So lately I've been playing Final Fantasy XIV's beta, it's a terrific game, but there was a few things that I was thinking about when it came to the whole "multiplayer" aspect of it.
So MMOs are typically supposed to be multiplayer, just on a huge scale. While I was playing FFXIV, me and three other friends were trying to do a dungeon, because in the game there are 4-player dungeons, which sound awesome. So when we started we immediately tried partying, and turns out that one of our group started in 'Limsa luminsa' which basically meant he was on an island, and there was no way we could get to him, nor him us. So with one down, we had 3 people who started in another city called 'Gridania' without intentionally trying, so we started in the same locale, so the three of us partied. We all continued leveling (which took forever, but it's an MMO). Once we hit level 10 or so, I decided to go ahead and check which dungeon would be achievable first. There was one available at level 15, "sweet" I thought, "Not so far away now!".
After skimming through a little more I saw that dungeons were only available through story quests. I went off and did some of the story quests when it told me "This story quest is for one person only, this will make you leave your party". A little annoying, but hopefully I shouldn't have to do too many of these; I was wrong. We sat around on that Skype call for probably about 5 hours that day, and none of us were even close to doing these, from some of us dying, to the confusion of other people not knowing which quests, to the slow leveling the story quests ensued. It was just a huge slowdown with how much excitement we had from the get go, we went from actively communicating on mic, to absolutely no chat. We sat around and were just grinding through all these story quests (which every single one at this point is single player with no other options). We eventually hopped off Skype that night, and we were all a little disappointed, we coordinated classes so we would have a good mix and well rounded party, after 6 hours of playing straight, none of us even got to experience any multiplayer, it was almost exclusively single player. It took 2 hours after we began next try to even get to the first dungeon.
Now don't get me wrong, I think FFXIV is an amazing MMO, but the main point I'm trying to drag away from this is that it should not be this hard to play a game with friends. Most games in present day seem to have some weird factor that will always prevent you and your friends from playing together, until "X is completed". It just makes it feel a little shallow, after getting together with friends in the first place to play the game.
Maybe I'm wishing for too much, maybe I'm just over thinking this, but I miss the days of starting a character on Diablo 2 and having everyone be able to get together and play it from the get-go. I just feel like it might be asking too much to have a multiplayer game that will actually be very simple to play with friends. Multiplayer games just seem like they would have multiplayer, maybe I could be wrong (someone help me out here?). Of course most of these games will reward you for getting to these parts, the dungeons in MMOs are usually rewarding in themselves and usually are more than worth getting to that landmark. I just feel like something is terribly wrong with your game if you have to play for 8 hours to be able to have access to doing anything with your friends.
> Borderlands is an amazing franchise that does most of the amazing points I am trying to point out, from the very start, without doing absolutely nothing else you can immediately play with friends and enjoy your game.
> Guild Wars 2 had a pretty good setup as well, you can party at any time, and if you do things that are level specific, it will down-level/up-level you accordingly.
LAN games are mostly a thing of the past, companies are way too concerned with piracy and will do absolutely anything at the gamers expense to rid the problem, whether that is cutting out LAN, or making it to where you have to play a single player game while connected to the internet. LAN parties are absolutely one of the few ways gamers could possibly get together and socialize. LAN was available in the days where gaming was all about being a neckbeard with no friends, and no social life, and took it away when gaming took a huge jump up and reached out to a huge audience, seems backwards?
Split-screen is almost non-achievable now except for on a few select games, so pretty much that whole aspect of multiplayer is completely dead, someone shot split screen right in the face when they realized that they could sell more if 2 people had to buy 2 copies, rather than 1 copy.
So in conclusion, I love multiplayer games, having a group of people get together to all achieve one goal in a game, I've had some of the most amazing memories and times during LAN parties. I just hope more developers realize this. I know I will do everything I can to jump start the heart of a dying breed of games. Local multiplayer cannot be a thing of the past, because if we allow it to die then that will be the end of the golden age of multiplayer.
I would love to hear everyones thoughts on this, I absolutely love hearing opinions and to see what most people think about different things in the gaming world. Feel free to drop me a line, email, message, comment, telegraph, phone-call. Anything. Thanks for reading, and sorry for wasting your precious life.