Not to be confused with the term Player Versus Player. Or PWP, for that matter.PvP is a gaming webcomic started in 1998 by cartoonist Scott Kurtz. It takes place around the office of a small magazine production company that produces the gaming magazine "PvP", focusing mostly on the office antics of a straight-laced boss, his snobby best friend, their bratty sixteen year old intern, a naive, careless troll, and two frat boys. Over time, the cast gained a female counterpart to the intern, a love interest for the snob in the form of a feminist gamer, and some other characters. It originally started as a pastiche Affectionate Parody of video games and geek culture in general, moving away from that towards just being a slice of life comedy about its characters and an Affectionate Parody of every 80s sitcom ever made.
This webcomic provides examples of:
Accidental Marriage: Francis and Marcie got drunk in Vegas and got married. However they are trying their best to make it work.
Ambulance Cut - Common gag for a while, with the last panel of a strip being an ambulance arriving. A later variation on this was Cole and Brent gleefully blasting away in the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard.
Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: Robbie must have won one hell of a lottery jackpot, he apparently can splurge the GDP of a small country whenever he wants.
He hired accountants to make sure he doesn't run out of money. He seems to have some investments in the pornographic industry as well, and now a significant shareholder for pvp.
Artifact Title - When was the last time the magazine itself meant anything?
Lampshaded in a guest strip, where the characters find themselves looking at the magazine for the first time.
There was an arc where Scratch made a device to find his fellow superintelligent cats called FUREBRO and used it to find a cat who was a feline expy of Doctor Strange.
Cerebus Syndrome - The strip toys with this to some extent. It never goes full-over into drama, but for most of its run now it's alternated between Gag Per Day format, dramedy, and downright serious drama. Some people felt the strip fell full into Cerebus Syndrome during the Brent/Jade wedding arc, which happened to overlap with a surprisingly serious turn for Skull, Cole's marriage falling apart, and a story about Robbie and Jase falling out. Of course, the strip quickly went back to comedic arcs after a few months, just as it always had done before.
Also Jase's eyes were always covered by his hat until he started dating Robbie's gardener and temporarily stopped wearing it. He got his hat back but now his eyes are clearly visible (and he's lost a lot of weight).
In Max Powers' office, Brent's counterpart is named "Hunter Greene".
Commedia Dell Arte Troupe - Some sequences, such as the "Bulldog and Cooch" strips using Cole, Brent and Max Powers playing different characters.
Compressed Abstinence: Brent Sienna once resolved to give up sarcasm. He made a crack about his boss' weight-loss resolution a mere five seconds later, which was considered a new personal record for him.
Deal with the Devil - One soul for a cup of coffee. Then again 1) Brent didn't really think the barista was the Devil, and 2) it was a really good cup of coffee. The Devil(?), rather than taking Brent to Hell as is the usual way these deals turn out, uses his ownership of Brent's soul to make him his errand boy.
Also, he's not really the devil. He's a computer security expert, and he's using the terror and humiliation he's engendering by pretending to be the devil to soften up Brent and Cole to the notion of hiring him to redo their security.
Hollywood Nerd: To a certain extent, Brent is this. He pretends he's not a nerd, but his interests are very nerd-oriented. Furthermore, as in this trope, he's good-looking and socially adept (in other words, "normal"). The twist is that Brent is the onlyHollywood Nerd in the main cast (except maybe Max Powers and Jade), since Francis and Cole are closer to popular perceptions of nerdom.
Pac-Man Fever: Francis gets a ring with a Pokemon on it. Not a specific Pokemon, just "a Pokemon". A minor example, but considering Francis and Marcy are supposed to be nerds, the reference feels awkward. Of course the fact they are completely drunk at the time but help explain it.
Paintball Episode - a paintball storyline gets most of the rules right, then turns around and intentionally gets them wrong.
Robbie and Jase. Robbie still shows up on occasion, but Jase is basically gone.
Product Placement - Not necessarily in the comic itself, but several of the site designs have been lousy with it, almost to the point that clicking anywhere outside the comic accidentally would take you to a sponsor site.
