Vague Patch Notes: Why PvP is a cheap way to fill out a game’s content compared to PvE

    
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Fair fights.

It feels like about four years ago when I laid down the first in a semi-regular series of columns I see as “useful notes” columns, the sort of thing that’s good to have on-hand for reference when asking if you did, in fact, discuss an issue before. It was actually just a little over a year, though, in which we talked about why the social penalty for PvP never actually works. And now we’re talking about PvP again!

It’s even for a similar reason, as it happens; aside from discussions in work chat, I’m fairly certain that our staff has argued that PvP is cheaper and faster to develop a few hundred times over the course of the site’s operation, but it’s been a hot minute since we expounded on why. So here’s a refresher and reference point for the future.

And for the record, if you think this is going to be somehow anti-PvP in any fashion… well, keep reading. You can learn something.

So... yeah.

Let’s start by laying down a few basic axioms that apply for basically any shared-space online MMO, with MMORPGs as a particular format. The first one is pretty easy and hard to debate: Every online game wants to give players a reason to log on to the game and interact with it on a regular basis.

This is just basic logic; you’re not going to spend money on Overwatch or World of Warcraft or Star Trek Online if you’re not logging in and playing. We’re in agreement on that, right? Let’s move on.

Every single game eventually needs to fall back on repeatable content. Again, this isn’t up for any serious debate. The nature of the repetition varies a great deal depending on the game itself, and I’ve talked before about the time to grind, the gap between when you’re doing new things and when you’re repeating content multiple times. But it’s always there, sooner or later.

This is not inherently a bad thing. If you’re enjoying Darkfall, for example, getting killed and losing your stuff means that you’re in a new grind to replace what you lost. That is repeated content as surely as running a random task force in STO. The nature of that repetition doesn’t matter so much as the fact of repetition.

Scripted content will always be finite. Those task forces in STO? There are only so many of them. There will always only be so many of them. If the developers on the game stopped doing anything else, including balancing existing content and adding new rewards and just produced new task forces, they would still be finite. (Also, they’d be awful.)

The reasons for this are obvious with a moment’s thought: When all of the events, mechanics, and interactions are bespoke creations, it will always take a certain amount of time to program, design, and develop the content. These columns are orders of magnitude less complex to write, and even if I had nothing but time to write them and there was no editing, I think I’d struggle to get more than two written in an hour. Designed content has upper limits on how much can be made available.

Constant streams of novel content comes only from randomization. This is an ancillary point to the prior one; after all, while I noted above that you can’t generate an infinite stream of bespoke content, you can generate an infinite stream of content with nothing more than random chance. A lot of games have used this to varying effects to bulk things out, and even in structured content it’s used to add variance to the run. (Who’s going to get the boss markers in this Final Fantasy XIV dungeon run? Which segments will you be running in this Guild Wars 2 fractal?)

Human beings provide a much more potent form of randomization than anything generated by machines. And here we see everything coming into focus. City of Heroes has its radio missions, for example, and those missions are random, but they’re randomly assembled from bespoke pieces. “ENEMY GROUP is at LOCATION and you have to CLICK THINGS/BEAT UP A GUY/BEAT UP ALL THE GUYS.” This can be fun (and it is), but it’s still all running on predictable frameworks.

By contrast, throwing you into a map with another player and saying that only one of you gets to emerge? That’s going to produce a lot of randomness every single time. It becomes even more random when you have a whole lot of different people taking part in the same match, because even though the map doesn’t change, how people interact and what everyone does is still effectively random.

Case in point.

So let’s look at all of this from a development standpoint. Whether you’re trying to bulk out your game with PvE or PvP, you have to do all of the same basic work regarding character abilities, collision detection, maps, and so forth. But once you’ve done all that work, putting a basic PvP framework into place and telling players to use that as repeatable content provides a whole lot of randomized content at basically zero further cost. All the work you have to do for PvP to work is stuff you’d already be doing for PvE content.

You’ll note, of course, that none of this factors in the element of whether or not the PvP is any good. That’s because it doesn’t actually matter either way when you’re talking about the time, effort, and money necessary to build repeatable content. Sure, that’s going to matter a lot in terms of whether the game is actually good, but…

The catch that a lot of developers learn too late is that good PvP requires a whole lot of work and effort to balance things just right, and that’s not easy. But that’s good PvP. A good hamburger doesn’t cost less than a dollar and come from a restaurant where you can order, pay, and eat your entire meal without ever leaving your car, but that doesn’t mean McDonald’s doesn’t exist.

