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Author Topic: The appeal of multiplayer  (Read 2450 times)
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TiLT
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« on: November 02, 2009, 07:53:59 AM »

So, I've been giving multiplayer another chance with Uncharted 2 (having tried many other such games previously, like COD4, the various Quakes, Doom, Unreal Tournament, etc.), and while it's fun for very limited amounts of time, I honestly can't even begin to understand how someone can play this way for entire evenings, or even for days or months in a row.

Every time I've played a multiplayer game (MMORPGs excluded) I feel like I've seen everything it has to offer within 5-10 minutes. After a while, it just boils down to respawning, running around looking for pickups/enemies, killing enemies/obtaining objectives, dying. Rinse, repeat. You could theoretically say the same about singleplayer, but then you'd boil away a lot of important fluff like story, scenery variation, enemy variation, bosses, cutscenes, music, character personality, etc. For the most part those elements aren't present in a multiplayer game to save it from being repetitive.

I am completely bored after about 10-15 minutes of multiplayer, regardless of game mode (not that it matters much. All my experience dictates that the vast, vast majority gravitate towards regular deathmatch no matter how appealing other game modes may be) because I feel like I'm doing the same thing over and over again. Even if I'm playing with a group of people I know, working in teams, I can't see how it would be much more fun. It'd still be repetitive.

So I'm honestly curious here. What is it about multiplayer that makes people come back again and again? What's the appeal? I don't understand it at all.
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Canuck
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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 08:30:48 AM »

I don't care so much for regular multiplayer but being able to play with your friends is a lot of fun.
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Razgon
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« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2009, 09:00:59 AM »

its the competitive element, wanting to be the best, ranking high on the scores list, and generally being good at what you do that drives most people who play MP games online.

I like MP games, but the moment it becomes a chore, having to do things in a certain order, having to make a certain build to be competitive at all I'm out.

COD games are a good example of a competitive game, that can become annyoing fast in that you have people who do nothing but play this, and do everything in their power to win, including using hacks, cheats and exploits.

Games that build on teamwork and solid performances are more fun, in that everyone contributes...in my opinion that is
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Harkonis
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2009, 10:02:41 AM »

For me it's a combo of playing with friends and the variety of tactics and challenges you'll face.  When playing AI you can always count on them doing the same things.  People will constantly surprise you.  I can play the same game on the same map for an entire evening as long as it's human opponents because things constantly change and it's always being mixed up.

It also brings out the natural desire for human vs human competition.

I get bored in single player in much the same way you seem to get bored in multi.  For me anymore, regardless of how engrossing a story and cutscenes may be, if the gameplay isn't great I can't stay interested. 

When you boil it down, you do the same thing repetitively in both single player and multiplayer, but in single you have story progression to break it up, in multi it's the human element.  I am much more in favor of the latter.  I typically dont' even bother playing single player games anymore.

For some of the best of both worlds check out a game like Borderlands that lets you play the single player campaign with friends.  It's not good for the versus element, but it definitely brings the multiplayer social aspects into a single player game.  Not surprisingly for me, it's one of the few games that I beat the 'single player' portion, but really only did it because I did it with friends so it stayed interesting.
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2009, 10:09:03 AM »

Think of it this way, in a lot of games you're basically fighting the same dumb AI in the same situations, even a game like Uncharted 2 that mixes things up very well, you're still basically taking cover and shooting at those same AI.

Now, in multiplayer, the challenge is that you're now all in the same situation, but against other humans, the ultimate opponent.  Every encounter ends up different and you know that while you're trying to out think your opponent, he's also doing the same to you.

I love both single player (including co-op) and multiplayer, but for different reasons.  I love single player for the story and will often play at an easier difficulty, even cheating through portions to get to the story if parts are frustrating. But in MP there's a real challenge.

Co-op, to me, is the best of both worlds.

CoD4, Quake, and even Uncharted 2 aren't the best experience for those coming from mainly single player.  CoD4 is too twitch paced for the kind of thought process that someone who likes single player.  Uncharted 2's multiplayer, is both fast and slow paced, but suffers from the Gears of War syndrome where there's a learning curve that's hard to get over when experienced players keep kicking you back down the curve as you crawl your way up.  There are multiplayer games out there that are slower paced, things like the Splinter Cell multiplayer.  TF2 is a bit fast paced but it's also well balanced.
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TiLT
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 10:20:32 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on November 02, 2009, 10:09:03 AM

CoD4, Quake, and even Uncharted 2 aren't the best experience for those coming from mainly single player.  CoD4 is too twitch paced for the kind of thought process that someone who likes single player.  Uncharted 2's multiplayer, is both fast and slow paced, but suffers from the Gears of War syndrome where there's a learning curve that's hard to get over when experienced players keep kicking you back down the curve as you crawl your way up.  There are multiplayer games out there that are slower paced, things like the Splinter Cell multiplayer.  TF2 is a bit fast paced but it's also well balanced.

