168: Me, Myself and Multiplayer

Me, Myself and Multiplayer

"The thought first occurred to me in Battlefield 2 as I felt the impact of a long-range headshot while sliding down a zip line in the middle of a fire fight. It may be the most efficient way to travel in a playground, but in the battlefield it leaves you unable to return fire for the duration of the slide. Making it across unscathed would have been more shocking than what befell me. So why'd I keep doing it?

"As I completed my tenth zip line run, up popped a little icon accompanied by a military fanfare, and suddenly I knew the answer: because I was weak."

Permalink

Huzzah!
Give this man a gold star.

This is why I stopped playing CoD4 online as well. Either the guy is a million times better than me, or he's a selfish git...

I'm back in my CS 1.6 no AWM servers.

Good article!

The lack of even a miniscule amount of team spirit is why I gave up even buying combat games for their multiplayer aspects, and it's why I no longer bother with multiplayer at all. Now I concentrate on the single-player experience because I know my teammates (who are AI) aren't going to wander off to do their own thing, thus leaving the team to fail, and aren't going to charge insanely at the enemy in the hopes of getting a couple of cheap kills before they get shot down.

Online multiplayer has no effective motivators for players to play for the team, and that's the case for even the most team-oriented game. I don't see that changing for at least ten years because, apart from a few enlightened individuals, neither players nor developers understand that it's a problem. That's pretty sad, because when games DO motivate team play it makes the game infinitely better for everyone.

Let's hope some dev teams are read this article!

It's true, I always had problems online, because of this.

Keep it coming!

Online multiplayer games are an interesting thing, the individuals want to excel, there is the presumption that fun would be the point, and there is the good of your teammates, and a positive outcome for your team. It does seem like fun and teamwork are drowned out by individual ego too often. TF2 is my poison, and the unlocks for achievements do create a flurry of people playing strictly for their achievements. If you play or have followed along, you'll know that the unlocks for the medic are already in place, and it has gotten back to always needing a medic, since everyone has the unlocks no one plays medic anymore...In that you see a plain problem, the good of the team suffers, and everyone is off hunting glory, and of course fun suffers...

I have no problem with the game expanding, broadening it's horizons, and with earning it, but I think the problem isn't always with the game design, I think it's just attitudes about oneself and our egos that are the problem. I actually think, at least in the TF2 community, that attitudes are getting better, slowly, and with the constant influx of bad attitudes it is a struggle, but I think there is a real teamwork thing in place amongst many players of tf2, and that it is more of the established doctrine than the other, now. Hopefully that will effect the people playing enough to change the attitudes. Fundamentally I'm in agreement however.

Amen, brother! Very well-written article. While getting achievements is a rush, it doesn't compare to those rare games on public servers when you're on a team that really clicks - something I only found with TF2. Nice thing about TF2 achievements is that many of them require cooperation.

I got turned off of COD4 not only because of achievement whores, but also neverending helicopter and bombers getting called in, as well as flashbang spammers (both teams).

thats exactly the reason why Xbox live offers the possibility to chat and invite guys from your fl. When you just jump into a game and have to deal with trashtalkers, minors or perk whores you should ask yourself what the heck that friends list is for ;)
As long as you have the possibility to choose and invite there is no need to wear a 'victim tag'

This is exactly why I've started playing less TF2. Every time a new set of advancements comes out, 75% of the players start playing the class the advancements came out for and start running around doing nothing but melee or other stupid stuff. Its hard to play a game when everyone wants to be the same class and is doing their own thing trying to get their achievements filled.

Then there's the other problem, where people just set up a "dummy" server with a few friends so they can power through the achievements in an hour or two.

Hahah, it took me months to get the medic achievements because I didn't want to grind them out. For pyro, I didn't need to grind them out, as it's my second most played class anyway, Heavy is my third most played class, so it didn't take me long to get those either. The nice thing about TF2 is that the achievements aren't so arbitrary, and in trying to get them, you still help you team in some ways. Well, for the most part.

The man speaks tremendous truth. Team focus and cooperation were such very fragile concepts in public multiplayer and achievements are the tree trunk that shattered the camel's back.

The heroin connection has multiple links to achievements. Firstly, it's tempting to blame the players for being susceptible to corruption, but that's like blaming a heroin addict for being addicted to heroin. The developers are not going to stop including achievements in their games because it's poisoning the experience for the players. The fact that people will play their game as rabid addicts instead of fulfilled gamers is just as good if not better in their eyes.

I've tried playing BF2, TF2, etc in the way they were intended. I play well (top 20%?) and just play to win and let the achievements happen if and when they do. The result is that I really get few of them, despite playing the game well.

Top notch article, my first experience of this was playing Gears and watching in vain as the last player on my team was playing hide and seek armed with a pistol against a shotgun...me and the other 2 on our team were pleading with him to switch to the shotgun but he was having none of it...he wanted that pistol achievment...trouble is there will ALWAYS be people like that, there will never become a point when everyone has the achievments and can all play properly...

Cliff Blezinski being the gamer he is seems to have noticed this and in an interview, i heard him say that achievments in Gears 2 are based on a point system...IE if you kill someone in a match with a weapon you get a point but you can only get one point for that weapon per match...but i say is that enough? Will we still have people running around trying to shoot with the pistol and letting down their team?

Developers need to take more responsibility in the achievments they create in general...achievments should only ever be gained for winning a match, it shouldnt change the way we play...at least in team play anyway...

The only success I've seen in players actively depending on team play and mission orienated survival and objective is Battlefield 2 with the lastest Project Reality Mod. Squad play is a requirement, it still gets pretty intesnse because of it. Suddenly, seeing that rare APC firing on you from below the hill isn't just an annoyance that you outrun.. it's a big deal, and you're all in it together. The last game I spent with my squad pinned down for a good 20 minutes in one of these situations changed the experience completely, and it is the least repetetive team based FPS I've played. I hated BF2 with it's radio macro spam and everything else that made it a cheap failure... but with PR it is a completely different game.

