The PvE Challenge

Hey. I keep playing with both RIFT beta (I have also bought the retail digital copy) and EQ. These two game seem to portray the evolution of PvE over the past decade. Or as some would argue the lack of worthy or challenging PvE evolution.

I will start from the end – I joined a guild with really nice people at RIFT beta 2. I since then got pretty turned off from the theme park PvE elements of the game. Heck even RIFTs are easy to get bored from after an hour or two. But the favor AoA is doing me is deciding (against my vote) to go PvP. Seems like the only real challenge these days in MMOs – for some veteran like myself – is to finally go that PvP way. Fortunately these kind people over AoA are not only mature but also the kind of PvP players which will never gank. So even though I have no idea if this game style will fit my definition of fun – I am looking forward to try it.

So where does it leave the topic of this post you ask? Well – my claim is that PvE can be challenging and that even though it all originates from EQ in one way or another – the way the industry evolved PvE is the complete opposite path than what some would rather see. I am definitely not saying that 13 million WoW players are wrong. Not at all. Just that for me and probably some of you too – a theme park is a boring way to kill time. I will go even a bit further than that. RIFT is finally breaking some PvE molds and offering dynamic events. Thats surely nice. But the challenge is still low after playing it. So you may say – what about world events – well I didn’t find the option to run with 200 other players around a fun thing. Again – its all personal.

What RIFT offers is in many ways the most evolved PvE game play to date – according to the evolutionary path that took place after EQ in this industry. But lets examine EQ again. And with all its original faults let me try to suggest please an alternative evolutionary path.

EQ’s PvE is a harsh place. Theme park or not – its the difference between a candy store and a horror castle. Killing something in most zones is a challenge. You always need to be on your toes and planning ahead is the only way to go. Now – as mentioned in my previous post below – in no way do I long for long corpse runs. But that is all the way of the past as EQ did solve that and most other cruel elements of its original game play. Let me please give you some specific examples – most areas are not populated densely. You need some travel and moving around to find your game. That said in one area you can always also find mobs higher than you that can find you a yummy target. You hunt and get hunted at the same time. The outcome is slowing down the game – for sure. Maybe original EQ was too slow. But heck current games are way too fast. So fast that no one of you will remember 90% of the things you have recently went against. Heck games became so click oriented that we see DCUO shine as the first successful action MMO. The industry as a whole is planning to move the next step and promote action games as mainstream. But that is not what I look for. Not at all.

I like to think, plan and feel some danger in what I am doing. I don’t look to fail – and I certainly don’t want to have to waste time on non-fun elements in case I fail. But I want my PvE challenge back. Believe me – 8 years later – and I like playing EQ’s PvE must better than RIFT’s. In my view the challenge for developers is to create a new evolutionary path from EQ and set PvE on a new course. Drop the traditional theme-park and get back to a dangerous environment. Hunt and get hunted. Take the *long battle* path instead of the *shorter* option (heck even GW2 is planning a short combat interval per kill). Travel more to accomplish. Naturally it would also mean that you can not just log in for 10 minutes. So for these situations some answer needs to be invented. Rather than caving in to simplicity like most games do today. And I bet there are dozen more challenges to overcome with new creativity!

I don’t believe PvP – or in other words – other people playing the game with me – are my only hope for a challenge. I think PvE can still go a long way. What do you think? …

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3 Responses to The PvE Challenge

  1. Morreion says:

    I’m looking forward to trying Rift, and I like the direction that their version of dynamic events (rifts) is going. Reminds me a bit of Tabula Rasa, where alien dropships would drop off ground troops near you and they would attack. Anything to get away from static mobs standing around or patrolling from point A to B.

    Not to say that I expect the standard PvE encounter these days to be as difficult or unforgiving as it was 10 years ago, unfortunately…you can have a feeling of real danger in PvE when there are consequences. I used to feel that in UO when I’d go up against liches who had a halfway decent chance of taking me down and looting an item from my pack :p Those were the days!

  2. Cynthia says:

    I’d love an update of your opinions since playing in the Rift betas after this post. I personally found myself, at various levels, getting exhausted trying to get through mobs at Overwatch Tower to complete quests. The early areas were so-called walks in the park but then…wham! 🙂

  3. werewood says:

    Cynthia, first please let me apologize as your comment didn’t show up immediately. I am still a novice with wordpress and thus for some reason I still need to approve comments.
    As for RIFT – I had the same experience. When I got to 17 on the Defiant side suddenly things became more challenging. But at 20 with the new zone at beta 4 it turned back to the same old boring theme-park.
    If you are interested please see my recent posts on the PvE topic. I truly think games should take a totally different approach than a theme-park. And please feel free to ask any question and even more – share your opinions and exp. Thanks.

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