The Daily Grind: Is it better to play MMOs cooperatively or competitively?

    
57

It’s a fact of MMO life that, sooner or later, we interact with other players in these games. It’s kind of one of the big features. And I’ve noticed that in most of those play interactions, we’re either working with or against other gamers.

We play cooperatively when we party, band together to overcome PvE content, help each other out, and work on a mutual project. We play competitively when we fight against each other and jockey for supremacy on leaderboards, fashion runways, and auction halls.

But which is better? To a degree, we really need both in MMOs, but which angle do you think helps out these games more? Does competitive play’s infinite challenge and unpredictability help out MMOs more than cooperative play’s bonding and socializing?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

57
LEAVE A COMMENT

Please Login to comment
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Robert Mann

One thing I find odd, is that almost everyone went to PvP with competitive. I actually went with so many other things first, as part of my thoughts on this.

I thought about so many more things with this, and am somewhat sad that the only thing people thought about were the most negative areas of competition. Where I agree that PvP can be toxic, and that competition in and of itself will always draw some who will aim to win no matter how foul the means, I think that the response shows that there is more fear of those people than consideration of anything beyond them… and that’s a whole new sad negative for the genre.

Reader
Goettel

Both can be equally awesome and poisonous. To avoid the poison, I prefer random group play where I can help out strangers without them necessarily expecting me to, and vice versa. The handful of self-entitled whiners who dwell in these filthy casual parts are just for laughs and popcorn. WoW’s world PvP was great for that (XR, TM/SS), as is GW2’s DS (PvE) meta. As for co-op vs competitive being better: the right choice is both at the same time. ‘Us vs them’ is pretty much par for the primate course. PvE co-op is cool (love L4D, Warframe, Vermintide etc), but the lack of real threat from thinking opponents always makes it feel like a simulacrum of the real deal to me. For the Horde!!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

I’ve played very competitively. I’ve played cooperatively. The part I enjoyed most about PvPing was the cooperative side of it, banding together with others to achieve a goal. So, I’m coming down on the side of cooperation being a better vibe than competition.

There are reasons that every single competitive undertaking has rules and committees to make sure the rules are applied. People cheat and winning becomes everything and then being a jerk upon winning. And then losers rage and indulge in equally destructive mental games with themselves and others. As currently practiced in gaming, being competitive is not a good space to be in.

Some of what’s called “toxic” in gaming is a hyper-competitive attitude, where all social interactions become a competition for counting coup. And every single aspect of gaming can be turned into a competition, from lore to cosmetics, dungeon tactics to stats and skills, conversations can quickly devolve into I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong-so-I-win interactions. When every conversation or event becomes a win/lose situation, the community has become too toxic to cure itself, causing people to leave.

Competition has its place to be sure, but it hardly ever stays in its place, and can be very destructive. It needs cooperation as a check against it. Games may need competitiveness for players to engage, but they also need cooperation and community for them to stay.

Ernost
Reader
Ernost

I’ll take cooperative over competitive any day. Competitive games always draw the worst scumbags the gaming community has to offer.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
NeoWolf

I am about as UN-competitive as a person can be so given the options I’d pick cooperative. I’ve seen competitive bring out the bad in people WAY too many times.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

Co-op, when it’s with friendly people.

kjempff
Reader
kjempff

Funny thing is that competitive pvp is also often cooperative because it is almost never a situation of one player vs another but instead several players vs several players and often with co-op mechanics or at least working together.

And the same thing goes the other way. Cooperative pve is also competitive, not in the moment it happens, but as a comparison between players in regards of power, status, titles, and similar measurable achievement types. As Dave Georgeson said it (something like) “I see you wearing that sword from the hardest dragon in game, he knows he is better than me and I know it, but we don’t talk about it” – Or translated to “I know he put in more effort than me, and I respect that”.

Reader
Cosmic Cleric

Funny thing is that competitive pvp is also often cooperative because it is almost never a situation of one player vs another but instead several players vs several players and often with co-op mechanics or at least working together.

Much less so in a PUG situation, unfortunately.

Reader
IronSalamander8 .

Co-op for sure. I have some shooters for PvP and they never seem to get the systems balanced properly for PvP in MMOs. Admittedly I’m not a huge PvP player anyway but like playing tabletop RPGs with my friends, co-op all the way for me.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
GamingSF

Coop for sure, I play MMORPGs to play with others not against them.

Reader
Anstalt

Such an oddly worded question!

I’m going to go with cooperative being more important than competitive, but both being essential in any high quality MMO.

The social bonds of cooperation are what help create communities within the game and dramatically improve player retention. But, you need competitive content to give meaning to your cooperation and to keep the game interesting long term. If you are missing either type of content then you haven’t built a good MMORPG in my opinion.