On Multiplayer

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Well, I see your points. And I can't help but agree with some of them, but ultimately you're just justifying something that nobody has either the power or the will to change. I don't play much multiplayer. I leave that to my little brother and his worryingly good K/D spread on TF2. I'll play a bit of L4D2 every now and then, But I've clocked much more time on torchlight, a game worth half as much and with half the fancy software behind it. But some people do enjoy getting the highscore in a round of slayer, and that's cool also.

Sorry will re-word this post below.

JeanLuc761:

Sonicron:
Behold the truth in all its shining glory! Games whose major selling point is the multiplayer can go die in a ditch!

But then we wouldn't have games like Unreal Tournament, Battlefield, Borderlands, Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead, all of which are remarkably well designed and deliver fantastic experiences across the board.

Granted, most of my experience has been on the PC versions of all those as I've found the PC community to be more mature than on consoles.

Of Unreal tournament and Battlefield I don't know, but otherwise I have to disagree with you. Was multiplayer Borderlands' MAIN and PRIMARY selling point? No. It was "guns, guns and more guns". Was multiplayer TF2's major selling point? Yes, you could say that since the game was built strictly for multiplayer and features no single player mode at all. Was multiplayer L4D's major selling point? Yes, but it was only one of them. How I've come to understand the main selling point was "guns and zombies. What else d'ya need?"

And all ou who say TF2 is the best multiplayer game ever created: I totally agree with you. I've had to take a break from it since my eyes start getting bloodshot when I play it too much. It's amazing how by simply adding classes the game is much more varied.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
snip

Games should have a strong single player and are broken if they focus on multiplayer? You lonely, miserable, man. I tend to agree with a lot of what you say but this kind of preachy bullshit is just annoying. I have no problem with you not reviewing multiplayer, your reasons for not doing so echo my own opinions on the subject - namely that multiplayer cannot be assessed in a reasonable amount of time - but to attempt to impose your stupid opinion that games shouldn't be about the multiplayer goes too far. You can legitimately say that you don't like it, and that you don't want to bother with it for the reasons you hate it, but what you've written is flamebait and ignorant.

P.s. The real reason you don't like online multiplayer is because you suck at fps. I'm sure you don't hide from this fact, but you would do well to remember it.

Well, I was all set and ready to tear into his reasoning, disappointingly, it's rather convincing and well put together.

EDIT: In retrospect, the one fault in his explanation (As many have pointed out), is that a game must stand alone on it's campaign. This is a bit short sighted as the whole purpose of a game is to provide maximum entertainment, for most people, this will me a strong multiplayer.

Well, Yahtzee definitely had valid points for not wanting to play multiplayer.

The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory argument was one I certainly expected and can understand. It's less prevalent on the PC, but even there it's visible in spades. I hadn't considered the Australia connectivity issues, but I can certainly understand, considering that The Escapist's TF2 servers are in the UK and I'm in Canada. I also agree that a game which has a single player mode should be judged on that mode (if they don't want to put the effort into the single player, then it shouldn't even be there).

But I will vehemently insist that a game like Modern Warfare 2 should have it's multiplayer judged. Though the single player game is there, and also needs to be reviewed, the multiplayer is really the focus of the game and certainly accounts for its longevity. In many ways, the single player is just a big tutorial for the multiplayer game.

That's not to say Yahtzee needs to review it. After all, despite doing reviews, Yahtzee is largely a comedian and entertainer. If you want a thorough, unbiased review, look elsewhere.

But I do think it would be worth your while, Yahtzee, to try out the multiplayer. Sure, you'll have to deal with assholes, but if you use the typical level of asshole as a baseline, you can at least judge how much fun the multiplayer can be despite assholes, or for people who are used to assholes. In fact, a big argument with the whole "no dedicated servers" debacle is the players' ability to deal with assholes. It would certainly be worthwhile to see how this holds up in MW2, especially compared to the original CoD4:MW.

The reason why I liked to play CS over and over again was because I usually ended up drunk and playing with drunk friends to drunkenly abuse the game's one thousand glitches where you can jump through the wall or walk outside of the map's walls, killing off newbs and asshats whilst spewing out drunken laughter and the sorts.
And yes, after I realized I pretty much did everything in World of Warcraft, I too quit faster than a ragequiter.

Rofl. Some people don't like multiplayer. I happen to be one. Obviously, each of our own experiences will to a great extent shape our opinions-- of anything, not just of videogaming.

