304: The Reset Button

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The Reset Button

Games like Call of Duty and Rock Band encourage you to buy sequels so that you can hit the reset button on your multiplayer experience.

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With this, I still will call those who buy a sport title every year with an updated roster as people who I will never understand.

A thought-provoking article, keep it up.

This one poked at my brain a bit, but I still think that all those COD "MLG" dickwads are fucking retarded. In the words of Yahtzee: "fucking robots."

Explains why I never buy such games. I usually buy all games for SP primarily, and if I really love SP I try MP as well.

This goes quite far for me. I totally agree with the reasoning behind this.

Personally, the journey is as important as the mechanics. I enjoyed the transition from FFIX to FFX - new story, new journey, familiar mechanics. But I didn't enjoy FFX to FFXII - new story (if that's what you call it), new journey and new mechanics.

The lack of familiarity in that context upset me as a player - it wasn't what I wanted from the series.

That said, it would be interesting to play a game with the same journey but different mechanics e.g. Zelda on DS. Or even a new story in the same setting e.g. like playing C&C as Soviets or Allies.

S'all good

Lord_Gremlin:
Explains why I never buy such games. I usually buy all games for SP primarily, and if I really love SP I try MP as well.

This, there are only two games whose MP I have tried, after blowing my head off on Single Player.

Your article was very thought-provoking, and i think dead on the money. I think people who desire this kind of reset button really need to branch out or at least realise they are being conned. Take for example TF2. As a agme it evolves and so has no use for a rest button. The abundance of content makes it fresh over time, same story with Gary's Mod or any well supported or heavily community supported game. Look at CSS or CS 1.6., these games have evolved so consistantly restting would suck.

People are paying 55 for a fix of seomthing you used to get for free. Consumer support is non existant where it should not be. The sad upshot of that is it actually makes people buy yearly updates FOR an illusion of community support. I suppose it's almost like a "Cod Subscription", their model is based uppon tweaks and small resets per game.

Of course it is HORRIBLE value with neither the evolution of better games and the depth on content of a real MMO. And of course an MMO is the ultimate expression of trying to stave of the need for a reset button.

I can't really agree with the last paragraph. I see these games, especially the COD ones as described, as creating a Skinner box type of engagement, and this kind of journey isn't a good one.

Thank god I'm not the only one who sees it like this. The developers and publishers really want to herd the gamers from title to title, or what I like to call milking stations. Entire populations of games die out within a year of release only to end up playing the same game with slightly different looking guns and different maps. The popularity of COD is only going to embolden more developers to try the same thing.

The current generation of gaming consoles, with all their bells and whistles, has actually made video gaming worse.

Straying Bullet:
With this, I still will call those who buy a sport title every year with an updated roster as people who I will never understand.

I hate this attitude so much. I'm convinced the people who spout this have never actually spent any time playing one of these games. You spend months playing Fifa 11 and then play Fifa 10. They're very different playing experiences. I could rant, but I shan't :P. I'm already being off-topic.
Just gets on my tits when people just say it's a roster/squad update. It's not. Strikes me as snobbery from people who just don't enjoy these games.

Look-a-Hill:

Straying Bullet:
With this, I still will call those who buy a sport title every year with an updated roster as people who I will never understand.

I hate this attitude so much. I'm convinced the people who spout this have never actually spent any time playing one of these games. You spend months playing Fifa 11 and then play Fifa 10. They're very different playing experiences. I could rant, but I shan't :P. I'm already being off-topic.
Just gets on my tits when people just say it's a roster/squad update. It's not. Strikes me as snobbery from people who just don't enjoy these games.

Slander. Don't spout when you have no clue which games I have played.

I have played Fifa since '06. I haven't spend a single dime [ We used to have LAN tournaments in our friend circle. ] As well as PES, which was then better than FIFA. FIFA 10/11 made finally some great leaps but the majority are just rehashed same old stuff which basically is an update of the situations the players and the ranking of their respective teams.

So, if it gets on your tits, I am glad for it because frankly, it's how EA is churning out Madden games as well. Trying to convince me otherwise is moot but don't question my integrity.

