Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why PvP is such a big deal?

Tobold reminded me how much it's a dealbreaker for some people that a game is PvP. It's easy to forget, because from an objective standpoint, it's not. In a video game you lead character(s) who battle with other characters. Are these lead by other players or AI is secondary to how challenging they are. Also, remember the grey area: when a player supposed to lead, but he uses a bot instead.

Most of the pre-video games were PvP, simply because it's very hard to create an entertaining AI without computers. There were some "turn the page" adventure books (are these games?) and human dungeon-master driven RPGs. But sports, card games, tabletop games were all PvP. Today most players play with PvE games and PvP became a niche.

Why? "Free for all PvP games are designed specifically for loser jerks who still live in their mother's basement and who need the success experience of PvP griefing in order to feel better about their pathetic existence." - Tobold says. You can laugh on him, but more agree with him than not. What is "PvP-griefing"? Defeating him. This is the core problem. In a PvP encounter, one player will lose. In a PvE encounter the loser is almost always the NPC. Players are so entitled nowadays that they consider it griefing if they don't win.

It's not just about PvP. Computer power increased exponentially over a decade and AI research progressed to the point that chess programs beat human chess masters. Yet NPC opponents got dumber. A typical MMO opponent just stands in one place, oblivious to its surroundings until the brave heroes arrive and AoE them down with their l33t ability of pressing any key.

For my generation, winning and losing was obvious. For today, anything else than winning is unacceptable. Preferably without effort, simply for logging in. There are rewards for simply starting the game. For someone who got used to being called savior of the World for literally just pressing one button, it does feel griefing to lose a round in a game.

If a game has PvP, it has defeat, therefore it has meaningful victory. Sure, it also likely have pay-to-win, but every advantage can be beaten and every rigging can be identified and exploited. However you can't do anything about spoiled brats saying "I pay for this game, so I entitled to win it" because they can just move to the next game which gives them their participation badge. We have to agree that most games will be like that and the same entitled kids will call us griefers just because we want a meaningful win.


Marek Zaborowski said...

Thats why I stick to LOL despite it flaws. At it core, is PVP game. Rioto may rigg with whom and against whom I play, but other than that I still get "fair" fight.

I tried BDO, but PVE aspects of this game was so soul-crushing. After many years of not playing normal mmo-s, I forget that they are all about "go kill thousands of NPC". I enjoyed their combat mechanics but I carved PVP without being forced to grind levels and EQ to even start it.

Despite all this, consider the following Gevlon:
Many games that produces tons of cash and are well-known even to non-gamers are PVP.
CS:GO, LOL, DOTA2, Overwatch, World of X(these are few), Starcraft 2, Hearthstone and so on and so on.

I think the problem here, is not that game desingers dont make PVP games, but that PVE content in these games is HORRIBLE. Like You said is "click one button to win" or "mash buttons to win". But that makes it just pointless chore! Without though needed, without actual work you put into that pve, it becomes job and not fun activity.

The major problem here is, in my opinion, is that many mmos pve is just watered-down single-player pve. Or there are just too many regulations on it, to make it interactive with other players. WOW have duengons and I geuss these are closest to viable PVE content for teams and folks.

I think the problem here is complex and there is more to it, than "millenials are needy whiners".

Esteban said...

"Players are so entitled nowadays that they consider it griefing if they don't win."

Yeah... before you get all up in arms about entitled snowflakes and all that jazz, there is a significant distinction between ganking/camping and a fair competition. Fair meaning limited range of power difference and/or equivalent starting point, depending on the game. This allows a chance of winning and an opportunity to learn from losses.

Ganking (defined as a PvP encounter with no chance of victory, unavoidably imposed within the game) is bad game design at best. Griefing/camping is just petty loser sadism, since any point about superiority has been proven by the kill. And any dev that caters to it explicitly (handcuffs, cages, torture, etc., looking at you DayZ/Ark/Exiles/etc.) isn't going to get my money.

