On Multiplayer

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my reasons why not to multiplay: you always know what you are at when it's offline and you can get to know the characters, while online that would be very if the other wasn't your cousin.

Re: point 1.

When I was into TF2, I was living in Bermuda. The net was excellent but of course there were no local servers. Thanks to some ungodly time zone quirk, I ended up playing against Australians more often than not. God alone knows why; they must have been about to go to bed just as I was getting up in the morning. It was always a lot more fun to play against them. The American server population was a pain in the ass to deal with and the UK were a bit too random, but the Aussies were good gamers and generally seemed to have a better ratio of normal human beings to assholes.

Pity there aren't more people like that.

Why Yahtzee, you ordinary person, this is why you hate multiplayer, beause you can't come to terms to face yourself?

I kid. I fully agree with you. I actually enjoy multiplayer in games, but I always enjoy the campaign more. That's why I never bought Halo.

The only real comment I can make is one that was mentioned only briefly before, that Team Fortress 2 is still kickass, despite it being online only.

It seems only logical, really; most games suck and most people suck, therefore most online games where you are forced to interact with people must suck.

It depends. There are many games I buy purely for the single player-such as the Total War series and most RPGs. Then there are games I bought for multiplayer-Warcraft 3, Call of Duty, Starcraft, and, obviously, any MMO. Personally I find online multiplayer to be a great boon in most regards-it greatly increases the life of many games if done well. I logged in probably two thousand hours of Warcraft 3 online, if not more. That's a lot of value for the price I paid. In comparison, I played Mass Effect twice and it gave me maybe 50-60 hours.

As for arguing that multiplayer is pointless because you're just doing the same thing a lot, I can't disagree more. The entire point of playing against people is that people are unpredictable and, in most cases, far more capable than any AI bot that isn't cheating. In all those hours of Warcraft 3, there were no games that played out the same way.

Oh this post was pure gold! I am 100% in agreement with you, Yahtzee. Hell, I recently was given a copy of Section 8, which I immediately turned in and exchanged for Far Cry 2 and Prototype, much better deals.

I played COD 4 for the single player, and I'll play MW2 for the single player. I have a mximum quotient of fuckwaddery in my diet, and that is usually exceeded about 5 hours in to my work day; I don't need more of it at home!

TOTALLY Agree with you Yahtzee. Most of the gamers in my school only play games if it has multiplayer and hardly care for the Single player, it's just stupid in my opinion. Plus, they're all FPS fanboys.

Caliostro:
Before anyone bothers, yeah, I'm aware he won't read or care, but these are online forums. It's all ultimately a waste of time anyways.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Article

Let me open by saying you're wrong.

OH SHI-... "My opinion can't be wrong!". Yes it can. If it's your opinion water in it's liquid natural state is dry, then you're wrong.

You're not ENTIRELY wrong however, mostly just the 4th point... Ok, mostly half of the 4th point.

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. Saying every game MUST necessarily have a single player mode that MUST stand by itself is like saying every movie needs to end with the good guy smiling happily into the sunset. Different games are marketed towards different gamers.

This is equally the part where you're only half-wrong. Games that are marketed on their single player experience NEED a single player campaign that can stand by itself, and it's ultimately the reason games like Halo, Gears of War or CoD shouldn't get the "free ride" they expect.

As for online games ultimately being circumstantial or accomplishing nothing... Like any other game? Even by completing a beautifully tailored story mode what do you accomplish?

Yes, online games rely on more variables than single player games, but they're a different bread entirely. For instances every time you play the game, with a different set of people, the game itself changes. Behaviors change, skill levels change, things change, for you to adapt. Online gaming is not perfect by any means, not necessarily better or worse than single player gaming, it's different. Different people look for different things in different games.

As for your last point, I entirely agree, generally speaking people are absolute idiots. I wonder how most of them manage to do basic functions and breath at the same time. Which raises the question: Why do you care what they think? You often put a lot of emphasis in not being mocked, which quite honestly leads me to think the whole thing just scares you. Guessing you were bullied a lot when you were younger or something. This is a personal recommendation more than anything, but, it doesn't really matter what other people think.

And yes, I would say this to your face.

Left 4 dead did have a single player mode with AI bots you idiot. And it was a lot better than playing online with other people.

reason nr.4 is why i'm not that excited about Bioshock 2. The first Bioshock didn't have multiplayer and it was excellent! The reason I'm not going out of my mind with excitement, is that 'm worried that Take 2 might have tried to add multiplayer to make up for lack in singleplayer. I'm hoping not, and that Bioshock 2 is even better than the first one. but somehow, unfortunately, I doubt it. (I'll still buy it though when it comes out...)

