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67 comments

  • rxb - November 7, 2012 3:19 p.m.

    Good job Hooters.
  • bengalaxy - November 7, 2012 3:05 p.m.

    I totally agree. When I load up BF3 in my limited gaming hours as a dad and full-time worker I LOATHE the fact that I only have access to a part of the game. Level-ups and item awards should award some type of cosmetic rewards only, not core gameplay items.
  • Memph - November 7, 2012 2:28 p.m.

    Brilliant article Dave. This has been an annoyance for me ever since I picked up BC2, spawned as a Medic and found I didn't have any sodding way to heal or revive people. It's surprising how critics don't actually berate 'progression' unlocks in competetive multiplayer a lot more often for the detrimental effects it has on the gameplay experience. There sure is the personal end, with players unable to experiment and learn on an even field, or finding the carrot-chase a bore, but there's often a broader, more damaging aspect when you have players more concerned with their personal stats and k/d ratio than in actually playing the game - coming from the heady days of Q3 Threewave and Team Arena, it is infuriating to end up with 2 teams of sniping wookies taking pathetic, cowardly potshots at each other for 20 mins. Online multiplayer was notoriously difficult for casual or late players to get into as it was. New Quake 3 players were strafed-down and gauntlet-gibbed, load-up UT and until you knew where the guns were, you spent most of the match on your face - yet all the unlock system does is compound this - not only do you log-in and have players with more experience, you're up against bloody homing rockets and infra-red scopes. What with all the focus lately on the casual market and accessability to a broad player base, all I can assume is that someone's just cynical enough to think levelling up and unlocks will make players stick around longer chasing carrot. Give every player a little star now and again and they'll stick at it for more. Else it makes no damn sense to me whatsoever from a design standpoint for a good, accessable game.
  • Memph - November 7, 2012 2:46 p.m.

    addendum: Why I hate it so much...it reeks of marketing. Something shoe-horned in, specifically to keep you playing, and irrelevant, even detrimental to the mechanics and balance of the game itself. If gaming's regarded a sport (and it is, if stats are so important), think football and some players starting out in flip-flops. Ideally, there should be balance - and skill the only real variable, else it's all just a treadmill through a dull hallway of smoke and mirrors trying to make you look cool. It's bollocks people. Put down the fork.
  • avantguardian - November 7, 2012 2:19 p.m.

    the reality as i see it is that most games offer you alternatives to level grinding. you can develop skills in the face of all that carrot dangling, if you want to. you can play only using pistols. or a knife. or a riot shield. try running people over in an atv. challenge yourself in ways that subvert how you're "supposed" to play. and no, i'm not talking about being a griefer or a douche, but those samed earned "skills" that hooters is referring to. and the more you develop these skills, the less it will matter what the other players are carrying around or unlocking. a great player will destroy you with an mp5. do you think onlyusemeblade(sic) cares about levelling up? i personally enjoy levelling in cod, as much as i didn't have to worry or think about it in starwars battlefront. online shooters, yes, but totally different experiences for me.
  • garnsr - November 7, 2012 1:30 p.m.

    I don't see how getting baubles for leveling hurts. If you play Quake 3 for hours all you get is hours of play, if you play a current multiplayer game that doesn't enhance your stats but gives you a new outfit, you get the same enjoyment and growth in ability to play the game as you did from Quake, but you also get a new outfit. If you get new weapons that make you kill people who haven't been playing for as long easier, Dave's argument starts making some sense. But he didn't really bring up the new abilities and weapons gained through levelling, just the baubles. He didn't really talk about getting stuck for the first many levels playing against others who can kill you with one or two shots, until you get far enough to open the same weaponry. If you could turn your chess pieces into Simpsons chess pieces after playing enough games, how's that bad? And if you move into chess games with other players who have pieces with special moves after enough time, that sounds cool. Mixing people who have powered up with people who haven't had the time yet kills the fun for me.
  • Marcunio88 - November 7, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    Cracking read as usual Dave. But I must disagree to some extent. I don't think a levelling system in multiplayer is a bad thing at all. In fact I genuinely enjoy watching the little numbers pop out of players freshly exploded skulls. It gives me a sense of progression that's separate from the development of my own personal skill, and it probably doesn't hurt that years of RPG gaming has conditioned me into the mindset of 'MOAR XP = POWER!!!1!!111!!". It doesn't distract me from genuinely increasing my skill with the game and I'm well aware that someones level is not directly related to their skill, rather it's simply an indication of the time spent with the game. I play first and foremost for fun, then to increase my skill with the game, and finally the level system is just cocaine icing on the heroine cake that is gaming. I guess what I'm trying to say is that levelling up is fun for me, but it's not my main objective, it adds something extra rather than distracting me from my other goals. But I do absolutely agree that locking items and skills away from new players sucks the fattest of dicks. I don't really care about the purely competitive side of multiplayer, as I said I'm playing mainly for fun, but it irks me that I can't just jump in and experiment from the start. I must admit that the only disappointment I've felt while playing Halo 4 has come from the fact that weapons are kept away from me by silly artificial lockouts.
  • gazzc - November 7, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    I discovered this problem with battlefield 3, I kept waiting for the next unlock to make me better but each new unlock needed time to master, yet before that time arrived (and I am not talking about a few hours, but weeks or months) a new weapon or upgrade would become available and it would start over again. The end result is I am pretty terrible at playing that game and consistently finish in the bottom of the scores with more deaths than kills. Contrast this with my days on the original unrelal tournament, with its 10 simple weapons (sniper, machine gun, pistol, rocket launcher and a couple of unique ones). I spent so many hours on this game and there was always something new to learn from simple things like snipering without the scope, up to more advanced tricks like killing people mid air with a single rocket just before they landed on the shield. You simply did not need to unlock anything, all the fun was finding new ways to use the tools you already had and just when you thought you knew it all you would realise there was still so much more. That is definatley something missing form a lot of games today and also one of the reasons why 13 years on unreal tournament is still installed on my pc and gets regular play.
  • Divine Paladin - November 7, 2012 1:26 p.m.

