Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Multiplayer Only? Nevermind.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 30, 2013

I did it again. I bought an indie game because of a steep discount without looking too closely at its description.

No single-player mode.

You know what this means?

It means I am never, ever going to play it. I may look at it, analyze it a little bit to see what the developers did with it. But I am never going to log in and play it. They gained a sale but lost a customer.

For me, having a game that only exists as a competitive online game us a like being unable to learn how to play chess without entering a Chess Tournament. You can figure out how to play while you are getting your butt kicked in public, but not before. Maybe, after a few days or weeks or months of being other people’s target so that THEY can have fun, you might start having fun yourself.

Now, I’ll agree that’s not always how it works, and a good game will certainly mitigate that factor to a substantial degree. And even having a solo game mode is no guarantee of anything – once again, everybody playing will have more experience than you, and quite often the skills needed to succeed in multiplayer are quite different from single-player skills. But at least you’ll have a passing familiarity with what the game is about first.

This, and the fact that I rarely have time to play a game without interruption for very long. Going more than ten minutes without needing to hit the pause button just ain’t gonna happen before 10:00 PM.

Maybe I’m just the odd weirdo, but I often prefer gaming when I don’t have the pressure of having to interact with other people. And when I’m in the mood for playing with others, it’s often just friends or a game I already love from playing single-player. Not an unfamiliar game in my giant list of games, many of which I’ve never played. One of my favorite multiplayer games over the last several years is Left 4 Dead 2. While it is exponentially better with real, live players, it’s still pretty good solo. I’d never have bothered with it otherwise. That’s why it’s my go-to game when I want to have some really fun multiplayer entertainment.

Even MMOs tend to try and provide you with something to do by yourself.

I guess I am the weirdo, because it seems that more and more indie games are coming out that have no solo gameplay. I guess doing AI or actually creating a *game* that doesn’t require the cooperation of other players to make it work is too frickin’ hard or something. Anyway, Indies, if you wanna make sure I’ll never buy your game except by accident or in a bundle with games I actually want to play, make it multiplayer-only.

Filed Under: Design - Comments: 8 Comments to Read

  • Infinitron said,

    Go on, tell us what game it was

  • Charles said,

    Well, no… You’re not a weirdo because of THAT.


  • Rampant Coyote said,

    @Infinitron – Aw, I hate dumping on my fellow indies specifically. But since I’m not really criticizing the game, but the lack of single-player, it was Guncraft. But it’s not the only one. Dino D-Day was another, but I think I got that one via a bundle deal. It looked cool as all, but I was very disappointed to learn it was multiplayer only.

    Again, I kinda make an exception with MMOs, or games that are very specific about being online-only games. I guess in that case, I know what I am getting into.

    (Now watch – someone will say, “Hey, did you miss the huge ‘SOLO’ button on the main menu?” and I’ll get all embarrassed about this, but the post can stand on it’s own if I was too tired last night and somehow missed it…)

    @Charles – Well, okay, I didn’t say it was a causal relationship… 🙂

  • Stick Games said,

    You’re not weird man. You should always be able to go solo in a game. The time you have to play games might not always match your friends!

  • Xenovore said,

    Love multi-player, but. . . games with multi-player only, or single-player that’s actually multi-player masquerading as single-player via bots. . .? In my experience those are usually shallow and lame, i.e. they feel like the devs got lazy and left half the game out. There are a few exceptions — e.g. Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Quake Wars — but those were crafted by devs that knew what the hell a multi-player game was supposed to be.

    Also, I miss the days when the multi-player game-play was played on the same maps as the single-player; if you’d played through the single-player campaign at all, then you’d already be familiar with (some of) the levels in multi-player. I’m talking about games like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Quake, before somebody over-thought things and decided that the multi-player maps should be completely separate from single-player, and uber-balanced to make things “fair”.

  • Anon said,

    I don’t play multiplayer-only titles. Just not my cup of coffee so I wouldn’t slam the people/company behind it.

    However, what I can’t understand how one can overlook this critical aspect of a game.

    Sure, if one doesn’t read reviews or games news at all (where the games are practically always put into their respective “drawers”) then it may slip through, but a person that eats, drinks, works and lives games like you, Jay?

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    It was late. I was tired. On one site it was labeled as single + multiplayer. Not sure if that was an influence, but to be honest. I guess I’ve not fully trained myself yet to look out for multiplayer-only games. I do watch out for games that look like an MMO, for many of the same reasons, but I guess I’m going to have to be more careful in the future.

  • McTeddy said,

    I agree with you on preferring single player to multi-player because I tend to play games for different reasons than most people. I like to have fun.

    I enjoy rushing through levels using only my knife, or without violence, maybe toying with the AI to understand how it works. Sometimes I’ll test various mechanics or run various “what if?” scenarios for no reason but curiosity.

    But when I go online I find myself insulted for “Playing wrong”. I get bashed because I didn’t take the single ideal leveling path. I’m “ruining teh game.”

    I just want to have fun and that puts me into a minority online. I’ll occasionally play with some close friends, but even then I don’t get the joys of playing “My way”.