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Do We Really Need Multiplayer?

multiplayer single player video games news

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#1
EbonyBetty

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Hello, fellow Obsidianites! I'd really like to know everyone's thoughts on how multiplayer functions are seemingly being implemented into every game nowadays.

 

Now I will be frank, I'm not a fan of multiplayer in my games, which also doubles as irony because one of my favorite games at the moment is 'Overwatch.' However, what separates Overwatch for me from other games is multiplayer is ALL that Overwatch is in a gameplay and sometimes story sense. Blizzard spit-shined that game's gameplay until it was sparkling. There's no single player and all of the modes multiplayer based; when Blizzard launched their games they had 3 modes with a good n' solid core and have just kept adding to it ever since, making Overwatch shine on like a crazy diamond.

 

So I guess what I trying to say, I'm tired of having video games divert and fraction their energy and resources regarding single player campaign mode and multiplayer. So far there doesn't seem to be a content, healthy middle. It's an 'either or' scenario, either single player is great and the multiplayer is crap: Spec Ops the Line dev called its multiplayer a cancerous growth 

 

Or the multiplayer is killer, but the single player campaign isn't even worth touching AKA see every Call of Duty game, Titan Fall (to a degree, the 2nd was ok), Destiny (sorry even with the DLC, I don't like the story). 

 

I stare longingly out the windowsill,  wondering when my precious single player RPGs will come back from the war. I was delighted and cheered when Obsidian told journalists, there'd be no multiplayer in PoE, and it looks like it paid off. Although before the game was released, saying there's no multiplayer was and continues to be a controversial choice among fans aka potential customers  

 

I understand from a financial stand point that multiplayer games have more longevity and growth potential than a single-player game does, which means more money for publishers. So sometimes you get the sense that developers didn't want to add multiplayer and were "encouraged" to do so *cough* Bioware during and after ME3 *cough*. Or developers and publishers are totally cool with it and it still comes out mediocre *cough* Elder Scrolls Online *cough*

 

Look, I understand that developers and publishers do what they gotta do to get some cash flow going so they can have enough to fund their other projects. But nowadays their other projects just seems to be more MMO lite. What do you guys think? Agree or do you think I'm missing something?

 

TL;DR: Multiplayer games are okay as long as they're refined and honed like Overwatch (basically putting all their effort into one basket) or like Divinity Original Sin 2 contribute extensively to story and gameplay (and still have restraint like 4 players Co-Op.) But would like signature single-player series or campaigns to forgo multiplayer altogether. 


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#2
Gfted1

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For RPG's, I prefer SP. I don't want anyone else making conversation decisions. For aRPG's, I greatly prefer MP. I'm bored to death exploding mooks in D3 by myself.


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#3
Hawke64

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Agreed, mostly.

 

I think, MP is fine, when it's optional. Dark Souls had it right - I could play completely offline and get everything the game had to offer (except "Darkmoon Blade" miracle, which requires either PvP or a lot of grinding), I could play co-op or PvP, if I wanted to. On the other hand, MP might be considered a waste of resources, which could be spent on SP content instead. So, if the main focus of a game is SP, MP might be damaging.



#4
Raithe

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Plus, as ME Andromeda has shown, having all single player content and care stopped while they continue to push the Co-op/Multiplayer full of micro-transactions is a wee bit annoying.

Sure, the multiplayer aspect is "optional" , but people don't pick up a ME game (or similar) to play multiplayer. For me it's all about having an interesting (or silly) story to enjoy and have fun with, and poke at what consequences might spiral out from my actions as I play through. So while on a certain level, I can't rant against optional multiplayer, it does seem silly to strip away resources that could go towards improving the main focus of the game.

 

Most of my gamer friends are in different countries and on wildly different time zones to me, so it's not as if I'd ever really get into regular co-op play with them, and having to deal with random strangers who get introduced to you for  half an hour, who might or might not speak the same language, does tend to suck any thought of actual strategy away turning it into a general crapshoot.



#5
SonicMage117

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I prefer single player for almost everything. Very rarely do I feel the need to play with another human being whether it's co-op or competitive.

My reason for gaming is and will always be for the story writing and the characters. Such things are best done with single player. Howerver, we're at the age of gaming in which the community is spoiled and wants multiplayer tacked onto everything. Even if it doesn't belong.

Does multiplayer really help sales? That's the myth and has been proven wrong time and time again. If that were the case then single player games like The Witcher, Uncharted, etc wouldn't always topple the charts more than any multiplayer game out there.

That's my input.


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#6
Undecaf

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Do we really need multiplayer?

 

 

Short and to the point (and without elaboration because why not): No.