Yes, I've met some really cool people online, including people I now count among my dearest friends. However, my own experiences are more commonly this. It sounds as if Yahtzee's experiences are/were similar. Feel free to disagree with his stance, but you can't really invalidate it just because your anectodal evidence disagrees with his.

Read the article and use it to understand why Yahtzee chooses not to consider multiplayer when judging a game. That was the whole purpose, after all. If you're reading it as some kind of authoritative statement about videogames (and society, evidently) instead of just one man's hyperbolic thoughts on them, well then, as they say: You're Doing It Wrong.

I agree with everything but the part about people being shit, for the most part the guys and girls (who are secretly guys) who act like douchebags are just having a little mean spirited fun, there is a very small minority that can be genuinely called sociopaths, but, that's true of every population.

"If the multiplayer ever becomes the main selling point, then something's gone wrong."

Wasn't this Team Fortress 2? Although yes, it came with Half Life and Portal, but TF2 is a whole game in itself, so it can't really be 'that extra bonus tacked on'.

Some valid points but not all. It makes sense to have a game which is multiplayer only. Nobody forces you to play such a game if you like single player. MMOs in general are designed for the play-with-many-fuckwads ( aka WoW... World of fuckWads ) principle. They fail at single player since their design doesn't work. But that's for games which are only one or the other: SP or MP. If you are both then SP has to come first, no questions asked. Otherwise MP only is fine if this is the goal.

Weak excuses for a half review. Your reasoning is more shit than people. Online fps have the same forms of gratification as exploring polygons. Like, I don't know, fun.

Hey, being a fuckwad isn't even so bad.
Once you get rid of the cowurdly part, you'll actually have fun getting punched.

And I didin't play the multiplayer. After all that Michael Bayery that SP put me through, I think I had just about enuff.

For the record I am defending MW2 indirectly, though I will use it as my prime example for why I like online multiplayer since you used it as an example of why you dislike online multiplayer. I do not own a copy of MW2, I have played it and found the multiplayer to be "Compelling" (to quote the robots at IGN) and generally damn good fun.

Also I know that your reviews are pure satire, but since these Extra Punctuation articles are generally more serious in nature I will humor you with a serious response. In doing so, I will touch on points that you yourself raised in your article. And thus without further ado, here is my post...

To be honest I don't really agree with much of what you say Yahtzee, I really enjoy online multiplayer mostly because I'm good at the multiplayer games that I choose to play. Even if I am new to a game and get "flattened" if the experience is good enough and the controls are tight I'll stick it out for several more rounds. Most of the time it gets better, sure you don't know all the maps to start out with but neither does anyone else who comes to the game for the first time.

Also I don't agree with people who place all human beings in the "fuckwad" category offhand. I contend that you are letting your own past negative experiences cloud your otherwise wise judgement. Call me a naive optimist but I believe that some people act kind and loving because they are kind and loving people. Sure there are plenty of "fuckwads" out there but you don't have to look hard to find some really exceptional people.

I agree with the fact that the single player campaign of MW2 was lacking but,

I disagree with the notion that every game should have a good single player experience and not just jump head first into the multiplayer. There have been some very good games that have extraordinary multiplayer components while having a subpar single player (battlefield, starwars battlefront, unreal tournament, quakewars, etc) I would argue that the multiplayer aspect of MW2 was the reason so many people bought the game, it is also the reason why this game has become so popular.

Multiplayer may not be the most important aspect of a game, but it is a huge reason why I (and many others) will buy a game rather than rent it.

Sincerely
Some "Fuckwad"

Aura Guardian:

latenightapplepie:

Aura Guardian:
snip

Huh. I thought that was perhaps the weakest of the five points he provided. I've met seriously decent people online. Yahtzee's cynicism seems to extend far beyond my own. I can't really say I'm surprised though.

And was it just me or was the article conspicuously lacking in any discussion of non-online multiplayer?

Lucky you. I haven't met a decent/nice person online. Just people yelling [add any "insult"]

Usually a dumbass "your mom" one.

Octorok:

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.

Just round up and kill everybody named "Matt, Matthew, Matty" etc. You'll have to kill him some day.

Well, yeah. But my ways more efficient. Mostly.

Truth be told I could live without online multiplayer. However, offline multiplayer is undervalued I find (because I have real friends in real life, honest). And in MW2 the offline multiplayer is fantastic.