I love PvP, both in games and irl, having trained boxing for years. I understand competition, victory and loss. However, if gaming's become a bit more Marquis of Queensberry since the hoary days of UO, that's honestly all for the better. I'll channel my own inner sadist into cackling at wolves whining about the lack of sheep.

Provi Miner said...

I too grew up with "winners and losers" in every game. where I tend to differ more so is thus: when I want to pawn the game I play solo off line, I don't want to win just because I purchased a pack of X allowing me to roll stomp badds. I don't mind paying to wipe a room of npc's with a single key stroke but I won't share it with anyone. When I play with others I might not be playing to "win" as defined by the game or others (after all I live and provi, and gobs says provi is irreverent because it won't expand despite being the most violent place over the years.) I do however play to win by my standards. Some months its just keeping the corp alive, the next it might be to get X goal or Y goal and so forth. My point is: I play to win when I play with others, I play to own the game when I play off line.

Anonymous said...

My definition of griefing is "would you do it to an NPC?" I will try to defeat my chess opponent, human or AI. I will destroy my ship worth 10m for a 50% chance of 1000m in transport loot, whether the transport is flown by human or AI. But if you destroy your 10m ship in a no skill way to kill a pod that drops nothing for you, because another human owns that pod, that is griefing, since you would not do that for a NPC pod.

In unstructured PvP, e.g. nullsec or the survival-du-jour game not structured/balanced eSports or WoW arena, then I don't think wins have to be meaningful. If an overwhelming number of players, and the better players, play on the Sith/Horde/Red team, then your win may be fun, but just how meaningful is it to play an outnumbered and outskilled Jedi/Alliance/Blue team? Or if you could look at LoL teams and drop unless your side is a significant favorite, then how meaningful are those wins? If you use a barking alt to sabatoge the enemy's team composition in Wintergrasp, then how meaningful are those wins?

For me, if you can't tell me the victory conditions, it is not a game. E.g., if your trade alt is doing trade runs and is crushingly defeated three times but the fourth time slips through undetected and it would take $200 to buy equivalent virtual currency to the profits from that fourth run that took 10 minutes, then who won? One side thinks the 3 kills no deaths mean they won and the other side thinks they won and the childish PvP antics are just a nuisance of doing business. Both sides thinking they won is profitable for the developer but hard to convince me it is a game.

nightgerbil said...

I agreed with everything tobold says when he wrote that and I think you do his argument a disservice with your post. Theres a world of difference between you beating me 1v1 hunter v shammy in a fight at arthai basin and your level 60 shammy ganking and corpse camping my level 20 hunter in ashenvale.

You can come arena with me all day every day and I'm playing players not ai. Its not even a fair fight when you consider gear class and match making inequalities: but I don't NEED a fair fight. I do however insist on a fighting chance or I'm taking my ball and going home. I can lose versus players or ais in online chess. It doesn't matter because if they beat me I can learn from that (and if I don't thats on me), but what is there to learn from being one shotted by someone who can't even be hit by you?

Note eve is a very different game here, due to how the risk/rewards of ganking are tuned into the game by the developers. You can counter gankers and theres a whole meta and thrill in playing the hunted. Again I might not have an evens chance of escaping low sec in my venture with a hold full of rare ore, but theres a fighting chance if I play smart and Im not unlucky. Same if I want to try to smuggle high end gods into jita in my mammoth through the marmite/goon pirates.

I don't think I'm "entitled" or spoilt because I wanted to go to school with kids who enjoyed learning as opposed to the ones who enjoyed beating me up at break times. Nor do I think either tobold or I are entitled or spolit for wanting to play against other HUMANS who want to play with us, win or lose against us and challenge us as opposed to simply humiliate and crush us for no other reason then their own amusement.

Smokeman said...

Ok. I'll bite.

