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    Sociological Look At Multiplayer Attitudes

    February 11th, 2011

    This article is probably going to be an introduction of sorts going more in-depth about why multiplayer in too many single player games is a bad idea. If lost while reading this article, please refer to my “Your Multiplayer is Touching my Single Player” article.  I want to look at the gaming community and gamers from a sociological standpoint. Not just with games, but situations in real life, as many of the problems in the gaming community are because these people behave the same way outside of multiplayer game lobbies. For instance, anyone familiar with reader comments on Yahoo news articles know exactly what I am referring to. I will attempt to keep politics out as much as I can. However, the Tea-Bagger movement would be a wonderful analogy to cross-reference to the gamers. Not just in name but some of their political ideals fit so well it is frightening.

    I’ll start with a personal example to better explain to what I am referring. The rural high school where I grew up was racist, homophobic, and otherwise filled with the same hate of difference and change that I see in the gaming community. If people spoke out against this or defended themselves then they became a singled out target. Because they questioned the collective masses, belief that they have the right to discriminate whomever they choose. Therefore, its ignored or agree by silence. The gaming community behaves a lot like that. These people aren’t just contained on Yahoo, though Yahoo posters tend to stand up for themselves and others more than gamers will. There is a lot of racism, nationalism and homophobia brought to multiplayer games. They are members of Xbox live, Playstation network, PC gamers. They are in your town, city, and neighborhood. Some of you are happy that there are other racist people or homophobes nearby. That is kind of like saying the neighborhood pedophile is happy he’s not the only twisted psycho in town. Just to clarify, I have spoken up in real life situations (frequently) and on Xbox.

    The gaming populace takes it to another level by having the most severe case of “boys club” mentality not seen since the 1970s. To that effect, many of the females that play fps games or are members of popular forums like Gamefaqs, choose not to disclose their gender just to not have to deal with the comments; even for games that one would consider unisex, like Rock Band or Guitar Hero. I created a topic for Gamefaqs on Rock Band’s board a month ago and it was as if the majority of posters were still in grade school by their reactions; just outright rude and disrespectful. If we talk or communicate in an fps style game, and if it is possible to be team killed then we most certainly will be if we do not have enough male friends to support us. We are accused of being children or in some way harassed until we have no choice but to leave and find a different lobby. Even adult males, believe that females should not be in THEIR game(s). I don’t even know how many times a day I have heard that on Call of Duty 4 or Modern Warfare 2. Females, for the most part, will not stand up for themselves or other girl gamers and declare their right to exist in the gaming world. Whether its a fear of confrontation or just simply being outnumbered.

    I have been on Xbox live for two years, a PC gamer before that and owned a PS2 even before that. The things I have heard, seen and read astound me, and that is saying something considering what I saw and had happen to me growing up. Some, though not all (most of my Xbox friends are guys), males in the gaming population are misogynists who think that females exist to serve them. If we share some of the same interests as they do then we are fat, ugly, or pathetic for some reason. Which is pretty much a direct quote I have seen on Gamefaqs countless times. On the other end of the spectrum, some heterosexual females get upset with lesbians who do not hide what we are because of the common misinterpretation that any female interested in video games is also lesbian. They think we give them a bad name and resent us for it. I have been told outright before that they wish they didn’t know I was because I made them look bad. Lesbian gamers are hit from both sides at times and it gets frustrating.

    I do not apologize if this article offended you. If it did, then chances are it was because it hit a little too close to home, and I intended to offend. I have a knack for angering people almost as much as they anger me. I attempt to anger people for the right reasons and causes but some get angry because they are the cause, the problem, the reason. Someone needed to do an in-depth article about this and other topics, but it shouldn’t have to have been done in the first place. I haven’t seen one at all or recently enough to remember. That is what prompted me to write this article. There are posts on girl game forums about this but no articles.

    If this article doesn’t pertain to you then that is great to hear. My experiences on multiplayer games and forums have been much different from yours. The comments I see on Yahoo, sound very much like what I see on gaming forums and in games. I know that women are just as bad as men when it comes to some of the provoking, and even though it sounds like I am singling the men out, I’m not; I have just had more bad incidents with them. I even had one female opponent defend her male counterparts so she wouldn’t be ridiculed as well. My clashes with female gamers have largely been about cheating or glitching. Haven’t heard a woman on Xbox say the N-word or other racial derogatory words once but the amount of times I heard it in real life was embarrassing. Men say it constantly.

    My life suddenly got hectic, therefore I am considering creating a facebook page to consolidate as much of it as possible. If you are inclined to agree with some of my opinions, then you will find the link in the next article if I create one.