Pretty good article Yahtzee, your first 3 points are well understood. The fourth is what you have seemed to establish long ago, and I agree. As for your fifth point, I agree and disgree on different points. I agree that MOST players online are absolutely douchebags (I play XBL so you get the idea) but then again you still get a good time playing with people online, and even if you don't play with a group of friends most of the time your team may be decent enough to work with, at least that was the case in Halo 3, in CoD4 no one wanted to talk to each other.

Finally someone with the same general, jaded view of the multiplayer world who actual has enough influence over gamers to get this topic out there. I know a lot of people who agree to this, but a little rant by some nameless guy on a forum in the wasteland of the net does nothing but draw a few small time trolls and flamers. -.-'

And since developers actually know Yahtzee now, who knows, maybe the 2010 gen games will be better for this. If so, you'd have my eternal gratitude, crazy Aussie ranter.

littlerudi08107:

Left 4 dead did have a single player mode with AI bots you idiot. And it was a lot better than playing online with other people.

Sigh... Why do I bother.

Yes, it has an offline mode with bots. And the bots are stupid as hell. Playing Expert with bots (specially on the second iteration) is about as fun and functional as stabbing yourself in the kidneys with a spoon. The game is clearly meant to be played online with the offline mode being more of a "ok, if you're a socially inept bag of suck or just wanna dick around with sv_cheats, play this". Valve have mentioned that before.

You can play most online games (say, counter strike) and modes offline and with bots alone, thus rendering your entire point null.

that British variation of yo mama (your mum) is, i believe, a one-trick pony.

otherwise nice article, not a complete riot, but nonetheless a good read.

...which is why Yahtzee never calls people fuckwads in person XD

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?

He talked about the split screen multiplayer in the episode of ZP - watch it.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation/1118-Call-of-Duty-Modern-Warfare-2

Most of his points I agree on. But multiplayer-only games need to have a strong multiplayer.

Im mostly a single player person but I will play on LAN or do coop. and some people are actually quite alrite.

There are some interesting things you mention that helped put somethings I have thought about in perspective:

2. Because of time restrictions.

A few times I have tried to play Travain, a free-to-play online browser game that's concept always interested me, but I was put off by the time commitment you had for the game. Mostly because the game was an RTS where you gathered and build things in real time and I mean literally REAL time. If you had to wait 3 hours for your resources to build up, you had to wait 3 hours for it to build up.

Anyways, during my second attempt to play the game, I was able to get so far as to eventually get out of the "Newbie Protection Shield", which prevented other players from attacking me for the first few days of playing. However, once that protection is gone, you're on your own! And if you were as unlucky as I was, you would be raided continuously by a "Peaceful Village".

When this first happen, I was irritated and a bit angry. "Well gee, this is a fine greeting!", I would mutter to myself, but then after some time I found out that there are two ways you can interact with other players: trading or raiding. The point of both is to get you the much needed resources a bit faster than the normal in-game regeneration, with the raid option just being a little bit faster than the trading. And consider some of these raiders where probably players that have hung around long enough to become "that guy"s, they were using what was best in the game to get what they need. So I can't really be angry at the player's action so much but that does not mean I should take it! If I am not having any fun with a game, I would walk away from it.

3. Because there's nothing more to see.

I supposed this is what most JRPGs suffer from. After playing Breath of Fire 2 again after however many years, I probably would not play it again not until several more years have based again.

This is something of a discussion between my brother and I where he would like to play a game that has good replay value, like how Diablo plays. But while those games can be good, I also believe you cannot just play one game forever. Sure, you might play a game again and again, but you might have to stop eventually to either go to the bathroom, get something to eat or because you really would like to play the next hot release this month. While we humans might dive for our blankets when something new comes around, we somehow get out long enough to get something new that tickles our interests or when a sequel comes out.

4. Because the single player must stand up by itself.

When it comes to making a game, I would think that the single player or at least the core part of the game is what is made first! Because the idea behind this is that once you have main part done, everything else should fall in place and work from that preset core.

Case in point, in a game development class I have taken it mentions that in puzzle games that you make a construction set, which is composed of the various elements you can find within the levels for the game. Once you have this set done, you can then release this as an addition feature to the complete game for other people to make their own levels and challenges. Little Big Planet is one game that does this and so does a flash game I have played, called Time Fcuk (that's how the game spells it).

