Monday, August 17, 2015

Blaugust Day 17: Competitiveness vs Cooperativeness


Wolves vs Sheep; PvP vs PvE; Competitiveness vs Cooperativeness - these battles of gankers vs carebears have been going on since the dawn of time.

I’ve recently went to a Halo party and came home kind of miserable. If you're unfamiliar, Halo is an FPS game where you can compete against each other or form teams against other teams. It also has a single player/cooperative story mode too. The night was filled with competitive playing where we formed two teams. Each team had at least one proficient player, and the rest were okay and newbie players. I was a newbie at Halo (not to FPS games). I was also out of my element too since I play games mostly on keyboard and mouse, and we were all on Xbox Ones with controllers. Suffice to say, I sucked and continually hit the bottom of the ranks (but I still got a few good shots in to keep some ego intact).

The next day, one of them asked if I enjoyed the game, which the honest response was no. They questioned why, and was promptly told that if you kept getting killed, would you have fun? They just shook their head no.

Now, this could take off on a big old rant post about why cooperative play styles rule and competitive games drool, but I’d be wrong or right depending which game is linked. But I don’t want to get into rant posts too often, so I’ll make this about why I’m a cooperative carebear and want more games for me.

The simplest reason I am who I am is because I feel sick while being competitive. I don’t like going against someone else for sport and am really averse to confrontation. All in all, I’m a huge carebear that loves rainbows and hugs and want to work together to complete a common goal.

Yes! Defeat your enemies with love!

Another reason is that I feel the most efficient and confident when working without the pressure of being first to win. Being proactive and coming up with a plan to finish instead of reactive and having to roll with what comes. Lastly, I like to take my time. Competitiveness usually means time limits.

So when it comes to games, I enjoy cooperative games over competitive ones. They fall neatly into my playstyle. But I would admit there is a bad side to too much cooperation and no competition.

Vegeta: How many times do I have to tell you,
that if anyone's going to end your existence,
it's going to be me!
One downside would be a lack of strong motivation. Cooperation usually needs a reason to work together and the strongest one is usually working together against another. Another reason is without something or someone to work against, there’s no sense of urgency, so stuff doesn’t get finished. And lastly, without a sparring partner, there’s no one to test your own skills against so you skill atrophies over time.

So, how do I add competition to cooperative play? One way is bots. Let the computer play as the competitor; it allows me not to worry that I’m going against another player. Another way are large groups. If I’m one player in a sea of many, I can hide myself in the vague facelessness of a large group. And one other way is to compete separately, either by recording my results and then recording the other’s results at different times, or by having us compete without directly interacting with each other.

As this post is now running long, I’ll end it here. For continued reading on this theme, The Iron Dagger wrote on a similar subject on game difficulty and the concept of ‘challenge’. I suggest giving it a read as it gives a 'competitive' perspective. :D

You can find more about Blaugust at the 2015 Blaugust Initiative Page.


  1. The essential difference between pvp and pve content is that in pvp, there's always someone gonna be above you. It is a more vertical progression level than pve is - in pve you have a wide progression field with room for everyone. The game tells you when you achieved something and you can get to all of your goals in time. There's a lot less potential for frustration here because you're not engaging in a race against others. But that's what pvpers enjoy - they want to be better than others and climb as high on the ladder as possible. Naturally, this is no fun if you remain on the bottom. Completely different ways of gratification.

    1. A very good point. I suppose I don't like the idea of being ranked against other people, so I stay away from those situations when I can. So bring on the PvE for me.

  2. EMBRACE YOUR INNER CAREBEAR. I did, years ago, and I've never regretted it. The competitive and/or PvP types act like I'm somehow short a few chromosomes, but that's their problem.

    1. I've embraced and hugged it to death.>:D
      I get amused sometimes when I tell very competitive people that I don't like doing that and it gives them pause, as if I just blew their minds.