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Jamie John

I don’t play online multiplayer games. Am I missing out?

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I dabbled when the Dreamcast was released, and played a couple of MMOs on and off, gave GTA Online a brief go for about a month but that's about it. I have no interest in FPS, battle royals or any of that stuff, it just holds no appeal for me. All I'm after are single player games these days.

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I really like the frisson of an essentially single player experience but with the other players lurking about, especially if they’re neither friend nor foe and it’s up to human nature whether they merk you or not. The Division Survival, Sea Of Thieves and Watch Dogs 1 and 2 all do this really well. 

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MMOs are another thing that have completely passed me by. I remember playing Guild Wars very briefly when it came out and was FTP, but it just felt like a massive grind and wasn't much fun at all with randoms.

 

I keep reading good things about FFXIV, however, and how they've essentially remade the game after its horrendous first incarnation. What's that like if you're playing it solo?

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I played a few games of Mario Kart Wii online - I particularly liked the way the globe showed you where the people you were playing against were from.

 

That's it, except for a few games recently of WRC4 (on PS3), and that was just to get the last couple of trophies.  Once I had them, I stopped.

 

I'm only interested in Single Player.

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I've thought about this quite often. I do play online games intermittently, and they have a very particular competitive flavour which I love when I'm in the mood, but they can be incredibly dispiriting and frustrating. My main issue is that there's too much to play these days and so I'm only beginner/average at the majority of these games, which usually means I get stomped on. Something like Splatoon can be fantastic fun but then you run into a team which is far more knowledgeable and skilled and coordinated and the enjoyment is killed stone dead. I know that is pure Scrub Quotes material but it's something which I find off-putting about many online games.

 

I played probably thousands of hours of SF4 online and while I got twatted regularly, I mostly felt that each match was somewhat competitive and I always learned something new. I don't really enjoy SFV but my grounding in 4 gives me an insight into what I'm doing right and wrong and I never feel like I get steamrolled because of the matchmaking in Ranked. When I started playing DBFZ on the Switch, though, I was immediately aware that not only did I not understand what I was doing wrong, most fights involved me watching my experienced opponents doing a 40-hit juggle in the corner until my next fighter came in for a walloping. I really enjoyed that game for about ten hours (nothing in the grand scheme, I know) but I felt I was so far behind the curve online even from launch day, because the player base was small and experienced on other formats. It killed my enthusiasm to learn because the barrier to entry was too high for me. Again, I know I sound like a whiny sod but I'm just trying to verbalise my experience. Meanwhile, I put quite a lot of time into ARMS, which I really adored, and I'd turn up during Party Crash and tend to get a massive win streak against whoever was in the lobby. That was probably equally dispiriting for them but at least it was always a win-win mode.

 

I really enjoy the odd game of BFV, or Titanfall 2 or Destiny 2 Crucible or whatever. I also enjoyed Overwatch for a good fifteen hours or so recently on Switch. The issue is that there's no meaningful progression to compel me to stick with any of them. You can unlock stuff and so on but they're largely team-based and I don't play with voice chat or with friends. One game is the same as another to me, one match is same as the next. They're enjoyable for an hour maybe but they feel hollow. No disrespect to anyone who plays and loves these games, they're excellent, but at my novice level, they're just a bit of a blast. If someone said to me that they like the odd run on some Cave game just for the explosions and a quick rush, I'd think they'd barely scratched the surface, but that's OK, most people aren't inclined to spend the time learning the scoring intricacies and so on, and most people wouldn't enjoy that even if they did. That's about my level of engagement with FPS.

 

Slight negativity aside then, I would also say that there's an incredibly tense competitive edge to online gaming which really brings me into the moment. Even with something like Fortnite where I don't care about how to play it, at the time, it's incredibly compelling and tense and stressful. I can still remember my first and only Victory Royale. When PUBG launched it was one of the most heart-pumping experiences ever and while that feeling was very addictive, it made me feel a bit queasy after a while and I uninstalled the game. I think there's something of that feeling to playing shmups, a very physical tension and euphoric catharsis which compels me to keep improving and to die and die trying. Again, though, I do go through phases because they can be extremely stressful and exhausting. This excitement and stress is also ramped up exponentially when after a few solid runs, I decide to try to capture the footage via Score Attack mode or Replay Record mode or whatever it's called in the particular game. Obviously, I could just get a capture card and record everything and take the pressure off but I'm not inclined to, and in a way I enjoy the ritual and the heightened formality of 'recording a true run'. Watching others' high scoring replays and trying to compete with my own vids is actually my favourite 'online gaming' experience, even if it doesn't quite fit the description.