5. Because people are shit.

This is something else I think about a lot when playing online games. Although I am a bit too "innocent" to call people poo like Yahtzee, I always felt that other people in online games viewed me as nothing more but a bit more "interactive NPC", who they can ignore when they have nothing to do with but then expect it to miraculously appear when they need it. I guess I could use my Travain example again, but I felt that when I was trying to have friends in Runescape, that this applied a bit more as at least the people in Runescape talked to be before proceeding to murder me.

I see a lot of people, including Yahtzee, saying "singleplayer SHOULD be priority", with pretty much "Because I say so" as an argument.

I don't see why can't a game be fully focused for online, how is that a sin? Are team sports also instantly bad because you can't play football on your own? The only difference between football and FIFA10 is essentially just not having to go outside and get all dirty and sweatty and embarrassing yourself.

Also, how the fuck do americans act online? I play my games on european servers, and people rarely use voice coms, and I bet more than 75% of most servers don't even type in the chat. I can't really see how anyone could instantly label a whole server full of cunts, if nobody's even talking.
Then again I've never played online on consoles, dunno how people are like there.

Tel_Windzan:
There are some interesting things you mention that helped put somethings I have thought about in perspective:

2. Because of time restrictions.

A few times I have tried to play Travain, a free-to-play online browser game that's concept always interested me, but I was put off by the time commitment you had for the game. Mostly because the game was an RTS where you gathered and build things in real time and I mean literally REAL time. If you had to wait 3 hours for your resources to build up, you had to wait 3 hours for it to build up.

Is Travain that one with the Romans, Gauls, and ...erm, some other lot? I played that for awhile before getting annoyed as my village was repeatly raped for resources by other players.

I got very tired of multiplayer in the Unreal, Quake 3 days. Co-op multiplayer is all I like. Left 4 Dead and recently Borderlands are good examples.
All the Horde/Survival/Nazi-Zombies modes are lame to me though. I need something to work towards, not just the next wave.

I totally disagree that Every player is a 'fuckwad', I get along very well with people online. Sure there's plenty of assholes around, but my Steam friendlist is still full of randoms that aren't assholes when I play with them on L4D.

there is one badsadass thing tomulticentric games: the AI for single. in borderlands you can't have AI companions and in L4D they all lack guts to grab throwable things and they don't do the stuff any real player would do, like react to some more than basic voice commands or use the fucken chainsaw. on the other hand they almoast always go where you are headed(of course).
Also MW2 has .50 sniper and heavily armored enemy in Museum that are not in single ,and i must deduce they are for multiplayer use.

Hey Yahtzee,

The one thing you have to remember is that people don't send me free copies of games every week :( I have to shell out the dough for each one, so often I don't have something new on the horizon. The best bang for my buck has definitely been Team Fortress 2, which has no single player. I've been picking up a new game each week recently thanks to Steam sales, and after each one I keep going back to TF2 (which allows you to mute annoying people). I much prefer playing against humans than AI, but hey, to each his own.

I'm always surprised by the little (or perhaps not so little?) core of people that agree with Yahtzee regardless of the fact that quite often he is talking nonsense.

He certainly made some interesting points but most can just be brushed off.

1. When I lived in Australia I played many hours of online gaming and never had a problem finding a game (albeit on American servers and with very popular games like Battlefield 2) and don't recall anymore lag than I have now in England (which is very little).

2. Most people aren't a game critic and even most game critics find time to at least get a flavour of the multi player.

3. I see his point to an extent but I think he is probably just ignoring games the fact many games especially arcade ones like Pac Man, Tetris, Space Invaders, Tekken, Guitar Hero etc. all have very limited exploration and most multi players work in a similar way. Also one of things that is interesting about multi player is that people do act differently and try news things which AI never does (especially in things like GTA 4 online and Team Fortress 2).

4. I just disagree here. I see single players as a way to train for multi player. Obviously that only fits for games that have a larger focus on multi player but I'm pretty sure everyone knows if a game is going to be based around multi or single player.

5. People are shit and that's why I like to kill them online. I also rarely have to communicate with them and always have the option of mute.