    Crysis 2 Demo

    January 27th, 2011

    Written by Tonya Monroe

    I have been waiting since E3 for a chance to play Crysis 2. Keeping in mind that this multiplayer demo is in beta, I’m not at all disappointed. I expect there to be issues; I just hope they are fixed before the game comes out as a few of the problems I see developing into major issues otherwise.

    Starting with the positives, lets talk about the graphics. They look remarkably crisp and clear. The plants in the greenhouses on “Skyline” look like real plants and the grass looks real, while a busted water pipe at the top of a building looks like a tiny waterfall. Even the plastic veils on the greenhouse doors show an amazing attention to detail. The brick on the buildings look like it would be rough to the touch. Crytek made it look as close to high quality pictures from a camera commercial as they could while not glossing anything over to make it appear shiny.

    The stealth cloak is amazingly well done. If you aren’t paying careful attention you won’t even see the shimmering outline. Thankfully, there are upgrades that will eventually give the player a hint as to when a cloaked enemy is nearby. On the same note, the armor will be what saves your life in a surprise duel. At lower levels, you will probably be spamming that button and hiding while your energy quickly recharges. But thankfully, so far this game does NOT cater towards campers. Even with the stealth cloak, you will want to keep moving to avoid being melee killed or shot in the back.

    There are a few new surprises as well. Pressing a button combination allows the player to slide quickly. Letting the more adept rapidly move out of the hail of bullets while allowing them to get some quick shots off at the enemy. Also, you can swim! This is a nice feature that many FPS titles don’t implement. There’s no invisible barrier from the water or warning barrier that kills you if you don’t move back to the game bounds. I doubt this would an exploitable option for campers though. I happened on this by accident and didn’t have a chance to test that. Though I’m sure the water does have an invisible barrier that only lets you go so far and a possible oxygen limit to keep it from being exploited. It is an area to watch out for those that glitch. Naturally, this is on “Pier 17”.

    Others will appreciate the single shot option that some assault rifles have by pressing left on the D-pad. In the full game, there is a hologram attachment option for the guns as well as a Gauss attachment, which is a miniaturized electromagnetic solid slug projector for assault rifles. That just sounds like a lot of fun. I’m unsure of what the shotgun and sniper rifle attachments might have in store since I didn’t use my unlock point on those. SMGs were unavailable for the demo. All of the armor, stealth and side pack “suit nodules” seem like they will be extremely useful. I’m sure the “threat tracer”, which highlights incoming bullet paths, will encourage many to be quick on their feet.

    On the other hand of the demo, my first concern was the spawn system. I’m not sure if it’s the small size of the “Skyline” map (combined with heavy use of the stealth cloak) that makes it possible to be shot in the back by an invisible enemy within moments of spawning, or if that is something overlooked that needs dev tweaking. Toward the middle and end of the match, when teammates and enemies are all over the place, I expect to be shot as soon as I re-spawn on that map; not at the beginning. “Pier 17” is a bit larger, so you’re given more time to get out of your spawn point, but if you aren’t quick then you will be shot within a few moments as well. I can easily see this becoming a possible downfall for the game, like the Marketplace map in the demo for Medal of Honor was with the constant spawn camping. Snipers shouldn’t be too much of an issue, however, since their perches on “Pier 17” are open with more than one way to get to them. There is really only one place to camp on “Skyline”.

    Crash Site mode is similar to Headquarters from Call of Duty, so there is no safe spawn point, making it possible for an enemy to spawn within seconds right next to you. Team Instant Action is essentially team deathmatch.

    An even bigger fault with this game is the severe amount of lag; controller lag, bullet lag, server lag are all problems. My first match took a good three minutes or more to start with an almost full lobby but I didn’t have it happen after that. As for the server lag, they may have not expected so many people to download their demo Tuesday, catching them unprepared. That might also be the cause for the game having trouble with people in a party or party chat. I was in party chat, unsure if I wasn’t if it would still give my friends and me the troubles it did. However, I still probably would have been kicked off the server a lot. I don’t know how many of my kill cams I watched where I unloaded full clips to the head while they single shot at me a few times causing me to die. There is an armor perk option called an “air stomp” that experiences a lag in response time sometimes but works other times. Strafing and jumping has also had complaints of lag or not being as responsive sometimes.

    Another button problem is the fact that you are required to either double tap Y to equip grenades then press RT to throw, or use directional pad to equip your grenade. I found this to be frustrating in the middle of a firefight. Frustrating when I want to throw a grenade at an enemy hiding behind a wall and I bring up my pistol repeatedly or hitting all the buttons on the D-pad trying to remember which one the controller layout screen would give me my damn grenade causing me to get shot. The D-pad grenade option also lets me choose which grenade I want which is not good for a fast-paced firefight. There is no option for that when double tapping Y. Not to mention I am spoiled from having one button pull a grenade out and throw when I let go. I think they didn’t have enough buttons for everything they wanted to do. Especially considering the kill streaks are triggered by holding Y. This likely won’t be changed even with other options for button layouts and it will become bothersome for newcomers or those not used to adapting quickly.

