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Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games? 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-needed-to-frag-each-other-while-stomping-koopas dept.
hornedrat writes "Gamepro discusses the idea that modern games put too much emphasis on multiplayer, and that players aren't as concerned about it as developers think. 'The current environment encourages developers to unnecessarily toss multiplayer into their games without caring about it — or even considering whether anyone will bother playing it. It’s like they're checking an invisible quota box that demands multiplayer's inclusion.' Personally I agree that too much emphasis is placed on competitive multiplayer. I play online, but only with my brother in games that allow co-operative modes, like Rainbow Six: Vegas and ARMA 2. 'My point isn't that developers shouldn't try and conquer Halo or Call of Duty. We'd never have any progress in this industry if developers didn't compete. Game companies, however, should think carefully about what they want their games to be, and more important, gamers should consider what they want. If a developer wants to eclipse Halo, then by all means, pour that effort into a multiplayer mode that's different.' I would be interested to know how many gamers really care about the multiplayer components of the games they buy."
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Too Much Multiplayer In Today's Games?

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  • Hardly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Threni (635302) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:33PM (#33037618)

    I exclusively play multiplayer games, except on my phone when I want a quick game of Vexed or something to pass the time. Other than that, single player games are a little sad, and never as challenging as multiplayer. The way single player games are made challenging are to have bad guys with more strength/weapons/power than you, and/or cheating. Whereas QuakeLive is as good as the guys you're playing against, and given that it's full of clan players and people who've been playing quake for perhaps longer than they should have, it means that you're competing on level ground when it comes to player specs/weapons, but against people who know every last trick available (which you can learn should you be arsed). Who wants to play quakelive against bots? What would be the point?

  • Short lifespan (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:41PM (#33037650)
    The problem with multi-player is that it depends on an online server today which will shut down in time. Consider Super Mario Bros. a game made what? Nearly 30 years ago? It is still as playable today as is was in the 80s. Now consider Halo 2 made in 2004 which is now crippled in 2010 because Xbox live for the Xbox has been discontinued.
  • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:43PM (#33037664)

    I virtually never play multiplayer online (I'll play multiplayer console games with friends, but virtually never with random people). Why? Two reasons. First, multiplayer is horribly repetitive and lacks originality. Secondly, when doing random matches online, the overwhelming majority of people are total asshats (see John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory) that completely ruin any fun.

    Companies need to focus on having original gameplay and an involving story that keeps you wanting to play, not just repetitive multiplayer.

  • by Speare (84249) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:46PM (#33037680) Homepage Journal
    The two Super Mario Galaxy games have this "sidekick" feature that lets your little brother have fun while you're playing. You achieve all the tough stuff in the level, while any toddler who wants to sit next to you can wave the wand and collect extra stars that may help you out in some way. I'd love to see more games have a sidekick feature, or a mode which is way easier and open-ended than the beat-a-boss-find-a-bigger-boss treadmill. Say, for each major area in the game, just let somebody putz around and explore, push buttons, be congratulated for finding stuff and reset things so they can "find" them again and again. We don't all start out as an obsessed 14-year-old ready to frag everybody in sight.
  • Around the late 1990s and early 2000s, there were a number of games with both single-player and multiplayer components, where basically nobody cared about the single-player components, and companies increasingly decided that, as a result, it was hardly worth bothering with them. Starcraft wasn't a success because of its single-player missions, the new single-player missions weren't what sold most copies of the Starcraft: Brood War expansion. Counterstrike was a huge success despite not even having a single-player component. Same with Quake 3 Arena: just ditched the single-player entirely, and did very well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:50PM (#33037708)

    So what if you had great time playing them then? I mean, you probably aren't spending quality time with your old girlfriends anymore, and the pizza you ate yesterday is gone already. Other items and your car wears off too, and new interesting products come. Hell, when you die your life is gone. Nothing lasts forever, so why would games be different? The important thing is that you have or had great time.