"Most of the pre-video games were PvP, simply because it's very hard to create an entertaining AI without computers. There were some "turn the page" adventure books (are these games?) and human dungeon-master driven RPGs. But sports, card games, tabletop games were all PvP. Today most players play with PvE games and PvP became a niche."

Yoop. I grew up on Monopoly, Risk, and Avalon Hill board games. All PvP. I always played to win and did so very aggressively. But I was always SITTING IN FRONT OF MY OPPONENT... and was expected to act in a sportsmanlike way. In addition, the rules I played by were the exact same rules my opponent played by. It was fair and it worked.

MMORPGS aren't like that. Everyone plays by different rules and can hide behind the anonymity of a pseudonym on the internet.

Sand Boxes aren't like that. Everyone plays by different rules and can hide behind the anonymity of the internet.

The problem with both metaphors is "Advantage seeking." People will always seek an advantage, and the best advantage is one that is unfair, like getting 2 queens in a chess game, or seeking a target in a "game" that cannot defeat you for whatever reason.

Would you accept a Monopoly game where your opponent started with 3 free properties and 4000 monopoly dollars instead of 2000? Of course not!

PvP in high budget games is NEVER a fair fight because most people simply suck at games. High budget games NEED loads of players to support the high budget, so the sucks that pay have to win too. It is a MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE goal... you can have high budget, or you can have fair PvP. You cannot have both.

You want fair PvP? Go here: It's a chess site. Totally free, totally low budget. Totally fair. Huge player base.

Back to your post.
"What is "PvP-griefing"? Defeating him. This is the core problem. In a PvP encounter, one player will lose. In a PvE encounter the loser is almost always the NPC. Players are so entitled nowadays that they consider it griefing if they don't win."

What? Do you not comprehend the concept of the advantage seeker setting you up for an unfair fight? Why would ANYONE want to engage in an unfair fight that is unfair to the point where they cannot win, and can't know that ahead of time?

It's simply not possible to have "Fair PvP" in a high budget game. Your assertion that "...Players are so entitled nowadays that they consider it griefing if they don't win." is absolutely ludicrous. It assumes, despite all available evidence, and that body of evidence is astoundingly huge, that said "PvP fights" are always fair.

Gevlon said...

@Nightgerbil: the stereotypical ganker is pretty rare. Even in EVE. It's rather a nuissance than a danger. I barely remember being ganked in WoW. Designing a game around a few idiots is quite dumb.

Even EVE is designed in a way that grief-ganking is punished. The reason why it exists is:
- people carry too much value and it makes it profitable
- people provide tears

These two are in the complete control of the "weak" player.

Anonymous said...

How much did you profit from grief-ganking miners? Or were you doing it for the tears?

Anonymous said...

in my opinion, the problem lies not in the eixtence of pvp itself but in the factor of involuntary pvp.
a lol match, an arena, a chess play, etc that's always fine. but when i want to focus on building a house or explore a world, then i really don't want to bother with roflcopter spamming gankers that can just dropy by and burn a few days worth of effort to the ground for shits and giggles.

also, there is really nothing wrong with his conclusion. he doesn't say these types of games shouldn't exist or you are not allowed to develop/enjoy them. he is just voting with his wallet for his preference. you going out of your way to mock his opinion makes you look like the special snowflake that cannot handle the fact that others disagree on how to spend their money + free time.

Gevlon said...

@Anon: I got to the top position of the ISK destroyed list for two months (until I got bored). I destroyed alone 1/10 as much value as Pandemic Legion (the strongest alliance) in the same timeframe.

@Next anon: being vigilant and careful are good qualities. If a retard doing "shits for giggles" can hurt you, you are just bad.

maxim said...

Oddly enough, advanced AI don't provide any more meaningful challenge than basic AIs do. There are plenty examples of games where ultimately-powered AI is also utterly boring (UT bot deathmatch against max-powered bots). And then there are plenty examples of highly engaging basic AIs, providing meaningful challenge. For example, the Dark Souls series (DS1 best imo).