Yahtzee makes some fair points, and I'm with him on that multiplayer should mainly be a bonus feature when you've completed the single player story, not the sole focus of the game.
That said, I must say I did enjoy the original Unreal Tournament, as well as Battlefield Vietnam, Tribes and Left 4 Dead. Quake III was a huge disappointment though.
There are also several games that benefited a lot from their multiplayer components. Codename: Eagle, the original Battlefield game, had horrible single player, but almost perfect multiplayer that set the standard for the Battlefield series. System Shock 2 is also worth mentioning, it was originally single player only, but was patched to include co-op multiplayer early on, and playing System Shock with a friend made it a lot more fascinating, and strange enough, scarier, even though you were not alone on the ship anymore.
Yahtzee makes the point that nobody can disagree with - that everyone on the internets are dickheads, which did become a lot more noticeable in the last decade, when high speed internet became more affordable and voice chat support became more wide spread.
Before voice chat, those trolls had to stop for a moment to pause (unless they had managed to figure out how to bind a key to "SAY 'JAJAJA PUTA MADRE!!!!'", though most weren't bright enough for that), and in that time they couldn't kill their team mates. The first two Quake games were awesome to play online since even though most or all you met on the servers were morons, they had to put some effort into annoying you, not just hold the Voice chat key and scream into their headset.

Article:
5. Because people are shit.

When you play online with someone, you're not a human being to them. You're just another little mewling voice in the magic box of secrets. If you're not in the same actual room, poised to punch them in the face, only their entertainment matters. You might as well just be an AI bot that swears. Surely playing against an actual AI bot would be preferable. They might not speak and get stuck in corners a lot, but at least they'll never ragequit, and you can program them not to shoot you, and you don't have to pay broadband internet fees for the privilege.

I'm a believer of Penny Arcade's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory: "Ordinary person + audience + anonymity = fuckwad." I would suggest a few alterations, though, such as removing the "+ anonymity" part. And the "+ audience" part. 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.

BULLPIES, I say. Because when I play a game it is to have a good time, and the best way to do that, at least to me anyways, is to play the damned thing right. Now admittedly most people don't think that way, which is the major reason that I agree with every other part of the article, simply not this one.

Yahtzee, the reason people can play games like counter strike over and over again is the same reason people can play sports or board games over and over again.

You seem to be interested more in the plot though, and the progression of the game, rather than the actual gameplay. I, on the other hand, enjoy games that I can play over and over again, gradually improve at, and then prove my superiority by beating someone else in an online video game.

However, I have a feeling the major reason you dislike online multiplayer is because you live in Australia (hell) and don't understand that the only thing that compensates for being yelled at by a nazely ten year old who thinks he owns the world is cruelly shooting his corpse until he starts to cry. And then you laugh.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go back to sticking needles into puppies.

Excellent article that addresses several of my concerns with multiplayer. I wholeheartedly agree with, feel for, and support all of this except for the fifth point. You almost had me here, except that you moved away from the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory and more into arrogant misanthropy.

Of course people are going to be jerkfaces online. Most of them are teens who simply haven't grown up, and the adults behaving like that are probably screwed over anyway. But this is not always the case, and room has to be made for more social occurrences in games.

I try to be talkative whenever I see someone else willing to talk on Xbox Live. In Halo 3 it sometimes manages to get guys I've not met with before to work together, and then I have a new addition to the friend list, on top of having an even better time than I would have, since I'm having a sport with friends rather than a competition between myself and people who act like slightly more resourceful bots. With Street Fighter IV, whenever there's someone else with a microphone, I plug mine in too, and I often find myself having constructive and friendly banter with them. The game ceases to become a competition and instead a hearty sport, where he's critiquing my playstyle and I'm offering advice to his. It can be just as hilarious as when playing with a friend I know well - sometimes even more so, because it's with someone I've only just met. (Though you won't find me on Call of Duty online: I come to that series solely for the single player. The multiplayer doesn't interest me in the least.)

Leetkids, ragequitters and genuine pricks will always be the most vocal aspect of online gaming - they are also the aspect which matters the least, and from which we have nothing to see. But the more friendly side, the people who just want to have fun with other people over a game they enjoy, are too good to not hold out for.

ImBigBob:
Offline multiplayer > Online multiplayer

I agree with you completely. I think that multiplayer games should give the option to smack/throw things at/play drinking games with the people you are playing the game with.

It depends on WHERE you go to get your online gaming experience.

