So you’ve spent the last few weeks grinding the same raid and finally got the epic item you’ve been dying to get. Congratulations, too bad it sucks in PvP.
Over the last few years we’ve seen the separation between PvP and PvE grow, with developers creating gear specifically tailored for one type of combat, but much less effective in the other. It used to be that each class had that one item per slot that was ‘the best’ item possible for that character, period. Whether it would be a sword, armor, or additional trinkets, once you got that item, you were done and could move on to obtaining the next item.
Today it seems more and more MMORPGs are having players create two complete character builds in terms of gear, one for PvP and one for PvE. While this isn’t necessarily new, even in MMORPGs where there isn’t a separation, players will still normally switch up certain items when going from PvP to PvE, or vise versa. However today theses items are specifically created for one style of combat in mind.
When looking at Guild Wars 2, this separation has taken another leap forward and one can pretty much make the argument that PvP and PvE are two separate games.
First lets take a look at PvP, which we have two types, PvP matches and World vs World PvP. For matches, players select from pre-made, max-level characters and only have to disperse their skill points, making PvP matches entirely separate from the rest of GW2. This type of PvP match system can be completely removed from the game and not effect it in the slightest or if you want to go the other way, can be added to any current MMORPG without changing it as well.
The second is the World vs World PvP system where servers are matched up against each other in two week PvP battles. In this system the fighting doesn’t take place in the same areas that PvE does, instead it’s a custom map specifically made for PvP.
While players do enter World vs World with their skills and gear obtained from PvE, it is completely possible to level entirely within one of the systems. Now I’m not 100% sure if gear will be tailored towards PvE and PvP depending where you are, but I’m going to assume it will be since that seems to be the trend these days. So if you take a player that only participate in PvE or only in PvP, their gear will be tailored towards that combat. If they ever decided to dabble in or make the switch they’ll have to re-acquire a whole new set of gear.
One can argue that what GW2 has done is make two separate games, one for PvP and one for PvE, but allow players to use the same character in both, with PvP matches completely independent of both systems.
Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’m very much into and excited for Guild Wars 2, but when I think of what a MMORPG is, I think of one world where everything is intertwined. What I think ArenaNet did was create two games and mashed them together. On one side you have a PvE MMORPG and the other you have a massive multiplayer online battle arena (MMOBA). The only connection between the two would be that players use the same character.
Lord of the Rings Online has something similar to this, being a PvE centric MMORPG then having one map dedicated to PvP. Although in their system, there is no end time, no winner, so it turns into a merry-go-round where each side takes turns controlling keeps or areas. Perhaps credit should then be given to Turbine for creating the new MMOBA genre.
Being a more PvP centric player, I really don’t mind the separating that is taking place. In fact I think eventually we’ll see the emergence of a new MMOBA genre where developers eventually drop PvE all together in favor of what ArenaNet is doing with their World vs World system. Until then, I’ll be playing me some GW2.