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Reader Comments (70)

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 12:30PM clik said

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Is it ok to answer with "because it's fun"? I find both pve and pvp to be fun. I'm a hater of neither. I like coming up with strategies to defeat other classes or a group of classes. I like the sense of danger in sandbox MMOs and sometimes control territory with friends or know that a certain crew usually PK's or pirates in a certain place.

It adds dynamic pace to what is usually more often then not a very static world with monsters. It's challenging and keeps me coming back for more, pve normally doesn't challenge me at all. It's usually something I do to relax and conversate with friends.

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 1:00PM (Unverified) said

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PvE is like a puzzle: once you figure it out its not much fun doing it again. PvP is like a sport: even when you've figured it out someone comes along who knows it just a little bit better. Of course the problem with PvP is giving a playing field in which the players can compete on even ground.

Can't comment on anything except Aion and WAR. Aion failed to give that even playing field. WAR is getting much much better at it. For me the only thrill from MMOs comes from killing another player or fighting to the last HP. What I have trouble with is: Why do people PvE?

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 1:05PM Valdamar said

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Why PvP in MMOs? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. There's not really enough lamentation in MMOs to make it worthwhile, though - except on forums - but I digress.

Seriously, when I PvP in MMOs I'm doing it because PvP is unpredictable, self-perpetuating, tactically interesting, and (hopefully) fun. I always hold up Planetside as my example of great MMO PvP, because you couldn't predict how your evening would unfold - 3 factions, 400 players per continent, all fighting for the same objectives, it just felt like a war with real camaraderie and chaos, where individual actions could make a difference, and immersion was so much greater than any PvE MMO I've ever played. There were always surprises, new things to see, experience, and tell anecdotes about for years to come. Even losing a hard fought "last stand" type of battle could be enjoyable, without the individual penalties that most MMO PvP levies on losers, which just prompts victimisation by players.

Notably PvP lets you be tactically inventive, switching from proactive to reactive on the fly, perhaps even using feints and misdirection (which works on players, not so much on scripted AI) - things that regular PvE content tries to purge from gameplay (and players) in the interests of funnelling everyone through the same controlled linear experience, because balance must be served, homogenising every player's experiences to the same boring parade, ticking off items from a shopping list of the same old quests with different NPC names, progressing the way the developer intended with no thought required. Hopefully dynamic content/spawns and better AI will cure those problems for PvE, in time, to make it as spontaneous and adventurous as PvP can be when it is done right.

The problem is that most PvP MMOs don't have Planetside's purity of gameplay:
- they have too much PvE clogging up their PvP
- they have unclear objectives, or worse no major objectives at all
- they have individual rewards and character progress being more important than faction progress
- they divide players into being suspicious/hateful of each other rather than uniting factions in a common cause of "them vs us"
- they have long waiting times between anything interesting happening, so that players spend more time wandering around looking for a fight than actually fighting
- they have lots of grind to set your character up so that you can actually afford to PvP in the first place, or be geared up to the point where you at least have a chance

In short, most PvP MMOs actually have very little PvP - which is why I get my PvP from multiplayer FPS games, where the player matters more than the character and the basic combat is usually more fun and visceral than in MMOs.

PvP holds a lot of promise, but with MMOs it rarely delivers. MMOs focus on the character, which removes the focus from the player experience, especially when players are divided from each other by level/gear differences. MMOs focus on the rewards, which often removes the focus from the gameplay - well I say to heck with risk vs reward, just give me risks that are fun to take and I won't need rewarding for it! MMOs that focus so much on class balance just remove all the fun of players balancing themselves during play - PvP MMOs in particular really need to be skill-based, preferably allowing you to switch builds and respec often so you can experiment in different situations, and should certainly focus on horizontal progression rather than vertical (you gain flexibility and options, rather than power) so that newbie/lowbie players are not at a hopeless disadvantage.

