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Why Online Multiplayer Isn't That Important 134

Posted by Zonk
from the one-opinion dept.
cyrus_zuo writes "GameTunnel has published an article on why they believe online multiplayer is over-rated. Specifically, author Russell Carrol feels that multi-player is only at its best when you have an emotional connection to the people you're playing against. In his words: 'Multiplayer gaming is awesome, don't get me wrong, but I don't think that online multiplayer modes are all that great. Unless I'm playing in the same room as the person I'm playing against, I lose the emotional and physical connection that makes multiplayer games fun. .. It's like going to a party where you drink and dance by yourself in your living room, and connect to everyone else through headsets, video cameras and HD TVs. No matter how you look at it, the end result is a lame party.'"
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Why Online Multiplayer Isn't That Important

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  • Pfft. (Score:3, Funny)

    by reality-bytes (119275) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:58PM (#17990342) Homepage
    n00b.
    • I agree.
    • Re:Pfft. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:39PM (#17990836) Journal
      Funny, but it strikes me that he's the opposite of a n00b (what would that be, a b11n?)

      Frankly, in a get-off-my-lawn kind of way, I can't stand talking on the cell phone in public, text messaging all the time, etc. Maybe it's my old (relatively) age, but it seems to me that someone who grew up without purely digital relationships will be uncomfortable with them their whole life.

      I suspect that younger gamers have developed an aptitude for making emotional connections online that older gamers have not -- and this is the root of Russell's problem.
      • by honkycat (249849)
        He obviously never MUDded or played any BBS games, either, so just being older is hardly an excuse. It's quite possible to develop strong emotional ties even in a game with people you never meet physically. You can argue whether this is healthy, but a lot of us have been able to do that without avoiding RL friends.

        I can almost see his point for less involved multiplayer, such as Halo. Still, it doesn't quite stand up to even the most basic scrutiny as a broad principle. There are thousands and thousands
        • You don't understand what the article was getting at. Most people do not invest long periods of time on the internet. The internet is not, generally speaking, where they meet friends.

          The author says that online multiplayer is overrated. He does not say that it is worthless. Rather, he makes the case that those who find the most value in it are in the minority.

          You talk about MUDs, and I'm sure you would make the case for things like WoW, but the grand majority of gamers do not like these types of games. Onli
          • by honkycat (249849)
            No, I'm pretty sure I do understand what the article was getting at. The author thinks online multiplayer is overrated. Great. He has his reasons, but I don't find any of them to be as compelling as you seem to. No, not every player is going to be interested in online gaming. Fine, great. But there are thousands upon thousands who are. The article struck me as a fluff piece based on whatever rationale this guy could come up with one day. And, as an editorial, that's fine, but I don't really see any
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by SetupWeasel (54062)
              Well you called the author a n00b. I thought it was open season.

              Your thousands upon thousands do not stand up to the millions upon millions that don't give a shit. You give no weight because you disagree, and much like every moron discussion in this godforsaken internet, you feel no reason to temper your own remarks with the possibility that other people think differently.

              I find that the most pointless position in any argument is that everything is fine. I find that listening to those who don't like somethi
              • And when he doesn't agree with you, you call him a moron and say he doesn't understand what he just read. Great job understanding that people think differently.
              • by honkycat (249849)
                Calm down, calm down, this is only the Internet after all. I was actually just echoing the grandparent in the thread who originally called the a n00b. Not exactly classy, I'll admit, but it was also meant in jest. Maybe that wasn't obvious enough.

                I don't know where you're coming from with your brief tirade against morons on the Internet. All I really said was that I don't see why I should be interested in this guy's opinion that online multiplayer gaming is overrated. I think Starbucks Carmel Macchiato
          • He does say it's worthless. He says it's like a lame party where you drink alone and dance alone. He says that local multiplayer is the only good way to play multiplayer. The author is a tool. Go ahead, call me a moron and tell me I don't understand what I just read. You've already done it to someone else.

