Online Gaming

First up, I’d just like to say that I don’t think online gaming is without some merit.

That sounds like real negative forshadowing for something that generally receives nothing but praise from most, but I’m not having a mindless bash at online play merely because I have a rubbish connection. Or because the online player can take me to the cleaners on even my favourite games. It’s much more general than that.

Online play, while touted as being more social and outgoing than the ‘lonliness’ of single-player, is actually pretty solitary. You know what? Playing with people is so much more fun when you’re not sitting in the house on your own. It’s called LAN, and with modern laptops this is more feasible than ever.

I know not everyone can do this, and being a developer I have more computers than I should so I’m inclined to be a LAN gamer. But it’s not just LAN. Split screen and turn based games are even easier; Trackmania being the current favourite (turn-based racing at its best). I always enjoy it so much more playing games with people who are present and I actually know and/or care about.

Online games aren’t forbidden a look in among all this, I just don’t think they’re the big positive social train they’re made out to be. Also, it may come as a shock to those who think that bots are a thing of the past and that World of Warcraft is how all games will be someday, but I’ve deduced some fundamental logical inevitables:

  1. AI will sooner or later surpass humans. In my opinion they’re already more fun because they don’t hack, or spend the whole time telling you you’re doing it in an inefficient way and not using the best gunz. Regardless, AI will eventually be as good (and optionally better) than humans. [1]
  2. Role Play Games are fun because you’re the only one that can save the world. If everyone in the world is also saving it as well, all your greatnesses average out and you’re left back in the real world where everyone is samey and bored. This is called Lex’s Hypothesis on Why World Of Warcraft Sucks. [2]
  3. People on The Internets are all dickholes [3].

I’m not just getting at online games for the hell of it, I just think the industry needs a kick up the jacksie to remember that there’s greater things a game can aspire to than Battlefield 2. Players of ‘private session’ style games like my humble self are finding our choices slim these days, because developers/publishers think that online is where the cash is. This is probably true. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it!