Loading... PvPvE... vP?

One of the emerging MMO trends we saw at PAX 2009 was this idea of indirect PvP (or PvPvE). We'll explore how the idea has evolved and whether or not formalizing PvPvE will make PvP more attractive to co-op PvE players in today's Loading... PvPvE... vP?

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One of the emerging MMO trends we saw at PAX 2009 was this idea of indirect PvP (or PvPvE). We'll explore how the idea has evolved and whether or not formalizing PvPvE will make PvP more attractive to co-op PvE players in today's Loading... PvPvE... vP?

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Here's today's top 5 Pulse results:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Lord of the Rings Online
  3. Champions Online 
  4. Age of Conan 
  5. EverQuest 2 

Biggest movers today:

  1. Guild Wars 2 (UP 64 to #14)
  2. Star Trek Online (UP 24 to #19)
  3. Dragon Age Origins (UP 18 to #10)
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Much has been made of Aion's PvPvE concept and how the Abyss will impact players who perhaps got a little too used to playing a co-op PvE game. In the video released yesterday, Assoc. Producer Lani Blazier eased our concerns with the risk-free "training camp" being developed and her demo of PvPvE instance design, where the two factions beat back the NPC-controlled Balaur along separate but connected paths on a race to the final area (or perhaps you choose to help the Balaur against your enemies to sabotage their progress).  Lani also showed the Dark Poeta instance, where the final boss scales to your faction's instance performance. If you take 2-3 hours to clear the zone, you'll get a better boss and better loot, whereas if you just run it for completion in an hour, you'll get a lesser boss (and, of course, lesser loot).

The idea of indirect PvP also popped up in The Secret World demo, where Ragnar Tørnquist explained that the three secret societies have a sort of gentleman's code regarding open PvP - they don't go around killing each other, especially with the war against the Big Looming Evil (TM) raging. In the game's overworld, most of the PvP shenanigans revolve around defacing the other societies' headquarters - raising your flag above their HQ, making a thousand copies of your butt on their copier, tying up their call center with questions about Prince Albert in a can, that sort of thing. Things get more serious down below in Hollow Earth, where everyone's fighting over control of anima nodes to power the fight against Big Looming Evil. But indications are that the three societies aren't the only ones populating Agartha and Hollow Earth, and chances are you'll have to deal with more than the PvP threat.

Finally, Rusty Williams explained the Pirates of the Burning Sea's new skirmish system as being, again, a risk-free introduction and training ground for port actions - a part of the game that's set to explode with the introduction of port governance in the coming expansion. In port actions, of course, you'll be dealing with AI-controlled enemies and faction enemies, so there's an element of indirect PvP here too.

Three games may or may not make for a trend, but there's little doubt that developers are catering more to the PvP crowd* nowadays. They're also doing a few things - i.e. the training camps - to bring PvE players into the fold too. Call it PvPvE, call it indirect PvP, two player factions is company, but a third NPC faction fighting for control of the same area might be a crowd. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the mustache-twirling interloper letting the two parties wear themselves down before he makes his move. It's a fun, strategically clever element that makes for a great story a lá Yojimbo or For a Few Dollars More.

But if (and that's a big if) the "vE"in PvPvE is meant to make the idea more appealing to PvE-oriented gamers, it's a failure, and here's why. PvE gamers don't hate the idea of PvP as much as they hate the idea of enaging an AI-controlled monster only to be facerolled by a faction opponent waiting in the wings. Indirect PvP encourages and formalizes the practice. If you're that kind of gamer, that's great - by introducing mechanics to support your gamestyle, PvP becomes much more interesting and worthwhile. If you're not, PvP becomes all the more scary and complicated. For a subset But this idea of skirmishes / training camps could help, so long as it's a lot more fun that it sounds.
Completing PvE objectives to advance the PvP cause is nothing new - just about every game having an appreciable PvP side (with the exception of LotRO, which does an awesome job of keeping PvP separate from core gameplay) has its share of this. I guess my contention is that it's never really been an indispensible part of the endgame before, and if it's geared toward making a PvP endgame more accessible, it might be the right idea but wrong execution. Agree / disagree? Here's the part where you take the PvPvE discussion to our Loading... forum.

* Welcome to the first ever Loading... footnote (world first!). I have to disagree with WoW Producer J. Allen Brack's comments that there's no such thing as a PvP or a PvE player, that players are just looking for the fastest path to more achievements. That might be true in an established and hugely popular game like WoW. But in less-settled games where players are still playing the game (instead of letting the game play them), I think players definitely have a pre-defined style and preference that you part them from at your peril.

Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day

From our Aion General Discussion

Rate your open beta experiences so far

Aion's in open beta, and many have flocked to crowd the lands of Elysea and Asmodae, an event which, unfortunately, seems to have resulted in a lot of flocking lag for some players.

Whether you're lagging or, like me, completely lag-free (can I get an amen?), Sepharious would like you to lay in your vote and voice your opinion on your Aion beta experience thus far. Will you be purchasing the game and firing it up come September 22, eager to achieve Daeva status and stretch your wings? Are you mostly unimpressed? Or are you still undecided? Talk about it!

Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

"The most fun for me is just watching the laughably bad chat filter destroy common words like 'class' and 'fun.'"

- Reavi

"So true! I was going to turn off the filter, but now I see it as a minigame. I try and decipher which letters have been taken out. Some words are tough; I find myself wanting to buy a vowel.

- Medeor

Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!

7 new MMOG home-grown articles today! 24 in September! 976 in 2009!

MMO Coverage from PAX 2009
  • First Ever Look at PvP in The Secret World
    Funcom's Ragnar Tørnquist and Martin Bruusgaard teamed up for a first ever look at player vs. player (PvP combat in The Secret World. The three secret societies, united in their fight against evil but divided in their pursuit of power, will fight for control over the source of their power, the anima nodes in Agartha, deep in Hollow Earth.
  • Video: The Secret World's Three Secret Societies
    The pre-PAX reveals introduced us to The Secret World's three overarching factions that, as Funcom says, are loosely united in their fight against evil, but divided in the pursuit of power. Basically, the self-righteous Templars, the bad-boy Illuminati, and the chaotic Dragons are vying to see who holds sway once the darker days have come to an end. Players will have to join up with one of these factions right at the start of the game, so check out the video for an in-depth look at the three secret societies of The Secret World. When you're finished, check out the second video in the series: a first ever look at PvP in The Secret World!
  • New in-game screenshots from The Secret World
    Four new screenshots from The Secret World show off some of the landscapes, bosses, and character models from the game. Those that love that anachronistic feel of magic in a declining modern-day society have much to look forward to. My personal favorite is the concrete rebar monster, with blood soaked scarecrow a close second, what's yours? Check out the images and share your comments in the Ten Ton Hammer forums.
More from PAX

More Ten Ton Hammer Features:

  • Aion Patch 1.5 Highlights
    Aion launch is just around the corner and while fans wait in anticipation, we all want to be as up-to-date on the game as possible.  Game Update 1.5 adds tons of content and we have the highlights of this huge content addition, including class tweaks and nerfs, making it easy to see what features will be making it into the launch version of the game later this month.
  • EVE Online - Sins of a Solar Spymaster #26 – The Doomsday Epitaph
    News is beginning to leak about Eve Online's upcoming expansion 'Dominion'. Some of the rumored changes to the Titan's Doomsday attack has gotten the Mittani 's attention and in the latest Sins of the Solar Spymaster, the Mittani talks about the imbalance the Titan's Doomsday brought to Eve Online and why the changes are a good thing.
  • World of Warcraft - Trial of the Crusader - Twin Valkyr Strategy
    Patch 3.2 patch to the World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, brought us the raid instance located in the Argent Crusades Coliseum. The fourth encounter in the Trial of the Crusader raid is a fun and challenging one against the Twin Valkyr Fjola Lightbase and Edyis Darkbane.  The two appear in opposite white and black angelic forms. While they are two separate entities they share a single health pool and when you defeat one the other goes down as well. Join Byron "Messiah" Mudry as he guides you through the strategies that will help you defeat the Twin Valkyr.
  • Video: Champions Online Zone Flyovers
    Ten Ton Hammer brings you videos of all the cool places to visit in Champions Online. If you are thinking about buying the game, and want to see where you can go; or if you have the game, and want to know what you are getting into before you go there. These videos will show it all to you.

Hottest Content:

  1. First Ever Look at PvP in The Secret World
  2. Aion's Lani Blazier on 1.5, Pre-Launch Improvements, and More
  3. EVE Online - Sins of a Solar Spymaster #26 – The Doomsday Epitaph
  4. Fallen Earth: Exclusive Interview on Factions, Beta and Beyond
  5. The Future of Tyria: An Exclusive Guild Wars 2 Interview
  6. Making a Classic - An Interview with Dragon Age's Lead Designer Mike Laidlaw
  7. LotRO Siege of Mirkwood Sneak Peak Interview Video with Jeffrey Steefel
  8. Hands-On with Star Trek Online at PAX 2009
  9. New in-game screenshots from The Secret World
  10. Images and Impressions of Global Agenda at PAX 2009

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Pirates of the Burning Sea Game Page.

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