There’s a thing we do a lot when we’re talking about MMOs: We elide PvM and PvE. I suppose we do it with different types of PvP too; there’s an underlying assumption that PvP must be combat-based, when of course it could also be about trade or card games or whatever. But today, I want to talk about PvE – player-versus-environment content – and do my best to separate it from PvM – player-versus-monster content, the kind most of us think of first when we hear the term PvE. Why? Well, because player-versus-environment content is actually interesting! And underused in MMOs!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot the last couple of weeks since I went back to Guild Wars 2. One of the things I deeply appreciate about the game, even when it annoys me, is the focus on the Environment beyond the mobs as a separate hostile entity. The boiling ocean’s gonna boil you. The lava is no joke. The dust devils will literally blow you over. And even the gameworld outside of the formal jumping puzzles is a jumping puzzle. So much of the time, I’m not just fighting monsters; I’m beating my head against a tricky environment.
Which MMO handles PvE – not just PvM – the very best?