Soapbox Derby

I think it’s time to put some things to bed.

First, let’s cover the back story. Syp over at Bio Break, recently wrote a post about ArcheAge. I should also make clear that I have yet to play ArcheAge and I haven’t been following it all that closely. I know there was a paid Alpha, and I know I didn’t spend money on that. I was recently invited to the closed beta that’s starting next week, but that’s not clouding anything I’m going to say here. Regardless of my knowledge of the game or lack thereof, I was presented with some opinions about the game and it’s community in his post.

I should also mention that I didn’t read his post first. I actually read J3w3l’s response which lead me to his, but that’s not super relevant because I read both blogs almost daily. I basically read both posts at the same time, and here’s the gist of them:

Syp believes that because ArcheAge is an MMO, it should cater to all audiences. ArcheAge was apparently (correct me if I’m wrong) built to be a open-world PvP-only game. This means that even the most basic systems were composed with PvP conflict in mind. Something like that is rarely done, and Syp himself is part of the reason why. He isn’t a PvP player. People who aren’t PvP players would prefer PvE servers that at the very most have instanced PvP, but preferably none at all. That’s fine, to each their own I say. But the dilution of the MMO industry has occurred because of people who don’t allow games like this to be untouched, meaning the developers get to make the game they envision. Next thing you know, a game like ArcheAge is another run-of-the-mill themepark, just because someone who doesn’t like PvP games demanded that a PvE version be made.

J3w3l was a bit more hostile in her reply, though knowing her and her personality, she’s mostly joking. But the passion is there, and that’s what’s important. Passion makes good games. Good games don’t always cater to everyone. If you want to knock it down to its most basic level, there are many other MMOs on the market that already cater to everyone, and have a little bit of both. Go play one. But when a game that’s breaking out of the mold comes along you cry that it needs to be more of the same. That’s a shame, and as a result we’d never see anything new again. I’m glad some developers are still willing to take risks.

So that’s the basic argument, with a splash of my opinion sprinkled throughout. On J3w3l’s post, I commented:

The PvPers manifesto right here.

I read Syp’s post, and I too felt as combative as the players on the forums that he referenced. The entire industry (outside of instanced pvp or the call of duty series or MOBAs as a whole) is built on PvE. PvAI more like. And I’ve been a major supporter of PvP because it does create ever-changing dynamic content. Sure there are RP servers that do some pretty amazing things in other MMOs, but it’s still not dynamic, and it usually equates to do some frivolous stuff and standing around a bunch. The ability to have the dynamics that games like EVE had (and I’m glad Wilhelm brought that up) where PvE players can still participate in farming/mining/economy — whatever — is where PvE players could still get some fun out of PvP games, and maybe even learn to enjoy them. Supposedly the majority of EVE players stay out of the PvP areas.

One way or the other, I am all for diversity amongst games, and not just with race/class/sex issues, but also for the types of mechanics they use. There are very few successful PvP-only MMOs, and if ArcheAge is able to bring a new one to the fold without catering to the entitled folks, I’m all for it. I actually just got a closed beta invite yesterday, so I’ll be checking it out myself next week.

Kudos for the article. Well done.

That went unnoticed for a couple of days. Sure enough, it wouldn’t be for long. My buddy Doone, ever the antagonizer, had this to say:

I see people throw this term around a lot. Dynamic suggests unexpected things can happen in game, and to that end whenever there are players around doing ANYTHING, the game is dynamic. The constant threat of losing assets you spent a lot of time to get doesn’t add dynamism. It just adds risk. So what is this dynamic gameplay you all are referring to which can only be present when players are killing each other?

The funny part about all this is that Doone doesn’t have a problem with PvP, he just likes to argue. So I responded again, and I think I made my point clear:

The dynamic you are missing is that killing isn’t necessarily what is meant by PvP. It’s the dynamic element of HUMAN INTELLIGENCE which eclipses that of AI, and can create conflict from nothing, can create situations that wouldn’t occur when it’s a program run by a script. Tell me that running the same stupid pattern in a dungeon or raid over and over again doesn’t get old fast. Tell me that it would be more fun if you knew the enemy was able to actually ADAPT to what you’re doing, rather than wondering why he can’t hit you with the fire, but some other dumb player will stand in it?

I think that people who swear off PvP are afraid of a challenge. Each camp has its trolls, sure, but I think pro-PvP gamers are mostly looking for something dynamic and engaging. We are tired of the rails.

Now, I know that this isn’t speaking for the entirety of PvP players. I’m sure there are plenty of assholes out there who love to grief, and who might take things a bit too far. But there’s a breed of PvP player who feels just like the paragraph above, and I think they would agree that it puts the argument to rest. It won’t ever stop, but I feel like I got the best word in.

EDIT (7/28):
The discussion has continued, beyond comments here and on the posts linked above. Syp has posted a follow up to his original post. You can read that here. I’m sure we’ve all been entitled players at one point or another, so I’ll agree with him that we’re all hypocrites. But at the same time, I still stand firm that if a game was designed to be an open-world PvP sandbox, it shouldn’t have a separate PvE server. I also think that the way PvP servers are added in as an afterthought to PvE-centric games is stupid. I’m not against PvE games whatsoever. I simply want the market to continue and try new things, so we aren’t stuck with more of the same over and over. I think it’s a pretty logical position.

