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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)

    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

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        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 p

    • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        >>>A) Most random people on the internet who play games on Xbox live and the like are complete assholes

        Precisely. Multiplayer was fun when it was just me and some friends with connected modems. 1-on-1 Populous or Firepower was a blast. Tradewars was a blast. And if some asshole showed up, the word quickly went out and the asshole was ganged-up on & exterminated. Then the "Eternal September" happened sometime around 2002, and a bunch of idiots showed up. Goodbye fun.

        Another reason I don't

        • Another reason I don't like multiplayer is there's no

          Me too.

          • ...there's no fixed ending, and it just becomes a grindfest that chews up money from your credit card. I'd sooner buy a solo game like Final Fantasy 12 (fixed ending) or DDR (fixed cost).

      • by Hadlock (143607)

        The trick with online multiplayer is to find a community of like-minded individuals of near your own age group, find their steam community(ies) and play largely inside that circle of people, which tends to be ~100-250 people. I can think of four large, healthy TF2 communities off the top of my head that are also involved in several other games as well. All of a sudden you're playing with people you know, and it becomes a lot more fun. If you play on a 32 player instant respawn server full of strangers who h

      • by Jamu (852752)
        You can largely fix D by blacklisting the server, or simply finding servers you do like and adding them to your favourites. As a bonus you'll probably avoid a lot of the people in A. Personally I take the accusations of hacking as a compliment. Abuse is easy to fix: disable all chat.
      • 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.
      • Re:Hardly (Score:4, Informative)

        by modecx (130548) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:37PM (#33038248)

        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...

        That's not a badly managed server. That's a server with a custom game mode that you don't happen to like. A few multiplayer games have had something of a "cooties" mode, where you either A) avoid getting killed by the cooties monster, B) become the cooties monster and have to kill someone else. As for me, I sometimes find that kind of game an interesting distraction. Sometimes the modder comes up with something *GOOD*, or at least something original.

        Here's badly managed servers for you: every singular MW2 PC server. Due to the idiotic idea that is iwNET, you will be paired you will be paired with a given 'server' if they have an open slot and you have a decent ping. That 'server' is some other schmuck playing in your game. A good 50+% of connections are bad, very bad, or horrible, I'm sure due to any number of faults. Further, the server 'admin' either doesn't know how to correct issies, or is apathetic to the fact that some turd is running a wall-hack or aim-bot.

        If that wasn't bad enough, the kids have found ways of creating servers with their own rules: and here's the rub: you're still connecting to them regardless of any want or desire on your behalf... And you have no idea that you're connecting to a hacked server before you're in it. Example: A few weeks ago, I joined up on a server that instantly leveled me to level 70, and gave me darn near *every* achievement. Every unlock for every gun, every logo...You know... it sucks royal.

        Maybe I'm the only guy who likes playing to accomplish achievements. It forces me to break the mold, try guns and stuff that I might not have liked at first--and learn to dominate people with them. Now, I have every achievement, and can't get rid of them. Can't bring myself to play it anymore.

        At least the modded servers in TF2 tend to advertise that fact--giving you the opportunity to decide if you want to join or not.

    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by benhattman (1258918)

        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

    • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by IrquiM (471313) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:56PM (#33037778) Homepage

      Well... I never play multiplayer, so I've just stopped playing all together!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mad Merlin (837387)

      There's different kinds of multiplayer too. In an (RT)S like Civilization or Starcraft, you're pretty much bound to have a number of peers which can either be human or computer controlled, and this pretty much obviates multiplayer. In a lot of MMORPGs like Game! [wittyrpg.com] or WoW, you can arguably play them as "single player" games, without really interacting with other humans at all, but few people do that. On the other hand, the number of ways you can interact with other humans in an MMORPG is much broader than that

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        How do you play World of Warcraft as a single player game?

        At least according to the Wikipedia page:

        Most end-game challenges are designed in a way that they can only be overcome while in a group.