Basically I agree with the article - trying to force PvP into the PvE-style MMOs we're used to really is sticking a square peg in a round hole - PvP MMOs need to be designed from the beginning as a PvP MMO - you can't bolt PvP onto a PvE MMO design and expect it to work out well.

That's why I don't PvP much in MMOs - they're just not designed with fun PvP gameplay in mind.

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 2:08PM Tom in VA said

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"Why PvP in MMOs? To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women. There's not really enough lamentation in MMOs to make it worthwhile, though - except on forums - but I digress."

Awesome, awesome opening here, my friend. I lol'd -- heartily. :)
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Posted: Oct 15th 2010 2:00AM (Unverified) said

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i normally only buy mmo's that are centered around pvp.
mainly because i love the competetive aspect of it, the feeling that youre better than player A ( also the right to show of your high rating).

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 2:13PM (Unverified) said

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I PvP when and because its fun. I don't need to measure my manhood, or vent my angst, like some seem to. For me, PvP is a cross between a computer game and a game in the real world. It's like a game of touch football in the virtual back yard.

I like battlegrounds, and I have very little use for open world PvP. I like to have objectives and a defined "win" or "loss" at the end. When the only objective is to kill the other guy, as in a duel, I lose interest.

I don't PvP for rewards, but I appreciate them. I wouldn't PvP, ever, if it meant losing my character's cash, equipment or levels. For me, that would drain the fun out of it. Finally, when I'm done with PvP for the moment, I don't want to have to deal with it in my PvE gameplay. Player bounties would just be annoying, for example.

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 3:39PM Nadril said

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Guess what, there are a whole bunch of single player RPG games for those who want a PvE experience.

See what I did there?


I PvP because it's more fun than killing a simply designed boss over and over and over. If I want PvE I'll play a single player game because that at least has some decent story to it. If I'm online I want to play against other players.

Posted: Oct 15th 2010 2:51PM Nadril said

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That's great and all but I find PvE in MMOs boring. Deal with it. I don't care if most people "aren't competitive" I care about what I find the most fun.
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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 3:46PM tekert said

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I see it the other way arround, like PvE, envioment = players and mobs, if there is pve in a multiplayer there has to be pvp. For example I don't find pvp very appealing if there is no pve, Lineage 2 comes to mind for example. no instances or "dimensions" where it forms a sort of "barrier" between pve and pvp, well, thats the way I see it. If you want pure hardcore pvp one generally goes to other types of games OR "instanced games". I mean, the whole pve vs pvp filosofy comes from game designs were one chooses what to do in an absolute manner. Is like talking pve vs pvp on a game were politics, war and player driven choises "do" the pvp or pve in the way they want.

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 3:54PM Greg W said

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It's funny because I cut my PvP teeth on FPS back in the days of UT2004, and it's my firm belief that the opposite of what Jef said is true. FPS requires no skill, only a fast connection and a beast computer. MMO PvP requires more hand-eye reflexes than simply "point, click." MMO PvP requires a player to practice and learn calculated situation-response reflexes beyond simple targetting that makes it far more skill based than anything in the FPS genre can provide.

FPS taught me the basics. MMOs is for the pros.

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 4:04PM Jef Reahard said

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What about gear though? The very fact that someone unskilled like me has gotten more than a few kills in various games over the years seems to indicate that gear-based games negate player skill to a large extent. My feeling is that FPS games take direct/immediate physical and decision-making skills, whereas MMOs require preparation and planning skills, and the ability to come up with viable builds prior to actual combat. You don't agree?

In any event, this has been a more interesting discussion than I'd anticipated. Lots of great responses.
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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 4:31PM (Unverified) said

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Well said Greg Waller, the PvP element of MMOs is usually based upon a sequence of move/countermove mechanics that is far evolved beyond FPS just "shoot them in the head". While gear in MMOs is very important, a player who knows when to stun/snare/silence an opponent has the opportunity to be very effective.

The PvE exists to give the world lore, a storytelling framework if done correctly, and in games like EVE, to recover your losses when the PvP odds are stacked against you.