#opinion #gamediscussion #pvevspvp #archeage

10 thoughts on “Soapbox Derby

  1. It’s a fun topic to have some back and forth on. Personally, I’d love to see a sandbox focused solely on PvE or another MMO that doesn’t waste its time on PvP and PvP balance.

    I’d also like to see Archage be a sandbox PvP game and games like Camelot Unchained succeed on the merits of their PvP alone.

    It’s funny how the ‘not being an entitled, closed-minded MMO fan’ thing works.


    • You understood my point, and I’ll take that +1 to heart.

      I’m all for a great sandbox PvE game. But I don’t like seeing a strictly PvE OR PvP game watered down to please everyone.

      That’s why we have multiple different games. Variety is good, but some people don’t see it that way.


  2. My experience with pvp players:

    They have “the one true build for their class” that is “the best.”
    This build has the same skills as every other player of their class.
    They use the same rotations and counters as everyone else, along with the same movement patterns
    Thus they are every bit as scripted and predictable as any AI mob, contrary to their claims that their human intelligence adds “dynamism” and “unpredicatbility” to the game.
    Add in a healthy dose of trash-talk and/or griefing and it’s simply that much more annoying.

    This is why I’m a PVE player. PVP *almost* never has any real point other than to be killing other players (Eve is a notable exception), the players generally act like AI mobs anyway, and when I get beat there’s nearly always some kind of idiotic trash talk which is annoying at best. The whole thing is simply “meh” to me.


    • Well I’m not strictly talking about MMOs here. PvP is present in a large portion of the market outside of that genre, and it’s why MOBAs can even exist. Ever play Co-op vs. AI? Boring and predicatable. Sure, Min/maxers will always have their “one true build” but there’s bound to be a multitude of players that don’t. Eve is a good part of the example and the way a sandbox should be, I just don’t want one in space. Like I said in the end, I know that the argument won’t end because I wrote a few words. I prefer games with a pvp element, even if it’s not the focus. That’s me, you’re not into it, and that’s fine. Grinding AI mobs for countless hours doesn’t do it for this gamer anymore.


  3. I take it this means you have no intention of answering my questions or addressing my points. Just plant your stake in the sand, “i win the debate”. It’s like those damned PvE’ers. They just wanna hole up on their farms and not be challenged by rabid pvpers. So I completely understand how you feel!

    Seems we’re all more alike than we think 🙂

    You’re right, I enjoy challenging dubious statements that players make about games and their features. It’s interesting and fun to watch them try to answer. But we both know I have a point: PvP is just a feature. Just like PvE and those players are no less dynamic, interesting, or intelligent than PvP players.


    • I absolutely answered you. The point is that you were missing the point. I never said PVP is necessary to make a game dynamic. I said that Players are always more difficult to play against than the computer.

      There was never a comparison of the intelligence of PVP or PVE players. I’m not calling PVE players stupid or less interesting. I’m saying that they prefer their game that way. It’s like you don’t even listen at all!


      • Ah but there was a comparison. You answered, with the implication that PvP is WAESOMES because pvpers play with people and Pve’ers don’t. You were trying to describe why PvP makes a difference. Keyword: difference. And I just came to point out that we can have all that dynamism without players killing each other. That the only difference between PvP and PvE is player combat.

        You seemed to be using PvP as a blanket term which was supposed to describe all the things that PvE were not. I kindly pointed out that all those features, save for player combat, were present in PvE. But I’m sure you don’t care to explain how PvP is so very different. Or do you?


  4. Wow, I was going to write a very similar post, but I see you’ve covered this pretty well.

    I like Syp, but this particular of his article rubbed me the wrong way a bit. It’s clear that Archeage was originally developed to be a PvP-centric game, and that is what Trion are bringing to the West too (although I genuinely wonder whether if it would even be in Trion’s hands to decide to add a PvE server even if it was popular, who knows what their exact remit is). These sorts of games can have a really dedicated following,but it has to be acknowledged PvP will always put some players off. But, if the developers can live with that, fine. Not every MMO has to cater to everybody, and lord knows there are plenty that try.

    I’m never happy with what I see as a pretty unfair amount of snark directed at PvP in general, with the presumption being that all such players are gank-happy, frothing at the mouth idiots. I rather suspect a vocal minority has contributed to that impression, but it’s still a generalisation and I find that sort of attitude is quite prevalent.

    I guess my main point would be, can’t we just let developers make the games they want to make, and judge them on their own merits? If we decide that game doesn’t tick all the boxes for us, there are plenty of other games out there.


    • Your main point was my main point. It’s not really the pve vs pvp debate at this point, it’s the fact that many players are clamoring to change this game, and if it doesn’t cater to them they’ll take their money elsewhere. That’s just it though, take your money elsewhere. Not every game that comes out will be for everyone. There’s plenty of people out there who don’t play MMOs. Plenty that don’t even touch RPGs. Still more that don’t play video games at all.

      When it comes to diversity in games, we aren’t always talking about race/sex/class issues. Sometimes we’re talking about different genres or differing games within genres. I love a new idea that does it well. Why not let these devs do what they envision, and judge the results once the game is done?


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