        So really, I'm guessing the people wanting a single player game are probably looking for the previous Warcraft games, since they are apparently single player.

        I liked the PS2 "Bard's Tale" (it's not really directly related to the old games of the same name), being both humorous in making fun of D&D type games, but

    • Re:Hardly (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hatta (162192) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:16PM (#33038008) Journal

      Go play nethack and get back to me. Yeah, that horde of 'q' is stronger than you are. But who's smarter? (judging from your post, I'm betting on the 'q' actually)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Urza9814 (883915)

      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 be

  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 fore

    • Consider Super Mario Bros. a game made what? Nearly 30 years ago? It is still as playable today as is was in the 80s

      It just requires a LOT of blowing on the cartridge. :)

    • Local multiplayer (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:03PM (#33037856) Homepage Journal

      The problem with multi-player is that it depends on an online server today which will shut down in time.

      Not if it's local multiplayer with one machine and two to four gamepads, like Bomberman series or Smash Bros. series or Tetris Party. Not all multiplayer games have to be FPS or RTS. With the rise of HDTV, it's even practical for PC games to get in on this act.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cwix (1671282)

        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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      A valid point, but LAN parties [pdxlan.net] are now playing free games using local servers which not only eliminate lag, but also will be available long after the profit motive is gone. Buying into an online service whose business model depends on having 100,000 subscribers is as naive as buying into those health clubs that sell "lifetime" memberships -- don't be surprised when you come in one day only to find the doors permanently locked.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Loconut1389 (455297)

      Just an aside, but I found Duck Hunt on the original SMB cartridge to be unplayable on my HDTV, presumably due to the lag in video processing/display.

      • Yeah, the light gun was a glorious hack that took advantage of knowing exactly what scan lines the ducks were flashing on to work... So any kind of delay will make it not work at all, I'm sure.

        Wow, I'll be sad when Duck Hunt can no longer be played... Oh well, that's what emulation is for. :D

  • 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 Locke2005 (849178)
      Neither one of those is an insurmountable problem. Some MMORPGs handle multplayer well (WoW, Runes of Magic). And, playing against other skilled human players is always going to offer more variety than playing against an AI. Also, one of the prime functions of the server should be to filter asshats and make it as difficult as possible to grief other players. Personally, I feel that playing multiplayer is actually teaching people useful social skills that will come in handy in real life, whereas soloing is t
      • by Cwix (1671282)

        NI feel that playing multiplayer is actually teaching people useful social skills that will come in handy in real life, whereas soloing is the equivalent of computer-assisted masturbation.

        Yep skills like.. when your better then other people your hacking/cheating
        or.. when you dont like someone you can just kick/ban them
        or.. when someone upsets you, you can curse them out with no repercussion.

        Yep its exactly like life.

    • by tepples (727027)

      I virtually never play multiplayer online (I'll play multiplayer console games with friends, but virtually never with random people).

      Would you play multiplayer home-theater-PC games with friends in the same manner that you play multiplayer console games with friends?

    • 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

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:08PM (#33037906) Journal
      I think the second one can actually be fixed, and Nintendo is doing a great job of it in Mario Kart. First they don't let you talk to other players (which has benefits and drawbacks), and second they have a rating system, so when you log in the game automatically pairs you with people close to your level. This is great because you don't need to be awesome at the game to have a chance to win (and lets face it, human opponents are much more interesting than computer opponents), and all the cheaters move to the top ratings: which means the average player doesn't have to deal with cheaters. It's a different system from a lot of online FPSs where everyone randomly congregates in a room.

      As I've grown older I've found I've become more of a social gamer, I don't really care about playing through games anymore unless someone I know is also playing through it. I probably play games more than most people, but if someone I know isn't playing so we can talk about it, then it's just not as interesting. Unless there is truly something special about the game, I won't play it alone.
    • I ran into the same thing. I played the free online month that came with GTA4 quite a bit. Got owned a lot at first, but I adapted the gamer part of my game to face real humans rather than AI, and began to give as good as I got. Then after three weeks I was all, eh, is this it?