            Guess what? In-person gaming is full of cheaters, too. Sure, you can kick a cheater out of your house, but you can kick a cheater off of a private game server, too. You can complain in a video arcade or ca
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by paeanblack (191171)
              He does say it's worthless. He says it's like a lame party where you drink alone and dance alone. He says that local multiplayer is the only good way to play multiplayer. The author is a tool. Go ahead, call me a moron and tell me I don't understand what I just read. You've already done it to someone else.

              The author also completely ignores that online multiplayer is popular is because it's better than the alternatives.

              Single player is far less compelling, as AI opponents get stale much faster. Local multip
      • > he's the opposite of a n00b (what would that be, a b11n?)

        No, the opposite of n00b is demonstrated by the following code:

        #include <stdio.h>
        int main (void)
        { return (printf ("-%c-%c-%c-%c\n",-~"n00b"[0],-~"n00b"[1],-~"n00b" [2],-~"n00b"[3])); }
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Your response sums up why online gaming sucks so much. Ever tried playing a xbox live game without muting the voice chat? It's absolutely excruciating.
  • by erbbysam (964606) on Monday February 12, 2007 @07:59PM (#17990350) Homepage
    I totally agree with you but that's exactly the reason why most serious gamers will join clans and such so that they can fell some sort of attachment to their opponents, instead of just playing against other usernames.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I totally agree with you but that's exactly the reason why most serious gamers will join clans and such so that they can feel some sort of attachment to their opponents , instead of just playing against other usernames.
      Did you mean teammates?

      Because I could care less who my friends and I are playing with/against at the moment, as long as I'm playing with my friends.
    • by hurfy (735314)
      hehe, despite the guy below you had it right in my case ;)

      I have a couple clans i race against tho i havent joined any, more like the offical sparring partner :) Yes the (slight) familiarity that gives is nice itself. Even better was my buddy over at my place helping me whoop their ass :)

      But i still like to play online without em tho. I pretty much play online only after learning most games.

      So, umm, yes to everyone's point......

      Gotta add that online play is almost a handicap if it is implemented bad enough.
  • by no_opinion (148098) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:01PM (#17990366)
    From personal experience, I'd say that you can have a fantastic time with complete strangers if everyone is playing with the same objective and attitude, and communicating well enough that the team can coordinate its strategy. There's nothing more satisfying (in the game context, of course) than a coordinated and simultaneously executed diversion, attack, and defense to win the game.
    • by Cyraan (840132)
      So right, but so hard to come across. In Battlefield 2, when piloting the gunships, if you have a competent gunner (rare), and a team that is willing to spot the opposing team's armor so you can find and kill it (even more rare), it becomes online gaming at its finest.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vaporakula (674048)
      Agreed. You can have a great MP experience with anyone, as long as you communicate.

      Anyways, the whole article is uninformed trolling, to be honest: check this out

      FTA: "I'm also dubious about online competition being better than offline. It seems to me that if a computer were able to record a human playing and duplicate it, so that you thought you were playing against a human, you probably wouldn't know the difference. I think the real issue here is the AI in most games not acting human enough. It's a p

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by rtb61 (674572)
      Just accept that as an introvert computer geek you are now going to start running into many more opinions from more extrovert end users. MMO games don't really do anything for extroverts which is of course why the end up buying high level avatars and other junk rather that working to achieve those items as a typical computer geek would (of course for the geek once victory is achieved at lot of the interest is lost, learning games is far more fun than playing them).

      Don't be so surprised, that when you give

    • by boobavon (857902)
      Nothing more satisfying? Really?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tribidy (1063454)
      "Online Multiplayer is an idea that sounds great until I get the game home. Once I have it home, online multiplayer sits in the corner unused with the PSP, my external Hard Drive, my PocketPC Cell Phone, and all the other cool tech that was really much cooler before I got it." Many a time have I passed up a game simply because it did not have multiplayer. I have played my fair share of single player games and they do have their place. Howerver there is something very satisfying about seeking out th
  • Bah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Well, that guy is pretty stupid. Multiplayer needs no connection between players themselves, it's the competition that matters and in many cases it is impossible to properly compete against other players using split screen.
    • Re:Bah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AuMatar (183847) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:09PM (#17990480)
      On the contrary- I can play just fine without the competition aspect, look at the MMO genre. I can't stand playing with random gamers, I can't put up with their stupidity and there's no real sense of group accomplishment with them.
      • by JavaLord (680960)
        On the contrary- I can play just fine without the competition aspect, look at the MMO genre.