    It makes no sense not to enjoy about products (or girls) just because you might not be able to do so forever.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ephemeriis (315124) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:51PM (#33037712)

    I exclusively play multiplayer games, except on my phone when I want a quick game of Vexed or something to pass the time. Other than that, single player games are a little sad, and never as challenging as multiplayer. The way single player games are made challenging are to have bad guys with more strength/weapons/power than you, and/or cheating. Whereas QuakeLive is as good as the guys you're playing against, and given that it's full of clan players and people who've been playing quake for perhaps longer than they should have, it means that you're competing on level ground when it comes to player specs/weapons, but against people who know every last trick available (which you can learn should you be arsed). Who wants to play quakelive against bots? What would be the point?

    You're only thinking of a very narrow subset of games.

    Was Myst made more challenging by giving the bad guys more strength/weapons/power than the player? What about The Path? Or Braid? Or Portal?

    Lots of games challenge players in different ways - challenge them to think through a situation, rather than relying on quick reflexes or memorizing a map's layout.

    But I think you're missing the broader picture... A single-player game does not need to be challenging to be fun. It doesn't actually have to be hard to complete. A single-player game can present an interesting storyline in ways that a multi-player game cannot (or, at least, has not yet).

    In a single-player game you can develop characters and settings. You can explore a world. You can show the consequences of your actions. You can have a whole story arc.

    A multi-player game is generally about pure competition. Beat the other guy. Score more kills. Get more points.

    It's kind of like comparing football to a novel.

  • both are good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headonfire (160408) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:51PM (#33037718)

    Personally I like both qualities, depending on the game. A game that I can pick up any time and play solo is probably going to get more attention from me in general, but having the option of multiplayer is good, too. It really depends on the game - it definitely shouldn't be shoehorned in, but at the same time, it can be a fun bonus feature in an otherwise solo game.

    Prototype comes to mind - a primarily solo game that game would've been a riot if i could bring in a buddy or two with all that superpowered and disembowel-ly fun to spread some chaos on the unsuspecting city, but it did hold up well as single player only - all the focus was on the solo campaign with no distractions of deathmatches or arenas or any junk like that shoehorned in. It just comes down to making a decision on the type of game you want to produce and to make sure that you do it right all around. I play Borderlands solo pretty regularly, for example, but I could be playing with friends any time and it would be a relatively seamless experience. Putting multiplayer into Bioshock 2, however, I thought was a horrific waste - it just doesn't "fit" the game, the environment, the atmosphere. It seems like it cheapens the experience. Gamers aren't right about what they want all the time, and this was one of those times. (I don't know what invisible horde it was that was clamoring for multi in bioshock 2, but thanks a lot guys. that's time and money they could've put into making the single player game actually better than the first.)

    What more can be said? Multiplayer and single player both have their places. I played Fallout 3 and loved it, very much a solo game. On the other hand I play Team Fortress 2 like a maniac, and conceptually it's the very core of multiplayer.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:53PM (#33037734)
    There are some fundamental flaws in multiplayer games that can't be fixed with technology that make things non-fun.

    A) Most random people on the internet who play games on Xbox live and the like are complete assholes. Consider the message I got last night while playing some TF2 "Why are you fucking hacking you fucking douchbag" and the reason that was given that I was "hacking" is because I managed to backstab him while he was sniping several times in the row when his back was turned... Enough people like that are out in the world to make playing online against random people a pain.

    B) The difficulty. It takes a lot longer to learn how to efficiently play an online game than it is to learn to play a single player game. Even worse is if you are in a team-style game and have to endure abuse about how you aren't as great as they are despite the fact you bought the game yesterday... And difficulty can't be accurately chosen unlike a single player game, yes, there are systems like Halo's matchmaking, but even that doesn't always work.

    C) Cheating/Lag, few things are more frustrating than trying to snipe on a laggy connection.

    D) Badly managed servers. For example, on Team Fortress 2, you will have people who decide to make everyone be engineers, then suddenly allow for one spy, then make everyone be engineers once someone on their team is the spy...
  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monchanger (637670) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:54PM (#33037750) Journal

    Who wants to play quakelive against bots? What would be the point?