      I really only had one time when I felt it surpassed single player when I was playing cat and mouse with some other player for half an hour. I was on foot in the Manhattan area and he had a helicopter. I took him out, but he managed to

    • by Spacejock (727523)
      The first time I played multiplayer was Doom I on a local lan with three machines. 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!

      One of the last times I played multiplayer, online, was Command & Conquer (yes, the original, and yes, that long ago.) I spent a couple of hours gradually getting the upper hand, and just
  • by gravos (912628) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:45PM (#33037670) Homepage

    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.

    Developers? No. The checking-off box mentality is created by the execs who look at past performance, market research, and all that boring stuff to come up with very specific ideas about what they want in a game. The developers usually have to build what the publisher asks for if they want to get paid.

    Of course if you as a developer think you know better you can always strike out on your own, but most that do don't end up making much money. Thems the breaks.

  • 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.
    • Rock Band 2 has a similar mode for little kids and non-gaming adults to play. I agree that it would great as a way to get more non-dedicated gamers to play.

  • 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 Hadlock (143607)

      To be fair, Counter-Strike was a free, fan made Half-Life mod before Valve bought it and it became a pay to play game. There are a lot of games that simply use the single player as a sort of training mode for the online multiplayer portion. CoD4 and from what I've heard, Modern Warfare 2 both use this tactic quite a bit. SOCOM 3 for the Playstation 2 was the same way. I've run into very few games that have equally good single and multiplayer functions.

    • Same with Quake 3 Arena: just ditched the single-player entirely, and did very well.

      Not entirely true. Quake 3's single player was a very thin gloss over top of the multiplayer, but at least it did have a few aspects to differentiate it from multiplayer... There were multiple tiers, each with a couple levels in them that you had to beat all of before moving on to the next tier, plus it recorded some stats for you. Unfortunately, both of the people who played Quake 3 only for the single player were unavailable for comment.

      • [In Quake III Arena,] There were multiple tiers, each with a couple levels in them that you had to beat all of before moving on to the next tier

        Which is different from online matchmaking systems using an Elo-style ranking how?

    • What about rpg's? Those still sell pretty well and are totally single player. The amount of content is expansive though. Maybe its just a value level? For example, most FPS games' single player missions last 5 hours. And then multiplayer is more developed and played. In a jrpg you have 80+ hrs of gameplay. So for $60 its more worth it, if there is no multiplayer, to play the game with more hours of play. Multiplayer adds tons of playtime. So single player games that don't last very long are not worth the bu
    • 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.

  • 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.

    • by ffejie (779512)
      Mod parent up.

      Bioshock was a phenomenal game, that had absolutely no multiplayer (if memory serves) and it was wonderful. Sure, I would have loved a kick ass multiplayer component, but not at the expense of the rest of the game. Bioshock 2 has a bolt on multiplayer component and I haven't once even thought to load it up. I know it's bad. I know it's an uninspired waste because it doesn't "fit the game, the environment, the atmosphere" as the parent says.
    • It is possible to use some single-player game design techniques, and possibly even the game's existing single-player scenario, for cooperative multiplayer. If the players don't stray too far apart, or the game takes the Super Mario Galaxy approach of having player 1 do all the work and player 2 do minor things, you don't even have to split the screen.
      • that's true, and cooperative multiplayer is something I particularly like to see. I don't always want to play against people - sometimes it's just way more fun to be non competitive and help each other out.

        Deathspank, a recent XBLA game, is mainly single player but someone else can pick up a second controller and run around killing stuff as a generic dopey wizard. No character choice, no inventory, you can't complete quests or interact with items, just use various attacks and healing spells. Just a helpin

  • by F34nor (321515) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:52PM (#33037728)

    This game rocks BTW. On one level if you attempt to get multi-player coop help you are abducted by the level end boss and become his unwitting proxy. You must fight another person playing the game. This makes that level very hard as equipment, tactics, and skill are all essentially random. This is really just the cream on the top of the almost transparent but pervasive and enticing multi-player world. Demon's Souls is the shit.