Even the carebear players in EVE are PvPing the market, hoarding blueprints and research facilities, tracking prices, etc. And they are the ones that win when the PvP'ers drag their smoking pods back to station for another ship.
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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 4:42PM Matix said

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@Jeff

I have to agree with Greg. FPS games come down to reflexes and gaming rig. That's not skill, that's a hyper metabolism. No amount of true skill or strategy can beat the fact that a hyper-active 13 yo from Wyoming's parents bought him a rig that can render the battlefield distance such that he can snipe you as you leave the spawn area.

I can't speak for other MMOs, but for MMORPGs PVP gear is the roleplaying aspect of the game where my character, the (literal!) veteran of a thousand battles. True, he can beat other max level characters, but if my character has been through a thousand plus battles and yours is someone fresh off the turnip wagon, I should be able to pwn your face.

Still, gear isn't a replacement or negation of skills, rather gear is the RESULT of class management skills, coordination skills, and strategy skills shining through in developing your character.

If anything, you see gear having a GREATER impact for skill-nullifying in some FPSs than RPGs. When everyone has the same starter weapon whoever can find the mega gun spawn and get that weapon first wins on that map. Even in MMOFPS games with leveling, if the twitchy metabolism and gaming rigs are close enough, it's down to whoever enters the field with the bigger/longer range gun.

IMHO MMORPGs (with class management, coordination, and strategy skills) are where the skilled PVP gaming is, beating MMOFPSs (where twitchy metabolism and gaming rigs rule) hands down..
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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 4:51PM Graill440 said

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Quote]
"MMO PvP requires more hand-eye reflexes than simply "point, click." MMO PvP requires a player to practice and learn calculated situation-response reflexes beyond simple targetting that makes it far more skill based than anything in the FPS genre can provide"
Endquote]

Your quote is all about humor isnt it? Because i laughed quite hard at the absurdity of it. If your MMO has any one button targeting, any scripting, any macros, is gear dependant (which is all the big name MMO's) then i have to burst your bubble, they require no skill other than the ability to write script or macros and are themselves, all "point and click".

Hand and eye reflexes in any of todays current MMO's? Complicated? Calculated-situation response reflexes?...hahaha. Greg, you are a comic genius.

Games that actually required skill died off, no targeting, no macros, no scripting, not gear dependant, aoe friendly fire damage. All you "hardcore pvp's are all actually closet carebears enjoying your sugar coated, detuned pvp. Thats a blanket statement too. "Hardcore" pvp'rs detest an even playing field, all of the ignorant arguments about "fair" aside, the whining and preaching on both sides is well known.

There is no actual "skill related" pvp worth any type of subscription in todays market, a sad but true fact. The only real pvp related mmo worth anything in the "skill" dept died quickly.

And off tangent a bit, PVP FPS's like MW2, BC2, as examples and as horrible as they are in realism, require MUCH more skill than some simple, macrofied, gear gluttoned point and click MMO. (since you compared the two).

Your rebuttal Greg the pro? (chuckle) Remember, its all good, your piece was very entertaining.
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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 5:12PM Greg W said

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Jef,

No, I don't agree. Let me explain why.

Point #1: MMOs depend on gear.

The truth is that almost every modern FPS also offers a gear-based equivalent whether the selection is made before a session begins, as in CS, or through map-knowledge (i.e. knowing where the Sniper Rifle spawns) like in Halo. To say that MMO PvP's reliance on gear removes or displaces any skill factor is to undermine the same principle practiced in FPS games where one's gear load-out can be the single determining factor for a player's success over another player.

Point #2: MMOs depend on time spent.

Again, a moot point, since the amount of time spent learning and memorizing the features of an FPS map is the same as the time spent in an MMO gaining levels and acquiring gear. In fact, in many FPS guides and tutorials, "map knowledge" is one of the primary "skills" a player must learn. And to memorize a map, a player must spend time on it.

