Op-ed: The Problem with Online Games

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Prime, May 7, 2015.

  • by Prime, May 7, 2015 at 9:02 AM
  • Prime

    Prime Desires Bionic Arm

    Here's the problem with online games—competition without fun. Hey folks, I woke up this morning and this topic popped into my head so here I am writing about it. First of all I'd like to clarify the first sentence - competition can indeed be fun, and indeed I feel the soul of online games IS competition - but I also feel that the spirit of competition is a passion for the contest. Bringing the two or more players together in respectful and overall fun experience.

    I feel that we as gamers, especially in an online capacity tend to forget the point in games is they're there so we can all enjoy them and have a good time. Now with that being said, there's no reason to deny ones self the enjoyment of practice and diligence to be more skilled and learned in the mechanics of the game. But should that automatically disqualify the less diligent in being able to enjoy themselves? I mean they bought the game too, they have every right to enjoy something they paid to enjoy.

    Initially this was going to be about fighting games, but I then realized that what I was talking about was competitiveness in general, not just 1 vs 1 "rivalry". I feel like with the amount of people online, it's too cramped to be jackasses to each other. Jump into a 16 or 32 player death match and you'll know what I mean. One person, down at level 5 gets reamed in the wazoo by players 360 noscoping all day long. Level 5 leaves the game. We get it, "Team PNZ U" you're crazy good at the game. Why you gotta front? With all your ability, with all your skill why is that not enough to know that you win, that you're awesome at the game. Why do you need to rub it in and make others feel like they're worthless?

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    I've seen it plenty of times in fighting games too, the overzealous display of skill required to pull off ONE combo, over and over again - and the knowledge of what situations allow them to use said combo repeatedly. The notion of minmaxing a 1 on 1 contest is belittling to the other player. It makes you look like you're only playing to win - some of you may be asking "what's the point in a 1 v 1 fighter if you're not aiming to win?" well, some of you may agree with me, some may not. I feel that fighting games are at their best when a match is close, when it's right down to the wire. I don't care if I lose a match that's so close they have literally 1 hit left in them and I could have won. I don't see that as a waste, I see that as a great match, something noteworthy from both sides. It wasn't just owning someone who can't read where the next hit will come from. The match wasn't just "another notch in your belt" or "another statistic" - it was memorable.

    The only thing an easily defeated player will remember is the sheer embarrassment when you double-flawlessed them - and your name, so they know not to face you again. You won't remember that loser, he was barely a blip on your 1337 radar.

    Appealing to the humility of online gamers is completely lost as online competitiveness has been programmed into us to be totally awesome and belittle anyone else of lesser skill - and also to faction up, guild up or just plain team up with those of your skill based peers. That way you can destroy those around you even better because you're part of a "gang". The strong team up to win, the weak team up to have fun. Low class guilds in MMO's built on friendship, instead of downing the latest raid boss over and over. In a weak group, you're a name to be enjoyed and enjoy the other names. In a strong group you're a tool to be used for victory. And if your ass doesn't show up for the raid, you're out. I'd far rather be in the group that goes nowhere but feels like home than side with a group that defeats every obstacle but is nothing but a chore.

    The FUN side of competition is gone from online games. That mutual respect for your fellow man is overshadowed by the thrill of victory piled on victory. That method starts to numb your senses though and turns playing a game to win into a mindless scramble to keep your KDR respectable. It turns to yet another dreary chore. We have enough of those in our day to day lives, can we not just play?

    It can't be fixed unless we start treating other people with respect and play first and foremost for fun.

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    I'll end with this: Every time myself, RayG and Kyle get together for a game of Guilty Gear X2 the bliss on their faces when they manage to beat my Sol Badguy straight up is something dreams are made of. The shouts of immense happiness that they overcame me wouldn't be anywhere near as satisfying if they just straight up whipped me senseless. The most satisfying thing for me though, is that win or lose we're all playing because the game is just so much fun. We're not playing so I can just beat them over and over and they're not playing to see if they can just manage to beat me - we're united in our passion for the game, in a spirit of competition that transcends something so frivolous as victory.
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    Note: Prime's opinion is his own. More from him can be found at the Stupidly Epic website.
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Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Prime, May 7, 2015.

