The Drawback of Multiplayer: Other Players

Illustration for article titled The Drawback of Multiplayer: Other Players

People who call me an elitist are quite mistaken: I'm actually a misanthrope. It's not that don't associate with certain people, I don't associate with most people. Present company excluded of course. Or included. However you want to read it. John Walker at Rock, Paper, Shotgun feels somewhat the same way, and that's why he's fired up about The Old Republic. And he has a novel argument for why it'll save MMO gaming, for antisocial types like myself.

An MMO where you get NPC party members? Good grief, yes. A thousand times yes. I get the extra hands I require to tackle a stronger foe, but without them bitching and whining at me because I didn’t use my double-cloaking no-hit AOE poison buff at exactly the point they would have used it if they were playing on their own. See? SEE? Every single bugger in these games just wants the others in their parties to be the over-qualified AI companions that perform the tasks they don’t have time for. If you don’t play like they would have done it, you’ve failed them, you’ve let them down, you’ve spoiled their game. ... But if my party members are NPCs, they’ll do what they’re programmed to do, or when I tell them to do it. That’s great for any of the above frustrations I might experience. But more importantly, when I don’t do what they might want when they might demand it, they’re not going to storm off in a giant pissy huff and block me on IM.


John deflects the "then you don't want an MMO," argument — "I really do want an MMO of KotOR’s world, because then I’ll have myself a KotOR game that doesn’t end! And Bioware, mightiest at the RPG, utterly suck at endings." This does make a lot of sense, and BioWare's shrewd for implementing the NPC party member option. I haven't gamed MMOs ever partly because — well I don't even own a PC, but that's beside the point — I'm just not that into what other people are doing with their game experience. I have enough on my hands just managing my own. And holy shit, Walker's right when he talks about people playing Team Fortress 2, "screaming - and I mean SCREAMING - in anger at a Medic’s failure to uber-charge them the very instant they wanted it." Go through that, or anything close, and you start to question whether multiplayer really is fun. Anyway, you can tell I'm in something of a pissed mood this AM, so the argument resonates. Check it out. The Trouble With Other People [Rock, Paper, Shotgun]

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You should try Guild Wars. Then you'd have a party of three to seven NPCs to help you. Or you could play an MMO with a friend. Or you play a class that has a pet. Or you could form a guild with your friends. There are plenty of other options besides Old Republic.