Multiplayer Conundrum

I occasionally post comments here on non-MMOs that have single- and multi-player options. I usually comment after the single-player experience. Someone invariably comments that I am not giving the game a fair trial unless I try the online multi-player. The games for which I do try the online multi-player, the other players are so horrible (as humans, not as skilled players, although sometimes both) that I refuse to play the game long enough to give it a fair shot. There need not even be many troublemakers: the perfect game to grief is one with few enough players that your impact is felt but too many to organize a kicking/banning, and bring a friend to become immune to most attempts to eliminate you.

The next comment, then, is that playing with a random online community is not giving it a fair shot. You need to have a guild/clan/whatever, be active on this message board with good people, visit this site, etc. Basically, bring your own community with you, sometimes for both teammates and opponents. Beyond the time investment that demands for a game (some of these “fair shot” multi-player conditions take longer to set-up than it does to play through the whole single-player game), once I am at the point of already playing with my known group of friends, it no longer matters much what we’re playing. The game is not contributing much at that point; I have done all the heavy lifting out-of-game by bringing the group. All we ask from the game at that point is not to be so horribly flawed that it ruins our time together. We’ve all tried things that horrible.

Basically, my ears are still ringing from someone’s mic spam while trying to find the mute command on a new game (as far as I can tell, it depends on “kick teammate” rather than having a mute), and I am feeling kindly towards those games that severely limit your in-game communications options. Limiting player interaction impairs a basic function of your game, but it prevents random people from actively making your game a worse place to be.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Multiplayer Conundrum”

  1. I’m a fan of voice-disabled games. It makes me a dinosaur in this day and age.

    I’m a poor auditory listener, for one. Concentrating on whatever a disembodied voice is saying (and it could be nonimportant rubbish) distracts me from the visuals on the screen.

    For another, any semblance of immersion/escapism in a game disintegrates when a non-game-appropriate (heavily accented, odd pitches, gender reversals) voice drags one’s mind firmly back into the mundane world to deal with people. Games cast voice-actors for a reason, rather than just dragging random Joes off the street.

    Anyhow, ignore the commenters that say you aren’t reviewing it “right.” As long as the circumstances and limits of the experience are described, you can’t be held accountable for what you didn’t experience.

    They can jolly well describe what the game is like, in their particular set of multiplayer circumstances. Playing with a known community of RL friends makes any game more fun – be it on a tabletop or online.

  2. Some days I just can’t take hearing another whiny 13 year old voice or a group of people being “gangsta” on Xbox live. It’s the worst part of multiplayer gaming.

    I usually just switch over to a PC game when this happens. Team Fortress 2 and StarCraft 2 (beta) have been my games of choice lately. The community that plays TF2 seems to be older than the people I run into on Xbox Live and in StarCraft 2 voice communication is completely optional.

    In other words, I feel your pain and concur with your sentiment.

  3. In other words: all the people that complain are either griefers upset that you are deterring people from being able to be griefed by them, or people who already play the game with their friends and thus aren’t affected by your review (or the former pretending to be the latter)?

    I get griefed enough in chat in WoW simply for being a woman; I can’t imagine playing any game that has compulsory voice chat with strangers (as opposed to guildies that I’ve never met before and know nothing about ;) ).

  4. One of the joys of hating most things FPS and enjoying niche titles that require far too much thinking for the average xbox live kiddie. To the old timer TBS mobile!

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