The Enemy Is Us
I had a shower epiphiny this morning. For all the bluster around the division between PvE and PvP as the “core mechanic” for an MMO, many modern MMOs are PvP centric.
I don’t know how I got myself on the topic this morning…actually, yes I do. I was thinking about my progression in SWTOR. I dinged two levels last night thanks to two story missions and the 12x XP boost, and managed to complete the Tatooine story area (I still have a lot of side-missions, though). The 12x XP makes leveling really quick, making me equate my time in SWTOR with my luck in Star Trek Online and it’s duty officer passive XP system. This morning, I was realizing that I could take this character to the cap (or very close to it), which would leave me time to level another character. Maybe my Jedi. Maybe my Imperial Agent.
If I chose the Agent, however, I’d be outside of the guild since we don’t have an Imperial branch. I wondered if there was cross-faction chat. I wondered why we had the strict division between factions.
Factions. That was it. That was what lead me to think about other games with factions, and why they had factions. These divisions set up an “us versus them” division which ultimately allows conflict between players.
So even if I’ve never really done much PvP, those faction divides are constructs put in place to ensure that players who want to PvP will have some framework explaining why they’re vPing.
I thought it was kind of weird, since I’ve always thought of most MMOs as having been built around PvE, but the design foundation for faction-sporting games is actually PvP.