Incidentally, Dark Souls 3 currently has a pretty vibrant PvP scene, despite lacking in any sort of progression tracking and other game-meaningful incentives. You might be interested in figuring out what makes this scene tick :D

maxim said...

Another consideration is that the only reason most games were originally PvP is because there was no point in making a PvE game when your entire life was essentially one huge PvE session.

The rise of PvE games coincides with a massive increase in general wealth of a population, combined with simultaneous decline in amount of meaningful PvE experiences available IRL.

Halycon said...

@Gevlon: depends on the game on if someone can burn your village for "shits and giggles".

You weren't really around in Eve for the rise of coalitions and super alliances. Just hit the tail end of it.

A whole lot of people took their ball and went home after null became thousand man wrecking crews dropping on a single or double star system sov entity. For awhile the small pocket alliances could diplomacy their way into staying around, but after awhile it just became vassal status and finally pressured to either join or die. Now days a few pop up around the edges, but they only stay around so long as they don't upset the balance too much while everyone's focused elsewhere or join a side. No one has absolutely any illusion that Sov can be held by anything other than a bloc.

So yeah. For awhile in Eve it was just people curb stomping others for shits and giggles until they ran out of people to curb stomp. Provi's the only hold out of the old-ish system, and even it has rules Eve didn't have back in the wild west days governing it. Everyone knows if the big boys wanted to curb stomp it they could. They don't because they've so eradicated that style of play in the rest of Null they realized they need it for entertainment purposes by informal agreement. But it's only an informal agreement. Provi has been beat to hell for shits and giggles before, it's only a matter of when it'll happen again. Not if.

You dabbled in Sov by funding a group in NPC Null, but it's a completely different ballgame if you want your name on a map. The moment you try you will be slapped down by someone, no matter how well you play the game. The scales are just too unbalanced.

Anonymous said...

I have brought a friend to a WoW PvP server. He was used to PvE. I was going for the hunt, he was going for the chat. We did not play together very long, as he wanted to befriend anyone he met. I think it is just the way people enjoy their leisure activity. For me it is the cat and mouse game that I like, and I do not care much if I end up being the mouse and losing.

To play PvP you need to be able to accept losing, then learning from your mistakes and progressing. Part of the challenge is being able to recognize if you can win an engagement, and put yourself in the position to make that choice.

Kring said...

There are differences between real world PvP games/sports and PvP over the Internet.

- IRL you're going to pick the people you play with and against. Over the Internet you do not. If we play a game of chess together and you decide to just walk away to do something else because "lol, it's just a game" that will be the last game we've played together. If you do the same in LoL, I have no choice because the match maker decides who I play with. If you're roping in Hearthstone I have to deal with it, if you play slow on purpose IRL I will stop playing with you.

- MMOs are more than just a game, they are a virtual world who offer different activities. The problem with open world PvP is that it's no longer your decision what you play but the decision of the other players. You want to do some pet battles? To bad, if you get attacked you're doing PvP. That's like if you sit down in front of your TV to watch a movie and someone forces you to play a game of chess. Doesn't matter if you had an exhausting day and just want to watch a movie, your going to play some chess. Doesn't matter if you're not good at chess or don't even know the rules, you're going to play some chess. Yeah, sorry, no. After a day at work I want to do what I want to play, not do again what someone else wants. :-)

- NPCs follow unwritten rules. Like you don't get attacked in the auction house in the city. Players do not. Again, IRL you play with people who have and follow the same unwritten rules as you. E.g. in a snowball fight you might have the unwritten rule between your friends to not throw rocks covered with snow. In a PvP game you play with strangers everything allowed by the game mechanic is fair game. You can't decide who you want to play with. And if they throw rocks in a snowball fight you have to deal with it.

Tithian said...

