So much of the MMO commentary out there these days focuses on improving or coming up with new ideas for PvP. For the past few days I’ve had this nagging thought on my mind about whether or not I even truly care about PvP being in a game or not. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy PvP, I have a lot to say on the subject, and I know what I like and I don’t like about it. I just don’t think it’s mandatory at all. I’m going to quickly get my thoughts out and see if they form into anything coherent.
I think a game designed solely around capturing people in the moment by creating a really rich PvE world is a something I can really enjoy. What does that mean? I guess I envision myself packing a bag full of resources, and setting off in a direction with friends to see what we can find. I like the idea of not knowing what’s out there, or not knowing when I’ll be back to town because the game — the world — is letting me go off and truly make the “player vs. environment” a reality. Danger, intrigue, exploration of the unknown, and enjoying how I interact with the world rather than enjoying what I get out of it are attributes I don’t experience or see emphasized enough.
Many of my fondest (and worst) memories from past MMOs are from PvP, but the best and most memorable are from PvE. Something about playing a MMORPG sounds like going out to slay dragons. I realize that’s completely personal to me; maybe adding the “RPG” to the end — role playing — is PvE’ish. Gosh, I don’t want to open that can. Let me just quickly backtrack and say “PvE” is really ambiguous to some people compared to PvP being quite literally fighting other players. I won’t try and define PvE, but I will say it encompasses much more than just combat against AI mobs; so much more that maybe it’s overwhelming for a developer to even attempt at getting it right. That danger of tweaking PvE could explain themeparks — modular, linear experiences are easier.
Maybe that’s why I wish PvP was seen as less of a requirement. PvE has the ability to create a much better experience for me, and I wish those types of experiences would be developed further even with the risk.
Hopefully that made sense and resonates with at least a few of you.