On Multiplayer

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I'm not going to subject myself to reading these comments, as I feel like the internet fuckwad theory may be on full display with such a 'hot topic' as Yahtzee's opinions on multiplayer, so I apologize if I'm repeating something.

The only thing I don't agree with here is his assessment of the Unreal Tournament/Quake 3 Arena days as 'dark days' of shooter gaming. In both cases, their original iterations weren't really 'multiplayer' games, they were 'deathmatch' games.

Allow me to explain the difference. Team Fortress 2 is a multiplayer game. You can't play co-op, you can't play in the same room as your friends, you can't play single player, there are no bots and no local games. Your only choice is to play online against people that are not in the same room as you (unless you set up something ridiculous like a LAN party or a system link).

Unreal Tournament is a Deathmatch game. The core of the game is played against bots. I bought this when I was still on an incredibly slow dial up connection, and the only time I ever played online was at the last day of high school when I hid the game on the school network and had everyone in my BCIS class killing each other. No, I played UT in single player. The age of UT/Q3A wasn't one of multiplayer, it was one of deathmatch. These were games that me and almost every gamer I knew played single player. These are games where you have dozens of bots that you can set to any preference you want. These are games that have entire single player campaigns designed around an arena/tournament structure where your goal is to get the most kills rather than kill all the enemies. They were stand-alone games even if you never hooked up to a network. I enjoyed the hell out of both of them, and it wasn't until I started playing them on a network with people over an internet connection that I gave up on them.

So during what I like to refer to as 'the deathmatch' era in FPS gaming, even the games that were designed to be exclusively multiplayer were not exclusively multiplayer. No game designer had the massive balls to claim that they had spent any time on a game whose primary gameplay mode was almost entirely user-created.

I'd call the current era of FPS gaming the dark ages. Gone are the days where a friend of yours buys a game and you go over with a bunch of buddies to play it. Nowadays most FPS games on the console only allow 2 players max on one game, if that. Games that tout multiplayer have a small hint of single player (usually only about 5-6 hours), and then just add in various maps for various forms of multiplayer. I can't remember the last game that featured single-player deathmatch as an option.

Obviously this is because producers realized that allowing 4 people to play on one box wasn't charging people enough money. Requiring an 'online community' to form meant that each player had to push the game on his friends and depend on the success of the game, rather than just enjoying it on their own. This also created obsessive fanboys who want to continue playing their favorite online maps, but they NEED other people to continue playing as well (see Halo fanboys, COD fanboys, etc).

Cowardly? Ha!

I like to say "polite"!

Caliostro:

The point you're wrong in is that EVERY game MUST necessarily have a single player or whatnot. You're wrong, as evidenced (for instances) by a game you claimed to be quite the good experience, Left4Dead.

L4D does have a standalone offline single player campaign. (Which I think is better than having to deal with all the online asshats, but that's beside the point.) Who's wrong now, hmmm?

Mantonio:

"You didn't try the online multiplayer portion of modern warfare 2????? Seriously????? THAT'S LIKE TRYING ORANGE BOX AND SKIPPING OVER THE SILLY PORTAL GAME."
-Matt, via email

Give me this mans address.

I don't care how many times I have to do something unspeakable to Yahtzee to get it, I just want to choke the stupid out of this guy.

I'll help. Mainly because he called Portal silly, and then compounded this grievous error by comparing it with MW2.

Xbox Live is a perfect example.

IckleMissMayhem:

Caliostro:

The point you're wrong in is that EVERY game MUST necessarily have a single player or whatnot. You're wrong, as evidenced (for instances) by a game you claimed to be quite the good experience, Left4Dead.

L4D does have a standalone offline single player campaign. (Which I think is better than having to deal with all the online asshats, but that's beside the point.) Who's wrong now, hmmm?

While it's solo, it's exactly the same as playing with others. You can't tell me that you don't see the difference between a game with a story-driven single-player, or co-op, campaign and a competitive multiplayer mode, and a game like L4D, that allows you to play the same missions solo, co-operatively, or competitively.

Mantonio:

"You didn't try the online multiplayer portion of modern warfare 2????? Seriously????? THAT'S LIKE TRYING ORANGE BOX AND SKIPPING OVER THE SILLY PORTAL GAME."
-Matt, via email

Give me this mans address.

