EVE is not a PVP Game. EVE is an Economy Game

Let’s see how many war pigs I set off with this.

EVE Online is among the most complex games available today and a major problem this game has when it comes to conversations to bring the game forward has to do with PVP. I believe the biggest obstacle that stands in front of reasonable debates about pvp is how people define player-versus-player. A very vocal group has been insisting that absolutely everything in EVE is PVP, even though a number of activities can be done with zero player interaction, zero player contact, or involves player cooperation against a non-player entity. Without a commonly agreed definition to the term PVP between combat-oriented and industrial-oriented players, any debates about pvp often get nowhere, and have been going nowhere for years. The problem is that players can’t seem to understand that while PVP is by far the most important element in this game, EVE is so complex that PVP is not the only element to this game.

For this essay, we’ll start with the definition of PVP according to Wikipedia, which is “a type of multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between two or more live participants.” The problem begins when this broad definition runs into the generic perception of what PVP stands for. When you mention pvp to Non-Eve players, they’ll think of games like Fortnite, Team Fortress 2, Warcraft, CSGO, Overwatch, Starcraft, and other games where direct mortal combat against another player is the key focus or in pretty much all the ones mentioned above, the only focus to the game. Normally this wouldn’t be a huge problem since one can reasonably argue many of EVE’s activities involve or will involve combat against other players. The problem I see comes from the players who insist that absolutely everything in EVE is PVP. The generic term for PVP can describe EVE Online as a whole but it completely misses the bigger picture.

The big picture in EVE Online is that EVE is the largest and most complex economy game in existence. Tens of thousands of players participate in EVE’s economy every day, from the collection of resources to the sale of completed ships, ammo, and modules. There’s hardly any part of the game that isn’t affected by the market. EVE also directly or indirectly provides the tools to make the game’s economy a reality. Buy and sell orders, price speculation, contracts, player-created trade hubs, and other elements have produced a system that no other game’s replicated. Real world economists have even studied EVE’s economy to get a better understanding of how people will act in the real world. Both PVE and PVP both tie into this economy and PVP has the more important role in play.

The problem with many PVP arguments for EVE online are the people who fail to understand that EVE has an economic core and then tries to pin the PVP label on absolutely everything. Please for the sake of Bob, stop arguing like this! Moving goods from station to station? PVP. Blasting ore in a belt? (with absolutely nobody else even in the same system as you?) PVP. Selling goods that nobody else is selling in some backwater system? PVP. Buying or selling anything? PVP! (I’ve seen people argue these things as pvp multiple times.) Arguing that everything in a game is PVP is not only ignorant, it’s idiotic. In no eve gameplay ever has it become a requirement that you have to fight another player in mortal combat order to mine some veldspar in a backwater system. Hell, you don’t even have to have another player in the system to undock and go do stuff. Trading isn’t pvp either, unless you’re attacking somebody’s station or shipping (directly or through proxy) in an effort to stop them from buying or selling their goods (hisec ganking and wardec mercenaries are excellent examples of this in action). The marketplace isn’t PVP because the players participating in this activity are coming to an agreement on the sale or purchase of goods. Sellers are basically saying “I’m selling X goods at A price” and the buyers either say “I agree to this price.” or “I don’t agree to this A, I’ll buy X goods at B price instead.” Competition then arises as player C says “Pffft, you’re selling at A? I’ll sell at C!” This isn’t players attacking each other over something, its players negotiating, re-negotiating, and then agreeing to the price of a certain item for sale. The creation of these marketplace interactions where two players agree to the sale of something is not PVP because the marketplace relies on both parties agreeing to a certain set of terms, in this case, the value of goods. There’s no aforementioned combat involved unlike the ganker killing the freighter in order to steal the ship’s cargo.

PVP, while not the main mover in EVE, is by far the biggest contributor to the economy as an isk sink. The constant loss of ships in conflicts between players creates the demand for more ships, modules, drones and ammo far more than those lost in PVE activities. Economy-wise that is just about the extent that PVP contributes to it. It’s neither glamorous nor complex, but its importance cannot be overstated. PVP has other benefits to the game that are frequently addressed. It creates content through conflicts. It livens up otherwise boring nights. It gives players a reason to stay in the game.

Please stop arguing that PVP is all that matters in this game. It isn’t. The economy of EVE is the most important element of this game. If it dies, then the game will die. Stop saying that everything in EVE is PVP. It makes you sound like an idiot. Only some things are pvp. It is better to argue that pvp is far more important than pve and a lack of pvp will consign this game to a slow and painful death.


What is your point? You just don’t like it when people say “Everything in Eve is PVP”? You didn’t need to write this whole long thing to tell us about your pet peeve.


PvP is a vital aspect of the economy game, since PvP generates demand which is crucial for a healthy economy.

It’s a virtual space after all and there exist no natural degradation.

The point is that I don’t see people really explaining in any meaningful way how pvp ties in with the economy of EVE. It’s either “EVERYTHING IS PVP! GET GUD!” or “PVP SUCKS! I WANT TO MINE WITH NO CONSEQUENCES!”

It’s rare to see anyone arguing for the middle ground.


EVE is a sandbox game. You can play it any way you like or see it. You are deciding what’s most important in the game - but here’s the catch: only for you. You can’t decide what’s most important for others.


Destruction can also be generated by PvE elements.

No one has ever complained on these forums about trigs.

This is just a rant.


You seem to be arguing about word use.

Yes, there is the odd hardliner who takes an extreme position, often for trolling purposes, but most people yelling at each other are usually arguing about definitions and semantics. Is the market trading PvP? Is gate camping PvP? Yes it is! No it isn’t! PvP means ship combat! No, PvP means player-vs-player and you are competing always in Eve with other players!