Now in FPS territory, I agree with Yahtzee completely. Especially in MW2 - yes, the online portion being flooded with too many experienced players IS a valid reason to dislike the multiplayer. If I want to have my spirit broken, I need look no further than my bank account. And this is something that a lot of critics agree on. It doesn't make the game invalid - I loved the first game just for it's campaign, and it's sequel just as much.

I disagree on one point though. I don't think people would rather you be an AI. I agreed up til that point. People want to at least think you're a real person because they want to believe that getting a killing spree over on you, somehow has affected you in real life. I know people that get on Halo specifically to talk trash and enrage others. I don't know what's more sad - that people really are shit or that these people really do think they're affecting my life. And yes, there are people just like that on MW2.

In the end, to each their own. People will continue to rack up kills in Halo and MW2 in an attempt to somehow prove their self-worth to themselves more than they will for the fun of it.

I completely agree with Yahtzee, on the last one especially. Oddly enough the aspect of playing a game with other people is what shys me away from online multiplayer. Only if I have friends who will be willing to take the plunge in the gene cesspool of online gaming with me, will I actually do it. Or, as it has already been summed up, people suck.

As Dostoevsky detailed in the Grand Inquisitor, all people are cowardly fuckwads. They also will bend over for the Inquisition.

Some friends of mine can't quite get my distaste for multiplayer. Thanks for writings this, you have given me a reference to boot them to, and saved me an essay old boy. Usually I sum it up in that it is often a collection of complete wankers. Going from single player to multiplayer for a time and then back, when I return I find the calm and peace of non-raging, non-hate spewing computer opponents delightful. You don't hate me do you generic guard? *neck snaps* There's a good boy.

Let us hope new games do not seek to replicate the inane in game posts of the multiplayer host, in a single player format, that would be horrible.

Y'see, what Yahtzee doesn't realise is that he and I are Karmic opposites. Where he is negative, I am positive, and vice versa. I am the yin to his yang. We are the natural and inevitable consequence of Newton's second law.

(Plus, if we ever met, we'd destroy the world, Timecop-style.)

Whereas Yahtzee has fostered the Eeyore-like mentality that the world is composed almost entirely of "f--kwits", I prefer to share my belief that every single person is a unique and beautiful snowflake. One would think that Yahtzee would be perpetually astounded, and myself perpetually disappointed, by the respective highs and lows that humanity can reach.

But NO! A lifetime of looking for the best in people has left me optimistic and happy about human nature in general, no matter how many times individual human beings may fail to live up to such high expectations. For to me, such failure is a simple misstep on the path of life, rectified with relative ease by a simple change of course.

Whereas to Yahtzee, who has spent years ignoring the best achievements of humanity while celebrating in its most depraved and pernicious acts, a life of "realism" has paradoxically left a bitter cold stone in the place of a heart. Having spent a lifetime wilfully blind to man's greatness, he now finds himself unable to take comfort in the simplest of human pleasures - the laughter of a child, the warm glow that surrounds the face of a pretty girl who smiles at him. To him these things - things that would warm the heart of anyone whose very mind and body had not become warped, Gollum-style, through years of neglect of his kin - instead of being the source of a thousand little pleasurable emotions, have rather become daggers through the armour of stunted self-pity that is the mask that Yahtzee wears every day to hide his true, ugly self.

It's an interesting question... can a nature as wholly vile and repulsive as Yahtzee's ever truly redeem itself? And for him to do so, since we are Karmic opposites, would this mean that I would have to fall? I guess time will tell - for in the end, it is time that makes equals of us all, be we kings or beggars.

(Also, if Yahtzee dies, I cease to exist. Yeah, it's the Newtonian thing again.)

Now everyone get on TF2, I want to MURDER me some motherf--kers.

Peace and love!

(PS - Yahtzee - I'm really, really, really, really sorry.) :-)

I remember I played counter strike and what made it most fun was when there was a system for punishing teammates for team killing. I would jump off a building and that would reduce my health to about 5 hp then I would fire one shot at a teammate and they would fire back and I would die and I would get to choose how to punish them, and that is what made it fun. Cause I was a fuckwad. What made it most annoying to these people is when I got a mic they could hear me laughing at them to.

Now all we need to do is have an online petition to get all games to come with a minimum 10 hour long single player part or they are burned

@ #4: you brought up all great games, its just that they can only be played for one half of it.
games not designed with a specific intent of treating the other half of the game like its a 5 year old girl while she is being raped never have the polish on that half when the other half is actually given more then a thought. CoD4? garbage. Battlefield 2. holy fuck this is fun

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