I don't care how many times I have to do something unspeakable to Yahtzee to get it, I just want to choke the stupid out of this guy.

I'll help. Mainly because he called Portal silly, and then compounded this grievous error by comparing it with MW2.

I have a feeling that he was emphasising his point by calling it silly, rather than voicing his own opinion.

If it is an online game, then the multiplayer is the main thing. When i'm playing Zombie Panic, i don't think to myself, 'Yeah, this is great...,but if it had a single player campaign, it would be a lot better.''

Akalabeth:

comadorcrack:

Akalabeth:

comadorcrack:
And yet. I come back to Team Fortress 2. The greatest multiplayer game ever created. Because no matter what your skill level. You'll never be left out of the fun. ""

Team Fortress is shit

Its good to see poignant arguments being put forward with valid reasoning behind them.

Why? your own argument is completely baseless. The notion new players are having just as much fun as hardcore veterans.

In fact I've never understood the appeal of any Valve MP Game. The only thing worse than TF is Counterstrike, bunch of identical guys using the same silenced assault rifle.

I'm not really one for multiplayer at all but the Valve-created stuff is particular unappealing and why it's got such a mob of rampant fanboys is beyond me.

Acctually I'm pretty sure that was the base of my point. That every skill level is included in the fun, not just the hardcore.

Yeah I'll agree with this.

comadorcrack:
[quote="Akalabeth" post="6.158735.3987524"]
Acctually I'm pretty sure that was the base of my point. That every skill level is included in the fun, not just the hardcore.

Actually I'm pretty sure you haven't given any information to back up your point.
Also in order for everyone to have fun, a game has to be fun in the first place. TF is not.

In fact I think the game I've played with the strongest-appeal to new MP gamers is Halo2 or the BF series. It's good for all skill levels because the movement abilities of the player are comparatively slow. Compare this to say Unreal or the Valve engine where advanced players can bunny hop or in UT use the teleporter to get around.

Your cynical Hobbesian worldview both worries me and makes me giggle like a little schoolgirl. However, if someone hasn't pointed it out already (unlikely), in many cases, gamers are skipping the single-player modes. According to Xbox LIVE statistics, between 5 and 40% of gamers ever finish their games, with the percentage increasing the shorter the single-player mode is. Many simply don't play single-player if they know there is a robust multiplayer component on offer. As a PC gamer strongly devoted to the FPS and RPG genres, this confuses me a little bit, since a game for me is never "done" unless I've beaten it at least twice over and explored everything it has to offer, but those are the stats, and while they only account for those with Xbox LIVE subscriptions, they certainly do provide some insight.

Wow. That's pretty deep...and he's 100% right.

We need more single player for sure. I remember when multiplayer was just something you did to entertain your friends for a few hours when they came to your house. Even then, we tended to favour alternating single player.

IckleMissMayhem:
L4D does have a standalone offline single player campaign. (Which I think is better than having to deal with all the online asshats, but that's beside the point.) Who's wrong now, hmmm?

You.

If you had followed the game's development you'd know the game was built from the ground up for multiplayer. In fact, the game was born when what became the L4D team was dicking around with a CSS mod that pitted "zombies" with knives and huge health vs. normal characters with guns (no mention if it was the famous zombie panic mod or some "house-made" variant). The singleplayer is just multiplayer with bots. Exchanging human players for bots is something you've been able to do in just about any online game since, oh, say, Unreal...?

no i didnt think you were attacking me i was just surprised to get such a long answer :)

In response to Tequila Shot:

Yeah, he had fun. Perhaps it's because he realizes that it's a game and that dying in it isn't a big deal, and that the fun come from occasionally making others die.

Your rhetoric isn't apt. While it's true that experienced players will generally own the inexperienced ones, the game is set up so that it's NOT an impossible task to actually kill a level 70. Me and my friend would have 0.000001% chance of even scoring against an NBA player in basketball, so that assertion is a hyperbole, and doesn't logically prove anything.

Next, did you ever play Wipeout? Or any racing game for that matter. You had to learn the track, it's part of the game. Mastering a game is part of the game and when done well can make the game enjoyable.