    I do, especially when I first start out.

    Years back I was interested enough to take a look at "America's Army" to see what all the fuss was about and I quit and uninstalled before the first match was even over. It felt complicated, my mission was unknown, and the other players didn't know not to expect anything of a guy who not only just started playing but hasn't been an FPS guy since playing Doom2 over the network in high school.

    I got a beta invite to Starcraft2 and ran into the exact same problem. Having never played the original I definitely wanted to give it a test run before purchasing. The beta doesn't include campaign mode, which is understandable, but doesn't have even the first mission of the tutorial where you learn to just move units around and what your resources are. I'm glad for serious players that Blizzard had the wisdom to tier their players so I never play someone who's been playing Starcraft for a decade, but I was still an annoying scrub to another beginning player who could have been just one not-so-god-awful-player- away from the next tier up. Given the awful zerging I got, I've very little interest in buying the game.

    Multiplayer is great for going beyond the basics, but there are plenty of players who don't or won't. I've got a life and only play a game for a few dozen hours, so I do want the easy-to-medium level AI.

  • Time sink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bruinwar (1034968) <bruinwar@NOSpAM.hotmail.com> on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:57PM (#33037786)

    For me, multiplayer games require time to learn to be functional in it. Maybe too much time. Time to learn the maps, the strats, to not be a noob. It's not fun to be frag meat.
    With all the extra time I put in these days at work, not to mention stress, my gaming time is more limited.

    I prefer single player more now. Single player means just moving along at my own pace. No pressure, no matches, no expectations.

  • by FlyByPC (841016) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:59PM (#33037810) Homepage
    I go for single-player games. For me, gaming is about escapism -- and the story / plot. This is why I love playing Oblivion but won't touch WoW or other MMORPGs. Sartre said it best: "L'enfer, c'est les autres." ("Hell is other people.")
  • by Jimmy King (828214) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:06PM (#33037886) Homepage Journal

    I'm in the same boat. Online multiplayer against strangers is fun for the first month or two a game is out for me. After that, most of the regular people and average skilled gamers have left and all you've got are people that are some combination of so much better than me (and better than I have the time and patience or natural talent to be) that I might as well just set the controller down and let them kill me and assholes. If all it has going for it is multiplayer, I'll probably stop there and not buy any expansions or sequels.

    Good single player game? I'll buy it, I'll probably buy most of the expansions that get released, and I'll buy the sequels. That's held true to Fable (I also re-bought the whole game just for the lost chapters version), Fable 2, Fallout 3, Dragon Age, Oblivion, Rock Band, and so on with a continually growing list of games that include, and are frequently solely based on, a solid single player experience

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:14PM (#33037982)

    I disagree. A lot of RPG's have had extremely successful single-player campaigns, but the graphics were not all that great, even when the game first came out ... and many continue replaying it. Why? Not graphics or challenge, but story. "Hey, what happens to the story if I do it this way instead" or "use this character" or "how does this class follow the story path" ... etc.

    Or, say, Oblivion. Not a hard game. Not amazing graphics (at least, anymore), but generically nice. Not multiplayer at all. It was pretty successful. It had a more or less simple and somewhat interesting main storyline, but what made it fun was the rather free world it presented.

    Your example of "Tom Clancy: Press A" with moving dialogues (basically, a book) is a bit oversimplified. When the GP was talking about "story," I'm pretty sure he's talking about story interaction, not just the flat linear telling of a story. It's the placing of the game player into the story that people like, not simply being told the story itself. It's BEING the protagonist - or someone in the story, anyways - that's fun.

    Just like actually controlling the exploration of a world is a lot different than having a guided tour of the world. Who would want a guided tour of Oblivion, a hands-off experience? That'd be boring.