  1. Goffey
    Good article duder but I have to disagree. I find a lot of the fun in competitive games is, getting better. If someone is beating me with one combo over and over...its on me to learn how to avoid that. Not on the other player to dumb his/her game down to cater my enjoyment of the game.

    That being said....when I'm playing a fighter against someone I know isn't that great....I'll pick characters I'm trying to learn to give them a chance. If that doesn't work and I'm still winning I'll switch to characters I've never used....buuuut that's not exactly fun for myself. Even then if I'm trying to dumb down my game for someone elses enjoyment......that takes away the enjoyment I'm having. That's not fair either.

    In the end..matchmaking is the most important. Find people on your same skill level regardless of the game. Or just play with friends.
  2. Prime
    You'll notice I never once gave a solution to the problem or said that the solution was as simple as dumbing your game down. It's a very complex situation that I feel the root of the problem is to do sociologically with how we handle competition in general - I'm not asking anyone to "go easy" on someone so they can have fun as well.

    The point of this article was to simply point out something I doubt many people see in the heat of moment to moment online contests - in that these are people too, doing exactly what you're doing. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. I feel the spirit of competition should be uniting in celebration of the contest itself, not the revelry and brashness of handing someone their ass.

    The king of the hill matches in MKX are a great way to sidestep this whole situation. It takes the concept of something normally very private like a 1v1 match and publicly allows viewers to give respect, have their try at dethroning the best player and thus counteract the whole "in your face" attitude solitary matches seem to bring to the table.

    I do agree though that better matchmaking in accordance with skill level would go a long way, but that's only a band aid, not a cure.
  3. Goffey
    " feel the spirit of competition should be uniting in celebration of the contest itself, not the revelry and brashness of handing someone their ass."

    If you get you're beating someones ass off and competition shouldn't be about that....there is no other way to change that match other than.....the ass kicker dumbing the game down....or the ass kickee getting better.

    Good competition comes from players with similar skill playing each other...that's the only time genuine competition occurs.

    I'm with you....close matches are WAY more interesting than a blowout...but only if they happen naturally.

    You may not have come ouot and said that...but it sure seems like you're hinting at it.

    "The FUN side of competition is gone from online games. That mutual respect for your fellow man is overshadowed by the thrill of victory piled on victory. That method starts to numb your senses though and turns playing a game to win into a mindless scramble to keep your KDR respectable. It turns to yet another dreary chore. We have enough of those in our day to day lives, can we not just play?"

    you're assuming that "FUN" is universal. Some people have fun learning the game inside and out and putting those skills to the test. Its not their fault some people don't take those games seriously and still play randoms online. You mention KDR......so if you're good at the game you shouldn't want to play well?

    I guess I don't really see the point you're trying to make.
  4. Prime
    Fair enough.

    I think the point is fairly clear. It's "can we not all just get along and play a game as if we're couch-playing with friends, instead of seeing someone else online and mean to end their existence?"

    but, fair enough.
  5. saskbob
    I think better matchmaking is the key. This has never really been solved in my opinion by any game maker. Part of the problem is player base, usually there just isn't that many crappy players trying to matchmake because they've become super frustrated in one or two matchs.

    For instance I don't even bother trying online matches in fighters anymore even though I like them. Get destroyed every time. I know if I put in the hours I could get good enough to win 10% of the time but nah.

    I'll stick to shooters, the souls games and EA NHL for my online gaming.
    DocNonsensical likes this.
  6. CrashBomber
    I don't understand this "mutual respect" thing. It's tough out there, fighting in the online streets. You gotta get yours before you get got. You gotta do what ever is necessary to get that W. If you do take the L, you best learn from it, because Cody is around the corner in Ranked with a knife...
    Prime and saskbob like this.
  7. Prime

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