The Rise of MMOs is the Downfall of quality gaming!

Posted: February 25, 2019 in Opinion Piece

Anthem_1

by L.W. Barker aka ‘Sarge’, Founder/President, Gamer’s Outpost

BioWare’s ANTHEM is the latest Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) focused game to arrive on the scene. It joins other games of its type: PubG, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, just to name a few. And even though nothing is wrong with this multiplayer approach to gameplay (i.e. I’m enjoying ANTHEM), it is getting to be a bit much. Do you realize that the PlayStation 5 is being built to be multiplayer-focused? Yes, and that came straight from the mouth of PlayStation Boss, Shawn Layden. Wait! What? Why!? What has happened to us as gamers? Why this sudden change from single-player-based fun, to MMO-based chaos? Can anything be done to stop this madness? The below key-points might help.

MMOs lack substance 

Have you been in an online multiplayer game where you seem to be repeating the same things over and over again as if you are trapped in some type of Groundhog Day curse? That’s what lacking substance is all about. Unlike single player-centric games such as the instant classic, Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2), there is just no chance of any type of storyline, plot, or deep character development to be found in MMOs to keep you entertained for long. And yes, you WILL eventually lose interest and move on to the next “big game” on the market.

MMOs never end 

Do you really want to play a game that never ends? Hold that thought! Here’s a better question. Would you want to watch a movie that never ends? A film that goes on forever? Of course not! I would rather play a game from between 6 to 80 hours knowing full well that it will end rather than play an unending MMO. So the moral here is single player games end! And this is one of the reasons why they are worth their weight in gold!

Graphics are downgraded in Online Multiplayer 

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So look at RDR2’s single player campaign. Look at it very carefully, and make sure you take in all the intricate details of the scenery, the characters, animals and so forth. Now, switch over to RDR2 Online and do the same thing. See the difference? I do. Rockstar Games made some sacrifices to ensure the success of multiplayer, and it shows! Now the graphics still look good mind you, but if you really look and compare both modes, they are like night and day.

MMOs are not alone

However, this online multiplayer phenomena is fueled by our Industry’s embrace of it. So we, as a community need to just let it go! It’s not that simple though because a lot of gamers have found enjoyment in it. But at what cost? Well, the popularity of MMOs coupled with the rise of Downloadable Content (DLC), and higher prices for special edition games all contribute to the slow and painful death of the single-player campaign. And if single-player dies, so does our quality gaming days of old!

The forgotten Multiplayer

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I remember a time when I could play a game with a friend or family member in the comfort of my living room. And no, I don’t mean playing with them online! This memory is all about ‘Couch Co-op’ baby! I remember playing Contra with my brother on the NES, and how it felt as we raced across that screen to save the World. And how could I forget the outstanding Co-op mode in the SNES classic, Goldeneye? And don’t let me get started on Halo! Co-op has been largely forgotten in this age of online multiplayer games. This is sad! I wish more of today’s games had the Co-op feature so I could enjoy them with my gaming family. Now, PlayStation’s Shawn Layden did allude to some kind of multiplayer Co-op for the PS5, which would be a great move for Sony’s new console. I’m all for it, if true.

Our Once and Future…Gamers?

But why is online multiplayer so popular? Could it be that the so-called “old school” gamers have spawned a new generation of gamers who are so lacking in social skills that multiplayer games are the only remedy for their affliction? Maybe. Today’s “new” gamers are shadows of what the “old school” still are – legends! But is it really too late? No its not. Knowledge is power, and the more articles like this are written, information will spread, and the “heirs” of gaming (i.e. Millennials and younger) will eventually wake up and embrace their legendary birthright!

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