How about making the achievements team-based instead of individually? The number of victories would have to be higher, of course, but that's not hard. In addition to the obvious "was on a winning team X times," how about "scored more points than deaths in X consecutive games," "positive kill/death ratio for X matches," and my favorite, "killed 100%/75%/50% of the enemy team in X rounds"?

I know EXACTLY what you mean, and there is no better example of it than CoD 4's cage match playlist.

Whenever I don't have any friends on CoD 4, or if I just feel like some one on one, I hop into cage match, only to have the first 20 or so people who hop into my lobby say, "Oh Emm Gee, w4nna d0 H3adsh0ts!?" (which means 'I'll stand there and let you have your way with me if you stand there and let me have my way with you in order to complete various challenges for xp/weapon attachments/weapon colors') only to get called a prick/a-hole when I say "No, go get them legitly."

I never played BF2, so the first time I experienced achievements this in an online setting was TF2. I personally have never focused on obtaining achievements in online games; I like WINNING too much to spend time screwing around trying to get a Gold AK-47, which doesn't help you or your team at all. I like unlocking weapons to use, but only weapons I think will be useful. Getting the gold DEagle in CoD4 was kinda cool, but it wasn't something I actively tried to get. Just happens when you max your level.

I think this article is spot on. I wish people would concern themselves more with helping their team win, instead of getting those 50 headshots with that gun they suck with.

XP points should only be awarded to the winning team.

You speak the truth, brother! That's why I play CS 1.6 and DoD. That one reason.

Like a lot of people, apparently, I play shooter games mainly for the single player, but I think a resurgence in co-op games will get me online more often.

Valve's new game, Left 4 Dead, is pretty focused on cooperation as a team, and I hope the acheivements will reflect that.

achievements are really stupid..... actually bf2, and COD4 are crap games....

bf2 has the worst net code ever put into a mainstream game....

and cod4 is just bad game design from the start, helicopters, uav, all the other stupid shit that is called "gameplay" and not just that, but weapons that don't kill in single shot in the head? wtf

Multiplayer games are on a downward spiral.... replaced with bullshit "teamwork". Even team fortress 2 has fallen to it. I mean, alot of the classes on higher levels are useless, spy and pyro. Enjineers are the most popular class because they require the least ammount of skill while being very powerful. Pyros are second because again, they are very easy to use and you are almost guaranteed a 1/1 ratio. I mean.... it's people being unwilling to learn.... if you have 400 hours as pyro..... and you still suck at the game, then you know something is wrong.

I actually just started playing these FPS games. Before I was heavily addicted to World of Warcraft, I would play far too much. I lived on about 1 and a half hours of sleep a night for about 4 or 5 years. I would level insane characters and put them all on PVP servers and just have the accounts stacked with awesome gear and an incredible amount of gold, and then sell them on eBay. Then it became illegal and I started doing it for friends that just wanted to PVP and not take the time to level the character up. I made a killing on selling accounts. But I digress and for that I apologize, getting back on target now, FPS games. Like I said I recently started playing them. And to be honest as of right now I am the most n00biest n00b on the face of the earth. I call myself a newfag. But I thought that this article was solid and very funny, I just dont like how it portrayed my future in the FPS world. Epic yet lacking.

Beery:
Good article!

The lack of even a miniscule amount of team spirit is why I gave up even buying combat games for their multiplayer aspects, and it's why I no longer bother with multiplayer at all. Now I concentrate on the single-player experience because I know my teammates (who are AI) aren't going to wander off to do their own thing, thus leaving the team to fail, and aren't going to charge insanely at the enemy in the hopes of getting a couple of cheap kills before they get shot down.

Online multiplayer has no effective motivators for players to play for the team, and that's the case for even the most team-oriented game. I don't see that changing for at least ten years because, apart from a few enlightened individuals, neither players nor developers understand that it's a problem. That's pretty sad, because when games DO motivate team play it makes the game infinitely better for everyone.

I think you thought you were me when you posted that. It's exactly the same way I feel about online games nowadays. I used to play BF1942 and Vietnam endlessly. I bought into the team play so much I would even defend capture points that weren't under attack, in the off chance that some stray squad might sneak behind the lines. All I get now is frustration.

It's not just fps games though. When I played WoW I used to love the battlegrounds, especially alterac valley. Having that one major front with two sides throwing themselves at each other for the slightest edge was such a rush. Not to mention the couple of times enough of us held back to summon Ivan. I had to give it up though. It's like the mentality of online gaming has changed in general. Everyone simply wants to go the quickest route with no sense of teamwork or balanced strategy.

they realy need to fix online play in almost every game...

well, l4d patched some of those issues with bodyguard, dg, and revive. however, there is still work left to be done (like self-sacrifice, for example luring the horde away from the escape vehicle after being boomered, so everyone else gets out alive. that made me feel a different way towards "achieving")

Great article.
Yeah, its true too. I have spent time randomly jumping around as a scout just to get the 1000 double jumps achievement and such... and have seen many other people do nothing to benefit the team. Just farming achievements. That's what turned me off about multiplayer games. Don't really play online anymore at all because of that. People don't seem to get the point of the game.

One of the best things I've read on the Escapist.

It infuriates me to see people going solo in multiplayer to gain some achievements to please their selfish personality.

Gears of War 1 made that mistake and Gears of war 2 shifted and made better use of the achievements. Like Wingman and Guardian, it's tasked to keep the leader alive or win rounds with your fellow wingman and close communication so you could best the other teams.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here