Indeed, most of the games that suffer from this aren’t really suffering from poor PvP; they’re suffering from designers who either couldn’t or didn’t have a plan for developing actual repeated content for the upper levels of the game. PvP, then, becomes an easy and quick way to give players motivation… except it doesn’t do that because if the PvP is an unbalanced mess and is clearly just there to fill the space that otherwise would be filled with actual content, people tend to get bored and leave.

This is a far cry from games wherein PvP and the reasons for fighting in PvP are baked into the very core of the game; compare and contrast Dark Age of Camelot with Fallout 76, if you must. The former was built to be a PvP game from the start, provided motivation and reasons to play the game, and clearly provided content of all stripes and systems to encourage PvP. The latter just tosses you in a field and offers PvP as something you might want to do because why not?

It’s hard to really parse out exactly what the costs are for good content or bad content, simply because all of it is… well, content. Doubtlessly doing a good job at adding PvP is a time-consuming, demanding, and difficult job. But it’s the easiest way to artificially add a fresh set of endless content, even if none of it is very good – even easier than just randomly sending you into cake caves to beat up a villain group.

Sometimes you know exactly what’s going on with the MMO genre, and sometimes all you have are Vague Patch Notes informing you that something, somewhere, has probably been changed. Senior Reporter Eliot Lefebvre enjoys analyzing these sorts of notes and also vague elements of the genre as a whole. The potency of this analysis may be adjusted under certain circumstances.
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Zero_1_Zerum

Cheap is often the opposite of good.

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Vunak

PvE MMO’s are easier but more expensive to create.

PvP MMO’s are harder but less expensive to create.

I say PvE MMO’s are easier because there is already a tried and true formula of what makes a successful PvE MMO. You look at how FFXIV turned their game around into an ultra successful title. But more expensive because you have to create interesting encounters, and keep the content drip going with new areas, instances and other things.

But there is no real template for PvP MMO’s. You have things like EVE but it has been so long since a successful PvP MMO has showed its head that its mostly all new territory in terms of what systems would prove effective to cull wanton killing and create meaningful PvP.

Economy is a massive undertaking and getting a very good working economy for PvP players to fight over resources is pretty crucial.

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Anton Mochalin

Creating good PvP systems is one of the hardest things in game development. Ask Epic’s Paragon devs. Ask all those recent Battle Royale failures’ devs. Ask Battleborn devs. Read GW2’s recent PvP balance patch notes. Creating PvP systems that work is much harder than writing story and drawing visuals and is even harder than designing raid bosses.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

It is not hard, it just needs large world. Take a look at EVE Online design, it is already almost perfect. All you need is adopt EVE design but make high sec zones without forced PvP unless you turn PvP flag on, you are a criminal or you are at war with other corporation, and give large territory for both PvE and PvP players in same world.

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Alexus Yanova

Yes, adding PvP content is easy and cheap, though adding the one that people would actually play is not so easy because if you just add random small PvP instances – why would people play them in your game instead of many other games which have same kind of PvP content?

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Aiun Tanks

I’ve lost count of the number of really gorgeous-looking games with slick, intuitive controls and novel, complex mechanics which now clutter the elephant’s graveyard that is Steam’s catalogue of PVP-only games.

“Dead game, no players. Don’t buy.” Overwhelmingly negative.

Sometimes they last months. Sometimes they only last weeks. Years of hard development work and artists’ creative inspiration.

If only they’d had campaigns, with a narrative, all those lovingly-crafted environments and finely-tuned systems might still have an audience.

Sadly, campaigns are expensive. Tossing players into a box to murder each other is cheap. And so it goes…

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Utakata

This is like saying water is wet, Mr. Eliot. >.<

…personally, I like predictability. I like to walk down the same street without having the building, sidewalks, trees and roads move around or re-arrange themselves everyday. In this way, I never get lost.

Conversely, I don't want to fight other people over and over again for some asinine goal or loot. It's stressful. It's toxic. It's miserable. And gets us no where, IMO.

Sure you can argue the freedom and beauty that comes in randomness and unpredictable competition. And some get off on that…more power to them. But it's not my cup of tea and never will be.