Yes, it is hard initially and then you get better at it, but of course it is, that's axiomatic. Do you get completely slaughtered moments after spawing over and over again? No (at least not on 360). At first you run around for a bit, die, watch the kill cam and go "Oh, that's how that works, guess I won't step out into the open like that again"... lesson learned. Then you think, "maybe I should trail behind this level 55 on my team and watch him and help him out"... another lesson learned. All without a tutorial mode to lead you by the nose as to how to do well in a multiplayer match.

The big question is, is it worth the "burn in" phase. And for MW2 I think the answer is yes. It's enjoyable even while being owned, and then when you can get to the point where your owning left and right with knife kills, you feel like a badass.

It's not like I'm a fan of "Hardcore" games (a la "Fester's Quest", where when you die and start all over), but having a mildly interactive (crappy) movie isn't much fun either. Gaming should be challenging and fun at that same time. That's why people talk about the difficulty curve for games. For Yahtzee to not even sample that curve is a dereliction (sp?) of duty. He really should have at least TRIED (what many consider) the best part of the game.

Finally, since when is dying in a multiplayer game akin to being a fool? A fool is someone who places too much value on whether they die in video games.

You may very well have summed up Jean-Paul Sartre's idea of the "other", in that last sentence, sort of.

I seem to recall an interview with a developer of Blizzard, who mentioned the way to design a good game was to try and create a good, well balanced multiplayer game first and build the single player game out of what you create. While I don't agree with them, it is a good way for a game company to retain a cult following and effectively gain a steady source of income.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: On Multiplayer

The default state of all human beings is fuckwad. The only reason they don't always act like fuckwads is because they're afraid of getting punched. So they're not just fuckwads, they're cowardly fuckwads.

Read Full Article

Yahtzee Croshaw = Gregory House, MD? Come to think of it, I never saw both in the same room at the same time...

About the multiplayer, I also think it sometimes seem quite pointless, and I think offline multiplayer, like the New Super Mario Bros. Wii is much more fun, I wish they made more games to be played like that.

Yeah i get sick of the "fuckwads" who just sit in the corner of the map waiting for you to spawn and then instantly head shotting you before you've even had time to check what weapons you have on you.

There are some fuckwads out there that probably wank off everytime they do this which is the main reason i hate multiplayer ONLINE. Sitting at home with people and being able to slap them in the testicles everytime they kill you or being able to chuck their controller out the window whenever they get too cocky much more suits me. Online play is just pointless unless you've got the skills of a ninja and the time to sit around being killed until you've gotten good enough at it to stay in the game for more then a minute.

Online gamers are usually idiots true. But video games are video games. If somethings main selling point is the multiplayer then a critic wouldn't be a critic if they ignored the reason people are gathering to play the game.

Not saying that the big Y is not a critic. It is just that, critics can't be cynical about something they haven't tried. I guess I am saying that Y is not a critic. He is one hell of a good comedian though and for that I say he can do whatever he pleases.

I love Call of Duty's online mode because of all the new items being unlocked all the time. Sure playing the same few maps is repetitive but it changes every new game.

But I defend Y's choice for this game just because the Nuke is a pile of shit and any criticism against the multiplayer I will simply reword to say "the instant win nuke is the worst idea for online gaming" INSTANT WINS = NO FUN DEV's.

If I didn't have online multiplayer, I would have to spend money buying more single player games than I already do, to keep my attention. I do prefer a good single player game, as you usually get a more quality expireince, but really nothing increases the longevity of a game like good online multiplayer. But you make very good points.

Fair play to Yahzee. I guessing most of you fools have a XBOX360. Well shame on you. You have to pay to be able to use the internet which you are already paying for. Well done for paying in for Microsoft. You are basically paying them so you can suck there dicks. By the way I don't give a shit about what you think because I use Apple Macs.

Hmmm.

This whole column was a reply to a question, well the same question asked multiple times one would assume, why Yahtzee doesn't like and/or play much multiplayer - here he even says it "then I'd better explain why I usually feel that online multiplayer isn't my department". So the whole thing is why HE doesn't like multiplayer or doesn't play multiplayer. Now I believe there is a fundamental difference between saying why you think something is bad and saying why something is shit.

The whole time he's not saying why YOU should not like multiplayer but why he doesn't, his first two reasons are totally personal to his situation, number three is his own personal taste and four and five are personal gripes with some facts mixed in because for whatever reason he felt the need to justify these (Multiplayer for instance did start out as an additional feature not the main focus).

