I have never really gotten into an MMO or online only game before. Destiny popped my cherry with that sort of game. I had really enjoyed my time with Left 4 Dead and assumed that a nice campaign would accompany the game along with lots of things to do alone. Man was I wrong. Yeah there was a short six hour campaign I could enjoy on my own, but to really delve deep into the game I had to have a chunk of friends. At least in Left 4 Dead I had some pretty smart AI help to accompany me during my campaigns, and I did well. Was it fun when my buddies joined and we kicked collective ass? Of course, but I could play the game sans friends.
Need Online Buddies
I don’t have many real life friends, so me buying Destiny at the onset was pretty stupid. I mean I can’t meet people out in the world, what made me think I can meet them online without my charming sideburns waving in the wind? So at the behest of a couple buddies I caved and got the game, I enjoyed my time with the super short campaign, and then began leveling up my little avatar with light and Legendary armor and so on. I think I got to 30 just after the level cap rose, but that’s when trouble started to brew. The first DLC content came out, which wasn’t too bad; I think I forked over twenty bucks for it and had it at launch, and we continued to kill things. Then we began to fracture with the rumblings of a forty dollar The Taken King DLC incoming. I wasn’t about to fork over forty bucks for more of the same, and neither were my buddies, but that’s where we differed. I wouldn’t have minded continuing to play what we already had and finish up some raids. That is something that was never accomplished; damn you Vault of Glass. Suddenly I was alone with my “Destiny”, so I shelved the game and pretty much decided no more “must have friends” games.
Short Lived Hype
As I stated earlier, I loved Left 4 Dead 1 and 2; in fact I hope that Gabe can count to three in regards to this franchise. So, when I heard that Evolve was being made by some of that game’s creators, my interest piqued. When the game came out, I did not have the funds to purchase it and enjoy it while everyone was playing it. I did do a huge sigh of relief when I read the reviews and realized I saved myself sixty bucks. Time went on and I saw the price of the game slowly decrease, so I decided to give it another look. To my dismay, I read that the servers were practically empty and it would be difficult to get a five person match like the game was designed to have. I reluctantly passed on this game, most likely forever, since I will never really get the chance to experience it as it was suppose to be experienced.
The Star Wars hype is real, I found myself completely caught up in the hype that the new movie enveloped me in. I went to Force Friday, I’ve been checking stores over and over for my old fart Han Solo toy and so on. I also dropped sixty bucks on EA’s Star Wars cash-grab Battlefront. While I’m not mad at myself for buying the game, I am disappointed. I told myself as I snapped Destiny in its case that I would never buy another online only game, yet there I stood holding a new copy of Battlefront. The game was pretty solid, I’m not going to lie. The feel of the guns was great and the maps were generous and epic. There just wasn’t enough to do, I could only kill so many SnowTroopers before I got bored. So I tried the solo parts of the game, which were fun also; I got to play as Han, but it was so repetitive and soon very boring. I put the game away about a week after I purchased it and have not gone back. I don’t know if the servers have no players, and I’m sure that will ramp up when the Season Pass content is released, but do I really want to drop another fifty bucks on something that should have been included already? Shame on you EA, shame on you.
Online games are a huge time sink, which I really am not a fan of. I have a huge backlog of games and am trying to get through as many of them as I can before I die in fifty years or so. Last year I only beat 14 games; I blame about eighty percent of this on Destiny, and the other twenty on the Souls games. Instead of making progress in a single campaign, I was doing the same things over and over for armor and guns in Destiny. Looking back, I really think that it was a waste of my time; I could have knocked off at least three or four games in the time I spent in Destiny. I know it sounds stupid, but leveling up over and over isn’t really that cathartic for me. I’d rather see the credits roll on a game instead.
Tom Clancy’s The Division is the newest game to join the ranks of “must have friends” games. My friends are ranting and raving about how great it is, and that I could actually play alone, but I wouldn’t get the full experience. Well if that doesn’t say “waste sixty bucks,” I don’t know what does. I remember that I was at work when the game launched, and read some group chats about how stoked my friends were that they were getting the game at midnight. Then much to their horror and my laughter I read on Twitter that the servers were down. I laughed my butt off when I read that; way to go Ubisoft. They pissed off a bunch of people that just spent a nice amount of scratch on their game. There’s nothing more fun than sitting there unable to connect to the server and unable to play your newly acquired game. Ubisoft did fix the issue, but soon after another server failure hit and kicked off players with the “error code Mike” problem. I honestly don’t understand why companies cannot fix the problem before the game ships; this is really starting to ridiculous in the industry. I remember years ago when I bought a game, it was finished and I didn’t have to wait two hours for an update to fix the broken mess I just purchased.
Editor’s Note: Think about how the games will play like without the day one patch 10-15 years later because the servers are down. Also, these online games will basically be just discs at that point. Day one patches are a practice I hate because if the game is unplayable at launch, how will we play the games in the future?
Some Hope, But Not Much
Now, I’m not going to lie. I enjoy gaming with friends as much as the next guy, but I don’t want a game that solely makes me do that. Take a look at the cancelled Fable: Legends; the game had a great concept with four heroes saving Albion. The kicker was that you didn’t HAVE to have friends join you; you could go save the world with 3 AI characters helping you out. The online multiplayer component being stuffed together with a fully realized campaign to beat is the best of both worlds. The Dead Island and Borderlands games were great for this. Have no friends? Enjoy our campaign anyway. Have lots of friends? Well you can play with three other people. Plus, if there were server issues, I could still play by my lonesome and not waste time trying to connect to a broken mess of a server. Dead Island 2 has me worried a bit due to the developer changes, but it is still one of the games I am most looking forward to. First-person zombie killing is a blast, and it is even more of a blast with drop in and out buddies, don’t let me down Deep Silver.