This was a great article and was fun to read. I definitely see what you're saying about replaying the same experience now that you've put it in my face. Kind of makes me feel embarrassed that I fell for it :/

That's an interesting angle I hadn't thought of as to why CoD keeps selling as well as it does. Or Madden for that matter. But to be fair to Rock Band, the current title in the franchise tends to act as the current "version" of the RB platform as a whole. Okay, the jump from RB1 to RB2 was basically about polishing the song selection interface (it really was about a hojillion times better), but the jump from RB2 to RB3 really is a different experience with all the additions. I think GH suffered much more from the "reset button" than RB did, especially since RB let you carry your old songs forward basically all the time. It took GH years to get on the export bandwagon, and it's still a huge mess. It is still kind of a reset button, but I think it's much less of one than CoD.

JUMBO PALACE:
This was a great article and was fun to read. I definitely see what you're saying about replaying the same experience now that you've put it in my face. Kind of makes me feel embarrassed that I fell for it :/

Ey man, don't be embarrassed. I'm a huge Rockband whore, but I don't let people bring me down because of it since I'm still doing something I love.

Straying Bullet:

Slander. Don't spout when you have no clue which games I have played.

I have played Fifa since '06. I haven't spend a single dime [ We used to have LAN tournaments in our friend circle. ] As well as PES, which was then better than FIFA. FIFA 10/11 made finally some great leaps but the majority are just rehashed same old stuff which basically is an update of the situations the players and the ranking of their respective teams.

I wasn't, chill out. Read my post carefully and was trying not to aim it at you specifically 'I'm convinced people...', 'It strikes me snobbery from people...'. I was well aware you may have played them.
Maybe the majority are (and thinking about it, PES hasn't changed for years) but PES and Fifa are the only ones I play. And in the UK most of the criticism is in regards to Fifa, which in my opinion is trying to be unique each year. And okay, so you play them, but as I said, I'm convinced a lot haven't.

A nice article, Hubblebubble. It's all too true too. It's like that with a lot of games really - it's pretty much exactly what I wanted with Dragon Age, which is why I really like DA: Awakening and I really want to really like DA2.

Congrats on becoming a super duper confabulatory contributor, and nice article. I found myself thinking the same thing (I didn't really) when playing Guitar Hero, churning out my hard earned cash (it wasn't really) for essentially the same game each time, but MAN I NEEDED MY FIX.

I nearly bought Guitar Hero: Van Halen the other day. I like one Van Halen song.

Yeah, you hit the nail on this one. Good stuff.

Cherry Cola:

JUMBO PALACE:
This was a great article and was fun to read. I definitely see what you're saying about replaying the same experience now that you've put it in my face. Kind of makes me feel embarrassed that I fell for it :/

Ey man, don't be embarrassed. I'm a huge Rockband whore, but I don't let people bring me down because of it since I'm still doing something I love.

Same thing with me and Halo. I've learned to ignore the haters and just enjoy myself a long time ago.

I think this same line of logic is why Achievements and Trophies work on so many levels. I honestly believe those little bonuses have driven the game sales more than some people like to admit. It's the added benefit of leveling up in two places, in the game you are playing, and among your friends on the XBL or PSN leader boards. Each time you reset your COD game, you can promise people that not only will they get to level up with all their friends again, they will also get another 1000 XBL gamer points, or another Platinum trophy.

I personally think all of this stuff detracts from the gaming experience as a whole. It turns the simple fun of playing a game into more of a job, one where you have to work to get better at the same thing over and over again in order to get that elusive rank or achievement.

It seems to me that the game companies realize they've created an addictive and competitive environment. Innovation isn't as important as designing the perfect drug, if you will.

Nice article.

Good food for thought.

It's true, doing something familiar gives people a sense of comfort and joy, but there's also joy in completely new discovery. Unfortunately with games, a lot of times the completely new discovery is that the game is a pile of crap.
I think there are ways to provide familiar experiences with every iteration of a franchise that lets people feel this way, but also to make the game different and innovative enough that it's not a cardboard copy.

Still, I can think of some well-respected franchises where with every iteration, I almost hope that they don't change much, simply because I just want more of the old game, perhaps only with a new story/extension to the story. Games like Fallout, STALKER, and even the new Batman "Arkham" series. If Arkham City is drastically different from Arkham Asylum, I think I will be mad. I want more of Arkham Asylum because it was THAT f'ing good.

