Video Game Tuesday: PvE vs PvP, a Brief Primer.


This week on Video Game Tuesday, I’m continuing my deviation by talking about the differences between the PvE play style and the PvP play style, found most often in MMOs, like World of Warcraft, and sometimes found in other games, like Destiny.

What is PvE and PvP:

PvE stands for a couple of things that essentially all mean the same thing, it stands for either Player vs Environment or Player vs Enemies, but what it comes down to in the end is that the player isn’t facing off against other real people and is just playing against a computer character, sometimes termed an NPC or Non-Player Character.  A PvE play style in games like WoW forgoes any PvP in favor of improving their gear through end game content like high level dungeons or instances, a non MMO example would be the Strike Playlists in Destiny. Further end game progression is found by forming larger groups to complete even harder and often much more complex encounters in things like Raids, or World Events where an entire server takes part in an event that is only active for a short time (ranging from a few hours to a few weeks at the most). A good example of a World Event is the Opening of Ahn’Qiraj in World of Warcraft. Typical reasons a player will prefer PvE content over PvP content can be their lack of motivation to compete with other people, or their lack of skill etc… It often doesn’t matter to the PvE player what a PvPer might enjoy, in fact if something from the PvP side ends up affecting their play in PvE they will be upset at the change. I’m not immune to that frustration as I have complained many times that PvP players ruined my fun in PvE content because of what they perceived to be overpowered or imbalanced game mechanics. Other reasons why a player chooses PvE over PvP is that they prefer to work with people to complete content rather than compete against others, I myself fall into this category.

PvP stands for Player vs Player, and often involves an entirely separate game mode then solo or group play, this is most often found in FPS games like Halo or Call of Duty where the single player and multiplayer are in completely different menu trees. Destiny is a rare middle ground in that it takes very little effort on the players part to participate in PvP, entering the Crucible after completing a Strike takes no more than a few seconds. In MMO’s like World of Warcraft there are often two different types of servers that are usually set up for players to choose from, and while you’ll find that opinions vary on which is the best, they are usually classified as PvE servers and PvP servers. A PvP server has areas in the game, usually any zone after the initial 10 or so player levels, where players from opposing sides, often called factions in MMOs, are able to attack one another without either party’s consent. This can lead to forms of harassment called griefing, ranging from corpse camping(where a player is killed and the player(s) who killed that player stick close to the corpse so as to prevent their escape after reviving) to ganking (where a much higher level player(s) kill lower level player(s)).

Why do PvPers get upset at PvEers and vice-versa?: PvPers and PvEer’s are often notoriously critical of each other and while this usually leads to nothing than a few harsh words, it can escalate into full scale feuds on forums where everyone loses. There is also a form of elitism in that each side views the other as the lesser form of gameplay, a PvPer may see PvE content as nothing other than fighting brainlessly while PvP play is always changing. A PvEer may see PvP as pointlessly aggressive contests that get nothing accomplished except who gets bragging rights.

Which side is right?: Both and Neither, I think that PvE play is a more conducive form of play that will lead to longer lasting player bases compared to PvP play. One needs only look at the yearly release of Call of Duty to realize that nothing really changes between each installment, and the same can be said of single player game series like Assassin’s Creed, although you can pick up a game like Assassin’s Creed 2 ten years from now and enjoy it just as much as you would have on launch day because you don’t have to worry about multiplayer servers being up.  Games like World of Warcraft consistently see player bases rise and fall with each release of PvE content, where as the usually more vocal PvPers don’t change as much patch to patch (Despite their frequent claims otherwise).

I hope you enjoyed today’s Video Game Tuesday, and I may continue to do posts like this in the future.

Journalism and Ethics in Gaming and Elsewhere



So over the last few months there has been numerous outrages and atrocities committed in the name of having more ethics in gaming journalism. As an aspiring gaming journalist myself I want to tell you that what you may perceive as being unethical is not limited solely to gaming journalism. In fact the entire modern system of journalism is built upon having little to no ethics at all.

Accepting Free Stuff: Sometimes game reviewers get the game in advance, so that when a game comes out they can post a review on Day 1, or even Day 0 sometimes. This isn’t limited to the gaming sector of journalism. It happens in every single part of journalism! Sports reporters for newspapers or television channels often get into games for free with their pass. As a student in High School working for their journalism club or student newspaper, or even the yearbook club you can often get into events for free for the purpose of taking quality pictures. Do you review books? Authors regularly send out early copies of their books so they can write up reviews for the book.  This isn’t limited to the gaming scene, and accepting free consoles isn’t unusual especially if you are reviewing the system itself. If you say you want more ethics in gaming journalism and accept the fact that sports reporters often get better seats than any 40+ year season ticket holder at a game you are being hypocritical on a scale of large magnitude. I might get a free game a few days early that only costs $60 retail, whereas any amazing seat that lets you be close to, or on for photographers, the playing area of a sporting event costs hundreds of dollars.

Ethics: Let’s get down to the nitty gritty part of ethical actions in Journalism. If you watch any big news channel, like FOX or CNN, the journalist who finds a big scoop is paid huge amounts of money to give those stations exclusive access to their material. Do you know how most reporters get access to big scoops? They bribe people to give them exclusive access to information that will sell. Those people you see on TV with their faces blurred out or distorted voices are often paid huge amounts of money to even have portions of their body shown on TV. TMZ for example is built on such tactics, they pay Paparazzi huge amounts of money to get the latest dirt on celebrity stars, and yet most people just accept it now. Yet those same people getting upset over a reviewer of a product getting a free copy of said product is beyond stupid.

YouTuber’s being paid to say good things about a product: I don’t see how this is any different from a celebrity telling you about the latest medical innovation that just hit the shelves of your local pharmacy and claiming it will help you become a better looking person.  They are getting paid to say something, just like any other form of advertisement. It may annoy the hell out of you, but it’s not unethical or immoral.

TL;DR: Guess what I’m trying to say now is that #GamerGate, beyond it’s highly immoral and highly destructive actions against members of the game dev community, is a movement based on hypocrisy. If you aren’t upset at the rest of journalism for doing the exact same things as gaming journalists, you lose all right to complain about it in the gaming sector. If by some chance you are upset about the unethical actions that ALL journalists take, then it’s a hell of a lot more than just about gaming and you should distance yourself from #GamerGate.

I think that doing something ethically is swell, however there is a difference between doing something ethically and doing something immorally. I find ethically that there is nothing wrong with taking an advance review copy of a product for review, as it is often not the best quality and may have errors in small areas like grammar. I think that being paid tons of money so that a huge news conglomerate can get an exclusive video of the latest star acting rude in public is immoral. One ruins someones life, possibly forever whether they deserve it to be ruined or not, the other is just doing a job that you get compensated for.