There is only one true way to experience the thrill of multiplayer: PvP.
There are a million and one variants to multiplayer game design, but nothing can come close to the sensation of victory coursing through your system.
There are those who prefer a more relaxed and cooperative atmosphere to their virtual outings, but we still hold that no amount of idyllic merrymaking can match the thrill and excitement that comes with pounding your enemies into the pavement.
It’s all fine and dandy to just throw out sentiments of praise toward your favourite genres, but we here at The Game’s Edge believe ourselves capable of offering far more than just lavish praise. So, without further ado, let’s dive deep into the psychology of what makes us keep coming back year after year for heartrate-elevating PvP competition.
Although one could argue that many of us in the developed world live in a post-scarcity society, we can’t argue that we’re wired for competition. Even when the natural world won’t force us into conflict with one another, we’ll find new ways of doing it for ourselves – after all: peace is boring. Growth and progress rarely come from places of stagnation.
It’s no secret that some of the biggest gaming companies in the world have taken to structuring entire franchises to suit our needs to come out as the top dog – hell, one look at esports and the argument has been made.
A scripted event will eventually run its course, pre-programmed difficulty setting will be memorized within weeks, but another human will forever remain unpredictable.
While there are some players out there whose skill levels appear to be that of a Cray supercomputer hooked up to the latest FPS, most of the playing field is littered with millions of players whose skill levels vary as vastly as they do. With such a varied selection to choose from, the challenge never ends, never stagnates, and only continues to evolve along unpredictable lines.
- Crafting Your Identity
When it comes to your role and how you see yourself in PvE experiences, there isn’t much of an identity to assume outside of what the devs provide. Turn toward to a PvP-centric game, and the only limit to what role you wish to play is your imagination.
While we’d be the last to suggest that you should actively take an effort in becoming the sort of competitive player that trolls others in their best endeavours to push the ranked ladder – but we are saying that you could easily adopt the role of the “bad guy” and fill it to your heart’s content. Just don’t go about breaking any terms of service agreements, ya’hear?
- Continuous Support
This won’t apply to all PvP-centric games, but we’re throwing it in because it certainly applies to most of them. Over the years, the increased amount of bandwidth availability has brought countless new gamers into the fold, and many of those are hungry to go up against others in a bid to prove their worth. Such a fervent drive can sustain a game long enough to see it behave akin to a platform – and the devs are only too ready to cater to the market’s wants.
Logistically speaking, it takes far less time to design an implement a new map than it does an entire series of scripted events in narrative-driven single player games.
The arena may change, but the core objectives will always remain the same: Fight. Kill. Win.
This simple formula is at the heart of every competitive game – no matter the genre. Countless generations will grow up playing video games – and while they may begin to differ vastly in their levels of immersion, the boiled-down mechanics will not change.
As much as we try, competition is wired into our systems – and our desperate yearning for thrilling conflict won’t be abated any time soon.
So, for now, and the foreseeable future – grab your gun and gear, and hop in back in for “just one more match”.