 

I'm very interested in the psychology of online gaming, basically, really interesting thread and topic. 

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Single player is the way forward. There must be some sort of weird brain chemical thing going on when you can see which friends are online, what they are playing etc. Online games just seem like a massive rush to get the fame finished and get straight into the next big thing 

 

plus theres generally always someone playing who’s miles better than you that just own you repeatedly die to far more skill/time or money to p2w. 

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I play online with a fairly select group from my 200+ friends list for the lols. It's the main reason I still play games. Without multiplayer and the social aspects of online chatting I don't think I'd bother gaming at all.

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19 hours ago, PK said:

 

Apex Legends seems specifically designed to support people playing without voice comms.  You can tell your teammates things like "I saw/can see an enemy here", "I need this type of armour/ammo/gun", "I'm moving over here to find loot" through crosshair placement and pressing one button.  They've also got a sort of permanent chance-to-revive mechanic which encourages players to stay in the game even after they've died rather than immediately quitting and joining another one.


sea of thieves also does this, every single object and situation has a set of Text voice lines you can use for pretty much every situation, the compass you can say any direction, the telescope has “there’s something in the water” or “I see a ship”, you can say you’re moving treasure, hiding it, going up the crows nest, adjusting sails, the winds changed direction etc it’s all context sensitive , there’s  many many others, you can play without mic but it’s so much better if you do

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Titanfall 2 is great playing "solo" in multiplayer - it's experiencing a revival now it's a free game on PS+ and it's my favourite multiplayer game of this generation.

As someone said, Apex is great for communicating without the need of voice comms.

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1 minute ago, Bobbi Champagne Jr said:

Titanfall 2 is great playing "solo" in multiplayer - it's experiencing a revival now it's a free game on PS+ and it's my favourite multiplayer game of this generation.

As someone said, Apex is great for communicating without the need of voice comms.

 

Agreed. Life has been breathed back into this by PS+. Still a huge amount of fun and the best multiplayer I've experienced on PS4. Its not serious, I don't feel pressure to do well, it doesn't matter if I lose (KDR isnt a stat). Still have bags of fun stomping around and punching ant people in my massive robot. Titanfall 3 is one thing that would sell me next gen.

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I've downloaded Apex Legends as it's FTP and doesn't require PS+, as far as I'm aware. Can you get a lot out of it without paying to win, or are the loot boxes and so on purely cosmetic?

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Coop PvE is my favourite type of game right now. Mucking about with mates is brill. :) 

 

Competitive online... meh can't be bothered to git gud enough to compete and so remains a frustrating experience for me.

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22 minutes ago, Jamie John said:

I've downloaded Apex Legends as it's FTP and doesn't require PS+, as far as I'm aware. Can you get a lot out of it without paying to win, or are the loot boxes and so on purely cosmetic?

 

Apex is the most generous game I've ever played. I've had hours of fun, unlocked all the characters and never paid a penny. The only thing you pay for is cosmetic items that make your character and guns look worse than the basic skins. There is no pay-to-win element at all.

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1 hour ago, mechamonkey said:


sea of thieves also does this, every single object and situation has a set of Text voice lines you can use for pretty much every situation, the compass you can say any direction, the telescope has “there’s something in the water” or “I see a ship”, you can say you’re moving treasure, hiding it, going up the crows nest, adjusting sails, the winds changed direction etc it’s all context sensitive , there’s  many many others, you can play without mic but it’s so much better if you do

 

I didn't realise this - I'll need to investigate further. So is this all done via the 'speak' wheel depending on what you're look at?

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The ratio of actual gameplay to downtime (waiting for lobbies to fill, waiting to respawn, post-game report screens, etc) in multiplayer games annoys the hell out of me.

Also, as mentioned above, I always feel that it doesn't really matter how good I get, I'm inevitably going to be fodder for the top ranked players who are there 12 hours a day, with their mouse and keyboard and sci-fi-speed internet connection. With single player games, there is a static challenge laid down, and I can either get good enough to overcome the odds, or lose. I like that.

