The Daily Grind: Which MMO offers the best non-combat PvP?


PvP is about more than just getting into the dirt with your opponent and seeing who drops first. Sure, it frequently is exactly that, and you can certainly open fire on another player in EVE Online hoping to blow up a ship. But you can also engage in elaborate market games designed to kick someone out of any real income or just devalue a specific market, a very real form of PvP that doesn’t need to involve any lasers being fired at all.

It’s hardly the only example, of course. Final Fantasy XIV lets you compete with your fellow players in chocobo races and Triple Triad matches, a struggle without any need for attacks. There’s plenty of combat PvP in Guild Wars 2, but player-run races or fashion contests allow for a different vector of conflict. There are always ways to put players at odds, but there are lots of ways to encourage competition without weapons coming out. So which MMO do you think offers the best non-combat PvP environment?

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!

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I really love sanctum sprint in gw2.
Also is it non combat if youre not the one fighting? If so, pvp pet battles in wow.

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It’s not an MMO exactly, but I liked the concept of The Might Quest For Epic Loot. You build up your own dungeon and place traps and monsters and bosses in it. You raid the dungeons that others have designed. It’s all async, so they’re not directly competing with you. You get reports on how well others did in your dungeon. You get some of their treasure if you defeat theirs and vice versa.

I sorta wish “real” MMOs would do something like this. A combination of indirect PvP and player-created content. And it would be a good thematic fit for games like The Secret World where of course cabals would have secret hideouts and be incentivized to sneak into the lairs of other cabals to get a leg up on their secrets. The same for more martial games where you guild tries to control territory and needs a place to store gold and weapons. Etc.

Technically quite challenging to pull off, I imagine. And in design terms, probably quite difficult to keep it fun and interesting without being too punishing to safeguard your valuables or too complex to design your dungeons. Or too easy to cheat and coordinate with other guilds.


Any MMO with a chat that allows players to take the active conversation to the ad hominem…

…I gotta bad feeling that’s pretty much every MMO out there. :(


Free Realms attempted to keep chat safe and child-friendly.

The costs of trying to do so were mentioned as part of the reason the game went out of business, despite having dozens of millions of registered players.


Cataclysm in Anthem was great. It’s practically a new co-opvp genre. Every game with randoms is a competition against the rest of the team: either against their stupidity (if they try to rush the boss asap without maximizing the score) or against their knowledge (if they maximize the score but also take some of the tokens I could use for achievements).

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It never actually launched but Sky Saga had some great ways for the community to vie against each other that didn’t involve killing, although I think they also had regular PVP. I never participated in that so I can’t speak to it But the community leader boards were a fun way to egg players on against each other in crafting or harvesting.


There are always ways to put players at odds,

Which is why, for the most part, I abhor MMO PvP, despite liking it in many other places. I don’t want to be at odds with anyone else, I don’t want my wins to result in actual setbacks for the players I defeated; instead, I want PvP that is fought for PvP’s sake, just for the fun of it, without rewards or punishments to taint the experience.

This extends to other areas in-game, too. For example, it’s why I tend to avoid MMOs that have non-instanced housing (players compete for the best plots to place a house), or that have a well rounded player-driven economy (as in the real world, this not only creates winners and losers, but often the best way to amass riches is to intentionally exploit others). Whenever winning in something creates an actual setback for whoever I was playing against (or with), then I don’t want to play.

(And yeah, this does mean I no longer consider virtual world-style MMOs as worth playing, despite loving virtual world single-player games.)

Oleg Chebeneev

EVE by far imo. So many possibilities. Market wars, industry competition, spy games, etc.

WoW is also good at this if we can call achievements – a PvP. You can compete on how many exalted reps you have or unique mounts. And there are means to brag about it


+1 for Eve – you’ve got market manipulation, scamming, espionage etc etc


GW2 Activities and Races are not tied to PVP.