I prefer the comfort of familiarity. Like watching a good movie over and over again. Only much more dynamic and interactive. This is the world I come to enjoy with well designed PvE. /shrug :)

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Ah, found a perfect model of citizen of Libria! A citizen who will like familiarity and who will dislike the “violent” human emotions:

All joking aside, there is nothing wrong with having specific game preference. It’s just disappointing to see when the game caters to only one of those, without striving to provide gameplay for all kind of people with different preferences. Catering to specific players makes games worse for both kind of MMO players, because after all people play MMORPGs because they enjoy interacting with a lot of other players, even people who enjoy PvP will gladly interact with people who enjoy PvE in same world outside of combat areas. And even people who enjoy PvP might also enjoy doing PvE together with people who just enjoy PvE. Same goes for crafters who will benefit from any kind of players.

Sadly this is not something that most people on this site are capable to comprehend and this inevitably results in “this specific type of gameplay is always bad and so are people who might enjoy it” type of comments.

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Vunak

Its not that people don’t comprehend it. It is that super PvE players that are 100% against PvP can’t cope with PvP systems. Where as PvP players usually could care less about PvE. To make an engaging PvP experience you have to create somewhat of a brutal environment to keep those PvP players engaged. PvE players can’t cope with that and end up crying and whining loud enough in some cases to get entire games changed in their favor – New World as the newest example.

TL;DR
PvP bothers PvE players waaaay more than PvE bothers PvP players.

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Aiun Tanks

Techinically correct, but it’s not actually a bad thing. It’s an important thing to remember when fucking over PVE for the sake of PVP. Or, in fact, why PVP should be utterly separated from PVE entirely so that PVEers don’t have to put up with the things they find so intolerable.

For many PVEers, PVP is like a human turd, and PVE is a cup of coffe… Now people who LIKE eating shit will scoff, “Oh please, only like… 5% of your coffee is now feces.” And they will not see why that’s so foul to the PVE’er.

IF THERE IS SHIT IN YOUR COFFEE, IT’S UNDRINKABLE.

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Robert Mann

Actually, I would normally be opposed to calling PvP feces… but the above post sure doesn’t help the PvP case.

I mean, it’s kinda like the poster hasn’t noticed the salty tears of “PvP is dead!” the moment something isn’t a full on murder-each-other simulator and somehow thinks the people they are associating with are morally superior. Neither side holds that distinction, there’s good people and jerks in each camp.

Does PvP bother players? Of course. It’s the same idea as if there was an ability for PvE players to run up to a PvP player and shoot them with a ray that forced them to do 22 quests, plant 5 veggies, and RP over the next hour. Anytime somebody else controls whether you can pursue your goals is objectionable in some way… unless you are a willing participant in that.

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Utakata

*The pigtails sit back quietly munching /popcorn while watching the interesting …er, conclusions, being constructed on an opinion exercise that says nothing about doing away with PvP.*

…exercise as in, I have to admit…the real purpose of my musings was to see if I’ve finally gotten rid of that annoying white bar to the side of my avatar that’s being plaguing me for months now. I’ve least seem to have accomplished that. Although, the musings themselves are just that, my own personal flavors for MMO’s…and I really don’t expect anyone to agree with them. :)

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

I’ve least seem to have accomplished that. 

Yay!

that says nothing about doing away with PvP

Hey, I never said that you wanted that, it was just a general reply towards people who actually do ;-)

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EmberStar

Speaking only for myself it’s neither that I can’t comprehend PVP or am somehow unable to cope with the game mechanics. It’s that everything about online PVP is completely unenjoyable to me. The few times I’ve attempted PVP I’ve done somewhere between “adequate” and “actually okay for someone with garbage gear.” I also hated ever single second of the experience.

There are a few games with interesting settings or concepts or characters that I regret I can’t play because PVP. Personally, I simply do my best to ignore them. I don’t go to the League of Legends or Smite forums and demand a PVE mode. I have asked once each if such a thing existed. When the answer was a definitive no, I simply left. I’m not the target audience for those games, and the devs have less than zero reason to care what I don’t like about them.

I haven’t been following New World (because PVP game.) But I’d assume it was less to do with “PVE carebear whining” and more that they ran the numbers on “wolves who will actually stick around to hunt other wolves,” and realized that they couldn’t build a sustainable MMO based exclusively on the amount of people who enjoy mega-hardcore full time full-gank PVP. I could be wrong, obviously, since as I said it’s a game I have less than no interest in ever playing.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

PvE players can’t cope with that and end up crying and whining loud enough in some cases to get entire games changed in their favor – New World as the newest example.