    • Great game. Challenging but not nearly as hard as I expected given some of the whining, and I'm not even one of those weirdos who think dying 1000 times per level is just the bestest fun. But eventually I had to go offline with it to finish it. For those who have not played, you can, given certain conditions, be sent into the game of another player online and attack them without any permission on their part other than the fact that they are playing the game. It seemed at some point I had interlopers coming
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by F34nor (321515)

        Just play offline if you are trying to control world tendency. I am always in soul mode as I am trying to stay pure white for my first game, if you want to be black then dying is great for your black progression. If you are in coop three guys should whoop ass on any invader. But yeah the OCD draw of this game is creepy. The illusion of a perfectly played game is there but wholly evilly unattainable.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Did you ever go to some of the message boards for the game? Cripes, if you dared suggest maybe the box art could have been better you are verbally drawn and quartered and called a coward in life and, geez, all sorts of non sequiturs. I didn't dare post a thing.

          Someone did a great parody of a review for Demon's Souls where the guy raves on endlessly about how wonderful it was that it took him 50 hours to get past the first level, and how the game has the best "You Died" screen ever in the history of gaming.

  • Don't multiplay much (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BlueBat (748360) on Monday July 26, 2010 @05:56PM (#33037770)
    I rarely ever use the multiplayer parts of the games that I own. I don't like griefers and the such. I just want to play the game and complete the quests and such. I don't need the harassment and bother that these jerks bring to the games. I buy games to have fun, not be frustrated.
  • 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 Cwix (1671282)

      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.

      I agree wholeheartedly. I dont have the time or inclination to not be the noob. I work, I go to school, I have a life. Yes I enjoy playing video games, but if you dont play for hours on end you never leave the noob status. Most of the elites or experts or whatever on the games are young teenagers who apparently have nothing better to do but spend hours and hours and hours playing the game.

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

    • 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 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.")
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Tacvek (948259)

      I firmly belive that I am among the very few people who have played the entire half-life series, and yet have spent less than 10 minutes playing any source or goldsource multiplayer game.

      I play RTS games solely for the single player campaigns. I would get bored with the skirmish mode very quickly, and have zero interest in the multiplayer mode.

      Playing local multiplayer with friends is indeed fun, but I don't have any friends over (pretty much ever), so I generally find that pretty worthless.

      • by Z8 (1602647) on Monday July 26, 2010 @08:55PM (#33039440)

        I firmly belive that I am among the very few people who have played the entire half-life series, and yet have spent less than 10 minutes playing any source or goldsource multiplayer game.

        Nah, I bet your preferences are really common. I've also played all of half-life but never touched multiplayer. My guess is we're the silent majority that you never hear about because game reviewers necessarily like all or most game types, including multiplayer.

    • I think Sartre was trying to say, "Hell is other French people" ;)
  • by Shados (741919) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:01PM (#33037834)

    Making a big part of the game online is the only way publishers (developers tend not to care as much) can ensure they can have some sort of effective copy protection (since DRMs don't work because they don't control the client...but they sure as hell can control the servers).

    Obviously that doesn't apply to peer-to-peer multiplayers that don't require any interaction with a central server. Sure, you can have an independent server to bypass the need of the main one, but then you lose a big chunk of the community. Not 100% effective, but sure as hell more effective than 99.9999% of DRM out there, so publishers go that route.

    How many time do you hear hardcore pirates going "Bah, im gonna buy this game, I want to play online". I know I do almost daily... (yes, daily)

  • I've played a lot of games on consoles, PC's, handhelds, and in the arcade.

    I keep seeing the same problems with multiplayer: they often ARE added in as an afterthought, and on too many games, the multi-player play is missing some vital element of the single-player mode. A big problem for me is when a game doesn't have a co-op mode, or when co-op is somehow gimped.