        There is competition in MMO's. Take World of Warcraft for example, their are many different levels of competition in that game. Guilds compete to see who can make the most player vs environment progress. PvPers compete in battlegrounds and in the new rated Arena system. Other players see competition is who has the best gear. Even griefers compete to see who can pull off the most outrageous stunts.

        I can't
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No, not really: I got that impression from the summary at first - but most of the fun of the Wii is the physicality of it: watching the other guy make a fool of himself (Conan and Venus Williams, for example). It's the sort of thing you might try as a party game.

      For a MMORPG or strategy game, whole different ball game, as it were.
    • There's still strategy, peeking without getting caught is a tactile move in itself. Dodging an arm-punch is also a dexterous move you never make in online play.
    • in many cases it is impossible to properly compete against other players using split screen.

      In the rest of cases, you don't need a split screen or multiple $700 computer+monitors, as the players are controlling characters that never stray too far from one another. Look at Smash Bros. (admittedly a console exclusive) and Bomberman (whose PC version sadly hasn't been updated in a decade). With the growing home theater PC movement, why aren't more PC games made TV-friendly?

  • Disagree (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:04PM (#17990426)
    I respectfully disagree, along with 7 million WoW players.
    • by JediLow (831100) *
      I would say thats why there're 7 million WoW players - it creates an environment where people have that emotional connection with other players.
    • As a former WoW player, I have to agree with the author, atleast in part. I don't agree that you need to be in the same place as someone to enjoy multiplayer with/against them (though I definatly enjoy it more.) But I do agree Multiplayer just isn't any fun against/with nameless pickups. Of all the MMOs I've played, the pattern has been the same: First to adopt, last to leave. I leave these games when all my friends and family have stopped playing. I don't really care for guilds, but you might. Ask yourself
    • by carlivar (119811)
      No, you mostly are fighting computer opponents in WoW. Also, most WoW players I know prefer to fight alongside their friends rather than forming random groups or joining guilds. WoW actually proves this guy's point.
  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:05PM (#17990436) Homepage Journal
    The way Vince Vaughn plays against whining kids over the Internet using his XBOX, that's what online gaming is all about.
  • by Wampus Aurelius (627669) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:06PM (#17990446)
    Interesting that this article gets posted the same day as one talking about the ability to mute annoying players [eurogamer.net].

    Myself, I have never been interested in online duels, which is what most people seem to mean when they say "online multiplayer games." Trash-talking, griefing, and players who obviously spend way more time than I have available to play do not make playing against another human more fun than playing against a computer. I do not relish getting mad while I game, nor do I think that being able to make other people mad automatically elevates the quality of a game.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AdamThor (995520)
      You know, trash talking and griefing are meta-games. These people are just playing a different game than you. Not that you should enjoy it, but if you see it for what it is, maybe it won't make you as mad. Don't underestimate the enjoyment to be gained from a satisfying bit of trash talk, BIOTCH!
    • by DrSkwid (118965)
      How did you feel when the bots in UT trash talked you ?
  • by brkello (642429) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:06PM (#17990454)
    ...it's a blog. Opinions should go below the article...not be the article itself. Why should we care if some guy feels lame playing multiplayer with strangers? If that were true for everyone, multiplayer wouldn't exist the way it does right now. He isn't talking about online trends or how to improve anything. He is just whining. What will his next "article" be? Will we find out what he had for lunch or how people picked on him because of his haircut?
  • Unless I'm playing in the same room as the person I'm playing against, I lose the emotional and physical connection that makes multiplayer games fun.
    This argument is about one step up from "I don't like coffee therefore coffee should be made illegal". Who cares what emotional problems this author has, there are millions of people who don't share them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dorceon (928997)
      It's more like, "I don't like coffee, so stop charging me for coffee I don't want, delaying my breakfast until the coffee is ready, and telling me coffee is the drink of the future."
      • Then don't order coffee with your meal.