But here's the thing, every Extra Punctuation, especially after he called everyone idiots back on the Scribblenauts post, the general response is that Yahtzee has been doing the exact opposite and the feeling is that you are being told you should think this for this reason or at least that's the feeling I get when I read through the threads. Sometimes it's more justified, the Uncharted 2 post was pretty didactic in the way it was written. But here all we have is just someone talking about why they don't like something and giving justifications as to why they feel that way, nowhere does it say, even in the (what should have been) expected 'internet fuckwards' section does it say, or even imply 'if you can live with these things you're a dumbass and wrong' or anything similar.

I'm done, Yahtzee's a big lad, he doesn't need defending and I certainly won't get any praise from him for doing so, the tosser, and don't want any, or for that matter to defend him any further, so going on is pointless, it's just a thing that's been bugging me of late that I needed to point out. ta-ta.

MeX

you could just mute the annoying xbox people...

but i agree, online sucks hairy nutsack.

most shooters today are all about the multiplayer, and they have horrible story modes.

and the multiplayer is filled with only to sets of people:
1. the people who are super good at the game and just dominate everyone in the game
2. annoying little kids with high pitch voices that are constantly calling people noobs.

True. I enjoy battlefield heroes because it's fun crashing into things and jumping off them at highest point in planes.

there's really nothing i can add, besides the australia part this is exactly why i hate multiplayer

I read comments through out this and i think that yhatzee has missed out on the best of the multi player experience.

he talks about the endless grind in Counter Strike, The OP guns, the Bunny Hopping, all of it, but what he misses is the genuine communities that grew up around these games.

The thing that MW2 really fails to do is to preserve that community.
Its absolutely non-existant on Live. on PSN. its not an option.

When we were playing Counterstrike back in 99 and 2000, early beta versions, my group of friends wandered far and wide in search of a reliable and well maintained server to play on.

We ended up landing on SSP's server.

The Secret Service Penguins were a group of IT professionals who all went to school or knew each other from work that lived in and around Columbus Ohio, My group of friends is from Cleveland. about 120 miles north of the physical location of the server.

It started when i wandered into a clan practice for the SSP guys outflanked them, and managed to Drop all of them from behind on Assault in the air ducts with a TMP.

they were pissed off at first but then amused. i invited all of my friends to start playing on the server and before long we were daily forum junkies and made a point of playing there at every opportunity. night after night of beer, Murder and Hilarity.

This was far more than just a game where people shot each other. We knew each other, I knew that if i saw Incutt on the other side of the map from me that i shouldnt be anywhere that he could get a long shot with his AK, i knew that if i saw Tangen on the other side of the map from me he would be flying out of the tunnel on Dust at top speed MP5 blazing away with reckless abandon. it was 3 solid years playing on that server before the weight of hackers and new games finally dragged most of the old crew off to other games, however the forum community lasted another 2 years before the guys lost their ability to host the server on the servers where they worked.

SSP wasnt just a game to shoot in, it was a hang out, it was a club.

MW2? its just a way to get my gun pr0n on. Sure i have my friends list, sure from time to time we run a party and have a grand ol time, but without the well known and in some cases genuinely hated and or respected opposition, the people on the other side may as well just be bots that have an endless supply of explicatives on recording ready to flow into your head set.

That is the biggest disappointment of the current version of MW. The abandonment of the private server is the surest sign that tight nit communities are absolutely unimportant to those who are designing these games.

Okay, as a general rule I stay away from internet forums of any kind because all my Baldur's Gate experience has taught me never to go into a room fool [Edit: oh dear, Freudian Slip..] of trolls without several fire arrows , but I felt oddly compelled to register and chip in on this debate because I really do sympathise with the general gist of the diatribe against multiplayer-centric games, and I think that Yahtzee could have come up with a few more valid points to further his argument.

First of all, people continually calling him on the last point should perhaps consider that he has characterised himself as a misanthrope in every review and article he's ever written, so you needn't become so incensed and consider it a personal attack on you - it's like the old joke: "I'm not a racist, I hate everyone equally". Personally all the misanthropy makes me chuckle; it's like reading a novel by Louis Ferdinand Celine. I think you have to take it primarily as hyperbole, but at least concur that it has some grounding in the premise that most people act like dicks when they can't see the other person - and for some people the oozing satisfaction of topping said dicks in the scorechart is reason enough to continue playing, but there are those of us who would rather just walk away and hang out with some interesting people. Not everyone is actually a jerk online, of course - but that's not reason to aggressively pummel someone into forming a more favourable opinion of a game because they don't have the time or energy to play it long enough to find enough players who aren't selfish pricks to form a clan - or whatever you call it these days.

