From gdp3
Revision as of 17:55, 8 January 2015 by Staffan Björk (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

Gameplay where game systems, rather than other players, provide challenges to players.

Games need challenges. While many games create challenges by making players compete against each other in various forms, other do so by having the game itself create opposition to the players' intentions. This second form was given the name PvE (for "Player versus Environment") by players in massively multiplayer online games to distinguish it from the first one (PvP, or "Player versus Player"). Note that the two types of challenges are not mutually incompatible and players may simultaneously have both types of challenges.

Note: the concept of PvE grew out of the need to distinguish between different options of how players could play massively multiplayer online games. From this origin, in common usage it has a strong undertone of being an optional activities and being strongly related to fighting. This pattern however describes a more generalized usage based on its core definition.


What games have PvE gameplay depend on what requirements on puts on the game to have an "environment". Taking an inclusive view, Jigsaw Puzzles and Solitaire are games that retroactively can be considered PvE since they are single-player games and logically the challenge in them must come from the game design. Collaborative Board Games such as Arkham Horror, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, Ghost Stories, Lord of the Rings, Pandemic, and Shadows over Camelot also have PvE as the core gameplay although some include small elements of player conflicts (this is supported in Arkham Horror, Lord of the Rings, and Pandemic by game expansions).

Judging that Computer Games is often quite easy and many of these games have PvE gameplay. To mention just a few, PvE can be found in the Asteroids, Centipede, and Plants vs. Zombies, and the Doom, Fallout, Pik-Min and Super Mario series. Examples of games that mixed PvE and PvP heavily include the Defense of the Ancients series, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, and the Board Game The Republic of Rome.

Wikipedia[1] and GiantBomb[2] have pages for the concept PvE.

Using the pattern

PvE can easily be created by introducing Enemies controlled by the game system that engage players in Combat or other types of Conflicts. Less direct approaches to creating PvE include Game System Player, Traps and hostile Environmental Effects, as well as Puzzle Solving based on the gameplay environment. Although Dedicated Game Facilitators are not necessary for this pattern to give rise to PvE gameplay, using them can adapt them to fit the current gameplay context as well as create other types of PvE simply by the setup of game elements.

PvE and PvP gameplay is not in opposition to each other, but most games are skewed towards one or the other. Due to this, one can consider the patterns as being able to modulate each other through introducing elements of the other pattern. Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game and Shadows over Camelot are examples of games with mainly PvE gameplay but with some PvP aspects.

Narrative Aspects

Predetermined Story Structures often have Enemies are part of the structures, and this makes games with that pattern often support PvE.


PvE is one of the basic ways of providing challenges and Tension in both Single-Player and Multiplayer Games. Regardless of type of game, it can provide the motivation for Cooperation as Symbiotic Player Relations since the players have common Enemies and may postpone any eventual conflicts they have to handle this challenge first.

In Multiplayer Games, players can team up even if they the design does not require it. This means that PvE Multiplayer Games can create Team Strategy Identification and these can result in Team Accomplishments. Multiplayer Games that provide PvE and FUBAR Enjoyment can situations where players experience Mutual FUBAR Enjoyment if the environmental challenges are perceived as common and that the players at least are not directly hostile to each other.


Can Instantiate

Cooperation, Symbiotic Player Relations, Tension

with FUBAR Enjoyment in Multiplayer Games

Mutual FUBAR Enjoyment

with Multiplayer Games

Team Accomplishments, Team Strategy Identification

Can Modulate

Multiplayer Games, PvP, Single-Player Games

Can Be Instantiated By

Combat, Conflicts, Dedicated Game Facilitators, Enemies, Environmental Effects, Game System Player, Predetermined Story Structures, Puzzle Solving, Traps

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Wikipedia entry for PvE.
  2. Page on the GiantBomb web site for PvE.


Karl Bergström