What sucks about co-op play
The best thing about gaming is playing and talking with friends about playing. However, can the two things be combined and function successfully?
Yes, I know, I know, there are a lot of popular MMORPGs and a lot of other online games played cooperatively by millions of people worldwide. Nonetheless I dare to argue that multiplayer is not always as satisfying as many people are trying to convince us.
I’m speaking from my own experience here. When I get in a multiplayer game with someone, if it is not a Vs play, it does not work very well. Even with Dilyan, with whom I get along pretty well in every other aspect of our life together, I am able to play only a limited number of games in a co-op.
What’s the problem? — Several things come to mind.
We often fail to agree on the roles we should play in the co-op. Fresh example — we had a great time with Wii‘s House of the Dead: Overkill, but Dilyan wanted to make combos and gain points and I wanted to just kill all zombies as quickly as possible, which left us agruing in the end.
Other example — we often play RPGs together (our personal favourite is Champions: Return to Arms for the PS2), but also often argue about the loot. I am the one who complains about insuffcient loot most of the times
Another problem comes from the multiplayer mode of the games itself. Most recent example — Fable II. Both me and Dilyan love the game. He has played and replayed it a year ago and now I am finishing it for the first time. While I am playing, he hangs around and watches, we discuss different features of the game ect. So one evening ahead of New Year’s we decided to play together. The co-op in Fable II offers the option to share money and experience and allows a newcomer to join an already started game, which is great. However, Player 2 has not the same rights in the game as Player 1. In other words, one of the players takes the lead and the other is just along for the ride. Player 2 cannot interact with townfolk and merchants, which totally sucks, because the money and loot he collects he cannot sell or use to buy stuff to help himself and Player 1 throughout the game. Another thing that majorly sucks in Fable II‘s co-op play is the camera movement — there is none. It just changes the whole perspective of the gameplay.
As for things I’ve heard from friends playing World of Warcraft and Call of Duty — they are faced with various challenges: the gathering of a team of players at the same or similar level of experience is difficult as well as the finding of players dedicated to the game enough as to stick to the agreed timeframes. If you have a raid in WoW at 9pm and need 30 players to take part and if 15 of them don’t show it would be a problem. Playing WoW or CoD with friends may result in disagreement on game strategy, tactics and of course the classic “Who is the greatest gamer of the bunch?”
As I see it the creating of a functioning game team is a delicate procedure, which could often result in total failure. I don’t think there is a special fault in any of the players for not making things work. In most cases multiplayer co-op is just that — playing and shouting at each other at the same time.
Better to solve the whole thing with a nice and blood Vs battle. In Vs fights (probably the best I’ve ever played have been on Quake III Arena and Tekken) there is no confusion about who should do what — you just aim at the nearest ass to kick.