    Many non-RPG games appear to be putting RPG elements in, as well. FPS's with a lot of storyline (e.g., Half-Life). FPS's with characters gaining levels/experience ("Action-RPG"). Heavy story RTS games with small "experience"-based leveling type things, such as World in Conflict.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by getNewNickName (980625) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:22PM (#33038078)
    Most of the responses so far have equated multiplayer with death-match style gameplay. What people seem to be neglecting is coop campaign style multiplayer. I don't much care for death-match with random online players, but instead it's fun to get together with friends to play through story mode. This is what I would like to see more of in upcoming games.
  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:26PM (#33038118) Journal

    Multiplayer mode is one of those features that relatively few players use, but almost everyone surveyed say they will use. Go figure.

    However, one conclusion is very clear (as seen at various discussions on Gamasutra and at GDC Austin): multiplayer is seen by developers as an excellent way to extend the lifespan of a game. Multiplayer is essentially free content. The idea is that a player will keep coming back for multiplayer, thus keeping the title fresh in their minds, and making it more likely they will buy expansions or sequels. Is this true? Case-by-case basis.

    I suspect that until multiplayer gaming is cleaned up (something done to lock out griefers and cheaters, and deal with bad behavior generically), many people will quickly find that multiplayer play loses its sparkle. As the industry is starting to realize, if a game is associated with nothing but a bad experience due to a cretinous few, it won't matter that it's not the publisher's fault. A player will say "Crysis, yeah, that's where the aimbots are at, and that's where I get called a fag every five seconds", then go off to TF2 (which enjoys a better reputation for being more supportive towards n00bs like me). In a situation like that, someone will be more likely to buy TF3 than Crysis 2, because of the negativity surrounding the one and the positivity surrounding the other. Fair or otherwise, that's reality.

  • by demonbug (309515) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:26PM (#33038130) Journal

    I'd say the problem is the preponderance of squeaky-voiced racist children. Multiplayer games need better filters to keep out the riff-raff.

    That's one of the things that is driving me away from multiplayer games. This problem used to be more or less solved; I'd only play on servers with active admins that would kick/ban people like that. Sadly the major developers/publishers seem to have decided that this is somehow bad, and instead like to match me up with random fuckwads with no way of getting rid of them or choosing a specific server to play on. They all seem to be taking a step backwards in this respect, apparently thinking that a server list is way too complicated for us "consumers", allowing people to set up their own dedicated hosts is evil, and generally sacrificing my ability to play where and how I see fit in the name of idiocies such as global "accomplishments" and stat tracking (seriously? Does anyone actually care about that crap?).

  • by Cwix (1671282) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:28PM (#33038144)

    It seems (to me at least) that its getting difficult to find games that allow you to share a screen with someone. When Im looking at the PS3 games and most of them say Players: 1 Online Multiplayer: 2- 8. I dont particularly like it. I remember playing two player games at my friends house or with my brothers and sharing the screen. Im not going to buy a second PS3 and television just so I can play two player games with my friends. Split that screen up.

  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:41PM (#33038290) Homepage

    The trouble aren't really the games that focus completly on multiplayer, but the games that do it as a lackluster sideshow. So instead of focusing all their development power on the singleplayer, they waste time on a second rate multiplayer mode that nobody is going to play anyway.

    See Brütal Legend as a horrible example, instead of doing the proper singleplayer game that people wanted, they have created this hybrid of a ultra short singleplayer campaign combined with a lame multiplayer mode. It kind of boggles my mind how anybody could look at that concept and consider it a good idea. But there are of cause plenty of other games where the multilpayer mode is basically just there so that they can say "Hey, we have multiplayer to!".

    If developers don't care enough about multiplayer to make it really good, they just should give up on it and focus on singleplayer, as a multiplayer that nobody plays is basically less then worthless. It is kind of the same with MMORPGs, you have to be really really good if you want to compete against WoW, if that is to much, then there is little point in even trying.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mirage of Deceit (1844850) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:49PM (#33038368)

    A single-player game does not need to be challenging to be fun. It doesn't actually have to be hard to complete. A single-player game can present an interesting storyline in ways that a multi-player game cannot (or, at least, has not yet).

    In a single-player game you can develop characters and settings. You can explore a world. You can show the consequences of your actions. You can have a whole story arc.