Which brings me very neatly to my next point - one I'm surprised he omitted - that the multiplayer experience is really only what individuals make of it. MMORPGs aside, multiplayer components generally retain the same weapons, environments, core gameplay and artistic themes of the singleplayer portion of the game - so if one is going to review it, any comments about the handling of certain weapons, the appropriateness of the levels etc aren't going to be that different from the opinions formed in singleplayer. So essentially you can already apply much of his review to the multiplayer - what is missing, and what I presume leads many people to complain that he neglects the multiplayer aspect, is an assessment of whether the game is fun to play against humans instead of AI opponents. And really, this experience is generally so variable that it would take many many hours to form a reasonable assessment. When I was a zit-faced youngster playing the original CoD, one game on one map might see me having endless fun sneaking and sniping; I'd come back in an hour on the same map and the action had degenerated into a grenade spamming melee. So if a reviewer with little time on his hands happened to slip into one of those games and spend all twenty minutes being spawn killed; he'd probably decide the multiplayer wasn't worth it. It really comes down to who you play with and what you personally make of it. The game that probably stole the most hours from the time I could otherwise have spent writing angsty teenage poetry was actually Warcraft 3 - but not Blizzard's actual, official multiplayer, I used to play all the crazy 3rd party maps people came up with - and it was a lot of fun.

My point is that reviewing multiplayer is so subjective that it's ridiculous to expect a review which comes out within a week of the game's release to be able to tell you whether it's fun or not. Besides, a few tweaks in a single patch can so radically change the experience and result in such an exodus that you can't write a review that will give a lasting impression. I'm sure all the original reviews of WoW made something of the game's massive environment; nevermind that now you spend most of your (not mine, I jumped that bandwagon long ago) time in the same four or five zones. So really, if what you're after is an opinion, talk to someone who has the time to regularly play it, or better yet play it yourself, and remember that ultimately, it's what you make of it, so if some jaded British misanthrope in a hat doesn't like it you shouldn't really give a toss. That's my two cents - take it with the grain of salt that I don't really play multiplayer anymore, or even games of any kind anymore as I have to devote my time to being a literature nerd at university, and the only reason I even watch these reviews is because I get a raging hard-on every time Yahtzee references Proust or Dostoyevsky.

relying on other people on multiplayer games is like standing in downtown detroit with a white pointy hood on hoping the nice people wont hurt you.

i agree with everything he said.

yeah i hate online play too , most people are great to play with but a few assholes ruin the game , one thing that drives me quackers is stupidity ... but yeah they should put online play and trophies on a separate disc and give single players more game so if i want to cheat my feathers off ... i can

If you live on the other side of the world (IE Austrialia) I guess your online connection in far away areas like the states would suck. Also turning the corner in getting killed gets old after a while in games like Halo and COD.

Finally someone who understands. Though I like to believe in the goodness inside most of humanity. Which makes me a hopeful idiot.

Vlane:
You have to play on some CS:S servers I play on. A lot of nice people there. Sure we insult each other but everybody knows we aren't serious. When I say "Skittles come here you asshole/retard/fag/[insult]." (Skittles is a real person I've met on a jail break server) I'm kidding. We both laugh and stab each other with our knifes.

That last sentence is disturbing...I imagined two people playing online laughing at each other while stabbing each other with knives in a game and 'psychotic' and 'homoerotic' were the only two words that came to mind.

That's a mighty big audience you have there, Yahtzee. ;)

That said, we all know who Modern Warfare 2 was developed for, and I can't sympathize overmuch with its defenders.

I certainly agree on a few points here, even if I am a guilty WoW, CoDMW2, AND counter strike:source player - Either you only get time to game late at night, like me, and join an american server (I am in ireland) and end up lagging like a spastic, or you play during the day and get swamped with 8 year olds from manchester, and fucktards from london. I prefer playing with americans, its more fun, at least when I dont lag...

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