Regular readers may know that I’m not a huge fan of multiplayer games. Oh I used to be. I was an active member of a large guild in EverQuest and would raid nearly every night. The time spent outside of EverQuest was liasing on the forums with guildies as to how to approach the next enemy mob. After I moved on from EverQuest I switched to Counterstrike 1.5 and 1.6, again becoming an active and probably all too loud member of a Counterstrike clan. They were brilliant times and I have extremely fond memories of both titles.
Something changed though. While World of Warcraft hooked me, it wasn’t actually the social element that did it. At first I played alongside a boyfriend of the time. When that fell apart, I quit WoW eventually returning and playing in a very antisocial manner. I still do every now and then in fact and really enjoy it. I never have the urge to join a guild and deal with the hassle of people. I enjoy the escapism.
I’m primarily an Xbox 360 gamer now and for quite a while, I haven’t gone near any multiplayer modes for any reason other than for reviewing purposes. The last time I played a Call of Duty or Gears of War game in multiplayer mode for fun was probably when Gears 2 first came out and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 appeared on the scene. Multiplayer just hasn’t really appealed in all that time.
Sometime over the Summer, I decided to try Black Ops in multiplayer again. It was a double exp weekend so I thought I’d have some fun. I was surprised how much fun I had in the end! Then at the start of September, I repurchased Gears 2 for £5 around the time that exp was at some ridiculously high rate. I had the house to myself and no work to do the day it arrived and MP was literally all I played or did from about 1pm to 8pm, excluding the odd food break. I loved it. Subsequently it was all I played for the week running up to Gears 3’s launch.
Now I find myself in a similar situation with Gears 3 thanks to it really hooking me. I think to an extent it’s because of the amount of stats it throws at me. I feel like I’m achieving something thanks to the flurry of ribbons and medals that are offered at the end of each game to represent something that you’ve accomplished. It somehow gives it more purpose and I appreciate that I’m heavily influenced by such things, even before the days of achievements.
I’m a huge story led games fan and that’ll never change. I suspect this is a bit of a fad really that will go once more for a while. I hope it sticks around throughout Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 though.
I’m wondering if the change of heart is to do with the silence. I swear when I used to play multiplayer a few years ago, no one would shut up over Xbox Live. Now everyone seems to be silent. I noticed it at first when reviewing Brink but I just put that down to the game’s community, but it seems to be the case with Gears 2 and 3 as well as Black Ops. No one talks any more. A shame really as it wrecks any chance of teamwork but it does mean I get to be an anti social multiplayer gamer at least!