Given enough freedom PvPers turn into little shits. That's why karma penalties exist in games such as BDO, among other things. And why so many people want to like EVE, but quit in disgust after meeting the 'community'.

The reality is that the market has spoken; if you want a PvP game the only option is a strictly defined 'arena' of sorts. People like fair competition, and getting camped by someone 20 levels above you for giggles will lose you business.

Why would I want to play a FFA MMO when MOBAs exist, especially if my involvement with that MMO is the 'vitrual world' aspect?

Anonymous said...

Before we begin, and before inevitable ad hominem from a troll lands, I used to have a decade long history of being a national one-digit ranker in fighting games, so I'm not a stranger to pvp and losing.

However, there is a fat line between pvp game like a fighting game, where two players start with a full health bar and no external force stronger than mild RNGesus presence may interfere, and a griefing game like eve online where paralympic team of loser jerks living in their mom's basement turn it into what is essentially a pve with an unwilling spectator, where your power, skill, and preparation amount for exactly nothing (yes, you can be a harder target, no, nothing can stop a gank, yes, you can troll gankers with an Ark on implants and links, no, you can't do that and play the game at the same time) and your ship might as well been piloted by NPC (and no, it doesn't matter how much cargo did you have, checking kills quickly reveals enough empty ships ganked).

Sports have rules to avoid turning them into griefing game (equal teams, mercy rule, delegitimizing abusable tactics like offside, etc). Card and tabletop games have even less barrier from being turned into a griefing game (google "mtg slowroll"). Games designed as pvp games, or even pve games with pvp elements, have those barriers. Games designed as griefer games naturally have no such barriers.

PvP did not became niche because of players, PvP became niche because griefer games pushed it to the niche. PvP is where player actions MATTER. Griefer games are usually a landslide where a bunch of losers only stay there to push others into situation where they "win" no matter what others do, and that might not even be some objective victory which can be measured - see afk cloaky camping in eve, which achieves absolutely nothing, but tons of people spend subscription time they paid for to do it - to feel like winners simply because they cannot lose, just because somebody (who isn't even the people they stalk! usually other end of galaxy, but it doesn't matter to our loser) complains about it somewhere.

Thus, PLEASE, don't lump together pvp games and griefing games. I would play the first kind (currently looking into For Honor to see if it is a pvp game or a griefing game), and I would run in disgust from the second kind, where horde of loser jerks living in their moms basements would pay anything to feel like they're less of a trash than they actually are.

Also, please, split your definition of meaningful win for pvp and griefer games. In griefer games, griefer wins by default - for me, that devalues the victory to the point, where, using your words, it's the same as being rewarded for logging in. Ganks in eve online are made remarkably low effort for this purpose. Just one meaningful change like scaling down concord reaction time by multiple offenses on the same grid could do wonders to this "profession" - it would start requiring skills (not 10 day hero alts), calculation (not dividing scanned ehp per gankalyst dps and saying "we need X gankalysts), and invesment (one day of PvE would provide me a month supply of gankalysts, but only a handful of Taloses); it would also make victim's choices meaningful (currently fitting or not fitting a tank matters only if gankers were too lazy to sperg a gorillion more of 10 day hero alts) - overall, this change would be a barrier which makes eve less griefing game and more pvp game. Can you see it happening? No, because the amount of butthurt and unsubscribed losers would cull the revenue of a griefing game eve online is. Wouldn't that be meaningful win, would it?

Константин Скрябин said...

What's more annoying, is that sometimes players create their own definition of a win, and then get very upset when reality interferes -- e.g., in EVE people store a whole lot of stuff in a wormhole system, then predictably someone tries to evict them, which lead to tears.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon, you are off the mark. PvP only (or mostly) games are wildly popular today. Look at the most popular Steam Titles of 2016 - among them are CS:Go, Dark Souls 3, DOTA 2, The Division, and Rocket League. Those are all heavily PVP games. FPS, one of the most (if not the most) popular genres, is 90% PvP. You just got done playing a hugely popular PvP game for months.