Point #3: MMO PvP is pre-determined by talent-specs, consumable prep, and pre-fight planning.

We could do this all day, because the same type of feature is predominant in many of the FPS games available. Before a session or match begins, a player selects his/her class (Team Fortress), weapon load-out (Counter Strike), map strategy (Halo), or, in some rare cases, all three (Global Agenda).

So, given all the arguments above, what is left? WASD reflexes? Nope, MMOs require that skill, so naturally, someone claiming that FPS requires skill and that MMOs don't wouldn't lean on keyboard agility as an argument. I would go so far as to say that WASD agility is the only thing that separates FPS skill from the skill required to play games like Neopets or Farmville.

But MMO skill requirements don't stop there while most FPS games do. Many MMO games feature a learned set of skills and abilities acquired through leveling. For many of those skills, a player has to create a mental connection between the situation in which that particular skill is most effective, and the reflex to apply it in a timely, strategic manner. Furthermore, a player is then must learn and assign these abilities to keybinds. Thus, the very fact that an average MMO will feature somewhere on the order of 10 or more hand-eye reflexes for situational abilities. All of this, in addition to all of the "skills" required by an average FPS game, and it becomes obvious which of the two is more skill-based.

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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 5:32PM Jef Reahard said

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@Greg:

Well, I guess the saying about learning something new every day fits in this case. I hadn't considered your points, and when you lay them out like that, I'm hard-pressed to argue.

/tiphat
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Posted: Oct 15th 2010 1:49AM ThePenIsMightier said

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FPS games DO require skill. Put a good player and a shitty player on the exact same computer and you'll notice the bad player doesn't do better-long rendering distances don't give you the reflexes you need to hit a moving target while moving in a precise location, a fast connection doesn't jump out of the way of projectiles at just the right moment, a fancy keyboard won't circle strafe cover for you, etc etc....let's set up similar rigs and go head to head in an FPS neither of us have played before and see if we have an evenly split win/loss ratio since our lack of familiarity and "skill" should provide it. I bet there'd be a slant. ;)
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Posted: Oct 14th 2010 4:09PM Luk said

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I do not PvP in MMO because it requires too much time and effort in order to at least be competitive.

In fact, PvP experience in MMO is all about getting some kind of advantage over your opponent, be it paper/rock/scissors skill build choices, catching someone unprepared with their pants down, or ganking someone with superior numbers. Which means there is no even fights in MMO PvP (ever). Stacking the advantage in your favor requires a lot of time and preparation that just not part of the MMO general experience which is mostly PVE centered. Almost every avid MMO PvPier I know spends hours and hours every day stalking their targets and building up a group of similar thinking individuals in order to get that strategic(numeric) advantage. All of that requires too much time and networking.

Most MMO PvE can be soloed and requires minimum preparation, so usually there is no relation between PvE and PvP experience that can balance this out. Most MMO players who jump into MMO for an hour or so to kill some rats have no chance if they try to PvP against those who have spend time to build up those advantages to tip the odds in their favor. This is why I believe MMO PvP is a niche that appeal only to those few who understand it and are willing to spend a lot of time on it.

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 5:29PM zetetic said

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I avoid PVP (and comments like the previous "go play single player games" are stupid and unhelpful). I play an MMO because I can play with friends co-operatively or even with other people. I enjoy the story lines/quests.
For me PVP sucks mainly because of lag (US players have the advantage). I'm also not good at PVP (I prefer predictability). And also it seems most PVP players annoy me (they jump around me like they have ants in their pants, start throwing abusive comments, etc). So it's easier to avoid pvp/those players.
The thing that annoys me the most is when an ability is changed because of how it affects PVP (I don't understand why abilities can't behave differently when you're flagged as PVP, then revert back to their normal function when you're in PVE mode).

Posted: Oct 14th 2010 6:02PM wjowski said

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RPGs are terrible games for pvp. Everything revolves more around what you've grounded your character up to rather than your actual skill.

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