    One of my clan lieutenants expressed concern over the fact that hackers may have already begun to mod the beta at slightly over 12 hours of being up. Citing examples of his kill cam where things seemed off with some of his opponents’ cross-hairs when there is an upgrade in the full game that allows weapon spread to be reduced, causing better accuracy. He also had some worries over the armors being modded as well but we decided to chalk that one up to lag since it very well could have been just that. There were other odd, small occurrences but those stuck out the most. Nevertheless, if hackers are unlocking upgrades then it is patchable, that’s what a beta is for.

    If some of these negatives are fixed and all the positives kept, Crysis 2 looks like it could be quite a game.


    Your Multiplayer Is Touching My Singleplayer

    January 9th, 2011

    Written by Tonya Monroe

    As most of the gaming community is aware, there has been a sudden increase in multiplayer aspects being added to predominately single player games. What does that mean for the gaming community? Well that’s a bit of a mixed bag as far as most of us are concerned. Usually single player campaign modes end up taking a backseat to multiplayer. Both components suffer for it. While I firmly believe that not every game needs multiplayer or co-op opportunities, there are a few games where I can see the benefit. If the game is going to have multiplayer or co-op, then it needs to be designed from the beginning with that thought in mind.

    The biggest multiplayer success shocker would be Assassins Creed: Brotherhood. Had I been asked my opinion at the end of AC 2, I’d have said I was hopeful but wary, for fear of single player suffering for it. Some say it feels tacked on but that is a good thing and the multiplayer doesn’t suffer too much for it aside from the matchmaking issues and some complaints of severe lag. This game is an exception to the rule. I hope that AC 3 doesn’t include this feature though. I think it is a bad idea to add new facets in the middle of a trilogy. Worked fine for Brotherhood since the campaign was shorter, but AC 3 shouldn’t be scaled down to implement a multiplayer.

    Even the games that are manufactured for multiplayer are not without their downfalls. Game breaking glitches – some there from day one – that take way too long to be patched can ruin an online experience. The infinite care package glitch that plagued Modern Warfare 2 immediatelycomes to mind. That resulted in my own personal choice to sell it and vow never to buy another Call of Duty title again. I kept that promise, having forgone the purchase of Black Ops, even though practically everyone on my friends list plays it. Infinity Ward set a new substandard for letting their games go unchecked, though it isn’t fair to hold Treyarch to that. It’s still the same group of people playing nonetheless. Infinity Ward could have taken a lesson from Bungie, who actually made me wish I cared enough about Halo’s story to get good at it. Considering they actually care about their fans.

    Let’s compare multiplayer and single player campaigns for a moment. The campaigns for Halo and Call of Duty franchises took less than 10 hours to complete and it’s the same dried up vein with no real substance. Yes lots of explosions….good for you. Maybe if I was ten years old I would be impressed. Modern Warfare 2’s cliché and convoluted storyline left a lot to be desired in my opinion.

    I think we, as a community of gamers, can be better people online, where we are essentially anonymous. We need to drop this attitude of “I can behave how I want since nobody knows me in real life”. Stop making Youtube videos showing everyone how to glitch or cheat their way to the top of a virtual leader board. Stop with the racist, homophobic and otherwise severe prejudice hate. I understand the concept of a mute button, but why should I have to mute an entire lobby? Would you act that way towards a coworker or neighbor? Why act that way online? Are you too much of a coward to speak your hateful opinion face to face? The depressing fact is that half of these comments come from children. Are the high pitched squeaks of an eight year old calling people “f*****” going to get games the recognition that games deserve as an artistic medium? Or come across as a mature entertainment outlet to be taken seriously? Probably not, so why incorporate that possibility into every game for replay value? Why not open up the single player campaign to be a bigger world? To have various outcomes and missions for separate paths and choices made? Why not offer a larger number of missions specific to different classes/races? Why not offer a more thoroughly thought out storyline? How much variety can be expected in multiplayer games before everything becomes overdone? Where people get tired of the same rehashed material? Where everyone cheats because the developers don’t discourage it? Would you continue to invest your money or time in multiplayer games?

    It’s a choice to opt into multiplayer, but if the solo campaign is crud because the developers spent too much time on multiplayer then it’s not worth my money nor will it be worth it to their other loyal customers. No matter what is offered for pre-order incentives.


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