Proud to Be a Geek - The whole cast, with the exception of Jade. Even she might just be a different style of geek..
Brent, actually is an aversion, and while he admits to "interests that coincide with nerdity" he denies being an actual nerd, which Francis (a straight example of this trope) calls him out on it. He's an avowed Apple geek who will buy any product they make, a D&D player, a gamer, he plays World of Warcraft with his wife (who's in many ways geekier than him), quotes movies constantly, has declared Joss Whedon his master, almost dropped out of college because he was hooked on Sega games, and consistently gets into arguments about genre fiction or gaming with Francis and Cole. But he's not a nerd. Definitely not a nerd.
He's also a big fan of Star Wars and plays every game released in this franchise with Cole.
Protagonist-Centered Morality - Particularly obvious with the treatment of Max Powers. He is, by all appearances, a friendly guy who's happy to help, whose worst crimes are being successful and pulling bad jokes no worse than the protagonists would pull. Yet every time he stopped by the PvP office he was received like he was some sort of colossal dick dead set on destroying everything the staff held dear, for no discernible reason. This was confronted and deconstructed during the Thanksgiving 2008 arc.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Not long after Scott Kurtz moved from Dallas to Seattle in 2009, the PvP staff made a similar relocation.
Redundant Parody: In one Lolbat strip we see his Grammar Nazi-themed Rogues Gallery. Kurtz made one of the villains "Onomatopoeia" as a joke both on the theme and the use of onomatopoeia in the sixties Batman show. However, there actually is a DC Comics villain called Onomatopoeia, based on a sinister reinterpretation of the same reference, and he even looks somewhat similar (by coincidence) to what Kurtz drew. To his credit, on being informed of this Kurtz edited the strip and replaced him with a palindrome-themed villain.
In Real Life, Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade, their good-natured cruelty to each other popping up in a strip every once in a while. Scott's foreword to one of their print collections ended with "Fuck them, and fuck you for buying this book and not PVP," and Gabe and Tycho refer to Scott as "Steve Kuntz" on the regular. Now that Scott is living in Seattle and working in the Penny Arcade offices, one only assumes that the hijinks will continue.
Also, the old World of Warcraft guilds (Panda Attack for PvP, the Knights of Arcadia for Penny Arcade) were pretty much an online, massively-multiplayer extension of the real-life relationship between the two. B^Uckley tried to get in on it with his own guild, but when Kurtz, Krahulik, and Holkins would have none of it, he ended things on a predictable note (ie massive hostility for all).
Super Hero - Kurtz's earlier character Captain Amazing made an early appearance and earned a spinoff. More recently, we've seen Jingle Force Five (a Christmas-themed parody of the original X-Men lineup) and The Lolbat, a combination of Batman and the internet lolcat phenomena, whose Rogues Gallery is made up of Grammar Nazis.
Unfortunate Names: When Skull creates his City of Heroes character, he makes a fire-based hero which he wants to name Flame Retardant. Unfortunately, the game engine's limitations prevent him from entering the whole thing which then ends up being Flame Retard instead.
Viva Las Vegas: Francis and Marcie get a quickie Vegas marriage during a gaming tournament.
What the Hell, Hero? - Done twice in a row. Max breaks into Cole's office and figures out PvP is going under and Cole calls him out on it and promptly fires him... But then Brent, after finding out Max is indeed right and that Cole had been ignoring Max, gives Cole an epic slap to the face.
Whole Plot Reference: Although the strip frequently alludes to films, comics and video games in its plots, the confrontation between Cole and Lucille played out over several strips at the end of the most recent LARP arc is taken practically line-by-line from the confrontation between Luke and the Emperor from Return of the Jedi, with Cole as Luke, Lucille as the Emperor, and Max as Vader.
Younger than They Look - Cole, Brent, Robbie and Jase were college roommates, which suggests they're around the same age. Cole states in one early strip that he's about to turn 30. He looks a solid 15 years older than Brent.
Zany Scheme - Referred to as "Wacky Adventure". On one occasion Cole actually vetoed a perfectly good plan to discover the identity of Jade's online romance on the grounds that it wasn't interestingly wacky enough.