Aug 30, 2011

Why Online Games Frustrate Me

Mostly because of things like this. For those not in the know, Oddball is a game time where Teams are supposed to work together to hold a flaming skull, dubbed the 'ball' and hold it for 150 points before the other team, where each second the ball is held is worth 1 point.

Now, there are a couple things that piss me off about this specific match (more on that later), but the thing that frustrated me the most was how the other team played. The purpose of the Team Objective playlist is to play objective based games, such as Oddball and Capture the Flag. Yet these four players decided that they wanted to turn a game of Oddball into a game of Team Slayer. This is what is known as being a 'Bad Sport'. Why didn't the Red Team queue up for Team Slayer, since that is what they wanted to play? Believe it or not, there are actually a handful of us out there who like, nay enjoy, playing Objective based games.

As I mentioned before, there were other things I didn't enjoy about that match, but don't have to do with that PARTICULAR game, just with some game systems in general.

First thing I want to talk about is guests. The idea that someone can bring a guest into a game, which means they are playing split screen on the same console, is a bit absurd to me. Guests aren't allowed to use headsets for one, so automatically you are missing a key part in game information, such as enemy locations, how much life an enemy has and so forth. What if in World War 2, the English and the USA were allied together but could not communicate enemy positions? Yeah it would have been way more hellish than it was... Now, I am not saying that Guests shouldn't be allowed to play. Some of my favorite Halo moments are from split screen gaming, shouting at the TV and having a good old time with friends and liquor. But I don't think it is fair that one team gets this disadvantage and the other team doesn't. Why doesn't Bungie/343 design an algorithm to balance teams in that matter? If one team gets a player with a guest, shouldn't the other?

The other thing about this system that is broken is private Xbox Live Parties. Now, I won't go pointing fingers at the Gamertags above, but some of Red Team was in a private Xbox Live Party, allowing them free communication between them through Xbox Live instead of through Halo Reach. Now why is this unfair? In Halo Reach you can hear your enemies through a headset based on your proximity to them in game, just like you would in real life. But since portions of Red Team were in a closed Xbox Live Party, that element of game design is rendered mute (hahah pun). Once again, I think Bungie/343 could come up with a solution to this, such as teaming players in closed groups against each other, or should outright ban closed groups (which would probably be harder, given that it is run through the console itself), that way everyone in on a level playing field.

I do what I can and have marked all players as players I 'Want to Avoid' through the Xbox Live service and flagged them for Game Behavior > Unsupporting Conduct, but I don't know if that will have a legitimate effect on the community, but regardless it shouldn't come to that. I don't like reporting players, I feel I shouldn't have to report players, but I bet I report an average of 2 to 3 players a session because of things like this. It is frustrating.

A few companies come to mind that champion their community, Bungie, Insomniac, and Blizzard to name a few, and I understand that not every community is going to be perfect and will have a few rotten eggs, But it just flusters me when my experience with a game is ruined because of poor decisions on both the players part, who should have queued for Team Slayer, and the developers part, who could have made decisions to prevent certain imbalances.

*NOTE: The entire match is available to watch via my File Share. Red Team has multiple opportunities to pick up the ball, but decide to camp it for kills instead.