Monday, November 3, 2008

PvE > PvP?

Tobold certainly has a knack for producing topics that are likely to ellicit a lot of comments. I must adopt this feature in my blog.

In this entry (I paraphrase) Tobold tells us how WoW is king, WoW is PvE, therefore PvE is much more popular (4 times apparently) than PvP.

It's true that games that are predominantly PvE have more of the market share at the moment. But this doesn't mean that people prefer PvP to PvE. There are a lot of reasons for the relative successes of various titles, not the least of which is the amount of bugs on release. Age of Conan, for instance, had massive performance issues limiting its accessibility, and many ridiculous bugs (males > females, just in case you didn't know). We could just as easily look at the market today and conduct an equally insightful analysis that games that runs smooth are more popular than games that crash (gasp).

Additionally, a lot of the games that are labelled as PvP are nothing but massive grindfests and/or gankfests, such as Lineage or Eve.

It seems obvious that the PvP games are an evolutionary step or two behind PvE games in terms of being friendly to casual players, not sacrificing the enjoyment of many for the fun of a few, etc. As well as the fact that it's the less popular developers that have traditionally pushed the PvP genre, so that they don't have to compete directly with the market leaders.

And now, to switch things around a bit, I'd now like to defend something about PvE that Tobold stated:

"Perfect PvE means continuous advancement of your character in power, be that in level or gear. Perfect PvP requires characters being not too far from each other in power level, so that factors like skill and organization have a chance to influence the battle"

ERGH. Really? Perfect PvE *in an MMO* for me is zero advancement in power with instead the opening up of more versatile options to choose from. Reasons: Focus is put on tactics and teamwork, no grinding, no barriers preventing players from playing with each other, no barriers preventing players from experiencing content.

Single player games are a different story (I heart single player leveling), but the current MMO PvE sucks because it stops us from playing with each other.


Tobold said...

My point was that WAR isn't so far away from WoW in terms of stability and polish, so comparing WoW PvE with WAR PvP gives you a better image than comparing it with AoC.

I don't believe your perfect PvE without advancement is possible, too many players are driven by advancement. Without it you get a sandbox game like Second Life.

Openedge1 said...

I would have to agree with Tobold on this.

The main gist of the PvE setting is leveling first, busy work second.

I have yet to get to max in any game though due to the "leveling" interfering with the fun though.

I have yet to find any fun in any MMO's leveling scheme except for Guild Wars, or at least the beginning 20 levels of any MMO.

But, if a game has some way to mask leveling in something else that is fun, then cool.
Like crafting is my number one issue right now.
I kind of like it, but I think if it was incorporated with leveling, I would be more interested in it.
Right now, with the separate level schemes, I feel it detracts from my "fun".
I am leveling twice now. I always end up going for the main level and ignoring the "craft" level.

For now until someone does something to make leveling fun in MMO's, I am back to single player games, as at least the leveling is non-obvious in a majority of these games, and the fun is in just playing, with no competition to outrace or keep up with the MMO-Jones.

Thallian said...

I think I agree with Tobold on the comparison but not on his second conclusion. you can still provide achievement laterally (more and more options) instead of vertically. This is mostly what end-games are anyways. Tiny bits of vertical improvement and lots of lateral options. Some are just better balanced than others and some just provide too much vertical improvement and thus separation in ranks. (which leads to elitism)

Melf_Himself said...

Assuming that WAR is as stable and polished as WoW (it's not), the open RvR is still having a lot of kinks ironed out of it.

The current major barrier to fun is the difficulty of finding other players to play with AND against in PvP. Comparing to PvE in WoW, where the game is soloable, is fairly "apples-to-oranges". When they release a handy UI feature to link players together from all across the server who are interested in doing the same things, then it will be more valid to make the comparison.

There's nothing wrong with horizontal advancement. I was not proposing a pipedream - Guild Wars has a system with truly minimal vertical progression, where max power is easily achieved. What you get as you progress after that is different builds open to you.

Don't get me wrong, there's still grind, but it's all fluff, ie voluntary, grind. Titles, cool emotes, and the best looking gear allow players to distinguish themselves from others, but for those who don't want to commit the time, they don't have to, and they lose nothing.

Now, I know you'll say "but, Guild Wars is not a true MMO", and to that I reply - this has nothing to do with the progression system in the game. A "real" MMO could easily have adopted it.