[It's time for another Monthly Musing -- the monthly community blog theme that provides readers with a chance to get their articles and discussions printed on the frontpage. -- CTZ]
That's right, undies and a knife! Why should that guy that has played FPS games forever and seems to have the time to play 24/7 be running around with better gear, better guns, better grenades and have the ability to call in dog attacks as a "special" bonus for killing me ten times without dying so he can laugh his ass off while I become dog meat once again? He should be running around in undies and a knife to kill n00bs.
I mean isn't this guy GOOD? If he's so damn good, why doesn't he want a challenge. As people progress up the ranks, as they get to know the maps and strategies, they should get less stuff. Make them choose a gun to throw away and armour to dump. And the very best 1% in the game, those guys or gals at the very top of the leaderboards -- yeah, they're the one's running around in undies and a knife! If they start dropping down in the leaderboards again, give them back some stuff, maybe a gun or some light armor. I hope they feel bad about it too. I mean wouldn't you want to be that awesome avatar in the undies with a knife, right?
In Killzone 2, if you play often enough, you not only rank up and unlock lots of options, but you also unlock permanent point bonuses. You can play the exact same game as another player, but if you have unlocked the headfetish, corpse counter and other badges, you could be getting as much as double points or more for each kill. How does that make sense? Someone who obviously plays the game more, is better at the game and will get more kills anyway is getting extra points for kills? Are gamers so pathetic that they can't just win but the devs have to reward them with bonus points so that they own? What's the sense in that aside from discouraging new players? Undies and a knife ... yeah, that's the answer!
I'm not literally speaking of undies and a knife (though I love the idea), but rather than rewarding the really awesome players with "more", why not have them give them choices that give them "less" as they rank up.
In single-player games, the challenges increase. Why can't it be this way in multiplayer games? The n00b should have access to everything. All the amour, guns, rocket launchers, dog attacks ... hell, nuclear strikes if they're in the game! They can try everything out, see what they like, what they don't. As they go up the leaderboards or gain ranks they lose options/items. Keep the dog attack if that's what you want, then just sneak around using your dog attacks with skill. Just like Killzone and the 1% ribbon, stats can reset once a week and you can drop in rank. You reach the "Undies and a knife" rank and don't play that week, you drop down in the leaderboards and get some of your stuff back. Clan games would also change. They'd actually be recruiting for that n00b that only plays once a week because competitive games having that heavily armored n00b-bait could be an important strategy.
The sad thing is that FPS online gamers don't seem to like to play "fair". If they buy the game on launch, practice and become good, they don't want to be challenged. They want to own n00bs, not be killed by them. Online FPS games are rarely glitch-free and many gamers seem to have no problem using exploits to gain unfair "God-mode" advantages in order to rack up the points and they prefer to point to stats and the almighty KDR to show how good they are. I don't know that an outfit (or lack thereof) would have the same pull as killstreak awards, or benefits like stronger armor (juggernaut), faster reload/fire times, better weapons or even martyrdom where you get a last shot at killing an enemy before dying. Gamers that have ranked up and know the game, seem to feel they "deserve" these advantages. The success of COD4 seems to well illustrate the gamer mentality of "PWNAGE at any cost"!
When I win a game because I'm a higher rank, have more unlocks, better weapons, better armor or get more points for kills, in all honesty, I don't feel like I've "won" the game. It really isn't a fair fight and I take no pleasure in a win of that nature. I guess this is one of the reasons I tend to prefer Warhawk or UT3 over other games. These games have a level playing field where everyone, regardless of rank, is pretty much the same. It's skill, teamwork, and maybe some luck, that wins you the game. However, even in these types of games, if playing with a bunch of friends who just bought the game, I'm quite capable of slaughtering them. Devs respond to these inequities by usually creating the abilities to have servers reserved for lower or higher ranked players but it's no fun playing alone if you rank up fast or buy the game a year after release.
I suck at shooter games. When I buy the game more than a month after release, when I rank up, then take a break from the game and go back to it, when I play other games and don't devote myself to the one game or when I have a life. I sometimes wish I sucked at games a little more when I play a game I'm really good at with a friend who just bought the game. I like to play with my friends but suckage should be more even and fair. Undies and a knife is the answer!
I want to be that awe-inspiring, revered avatar in undies and knife so devs make me that game!
(and Silverdragon, that knife isn't for making you a sandwich!)