        Or in this case, don't play your game online. If you don't want to play online, no one is forcing you to.
        • None of those criticisms can be properly countered with "then just don't use multiplayer."

          "I have to pay for multiplayer even if I don't use it." - "Well, then don't use multiplayer."

          "I have to wait for the publisher to perfect the multiplayer features, even if I don't want them." - "Well, then don't use multiplayer."

          "I'm constantly reading in the media that multiplayer is the future, and game publishers are pushing more and more multiplayer-oriented features, often to the point that standalone play suf
        • But what if he wanted all the fun and visual splendor of the Warcraft dungeons without the n00bs and immature idiots? Or anyone else for that matter? You can't get an offline copy of WoW. I think he's a whiner and I love multiplayer gaming, but I see his point - it does suck to not have a choice, right? Why else would we use open source software or ignore marijuana laws?
          • Why else would we use open source software or ignore marijuana laws?

            Because Windows costs too much and I can't find a speed dealer I can trust.

  • I've never been into online games where it's just me in the room.
    A group of friends all together is the way to go.
  • It's like going to a party where you drink and dance by yourself in your living room, and connect to everyone else through headsets, video cameras and HD TVs. No matter how you look at it, the end result is a lame party.

    finally a good analogy.
    Nothing like playing Duke3d in the University Math computer center, those were real LAN parties. Its many times more fun to play multiplayer when you can physically/verbally assault your enemies..... plus the occasional "let me see where you are hiding" trip to the

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by bigstrat2003 (1058574)

      plus the occasional "let me see where you are hiding" trip to the other teams monitors.

      Ironically, this is the one thing that causes me to favor online gaming over in-person gaming. I consider looking at people's screens (unavoidable to some extent on a split-screen console game, to be fair) cheating, nothing else. It's using information that your opponent doesn't have, information acquired outside the confines of the game, to gain an advantage over them. My friends who I play with don't do this, but people who do give me incentive really quickly to no longer play with them.

  • ... monolith released the multiplayer segment of F.E.A.R. for free to the community? in all seriousness, how many of us buy an fps for the single player mode, halo, half life, prey, and so on aside. after you play through that once, replay value lies in handing some noob his ass on a platter. or more importantly, console games aside, who buys single player role playing games for their computer, instead of mmo's, outside of monetary restraints? sure theres an impersonal feel, and sometimes i really want to
    • by Dorceon (928997)
      Multiplayer pretty much never has a story, and even when it does, how often is it a story worth a damn? I think co-op story mode is the only exception, and most things with co-op tend to separate it from the story mode. "Replay value" is a euphemism for "What you do when the story is done." I either start the story over or start a new one. Once you divest the world from its story, you're only one step removed from self-insertion fanfic.
      • Why don't you bug off and read a book or something? Divest the world from its story? What, it's predictable crappy video game story? No thanks.
  • by mr_mischief (456295) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:11PM (#17990522) Journal
    I can't have an emotional attachment to him when we play games online? So I had no emotional attachment to my wife when she and I were engaged and she lived 1400 miles away? That's a pretty peculiar idea.

    Sure, it's often more fun to have a LAN party than to jump on a server together remotely. Just because something's not quite as fun as something else doesn't mean it's not fun. The world, even for computer geeks, is not binary in every respect. There's no switch that flips from "fun" to "not fun".

    I guess the author of TFA thinks that playing a game and losing isn't fun because playing an winning is more fun. That winning $10,000 in the lottery isn't a nice surprise because winning $10,000,000 would be nicer... That having sex with one woman isn't fun because it's not a threesome...

    What a tool.
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      There's no switch that flips from "fun" to "not fun".

