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Multiplayer is Dead: The Irony of the Isolated Player

Ciel

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Multiplayer is Dead

The Irony of the Isolated Player

 

It seems appropriate to begin with what is surely to be the one contention to the proceeding argument. "But Call of Duty," so will say a yet to be named person, "is incredibly popular online." Yes, and the sky is also blue—what is your point? "Well, I play with with hundreds even thousands of people a week, all from across the globe." Yes, yes but are you really? To what extent are you engaging with these other players in both the game itself and the world external to it?

 

The woe of digital modernity has, in ironic fashion, rendered online-players as isolated others of which are hardly more sentient than the procedural AI sought to be avoided by playing online. The dichotomy between player and BOT has, as a result, become less palpable and indeed more ostensive. The aim of this blog series, which will be composed of parts, is to provide cultural and contextual evidence of this claim in the hope that doing so will encourage change in the coeval multiplayer paradigm.

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I was into multiplayer heavy from about 2003-2008, but went back more to single player gaming guy and occasional couch multiplayer. I do play NCAA Football in an online dynasty with old friends from way back, but I simply have little interest in gaming online with random people too often. Lol.

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2003-2008 is roughly my timeline as well at least as a "heavy" online gamer. 

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Yep, the strategic shooters like Socom where communication was key have gone by the wayside for the most part.

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I think it has less to do with the games people are playing, and more the people playing them. The internet has become an immensely hostile place in the last several years, and with everyone seemingly unable to accept others and having some need to prove themselves to complete strangers, it's no wonder playing online is but a stones throw from playing the AI.

 

A shame no doubt, but it just seems the nature of things that become more popular that the jerks tend to rise to the surface and rub off on others. There's a reason I barely ever use a mic online. I just don't want to deal with that crap.

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While you are correct Squirrel that it is a matter of those who play the game, not using a microphone rather than muting those who disturb does not help. You too a part of the problem as of course is to be addressed later along with other things. Thank you all for taking an interest!

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@Tyler: communication was the key. I played with a group consisting of a lot of guys with military experience and some regular guys who appreciated team communication even from different countries and it was fun and not too serious, but we all had jobs. In Halo for example, I was strictly the bomb planter and guy who got the flag out into the open for our sniper to watch. When most moved on, I couldn't tolerate random people where some guy who can't snipe sprints to the sniper rifle before anyone else and then the random team you're with gets destroyed. Lol.

 

We saved the silly stuff for custom private games. To find someone now who would rather win a match for his team than worry about a trophy or nice K/D ratio is just rare. I'll take a poor K/D ratio any day if it was smart and resulted in a big move that boosted the rest of the team.

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And you are right Ninja. That's why my headset stays on the shelf unless I'm gaming with a friend. Lol. I'm not the type to get hostile back at them, but I just don't want to listen to the nasty comments often devolving into a mob like hate joke scene against specific lifestyles or social group, etc.

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I think it depends how you define the term. I think it's more alive then ever because I consider multi player just that. More then one live player playing something at the same time with each other. They don't have to plan things out, they don't have to talk to each other, ect.

 

I think what you are explaining is a little more on the co op side. And theres always clans and communities that will be more then happy to play things with you.

 

I have been playing dark souls a lot lately and I honestly thought the community was dead. But I get invaded and summoned enough to know that it's actually really fun. You can't even communicate with the other person all you have is gestures. And that in it self really makes things interesting. When you are summoned the first thing you do is greet each other with a bow. If you go on to fight a boss together you point your sword in to the sky. If you win against a boss or an invader you jump up and down. I think that some games become even more charming with out verbal communication.

 

I invaded a world getting ready to kill the person that was just minding their own business but as we both started circling around a pillar we both decided it be more fun to just joke around with each other. With out saying a word we just started testing each other, to see if we would attack. Neither of us did and I went to follow him around on his journey. Sadly he eventually got killed by a butcher but as a result I get a pm saying he had fun and a friend request.

 

I play a lot of COD multiplayer and that community is pretty nasty, yeah it can be pretty nice but most of the time if you don't know who you are playing with and they have a headset it's an instant mute from me. They will either complain about how they die or insult each others sexuality, mothers, ect. I was dont use my headset unless im gaming with friends. I heard someone tell another person (with out a headset) "If I had your score I would kill my self".

 

I mean really? You would kill yourself over having a bad K/D ratio? Not only that but that kid can hear you if you they haven't muted you. How do you think that makes someone feel that is either just learning how to play, young, or has some type of disability? I have always said, the less responsibility someone has to take for their actions the crueler they will be. The internet is a perfect example of that.

