PvE or bust

I’ve been occasionally tuning into WoW and a Rift raiding streams lately, mainly because I was curious. How is PvE of today different from the raiding I used to do a long time ago? In addition I have also been taking a trip down memory lane and replaying some of the WoW vanilla PvE content. Naturally, all of this got me thinking.

What is the pull of PvE (see what I did there?)? Why is it that we engage in that sort of marginalised PvE raiding activity?

This post isn’t supposed to be that long. But if it turns into a wall of text, well, there’s not much I can do about that.

My first motive for PvEing is the obvious one, I do it to be entertained. I want to explore the cold dungeons and other mysterious places the developers have designed for me. I want to experience the feeling of battling an enormous boss, no matter the outcome. The process and what I experience during it is what matters.

The other, arguably more hardcore motive is working hard with a team to bring down a difficult boss. Many PvE raiders describe this as their sole reason for raiding (which is probably bollocks). But it’s undeniable that the thrill from succeeding as a result of a coordinated group effort is a great feeling.

Then there’s the RPG aspect. Many of us enjoy playing MMORPGs because of character advancement and progression either in power, looks, feel or story-wise. Here I’m talking about gear. Yes, many people shun loot-whores and the like, but not one of the players that enjoy PvE (or grudgingly bear it) can honestly say that they don’t enjoy getting a shiny piece of powerful gear. It’s a part of the game and playing against it really isn’t an option. You either want loot or you don’t play.

Now my problem with those PvE incentives (and the reason PvE gets incredibly dull after a while) is that none of them last very long. Exploring instances and experiencing encounters only works a few times per instance in the best case scenario. After the shine and excitement wears off, the encounters become just another thing you need to grind out.

Which can be said about the next two incentives as well. The thrill is only present on a boss you kill for the first time. After that, it’s hardly an exciting fight. As for the excitement over gear, it might not wear off, but the grind to get the things you want gets boring really fast. Either that or you acquire the gear you need but are forced to repeat the content so your team can gear up as well.

End-game PvE will essentially only feel exciting for the first few times you do it. Now couple that with the fact that there’s really only a few kinds of encounters. Scripted ones become repetitive, either because of the lack of imagination, technical constraints or just pure laziness by the developers. And random encounters will usually only be exciting for the first few times you do them and will quickly become an incredibly frustrating ordeal. In addition, there’s really only a few different looks and feels instanced content can have. Ancient tombs, fiery caverns, zombie ruins, etc.. Eventually you will have seen them all and become a bitter veteran player that scoffs at the mention of an instance.

All of the above is why I like my PvE brief and sporadic. My days of four-hour raids are over and I can’t see myself playing a PvE focused MMO any time soon.

Those are my thoughts, I’m interested in hearing everyone else’s. Do you PvE and why/why not?

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3 thoughts on “PvE or bust

  1. I’ve actually done a lot of PvE of late. Since there hasn’t been a real satisfaction in the PvP department of any game I’ve tried recently.

    Though… I really hate raiding. I don’t care for 3+ hour intances. I hate waiting for members of my group in order to do something. I’d rather make an alt than progress through tirelessly long content that one of your party members decides to bail out of 2/3 of the way through.

    PvE is definitely a hit or miss subject for me and overall It’s mediocre at best. Some of the best content I’ve experienced were the Book Quests in LOTRO. Though, this was only the case on the first time through.

    Sadly most PvE content has a very low replay value. This needs to be addressed in future development. =\

    • Well, if you examine the things that give games a replay value, such as alternate endings/paths (which take a long time to develop), random encounters (people don’t like randomness in their instances), collectibles (that’s already in there, you’re collecting gear/tokens/reputation or whatever) and replaying things from a different perspective (that’s already in MMOs, replaying content with alts) you’ll see why end-game PvE doesn’t have much replay value. It’s either too hard to develop or is already in the game but no effective enough, especially given the effort you need to put in them.

      For example the collecting things and replaying the content with a different character lose much of their appeal when you need to have (and possibly tolerate) 20 players coordinating through content that takes multiple hours to progress through.

      I really can’t see PvE content changing and getting more replayability value anytime soon. It’s simply not it’s goal. PvE content is designed as cannon fodder, it’s purpose is mostly slowing you down and making sure you keep playing the game. Quick and dirty (when I say dirty I mean dirty like a puppy that just left mud footprints in your house) instancing can really only work in games where PvE isn’t the main focus and there’s other content to hold people’s attention.

      With all that being said though, BioWare spent a shitload of time developing SWTOR and I’m curious to see how that will pan out. One of the ways to make PvE more engaging is to make ton of good content, because then it’s good and it doesn’t start repeating.

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