      You've obviously never been attacked by real-life orcs.
  • Some friends and I had a lan party last week, we rented a church hall. There weren't many of us, but it was good fun. I'd also recommend Xfire [xfire.com], it allows your friends to see when you're online and just join the server. You can even chat to each other in game, but independently of the game, which can be very handy.
  • Tell that to Blizzard, dipshit.

    This guy is like one of those people in the 60s talking about how computers in the year 2000 will take up skyscrapers.
  • by aralin (107264) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:17PM (#17990574)
    This guy has obviously problem to compare two things and select the better alternative. Lets look at his party analogy:
    • No virus spreading.
    • You can control your noise volume.
    • You can select which people attend the party.
    • You can override the music selection at the party.
    • You can take a break to watch your favorite TV show.
    • Everybody can drink, no drunk driving.
    • In fact, no driving anywhere at all.
    • If you don't want to dress up, you can still just watch and listen.
    • ...
    I am not even going to mention that he would make friends online and emotionally attach to them even if he never sit in the same room, because that would be obviously lost on the troll who wrote the article.
    • Don't forget:

      * Nobody in the party lives within 370 miles of you, so no matter how well you hit it off with a person, you can't follow up with a real life date or activity.
      * Unless you plan ahead, you get dumped into a "party" full of strangers, who all see you as either a bug to be squashed, or as an X factor who could screw up their team by your ego or incompetence.
      * Partygoers are 95% male, 80% egomaniacs, and 93% morons who spl lk ths wtf lol!!!!1

      Face it. If multiplayer gaming is a party, it's a really
      • by aralin (107264)
        For some strange reason most Americans seem to me humor challenged. Unless someone specifically says: "I am kidding.", most jokes seem to pass through as a serious opinion. No matter how much out there they would be. Especially if you follow your joke with a serious comment, there is almost zero chance people would get it. What kind of strange land did I make myself live in? *sigh* Or could it be that Slashdotters from U.S. of A. just came to rely on someone nice to moderate such comments as "Funny" for the
        • I think we're all humor-impaired. The Internet manages to browbeat our sense of irony by exposing us to legions of people who sincerely, wholeheartedly believe all sorts of "you've got to be frakkin' kidding" ideas.

          For the record, I wasn't describing anything that has personally happened to me. I was describing "stereotypical extreme stupid party behavior", self-consciously using the words "like" and "totally" in an attempt at humor.

          You'll have to trust me when I say that it was kind of funny before I wen
  • by Durrok (912509) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .skcushcetllac.> on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:17PM (#17990576) Homepage Journal
    This is why EA and other game companies continually puts lackluster support into their online games and get away with it. The percentage of people that play online is at best 10%. When you have 90%+ of your customers buying the game who cares if their are balance issues or you can ruin a game just by pressing alt+F4 (damn you mismatch errors, damn you to hell).

    I can't understand it personally. AI for games are very boring and predictable. The only way game developers make the game harder is by letting the AI cheat. This isn't the AI outsmarting you or being better then you, it's just plain crap. Even then it's usually a moderate challenge at best.

    For you people so scared to play online: Go try it out. It's not as bad as you think, especially within the first month that a game has came out. Yes, you will get owned. You will likely be called a n00b. Watch what they are doing though. Learn the tactics that are being used on you and use them to defeat other players. If you want to go the extra mile read forums about tactics in between refreshing slashdot while at home or work if they allow it. You too will see be "pwning" "n00bs" with your "l33tness".

    ... or play through the single player and shelve it. To each his own.
    • I simply do not have the time to invest to become 'l33t'. Why should I spend countless hours to try to 'pwn' a bunch of whining little 12 year old punks? I'll enjoy my single player experience and some multiplayer when my friends are over.
  • I'm _building_ emotional connections to the people I'm playing with. The reason I'm playing online in the _first_ place, cuz its a PITA to go to a LAN party and stuff 40 people in the same room. MUCH more convenient (time, and moving) wise to just hop online, and play with buddies. LAN parties have their place, but one needs to look at the original problem, not the symptom.

    Thank-god for VoIP -- it adds part of the missing dimension from LAN parties.

