How to Make Multiplayer More Enjoyable for First Person Shooters

 

Nothing feels better in a first person shooter than getting online and having a great match. It is one of the most intense feelings to have 10 seconds left on the clock and be tied for kills with another person in a deathmatch. That sadly doesn't happen very often. More often than not when getting online in a first person shooter the skill variance between all the players in a single match can be vast. This degrades greatly from the overall enjoyment and can turn many players away from game.  Whether it is a player who logs in and easily defeats all of the other competitors without much hassle or a player who joins from the beginning and can never score a kill no one likes playing a multiplayer game where the other players are of a vastly different skill level. To remedy these issues I have several suggestions that could help alleviate some this issue.


Put a Ladders System in Place (Similar to Starcraft II)

With an accurate ladder system in place players would be to play against other players of a similar skill level. This is one idea that it surprising to not have been done yet. A ladder system alone would completely resolve the issue if implemented correctly. The ladder system could easily replace or work along with the standard leveling system to increase the enjoyment of a game. The most important aspect would be that all ranked matches would require all players in the match to be within the same ladder. Without that in place the ladder system would be irrelevant to the issue at hand. The developers would also need to create an unranked match setup where players from any ladder could play together so friends that may be in different ladders can still play with one another.


Implement Spectator Mode in More Games

It is a surprise here as well that this has not been adopted by more games. Even the games that do utilize it do not utilize it to its full potential. Along with adding the mode to more games there should also be a way to locate skilled players to watch, maybe in combination with the ladder system. It would be especially valuable if it was implemented with the ability to see multiple views at once via split screen as well as not having to view the match through same first person view as when playing. Another inclusion should be having the ability for the spectator to rewind mid-match so someone could watch how a player set up a kill shot. A rather important inclusion would be a more accurate mini-map that shows the precise location of all players or even a large map that can be pulled up to show where everyone is so finding players to watch would be easier. With a precise map in place a spectator could see where the best choke points are or know which players to study more closely.


Have a Mode Specifically for Beginners

One of the reasons there is such a vast difference in the skill level of players is that it is hard for a beginner to get acclimated to a game when the game has been out for a while. By the point a first person shooter has been out for 3 months more of the players online have had time to perfect their play style and any newcomers at that point will have a difficult time catching up. By having a mode specifically for beginners any game that has been out for duration of time can still be easy to pick up and play without feeling frustrated that everyone is on a completely different skill level. Beginners should not be forced to play beginner matches but players that have played more than a certain number of matches should not be allowed to play these matches in order for this to work.


Create Better Tutorials for Online Multiplayer

Games have tried but never succeeded in creating tutorials to help players get accustomed to online multiplayer. Many times a tutorial will cover useless knowledge or will only make the learning curve even steeper in some cases rather than giving information that will benefit the player. Maybe developers need to meet with pro gamers or watch more online gameplay in order to better understand what tutorials should cover to help players improve their skill but whatever it is they have been utilizing to build the current tutorials is not enough.


Better AI in Practice Matches

While it has been said before and will most likely be said again, we need better AI to practice against. The difference between a human player and AI is so drastically different that on most first person shooters all of the skills that are picked up on the single player campaign need to be quickly forgotten in order to succeed online. Maybe complex strategies cannot be programmed into AI or maybe developers need to learn more about human tendencies while online but what is currently available is insufficient. One way to possibly fix this would be to program AI to have a combination of a set of AI types rather than just each AI bot being one AI type. A good example of this would be that rather than an AI bot being an aggressive type or cautious type have the bot change between the AI types according to player interaction. If implemented correctly the AI should retreat while being attacked and attack while the opposition is retreat, and with a strategy AI type added into the mix it should work on flanking the player as well. While this would not perfectly match how a human would play combining three AI types or more would come closer than what is available now.


Make the Game More Beneficial to be Helpful (akin to the Half-Life 1 mod Natural Selection)

Another issue that makes it hard to learn to be good at online multiplayer after a game has been out for a while is that no one wants a new person on their team and usually will not try to assist someone who is less experienced.   Often if a new person joins an online match and is put on a team with more skilled the players that team will chastise , to put it lightly, the new player either until he leaves or until they leave. By having this type of gameplay where helping yourself is all you need to do in order to advance not only is it making for a more frustrating experience for new players but it is also creating a community that pushes even more people away. A way of fixing this is to make the gameplay require the experienced players to help the new players out. By giving the experienced players some sort of benefit for helping the new players or by making each player as beneficial to the team’s survival as possible or maybe even by adding something that no one has thought of yet adding an incentive to help new players could vastly change one of the worst aspects of multiplayer in first person shooters.


Any of these ideas could help online multiplayer on their own and combining them would greatly increase the enjoyment of a first person shooter. First person shooters with online multiplayer have become increasingly popular over the last several years and it is surprising that developers have not worked to make these games more approachable to news players over that time. Hopefully in the future they will utilize at least one of these ideas, or any others that will help, to make the multiplayer aspect first person shooters more approachable to players of different skill levels.