New World was a flawed game, though, from the very beginning. Even for PvP players – the game would not attract them long enough even in previous version. It was a good decision to make it more acceptable to PvE players, but Amazon did it in a worst way which now made the whole game for nobody other than people who write crafting and gathering bots and people who enjoy doing pointless repetitive activity for the sake of activity itself (meaningless gathering and crafting).

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Anton Mochalin

So true. PvE players’ anxiety about PvP can’t be rationally explained by them just preferring PvE over PvP.

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Anton Mochalin

We can at least say that PvE players’ anxiety about PvP in other MMOs they don’t play can’t be rationally explained by them just preferring PvE gameplay over PvP.

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Robert Mann

There’s actually quite a few people who are fine with that. The problem comes in that the PvP players usually want “Murder, anywhere, anytime, with full loot, so we can economic warfare.”

Which most of the PvE and Crafting players don’t want. Those who are amenable to some PvP tend to want some structure there, and only when they want to enter.

Those differences are not something that one can reconcile, since they are in direct opposition. Assuming that there are limits on the PvP in the ‘where’ category, and that those limits aren’t an effective “If you don’t PvP you won’t get the good stuff and screw you”… then we have a potential to coexist, and even have reasons for caring about the other people in game (if the game supports that).

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Armsbend

Besides FFXI I cannot think of a really successful MMO, or any online game really, that has stood the test of time beyond 10 years without good pvp. It’s not only the fact that players provide better content than scripted mobs and dungeons wever will – but the necessity for survival in these games just gets the buzz that gets people creating more guides, more videos, more builds more everything that keeps people really passionate.

I’ve always wondered why most people here abhor pvp so much. Is it because they were needlessly griefed at a younger time? Are they pacifist? That can’t be it as they have no problem murdering countless boars and gnomes in their quest for blood. Almost all of the games we play are pvp. Cards, board games, driving. Why is that losing in video games is so distasteful. is it the admission that you have been bested by someone in something you feel you were good at? I suspect that is the reason. It has been the case with myself from time to time.

Anyway, I wish more people would take part. With the ever-decreasing talent pool of able-developers pvp is really the only interesting thing going at the moment. cheers.

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Tee Parsley

I’ve played a lot of face to face ‘pvp’. Board games, Squad Leader, miniatures armies… Even tournaments. In most instances, I got to choose who I played with. In tournament play, there were easily available judges. Certain decorum was expected, or you faced the boot.

Online play, not so much. And a too high a percentage of the online pvp players are asshats drawn to the games by the lure of making others feel unhappy. They flock to where it’s easier to do this.

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Armsbend

There could be some truth to that.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I don’t abhor PVP – I actually like it. I enjoy playing PVP servers most of the time because it adds to my personal immersion and makes those encounters where red doesn’t mean dead that much more memorable. I rarely PVP’d in open world, but I liked the eustress of it. I also super loved Battlegrounds for a while.

What I do hate is trolls going out of their way to ruin other players times. Being ganked to the point I log out, being camped, having someone literally stock me and seek me out (I had a nelf rogue who ganked me in Crossroads, then followed my wyvern ride into Org and proceeded to gank me there until I quit).

THAT’s the crap I hate. And it doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that I’m constantly saying, “do I want to roll that dice on not running into someone who’s wants to ruin my game with the little gaming time I have?” More recently, the risk hasn’t been worth it. So I’ve skewed away from PVP for exactly that reason.

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EmberStar

I despise PVP as presented in most online games. There are certain forms that are I guess “technically” PVP that I will tolerate, such as buying things from other players. I’ve also played boardgames, which I’ve been smugly told “counts as PVP.” But the format in most MMOs, where random people three times my level can simply auto-kill my character? Nope. I lack the language skills to convey how much I hate that. Nor do I even own games like Fortnite or Overwatch.

The only kind of “PVP” that I might put up with is the kind of “incidental, just for fun” PVP that you see in something like the Hermitcraft videos. Where they are almost all actually friends to begin with, and quite often even when they’re playing lethal pranks on each other a main consideration is “But we’re going to set this up this deathtrap so that there’s no chance they’ll lose any of their stuff.” Or if it is a lava trap that will destroy everything, part of the setup is including a chest full of replacement items.

I don’t actually know anyone that plays games, so there’s zero chance I’d ever be *in* that situation. But that might be the only kind of online PVP I would put up with. But I have less than zero interest in becoming “content” for xxXXxxBigPeenxxxXXXxxx and his 50 sociopathic Twitch followers.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

What you’re describing is stalking. Which happens even in PvE games:

And which should be reported to the customer support. Sadly this will not guarantee that you will never be stalked by same person, even in PvE game – see the link above.