    My thoughts exactly. Pretty much every BioWare game ever (especially Dragon Age or the Mass Effect games) is about story and consequences; the gameplay is not terribly difficult, even on the highest difficulty settings. Same thing can be said for Bethesda games, like Fallout 3 or Oblivion; not 'impossible' to beat by any stretch, and far more about exploring interesting new worlds. All of these examples are games that did extremely well without ANY multiplayer 'tacked on', as it were

    Multiplayer has its place, certainly. Every now and then I just need to put in Left 4 Dead and massacre some zombies with a couple of friends. But it's nice to separate myself from that sometimes and dig into a truly engrossing story.

    I think the main point here is that nobody has found a good way to merge the two, so we are all stuck with either: a) single-player-focused games with deep and moving storylines / settings and a forced, artificial multiplayer tacked on or b) multiplayer-focused games with forced, artificial story / characters tacked on.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Urza9814 (883915) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:50PM (#33038370)

    Whereas QuakeLive is as good as the guys you're playing against, and given that it's full of clan players and people who've been playing quake for perhaps longer than they should have, it means that you're competing on level ground when it comes to player specs/weapons, but against people who know every last trick available (which you can learn should you be arsed).

    That's exactly why I very rarely play games in online multiplayer. Some games are better than others - Call of Duty has a somewhat decent system that tries to balance teams a bit. Halo, if I remember correctly, basically just throws you together with whoever. Personally, I can't spend more than a few hours a week playing a game, _especially_ if it's multiplayer (no pause button). I'm not a huge fan of getting killed 20 times with headshots by people I never even saw. As I said, Call of Duty is one of the better games in this respect, as after a particularly lazy couple months playing 20+ hours a week I finally managed to get 2-3 kills per round (and 15-20 deaths), but I can remember playing the original Halo damn near nonstop for a month or two (probably 10 hours a day at least) and still being lucky if I got a single kill, or even managed to stay alive for more than 5 minutes, in a multiplayer match. I love offline multiplayer, but when a game throws a first time player in with people who play for 10 hours a day for months or even years on end, it generally doesn't work.

    Sure, if you're a hardcore gamer who spends a couple hours every day playing FPS games, then yea, you want multiplayer. But those of us who can only squeeze in a couple hours on the weekends would really prefer a longer campaign mode. And I hardly think that they have to cheat to make the computer better - they just have to cheat less in favor of the player. I mean why is it that on _every single FPS I've ever played_, I can kill them in one shot, but if they shoot me once with the same weapon, at worst I have very low health - more than likely I can stand several shots before I die.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:04PM (#33038536)

    If it were anything like the coop Alien Swarm or Left 4 Dead, you'd have lots of fun once you found a core group to play with, and lots of misery till then as you got stuck with asshole after asshole who found it more fun to fuck the team over than actually play the game. Can you imagine the sort of pain you'd get into when griefers can make portals?

    Don't get me wrong, I love the L4D series and so far have enjoyed my brief forays into Alien Swarm, but every time I launch the game and see none of my core group online to play with, I cringe a little over what the next pug I'll be stuck with will be like.

  • by JanneM (7445) on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:05PM (#33038538) Homepage

    "My cousin (a total noob at any kind of gaming ... or PCs) was like one of those target dummies in Oblivion, and my brother and I chased him all over the map blowing him up, mowing him down and generally turning him into dog food. Fun!"

    How much fun did your cousin have?

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:07PM (#33038572)

    What's really pissy is where it's a "multiplayer" mode that's completely limited to only one player per box.

    If I can't do 4-player, head-to-head at home, then I can't gather friends and have it as a party game. And therefore it's pointless, because I don't want to spend that much time online with random people.

    Completely agreed on Bioshock 2. All the time they wasted on multiplayer mode could have been spent making the single-player game that much stronger.

  • WarioWare (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:07PM (#33038574) Homepage Journal

    What you're describing is QuickTimeEvents and they are one of the worst things about games but still seem to be getting more common.