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1 Comments
Posted by canine224

 

Nothing feels better in a first person shooter than getting online and having a great match. It is one of the most intense feelings to have 10 seconds left on the clock and be tied for kills with another person in a deathmatch. That sadly doesn't happen very often. More often than not when getting online in a first person shooter the skill variance between all the players in a single match can be vast. This degrades greatly from the overall enjoyment and can turn many players away from game.  Whether it is a player who logs in and easily defeats all of the other competitors without much hassle or a player who joins from the beginning and can never score a kill no one likes playing a multiplayer game where the other players are of a vastly different skill level. To remedy these issues I have several suggestions that could help alleviate some this issue.


Put a Ladders System in Place (Similar to Starcraft II)

With an accurate ladder system in place players would be to play against other players of a similar skill level. This is one idea that it surprising to not have been done yet. A ladder system alone would completely resolve the issue if implemented correctly. The ladder system could easily replace or work along with the standard leveling system to increase the enjoyment of a game. The most important aspect would be that all ranked matches would require all players in the match to be within the same ladder. Without that in place the ladder system would be irrelevant to the issue at hand. The developers would also need to create an unranked match setup where players from any ladder could play together so friends that may be in different ladders can still play with one another.


Implement Spectator Mode in More Games

It is a surprise here as well that this has not been adopted by more games. Even the games that do utilize it do not utilize it to its full potential. Along with adding the mode to more games there should also be a way to locate skilled players to watch, maybe in combination with the ladder system. It would be especially valuable if it was implemented with the ability to see multiple views at once via split screen as well as not having to view the match through same first person view as when playing. Another inclusion should be having the ability for the spectator to rewind mid-match so someone could watch how a player set up a kill shot. A rather important inclusion would be a more accurate mini-map that shows the precise location of all players or even a large map that can be pulled up to show where everyone is so finding players to watch would be easier. With a precise map in place a spectator could see where the best choke points are or know which players to study more closely.


Have a Mode Specifically for Beginners

One of the reasons there is such a vast difference in the skill level of players is that it is hard for a beginner to get acclimated to a game when the game has been out for a while. By the point a first person shooter has been out for 3 months more of the players online have had time to perfect their play style and any newcomers at that point will have a difficult time catching up. By having a mode specifically for beginners any game that has been out for duration of time can still be easy to pick up and play without feeling frustrated that everyone is on a completely different skill level. Beginners should not be forced to play beginner matches but players that have played more than a certain number of matches should not be allowed to play these matches in order for this to work.


Create Better Tutorials for Online Multiplayer

Games have tried but never succeeded in creating tutorials to help players get accustomed to online multiplayer. Many times a tutorial will cover useless knowledge or will only make the learning curve even steeper in some cases rather than giving information that will benefit the player. Maybe developers need to meet with pro gamers or watch more online gameplay in order to better understand what tutorials should cover to help players improve their skill but whatever it is they have been utilizing to build the current tutorials is not enough.


Better AI in Practice Matches

While it has been said before and will most likely be said again, we need better AI to practice against. The difference between a human player and AI is so drastically different that on most first person shooters all of the skills that are picked up on the single player campaign need to be quickly forgotten in order to succeed online. Maybe complex strategies cannot be programmed into AI or maybe developers need to learn more about human tendencies while online but what is currently available is insufficient. One way to possibly fix this would be to program AI to have a combination of a set of AI types rather than just each AI bot being one AI type. A good example of this would be that rather than an AI bot being an aggressive type or cautious type have the bot change between the AI types according to player interaction. If implemented correctly the AI should retreat while being attacked and attack while the opposition is retreat, and with a strategy AI type added into the mix it should work on flanking the player as well. While this would not perfectly match how a human would play combining three AI types or more would come closer than what is available now.


Make the Game More Beneficial to be Helpful (akin to the Half-Life 1 mod Natural Selection)

Another issue that makes it hard to learn to be good at online multiplayer after a game has been out for a while is that no one wants a new person on their team and usually will not try to assist someone who is less experienced.   Often if a new person joins an online match and is put on a team with more skilled the players that team will chastise , to put it lightly, the new player either until he leaves or until they leave. By having this type of gameplay where helping yourself is all you need to do in order to advance not only is it making for a more frustrating experience for new players but it is also creating a community that pushes even more people away. A way of fixing this is to make the gameplay require the experienced players to help the new players out. By giving the experienced players some sort of benefit for helping the new players or by making each player as beneficial to the team’s survival as possible or maybe even by adding something that no one has thought of yet adding an incentive to help new players could vastly change one of the worst aspects of multiplayer in first person shooters.


Any of these ideas could help online multiplayer on their own and combining them would greatly increase the enjoyment of a first person shooter. First person shooters with online multiplayer have become increasingly popular over the last several years and it is surprising that developers have not worked to make these games more approachable to news players over that time. Hopefully in the future they will utilize at least one of these ideas, or any others that will help, to make the multiplayer aspect first person shooters more approachable to players of different skill levels.