  • I'm an MMOG player too and there are lessons learned there, but I'll focus on Starcraft. If you make an online multiplayer "competitive" game, you must make it so there are no win trading abuses. Warcraft 3 had no win trading abuses and was better in that one aspect. If you make an online competive game, you must make sure you squash hackers like you mean buisness. An anti map hack program could have been made in a various number of ways, but they chose not to pursue that route and the game became pointl
    • You're right. When I play a game and enjoy it, I think to myself, "Self, what would make this enjoyable experience complete for me? By jove, I've got it! Spending months and months getting my ass handed to me on a platter, game in, game out, until that sweet, miraculous day when I find myself winning almost as many games as I'm losing. Once I've spent thousands of hours honing the sacred craft that is this particular RTS/FSP, learning every technique to gain an edge over some random fifteen year old in
      • by Reapy (688651)
        Im right there with you. Usually it takes an amazing game that will get me playing it enough, out of fun, to learn well enough to not lose all the time.

        But with that few and far between, another solution to the problem is to play the game right after release. Most games that come out now a days have incredibly similar mechanics to older games, so if you've been gaming a while, chances are you will figure out how to win a lot faster then some of the youngens.

        So for a month or two, you get some blissful noob
  • Why? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by mqduck (232646)
    Why do we care about someone's drunken ramblings on his blog (redundant?)? If we didn't care to make a controversy out of online versus in-person multiplayer ten years ago, why would we care to now?

    I fear I'm becoming a typical cranky Slashdot reading.
  • by king-manic (409855) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:39PM (#17990824)
    Online play is a niche market. For a number of reasons Online gaming appeals mostly to 1337 players. Most people do not want to get pwned or griefed. Most people feel the out of the package AI is challenging enough. That is why MMORPG/FPS aren't devouring the whole console market or the attach rates for the free live service is fairly low and paying members even lower. The online stores have changed this a little, but most people still do not feel a desire to play online. Online play isn't the compelling feature slash gamers think it is. Perhaps the Wii will also bring online play to masses but for now the genres discourage true newbies from entering into that arena and isn't compelling for most console owners. No non-1337 individuals I know play online. None. The ones that do, post here and have been online gamer geeks since doom. We are outlyers. Online isn't that important yet.
    • by rujholla (823296)

      Online play is a niche market.

      I'm sorry but I'd have to disagree and point to the amazing success that Blizzard is experiencing with Worlds of Warcraft to say that if it is a niche its a pretty damn big niche.

      • 6 mil (WOW total users) vs install base of 100 mil (PS2 install base). Even WOW is a "niche" product.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by fyrewulff (702920)
          Or think about it this way: 6-8 million subscribers under the population of both China and the US: 1 billion and 260 million. Here's some other numbers: Copies of Halo 2 sold: 7 million+ People that ever took it online: 1.2 million Active userbase of Halo 2 per day at any time: 30,000- 100,000 You can see the daily stats of the game here: http://www.bungie.net/Stats/ [bungie.net] I think what the guy was really trying to say though, (and I agree with him as a game developer) is that the new "every game must have on
  • Under that logic, then no one would communicate via internet to begin with let alone use it as a tool to meet potential partners. I think it's be covered enough that the level of anonymity that internet allows is a double edged sword, reducing inhibitions while also providing a sterile environment capable of deception.

    The realm of multiplayer gaming may not fall on the sinister end of the internet (for the most part), but it is not immune to falling victim to sterility and lack of emotional connections. I t
  • by seebs (15766) on Monday February 12, 2007 @08:42PM (#17990868) Homepage
    I have very little face-to-face empathy, so I don't really care whether people are near or far; it makes little difference to me.

    So for me, socials online are about as interesting (or uninteresting, sometimes) as socials offline.
  • Look, I play multiplayer for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is that other human players enhance the game play beyond what a stupid AI could. Whether I have an emotional connect with the other players is not really important. Yes, sometimes I like to play games with people I know, and people that I can chat with, but that is not the only basis for playing. This isn't a dating service or a "party" as the article likes to suggest. When I'm killing/dying on say CS, I couldn't care less about who the

  • Another example of piss-poor game journalism. I can care less about emotional attachment. When it comes to gaming, artificial intelligence is grossly inferior to human intelligence.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Osty (16825)

      Another example of piss-poor game journalism. I can care less about emotional attachment. When it comes to gaming, artificial intelligence is grossly inferior to human intelligence.