Exactly the points I always bring up when asked to go multiplayer. I plain hate it and want games to have an end.

I understand Yahtzee views on multiplayer. I can't really disagree with most of it. But he keeps saying "No one really cares more about multiplayer than single player." when it is clearly not true. As far as I'm concerned MW2's campaign was just so marketing could have some pretty visuals to air. What Yahtzee should be saying is "No one I know/respect cares about multiplayer." People are surprised when the person they vote for isn't elected because "Everyone they know" voted for the other guy.

1. Because I live in a faraway kingdom of fantasy.

Yahtzee lives in Australia and Australia has shit for internet. It stands to reason that most forms of online multiplayer would have a much less consistently enjoyable experience. Elsewhere however, the pros of online play very much outweigh the cons. Outside Yahtzee's experience, multiplayer is an essential aspect to gaming that cannot be overlooked before judging a game.

2. Because of time restrictions.

Once again, a situational argument. Of course he doesn't have time for multiplayer, but a vast majority (yes, MAJORITY) does. Of course I am speaking purely from my own experience. But, I am certain my experience applies to more of the gaming community than Yahtzee's. This is also a flawed argument because "Everyone I know" prefers multiplayer to single player.

I should point out that I am a primarily single player guy. Like Yahtzee, I don't particularly enjoy starting out and getting wasted by 50 kids better than I am. But when I do get a game with multiplayer, I never back down. Every time I push through the learning curve until I am one of those 50 kids it has always, always been worth it. Getting beaten the first few games is part of the territory. It's just a challenge to overcome.

3. Because there's nothing more to see.

I stoically disagree. Any campaign has a finite experience. Multiplayer has an infinite one. Nothing ever happens the same way twice. WoW shouldn't be used in this argument since other people aren't necessarily essential to the experience. Yahtzee got to level 58 by killing bots, not people.

4. Because the single player must stand up by itself

Yes, and so must the multiplayer. There is no rule that says multiplayer must be a bells-and-wistles component. If a game has shit for single player but a Godly multiplayer then I'm going to play that multiplayer. I see nothing wrong with the single player being secondary to the experience. Yahtzee has to by default but he needs to stop clinging to the idea that focusing on multiplayer is bad game design. A good single player with bad multiplayer is bad design as well. But, if I am able to get a meaningful experience out of either then the game was worth the money. Yahtzee, by fault of living in Austalia and having no time for multiplayer is only able to enjoy half of a game. If he were able to enjoy both sides than the odds of the game being enjoyable go up.

5. Because people are shit.

I don't disagree. But if Yahtzee thinks multiplayer is just like killing AIs who curse at him than he has vastly missed the point. Sure playing online cannot compare to having the person sitting right next to you, ripe for pummeling. But, physically present or not, outsmarting, out maneuvering, and out shooting another human being is infinitely more rewarding than knocking off another NPC. Take meeting a boss in single player for example. With enough repetition, you'll know that boss' attacks and weaknesses inside-out backwards. That's because they will. not. ever. change. There is some comfort in that. You can be a pussy and stay in your comfort zone, or go and and face a living, thinking piece of shit human that takes actual brains to defeat.

So what if you can't punch them? Beat them in the game and embarrass them. If you can't do that, then you're free to not play. But don't go ignoring the fact that you are only able to experience half a game before you judge it.

I could go see a chick-flick and complain that it didn't have any action. That's not because it was a bad movie. It's because I just enjoy action flicks. The same principle applies here.

Completely off subject, but I love how I can read the first page yet the second page is blocked by my school filters. Anyway, I don't really care for online multiplayer most of the time either. "It's all about the multiplayer", to me, translates as an excuse for the single player being absolute shit.

MW2 multiplayer is really just one long grind, the inclusion of levels, exp and unlocks means even if you lose your still gaining something which keeps ppl coming back again and again much like a small child following a trail of cookies. Its a lot more like an MMO experience than a true multiplayer player one (by that i mean where there needs to be some sort of teamplay a la L4D or borderlands) just a bunch of ppl in one arena scrambling over each other to get the next ding. Its strangly compelling but ultimately useless. Im sure it would be a lot more fun if you actually had a team made up entirely of your friends and you had some sort of group strat but in %99.99 of MW2 matches this isnt the case.