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2 hours ago, Pob said:

 

I didn't realise this - I'll need to investigate further. So is this all done via the 'speak' wheel depending on what you're look at?

It gives you dialogue options depending on what you are holding at the time.

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The first weeks of Splinter Cell’s ‘Spies VS Mercs’ are still the most gripped I’ve been by a multiplayer mode, and that was a good while ago now. I’ve enjoyed multiplayer in the meantime, such as Titanfall 2 and The Division, but nothing had really got its claws into me since. I think that’s because it’s all a bit too predictable, whereas something like Spies VS Mercs was a genuine surprise with how well considered and experimental it felt (especially considering it was a big AAA franchise.) 

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I tend to find that most multiplayer games put me in an incredibly bad mood, particularly if they have any sort of competitive, ranked mode. Often I don't notice it immediately, it kind of creeps up on me slowly, until generally my wife points out that I seem distracted or short-tempered. I also don't think they are healthy in that it is often much harder to just put down a multiplayer game compared to a single player game.

 

The other frustration I have is IRL friends convince me to pick up a multiplayer game and then 99% of the time we never actually manage to play them together for whatever reason.

 

The best multiplayer experience for me in recent times by far and away was Monster Hunter: World because it is a) cooperative, b) is mostly fine to play with randoms.

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I rarely play online, but for certain games it does form a large component of the game. Not having an online subscription to Playstation Plus or Xbox Live can seriously diminish the enjoyment, as I found out recently with Street Fighter V on the PS4.

 

Over the past year I think I've played around 5-10 hours online on Pro Evolution; Dead or Alive 6 and Ace Combat 7. I only played the latter online to grind points to get some upgrades after hitting a wall in single player - but it was surprisingly good fun.

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The competitive stuff has to really be my cup of tea for me to give it a go. things like Fortnite et-al, really bug me. I do like a bit of Halo, a bit of COD occasionally (Though I've not played one for ages now!) and I'm partial to the odd bit of Gears. But I can take or leave it. Mainly because of the vocal minority who act like total dildos.

 

Co-Op However I love! It can make a mediocre game come to life. I like to chill out with a cuppa, or a beer and have a natter. I've had great times with games I would never have bothered with had it not been for Co-Op, and I mean the real dregs, The First Templar, Mindjack, Inversion, Army of Two etc, all fantastic fun with a buddy. If anyone ever fancies a bit of co-op giggles, hit me up.

 

 

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13 hours ago, ChewMagma said:

tend to find that most multiplayer games put me in an incredibly bad mood, particularly if they have any sort of competitive, ranked mode.

Yeah, I found I was getting really wound up playing Mortal Kombat 11 in ranked mode. Especially early on when some of the characters were really unbalanced so you'd get people just repeating the same moves over and over and I didn't have the skills to stop them. I then found I played a lot better when I wasn't arsed and relaxed a bit more

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On ‎18‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 10:06, Down by Law said:

 

For maximum enjoyment I ban other players sending me messages unless they are on my friends list (you can imagine the salt when they realise they can't send you abuse) and mute lobbies

 

 

I let the rage mail pour in, but always respond to any rage I receive with "GGs Friend :)". No additional messages or comments, and no further responses to anything else they send. Just one initial GGs Friend. Sometimes it leads to a whole string of back to back messages as they whip themselves up into a frenzy, but sometimes it actually does calm people down and they send a follow up message with a much softer tone. Sticking to this rule means I also never ever respond in the heat of the moment. I take a little deep breath, send a GGs Friend, move on. Feels good man.

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I only play Splatoon and Overwatch, and yes, OW in competitive results in some hilarious PMs if you play anything less than god-level. Half a mind to just grief on there sometimes. ;) I haven't though. Yet.

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I don't play anything online whatsoever. The missus laughed at me as I set up the new console, because I unticked all the social aspects of the thing! "Connect to friends" nope. "Let friends message you" nope...

 

Lol.

 

The most anti-social PS4 there's ever been!

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I'd like to play more multiplayer games but as a casual gamer it's hard. Take the latest CoD for instance: I managed to play it once every few days, but due to frequent (and MASSIVE) updates it was hardly possible to just turn on the PS4 and play the game. The download waiting times ruined it for me.

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