Player Versus Player (PvP) is a type of Gameplay Mode in Video Games where the enemies are other players of the video game. This is in contrast to Player Versus Environment (PvE), where the enemies of your character are generated and controlled by a computer's artificial intelligence. The idea of Player vs Player is not only to outplay, outlast, or outwit your opponents, but to put your opponents at as many disadvantages as possible so they can't do the same to you.
Some games have both a PvP mode and a PvE mode. In some cases, the two modes occur at the same time, like in most MMORPGs. In World of Warcraftnote , the player character can be busy with a quest vs. computer generated monsters in an outdoor zone, and be ambushed by enemy players nearby. This can be either irritating or exhilarating, depending on your mood and tolerance for fellow players, forming the basis of The Great Player Versus Player Debate.
Most games have strictly defined modes where only PvE (usually even separating single player and Coop Multiplayer from each other) or PvP, but not both, can occur.
Player vs Player is actually the older of the two modes, since it eliminates the need for any sort of AI. Very early games such as Space War and Pong are examples.
PvP is these days divided into two categories:
- Synchronous PvP is when two people play against each other in real time (as in the early examples). This can be done locally (with two controllers plugged into the same console) or over the Internet.
- Asynchronous PvP is when you fight against a player and AI plays on their behalf. This is very popular in mobile games because synchronous PvP can be hard to organize when people are going about their daily lives. This typically goes in hand with the idea of "asymmetrical" PvP where the AI-controlled player has different objectives. For example, in Clash of Clans, your job as an attacker is to decide which troops to deploy, when and where. (This is important because troops prioritizes different targets.) As a defender, your job is to design your city in a way that causes those troops to march to their deaths; when you are attacked, the AI takes care of all the actual fighting and you're not allowed to intercede. (In fact, if you try to log in while you are being attacked, the different Clash of Clans Clones vary in whether you are even allowed to do so, or whether you have to wait until someone's done with your base.)
See also Player Killing.
Video Game Examples:
- The first iteration of Pong was exclusively PVP. Later versions allowed one player to face off against the computer.
- Mortal Kombat players know that most of its charm is PvP, one big reason the game went online, though you can still play two-player at home.
- Fighting Games and Racing Games in general have a big focus on players competing against each other.
- Pacify has a PvP mode where players try to collect the most evidence of the house being haunted. They can even push each other down to make them drop what they've collected.
- Team Fortress 2 is nothing but players fighting each other. Even the bots are meant to simulate other players, down to "Virtual Mousepads" that control how fast they turn.
- A team-based Player Versus Environment was finally added in the Mann vs Machine mode, though the enemies are more or less robotic playable classes.
- Minecraft has player vs player on by default for servers, though it can be disabled by choice. The feature's uses range from every player for themselves or even clan battles.
- Demon's Souls has a boss controlled by another player, the entire boss battle is essentially a PvP match.
- Dark Souls has several covenants that cater to PvP action, with different rewards for each.
- RuneScape has several different PvP areas. The most well-known is the Wilderness, a volcanic wasteland where players can be attacked by anyone within a certain number of levels of their own, defined by how far into the Wilderness they are. There's also the Duel Arena, where players can fight each other one-on-one using agreed rules, the Soul Wars game where players try and stop the opposite team from destroying their team's Avatar, the classic Capture The Flag game of Castle Wars, and the Clan Wars where teams of players can fight each other.
- Both PlanetSide games, being MMOFPSes, are entirely PvP - each faction is always at war with other two factions; the New Conglomerate, Terran Republic, and Vanu Sovereignty. Everyone on your faction is always on your side. Everybody else is someone to shoot at. The only non-player enemies are the turrets guarding bases and the player-deployed turrets.
- EVE Online is PvP by its very nature. The players run everything significant, and most of the memorable events were orchestrated by player factions. Even within Concord space (i.e. NPC guaranteed safe space), players regularly try to screw other players through exploits.
- Phantasy Star Online 2 has a Battle Arena where players are tasked with outscoring the enemy team. Points are rewarded by collecting Emblems and killing opponents to steal a portion of their score.
- Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has an asynchronous multiplayer mod in the form of Forward Operating Bases, or FOBs. Players are tasked with setting up defenses on their FOB while infiltrating other players' FOBs to steal resources and personnel. At higher levels of play, players can also develop nuclear weapons to deter infiltration from others (although so doing will have a massive negative impact on their Heroism score), but players designated "Heroes" can infiltrate these bases anyway and steal the nukes for themselves, which they can either stockpile to deter infiltration from other players, or disarm to increase their Heroism score further (with an Easter Egg available to all players if every nuclear missile in every FOB is disposed of).
- Warframe: The Conclave, an arena-style map with rebalanced equipment and mods to keep it from being Rocket-Tag Gameplay. The mode is overseen by Teshin, a surviving Dax Super Soldier from the Orokin Empire.
Teshin: A warrior only grows if they face the ultimate enemy. Themselves.
- Combat in Nexus Clash is overwhelmingly PVP, and all the best means of advancement rely on fighting or otherwise interacting with other players. Outside of a few boss fights, what non-PVP combat there is is all against beings directly or indirectly summoned by other players.
- Shadow Force: On two-player mode, at the end of each stage after defeating the respective bosses, the players are then treated to a short stage where they fight each other, not to the death, but just for the winner to get a higher score.
