The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
Normally I'm not one to make such a generously negative statement, but my recent experiences have changed my outlook on multiplayer gaming. I was of the opinion that multiplayer games suffer because they aren't given enough attention or time during testing, because it's impossible for items in a competitive multiplayer environment to be balanced while remaining unique (which is indeed impossible), and since it's simply not possible for developers to account for the people that play - and often ruin - their games. That's changed now though.
I challenge anyone here to find an iteration based game, one with heavy and competition based online components, that isn't rife with problems. One that isn't filled with bugs, glitches, and missteps. I challenge you to find one that doesn't have serious issues. Find me one that is just as fun to play alone against completely random people in a competitive environment as it is to play with friends. Lots of mainstream multiplayer games gain very high review scores, however almost all of them leave you with a bad taste in your mouth due to one thing or other. Whether it's Modern Warfare 2's Javelin Glitch or Battlefield 3's scores of issues, like the absolutely atrocious spawns in TDM, and general abandoning of many of its own unique qualities in order to fit a mold contrary to what its incredibly devoted fan base was hoping to see. My suggestion, the inkling that came to mind as I thought back on all my multiplayer experiences, is that this aspect of gaming is structured in a way that allows developers to get away with murder... and that the structure isn't set to change any time soon.
Rarely is a problem in a multiplayer game mode addressed provided the game can be played with it there. Call of Duty's stacking killstreaks weren't addressed until the next game, weapons weren't balanced unless they were impossible to fight against like the Akimbo shotguns, and lazy errors such as holes in walls and rocks were never fixed and even apparent in DLC offerings for the game. Battlefield 3 is rife with issues, including many of the balancing and technical issues seen in the beta EA released last month, and almost half a month later the only issues DICE has acknowledged even exist were hastily and not entirely resolved by making changes that are implemented on their own servers.
Stop to think for a second... how much time is put into the multiplayer aspects of these games for review by journalists? It can't be a truly significant amount compared to the time your average gamer will spend playing. During these periods they don't play against people looking to cheat, exploit, or break the game for their personal gain. They don't use all the weapons, items, or features. What does this mean? Well, it means that the developer can get away with only polishing the surface. As long as it's shiny enough to withstand the limited light of the journalistic community the rest doesn't matter. They could care less as long as the product looks good before getting into the consumer's hands. Developers don't have to make sure it all works great, they just have to make it looks like it does at first glance. They don't have to do much, and often they seem to do just as little as they possibly can.
I, in all honesty, don't know that I can justify the purchase of another game that focuses on multiplayer when I know there's no guarantee the developer will ever fix problems that arise and that they will in most cases receive no pressure outside of their consumers. In many ways the problems with multiplayer games are worse than the same phenomenon occurring in singleplayer because every issue and every exploitable bug will negatively effect someone playing the game in an exponentially greater fashion. Find a bug where you fall through a floor in a singleplayer game? You may never come across it again. Come across something that allows people to cheat in a competitive game mode and you're likely to find it almost every match. I already have very little confidence in develpers to release a singleplayer game that isn't flawed seriously in one way or another and I no longer have an interest in playing multiplayer games who's issues impact the players on a greater scale and that I know may never be addressed despite negatively effecting the consumers over and over.
Glitches/Hacks/Bugs/etc are frustrating in online games, but expecting devs to fix every issue that arises will leave you disappointed. No many how many fixes they apply, (annoying) gamers will find ways to exploit them. Yes, I agree they should do their best to address these issues, but they should focus on the largest ones first. Every game has issues, and its up to the users to report those who are taking advantage of the system.
As for reviewers, they are reviewing the game developers intended you to play. It is not fair to review a game that has been hacked to oblivion, as that was not the game created to begin with. Devs can only control what they put out there, and regardless of how many security measures they have in place, someone will break the game.
"Find me one that is just as fun to play alone against completely random people in a competitive environment as it is to play with friends."
- Well, the reason for this is its easier to communicate with your friends. Playing a basketball game outside with your friends is usually more enjoyable than a random pick up game because: A) communication is easier, and you can joke around while you play, and B) you have plays developed and can carry them out rather than hoping the random players know what your doing. Playing with friends is better for pretty much everything in life.
Overall I do agree with your article though. Devs need to realize that a multiplayer game is not a one shot deal like many single player games: it needs to be updated to account for bugs/glitches found by other players and should constantly be fixed.
Vurtax is kind of right about Halo multiplayer... say what you want about the franchise's general quality, but they really polished the hell out of their multiplayer.
Still, I kind of feel you. Multiplayer just has so many inherent problems... I play a lot of single player games for a reason.
I understand your grievances about this issue, but to me it seems like these issues are more rooted in other players than they are developers. I've run into my fair share of glitches and bugs that tarnish multiplayer experiences, but those issues are always being exploited by a player, not a developer. Games will always have hiccups and loopholes, and developers can't fix every single one of them all the time (and when they do, it usually just causes another issue.) Single player games have just as many bugs and glitches, but there aren't thousands of people combing through your single player experience, looking for something to exploit and use against you.
I get that it's frustrating. I know I've thrown a controller or two at a wall because some annoying cheater was messing with my fun. But I really don't think the developers, or their games, are the right targets for this kind of frustration. I blame the cheaters. The people who spend all day trying to find a way to make your gaming experience less fun so they can see their arbitrary numbers and ranks increase. I'm sure the people who make these games are just as angry as you are when these kinds of players only seek to limit the experience for others.
This is just about the comment you made about DICE abandoning it's fan base. To be completely honest, if they do it the right way (which with how things seem to be going right now with devs, it probably won't) those components they left behind were probably a smart move. It allows them to make it similar, but not super noticeably the same, to the CoD series enough to get the people who were sick of the series on board with Battlefield. Then, when they release the next one, they can add more that they used to have and affect that new fan base in a positive way by not releasing the same game over and seeming to "innovate."
If EA will allow them to do that (which they should, and not do another Activision) Battlefield may have the possibility to make FPSs fun again. They've already won me over, even with the number of problems (especially in TDM, which I never touch because of it) it has. I'm intrigued. Vehicles are new to me, they add a different aspect to the gameplay. Allow you to be in the game longer without dying while still being balanced enough to not take out their entire team within 3 minutes.
Even with how much I'm already won over by Battlefield, I agree, I don't think they'll fix the problems. Which is sad, because I'd love to see the dedication Infinity Ward seemed to have to fixing those problems in CoD4, again in this foreign (to me) new game. Unless what they're doing right now with the hasty fixes is only to cover it up until a bigger patch comes. But that's a stretch.
Team Fortress 2.
Team Fortress 2 like the dude said