IMO theres needs to be a clear definition. To me a multiplayer game requires team work and coordination, MW2 doesnt require this. Its more a Group game, a bunch of ppl that just happen to be in the same place all trying to achieve different objectives irrelavant of the other ppl around them.

p.s i always wondered if one of the reasons IW ditched the dedicated servers on PC is to stop ppl creating crazy levels. In the original MW i often came across a 32vs32 map which was a simple square and everyone spawned in the corners, it was complete chaos but you could easily get 50+ kills in the minute or so the level lasted and quickly power through a few levels and achievements/accolades im sure the time spent maxing a char is relative to the time spent before ppl stop playing.

I disagree about Yahtzee's last few points. I've found a plenty of friendly people who are just nice to spend time with. In fact, when I did play WoW - it wasn't so much for gameplay, which while fairly decent wasn't enough to keep me playing it for a long time - it was for community. Sure, when you're surrounded by dipshits - which is the norm, I guess, you'll disagree about the whole community thing. But rarely you do find people who are a lot like you and nice to spend time with, people who you haven't been able to find in real life no matter how you tried, people who share similar interests with you.

And then the game gets fun. I've met plenty of interesting and "mature" players in just about any online game, and two of them I currently know in real life and am a friend of. That's certainly better then hanging out with most idiots from school/around the water cooler who you probably don't like.

But hey, we all know this is all about sucking Yahtzee's cock, I already expect to see some 50 more posts like this:

TheEnglishman:
Thankyou for confirming my dislike of online gamers and their general insanity, deluded nature and racism.

I don't remember the last time I read an article that mirrored how I feel so well.

This is so great...

Aura Guardian:

latenightapplepie:

Aura Guardian:
snip

Huh. I thought that was perhaps the weakest of the five points he provided. I've met seriously decent people online. Yahtzee's cynicism seems to extend far beyond my own. I can't really say I'm surprised though.

And was it just me or was the article conspicuously lacking in any discussion of non-online multiplayer?

Lucky you. I haven't met a decent/nice person online. Just people yelling [add any "insult"]

If you game on a 360, feel free to look me up (or, since I'll be watching Code Geass for the next week, some of my friends, like Black Lincon or NoMoreSanity). Gaming online is a lot more fun with friends.

BlueInkAlchemist:

Yahtzee seems to be sharing the mindset of philosopher Thomas Hobbes. To paraphrase:

Thomas Hobbes:
Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

That's life in the state of nature.

The first two points are perfectly valid, and there's some truth to the other ones (people can most definitely be shit), but pretending that multiplayer is an inconsequential addition to games because there is no new content seems arrogant to me. That's like saying you're bored of baseball/football/cricket/etc. because it's always played on the same old field. There doesn't have to be new content to have new experiences. And if you need to feel like you need to achieve some trivial award in order for a game to be worthwhile, then in my opinion, you're gaming for the wrong reasons.

And your 4th point confused me. You're trying to say it's wrong to focus on multiplayer because it can be unreliable? To go back with the sports analogy, that's like saying a baseball bat is a bad investment because you never know when you'll be able to play with someone. Yeah, there are times when finding a game is difficult, but that doesn't mean games shouldn't be allowed to have multiplayer as a main selling point. (And besides, can't single player games be unreliable too? STALKER didn't need to be connected to a server to be buggy as hell.)

I understand that finding servers can be difficult in Australia, but that shouldn't stop you. And I know that people are bastards on the internet, but remember that almost all games today have a mute button for a reason.

This is my thoughts exactly on multi-player, however I do have fun online on Modern Warfare 2 I understand that I have to play for myself, or spec ops with my bro(he's in college so it's still internet). I was personally dissapointed in games like Halo3 that might as well scrapped the single player all together. And I always hate multi-players that don't have bots, I miss Timesplitters: Future Perfect.

I thought I liked playing online against other people as I like testing myself, at the same time, it loses its fun after countless times of replay. And nearly all of Yahtzee's points were true. I wouldn't say that people are shit or fuckwads. I'm sure that was just for a laugh or two, but people who play online can tend to be cowardly. When you are losing you can swear and act tough and quit the game because you are so cool. But are you really cool if you do that? To me it shows that you are afraid to lose or to see your stats fall. And I will admit, I have ragequitted. But I try not to. I try to calm myself and rise to the challenge.

Anyways, good article Yahtzee. I agree with most of it.