    I personally hone in my on skills with each particular attachment and weapon beforehand, embracing both the RPGesque upgrading and the actual learning that is mentioned in the article. Hell, I play like this with most games. Unlockables aren't a necessity for me, but a bonus. I can have just as much fun in Reach as I can in BF3, and still finish at the top of the scoreboard (pardon any vanity that comes out of that statement, as it's not intended to be a boast). Personally, the current version of multiplayer does just fine by me, and the old one does as well. If that makes me less of a gamer, as the article states, so be it. On the topic of the article and out of my semi-reply to gazzc, good read, even if I completely disagree.
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  • bass88 - November 7, 2012 12:13 p.m.

    roger-dean? Is that you? Why did you change your name? I'm glad to hear your friends are doing well and I'm sure your neighbour is delighted with his ex-wife's success. Or is he? Because if he isn't I can arrange for his ex-wife to, how should we say it, a quick departure. She's not the only one who can make money off the internet. I can too. And I really need to make money. My account was drained by somebody. Shortly after I logged onto Key16.com. Hmm...
  • ibashdaily - November 7, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    One of the best articles I've read on GR in a long time followed by maybe the best comment I've read in the same place. Well done to both of you.
  • Lurkero - November 7, 2012 11:39 a.m.

    I enjoyed Modern Warfare 1, but by the time Modern Warfare 2 came around I was tired of having to play for hours to unlock the weapons I really wanted to play with. When I did get those weapons I was tired of the game. I wish that there was more of a balance to weapons and stats. Early multiplayer games did it okay by having weapons on the map, but then people started camping weapons more effectively. Perhaps having categories of equally statistical weapons works. Halo Reach and Halo 4 are more in line with that.
  • Lurkero - November 7, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    I do want to point out that progression is very important for enticing people to continue playing the game. If progression wasn't there many online games will go barren more quickly. These games are trying to keep players and make money after all.
  • PolarBearsInHeat - November 7, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    Solid article dude.
  • Danomeon - November 7, 2012 11:27 a.m.

    Here's my opinion on the matter: giving the player incentives to continue playing multiplayer in the hopes that their experience will become more fun as they unlock more things can make a game very fun if done correctly. In my opinion, games that do this should have the players playing to unlock cosmetic upgrades like new ranks, outfits, or gun skins. However,a lot of videogames have started offering up new gameplay features like new weapons or abilities for increased playtime, which shifts the concept of in-game leveling from 'a fun side distraction' to 'how one acquires more power.' Putting in more and more time for power outside of an MMO seems ridiculous, and even then some MMOs are trying to de-emphasize the gear. (All of guild wars 2's exotic level 80 gear has such similar stats that once you acquire all of the easily-obtainable exotic gear you won't have to worry about gear acquisition ever again) I feel as if leveling to pursue cosmetic upgrades is a reasonable thing. Halo Reach is a great example - leveling in that game gave no one player any advantage over another, it only gave players a progress bar to watch as they enjoyed multiplayer. The cool things you could purchase were neat little toys that improved the playing experience, but in no way had any effect on gameplay. Another cool side-effect of this is that it makes the player feel as if they are 'accomplishing' something even when they are losing. So yeah, that's my opinion. Leveling is great when it doesn't effect the gameplay and all.
  • ParagonT - November 7, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    Whats the difference between leveling up your "real life gaming skills" and your level in the game? Last time I checked they were both about games and really doesn't amount to anything in real life. People can still have fun no matter what level they play at in both cases. Gaming is not supposed to be work, but entertainment, so leveling up your "real life gaming skills" is about as useful as giving a dog keys to your car. In the end its still just a game and a way to entertain yourself. Some people prefer to have those achievements in order to show off, or just as a reminder, its based on the person. Another point is the inferring idea that by playing longer you wont get better, which is simply untrue. That's why were top of the food chain, because we can learn and adapt. Also, by playing any game you gain knowledge that will transfer to another game, since all ideas are based off of existing ones. Good article, but I disagree.
  • dcobs123 - November 7, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    Of course gaming is about entertainment, but entertainment is subject. Some people don't want instant gratification and mastery over a difficult game can be very rewarding to them. Not to mention that when gameplay mechanics have a lot depth to them, they usually lead to more dynamic matches.
  • ParagonT - November 7, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    If its subject then the exact opposite can be said about what you just explained. That's why I typed that part about how it's based person to person.
  • dcobs123 - November 7, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    Oh sorry about that then. I was under the impression that you were saying that working just to better yourself at a game was pointless and doesn't add to the enjoyment.

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