Multiplayer Can Go to Hell

The only things multiplayer does better than single player is bore me and piss me off


Graphic: Alinna Boonklun/ SAC.Media

People who talk to me about video games learn pretty quick that I tend to hate competitive multiplayer. This wasn’t always the case; I did enjoy these games once upon a time. My deep dive into the multiplayer scene began with “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” and lasted about five years. I did have a lot of fun, and I have plenty of memories I still like to look back on. Ultimately though, I moved on.

There were a few factors that led me to abandon multiplayer games. For one thing, they got boring. Every multiplayer game is essentially the same, a never-ending loop of spawning, killing, dying, and respawning. I tell my friends that once you’ve played one match, you’ve played them all. No matter what kinds of fancy bells and whistles are tacked onto a game, the loop stays the same. Multiplayer is an unchanging experience.

I prefer a more complete package. I love a strong, well-written story with great characters, solid gameplay, and imaginative worlds. Multiplayer games just don’t have the same kind of impact as a good single player game. Those stories of me and my friends tearing up the virtual battleground are all well and good, but they don’t compare to the feeling of finishing a great RPG.

The “Xenoblade Chronicles” series, for example, is something I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into. I treasure these games. If I could wipe my memory of them so I could have another first playthrough, I would do it in a heartbeat. Admittedly, the writing could be better, but these games more than make up for it with strong gameplay and some of the best world design I’ve ever seen. I spent hours upon hours just running around and exploring every nook and cranny of the “Xenoblade” games, and there was no random jackass to shoot me in the head and ruin it.

“Red Dead Redemption 2,” or “RDR2” for simplicity’s sake, provided an excellent experience as well through its excellent narrative and writing. Developer Rockstar Games took its time to tell “RDR2’s” story and develop its characters, and it pays off in a big way. I never played the first game, so I was skeptical going into this one. It started slow, but once the story got going, I understood why people spoke so highly of it.

The number one reason I stopped playing multiplayer is people. The dislike of online gaming comes from what I’ve already said; the lack of story, characters, etc. The hatred comes from people. There are so many players who don’t treat multiplayer as the public space it is. Everyone goes into it to just have some fun, but more often than not, people don’t care about anyone’s experience but their own.

People play for themselves regardless of whether or not it comes at the expense of others, like finding ways to exploit maps that give them a ridiculously unfair advantage. For example, there was a map in “Call of Duty 4” where people could get on top of a building, making them very difficult to hit, and view a large portion of the map. They weren’t supposed to be able to do that. Once that exploit was discovered, it seemed like there was a sniper on that roof in every match.

Many players will make a point of ruining someone else’s day. I know this because I’ve spoken to people in the past who have told me that they enjoy doing this. That’s disgusting. It is utterly selfish and childish. “The Division” franchise’s dark zones are rife with players like this. These zones have lots of computer-controlled enemies that drop high-level loot, but the dark zone is also a PvP zone, or player vs. player.

Needless to say, people leapt at the opportunity to bully under-geared or solo players. All too often I would be minding my own business just trying to get some goodies and some random group of asshats would obliterate me for no reason. I’m sure that was plenty of fun for them, but it sure as hell wasn’t fun for me. It got even worse when players found a glitch that allowed multiple groups to form one super group. It should be obvious by now what people used that little trick for. If the game hadn’t forced me to go in the dark zone for certain items and challenges, I would’ve avoided it like the plague.

Another factor would be that I’m an introvert. Socializing is not why I play games. Yes, I do have friends, and yes, we do play together now and again, but I prefer to be alone for the most part. I already have to spend much of my time pretending to be an extrovert, I don’t want my damn games to ask that of me too.

It’s not even that I mind playing with others in a cooperative game, it’s more that I hate feeling like I have to. My enjoyment of my game should not depend on the participation of others. This is why games like “The Division” and “Destiny” irk me to no end. I want to enjoy those kinds of games, but all the best content requires you to be in a group. Again, I’m introverted. I don’t have a large social circle, and the idea of meeting new people makes my skin crawl.

I’ll say it again, I hate multiplayer. It has nothing to keep me invested in the game, and it’s brimming with obnoxious, inconsiderate assholes. I’ll take a great single player campaign over that cesspool any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Generally speaking, the fewer people there are involved with my game, the happier I am.