Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Raiding Versus Rated: A tale of PvE vs. PvP

Holyzyro is a Protection Paladin for <Malice> of Haomarush. He has joined our raiding crew for Firelands and is shield bashing his way as a regular tank for our raid team. He plays a shadow priest as well. This is his first post as a guest poster for Ferocious Inspiration. We look forward to seeing what he brings to the community.

Many players will argue the difficulty of PvE against PvP differs greatly. They mostly argue PvE is easier than PvP however a handful of people would disagree. So to help those who want to know, I'm going to be breaking down the differences between the different levels of PvE against the various brick walls you smash into and sometimes through in PvP.

But first, what is PvE and PvP? Both are synonymous with classic pen and paper RPGs and almost anything dealing with the video game industry. PvE (Players vs. Environment) is usually taking into account an actual player versus any non-player, i.e. a mob. Many people don't realize that PvE was revolutionized way back during the historical "Spartacus" era with Roman royalty and elite laying on couches watching various criminals, slaves, and even suicidal warriors do battle against various beasts, lions being the most popular. Of course we cannot forget what created it all, PvP (Player vs. Player), in 310 BCE when some blood thirsty Romans known as the Campanians conquered the Samnites and decided to do battle with those who survived. This later died off for about 75 years or so until it was brought back.

So why do we continue this insane tradition of battling against various machine and flesh A.I. in a virtual world? Keep reading and find out!

Number of Players For PvE you could just solo through wades of quests, mobs, and eventually loot, never playing around others schedules except downtime and your own. Sometimes you are dealing with the server downtime and if you play on a PvP server like the staff of FI, people who try to mess with you. Sometimes however, you'll be required to grab a friend or four to bring down a difficult mob, be it Problim in Tol Barad, a really drunk Dwarf with super-alcohol induced strength in Twilight Highlands or an endless dungeon full of Trolls deep in the woods of Ghostlands. Of course if you belong to a guild with other like-minded people, raiding does come into play, albeit with a heavier schedule requirement. From the more difficult 10-man size to the graphical and logistical insanity of 25-man, PvE caters to several sizes of gameplay.

For PvP, it's more a combination of luck and skill that requires a bit more time and dedication for almost anything short of raiding (as they share almost the same time dedication). Now I am in no means saying PvE requires no skill or luck, but mobs won't try to constantly CC and stun you while turning you into a piñata, hoping for honor and gold to drop out. Solo PvP technically doesn't exist as you require to find another person to actually battle with. From there we have 2v2, 3v3, and 5v5 arenas all the way to the massive 40v40 battlegrounds. The main focus is 10v10 and 15v15 for Rated Battlegrounds, which will be covered in it's own separate section below. What makes PvP so awesome for even the raiders is probably the battlegrounds in general, due to feeling like you're in a huge outdoor dungeon trying to take down the enemy. It isn't just a simple move when this happens, a 'pop a CD when this happens' kind of combat. The only real issue is lack of communication: most people won't listen and wish to their own thing.

find the resto shaman...yup nope
For PvE, composition is a very basic 'fill one of these basic roles', be it tank, healer, or the most common, DPS. Dungeons require these roles to be filled in a 1 to 1 to 3 ratio, but due to having four classes that are pure DPS on top of most people wanting to just see big numbers, it's become rare to find non-DPS. In raiding, the composition is lax at best unless you're part of a very hardcore progression guild seeking to obtain server firsts. Usually, 2 tanks, 3 healers, and 5 DPS consisting of 3 range and 2 melee are the cookie cutter for raids with gear and experience being top priority. The tanks are rarely set in stone unless the guild doesn't want two of the same kind of tank, and with the homogenisation of most classes, the healers are in the same boat as tanks. DPS is probably the only strict portion of the composition for buff reasons.

In PvP it's a little more strict if you seek to become a good PvPer. Certain specs work extremely well for PvP due to the amount of CCs and burst they can bring to the table, on top of utility and mobility. Obviously standing still for too long will get you killed quickly in PvP unless you know what you're doing. PvP roles are also extremely varied. Each spec is it's own role when it comes to PvP, the best example would be rated compositions, as they are more closely related to progression guild runs in terms of class and spec diversity. Protection Warrior and Holy Paladin are almost requirements for any rated group, as they are the flag runner and flag runner's healer. Discipline Priest, Restoration Druids and Shamans are the common healers for everyone else.Frost Mage, Subtlety Rogue, Arms Warrior, Balance Druid (Yes, I said Balance Druid), Frost Death Knight, and Affliction Warlock usually eat up the remaining spots as the bursters and crowd control specialists. Hunters and the rest of the other specs not listed are usually not first considered for everything, however there are several rated battleground groups that use Hunters as well as Enhancement Shamans, Arcane and Fire Mages, Protection Paladins, Blood Death Knights, and the other various specs that normally don't see much action in PvP.