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Robert Mann

Indeed. Sadly the internet is a zone of relatively anonymous action. There’s a crud ton of criminal crap that goes on, in games and not… and it’s pretty sad and disgusting that such things aren’t dealt with.

I’m not saying we should have our name and address out there to everyone, but that some measure of responsibility for one’s actions is what keeps a society from becoming an anarchist hole of people screwing each other over.

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Schmidt.Capela

For me, it’s the kind of PvP.

A board game, a fighting game like Street Fighter, a racer like Mario Kart, a shooter like Counter Strike, etc, are perfectly fine for me; I jump in, have my fun, and jump out, and the next time I play everything will be reset so I never start at an advantage or a disadvantage compared with other players.

MMO PvP, though, is a completely different beast. For starters, the PvP is often mixed with non-PvP activities, which by itself already makes the whole concept completely untenable for me; if I’m engaging in any PvE activity, like fighting mobs or gathering mats, and someone jumps me, the mix of unwanted PvP intruding in my PvE session will completely ruin the whole experience for me, to the point I might rage-quit and uninstall. Without complete control over when and how I engage in PvP there isn’t the least chance I will engage in it — and, nowadays, no chance I will even let the encounter finish.

Also, I utterly hate power progression when PvP is involved. I want an even field where there is no way, at all, of gaining an in-game advantage before the fight starts; progression systems in PvP run counter to that. In fact, the few MMO PvP modes that I enjoy are ones that employ mechanisms to nullify the MMO progression during the match.

Finally, I utterly hate when there’s any penalty for losing, because it turns the whole thing into a loss-loss proposition for me; if I lose I feel bad because I incur the penalty for losing, but if I win I also feel bad due to making someone else incur the penalty for losing. Thus, I can only ever enjoy consequences-free PvP — and, for a game, if I can’t enjoy some aspect of it, then I won’t be playing either that aspect or the game as a whole.

BTW, I spent roughly half a decade trying every kind of MMO I could, from purely PvE to heavily PvP, in order to figure what I enjoy. After trying EVE I basically vowed to never again even give a chance to any game where I can be attacked by another player without first giving my explicit consent.

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NeoWolf

You can’t find any because PVE games always include PVP, unlike PVP games that make a point of excluding PVE.

It also isn’t that people necessarily abhor PVP anyway (although I’ve certainly said I hate it many times lol), but so much as you have to very very different playstyles that have very few parallels in their appeals and so don’t generally appeal to both equally, but rather a preference for one or the other. I mean typically the things PVP’ers enjoy about a game are the things PVE’ers dislike about a game and vice versa… balancing the two sides in one game is frankly my idea of hell, and one I am not envious of developers having to tackle as getting that wrong can instantly kill a game.

I’ve said elsewhere in other discussions on PVP that my personal issue with it has largely been PVP tends to bring out the worst behaviour in people, plus I am not competitive in any regard, I have no urge to beat other people that sort of thing is utterly meaningless to me. I don’t need that kind of validation in my gaming to make me feel good about myself.

So when the two contents are placed side by side in the same game it is incredibly important to some of us how that works…deal breakingly important in fact.

If we run the risk of having our enjoyment impacted and interfered with by PVP’ers then its 100% an issue. It’s just a respect thing,
Whereas PVP’ers because of their completely different definition of what constitutes enjoyment generally do not to see how preying on everyone irrespective of their willingness to participate isn’t somehow still fair game… and so playstyles clash and will ALWAYS clash.

They are diametrically opposed approaches and views to the same thing where the best we can ever hope for is an uneasy balance.

As to the article’s premise of PVP being cheap content to fill out PVE games, I do not entirely disagree with the point. In PVE games it almost certainly has some weight of truth to it.
PVP content in PVE games is rarely what PVP’ers hope for, largely because it needs to be kept separate, but also because it will also be appealing to a far smaller number of potential customers and so isn’t given the time, resources and development the opposing PVE content is. And by and large in PVe games it is there largely just to get more bums on seats and therefore sell more copies of a game etc..
You only ever really see PVP treated seriously and given the development it deserves in purely pvp games where it is the main point, not just another thing you can do.

Whatever the case though I would still argue in favour of it being present than having it removed as I am all for choice, rather than limiting choice when it comes to games.

