Thursday, February 3, 2011

You got your PvP in my PvE - Redux

Previously I have written about how the interaction of PvP and PvE can be a success if done correctly. But, the question remains; what does the MMO audience REALLY want in their MMO's. Can PvP and PvE really mix? And, what is the current crop of MMO's teaching us about what the MMO audience wants to see.

This became even more of a subject to broach thanks to the recent changes in Rift for Beta 6. You can read about these changes here in depth (SOURCE). What it boils down to is making quest hubs more powerful against opposition invasions from the other factions. As well, objective based PvP is being moved into their own areas, so those who do not wish to engage in PvP, may avoid it almost completely (on PvE servers).

So, what does this tell us?

If we look at previous year offerings when it comes to PvP based games, the consensus seems clear. If your game does not have a well laid out PvE component and instead focuses on PvP, you will alienate a large audience (WAR, AoC Launch). And to top it off, if you force PvE audiences to PvP, prepare to fall down (Aion, which has been rectified as of late).

Basically, my feelings are that PvE has the larger audience, and PvP is too niche.

Rift at least looks to offer an alternate path though for a PvE/PvP based style of gameplay.

Thanks to the way that you can set yourself up to be auto-flagged for PvP on PvE servers, it allows a player to be near danger, but to avoid it if they wish. But, on the PvP servers, the always on flag allows the PvP player to engage whenever they wish...mostly.

Here is where the contention arises for the PvP servers. Seems they are disgruntled over the changes, and believe that PvE is already ruining their PvP experience. Why should they not be allowed to attack the quest hubs of alternate factions, and cause havoc against those players?

So, who exactly is right here? And, can Trion see to it that PvP can have separate server rules from PvE?

My hope is that for 2011 we will see what the MMO audience really wants. Rift's success as a PvE game with PvP may just answer that. Especially when we can see which servers hold the largest populations...and of course, how those numbers on X-Fire and Raptr look.

4 comments:

Scopique said...

I agree with your assessment of the balance being in favor of PvE. Although long since removed, a good portion of the MMO crowd is still looking for an "RPG" element, and that generally does NOT include PvP. The real PvP experience is in FPS titles, and I think you'd find that console FPS titles are stacked more with PvP multiplayer matches then they are with single player matches.

I have to take the site of the PvP server dwellers. This change is obviously being brought about to appease the PvE crowd. Generally, I think the PvP crowd DOES get the shaft, although on PvE servers I really don't care. When PvE changes affect the PURPOSE of a PvP server, then I think it's unbalanced.

As much as it would be a PITA for any operator to maintain, PvP and PvE servers should diverge in situations like this. PvE servers can cater to those who want to MAINLY PvE, and SOMETIMES PvP, while the inverse is true for PvP. People who WANT to mainly PvP should choose those servers, and people who mainly do not should choose PvE, and the balance should be in favor of the server type.

Elementalistly said...

@Scopique
Thus, I believe, the company will go toward where the "money" is (sadly).

I agree with you that PvP and PvE servers should allow some form of "difference'. But, what is entailed in keeping a difference between the servers?

But, this will be a real test for Trion. Can they find a good middle ground here?

And in the end, will the box sales and subs retention tell us what players really want the most in an MMO?

Rowan said...

I gather you favor PvP, Elementalistly? That is all fine with me, and it would be a shame if you and others feel the game is being nerfed on PvP servers. I don't know how much of a difference they can have in the stats/rules on the various servers. It's one thing to permanently flag everyone for PvP, another thing entirely to vary the strength/durability of NPCs and buildings.

I am not holding up WoW as an example of PvP done right; but the popularity of PvE over PvP is pretty well beyond question, looking at the proportion of servers devoted to each and player pops on the two types. And I don't think that WoW players constitute anything unique across the MMORPG player spectrum.

As a PvE player--yes I have done open-world PvP, and covered it tangentially in my blog--I have repeatedly seen PvE abilities nerfed in an effort to "balance" PvP encounters because the players complained that one class or another is overpowered, ignoring the possibilities of RPS type combinations.

Elementalistly said...

@Rowan
No. I am a pure PvE'er. The only PvP I have done is Guild Wars and WAR...and WAR was the only one I played on a continual basis, as it seemed to work.

But, I am with you. PvE with consensual PvP works best, and I feel any company who wants a 100% PvP experience, must also accept that they will be niche with a small sub base (WAR proving this now).

Cheers