Challenge isn't the issue. I get challenge from my SP games, such as Uncharted 2 which I finished on Crushing. When I play multiplayer Uncharted 2, I usually end up among the 50% best players in the match, and sometimes even better.
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Razgon
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2009, 10:23:08 AM »

If those percentages matter to you, then you have your answer :-)
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TiLT
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2009, 10:28:15 AM »

Quote from: Razgon on November 02, 2009, 10:23:08 AM

If those percentages matter to you, then you have your answer :-)

Of course they do. I try to be among the best in any given match, but they don't encourage me to play the same level again against another random bunch of strangers just to see if I can best it. I've got better things to do than repeat 10 minutes of gameplay over and over.
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Razgon
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2009, 10:31:14 AM »

Your question was:
Quote
So I'm honestly curious here. What is it about multiplayer that makes people come back again and again? What's the appeal? I don't understand it at all.

The anwswer is those numbers... And as someone else mentioned, the human element makes those numbers a lot harder to reacher, than in say Singleplayer portions of the same game, because once you figure out the underlying mechanics, you'll be able to wine every time.
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TiLT
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2009, 10:37:29 AM »

Quote from: Razgon on November 02, 2009, 10:31:14 AM

because once you figure out the underlying mechanics, you'll be able to wine every time.

That doesn't match my experiences. Getting to a point where you can win every time in a singleplayer game is nearly impossible for most people. Can you win every time on the highest difficulty level in Civ4? I can't, despite knowing the underlying mechanics. Neither can I win every fight in Uncharted 2 on my first try, despite having won it on Crushing.

AI isn't static, you know. Playing a game of Galactic Civilizations 2 can be just as dynamic as a game against a human opponent due to the fantastic AI, and you never know what's going to happen or how things are going to end.

You seem to be trying to say that the only real challenge in games is in multiplayer. I call that faulty logic.
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Harkonis
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2009, 10:49:53 AM »

For me the only FUN challenge in games is the multiplayer.  I get no satisfaction at all in beating games against AI regardless of how hard they are.  Most games just cheat to make the AI harder at any rate.

This isn't something that you're likely to understand though.  Generally people who prefer SP games will always be that way and people who prefer MP games will be that way as well.  It's really hard to convey the feeling, since the words don't do it.

Most AI IS static btw, and easily predictable and baited, moreso than your average online opponent.  GC2 diplomacy in SP was abusable as an example.
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Razgon
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2009, 10:54:40 AM »

Quote from: TiLT on November 02, 2009, 10:37:29 AM

Quote from: Razgon on November 02, 2009, 10:31:14 AM

because once you figure out the underlying mechanics, you'll be able to wine every time.

That doesn't match my experiences. Getting to a point where you can win every time in a singleplayer game is nearly impossible for most people. Can you win every time on the highest difficulty level in Civ4? I can't, despite knowing the underlying mechanics. Neither can I win every fight in Uncharted 2 on my first try, despite having won it on Crushing.

AI isn't static, you know. Playing a game of Galactic Civilizations 2 can be just as dynamic as a game against a human opponent due to the fantastic AI, and you never know what's going to happen or how things are going to end.

You seem to be trying to say that the only real challenge in games is in multiplayer. I call that faulty logic.

no no, thats not what I'm trying to say - sorry, I may be a bit unclear due to fuzzy head right now :-D

Basically, any AI is hardwired in its responses, so you are theoretically able to predict how it will play. Thats how it gets "easy" to win in SP games - whereas in MP games the human element adds a large percentage of unknown. but then again, I do still believe its the comptetitive element that makes all the difference- and while its nice to see your name on a SP highscore list - its a whole lot more fun to do so when the 18 people below your name is other human beings :-)

Oh,and I love SP Games, dont get me wrong-  they are just very different animals from MP games as I see it
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Gratch
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« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2009, 05:03:13 PM »

For me, there simply is zero appeal to multiplayer, for a few reasons:

1.  I have no desire to spend the time and effort to get good enough at any MP focused game to actually become competitive.  The 12-year-old who spends 9 hours a day with the game is going to wipe me off the map no matter what, and there seems to be a lot more of those types than shmucks like me who are just giving it the occasional run.   If you don't play a lot of MP games (either FPS or MMO's), the learning curve is incredibly daunting to say the least.
2.  My gaming time is so limited and sporadic that it's impossible to get together with folks I (virtually) know to play.
3.  I have no real friends IRL that are gamers.  I'm not a terribly social person to begin with, so playing with complete strangers holds very little appeal to me.
4.  I tend to like games that skew towards being easier rather than harder, and am generally far more interested in immersing myself in storytelling, atmosphere, environment, characters, etc. than racking up bodycounts.  I like taking my time and progressing at my own pace.  Not many MP games that fit that bill.
5.  Frankly, most of the MP experiences I've had have been pretty negative ones.   Being anonymous seems to bring out the very worst in people, and listening to the ridiculous sexist, racist, and rude nonsense being spouted non-stop by most players turned me off in a hurry.

I know I'm probably in the minority, but if I never played a game with or against another actual person in my life, I'd be perfectly OK with it.
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2009, 05:24:22 PM »

Gratch, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

I pretty much agree with you.  The many hours of failure to get to a semi-competitive level is no fun for me.  I do, however, like the CoD4 method where you'll make at least some progress toward new equipment, levels, etc even when you're losing, so I can be at the bottom of the boards for a match, but say "well, at least I'm three kills closer to that new SMG."

edit: i dum
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 06:07:51 PM by Chaz » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2009, 05:34:22 PM »

I used to be in a similar boat until I started playing CoD4. There are 2 things that got me to enjoy MP.

1. The advent of the "meta-game". Ranking up is fun. Getting new weapons is fun. Those little things can be enough to get me to play "one more game".
2. Playing with a good group of people. Playing alone is nothing like playing with a group of others you can talk with, relay the location of enemies with and work strategy with.

I've had a great time with the CoD and Battlefield games on 360 because a good crew from GT has played. Uncharted 2 and Killzone 2 MP have good maps and fun gameplay, but since I usually have to play with randoms, they are just not as attractive. I am certainly more likely to try a game's MP now, where as in the past, I would just play SP and move on (heck, I even bought Battlefield 1943, which has no SP smile).

Oh, and I love, love, love co-op. I wish I could play more co-op.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 05:36:28 PM by Teggy » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2009, 05:47:30 PM »

Quote from: Chaz on November 02, 2009, 05:24:22 PM

Grue, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Uh...who?
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2009, 06:08:48 PM »

Quote from: Gratch on November 02, 2009, 05:47:30 PM

Quote from: Chaz on November 02, 2009, 05:24:22 PM

Grue, GET OUT OF MY HEAD!

Uh...who?

Damn it, all these voices in my head confuse me.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I think it's time for me to go burn things.
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« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2009, 09:10:13 PM »

I read a lot of arguing in this thread, but it seems everyone is agreeing on some basic themes; Humans > game AI; MP is better when you're familiar and comfortable with the players; the challenge must be there in MP and be appropriate; the positives -ranking, profile/character development-  must outweigh any sense of grinding; MP requires a certain dedication and available time, and some just don't have the time to invest; some gamer pefer story and immersion and don't find MP provides this. Did I miss any - I'm sure I did? slywink

For me the big factor is appropriate challenge. Quite honestly I'd do a lot more MP if I was better at it, but I have 2 glaring examples of the skills required to be good; my 22 year old nephew and my 13 year old son. My son in particular has really started to surpass me in the last year and most of that is due to quick, twitch reflexes. There's a common denominator for what it takes to become really proficient at mplay IMO, and in many ways I have to admit I no longer have it. I say no longer, because as a young adult I could comfortably compete on C-64 scores or on arcade ranking boards. I love the human element of mplay though, so I've resolved myself to playing co-op with my son and nephew and attending 360 LAN meets twice a month with personal friends. I've also played with a few of the clans on 2old2play.com and had some good experiences; although my skill is really below most of those players too. frown
« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 09:17:17 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2009, 02:56:23 PM »

Maybe its just me, but no one has mentioned the humor in multiplayer? Do you guys not laugh when you see your friends and playmates do something hilarious or stupid? Or even better, hilariously stupid? And the banter that goes back and forth in some multiplayer sessions adds something that is sorely missing when I play by myself.
I play multiplayer for fun and I'd say its about as much fun as getting together to drink beer and hang out - only its better because there's no mess to clean up later smile.
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