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

PVP tends to bring out the worst behaviour in people

Nope. A bad game design is what does this, not specific kind of gameplay. I can always back this up with facts, unlike many people who make false generalizations ;-)

Here is a fun example:
https://old.reddit.com/r/ffxiv/comments/969ncb/the_result_of_tryng_to_kill_holy_cow/e3ytgoc/

Read up the comments in the thread. A lot of players got toxic, including the person who was blamed for not rezzing people. And this is in an area without PvP. That is an example of bad game design for you and what it does to players.

Here is an opposite example in a game with forced PvP, where people go out of their way to help random strangers:
https://www.pcgamer.com/eve-signal-cartel-interview/

I can give my own examples of good and bad design:

1) A game of Overwatch, where, due to a bad game design, there is way too much emphasis on performance of individual player, which causes others to verbally attack you and demand you that you play specific classes. I never found this game enjoyable to play, not even when playing quickplay or Custom Games.

2) A game of Team Fortress 2, which is the most relaxing PvP game I have ever played. Valve allowed custom servers for it, with teams as large as 16v16, where individual contribution becomes unnoticeable, and where server admins could adjust all rules, including removing the timers. I remember spending hours in a single game round on specific 32-player server, where half of the team was just derping around and spamming emotes (which are much more superior than what Overwatch has) and where I have never heard anyone demanding anyone to switch to another class, even when playing on Valve’s own servers with lower amount of players.

TL;DR: false generalizations are bad. Bad game design encourages bad user behavior, not specific type of gameplay.

I don’t need that kind of validation in my gaming to make me feel good about myself

Yet another false generalization. A lot of people enjoy PvP not because of any kind of “validation” but because they like the certain level of unpredictable behavior that human opponents provide. I do not know how advanced the AI can get right now but most games do not put any kind of advanced AI into them, especially for PvP, the best they can do is to give a “cheat mode” to AI where AI has more health points or higher damage output than player or where AI knows where players are even if there are walls between them and player is not making a sound.

Whereas PVP’ers because of their completely different definition of what constitutes enjoyment generally do not to see how preying on everyone irrespective of their willingness to participate isn’t somehow still fair game

That is yet another false generalizations. Look up what I just said above. I have never personally tried to bother hunting down any player who just likes to do stuff like mining, or bothered to ever attack them. For many people there is no enjoyment in that. Some people do that, yes, but once again, this is just a reflection of their general personality and such people would find a way to abuse other players even in PvE games. And a well designed game can easily deal with such people by making few adjustments, unfortunately many games do not do that, not even EVE Online.

You only ever really see PVP treated seriously and given the development it deserves in purely pvp games where it is the main point, not just another thing you can do.

Yes, that is unfortunately true. However, it does not need to be this way – it is possible to create a good MMORPG with plenty of content for both the people who enjoy various forms of PvP (especially the very large scale PvP, with ability to destroy and build large structures) and people who do not enjoy forced PvP and want to stay in safe zones. It is just most developers are not interested in making such game and keep making limited games where either PvP or PvE players inevitably get bored with type of content the game has and are forced to log off and play the other game if they want to experience the opposite type of gameplay. Even though there is a HUGE potential to monetize such game, much more than a game only focused on PvP or PvE, because you can show off your cosmetic items to both kind of players and because the more people play the game – the higher incentive it is for people to bother to buy cosmetic items. Even PvP players care about making their stuff look pretty – CS:GO is the best example of that ;-)

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NeoWolf

False Generalisations? you do realise I was giving you my own opinion of the issue based on my own experiences from playing MMO’s, Oh I don’t know as long as there have BEEN MMOs right?… and yet apparently my own DIRECT experiences, which create my own opinion are somehow false generalisations?

Randon MMO Fan I don’t know if you are intentionally trying to facetiously troll here but do you realise how patronising you are being?

Do I need links to others peoples reddit whinings on a subject as validation over my own DIRECT personal experience of games over a span of decades for the purpose of giving you my opinion on a subject?… no I think not.

A statement was made querying peoples reaction to a subject and I gave my personal opinion on the subject as an explanation for why “I” (singular) feel that way about the topic based on firsthand experiences around the topic and you feel it is all false generalisations lol
Let me be clear, crystally so. someone asked, I answered. Beyond that I could give a flying fu** whether you or indeed ANYONE agree’s with my own view. The point is THEY ASKED!

It isn’t my job to convince you or anyone of anything.