    Fans of WarioWare, a whole franchise built around sequences of four-second QTEs, would disagree with that.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:53PM (#33038966)

    Yeah, you're being grumpy. You're also being stupid. He didn't play the original, so can provide no feedback on the sequel? That's an idiotic thing to say, especially if you really think every single consumer who buys SC2 will have played, much less mastered, SC1.

  • Re:If it's a FPS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:56PM (#33038994)

    It better have good multiplayer. I haven't even touched the single player campaign of MW2 but I play online daily. Play the Medal of Honor beta that's out right now and then say multiplayer doesn't matter. DICE doesn't seem to think so with the crap job they did on MoH's multiplayer.

    Similarly, I wish SHODAN had been played by a random other person selected via a matchmaking service. And Doctor Breen would have been cooler if he were voiced by a kid on XBox Live. How great would Pripyat have been if the monolith were controlled by a Ukrainian connected through Gamespy?

  • by Kjella (173770) on Monday July 26, 2010 @08:22PM (#33039158) Homepage

    I find that depends entirely on the game. Some have entirely too few good strategies and MP becomes more about knowing the "right" way of doing stuff than the fun of trying different things. Humans have unfortunately a very good ability to min-max on a few "best" strategies, while AIs can by programming have different behavior as long as it doesn't end up being pure stupid behavior. I prefer that at least.

  • by Purity Of Essence (1007601) on Monday July 26, 2010 @08:32PM (#33039250)

    No, the problem with multiplayer is it is designed to solve a different problem than single player.

    Think of single player as a film. You can enjoy it by yourself. You can start and stop it whenever you want.

    Think of multiplayer as a board game. You aim to do it with multiple people. It's hard (or impossible) to do it by yourself.

    You're right that it is designed to solve a different problem, but you are wrong about the problem it is solving.

    Today the real drive behind competitive multiplayer is maximizing profits. It's a multipronged stategy.

    First, at all costs, keep people playing. The longer people continue to play, the more new people will buy the game. Regularly release downloadable content to hold the player's interest. Give games some form of persistence through experience systems, trophies, achievements, or other rewards, and people will keep coming back as long as there is something new to collect. Encourage communities, modding, guilds, and anything else that give people a sense of belonging.

    Second, understand that multiplayer usually means people constantly replaying the same small environments. Players love doing the same things over and over if it allows them to gain a sense of mastery. That's what pwning n00bs is all about. These competitive arenas cost relatively little to produce compared to linear single player games, and judging on the basis of the amount of time spent playing them, multiplayer maps are incredibly profitable. Since the players themselves are providing the primary stimulus, it also means not having to worry about: programming scripted events; tuning AI; managing sequence enforcement; doing heavy localization; producing costly music, voice recording, and writing.

    Third, tie the game to subscription models and micro-transactions. World of Warcraft is obviously hugely successful here, but even free-to-play multiplayer games can earn incredible sums with optional purchases, as long as it gives one player a competitive edge over another. If a player can pay $1 for the pleasure of rubbing his friend's face into the dirt, watch that credit card fly from his wallet, especially if there is a public billboard to prove it. Then watch his friend pay $2 to settle the score.

    Fourth, make sure you run the multiplayer servers. Force people to maintain accounts keyed to installations and remove the incentive to pirate the game. If you want to play, you have to pay. And if you screw up bad enough, you have to pay again. Use licensing tricks to circumvent first-sale doctrine, and watch the used game market shrivel and die while you laugh all the way to the bank.

  • by Yosho (135835) on Monday July 26, 2010 @08:39PM (#33039306) Homepage

    I was pretty damn good at Quake and Unreal Tournament back in the day, but I no longer enjoy playing against humans as much as I used to. I don't have the time necessary to play games and study strategy eight hours a day any more, which means that I always lose against the people who do, and quite frequently they're immature, vulgar winners. I could go hang out at the local middle school if I wanted to hear a thirteen-year-old call me a fag.

