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Veteran Member - Level 11
One of my favorite game play modes that relied on teamwork
was the Jailbreak mod. I played it on one of the Quakes, but I'm sure there are
other variants, games and platforms that the mod is/was available on (I know there is an Unreal and Source version).
For those that haven't had the pleasure of experiencing the
Jailbreak mod, it's very similar to the traditional team death match mode, only
when a person dies they are transported to a holding cell (a jail if you will).
If all the players on a team are jailed, the opposing team wins. However, if a
free teammate is able to get to the holding cell control panel, they can open
the door and everyone inside runs free. They live to fight another day, or at
least until they are captured again. Also, players inside the cell could team
up and work together to boost a player up into a seemingly “impossible to reach”
duct in the roof. If the player managed to successfully get into the duct, they
could drop down and open the door that way. It truly was more fun than a barrel
I know...that's kind of old school now...
So, maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just a gullible, naive,
cynical old gamer and my simple mind is clouded with unreasonable expectations
and my understanding of team based modes of game play in online multiplayer
games isn't the same as everyone else's.
But, truly...I don't think I'm alone in this
thought...because I hear the radio chatter over my headphones and there are
others who ask the same question and wonder what value (other than converting
oxygen to carbon dioxide) certain members bring to the team.
And I'm not talking about players who make a valiant effort
but fail due to lack of skill or experience. I am very patient with these folks
because we've all been noobs at some point or on some game before. No, I'm talking
about the lone wolf, who will not only watch the team fail, but then berate
everyone for not doing better. While this has occurred in several games I have
played, it seems to happen more frequently in Team Fortress 2 lately. Perhaps
you have witnessed this player (or maybe you are this player).
They play sniper. There is no doubt they're good. Their
score is 3 times as much as the next players and they are dominating half of
the people on the other team. Yet, they never go for the intel, the never
"push the freakin' cart" and they never try and cap a point. They sit
back and hide and rake in the kills and points. They justify their role by
suggesting that the more players they kill, the fewer opponents there are to
stand in the way of achieving the objective.
While that sounds logical, it never seems to play out that
Counterstrike was the same way. Counterstrike was so easy to
win if you had a team that worked together towards the objectives. The greatest
battles were always 2 opposing teams that had their ducks in a row. They had a
plan. They implemented the plan. And the round often came down to skill, not catching the opponent with their pants down. But really, that
seldom happened. Too many lone wolfs off doing there own thing and next thing
you know, your team is getting rolled. Again. And Again. And Again.
Modern Warfare 2. Same thing. A team could potentially
dominate most maps if they worked in unison and locked down certain chokepoints
while providing cover fire to their squad mates. Yet too many people are more
worried about their own score than the team winning the round, so they leave
their battle buddy behind. Next thing you know, both are dead.
While I have no first hand experience with World of
Warcraft, I am reminded of the hilarious shenanigans of Lee Roy Jenkins and his
decision to throw caution to the wind and move out now, even though his fellow
team mates were still strategizing their plan of attack. If you've seen the
video, you know the ensuing chaos didn't bode well for that merry band of
adventures. If you haven't seen the clip, you should. It's quite funny.
I have briefly dabbled in EVE Online (before I realized I
was way in over my head). Clearly it is a game built on teamwork and alliances,
but I'd wager any remaining ISK I might have that there have been cases of team
abandonment by the token lone wolf resulting in disastrous consequences...for someone.
I know this is one of the problems that have plagued Sony's
exclusive title, MAG - which boasts a whopping 256 player count. Without a
little teamwork, I can only imagine the ensuing chaos that would result from a
roster of that magnitude.
The only Battefield game I've played (prior to Bad Company
2) was Battlefield 2 (and the expansion packs). It had an interesting approach
to encourage and promote teamwork. If you were part of a squad, you could
respawn on your squad leader (I will, however, acknowledge there are some who
hated this feature because of its lack of realism and the advantage it provided
to those who utilized it). Battlefield 2 also let you use voice with just your
squad or with your whole team, which was pretty nifty. While I've only played
Bad Company 2 a couple of times online (I'm trying to beat the SP first), it
appears there have been some modernization and updates in the squad mechanics,
which is a good thing.
Teamwork. It is a proven concept in game modes that require
it. Players that work together and support the team effort will almost always
prevail and will often defeat their opponent with little to no resistance. I
don't think anyone would say they enjoy getting defeated so quickly or easily,
so why is it so hard to get players to see this, much less do it?
I don't know either. I'm baffled by it.
How do we encourage teamwork in games from a gamers’
perspective? And perhaps a better question, how do game developers promote and
reward teamwork by making it a component of the game?
Unfortunately, there is no simple solution.
I've heard some people say that's why they only play with
people they know, but really, that's not a practical solution that will work
My only advice, which usually yields mixed results, is just
be the best teammate you can. Use voice comms or in chat to talk to your fellow
team players. If your squad leader tells you to do something, then do it. Don't
elect yourself to be the team leader just to boss people around and don’t try and tell everyone what to
do. If the team has a need, fill it. If you're short on medics, be a medic. If
a point needs to be defended, defend it. If your teammates are taking fire,
help them out. Make sacrifices that help the team. Teamwork isn't hard to
comprehend but can be hard to implement. In reality, the only thing you can do
to support teamwork is be a part of the solution and not a part of the problem.
Even if you do all of this, there will always be those who
don't appreciate your efforts and could care less about the team. Regrettably,
there isn't much you can do about these people. If friendly fire is off, I
suppose you could shoot them, not that I condone TK'ing. If you’re able to
muster up enough support, you might be able to vote them off the island.
Chances are though you'll just have to deal with it. If you get stuck with
enough of them on your side, then be prepared to get rolled. It’s inevitable.
So, what can game developers do?
Well, first…I’d hope they do something because I think it is
going to take a component of the game in order to promote better teamwork in games.
I’m not a fan of penalizing or having an adverse affect to
players just because they don’t play nice with others, so it has to be more
reward or incentive based for players who go above and beyond to promote
I don’t know that achievements or perks are enough to
encourage players to squad up and actually make that mean something.
So, what could it be…well I have an idea (actually not my idea) that I would
like to see incorporated into more games. It’s already been used before and it
needs tweaked a bit. Perhaps given a bit more power to address unruly
players, but nothing major.
(Purely my opinion – which I’m sure won’t match everyone’s
The Commander function in Battlefield 2 was truly innovative
and downright amazing. Not only that, teams that had a Commander who took the
role seriously were a force to be reckoned with. They could manage artillery
strikes and supply replenishments; they managed surveillance and troop
location. They could praise squads who were supporting the team and following
orders. It really did help promote teamwork.
I think most online games, especially First Person Shooters
(FPS), could benefit from a team leader position that possessed special “tools”
to oversee, direct, lead and manage the team (and even discipline those who
deserve it). Certain requirements or restrictions could be instilled to ensure
only qualified candidates were selected to fill the position of Commander (x
number of hours on a squad, x number of hours as a squad leader, x number of
matches played, x number of wins, x number of positive recommendations by other
Bah…what do I know though…I’m just a cynical old gamer with
a simple mind. But I’d still love to hear any ideas to promote or encourage
teamwork that you all might have.