Why Do We Bother Playing Online Shooters?

Posted on 16 August 2019

Some of my most memorable moments in shooters, primarily FPS’, date back to the N64 and original Playstation. Perfect Dark, GoldenEye, and Medal of Honor Underground were the ones that truly resonated with me. I must have spent 40+ hours each week playing through those titles. Then, at the turn of the century, we were introduced to new hardware such as the PS2 and Xbox which supported online functionality, although the latter was the obvious choice for it. Now I’m sure you’ve made this assumption already, but I spent almost 99.9% of my gaming time on the PS2. Considering I spent so much time playing PS2, I had yet to experience the ever-growing online multiplayer that was so popular on Xbox. This made the transition to the Playstation 3 in 2006 even more new and exciting to me. The Playstation Network introduced me to popular online shooters such as Call of Duty, Killzone, and Battlefield, among others. Now that I have had over three years to partake in the growing phenomenon of online shooters, I got to say, I’m pretty disappointed.


Airstrikes, Tanks, UAV’s, mortars, grenade launchers, RPG’s, claymores, AC-130’s, Snipers, helicopters, turrets, and heartbeat sensors are some of the elements that are incorporated into popular online FPS’s today. Now, I dont have a problem with any of these concepts, but I do have a problem with how they are executed. For example, Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer was essentially built around “Killstreaks.” Not only that, but MW2 provided less health to players, meaning they couldn’t endure as much as they could in MW1. Ultimately, this provided many players with incentive to camp. So, not only would campers be safe from deadly gunfire, but would be rewarded for dishonorably picking off unsuspecting players. After all, nothing says skill like hiding in a corner, killing 7 people, then calling in a helicopter to get you another easy 10 kills.


I just had the opportunity to play Bad Company 2 a lot this week and was relieved to be playing a game where I didn’t have to hide in a house because an AC-130 was raining hell from above. Unfortunately, Bad Company 2 found a way frustrate the bejesus out of me as well. First of all, who thought it would be a good idea to include tanks? Let me rephrase that… Who thought it would be a good idea to include tanks and not include adequate weapons that can destroy them? The submachine gunner class, oddly, is the only class that is equipped with weapons that can destroy a tank. What I found interesting was that rather than use these weapons (such as the RPG), on a tank, they choose to use it against on-foot players. Another aspect of the game that I am having a hard time wrapping my head around is the sniper class. It seems as though this game was made with snipers in mind. Of all the matches I played, I would estimate that out of the 24 players, 12 were off in the distance sniping. I encourage those of you who play BC2 to look at your radar on occasion and count how many of your teammates are at the edge of the map sitting still. Why is this a problem? Well, for starters, it discourages the people who are actually contributing to their team, from exposing themselves. If I have to disarm or charge a bomb at objective A and there are 6 people sniping at me, well, the outcome is self-explanatory. Oh, and did I mention that snipers have access to mortars? Yep! Because the players who are off in the distance doing absolutely nothing totally deserve an artillery barrage.


I guess what I am trying to say with this rant is that online shooters are progressively requiring less and less legitimate skill. Developers are constantly looking for new ways to reinvigorate and redefine the genre but are instead including a bunch of nonsensical garbage that promotes cowardice. I dont know about you guys, but I truly miss the days where a players skill was determined by how they used their gun, not their airstrike or tank.

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