The extent that the COD franchises of the world are doing this repetition to is on the extreme, though. Their rapid release cycle makes it even more disconcerting.

beema:
Good food for thought.

It's true, doing something familiar gives people a sense of comfort and joy, but there's also joy in completely new discovery. Unfortunately with games, a lot of times the completely new discovery is that the game is a pile of crap.
I think there are ways to provide familiar experiences with every iteration of a franchise that lets people feel this way, but also to make the game different and innovative enough that it's not a cardboard copy.

Still, I can think of some well-respected franchises where with every iteration, I almost hope that they don't change much, simply because I just want more of the old game, perhaps only with a new story/extension to the story. Games like Fallout, STALKER, and even the new Batman "Arkham" series. If Arkham City is drastically different from Arkham Asylum, I think I will be mad. I want more of Arkham Asylum because it was THAT f'ing good.

The extent that the COD franchises of the world are doing this repetition to is on the extreme, though. Their rapid release cycle makes it even more disconcerting.

I don't think that disconcerting is the word you're looking for. I think you're looking for a few words. Those words would be "obvious cash grab".

I think the CoD series is set up based on the bean counters figuring out exactly when the most profit would come from releasing a new game every year(I think it's November 8th this year). Somebody actually figured out exactly when they could make a gigantic pile of money releasing these games. I'm not sure if it's sad, or if it's genius. I really don't get what the big deal about playing a game that just feels the same over and over.

This is the reason I never last in an mmo. I need to feel my character is growing in some quantifiable way and to make matters worse I'm impatient. when I get to the point around level 25-30 the themes of every MMO begin to repeat (kill this, fetch that) and the amount of time needed until my guy levels gets too far apart. so I move on to the next class and try them out. then on to the next MMO.

is that bad gaming? I dunno, maybe. but its more fun for me, and its my money so in the end thats all that matters

vxicepickxv:
I don't think that disconcerting is the word you're looking for. I think you're looking for a few words. Those words would be "obvious cash grab".

I think the CoD series is set up based on the bean counters figuring out exactly when the most profit would come from releasing a new game every year(I think it's November 8th this year). Somebody actually figured out exactly when they could make a gigantic pile of money releasing these games. I'm not sure if it's sad, or if it's genius. I really don't get what the big deal about playing a game that just feels the same over and over.

How 'bout this: It's genius for the analyst who figured it out. It's sad for the higher up that approved/requisitioned its use.

I noticed you "conveniently" left out RPGs as an example. For the most part, RPGs are not exempt from the points you made. In every RPG, for every element that changes, there is another that stays the same. The early Final Fantasies and Dragon Quest games are good examples of this, keeping the core combat system, including copying over most, if not all, of the Magics, Skills, and Summons from earlier games, but changing the story, setting, world, and characters so much that it hardly seems like a sequel at all, and more like it's own game.

And of course, the concept of the Reset Button is all too apparent. Every RPG in a series is working on that exact principle, that you're back to being a grunt/peasant/nobody and have to work your way back to being the savior of the world. But despite how alike all RPGs are, it's the nuances, the subtle variances of each game's story that make them each unique and enjoyable.

The Reset Button? Thats funny. The same game every year? No. I never cared about the stupid "rank" system that attracts so many people (kids 17 and under) to buy the same shit every year.

Bet thats why activision booted those two guys at IW off, So they could continue the money siphoning scheme every year more efficiently under the guise of "Fun Rank System Game" lol

Why does anyone care about the ranking again? You do it every year are you not bored yet? The very first CoD game i play was 4. played WaW and... "Same thing what the hell?" "rifles are fun" Played MW 2... "Okay my bullshit alarm is going off and my wallet is bleeding cash"
Played BOs... "facepalm" "I feel like ive been robbed" "Im glad i bought BF earlier this year!" "That game doesnt seem to ever get old"

Im not paying 60 dollars every year for the exact same thing.

this is why return to castle wolfenstein is still the greatest MP game of all time.

