Massively Overthinking: PvP MMOs without the PvE
Back in April, we ran an Overthinking about a perceived lack of high-quality PvE-oriented MMO titles on the horizon, and that's a conversation that keeps coming up whenever we talk about upcoming MMOs, particularly Camelot Unchained, as we did on the podcast last week. And that leads me to this week's question:
Would you play an MMO without standard PvE combat? Are you planning on playing Crowfall, Camelot Unchained, or other MMOs that focus on PvP (and non-combat activities like crafting) to the exclusion of PvE combat, or do you need to be killing mobs for it to feel like a "real" MMORPG?
Brendan Drain (@nyphur): I don't think MMOs necessarily have to focus on either PvP or PvE; in fact, one of my favourite things to do in a new MMO is often to switch off or ignore the UI and just explore a new big fantasy world. Exploring high level zones often means sneaking around and avoiding combat, something few MMOs offer as deliberate gameplay. When Massively was young, I even ran a series of articles about urban exploration and freerunning in MMOs in which I looked at all the different secret places you could get to in games like EverQuest II and Age of Conan and how non-combat abilities like gliding and speed boosts could help. EverQuest II also has some really compelling non-combat pursuits like collecting and decorating, and a lot of my time in EVE over the years has also been spent playing the market, manufacturing, or taking part in the player-driven community rather than actual combat. I think if it were done right, I'd definitely play an MMO that has no combat at all or very little emphasis on it.
Brianna Royce (@nbrianna, blog): Yep, I'll play them. I like PvP, and I especially like PvP that feels epic and has a grand purpose as it did in Dark Age of Camelot. Way too many MMOs with PvP are just griefer havens or battlegrounds-as-afterthoughts, and I'm over that as much as I'm over PvE combat grinding just to get to the good stuff. A game that's going to provide the RvR experience without the gankboxing and the themepark grind? Oh yeah, and there's crafting too, and it's not just another MOBA trying to elbow into the MMO market? Sign me up.
Eliot Lefebvre (@Eliot_Lefebvre, blog): Frankly, I'll play any game that makes me feel that I'm getting enjoyable things to do on a regular basis. The problem with PvP isn't really PvP in and of itself; it's that making a game with a strong PvP focus tends to make players a form of content rather than, well, players. I am actually interested in seeing how Crowfall develops, and I'm not about to write it off simply for a love of PvP, which is something I frequently enjoy even if it's not always my main objective in a game.
Justin Olivetti (@Sypster, blog): Honestly? Probably not. I tried, really, really hard, to get into the PvP scene with Warhammer Online, but ultimately I had to face the fact that PvP stresses me the heck out and is the opposite of what I want to do in an MMO. Now combat -- any variety -- doesn't have to be the centerpiece of an MMO for me to play it; I'd be open to a really excellent non-combat MMO if one came along.
MJ Guthrie (@MJ_Guthrie, blog): If the game were lacking PvP combat along with the absent PvE content, I might very well play it to see what other fun features the game is centered on. (I think I just pinned myself into trying Ever, Jane, eh?) But no, I have no interest in playing a game that is solely PvP unless there are other robust systems to enjoy. To me personally a MMO is so much more than combat anyways that the lack of combat doesn't change my perception of its MMOness. The games that are adding deep and integral crafting systems are certainly worth checking out because that would be the area I would want to focus on. If a game doesn't have a system I can devote myself to, then it is not worth bothering with. I am just not a people-hunter at heart.