PvP games are wildly popular. The question I think you are seeking an answer for is why PvP specifically in MMORPGs is not so popular.

Randomus271 said...

So much hatred for PvP in MMORPGs...And yet PvP is literally the *only* reason MMORPGs were ever created in the first place.

Seriously, think about it - If you take away competition with other players, and specifically the fact that in an MMORPG the time and effort (and sometimes money in modern ones) that you have put into the game to power up your character gives you a competitive advantage in competition with other players (griefing?)....what is left that requires it to be "Massively Multiplayer" or even "Online"?

Trading/chatting with others doesn't require massive server networks or a shared universe - a unified trading/chatting system could be run on a single low-cost server if the game itself ran in a local instance on the player's computer. This same server could also handle leaderboards/stat tracking for proper non-violent e-peen comparisons...

Running quests/missions with friends? Co-Op play? That doesn't require a massive shared world - you only need to share the world with the few friends you intend to play with. Again this could be hosted on the players' computers or run on a much lower-cost server than is needed for an "MMO" game.

Competing for limited resources? Contrary to popular belief this is a form of PvP - and it heavily favours the older, higher level players who can harvest limited resources faster - so this is just another form of "griefing" that most lower-level players hate.

Ultimately the *only* reason other than PvP activities (complete with "unfair" advantages to higher-level players) for *any* game to be "MMO" in any format is to prevent people from hacking/cheating...but even that is a flimsy reason, as there are many good software programs and encryptions that can be run directly on the player's computer, which are used to successfully prevent cheating in all sorts of non-"online" games. Additionally the cheap server running chat/trade could easily handle save files as well - preventing save file editing.

So basically - by playing an MMO game of any category (obviously most are RPG) - you are helping fund their investment of *millions* of dollars (or whatever local currency you prefer) for the sole purpose of supporting PvP and "Griefing" in gaming. There is *no* other reason for any MMO game of any genre to exist in the modern world. Deal with it.

Doktor Jeep said...

The most ironic thing about Eve online is that the golden age of the game was back when it favored solo PVe. The "new vision" that requires more group play, though nice, falls to the "herding cats" issue of playing with others.

Most players who don't have all day to play a game can't spend half of the 90 minutes they might have waiting for the fleet to form while others are putting the kid to bed or walking the dog.

The PVe, in spite of the AI, has gotten stale: same old missions, unless it's a burner mission. New exploration sites around the sleepers also take a team.

All good stuff - but you have to be a basement dweller in order to have the time to play it.

That plus the toxic community brought to us by Falcon has not helped. The game seems less lively and "leet PVPers" are blanket deccing in highsec and gate camping. There have always been ganking and PVP and awoxing and scams. But people just being dicks about it makes it all feel like babysitting. Who wants to pay to... oh wait they had to make it free too... who wants to "put up" with these people when they can choose not to?

Ultimately the underlying lifeblood of Eve was the casual PVe-er (todays mission runner could have been tomorrow's fleet member, nullsec roamer, or pirate) CCP added lots of good AI, put that only in new content that takes teams or multiple account (more work), and kept the boring old missions to grind in while making exploration easier and killing it (the most casual thing you can do in the game and the most interesting with fame of failure in 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, all the "good" of Eve exists in other PVP games without the sperge and grind. You can customize your ships or warrior/soldier, and even skills too. You can launch any PVP game and be at the pew in minutes.

Druur Monakh said...

I, too, am in the camp that 'meaningful PvP' and 'Griefing' are not the same. The former requires skill, because you're facing a somewhat balanced situation; the latter just requires bigger numbers. I still enjoy the former, bouncing around by myself or with a friend in EVE, usually losing; but the latter... naaah. Fleet kills don't count for me.

But to note: The EVE community was toxic even before CCP Falcon; it actually has mellowed over the last years a bit.