If your sole purpose of asking was to start arguing with everyone in some pitiful attempt to convince us all YOU are right and WE are wrong, you are wasting your time and should save that level of low hanging fruit nonsense for Barrens chat ;)

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

Saying that this is your own experience is fine, but wording it like you did should not be done.

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NeoWolf

Wow, i’m SO glad you’re okay with my having an opinion, I don’t know how I would have consoled myself were you not…..

As for my wording, should I require your approval or advice in that regard, you will be the first to know lol

Random MMO fan
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Random MMO fan

is it the admission that you have been bested by someone in something you feel you were good at?

This is part of the reason, but a large one is that a person might have an experience where another person repeatedly killed him/her just to make their life miserable. You know, the whole “spawncamping” thing. What people do not realize is that it’s just a bad game design and this could be easily fixed by developers who are not lazy, but unfortunately most developers do not try to fix this issue and so people get false impression that “any kind of PvP is bad” and what is even worse, they try to force this false impression upon others.

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Robert Mann

More likely it is “I wanted to do X, and instead another person is making me do Y”.

This is the big reason many people don’t like OWPvP. It is especially true when it is OWPvEvP, which means that a bunch of people want to do the PvE and will be incentivized as targets for PvP.

There is no counter example, as PvE players cannot point at a PvP player and force them to… say, fight a boss NPC, or plant and harvest some crops while RPing as a farmer, in the middle of their attempt to fight somebody. That might give a good idea of the frustration in turn, though, if it was implemented.

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Alexus Yanova

WoW was popular for long time and PvP in it was never good, most people were just grinding battlegrounds or doing duels.

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Zero_1_Zerum

Playing a board game face to face, I can’t be griefed or ganked, at least not without there being severe consequences for the player doing it. At the very least, I won’t ever play with them again.
Online PVP players can be arsehole’s without any real consequences.

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Toy Clown

The broader picture, to me anyway, is that when you give players the tools to create their own content, they tend to go off happily into their corners of the MMO world. In PvP worlds, players are each other’s content. But that also holds true why other MMOs are popular that give players the tools to create their own content. Some examples:

1. Star Wars Galaxies (and by extent, the ever-growing emus as players discover them): We have the storyteller system that allows us to use props and NPCs to create stories. Want to creat Raxus Prime? Can do! A large sweeping maze filled with elite monsters? Check! A massive stage for performers to have shows on? Check! Then you the Chronicle system that allows you to create quests for other players, as well as to use Ventriloquism to make NPCs from the Storyteller feature speak. Toss in the ability to use every single item created and dropped in the game as deco, and the only limit to gameplay is a player’s imagination. Not to mention there is also the ability to create alias files, which allows a person to fully automate a theater show, as another example.

2. FFXIV: While the game is a themepark and you’re eventually pushed into raiding and has boring PvP, where it excels at is the housing system and player-created music system. Of all the MMOs I’ve played, this MMO comes 2nd behind SWG in the ability to create stage and theater shows.

3. ESO: With the introduction of housing, it expanded on what players could create for themselves. Some created pirate compounds, some noble houses, some vampire houses, some werewolf clans, etc. This sort of freedom allowed players the ability to create their own scenes to stage gameplay with there friends from.

I know there are more MMOs out there, but these are the best examples of how giving the players the tools to create their own content makes these games work. To me, it’s not about PvP vs. PvEers, but rather the devs vs. the players and how much of the tools they put into their hands. Where PvPers differ is that they view every player they come across as their own personal amusement, so you could literally create an arena, plop the players inside, and let them battle it out.

When a dev creates content, for the most part, we’ve all seen the gist of the story before in another book, movie, game, etc, thus it becomes quickly boring. However, place the story in the hands of other players and you’ll never be bored because not every human follows a troupe. When allowed their own creative freedom, that’s where the real fun is.

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Arktouros

Where PvPers differ is that they view every player they come across as their own personal amusement, so you could literally create an arena, plop the players inside, and let them battle it out.

This is the equivalent of handing you a box room you can enter, handing you 1 bed, table, and chair and calling it player housing. Is it technically? Yes. Do you think it’s good or keep your interest in playing? Probably not.

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Toy Clown

This would also come down to player creativity, and how much they like to stretch it as well. Which is why pure sandboxes rarely work, such as a few of the world builders that were shutdown. A game needs to have some sort of backbone to do well in this regard – except when it comes to PvPers. Toss a player inside an arena for them to kill, give them the ability to buy an outfit that looks good, and you have instant success, which is /why/ so many devs are targeting PvPers now, but they’re learning it’s not a good enough forumla to create a successful MMO environment that lasts.

