Wednesday, January 06, 2010

No Thank You.

Back in the days when 'Doom' was the state of the art and you played 'online' by literally dialing your friend's computer… or explaining to your mom for the tenth goddamn time not to answer the phone because it was your friend dialing in… I came up with the idea for the 'Battlefront' line of games.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming ownership of them. I 'invented' them in the same way a guy would invent the airplane by looking up at the sky and thinking "It'd be cool if we had a machine you could fly in."

It was the stuff of dreams. Properlly tactical, objective based battles. Not just running around a maze and shooting at people. You'd send in some stealthy characters to sneak in and take out the anti-air defenses opening the way for your pilots and foot soldiers. Better yet, I envisioned playing as an X-wing pilot… escorting a transport filled with troops so they can board an Imperial space platform.

Then, supposedly, that day arrived, only it didn't turn out like it was supposed to.

I remember playing Battlefront: 1942 for the first time. I was in a concrete bunker, I'd killed a Nazi with my very last shot…then as I went to take his ammo a fellow 'team mate' with a name like 'SP00G3 0N U' came walking through the room backwards, firing at the ceiling, took my ammo, called me a fag then we both got blown up because he was still shooting at the light fixtures and I had no ammo to take out the bad guy who came storming in.

Then, this week the preview for 'MAG' came out, announcing itself as a tactical online shooter for up to 256 players at once.

I thought, 'That's interesting' and at that moment decided I would never touch that game with a 100 foot pole.

You see, when you play a 'tactical' team game, IE: One that requires you to communicate and work as a team…unless you've managed to populate an 8 or 16 man team with people you actually know, you're going to lose. Play with strangers and that 8 man team is going to consist of four people trying to be in charge, two people screaming about how useless everyone else is and two who will quit two minutes in because they're not instantly winning.

A good game goes something like this:

"Watch out there's two guys on the roof near 'A'"

"Ok, I see them. Throw a stun grenade to get their attention and I can snipe them."

"Awesome. I have an airstrike, where do we want it?"

"Use it on 'B' and we can take that next."

On the other hand and average game of Domination goes like this:

"Watch out, there's two guys on the roof near 'A'"

"Fuck you, faggot."

"Fuck you, bitch!""

"Their entire team is guarding C, Grab B."

"Shut the fuck up, homo."

Yeah, in my last game of MW2 the whitest guy in the world was trying to rap down his mic, and when I told him to knock it off, he challenged me to a 'freestyle rap battle'.

These are your team-mates. These are your opponents.

As you can see, for me, the optimal game is to play a game with 2 teams of people you actually know. Then you know it's going to be fun with actual teamwork and opponents who aren't going to cheat or use exploits and glitches.

This is impossible.

As you can imagine, the idea of playing a tactical shooter with 128 people per side…that sounds like a whole new level of hell I have no interest in even dipping my toe into.

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