the answer was "I read the forums and know how to build for it and the rest takes care of itself."

    As it was, after 2 or 3 I was "done." Rewards were low to non-existent. Penalties were also non-existent. It simply felt like a compete waste of time to me. Add in that I saw everything I'd seen in the pvp forums -- "elite" pvp folks all had the same build and used the same rotations every time and thus weren't any different than a pve mob anyway, and well.... Yeah, I don't understand the pvp person's argument that fighting a human is exciting while fighting an AI script isn't. I don't see any functional difference.

    And I play to relax and escape the real world. I don't need the stress of always looking over my shoulder and being sure my gear and build are up to snuff for when that stealth-ganker comes at me while I'm fighting a tough mob. Count me as a pve-only person. Pvp just doesn't make any sense to me, nor do I take any enjoyment from it at all.

    1. Glad to have you on the PvE side of the fence, and thank you for posting! :)