 

So like a lot of you said, the internet is a hostile place. But every once in a while you run in to a gem of a community. Like Dark Souls, Journey, or Gamepodunk.

 

TLDR: I have a better time playing multiplayer games that don't let you talk, then I do with ones that let you verbally communicate with strangers lmao.

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Ah, yes! I am really excited that this is getting responses from you guys. I promise to shed light on points being brought up in the second blog post which I hope to have done by tomorrow evening, or the Saturday night. So within the next two days. I did not say anything about talking and non-talking players in the initial blog post here, I am not sure why that keeps being brought up, but again it is something I am going to talk about as it is important--fear not! However, it is not at all the main crux of the series.

A working, and hopefully universally accepted definition of "multiplayer" will be put forth by myself and expanded on throughout. To perhaps be more clear, what I hope to convince people of is that despite being "human" their lack of communication online (language or otherwise) has them, ironically, playing alone despite the fact that they are playing with others. In this odd sort of way they have become AI, controlled not by autonomy, but driven by some other force all-together (which is also going to be talked about).

 

More simply, human qualities tend to be lost when gamers get online. "Online multiplayer" is playing with humans, is it not? So if those we are playing with do not have human qualities (i'm not talking about anger, the fallibility, etc.) then who exactly are we playing with? Oh don't worry I'll talk about "what" makes us human, although I probably won't go into too much philosophical detail as I haven't time for that.

 

Your Dark Souls experience, Kikyou, is the result of a player communicating, non verbally--a player of human characteristics and conscious. He is playing multiplayer correctly so to speak. I would have sent him a Friend Request. 

 

Like I said a few times already, all this will be addressed and brought up again in clearer detail so if things are cloudy now you'll have to wait. 

 

The Call of Duty Ghosts logo there is a perfect metaphor. Death. Players as the ghosts within the machine. 

 

Oh yes, this also pertains to MMOs because there's nothing more lonely than an MMO. Haha.

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MMOs lonely? That's an odd experience maybe, but true in the beginning on some. MMOs are desirable to me because the good nature of some sticks out majorly, but I avoid them due to the time sink. Maybe the first long term MMO for me was (Phantasy Star Online Xbox) which was funny because you could do everything in the game in one sitting yet once you made friends, you were kind of on a mission to create every kind of weapon and item ever and just run through the exact same few short levels over and over. Lol. What drew me in was the oddity that in a room full of the all powerful expert players shunning noobs, there's always the one guy or female who is going to just randomly be your friend, set you up with a few items and show you the ropes and sometimes end up being a long time friend across other games. I just don't see the guaranteed one good guy in Halo, COD anymore. Even what I've seen in Dark Souls etc like kikyou has experienced, there's a lot of the "good guys" on there too.

 

If we had lives closer to 200 years in length, I'd be on a MMO now. Lol.

 

So although I reject multiplayer mostly for me, I want it to thrive. I want single-player to thrive too as well. It is an issue with games that tack on a goofy multiplayer for sales, no one likes the multiplayer and that time could have sharpened up the single-player only part. Sad sometimes. Elder Scrolls going MMO saddened me because it's no longer a personal experience which has as much value as a team experience. :)

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UPDATE: Did not get anything done last night, have to work most of today. Will try my best to get it out within the next few days.

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What I dislike is when games shoe-horn a multiplayer element in a game, such as when Ninja Gaiden 3 did so. If the game is meant to be single player, you may want to just expand that experience.

 

Since I've been playing lots of Tekken lately, I can say that not having a headset is a hit or miss. Sometimes you have a great match, just barely winning, or sometimes you get crushed and want to call the other person a jerk. However, I've met my share of great and nasty people. I will also admit that I don't sit in player matches much, for the sake of time. I just want to get in, have a few brawls and then get out.

 

Communication is certainly key, as I received a message to play co-op in Tekken 6, which I would have joined if I had seen the message.

I made a friend through Borderlands once too, and I just randomly played an online game when that happened.

 

But I've always found playing with someone random to be a great experience when it comes to MMOs. You're helping someone, or maybe he/she is helping you, or you both just happen to have quests in the same area and may as well have some company.

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I dunno how much I agree with that, but then again I also have a large group of friends that I play fighting games and other co-op games with on a regular basis. But I definitely see what you mean. There's not enough interaction with each other, or at least with some games it's becoming increasingly popular to just play with faceless people instead of your friends. And even some games that do have multiplayer don't even support local co-op or local multiplayer. Battlefield is a big example of that, but I digress. 

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