      Your jibe would make sense if the article was about single-player vs. multiplayer. It wasn't. His main focus was on Mario Kart 64 (recently released on Wii's Virtual Console). The core gameplay in MK64 was local multiplayer, and the author explicitly said that he'd rather play local multiplayer with friends than online mul

    • by Dunbal (464142)
      When it comes to gaming, artificial intelligence is grossly inferior to human intelligence

            Correct. There is no way to program an AI to smacktalk, whine, plead and then beg as convincingly as another human when I kill them and take their stuff...
      • People like that--people who outspokenly relish in the suffering and frustration they cause other gamers--are a major turn-off for many would-be multiplayers. Especially when they know that they'll probably never have the skill necessary to deliver some oh-so-satisfying payback.

        From the time I was six, I was taught to be gracious when I won, or else people wouldn't want to play against me anymore. Judging from my multiplayer experiences, an entire generation of inept typists were never taught that lesson.
  • by edschurr (999028)
    He is right in part. When I'm interested in seriously playing a game, I only go online because bots suck compared to humans, especially in teams. But often-times I'm looking to relax a little and make idle conversation between rounds.
    • by Nushio (951488)
      Sorry, I couldn't find the +1, Damn Right moderation.

      However, I like the Xbox live online approach (be able to talk with other people) rather than the Nintendo approach (Race against others as if they were super bots that disconnect)
  • IMO the draw of multiplayer games are primarily the superiority of human intelligence in relation to the artificial intelligence we enjoy in games today. AI continues to be a difficult problem for game developers and no matter how hard they try, they probably won't ever be able to create ingame AI driven opponents with anywhere near the level of creativity/ingenuity the common gamer holds. Who wants to demolish seven computer zerg opponents when you can ambush that dude who keeps zerg rushing the hell out o
  • I have an emotional connection with the people in my life, but i prefer killing people online. Single player games don't keep my attention for very long.
  • But then again... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Monday February 12, 2007 @09:05PM (#17991098)
    if I go to a party and people are playing video games, thats a pretty lame ass party.

    Think about it - a lot of us are "closet nerds" or maybe those who aren't 24/7 all about being a geek. I personally don't have a group of friends (locally) into gaming, its something I pretty much do on my own. So, given that, where's my option to play other people? For a lot of games, the best modes are multiplayer, so for me they need to be online to really be any fun.

    The biggest problem today is matchmaking and group cohesion. Cliche as it is, I've had some of the most fun online playing Halo 2 with a group of friends I don't live around anymore. Having the couch system is great, as we are in continuous contact before, during, and after the game, and navigating around is a group experience. Being able to easily play with your friends and keeping you in contact and together throughout the game is a lot of fun. Another, more limited experience I've had is playing multiplayer games with the xbox live 360 chat channel. That lets you play with one other person and stay in constant contact with them. The same goes for playing Battlefield 2 as a squad with teamspeak. I'm not a MMORPGer, but I'd imagine doing dungeons with a party that has voice connect is a comparable experience.

    So multiplayer online can suck, but it can also be almost as rich as having someone in the same room playing the game if its done right.
  • I personally get bored of AI. No matter how advanced or innovative it is it simply is never as entertaining as real humans. Because humans are both random and adaptable. Even stupid ones :) And it's especially satisfying when you can text/voice chat with the human (stranger or not) as you both laugh/cry/vent over what just transpired in-game.
  • argument against Prey. Online deathmatch, but no split-screen. How does that work? Seriously now, you can't possibly tell me that it's easier to develop a networked 3-d environment rather than 2-4 viewports on one screen. This rather ticked me off.
    • Actually yes it is. Enabling network connectivity isn't a cheap endeavor as far as performance is concerned but a loot of the problems with networking games has more to do with fixing errors and hiccups in the network itself. It's more of a challenge in stress (that of the programmers) then it is a challenge in hardware