Almost any long-term Eve player when pressed will acknowledge that Eve is a complex war/economy simulation game that has depths of gamplay, in both destruction and production, and actually requires both to be functional. They may have different views of what changes or direction might be good for the game, and they might define aspects of the game differently or use different words, but very few don’t actually get this core idea.

You get. I get it. We all get it. Huzzah!


EVE is a PVP game and i argue that PVP is all that matters in this game

Until you try to sell your FW LP to fund your ship exploding habit.

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Sorry, pvp has been the in-your-face feature of this game, since it started in 2003, in its design and in its lore before 2003 - the struggle for survival of humans in this part of the universe. Pvp is the dominant, overall determining feature. Any game with an open pvp environment tends to be more difficult to digest, humans still beat AI by far when it comes to scheming and tricking. Other players are deadlier than any npc setting will ever be. So bringing this aspect forward in any conversation about EvE is only fair, and will attract the target audience.
That does not equate to “you will be involved in armed pvp” - you can stay out of it if you use the little grey cells. But with the game economy we have, a unique feature in the gaming world, you do compete with other players on every single aspect, even if you try selling to npc orders - another form of pvp.



PvP is at its basic level is competition between players, IIRC CCP’s view on the matter is pretty similar; there’s very few, if any activities in Eve that don’t pit you against other players in one way or another.

The economy itself is the result of competition between players, via people flogging the results of their PvE activities, traders and investors playing the markets etc. Killing rats is PvE, using the market at any time is PvP.

But that’s exactly the point being made with the “everything is PvP” argument! What you’re missing is the context of where that argument comes from: risk-averse highsec farmers demanding that CCP give them the ability to opt out of PvP and making statements like “MOST PLAYERS HATE PVP YOU ARE NOTHING WITHOUT US”. The argument is aimed entirely at deflating their sense of importance and pointing out that everything worth caring about in EVE involved player vs. player conflict and competition, take away that context and the whole debate is just silly.

EvE is a Market PvP game…and after the Broker Relations update from March…
The Broker is now winning.

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I define any player interaction with other players - cooperative or competitive - military or economic - as PVP. By that definition, Eve is primarily a PVP game. It is extremely difficult to play this game without interacting with other players - any market transaction will involve another player. The value of the ore you mine or the loot from your mission is determined by other players.

Slight disagreement there: any adversarial interaction between players is PvP, cooperative efforts are not inherently PvP. The better definition:

PvP is player vs. player: where the success or failure of your actions is (primarily) determined by competition with other players.

PvE is player vs. environment: where the success or failure of your actions is (primarily) determined by interactions with the game world or NPCs.

Cooperative mission running is PvE because the primary success/failure point is your actions in combat against NPCs, mining is PvP because you succeed or fail based on how well you compete with rival players for access to ore and maximum value on the market. The fact that, for example, some miners do not care about the competition with other players and sell to the highest open buy order on the market without bothering to look at prices doesn’t make mining a PvE activity. It means that certain miners are very bad at a PvP activity.

You are totally missing the point that activity in the economy is PVP…

What a stupid waste of time…

You’ll run in to the usual crowd who says “it’s all PvP”. Completely disregarding the fact that most of their arguments end up self-contradicting or becoming pointless when they do that.

There is a decent write-up on it here: https://imperium.news/eve-online-is-not-a-pvp-game/

It’s better to discuss “There is PvP combat and destruction of player assets by other players, and there is Player Economic Behaviour (PEB)”. Most of the problems with EVE stem around this sort of misunderstanding of the actual basis of the game and the ongoing ecosystem of the gameplay elements, by many players but more importantly by CCP itself.

CCP lacks staff who understand game design - or at least, anyone they have with half a clue never gets to implement anything because their ideas disagree with the people who are being paid to design the game incorrectly.

EVE draws from a certain market - the mostly-PVE / PEB, some PvP-combat, some space exploration market. That market runs about 65% PVE/PEB playstyle, 20% PvP-combat players, 15% space travel/exploration/just here to fly spaceships types. This is based on what players actually do with their time, not what they ‘say’ they’re here for. (Those rough estimates are generous on the PvP and explore side, by the way.)

CCPs own stats and well established industry trends show this. So if you aren’t designing and balancing a game that has an economy and a life cycle that supports 2/3 of your customers engaging in primarily “economic/growth behaviours” and only 20% of your players engaging in actually destroying player assets, then your game is going to get out of whack.

Which EVE did, over 10 years ago. And it’s been getting worse ever since. When CCP wakes up to that fact we may see some decent changes. I rather expect it will take PA waking up, and changing the management/design team at CCP to actually point things in the right direction, however.


Out of curiosity . . . if you design the game to support growth and don’t provide adequate destruction, how can you balance an economy over the long-term?

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I remember the article linked above. It has a few holes in it and tries to get around ‘eve is pvp’ by narrowing things down to an individual level only and ignores how the game as a whole works.

Pretty sure i left a comment on it for more detail.

I disagree with the article because i think we have different ideas of what pvp is.

Pvp is competition, in any form. And in eve you are always competing because of the market. Any attempt at wealth generation in eve is pvp. You are trying to become richer than you’re competition (every other player in the game) so you have better spending power. And you use that spending power to fight against your enemies. When goons started churning out so many titans, what were those titans for? To, one way or another, make goons stronger.

CCP hint towards this in the New Player FAQ when they say pvp has many forms (or words to that effect).

The ‘end-game’ isnt to train every skill or to be the wealthiest person in the game. Those are means to an end. Ironbank did not win eve. The ‘end-game’ is being the most powerful player/group in the game and/or crushing all competition.

Anything toward that; mining, ratting, skill training, trading and pew pew is all pvp. And that is EVE.