The curse of skill in multiplayer games

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Way back in 2004 while attending the European Game Developers Conference, I vividly remember an EA executive ending a session on multiplayer game design with the following fact, Award here: “I think I speak to every grown-up in this room when I say that the last thing I want to do when I finally sit down and play on a Friday night after a long week at work is have a youth has no vitality and has too much time of humiliation.”

Firstly, I disagree with his final wording and conclusion, that single player games are better than multiplayer games. I often think of that statement whenever faced with a fundamental, fundamental, and unchangeable fact: people who play anything but the most trivial game will have different skills. This skill disparity gives rise to conflict when it occurs in a multiplayer game.

In New world, which manifests itself in the fact that some people have the time and energy to crush scores and cut wars against other factions. In World of Warcraftit’s about having the skill and dedication to be part of raid guilds to be able to participate in the highest levels of content. Guild Wars 2 requires players to keep up with the “meta” for success in top-level content, most recently new content End of Dragons The expansion requires the player to participate in a large-scale raid for a special mount reward. In a first-person shooter or MOBA, it’s about having hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and tactical thinking — as well as the time and opportunity to hone these skills — to compete. painting at the highest level. Regardless of the specific manifestation, the result is the same: in-game skill development leads to a “skill curse” where normal and elite players cannot easily coexist due to different abilities their.

Before I go any further, let’s make a quick note about the “normal” versus “elite” nomenclature. While there is clearly a perceived value in being “the elite”, I firmly stand with EA executives in defending anyone’s privilege to be “just” a player. normally use video games as a relaxing escape from a stressful life. And the so-called elites are just elites because they have had the opportunity, the ability, and the drive to immerse themselves in a game and hone their skills to near perfection. Being able to beat your other players at a video game doesn’t make you a better or more valuable person.

Furthermore, it is also very simple to create a clear division between groups; Obviously, this is a sliding scale from the most casual players to the most elite players. However, I will use the two terms here for the sake of argument only, and no value is attributed to each label.

So why is this “skill curse” so problematic? For a casual player, it was bad because they couldn’t compete on the same level as elite players, and thus kept losing. For elite players, fighting a normal player would present little challenge (except perhaps with superior numbers), and the number of other elite players that would present a challenge could be limited. small trend.

MOBAs, hero shooters, and competitive first-person shooters often use ranking systems to sort players into levels, and use these systems to match players of similar skill into matches. However, for an MMO where all players – regardless of skill – live in the same open and persistent world, this can be more difficult to achieve.

Social ties between elite and normal factions can also become strained in MMOs that cannot be easily separated by players. Elite players are often malicious and despise their ordinary teammates. Casual players, on the other hand, resented the elites and often equated their superior skill with cheating or exploitation. In a recent PvP Leveling Event in Caledonia in Camelot’s Dark AgesSome more casual players have accused elite groups of coordinating, abusing event mechanics, and cheating with officials. DAoC conflict. A radical suggestion from the casual crowd is to ban elite players from participating in such events in the future. While this is not a realistic or fair solution (after all, every player pays the same subscription fee and will therefore have the same access to the game), it does indicate the same basic problems.

One solution is to create different tiers of late-game content, some of which won’t be seen by casual players. Wars in New world there are 50 players on one side and on more populated servers this basically means that only players with maximum equipment can join. The stakes of losing an effective settlement are too high. Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft and now no longer exists Warhammer Online (still available online on ) Return of Reckoning freeshard), while nominally open to everyone, tends to be dominated by experienced players with double the money. The same is true for top level raids or competitive arenas in other games. The problem with this approach, of course, is that it locks out a large portion of the player population from some of the game’s content.

A more organic solution is to have casual players group into superior numbers before they play against elite players: in other words, zerg. Zerging has the added advantage of being more forgiving of sub-optimal teams that lack important ingredients, such as healing or tanks. This also means that normal players can easily fight other normal players like zerg vs. zerg without the need to create dedicated groups with specialized skills. However, zerging often leads to feelings of being hurt by elite players (when they are dying) or other casual players (when their zerg is smaller and ultimately lost).

Player-enforced social measures can also help keep relations between the two sides peaceful. For example, in Camelot’s Dark Ages, there is general agreement that the central area Ellan Vannin (EV) connecting the three PvP realms is dedicated to setting up groups to battle other groups and that zergs should stay away. Although a breach occurs and there is no penalty for breach of this agreement, it is generally respected by all kingdoms. Do you know of any such player-enforced measures in other MMOs? Please share them in the comments.

In a nutshell, the division of normal and elite is a fact of life in multiplayer games. Most people play games to relax, not stress about maxing out their performance, and often to humiliation. Unfortunately, for those who can’t or don’t want to get better, the only winning move can sometimes be not playing online.

https://www.mmorpg.com/editorials/the-curse-of-skill-in-multiplayer-games-2000124514 The curse of skill in multiplayer games

Fry Electronics Team

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