Edited by Undecaf, 31 August 2017 - 11:34 AM.

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#7
Fenixp

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  • Black Isle Bastard!

Titan Fall (to a degree, the 2nd was ok)

Ok!? TF2's campaign was some of the most fun I've ever had with a campaign in an FPS, that's barely just 'ok' :-P

Anyway, as with just about anything in life, focus on polishing what your product is all about and ignoring the rest will end up in a more polished and fun product. Often enough, having throwaway SP/MP will just divert resources from bits that actually matter and that people pay for.

What I do quite like is the rise of seamless MP functionality, altho I do tend to avoid it myself (love it as a concept, can't stand it interrupting my SP fun) - in other words, in spite of having a dedicated MP mode, having MP functionality implanted directly into your game as an opt-in feature. Dark Souls is a fantastic example with some incredibly creative uses of players sharing events or actions from their world with other players in often unpredictable and fun fashion. Or Watch_Dogs 2, having both co-op and competitive MP content that you can opt out of completely separately. I think that's really cool, reinforces what the game is designed about and can be a lot of fun.
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#8
SonicMage117

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*Snip*

I can't imagine how good a CoD would actually be if they put all their money and resources into a single player only experience. Same goes for Titanfall and even Blizzard games.

Thing is, although that would make for amazing games, the community would boycott the games for not having multiplayer (this is the false sense of entitlment of the community), not knowing how to seperate two products and such is the cost of our consumer ethics.

Anyways that's just a bit of insight from yours truly.


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#9
213374U

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"Need" is a bit of a strong word. You need very little at all, but that's a whole 'nother story.

 

The MP/SP divide is often fake, though. It's different teams handling each portion in games that have specific MP content, with separate budgets. Shoehorning MP in a game just because the latest market research craze says so is probably going to suck, but that holds true of anything. RPG-like inventory/stat progression? Microtransactions? VR support? Whatever. I wish devs would just focus on making good games with a strong mechanical and narrative foundation where applicable rather than ticking boxes. CREAM, though.

 

But when it does work, it's just awesome. BG2/IWD, D:OS, DoW2 are examples of games with a focus on single-player action where the added multiplayer functionality makes them even better.


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#10
Wormerine

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Games should have game modes which support the core idea of the experience. You can have both in one game, as long as both make sense. The problem is that a lot of those extra modes (whenever it would be single or multiplayer) are added to create an illusion of content and appeal to wider demographic. Look at Bioware stuff. Their multiplayer modes aren't great, but they have their audience and they are a good place to sell microtransactions. 


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#11
MortyTheGobbo

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I don't think Mass Effect 3 is a good example for multiplayer being detrimental to the game. The MP mode there was excellent. Where it did go wrong is that it was tied to the single-player campaign, despite explicit promises that it wouldn't be. Dragon Age: Inquisition is a much better example, since not only is its MP lukewarm, but single-player controls are pretty transparently altered to enable it.

 

So I agree with your point if adding MP to an otherwise SP game would be detrimental. If multiplayer can be integrated into the core experience of an otherwise singleplayer game, by all means go for it. Otherwise, just stick to the actual point.


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#12
Hurlshot

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The one genre I hate MP in is strategy games. But that's because people are crazy in those games.



#13
Malcador

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It is expected, like RTS (if those exist any more), TBS or FPS/TPS. I guess it counts as needed in those cases.

#14
CrumpetsForBreakfast

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Where does only single player game come back from exactly?

 

If you google you can find there was multiplayer in infinity games and also neverwinter game series where it was a primary part of the experience.

 

A lot of multiplayer only games today have very simplified and streamlined designs that can be understood and tweaked in spreadsheets. They also rely on various addictive techniques such as what some call "loot chests" which are essentially virtual slot machines. Those are problems that need not apply to a role play game.

 

I also don't think taking out multiplayer changes a game's direction in the way that going from 3d to 2d does. Many people appreciate multiplayer but might still buy the game regardless. I suppose you could cut many non essential features if the question is only if it's necessary to get buyers, most features aren't necessary for buyers either.

 

In general a role playing game is always multiplayer except you can substitute primitive and scripted AI for the dungeon master. Your companions are controlled by the player, but I imagine some people would much prefer being able to go on an adventure with their friends or SO.



#15
SonicMage117

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A lot of multiplayer only games today have very simplified and streamlined designs that can be understood and tweaked in spreadsheets. They also rely on various addictive techniques such as what some call "loot chests" which are essentially virtual slot machines. Those are problems that need not apply to a role play game.

If you mean like the pinatas in games such as Fortnite, this is almost strictly for free-2-play games that happen to be multiplayer. Either way, it's a horrible gambling systems that people sink money into to get a 0 return 90% of the time. It's worse than paying for cosmetic dlc's.

