Most MMOs have a varied assortment of content. However, not everyone enjoys particular content styles. There are a lot of PvE players who don't like PvP, and vice versa. There are players who only want to do small group content or large group content, but not the other type. There is always an argument among the playerbase on whether it's a good idea to encourage players to participate in content styles they do not enjoy. The most common argument is that it makes the world feel more alive if there's more to do. However, I personally am of the opinion that forcing players to do content that they do not enjoy, for example through exclusive player power rewards or cosmetic rewards, will make them enjoy the rest of the game less and in turn stop playing sooner.

What is the potential game design rationale for an MMO to force PvE players into PvP and vice versa, or to force players who prefer to play in small groups to do large group content?

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    \$\begingroup\$ They won't and they're not trying to retain the players who feel forced to do things they don't enjoy. They're trying to retain the players who enjoy the things they're "forced" to do. That might undermine the premise of your question. \$\endgroup\$ – Bernhard Barker Mar 5 at 23:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you already have a clear preference for what you'd want to do with your game's design. Are you still torn on which design decision to make here? Or are you looking for validation of your opinion? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Mar 6 at 1:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DMGregory Oh no, it's not a question for a game I'm designing. I'm trying to understand more of the design rationale behind either option. The problem I have is that in the MMO I play most, World of Warcraft, there are some really powerful player power increases that are gated behind dozens of hours of PvP, and as someone who doesn't like PvP, I want to understand why they are doing this. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Mar 6 at 9:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ While the urge to understand is great, that's not what this site is for. We can help advise fellow developers on how to solve design and implementation problems in games they're making, but we can't read another developer's mind to tell you why they made the choice they did. For that, your best bet is to ask the developers of that specific feature. I'd recommend coming at it a different way — instead of baking-in a judgement "don't you think FORCING players to do stuff they HATE will make them LEAVE" try asking "Why did you choose to give this exclusive reward for this particular task?' \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Mar 6 at 11:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about developing an original game or mod. If you'd like the developer of an existing game to explain or defend their design rationale to you, you'll need to ask them directly. We cannot speak for all developers. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Mar 6 at 11:49

I think its more of a general 'Thing' that each player tries to find his place in every game, not just MMOs. While in MMOs, you have PvP, PvE, Collectors or players who enjoy the story, in Shooter you have Competitive players FFA, Teambased, Fun Maps etc. Going to sandbox like Minecraft, you got player that like to explore, build houses, villages, traps or even working redstone computers.

Mark Rosewater said in his GDC talk in his seventh point, that players will seek their niche to make the game more personal. This way the players can make the game 'their own'.

To go back to your question, i would give an example in Elite Dangerous. I love to explore the galaxy, but for that you need a ship that has a certain jump range, fuel capacity, fuel scoop etc. For that, i need to make money to buy the bests parts, grind upgrade material etc.

This is time consuming, stressing and certainly not as fun as what i would like to do. BUT after all said and done, i upgrade my ship with new and better parts. All i did was to persue my interest in the game. So although you got other interests in the game, you are encouraged to try something new and even if you dont enjoy it as much as the other way of playing, you still got something to look out for.

The alternative would be, that i would just explore and explore and explore... and might get bored. Its like you got a new favorite song and you listen to it 200+ times in a row, and then you would like to never hear it again. So instead you only listen to it on a playlist and you are happy everytime it comes up.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The difference between MMOs and other games in this respect is that AFAIK MMOs are the only game that forces non-completionist players into alternative playstyles (I count Elite Dangerous as an MMO). Players that only like ARAM in League of Legends can just focus on that. Players that just want to play the singleplayer campaign of DOOM can do just that and entirely ignore the multiplayer. Call of Duty even has separate singleplayer and multiplayer clients so you only need to install that one component. I can't really think of any non-MMO game that forces players into alternate playstyles. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Mar 6 at 11:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Most MMOs are rpgs, that by definition should support a broader gameplay base, while FPS are... just FPS. And still they spawn fun maps. On the other hand, if you want to build a big awesome and goodlooking castle in Minecraft, you have to farm stuff and explore for more decorative materials, if you dont just play sandbox. \$\endgroup\$ – PSquall Mar 6 at 11:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nzall What do you mean by MMOs forcing non-completionists into other styles of play? You haven't shown any examples of that anywhere. But you're also clearly not looking hard enough. In Smash Bros, to get characters you have to play many styles. In Mario Kart as well. Just about any game with unlockables or achievements will have stuff that gets a player outside of their normal play style. That said, I can't think of a single MMO that "forced" players to do PVP \$\endgroup\$ – Mars Mar 9 at 6:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mars World of Warcraft has some REALLY powerful player power increases locked behind PvP in the current expansion. Windwalker Monks have the major effect of the Rated PvP essence (that unlocks an otherwise PVP-only ability) as their highest ranking essence by a landslide, and some of the remaining specializations have the minor effect of the same essence as one of their 4 best minor essences (which generally means you'll want to use it). For players that want to get the absolute edge in their chosen content type, getting these is a must. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Mar 9 at 15:38

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