Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Re: The answer is...

"...because, of course, your Gamerscore is some measure of your worth as a gamer and thus a person."
Avenger and Incognito, I think this is an excellent time to discuss with you what your feelings are with respect to the vaunted gamerscore. What most thought would be nothing more than a novelty of the Xbox 360 has, in my experience, become something else. As Avenger notes, the action by Microsoft (or the game developers, it gets a little unclear as to who is pulling the strings on this point) to limit Achievments to Ranked Match participants (which, by the way, can't be played with friends unless by happenstance) would seem to be fueled by the notion that there are those that would game the system to gain acheivements both in-game (badges, medals, and the like) and for gamerscore.

There are almost innumerable problems with this system. The most obvious, of course, is why anyone would want to play video games with people that aren't fun to play with. Why is Halo 2 the most popular multiplayer game in existence (excluding MMO's like WOW, of course)? I would argue its because of a Bungie invention called the couch. For those of you that haven't played much Halo 2, the "couch" is essentially a group of people that move through the interface together. That is, you and your six buddies become linked and will stay together no matter what options the couch leader picks. Want to play 7 v. 7? You'll play together. Want to Play CTF? Want to Play Deathmatch? With vehicles? Without? You'll stay together. And thus camaraderie is born.

In the "Ranked Matches/No Friends" system, not only can you not play with friends, Microsoft (or other powers that be) won't let you play with the same group more than once. This is the antithesis of the couch, arguably the most successful multiplayer system ever. Not only does this prevent camaraderie of any kind, it also forces the player out to a menu between matches. For games that can take only 5 minutes to play a "round" this means that the player will spend as much time finding a match as playing it. This is unacceptable.

And why? To prevent people from "cheating"? As Avenger says, who cares, "their dead in side." Do real gamers actually care that there might be cheaters? Is that concern worth eliminating the ability to play with friends (or at the very list with the same core group)? Seems like using a cannon to kill a fly to me. And the collateral damage is devastating. Your thoughts?

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