Written by: Nick Shively, Assistant Editor, North America
Although most MMOs focus on deep storytelling, quest mechanics, and crafting systems, PvP holds many online games together and has created a few interesting new genres. There’s just something about gathering a group of friends to beat up your other friends that brings people together. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best PvP of 2015.
Initially, PvP in Aion was focused on open-world combat in either the Abyss or the opposing faction by entering rifts. This made Aion quite unique when it was launched due to having split factions that could never easily enter the enemy’s territory. In later patches, the Arena of Discipline and the Arena of Chaos were added to provide a more structured form of PvP. In the Arena of Discipline, players fight their foes 1 on 1, but the Arena of Chaos is a 10-player free-for-all.
Like many other MMORPGs, ArcheAge PvP is based on a two-faction system. The Eastern Continent is against the Western Continent and various areas throughout the world are flagged for PvP. There are also special Guild Wars where groups of players will fight to capture territories where fortresses can be built.
Based on the original MOBA, Dota 2 offers punishing PvP for players with excellent timing and attention to detail. The entire nature of the game is built around 5vs5 PvP where winner takes all. The game has spurred some of the highest paying eSports competitions to date, such as The International 2015, which paid out more than $18 million in total prizes.
Elder Scrolls Online
In the Elder Scrolls Online, PvP is engrained into the story of the game. Instead of making PvP a separate entity, players join one of three factions and participate in the Alliance War and gain control of the Imperial City. The only place that PvP can take place is the massive province of Cyrodiil, which is where the Ruby Throne is located. Unlike other games, players can choose to focus only on PvP or they can completely ignore it and still enjoy the entire PvE aspect of the game.
Known for some of the bloodiest, and most expensive, wars in virtual history EVE Online caters to a very specific type of player. In EVE Online ships don’t respawn and when a player dies they lose everything that’s on them. There are multiple areas throughout the EVE universe with varying degrees of safety.
In high security space there are NPCs that patrol and generally protect players, but wars between factions and guild can still take place. In low security you’ll find pirates looking to plunder your goods, and in null sec you’ll find a dangerous coalitions of players looking to shoot anything that moves. If you want to most hardcore experience that space PvP has to offer, EVE Online is it.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 has one of the most versatile PvP scenes of any MMORPG and generally has something to fit anyone. There’s World vs World with large open battlegrounds ripe for zerg assaults on giant fortresses or small groups hitting valuable targets. The 5vs5 arena fills the typical PvP mode, and the recent Stronghold addition adds a new MOBA element to the PvP scene. Additionally, the first league season just began and will grant players rewards ranging from gold to legendary crafting materials for competing in ranked PvP.
H1Z1 is a zombie survival game, which means PvP can happen anywhere at any time. You’re not safe from the AI, other players, or even the wildlife. In H1Z1 everything is out to kill you, which means you’ll have to learn to rely on yourself and keep a low profile. This begs the question: are zombies or humans the bigger threat?
League of Legends
League of Legends is probably the most popular game in the world and has made Riot Games rich solely on its PvP. Of course, the MOBA also offers a casual mode against AI bots, but most of the game’s attention is on ranked mode and the eSports scene. Although the tournaments don’t pay out quite as much as Dota 2, they happen more frequently and League of Legends has more competitive players than any other game in the world.
Challenge your foes to a classic battle at 5vs5 Summoner’s Rift or 3 on 3 Twisted Treeline. Those looking for something different can try the Dominion point capture mode or the Howling Abyss, which puts 10 players in a single lane.
The PvP in Neverwinter consist of three different gameplay modes. In Gauntlgrym 10 players on each team attempt to capture and hold 3 nodes on the map. Once a team reaches 2000 node points they win. Domination is like Gauntlgrym but on a smaller scale; it features teams of 5 and only requires 1000 points to win. Stronghold, however, is a completely different beast and consists of a war between two guilds. Each guild must have 20 players at a time and there are 6 nodes on the map that can allow players to build catapults once captured. The game doesn’t end until the enemy Guild Hall is destroyed.
SMITE builds on the traditional MOBA formula but with a twist. Instead of traditional top-down, real-time strategy action, Hi-Rez turned the genre into a third-person shooter. Since its release, new game modes, gods, and items have been consistently introduced to the game. SMITE is also a fairly popular eSport and the last World Championship team took home $1.3 million.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
In Star Wars: The Old Republic, most PvP takes place in 1 of 5 Warzones. These include Huttball, Voidstar, Alderaan Civil War, Novare Coast, and Ancienty Hypergate. The latter 3 consist of capturing and holding defensive points. In Voidstar, each team takes a turn at attacking and defending on a derelict Imperial Battle Cruiser. Finally, Huttball puts an interesting spin on rugby and the first team to earn 6 goals in the winner.
Following the traditional themepark MMORPG format, WildStar has various forms of general non-consequential PvP. There are 2vs2, 3vs3 and 5vs5 arenas, 10vs10 battlegrounds, and 40vs40 Warplots. Unfortunately, the massive player requirement of Warplots means that getting into one is nearly impossible. As a two-faction game, there is also open-world PvP, which is always active on some servers and must be turned on in others.
World of Tanks
What else says PvP like thousands of pounds of charred steel and high-grade explosives? World of Tanks has three main forms of battle: Standard, Assault and Encounter. In Standard, each team has their own base and must capture the opponents or destroy all their vehicles. In Assault, one team must defend their base while the other attacks. Finally, encounter places a neutral base on the map and the first team to capture it wins. The truly hardcore players can join a clan and take part in the Global Map and Strongholds campaigns. In these modes, clans fight each other to gain valuable resources.
World of Warcraft
As the original MMORPG (just kidding), World of Warcraft has amassed an unprecedented amount of PvP modes. These range from standard point capture battlegrounds to entire PvP zones such as Ashran Island and Wintergrasp. Although World of Warcraft has been aging for quite some time, the sheer number of PvP modes and maps keep things interesting.
World of Warships
It tanks aren’t your style then Wargaming also has the ship warfare market cornered. Although the battles take place in the Pacific, most game modes in World of Warships are similar to those in World of Tanks. In Standard mode teams attack each other’s bases, in Encounter players fight over neutral territory, and in Domination the team that holds the most bases wins. If you’ve ever wanted to reenact your favorite World War II sea battles, now is time.
Vote for your favorite every day until January 4th. Did we miss a game? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list!