    For example, Doom was probably the first effect multi-player game with deathmatch and co-op play, but co-op mode would suffer when you ran out of

    • Mario GP (Score:3, Informative)

      by tepples (727027)

      Why is there no multi-player quest mode [in Mario Kart Wii] that lets my kid and I unlock new tracks by playing together?

      Worse yet, the Super NES and Nintendo 64 versions had a 2-player quest mode.

  • Single Player is key (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ceraphis (1611217) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:21PM (#33038060)
    Devs need to have multiplayer be an afterthought after designing a core, solid single player experience. Either that or have an established user base or famous IP behind the multiplayer.

    Take Halo for example, it started as a great single player story with a great combat system (and a second buddy allowed to bum around with you but not shown on cutscenes), and local multiplayer that became extremely popular.

    Halo 2 followed the story (but was considered a story flop compared to the first) but turned the multiplayer into quite possibly one of the most thriving multiplayer systems in at least console history. Halo 3 comes around and incorporates even more multiplayer into the campaign, and again continues the multiplayer. It all started with a core single player experience.

    COD4, that started the whole FPS as RPG experience, had a comparatively short story mode, but, what a surprise, they started the franchise with COD that was primarily a top notch single player experience. So again, they built upon a successful single player franchise to create a very popular multiplayer experience.

    Starcraft, just to point out this isn't limited to FPS, built upon a solid single player experience and was also the first of the craft games to have multiplayer, unsurprisingly it became a crazy hit. Everyone who is interested in Dragon Age has probably mused about how fun multiplayer could be if it was done right. GTA followed this to the T as well, and unsurprisingly most fans liked the multiplayer. Portal was a primarily single player experience that was lauded like crazy. If they come out with a great multiplayer mode in part deux it will possibly be the next big thing. Plan multiplayer for the sequel seems to be the most direct way to make cash moneys. Or at least focus on the single player first.

    The only thing is, there do seem to be some exceptions. Counter Strike, Team Fortress 1+2 for example, but those could be attributed as the "real" multiplayer modes of half life and HL2. Shadowrun was completely multiplayer and was a hilarious flop (even though the gameplay wasn't bad).

    Are there any extremely successful multiplayer games that either didn't have a extremely successful single player experience that preceded it, a strong pedigree or were popular PC mods?
    • EverQuest. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027) <<tepples> <at> <gmail.com>> on Monday July 26, 2010 @07:05PM (#33038542) Homepage Journal

      Starcraft, just to point out this isn't limited to FPS, built upon a solid single player experience and was also the first of the craft games to have multiplayer

      Warcraft II had LAN play.

      Are there any extremely successful multiplayer games that either didn't have a extremely successful single player experience that preceded it, a strong pedigree or were popular PC mods?

      EverQuest. Unlike UO, FFXI, and WOW, it wasn't an extension of an existing single-player RPG franchise.

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • 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 Jay Tarbox (48535) on Monday July 26, 2010 @06:40PM (#33038274) Homepage Journal

    I no longer enjoy playing against 1's and 0's once I've played against humans. It's much more challenging and satisfying as well. Nothing beats making a headshot across the map and just KNOWING that someone is pissed off. When hit by said shot, I'm both pissed and admiring the shot as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      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 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.

  • The real reason for writing multiplayer games is that you can force people to pay every month to have access to your server.

    Frankly, every game developer knows that doing a multiplayer game takes a lot more time than doing a single player game, and also it's pretty boring to code (yes, I wrote several multiplayer games several years ago).

    But when you realize that the most successful games are multiplayer because of the subscriptions, it would be dumb to miss this opportunity.

  • single player only -- 'cause it's all story. and it'll be amazing.

  • Personally I hate multiplayer online games. I have enough competition in my real world life and really do not need to add more of that during my spare time. I play very occasionally I do not want to invest time to acquire skill to be a worthy contender in whatever game I want to play.

    If a game is multiplayer only, I usually avoid it.

    Furthermore sometimes it seems companies just want to avoid the cost and effort to develop a good AI and then sell this as a feature.

  • 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.

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams

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