Sunday, May 17, 2009

Multiplayer Overkill

I used to indulge in online multiplayer back when it was the hot new thing for PC gaming. Bizzard Studio's had just become available providing free service to anyone with a legit copy of Starcraft. It was fun...for awhile.

The basic problem was once I played a few games I came to the realization that most people were even less capable than AI opponents. Ironically, computer controlled units tend to have better situational awareness than your average human. Worse yet basic tactics seemed to escape most gamers. This problem was especially apparent in titles like Homeworld, Shogun: Total War and Myth: The Fallen Lords. Time and time again I won against far larger and more powerful opponents by using simple feigns, traps and ambushes.

About the time I earned a crown rank in Myth and my Starcraft record had reached 255 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss, I had come to the conclusion that this whole multiplayer thing wasn't much to get excited about. Sure I got my butt kicked every once and a while by someone in Counterstrike, but then again cheaters are not uncommon in FPS team death matches. Even then I was always in the top single digit percentile rankings. And the secret to my online success was nothing more than the fact that I didn't use World War 1 tactics.

I haven't really played much online since those days. Can't really see the point of getting on Xbox-Live just to kill and endless supply of verbally abusive underachievers. I guess a lot of developers use multipayer as a way to increase replay value. Unfortunately, I think this trend has gone a bit too far and has reached the point where single player gaming is being neglected in favor of cramming in mindless online frag-fests just to pad things out. Or worse yet to make up for some underdeveloped single player experience which really needed more attention during the early development stages. Maybe when people start realizing short and fun beats long and boring things will get better. Until then I'll stick with splitscreen co-op when I want to play with someone else.