i love you....
Ever since the original Dungeons and Dragons, most PvE adventures would eventually lead to a dungeon in which you'd find your way to the end, defeating any man or monster in your path to treasure and loot. Blizzard spares no expense in building their dungeons and raids, filling them with wonderful challenges and epic loot. As a raider, this is a wonderful experience to go through them, especially when they're more open like Firelands, giving the raid an open world feel. Now I have nothing against the previous dungeons or raids, having Ulduar be my favorite of them all so far, but after traveling deep underground and following tunnels to a line of bosses, it feels like I'm just going through a convention line and grabbing autographs of different people one at a time, with the occasional pen loot.

Unlike raids, rateds are an open field of battle for bloodshed, but more importantly, always have a goal both sides are trying to obtain. The best example is Isle of Conquest, where each side's ultimate goal is defeat the enemy general, however to obtain this both sides must take control of the various locations, be it the factory, docks, or hangar, and blast open the enemy fortress to get to the enemy. With an airship for each side, several siege engines, and massive cannons on each fortress, it is no easy feat to complete. Another good example would be the open fields of Tol Barad, very similar to the old Wintergrasp of Wrath, Tol Barad has three locations that the attacking force must obtain and hold, a king of the hill style gameplay for an entire zone.

End Game
This is a major juncture for everyone because once you've hit the level cap, what else is there to do? For those who don't wish to play against others, dailies, achievements, professions, dungeon and raid grinding, and holiday events spur on those who want to keep going with their maxed out character. Dailies are there for minor gold replenishment or even building to those who just want to kill something once a day and reap some reward from it. Professions, while beneficial, can become a huge gold boon for those willing to research and farm materials, though not everyone has the patience to play with open markets. Dungeons have been the sole point for many games, and for WoW it's your stepping stone from fresh level cap to entry level raiding. Raiding has become a very popular part of WoW, and even has e-sport type events to see which guild is the best.

When it comes to PvP, the only real end-game is the same thing you've been doing since you began your PvP lifestyle, with a few differences. With raiding becoming an e-sport recently, arenas have been holding that title since the beginning, and it wouldn't be any surprise if rated battlegrounds jumped into the e-sport ring as well. Dungeons are respectively replaced by regular battlegrounds for anyone wishing to become part of the competitive scene, and then stepping up from there into either arena or rated battlegrounds, or sometimes both. Of course there are those who don't have the time or wish to get into either, and still stick in regular battlegrounds.

zerg zerg zerg!!!!
The Jewel
Each side of this argument has it's crown jewel that just makes it so wonderfully epic that it brings back those hardcore enthusiasts. For myself on the PvE end, Ulduar was probably the best thing to ever be raided, though I wasn't able to run anything back in Classic or BC. What made Ulduar so wonderful was the vehicle combat they added for Flame Leviathan, and the open feeling it gave the first four bosses. This was probably the best dungeon designed for the time, only to be overshadowed by Icecrown Citadel months later, but it still changed how both we as the players, and Blizzard, looked at raids. I felt like I farmed everything up to The Keepers, in which I practically did. Even after Icecrown Citadel, I still had a warm, or albeit, cold place in my heart for Ulduar.

When it came to PvP, I wasn't much for it back in Wrath. I have changed my tune in Cataclysm which brings us to the jewels of Alterac Valley and Isle of Conquest. A while before I got into World of Warcraft, I heavily played Battlefield 2142, and would always seek to join any game that included as many people as possible. At the time the max was 64 players a server, and the games would be epic. Alterac Valley, before the resource change, was very epic. If a small force sat around defending the only way to their leader, a turtle would break out, but instead of dwindling resources to nothing, it sometimes would become hours of honor farming. Isle of Conquest is a hybrid of Alterac Valley, Arathi Basin, and Strand of the Ancients. Another large scale map with several objectives, war machines, two airships, and two leaders. A lot of people argue that it's one of the worst battlegrounds Blizzard could have released, especially due to the hatred of Alterac Valley, but I sometimes enjoy it due to it being the only current end-game instance with any siege vehicle besides Strand of the Ancients. The usual lack of coordination from one side is the downfall, but the siege warfare quickly make up for this in the end.

At the End of the Day
Both PvE and PvP players share a few key qualities. They both play to see what the game has to offer or be competitive against others to show off their ego, especially those who almost do it religiously. Both are grinding for gear at the end of the day, both having to rely on lady luck and skill. In the end, all that matters is they're enjoying the game they play.

Holyzyro can be reached here.

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