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OPINION: New World & The Age-Old Clash Between PvE & PvP

Poorna Shankar Posted:
Editorials 0

Like many things in the industry (life, really), rampant tribalism emerges between various camps of differing beliefs, play styles, genres, etc. Many times, these divisions erode into truly toxic behavior and detestable language. But other times, these divisions lead to some good-natured poking. We need not look any further than last week’s news regarding New World and their constantly changing stance on PvE and PvP.  

In case you missed it, a recent Community Q&A looked at PvP with Scot Lane effectively saying that PvP will remain World PvP but will now include an opt-in flag. Additionally, you’ll have to be level 10 to even engage in any PvP. A faction system was also being implemented to help facilitate PvP.

As of this writing, that news story has 109 comments with some folks fiercely defending world PvP, fiercely arguing for no PvP, and fiercely arguing for more PvE. Such a division isn’t unexpected. When done respectfully, it can give rise to interesting debate. But the point is that PvP vs PvE has some intense conversation behind it.

Allow me to wade in and provide my two coins which I subsequently tossed to my Witcher.

Specifically to New World, the stance of the team has seemingly fluctuated a lot recently. As a consumer and gamer, this gives me cause to worry as it gives off the impression that, despite set to release in May, major elements in the game such as PvP are still in major flux.

If you’re a PvP player, this rightfully gives you cause for concern. The mode which you most enjoy is still not nailed down. There is no guarantee that it will be tuned correctly in time for launch. Will you really want to spend your hard-earned money on a new game from an unproven studio?

Conversely, if you’re a PvE player, your level of concern may be equal, though for different reasons. Given Amazon’s fluctuating stance on PvP, how much will that intrude on your PvE game? How much crossover will there be? Will you be able to enjoy the game with your friends without having to worry about some random PvP happenings over which you have no control?

The point here, as above, isn’t necessarily the specific questions themselves, rather, the sense of the unknown, fear, and dread that your favorite mode – whether it be PvE or PvP – will be compromised in some way.

Here’s where I stand when it comes to New World.

I’m absolutely not a fan of World PvP. If PvP should exist, it should be in a separate instance to PvE so that the two sets of players – and by extension, play styles – do not intrude on each other.

It doesn’t take much to see just how much World PvP – if not implemented correctly – can seriously intrude on these conflicting play styles. If you’re a PvE player, you don’t want to see random fights break out when you’re in the middle of a quest, or playing with your friends.

For me personally, as a PvE-only player, this would be completely immersion-shattering. My play style predominantly revolves around exploring, taking my sweet time, and taking in the world. I cannot begin to tell you how much I would absolutely loathe seeing random fights breaking out when all I want to do is just get lost in the world.

Conversely, if you’re someone who loves PvP, you don’t want to see random PvE players running around, seemingly unaffected by the epic PvP battle you’re having. It’s not only immersion-shattering, it’s also distracting when you’re in the heat of battle.

However, this is not my ideal solution, and it’s here where I suspect my views on the matter will be seen by some as too extreme. But hey, it’s my opinion, one which isn’t objectively right nor wrong. It just…is.

My ideal solution for any hypothetical MMO is pretty straightforward. Simply don’t have any PvP whatsoever. Instead, for those players who may want to fight others, have a system in which they can take part in small instanced duels. Though here, one can easily make the argument that, given the logic I’ve set up here, such players interested in fighting other players wouldn’t be interested in this hypothetical game in the first place, thus negating the need for instanced duels.

I’m a PvE player through and through. Some may suggest that one reason PvP exists is that it gives those players who run through PvE quickly something to do until the next PvE content update. Such players aren’t “hardkore” ™ PvP-only players, rather, PvE players trying to remain busy until the next patch. I get it. It’s a sound and entirely reasonable argument.

My stance on the matter stems from entirely selfish reasons. It’s no secret that my favorite MMO is Elder Scrolls Online. Additionally, my favorite Elder Scrolls game is Oblivion which takes place in the capital province Cyrodiil. The PvP zone in ESO also happens to be Cyrodiil.

From a lore standpoint, this makes sense. The Alliance War is raging and so, this central location makes Cyrodiil the ideal place for PvP. However, I would rather have that whole province for some epic PvE story lines and not worry about some random player fighting with me. Because of the decision to include PvP, I genuinely do feel as though I have been robbed of experiencing the province of my favorite game in a PvE instance.

Moreover, I am perfectly fine with waiting months for the next content patch should no PvP exist to take up the intervening time. That’s just me. I’m ok with waiting. I have plenty of other games to play and enjoy. I don’t need to be constantly engaged. Take your time. I can wait.

Additionally, one can imagine how much more PvE content could theoretically be created if those development resources were freed up from PvP and diverted to PvE. I’m by no means a developer. I don’t know the first thing about game development. Nor do I think I’m entirely incorrect on this matter.

The counterargument could be made that Cyrodiil could include a PvE instance and a PvP instance. I would not be opposed to this either. Like I said, my reasons for detesting PvP are entirely selfish. I simply want an all-in on PvE.

And it is on this precipice where I’ll leave you all. You are either nodding your head in agreement, or foaming at the mouth, furious at my mere suggestion to eliminate PvP entirely. It is what it is.

I think the real story here is Amazon’s lack of stability on their stance regarding PvP. As evidenced by comments in our forums, and the existence of this very editorial, the conversation they’re creating is a byproduct of uncertainty and players feeling like they simply don’t know what will happen.

In the end, we need clear communication, and effective execution of that communication, in order for gamer confidence to take root and grow. New World launches in May. That’s not that far off at all.


Poorna Shankar