Silk_Sk:

3. Because there's nothing more to see.

I stoically disagree. Any campaign has a finite experience. Multiplayer has an infinite one. Nothing ever happens the same way twice. WoW shouldn't be used in this argument since other people aren't necessarily essential to the experience. Yahtzee got to level 58 by killing bots, not people.

I have to disagree with you on that point. while playing MW1 on the xbox I have gotten kill streaks just by sitting in one place and killing the same bunch of idiots that ran around the same corner. I finally got killed when one of them realized that if they run around the other way they could get me easily.

I have been easily able to kill people with grenades because they always react the same way and follow the near same route as before. I usually feel like I'm playing really bad AI in multi-player games. On the tanker map, I had a shotgun and I just waited in one spot. One guy would run past me, then the others would follow and then I'd kill them all from behind. I did it twice in that game before the match ended.

There is a finite experience to be found in multiplayer games. If there was an infinite one, then we wouldn't have griefers.

Good article. Anything that involves online play always involve online players who are assholes.

If all games focus as a multiplayer, then video games aren't a social thing after all. However, if developers are saying multiplayer is a excuse for a single player game that can be completed within 6 hours, there's something wrong there.

And by fun, everyone has one from stomping goombas to FPS by shooting people's crotches for the lulz... Oh wait, that's why everyone shouts obsceneries when some plays multiplayers.

I saw this article coming and it had to be said. This is why I hate halo because bungee not only stopped making games like ONI but also focused on multiplayer.

I did however find a solution to at least one online fuckward and that is my brother. He doesn't know it but I have this magical ability to connect to my router from my computer and can easily disconnect him whenever I please. So once I get sick of his yelling in the other room I simply boot his ass from the internet.

I have to agree with the aussie on points 4 and 5.

point 5 especially. It is annoying as hell to have to smack a 200 button combo to mute every squeeky voiced 10 yr old in the lobby.

But the reward of multiplayer is there if you can find normals out there (they do exist). think 12 player throwing knife fights on MW2 or H3 rocket race.

edit:

sunpop:

I did however find a solution to at least one online fuckward and that is my brother. He doesn't know it but I have this magical ability to connect to my router from my computer and can easily disconnect him whenever I please. So once I get sick of his yelling in the other room I simply boot his ass from the internet.

Thank god i'm not the only one doing this.

SomeUnregPunk:

Silk_Sk:

3. Because there's nothing more to see.

I stoically disagree. Any campaign has a finite experience. Multiplayer has an infinite one. Nothing ever happens the same way twice. WoW shouldn't be used in this argument since other people aren't necessarily essential to the experience. Yahtzee got to level 58 by killing bots, not people.

I have to disagree with you on that point. while playing MW1 on the xbox I have gotten kill streaks just by sitting in one place and killing the same bunch of idiots that ran around the same corner. I finally got killed when one of them realized that if they run around the other way they could get me easily.

I have been easily able to kill people with grenades because they always react the same way and follow the near same route as before. I usually feel like I'm playing really bad AI in multi-player games. On the tanker map, I had a shotgun and I just waited in one spot. One guy would run past me, then the others would follow and then I'd kill them all from behind. I did it twice in that game before the match ended.

There is a finite experience to be found in multiplayer games. If there was an infinite one, then we wouldn't have griefers.

But they weren't AI. That's the point. They were thinking humans acting stupidly and you took advantage. That kind of gameplay would be slow and unstimulating if they really were bad AI. But those are humans who are having human reactions to getting punk'd over and over. Sure they're being idiots but who doesn't enjoy picking on idiots?

Now, would those strategies have worked on AI? Probably not, because there would be no reason to use them. If it were in the campaign, that would happen every single time you played the missing without variation. Humans may be predictable but they do learn.

Good points. Especially that last one, very Machiavellian. Wait a minute, did I just congratulate you for indirectly calling me a fuckwad?

Anyways, while I agree with most of what you said, I have to say that I find fault in your main theme. If I am correct, this article is supposed to be a defense of why you don't review multiplayer components in Zero Punctuation. While stating things like bad server connection are perfectly acceptable reasons, personal distaste for online multiplayer does not excuse you from reviewing it. Why? Because, as you said, you are a professional games critic. It is your job to give a game the most thorough inspection you can, and then deliver your verdict. Don't just say that you don't play online multiplayer because you don't like it- play it, give an objective analysis, and then tell us that you don't like it (or maybe, surprise, surprise, that you do like it!). After all, you played Halo 3 knowing full well that you wouldn't like it.

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