- While the series does feature single-player and Player Versus Environment modes, its primary focus has always been its online 4v4 competitive multiplayer modes. The game's flagship mode, Turf War, is one of these. In it, two teams of four players are pitted against each other, with the goal of painting more of the stage with their own color ink than their opponents can paint with theirs. The additional ranked modes feature more specific objectives, many of which are unique variations on classic game modes like King of the Hill and Capture the Flag.
- Tableturf Battle, introduced in Splatoon 3 technically makes use of both Asynchronous and Synchronous PvP. In terms of the former, among the player avatars that populate the Hub World are ones that hang out around the Tableturf Battle location where you can face the game's NP Cs. Talking to one of them will allow you to duel an AI that uses one of the decks created by that player.
- Artery Gear: Fusion has this in the form of the 'exercise' mode. Each day, you get ten chances to challenge other players, and tiers are reset at the end of each week. Final rankings are calculated with the end of every season.
- SINoALICE is a rare example of the Synchronous variant in mobile games, in which Guilds face off against each other in the Colosseum at a certain time of day chosen by the guild master. The Guilds have 20 minutes to defeat each other and wreck the opponent's Guild Ship, with the victor decided by whoever has the most lifeforce after that time. Aside from normal Colosseum battles, there's also other variants such as Blood Colosseum (where attendance is also rewarded aside from victory in the form of Character Blood for an exclusive Grimoire), GranColosseum (the monthly Guild Wars) and Colosseum Sin (a tournament for the best of the best).
- From the same developers of SINoALICE comes the Legion Battles of Assault Lily: Last Bullet where Legions of up to 9 members fight against another Legion for 20 minutes every day depending on which of the 5 timeslots the leader picks. While both games' PvP (or rather, GvG/LvL) have a lot of similarities such as the Demon/Neunwelt Phase and the Skirmish/Attack Phase, Last Bullet has additional features such as the activation of Rare Skills and the ability to buff ally vanguards during the Recovery Phase which help it to stand out from its older sibling.
- Familiars.io allows turning on PVP which makes your character red and lets you battle other players.
- Rakion: Chaos Force is a PVP-based game as players can join servers and clash against other people all over the world in six different game modes: Boss War, Clan War, Golem War, Stage, Solo Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch modes. Each of them has different objectives to win from protecting the base to killing as many players as possible before running out of time.
- Your Bizarre Adventure (a JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Fan Game) has two modes dedicated to competition between players:
- The Colosseum mode is dedicated to player-on-player fights, either one-on-one or in pairs.
- The Metal Ball Run pits several players against each other in a horse race,note allowing them to attach one another. The "Battle Zone" near the end of the course temporarily shifts the mode's priorities: instead of merely racing, the players are required to fight to the death to progress. The final stretch only opens up when no more than 7 people are left standing.
Non-Video Game examples:
Anime and Manga
- In episode 2 of Haganai, Kodaka, Sena, and Yozora are all playing Monster Hunter. Sena "accidentally" hits and knocks out Yozora's character, and later Yozora "accidentally" shoots Sena with her bow and arrow. She then knocks out Sena with a sleeping arrow while fighting a boss, and sets an explosive, and blows up both Sena and the monster. A few moments later, both girls are fighting each other much more than the monsters, and in the end fail the quest due to running out of time.
- This trope is a plot point in Log Horizon. Players who die are resurrected at a nearby cathedral, although they may drop items before dying. So other players have taken up looting and killing other players, partly out of boredom, and partly For the Evulz.
- Every VRMMORPG shown in Sword Art Online has PvP combat, albeit in different capacities.
- In the titular Sword Art Online, players can attack others outside of safe zones at will, but attacking other players will result in their cursors turning orange, rendering them unable to enter towns. Player killers have permanently orange cursors. The only way for players to fight each other without affecting their standing is in sanctioned duels (which can be fought to the death if the players agree to it).
- In its introduction, Alfheim Online encourages PvP combat, with players divided into races (such as Spriggans, Sylphs, Salamanders, etc.) and fighting with each other to complete the game's Grand Quest. When the game is relaunched, the emphasis on PvP is downplayed.
- Gun Gale Online has an even greater emphasis on PvP, with players able to convert in-game money into real-world cash and thus having incentive to attack other players to take their gear. There's even an annual tournament with prizes.
- Underworld differs in that it is not so much a game as it is a time-compressed virtual life simulator. As such, Final Death applies to the artificial peoples that live in it. Since very few real-world people are meant to access it at any given time, there is very little in the way of PvP due to the fact that there are so few, if any, "players".
- Due to the players' circumstance, PvP is deeply frowned in Sword Art Online. A minor arc dealt with someone exploiting bugs in the PvP system to send players to their death. No, not character death — actual death of the person behind the joystick.
- This is the main appeal of Williams Electronics' Joust pinball machine, which had two symmetrical playfields set up for head-to-head competition.
- Pro Pinball: Big Race USA allows playing against another person over the internet.
- One of the tables in Star Trek Pinball, "Nemesis", splits the playfield vertically into two mirrored halves, then pits two players against each other. A LAN multiplayer mode was also planned, but was not finished in time for the game's release.
- Necronomicon allowed players to submit high scores to the developer's website for its leaderboards.
- The Action Park attraction "Action Park Gladiator Challenge", where two people raced to complete an obstacle course first.
- Paranoia was (at least one of) the first Role-Playing Game specifically designed to have lots of PvP.