Uncharted 4 was released May 10, and it sparked a topic of controversy on forums, including the PlayStation forums: the combination of PVE and PVP elements in the same game. But, this has been happening for a while, hasn’t it? It’s not just Uncharted 4, there’s been combining in Guild Wars 2, where any change to the PVP meta affects the dungeons and open world for others, even if they don’t actively play PVE. Or how about Destiny’s Crucible? That’s not even touching on every MMORPG known to man, like Lord of the Rings online, that have separate servers, classes and characters designed for PVP only, making players feel like they’re playing two separate games, if they choose to dabble in both.
But see that’s where the difference lies: separate servers. Separate modes, locations, builds, etc. Should both gameplay style elements be implemented in the same game, like in Uncharted 4‘s multiplayer, where the stealth kills no longer exist, and the Mysticals reign?
Taking A Closer Look…
Before jumping into the controversial, “to mix, or not to mix” debate, it’s best to take a look at the 3 main ways that developers are tackling this: using PVE elements in a PVP setting, using PVE as a gateway to PVP, and finally, separate servers for PVE and PVP.
This is one way of handling the different styles, by combining both PVE and PVP through the use of PVE elements in a PVP setting, something that has sparked some serious debate. Now, let’s look at how another game does it:
Black Desert Online
Now, it’s important we note here, before moving along, that Black Desert imposes PVP on players once they hit lvl 50. Players have the choice to PVP others, but the entire game basically revolves around it, so it’s not really much of a choice. PVE elements are simple, and not enough to hold a casual PVP player, let alone a strictly PVE fan.
Our final example takes on a more classic MMORPG model:
Why Developers Have Created 3 Different Methods of Implementation
We could sit here and argue that developers use these two play styles in various ways as a means to keep things fresh and dynamic. We could say that all methods hold their value in theory, and then fail or exceed expectations upon execution. But that’s not really touching on the depth of the matter, is it? Truly, developers have a bit of pressure on their shoulders. Read the comments on any forum, or gameplay YouTube video, and you’ll find rage, criticism, hefty opinions based on exclusive forms of gameplay styles, and overall lack of hands-on development. It’s this sense of pressure, of needing to meet player expectations, while still keeping their own ideas and opinions in mind, that drive developers to try new ways of doing…well, everything.
In terms of PVE vs PVP, it boils down to catering to the hardcore PVP players, and PVE exclusive players, through the use of separate servers. It’s a matter of incorporating PVE elements in a PVP setting for the players looking to blend the best of both worlds. It’s having to use PVE as a leveling period, before gaining access to PVP gameplay, for all the players looking for a grand PVP time, and not so much PVE.
Truly, the controversy that Uncharted 4‘s multiplayer started isn’t a new one. Player reactions have been all over the place regarding every game to hit the market, not just those with PVE vs PVP elements. Some players love the blend of the two, others hate it. Some players need separate servers, others don’t really care. Not only is there a generational gap, with older players opting for the separate servers more often than not, but there is the matter of what you would call “elitists vs casual,” players. Casual players don’t care about this, but elitists tend to calculate even just marginal improvements in everything, and relish the opportunity to flaunt their gear. Casual players focus more on teamwork, gameplay, story elements, and general entertainment, while still seeking to improve their game (only without extensive calculations).
The point being, there is a PVE vs PVP experience for everyone, from elitist to casual players, or from PVP oriented to PVE exclusive players. It all boils down to the simple act of researching a game before purchasing it. Will you as a player enjoy the playstyle that the developers catered to? Because developers will make games for everyone. Their goal is to make everyone happy, but they can’t help a player that picks up a game that’s meant to make other players, with different styles, happy.
PVP and PVE will forever be two separate methods of playing a game, but they will be experimented with over and over again. Some games will mesh them together, others will give players the option to play either one, and yet, other games will cater exclusively to PVE, or PVP. Whatever the case, whatever the game, ultimately, it boils down to what the player wants. Players have the power to select the games the want to play, and therefore, what style they succeed at the most. But this does beg one vital question: is the anger misplaced? Perhaps if we took less time in raging over a game, and invested more time in other styles, we’d learn to be a bit more versatile, and enjoy a larger scope of games available.