Hey, EA – Where’s My PvP Mode?
If you’ve just started playing Darkspore, the fantastic new sci-fi RPG from EA, you might have noticed that there is no PvP mode, only a co-op mode for online play. Yet the game advertises a PvP mode on the advertisements and the box – so what is going on?
Well, don’t worry, this isn’t a mistake. In order to get you fully trained up and familiar with the game, EA have prevented beginners from being able to access the PvP mode until they have completed a few missions.
In order to get to PvP mode in Darkspore, and open up a whole new set of in-game features, you need to knuckle down and fight your way through to level 10. Only then will the game truly begin!
Collect DNA To Gain Upgrades
In order to reach Crogenitor Level 10 and unlock PvP mode in Darkspore, you will need to collect DNA and complete missions and multiplier missions (those that give you the choice of automatically following the standard mission).
This isn't necessarily as easy as it sounds. First of all, DNA can only be collected from engaging in plenty of combat with hordes and sentry creatures. You can't always tell which creatures will yield a DNA bonus, although any weapon or bonus you can pick up that enhances the chance of DNA being dropped is obviously useful.
Second, the multiplier missions are potentially dangerous and could lead to you being defeated – after all, they're tougher than the initial missions as more is at stake. If you are able to complete a second, third or fourth mission, however, and take advantage of the multiplier then this will benefit your DNA score.
More DNA means more upgrades, which means a better chance of reaching Crogenitor Level 10 sooner.
Adding Creatures and Team Slots
One of the coolest things about Darkspore is the creature editor, in which you can upgrade your basic beast into a highly capable fighting machine using the various bonus items that you have collected in previous levels. While you might start the game with access to just a trio of creatures, as the game progresses more and more become available, and these should be activated and upgraded as soon as possible to take advantage of the spare items in your inventory.
In order to give yourself the best chance of success getting to PvP mode, you will need to spend any DNA you gather on the various in-game upgrades, rather than hoarding it, as previous upgrades must be unlocked before PvP mode becomes available.
The most important of these is adding a second team slot, which allows you to have six creatures ready for action at any one time rather than just the three. If you have ever feared going into a mission with the selected team and noticed the red chevrons on the team roster – meaning that the creature in question is unsuitable for the mission – then having an extra slot will come as a welcome bonus.
Co-Op Play with Matchmaker
If you're desperate for online play with another Darkspore gamer but haven't made it to PvP mode yet, you can still enjoy the experience of playing online by using the Matchmaker tool for co-op play. Matchmaker scours the currently online Darkspore players for someone suitable to join you on the next mission and offers them the chance to join with you. This works in your favour as DNA bonuses are better, and the experience also provides a chat window so that you can plan a strategy or just discuss the game.
One downside with Matchmaker mode, however, is that once a mission is complete, your colleague can drop out before the next mission begins. You can still carry on with your own multiplayer mission, however.
Reaching and Starting PvP Mode
Reaching PvP mode in Darkspore means that you can test the strengths and abilities of your teams of creatures against players like yourself.
The first thing you should do after unlocking PvP mode, however, is to head to the creature editor and customize each of your soldiers, upgrading them to the best of their abilities with the bonuses you have collected to date. With these added, you should be looking at having creatures of around Level 15 or higher.
To start a PvP game, go to the Navigation screen, where you will see that the PvP mode is now accessible. Click PvP to start the matchmaker system; the Darkspore servers will check anyone currently logged on and match you up against them. Note that your opponent's team may not be the same strength as your own!
Combat takes place in a single randomly generated arena over the course of three rounds. This works in much the same way as a standard level, except you need to dominate across the three rounds (or the first two if you do exceptionally well) rather than across a level.
It's challenging and its pretty good fun, and brings a whole new dimension to Darkspore that is certainly worth unlocking!
Author's own experience.
Screenshots by author.