      However having 2-4 viewports on one screen can have serious repercussions on performance. That is 4 controls being controlled by one system, 4 places in the game world to compute the 3d sound
  • Agreed. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Punchcardz (598335)
    No one is ever going to play online multiplayer games alone in their room. I expect the genre to die off before it really gets off the ground.
  • They guy's opinion is just plain 180 degree opposite mine. No AI can be as varied or original as a human opponent.
    • by slim (1652)

      They guy's opinion is just plain 180 degree opposite mine. No AI can be as varied or original as a human opponent.
      Depends on the human. Try playing against me and you'll be begging for the challenge and variety of an AI in no time.
  • I stopped going to LAN games years ago, because while the majority of guys I'd game with were awesome, there were a couple of really loud tossers screaming "YEH BITcH!" "I'M GONNA PWN JU BITCH!" It got to the point that every time they opened their mouths or walked past me I wanted to punch them in the face.

    I ended up with a headache and the fun factor started dwindling. However, I could happily play a game online in the sublime tranquility of my own house.

    That and the fact that I don't have to pack up my w
  • The author of TFA seems to have never played a game online in co-op. It's a whole different experience. Cooperative play - especially the way that some games are implementing it now with drop-in/drop-out - is incredibly fun, often more fun than playing alone. You're not playing with random strangers usually either.
  • Just play any PC game that works in a LAN.

    You play Online, and you play with your friends.

    If you want to chat with them, install Ventrilo too.

  • multiplayer will never die for many genres because, until there is a major leap forward in computer artificial intelligence, it will always be more engaging, challenging and satisfying to compete against a human controlled avatar than a computer controlled avatar. and in fact, now that I think it about it, it will probably always be that way. why? because when computer AI is worse than human, humans will be more fun. when computer AI is better than humans, it will be impossible to beat and in many cases
  • by jchenx (267053) on Tuesday February 13, 2007 @05:23AM (#17994850) Journal
    First of all, I completely agree with the other comments regarding this guy's blog. It's not an article. Why do we care about some random guy's comments? If it was some well-known game developer or industry veteran, then maybe that would be Slashdot worthy. But as far as I can tell, he's just some story writer on a game site I haven't heard of. I'm not saying the site or the writer is bad, per say, just that it's not exactly newsworthy ...

    But in any case, I think one point he misses out is that some games are better suited than others for the multiplayer experience. I agree that a lot of the multiplayer games on Nintendo platforms (particularly the N64 era), were great experiences. Many of those games, though, were almost party games in a way, as they almost seemed to rely on having that close contact with your friends (high-fiving, smack-talking, controller-trading experience). And he's right, those type of games don't really translate well online.

    However, there are many games which do perfectly well through online multiplayer, or are even made better by it. Team-based shooting games, is one great example. I've been playing some Rainbow Six: Vegas with friends, doing both cooperative story missions, and team multiplayer. Having the full screen to myself, as well as voice communication, really adds to the experience (as well as make it quite realistic). This is not something that would translate very well to split-screen action. It would work very well in a LAN environment, but let's be serious. Those are difficult to setup, and certainly not something you can do every day easily, unless you all happen to live in a close environment (college dorms or such).

    The other big example is MMORPGs. Obviously having online multiplayer is a necessity. We all know how popular World of Warcraft is.

    So in short, saying "Online Multiplayer Isn't That Important" doesn't mean much to me. What type of games is he talking about? It's certainly true in some circumstances, but not in others.
  • He's entitled to his opinion, but IMO he's wrong.

    If online multiplayer weren't a 'big' thing, games companies would have stopped bothering to code for it long ago.

    Is it MORE fun to play in the same room with someone, or against RL friends? Sure, in most cases. But the level of creativity, irrationality, and downright dogged malice you get having a human opponent(s) rather than an AI? No question whatsoever, the games play 100% differently and (usually) better.

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