Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PvE: Easy, or Hard?

Today's blog post is prompted by my guildie Siha over at Banana Shoulders, who rants against people who say that PvE is easy.

I wouldn't say PvE is easy, exactly... but I do think that PvE is easiER in terms of personal skill.


Because PvE is pretty much the same thing, every time. You know what to expect - watch for void zones for this boss, cleanse for this boss, kill this mob first in this trash pack, taunt at 10 stacks of debuff, heal this target.

In my guild, I've been one of the highest DPSers with my crappy non-DPS spec since level 60 raids... and up until halfway through BC, I clicked and keyboard turned for everything except kiting.

So... compared to competitive PvP, I do think PvE is easier in terms of personal skill. However... I also think PvE is hard.


Because to progress in a difficult heroic raid zone you need TWENTY-FOUR other people to be as good, or better, than you in terms of personal skill. You also need a raid leader that is good (and patient!) enough to lead all 25 people through.

This, of course, is easy for high-end raiding guilds. Someone isn't good enough? /gkick and replace them; there are plenty of applicants eager to prove their worth. That shadow priest keeps dying on Heigan but is usually an excellent player? Bring in a warlock for Heigan only, and the priest can come back in when Heigan is dead.

For most "casual" raiding guilds, this isn't an option. The guilds are based on friendships rather than skill, and there's always that one hunter who can't keep their pet alive, that one warlock that has lower DPS than the tank, that one shaman that falls asleep in raids, that one pally that turns up drunk.

We have to motivate them, wake them up, spend more time explaining, show them what to do... and if all else fails, "carry" them through content by DPSing harder, overgearing the encounter a little, or even resorting to a little raid stacking until we get it right.

We do it because we'd rather wipe a few times and laugh at people failing frogger than give up our friends... and that's what really makes PvE hard.


Ben said...

Of course, to a certain (albeit limited) extent, PvP encounters are scripted too; especially after you've PvPed for a while. You know that if you pull X move on this warlock that they'll do Y response. It's a dance that has steps, it's just who knows the steps the best and can execute them the fastest.

Still, I'll agree that PvP is less predictable than PvE.

Siha said...

What, only one pally that turns up drunk?!

Seriously though, you're absolutely right. Leading a casual guild is, IMO, harder than leading a hardcore guild - not that I've done the latter, but I have quite a few friends who have - because of all the extra factors that you ust have to put up with or work around for social reasons.

I also think there's one other reason why PvE _can_ be harder than PvP: in PvP you only have to face abilities on the same scale as your own. In PvE, Blizzard can tune raid bosses to do things that PvP opponents could never do. The fights might be scripted, and therefore predictable, but 'predictable' doesn't automatically mean 'easy' when what you're facing is at the limits of a player's ability to cope with it due to limitations imposed by game mechanics.

Phyllixia said...

@ Ben: Oh, definitely. I didn't mean to imply that you can't predict PvP moves (top PvPers spend most of their time doing exactly that, after all), just that it requires more personal skill than PvE does because it *is* more random, and you do need quicker reflexes.

@ Siha: Yeah, it's not exactly trivial. I always hold my breath when I make the jump for Thaddius because I'm pretty unco and have to be careful not to fall off!

I do have more respect for guilds who actually do PvE content without help, though - having boss strats and vids makes raiding even easier. It's the people who write the guides in the first place that have the hardest time... but then, they're from hardcore guilds that don't have problems with unco players, so I guess it all evens out!

Mishakal said...

I didnt turn up drunk, however you people drive me to drink.

I find PVE easier than PVP because of the "this will happen" stick.

I was a hard core raider before joining Southern Wardens, and it was your "A" game or the highway ...

However on a whole I am very happy with the skills of the other 24 suckers that lets me raid with them. And I know on certain things that I am the lowest skilled of the 25 ....

Ashleigh said...

Oh, definitely. Thaddius is mechanically an easy fight, but if one person has lag, or blinks at the wrong moment, or just forgets which side they should be on (and I'm not even trying to say that these things make someone a bad player), the fight becomes much harder for the whole raid.

The more people you have, the higher the chance that someone will slip.

Ragnarmarkos said...

It's alwys those damn pallies that turn up drunk.