This is Ghost, thanks for joining!
Ever since my post about The Mario Kart Problem I've been trying to come up with new gaming topics to talk about in between video game reviews. Let's face it, I rarely if ever buy a game the day of its release and therefore any game I review is going to be months if not decades after everyone else in the world has spoken on the topic. One such idea that came to mind was "When you start to hate the games you love." This is something that I and at least one of my friends has been experiencing here lately...just a general distaste for a few of the games that we love. Why is this happening?
Well I began thinking about that for several weeks in an attempt to come up with good solid reasons as to why. There are issues such as mishandling of a franchise by its producer, but that generally doesn't change my viewpoint of an existing game I purchased and already love. I racked my brain over and over and found only one common denominator amongst the games that I love to play and generally like but slowly became to hate... Online Multiplayer.
Is online multiplayer really a good thing?
There are many things that can be said about online multiplayer both good and bad. I want to make this as balanced as possible so I'm going to be examining both the benefits and the drawbacks to online multiplayer and let's see if there is an answer to the question presented. So I ask that you..
The Benefits of Online Multiplayer
The Drawbacks of Online Multiplayer
Something less common than the bile spewing masses but infinitely more infuriating is when you encounter those wonderful individuals who choose to cheat, hat and spam the entire time. If you haven't encountered any of this particular breed of troll then consider yourself lucky as I have run across my fair share. The Mario Kart player who has hacked his Wii to give himself Super Stars that never fade from the very beginning of the race. The Sniper in Team Fortress 2 who never leaves the team's safe zone and is pulling off perfect headshots through walls to the other side of the map with the assistance of aimbot. The Smash Bros players who refuse to fight during the match and spam taunts till the Sudden Death portion appears. These people are so frustrating and their shenanigans completely destroy any fun that you might be able to have from the online gaming experience. Thankfully for some systems and games you can report people like this and they will eventually be temporarily (or permanently) banned, but for other systems you just have to either deal with it or exit and try to get placed into a better group of people. Now don't get me wrong here. I really enjoy cheat codes and such as I am not a very great gamer. I was a huge supporter of Gameshark and Action Replay during their hay day but I would have never brought those to any sort of multiplayer because that's cheap and completely unfair. I don't want to be "that guy" who is making the gaming experience miserable for everyone else.
So is Online Multiplayer a good thing or a bad thing?
I'm not entirely sure I have an answer for that. There are many good things about online multiplayer that I have certainly benefited from. On paper these positives do seem to be more important while the negatives seem to be more annoyances than anything else. However my discussion above didn't quite go into frequency of the negatives. In my personal experience, I have come across each of these positives but only a handful of times whereas I am almost guaranteed to run across one of the negatives each and every time I decide to play online multiplayer. The ratio is easily 8 to 1 for the negatives.
People say to not bring up a problem or potential problem unless you have a solution and I don't know what that solution could be. I hate dealing with the drawbacks of online multiplayer but I love the benefits I get from it as well. The only possible solution is having games perform online multiplayer the same way that Minecraft servers work. One person being a host of the game and hosting online multiplayer matches/games for people who have his userID or friend code. This means that you could easily manage who comes on to your games and can quickly eliminate those who are causing problems. However that comes with a different set of drawbacks such as people not being available to host if you wish to play a game online, people losing their temper and kicking people out of an emotional reaction to losing, slow connections of that host machine, not getting to fight complete strangers etc.
There possibly is no solution to this but I feel it's something worth thinking about. Any improvement that doesn't come at the cost of efficiency or freedom should be at least considered. What do you think? Do YOU think Online multiplayer is a good thing?
This is Ghost, Fading into the darkness.
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