Give players a reason to attach themselves to a game, which is what you get when you give them the tools to create their own content, and it creates a well-populated niche that the smarter studios are now learning to bank on.

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Arktouros

By contrast, throwing you into a map with another player and saying that only one of you gets to emerge? That’s going to produce a lot of randomness every single time. It becomes even more random when you have a whole lot of different people taking part in the same match, because even though the map doesn’t change, how people interact and what everyone does is still effectively random.

This is where I feel this argument breaks down.

If this is all the effort you put into designing a MMO PvP system, then PvP players are going to wholesale reject it. Murder domes, team death matches, and perpetual warfare simulators are novel and all at first but they lack substance to keep a sustained PvP population in a MMO game. If I wanted that game play I’d just go play an FPS, battle royale, MOBA or other similar style game.

If you look at most successful versions of PvP MMO games you have a clear dedication of development resources to designing systems that enable and allow for new and interesting scenarios to occur in PvP. Systems like relic capture creating a sort of capture the flag style game play or base objectives such as keeps. Over time such systems have gotten more advance like destructible keeps or hideouts/stations such as in Albion/EVE.

These kinds of systems are analogous to scripted dungeon content as the vehicle in which you do your repetitive tasks in. However just because the destination can end up different each time doesn’t mean I want to go on the same ride perpetually nor does it mean it will end up somewhere different. A great example of this is what goes on Alterac Valley in WOW where players have recognized it’s more advantageous to skip PvP entirely and race to finish the PvE faster. You could theoretically argue that AV match could have a hundred different outcomes but in practice you’re going to see the match play out very similarly each time. As random as things can seem, there’s a repetition to the way people act that would make General Zaroff weep.

Another factor is the extreme sensitivity to game balance issues. If a build or class is particularly OP in PvE game content there’s really not much harm over all. Like if a player can easily defeat an encounter vs another player who struggles with it purely due to class that isn’t great but it isn’t game ending. By comparison you can see scenarios in PvP where it is 100% game ending. For example in Warhammer Age of Reckoning players discovered you could stack ranged AOE’s to create instant kill fields where you would take 10k damage/sec (tanks had around 13-15k HP for reference). This one issue caused our alliance of 900 players to dwindle to 40 over the course of months that they didn’t address that. So PvP environments require constant dev attention so no one runs away with some new discovery in their systems.

Regardless of what system it is, PvE or PvP, the more time and effort you put into designing systems to let players engage and have fun game content the more successful your game will be with that kind of content. There are plenty of examples of games that launched with fantastic PvP but then just stopped doing updates under the impression PvP players will be their own content forever only to find those game modes constantly shrinking and ever more abandoned (looking at you GW2 WvW). It’s this line of thinking why we get articles like FO76 devs acting surprised more people didn’t engage in the two seconds of effort they threw into their PvP system.

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Armsbend

I think Eliot spoke to that. he explained what PvP is – and then said it takes a lot of effort to create a good system of pvp.

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Arktouros

He did and he didn’t in his final section, honestly it was all over the place. For example:

You’ll note, of course, that none of this factors in the element of whether or not the PvP is any good. That’s because it doesn’t actually matter either way when you’re talking about the time, effort, and money necessary to build repeatable content. Sure, that’s going to matter a lot in terms of whether the game is actually good, but…

He then went on to discuss a McDonalds analogy that honestly doesn’t fit as food is more of a necessity than really an luxury entertainment like a video game. He’s arguing here that it doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, but clearly and obviously it does given his absolutes he proposed initially:

Every online game wants to give players a reason to log on to the game and interact with it on a regular basis.

Every single game eventually needs to fall back on repeatable content.

If the repeatable content is bad, people won’t keep coming back to repeat it. This is true in PvE circumstances as well, where if they don’t design enough good PvE content players will “finish” and stop coming back.

Therefore it goes back to my original argument that you can’t really argue PvP is a cheaper alternative to PvE because in both cases you have to dedicate time, resources and effort towards making a quality product for either game type. Instead I would argue, similar to Elliot, that PvP is deceptive in that it can seem simple on the surface and that’s a big trap a lot of PvP developers fall into since it requires just as much work as designing a PvE title.

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Techno Wizard

Some players just love a good scrap against each other. Lok’tar!