    So now I play single player games almost exclusively, because I can relax and take them at my own pace.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yosho (135835) on Monday July 26, 2010 @08:46PM (#33039366) Homepage

    FWIW, if you had never played the original... then beta-testing the sequel seems pretty silly. What use woould you be as a beta-tester of the game?

    Maybe you would have been a great candidate for beta-testing the tutorials. Or beta-testing the campaign mode.

    Maybe I'm just being grumpy... but for you to complain, never having played the original, that the beta-test of a sequel was not noob-friendly... well, it just seems like you're barking up the wrong tree.

    As a software developer, I have to say that the best kinds of beta testers are the ones who go in with no expectations and no prior knowledge of the subject.

    Experienced users/players already know how everything works, so they all click on things the same way, interact with things the same way, and use the same general set of features. Inexperienced users/players will click on random things, try unusual combinations of actions, and, in general, do things that no old timer would ever consider.

    Heck, the entire point of a public beta test is to find problems that you didn't find in your internal testing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:15PM (#33039622)

    Oh, kinda like Sonic 2 and 3?

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:28PM (#33039712)
    Bioshock 2. The first one had no multiplayer and was a fairly solid single player game. For the sequel they decided it needed multiplayer, even though not many people were asking for it. The result? A watered down single player campaign, and a watered down multiplayer game that a tiny amount of people play online.
  • by reybrujo (177253) on Monday July 26, 2010 @09:40PM (#33039804) Homepage

    ...I I mentioned in a forum [allegro.cc] that "Multiplayer is actually the best way of not programming a good AI."

  • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benhattman (1258918) on Monday July 26, 2010 @11:15PM (#33040502)

    I got a beta invite to Starcraft2 and ran into the exact same problem. Having never played the original I definitely wanted to give it a test run before purchasing. The beta doesn't include campaign mode, which is understandable, but doesn't have even the first mission of the tutorial where you learn to just move units around and what your resources are. I'm glad for serious players that Blizzard had the wisdom to tier their players so I never play someone who's been playing Starcraft for a decade, but I was still an annoying scrub to another beginning player who could have been just one not-so-god-awful-player- away from the next tier up. Given the awful zerging I got, I've very little interest in buying the game.

    If it makes you feel any better, getting reamed on SC2 isn't just for total noobs like yourself. I last played a lot of SC about 8 years ago, and I got owned pretty seriously by all comers. What seems to be ignored is that, when the challenge of a game is too great, why even play. I mean, it took 5 games on the beta to get ranked, and even once ranked the system often couldn't find an appropriate match (beta was smaller after all).

    I absolutely loved SC, but I'm a busy guy. Why should I play that 7th game if I didn't last five minutes the first 6? Where's the fun in that? As someone who enjoys video games, but doesn't live for them, I am only interested in multiplayer if the people I am playing with are in the same room as me. Otherwise, to me they are just bots who I don't have a difficulty knob for.

  • Re:Hardly (Score:4, Insightful)

    by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1@ho t m a i l . c om> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @05:30AM (#33042118) Homepage Journal

    ...Which is why Sim City, Civilization, X-COM, Master of Magic, Mass effect, and nearly any RPG have been such total flops.

    I've been Computer Gaming since the 80's. The only games I've ever played multi-player are MOO2, Age of Empires, Earth and Beyond and Empire Earth.

    As TFA points out, the problem is that very few studios are making adequate effort to make quality single player games these days.

  • by jythie (914043) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:45AM (#33046940)
    I think you highlight part of the development problem. Many game developers are like what you describe, they have a core group of friends that all game together. So when they design a game they think in terms of what they and their friends do. Last time I looked at stats, only about 10% of people who buy a game actually play it in that mode though,.... yet the development pendulum has swung strongly in that direction.

    It has gotten to the point where if I see 'multiplayer' on a box, I will probably ignore it since I know they have probably dumped most of their resources into the MP aspects and that it will be a rather poor SP game.

    As for what the point is? Because they are fun. I am currently going through Mercenaries 1 (not 2, which was bleh, partly because of how they crippled SP to make MP work) for probably the 10th time.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

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