And there there is the mobile market where many single player games have these kinds of systems.

I also don't think taking out multiplayer changes a game's direction in the way that going from 3d to 2d does. Many people appreciate multiplayer but might still buy the game regardless. I suppose you could cut many non essential features if the question is only if it's necessary to get buyers, most features aren't necessary for buyers either.

There are so many games that have both a decent single player and multiplayer experience but neither are great. If only they had put 5 or 10% more resources in one or the other then it would have been great at launch instead of patching later to am upset community.




But to add even more to what I was saying earlier...


There aren't games that have both great single player and multiplayer simply because the passion is shifted and prioritized towards one or the other. There's really no such thing as a game that was made to take advantage of both single player and multiplayer equally - some people tell themselves that there are but it simply isn't true. The task of "Let's make the ultimate single-player and multiplayer game" is too big for even the largest AAA team to tackle. Sometimes tacking on mp to a single player is just as useless as adding VR support. People who want it will swear to devs that it will raise their sales but this has never proven to be true. However, when independent devs do this they usually lose respect of dedicated fans, can't really blame them.

As an RPG enthusiast, I don't feel like playing single player games robs me of any experience or joy that comes with a human being. And there are more single player rpg's that are single player than multiplayer and for good reason. Story and the control over it is much easier for devs if the game is single player. Divinity Original Sin 2 is the only mp rpg structure that I have seen which features a fair and intelligent sharing script system for players with friends. I have alot of friends who play multiplayer rpg's that I own but I'd much rather play alone.

If we are talking general rpg's, the most rpg's ever made are by far single player, the most active rpg's today are still single player games (I see a pattern here). Now... FPS on the other hand.. its just the opposite, that's where the vast majority are now multiplayer based and this is thanks to Call Of Duty and now the more recent Overwatch.

People like me don't want added features but more content, story to fill on plot holes even if I have to pay money. There's alot of people like me out there.



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#16
Orogun01

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I know of groups of people in my current job that do enjoy playing together, and I also know of someone whose social life amounts to playing  with his old friends from before he moved states. So, there might be something to this multiplayer thing that goes beyond the product.


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#17
Lexx

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That linked steam thread is pretty gold. Just imagine playing PoE in coop with someone who hasn't played the game yet... If your party is a slow reader, it gets even better. :>

Heck, just imagine marketing would have won back in 1997 and Fallout would have ended up as a real time multiplayer title... certainly would have improved the games quality drastically... not. :>
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#18
Wormerine

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In general a role playing game is always multiplayer except you can substitute primitive and scripted AI for the dungeon master. Your companions are controlled by the player, but I imagine some people would much prefer being able to go on an adventure with their friends or SO.


I think I understand were your thought process is coming from but calling single RPG a multiplayergame because historically some of the roles previously were held by human players is not really accurate. All games in that sense are multiplayer as you interact with AI. If the game is designed with one player in mind it's single player.


Where does only single player game come back from exactly?
 
If you google you can find there was multiplayer in infinity games and also neverwinter game series where it was a primary part of the experience.
 
.


I know I played those. I suppose it depends on what quality multiplayer do you expect. Some say that coop is always fun than a singleplayer and there is a truth in that. But for me a multiplayer (coop or vs) is the game which requires life player to enjoy it properly. I love SWAT4 and Divinity. But those games don't work nearly as well in singleplayer as a lot of the systems are designed with 2 or more humans in mind.

Coop in IE games or Arcanum never really worked for me as gameplay and combat was designed for one player. They were fiddly and I didn't feel like game got much better with a friend, beyond th fact that I played with a friend. That's for me is a bad, tacked on multiplayer. Not to say that there is no audience for it, and it doesn't hurt the singleplayer, but I wouldn't say that it "works."

Neverwinter Nights is completely opposite. I have heard that the multiplayer content was really fun, but simgleplayer campaign was really weak (expansions got better but nothing great) - locales were boring, questing and structure unengaging with bad pacing, single character control was disappointing after IE experience.

A good example of great singleplayer and multiplayer game is Don't Starve and amount of work and redesign which went into making both versions work.

I am a person who favours specialization and I prefer a game which does one thing and does it well, over an overblown production which never fully realises its potential.

#19
Amentep

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I've always liked local co-op for action or fighting games, but generally speaking prefer single player games.



#20
Fiach

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I don't really like MP versions of SP games, I get my mp jollies in MMOs, I think they are more considered creations, whereas I find mp in sp games more "twitch" gaming than an enhancement of the sp portion and a waste of resources that could have enhanced the sp portion of the game.





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