A Better Way to do Multiplayer

Every developer seems to be throwing in some barely designed deathmatch to their single player franchise. Most likely to lengthen the playtime of that game and try to beat out the used game market. People keep their copies when they're addicted to multiplayer. Since this is the goal, why does every multiplayer mode feel like a barely thought out addition? It's just a horde mode or a team deathmatch. Sometimes they add RPG-like stat progression and perks, but the gameplay is still just as one dimensional. Max Payne, Mass Effect, Uncharted. Even God of War is adding a deathmatch mode. And often times it doesn't even gel with the single player side of the game. Starhawk, which by rights should only be a multiplayer game, actually teaches you the wrong way to play during the single player campaign. Spec Ops: the Line is a game based on emotional visceral feelings, but ditches that for a standard team deathmatch, which only exposes the fairly uninspired combat mechanics.

Looking at Tera, a gorgeous action game with intuitive combat on the one hand, but mired by fetch quests and other MMO cliches on the other, that got me thinking. When it comes to action RPGs, rather than create a clunky standard MMO spin off, why not add a multiplayer dungeon raid mechanic. Take a game like Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur, or Dragon's Dogma (which has a pseudo-online mechanic) and rather than simply add co op which would be a mess, add dungeons. In your single player game you go up to a meeting stone in town, and enter a queue, picking from one of however many dungeons, and you enter an online instanced dungeon with a team of similarly leveled players. You're in a group of four, six, or eight, and you fight extremely difficult enemies using strategy and communication. The dungeons take a few hours and have the best loot. And you take that loot back into your single player game. Cohesion, synergy, or some other corporate word. Dungeon raids are the pinnacle of MMO gameplay. And it's what can lengthen an MMO's lifespan when done right, or kill the MMO before it's grown when done wrong. And if done right, it would add a Diablo-like level of replayability that could go on for hundreds of hours. It would be easier to implement than a co-op mode, and it's more imaginative than a stuffy deathmatch mode.

7 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by ERoBB

Every developer seems to be throwing in some barely designed deathmatch to their single player franchise. Most likely to lengthen the playtime of that game and try to beat out the used game market. People keep their copies when they're addicted to multiplayer. Since this is the goal, why does every multiplayer mode feel like a barely thought out addition? It's just a horde mode or a team deathmatch. Sometimes they add RPG-like stat progression and perks, but the gameplay is still just as one dimensional. Max Payne, Mass Effect, Uncharted. Even God of War is adding a deathmatch mode. And often times it doesn't even gel with the single player side of the game. Starhawk, which by rights should only be a multiplayer game, actually teaches you the wrong way to play during the single player campaign. Spec Ops: the Line is a game based on emotional visceral feelings, but ditches that for a standard team deathmatch, which only exposes the fairly uninspired combat mechanics.

Looking at Tera, a gorgeous action game with intuitive combat on the one hand, but mired by fetch quests and other MMO cliches on the other, that got me thinking. When it comes to action RPGs, rather than create a clunky standard MMO spin off, why not add a multiplayer dungeon raid mechanic. Take a game like Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur, or Dragon's Dogma (which has a pseudo-online mechanic) and rather than simply add co op which would be a mess, add dungeons. In your single player game you go up to a meeting stone in town, and enter a queue, picking from one of however many dungeons, and you enter an online instanced dungeon with a team of similarly leveled players. You're in a group of four, six, or eight, and you fight extremely difficult enemies using strategy and communication. The dungeons take a few hours and have the best loot. And you take that loot back into your single player game. Cohesion, synergy, or some other corporate word. Dungeon raids are the pinnacle of MMO gameplay. And it's what can lengthen an MMO's lifespan when done right, or kill the MMO before it's grown when done wrong. And if done right, it would add a Diablo-like level of replayability that could go on for hundreds of hours. It would be easier to implement than a co-op mode, and it's more imaginative than a stuffy deathmatch mode.

Posted by Kidavenger

I think you just invented the perfect game.

Posted by Aetheldod

Well I think Mass Effect Mp is reallly fun and nice :( why people dont like it? -_- 
But to add in ME a pvp multiplayer option would be very , very broken and hard to do (imagine getting stasisied all the time then biotic exploded by asaris .... not much fun there i think)

Posted by ERoBB

@Aetheldod: I think the Mass Effect multiplayer is fine. It's pretty fun. But it's more of a distraction than anything else. I play it out of boredom, not because I want to to play it. I think online modes should enrich the game, not add temporary distractions. If you get better gear and experience online that you take with you into the singleplayer campaign, that makes it a parallel experience that adds to the game as a whole. Plus if you need to be a higher level or have better gear and abilities to do the higher level dungeons, then that would make people who usually prefer multiplayer go through the main quest.

Posted by mordukai
Posted by ERoBB

@mordukai said:

@ERoBB: *Clears Throat* Demon's Souls.

Demon's and Dark Souls do have a sort of raid mechanic. But the people you summon disappear when you defeat a boss, regardless of when they came in. They don't get any equipment, there's no communication, and in terms of strategy you just have to trust that they know what they're doing. I love those games and I don't want them to change, but I think there's room for a more traditional online experience with voice chat in other games.

Posted by mordukai

@ERoBB: Did you try War In The North? IMO a really solid underrated game with a MP that makes sense.

Posted by EXTomar

Passive multiplayer is fine but not a substitute for co-op and communication tools.