Very good article, I agree, some very valid points. As someone that plays CoD MLG and has played other competitive games before the gameplay is solid with more depth then most people experience outside of competition, like street fighter. So, the games are essentially the same, they have subtle flavours, different chicken dishes, they feel different and not just because of some new skins/sounds/guns/maps, tactics and what is competitive alter the feel of the experience. The MW2 competitive scene is different to the World at War one. The games are being refined like a sport and sure they could get patched to buggery but the devs need to fund developing the game. A single CoD title could work if it was released on a subscription like WoW, which has changed massively over it's six year life while keeping much of the same outward appearance.

Yeah, I noticed the same thing that Russel did, and just stopped buying CoDs. I settled on Battlefield 1943, because it has everything I could possibly want in an online shooter. Sure, there are only three maps, but they are superbly designed and provide me with endless fun. As long as I have the good sense to take a break from the game every now and then.

This year I'm tickled by the option of buying Battlefield 3, but...I don't know. I'll probably skip that unless the game offers something mind blowing, which I seriously doubt it will. Besides this has already been a good year of sequels for me: Shogun 2 Total War and Portal 2. Add the possibility of Diablo 3 coming out later this year, and I'm a very happy gamer. Then again I don't have the time to game so much these, so I'm happy even if I don't buy another game for the rest of the year.

Civilization V is still getting updated regularly, and I'm loving that game more and more. Seeing Augustus blindsiding me with a full-on assault with legionnaires and ballistae really made me smile, even if he proceeded to beat the crap out of my relatively undefended fledgling kingdom.

Good article, but this has been going on longer than the leveling... having started with Street Fighter (the first one), I must have played a dozen different iterations in the arcades and own another dozen for various game systems.

Yeah, there are lots of differences between SF2 and MvC3, but in the end it's basically the same game. Yet fans like me keep trying out the newest versions, seeing what they tweaked, added or removed, searching for old and new favorite characters... sometimes it's just nice to play something familiar without it being exactly the same.

Wow, that article was like reading an episode of Extra Credits. I was enamored with it. It explained so much. And made me want to replay through Guitar Hero, and work my way up to a Rock God again, after years of atrophied guitar fingers.

Conversely, it's why I don't play most shooters. I did the level grind once, doing the same thing over and over, but it became repetitive. Even AC: Brohood had an amazingly intriguing multiplayer, but after a few levels it became the same. Stabbed a dude a hundred times, been stabbed a hundred more. Shot a dude and leveled, shot fifty and leveled again. It just doesn't appeal to achieve the same reward each time. At least in most RPGs, you can vary how your level up progression affects the gameplay.

BehattedWanderer:
Wow, that article was like reading an episode of Extra Credits.

My voice isn't that high pitched you know. My feelings are hurt now.

Icy Lemon:
Congrats on becoming a super duper confabulatory contributor, and nice article. I found myself thinking the same thing (I didn't really) when playing Guitar Hero, churning out my hard earned cash (it wasn't really) for essentially the same game each time, but MAN I NEEDED MY FIX.

but guitar hero and rb usually made people broaden their musical tastes each iteration would push players interests just because the content was there, the joy of discovering tracks i loved was actually on par with loving the gameplay in my eyes.

Interesting perspective. For some franchises, people just want more of the same with new maps, while for others, there's more of a demand for gameplay tweaks.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Left 4 Dead 2, which changed very little from the first game, rather than being DLC like Valve's other multiplayer games.

Sabinfrost:
Very good article, I agree, some very valid points. As someone that plays CoD MLG and has played other competitive games before the gameplay is solid with more depth then most people experience outside of competition, like street fighter. So, the games are essentially the same, they have subtle flavours, different chicken dishes, they feel different and not just because of some new skins/sounds/guns/maps, tactics and what is competitive alter the feel of the experience. The MW2 competitive scene is different to the World at War one. The games are being refined like a sport and sure they could get patched to buggery but the devs need to fund developing the game. A single CoD title could work if it was released on a subscription like WoW, which has changed massively over it's six year life while keeping much of the same outward appearance.

So what you are saying is that, instead of viewing them as sequels, it's a better way to view them like, I don't know, three people with three different Yu-Gi-Oh starter decks? (Sorry, my analogy is shit but I can't come up with something better). They're at heart the same, but details still make them different games with different focus.

If that is what you mean, your comment makes a lot of sense, and I must say I agree with it. I've been watching a lot of Call of Duty commentaries recently (I don't really have the money for the games themselves), and many of them do talk about how some of the games have different perks or balances than the others.

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