Player Versus Environment

What Does Player Versus Environment Mean?

Player versus environment (PvE) refers to a video game in which gamers compete against the game’s artificial intelligence (AI), rather than other gamers. The term PvE is usually used in the context of online gaming to separate PvE multiplayer role-playing games (RPGs) from player-versus-player (PvP) real-time strategy games. Player versus environment generally involves the gamer fighting AI-controlled opponents of varying difficulties while progressing through the game’s storyline.


Because many online games are PvE massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), PvE games are also referred to as player versus monsters games.

Techopedia Explains Player Versus Environment

Player versus environment covers a range of games from action and adventure to RPGs and, of course, MMORPGs. One issue that is particular to online PvE games is the endless nature of the battles. With console RPGs, each battle works to progress the storyline. With MMOPRGs, the game is essentially endless, as players continue to jump in and out. This can cause real issues with putting importance on battles beyond just leveling up characters and collecting gold.

To combat this problem, designers have been toying with more emergent gameplay for online RPGs, where the actions of gamers can permanently alter the world in which the game is played, causing new storylines to emerge. The technical challenges with this approach are large, but the demand for more immersive games is constantly growing.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…