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  1. #1
    Network Hub Mbaya's Avatar
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    Why is winning so important?

    I'm curious as to why winning a multiplayer game seems to be the most important factor for people when it comes to enjoying a game.

    Of course I can appreciate that unbalanced teams can hinder the enjoyment...but more and more recently I've seen people complaining about 'bad games' and 'terrible team' when things have been pretty even right up until the end (more recently, 5-4 games of CTF in Tribes: Ascend as an example). It seems the only deciding factor on whether the game was worth playing is the end game screen and I'm beginning to wonder if this is an issue of the individual players or game mechanics.

    I believe it's better to lose a good game, than win a bad game. I never really enjoy games where our team steamrolls the opposition except perhaps when you're 'in the zone' and on a good streak and everything just falls into place...I strive for those epic moments, those great comebacks and those hilariously daft defeats.

    Playing games these days, the moment a game is not seen to be an easy win, people leave, give up or complain about how everyone but them suck. I personally enjoy being the underdog, if we're getting steamrolled in say, a game of SMNC, my task may not then be to win the game, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let that enemy assassin leave with no deaths!

    Then there are the game rewards themselves...should winning be reward enough? Should the losing team feel like they've wasted 25 minutes because they didn't earn the 'bonus exp' at the end of a match? Is it really more important to keep your kill/death ratio over 1.3 that you'll give up what could be a great game? Should games reward the players doing really well with items such as kill streak rewards, when they're the players that obviously don't need the extra boost?

    I remember playing PlanetSide and futilely attempting to hold a base from an overwhelming force of enemies, people were falling every which way, but we were holding on, simply hanging on by a matter of pride...just as things looked to be over, a Galaxy Dropship came over unloading reinforcements, the first of many as people came from a nearby conflict that recently played out. If we had given up because we couldn't win the battle and hold the base on our own, we'd never have had that epic moment.

    I wish multiplayer games would focus more on rewarding moments than rewarding the end result. I feel that killing five people in a row shouldn't reward you with yet more tools to kill another further five people...the player who kills you, the current kill streaker, should however be rewarded, providing their team a moment respite or an opportunity to close the gap and even the odds. A hard balancing act to achieve for sure, the opportunity arises that you could purposely do bad as an individual to bolster your team...but I wish more games would at least attempt to to aid the likely losers than the winners.

    I'm really interested in how others feel about this, would you rather a losing game be over as quick as possible, would you like goals to shift from perhaps winning to simply surviving another ten minutes, would you like people who are not doing so well to really contribute to a fight regardless of skill or am I just weird?

    I hope I got my point across well, I'm not really awake yet :)
    Thanks for your time.
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  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    I prefer a challenge to a cake walk for sure. When I used to play League CS I preferred the matches that went down to the wire 13-11 even if we lost Vs the ones where we'd steamroll the opposition 21-3. I kind of felt that once someone hit the 13 then you might as well call it, because the rest of the rounds were just going through the motions. I do recall we trounced one team so badly on Dust that in the final couple of rounds we all bought M249s for lulz and just trashed them. Initially it seemed like a fun idea, but afterwards I felt bad as it was just rubbing salt into the wounds an an already demoralized and beaten opposition. I just don't go in for that sort of thing now. Regardless of their skill level, I think it's important to respect your opponent.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I agree that the reward in non-competitive matches is having a fun match. It's more fun to play a challenging close loss than to steamroll a win in my opinion. That sort of desperation makes for exciting gameplay.

    That said it's zero fun when you're getting torn apart every which way to the point where stepping out of a spawn room spells certain death. When things are incredibly unbalanced in terms of skill (or whatever) it stops being fun and losing sucks. But then it's not actually the fact that you lose, it's the fact that you barely get a chance to really play.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    I usually quit a match if there is team stacking (even if I'm on the winning team) because not only it's just unfair but also because that makes the game BORING for everyone involved. I never understood people who enjoy stacking.

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus squirrel's Avatar
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    The desire to win is just a human instinct. Anyone who says otherwise either dont understand himself / herself, or more likely he / she straight out lies. Without such instinct we cannot survive to begin with.

    I think it's easy to promote team spirit in competitive multiplayer: to force players to form permanent / regular teams, like what teachers do to us when we are students. If players maintain their own individual statistics, it would be noble yet impossible to hold team spirits. In fact you should be lucky if you dont have teammates back-stabbing each others. No kidding, in Bad Company 2 we really see players do such calculation, is it worthwhile teamkill for to steal that better spot from teammates? You know, in Hardcore game, two kills plus one headshot offset a teamkill......
    Last edited by squirrel; 23-04-2012 at 02:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I'd like to say its an old problem, games running out of lives and punishing you but really its an older problem than that, people wan tto win, mixed with a newer problem caused by the developers.
    Developers want to reward playing because it boost play time, which boosts player loyalty which boosts purchases of the game and its sequels by you talking to your friend about the game whether in virtual or meat space.

    Its to do with the viral nature of word of mouth and the depth of player loyalty.

    Consider this, in Battlefield 3 I am more likely to play more in the first month of ownership because I want to try all of the equipment, rather than feeling satisfied I want to try everything and the fastest way to do that is to win. The developers want you to play the game alot, so your have a tighter affinity for the series so you buy the annualised sequel.

    Jut like I insult DoTA/MoBA with being sociologically abusive so are the shooters which have long term grinding to unlock equipment, its not quite as evil as MMO's which are simultaneously asking for a constant font of money at the game time but its hardly ideal.

    Me: Just imagine Battlefield 3 where everyone had everything unlocked, would it be the better game?
    You: Sure would boss
    Me: Okay, but would people play it more?
    You: Well maybe becau-
    Me: Nope, they would move on to a shooter with unlocks because it "gives them an edge on noobs", that's what we are dealing with here, a disease which has lept from its host genre of RPG (specifically JRPG) where it was inert and rather harmless to multi-player games of all kinds. Buy Toca race driver 3 and you had to win each race to unlock the next simple enough, but in the same developers Dirt 2 (and I imagine 3) you have to level up your skill points to unlock the tracks. Levelling up, in a single player racing game.... WTF? To be fair it works, you don't have to 'win' anymore meaning you can keep the difficulty high and truly race rather than desperately scrabble for first place, but would it be so terrible if everything was already unlocked
    Last edited by Heliocentric; 23-04-2012 at 02:42 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Don't think unlocks have anything to do with it. People wanna win coz it feels good, but more than that, people generally hate getting steamrolled. That's really the idea: people stack to avoid being wiped out (most likely after being in the losing team from the previous round). The solution is a more intelligent auto-balance (unlikely) or to prevent the problem right from the outset with auto match-making.

  8. #8
    Network Hub Peter Radiator Full Pig's Avatar
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    The whole point of competition is to win. Its not taking part, like you might of been told in school or when young.
    Its to win. To have your skill go against their skill and determine whos was greater.

    As for the people complaining till the end, I find there are few things worse that having what is a good game basically go undecided because someone screwed up the balance some way. What i mean is you could have a game as close as close can be, and it can be fun. But you can be robbed of that final triumph merely because the other team got an advantage that was not part of the game (A man leaving is a good example of this, or crazy insane lag). If you accept what i say about competition being a comprasion of skill, a dropout from a game means the comparison doesnt happen, and therefore the time you just spent was wasted.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    If I have invested time and brainpower to a difficult task (not zynga/fb artificial crafts) I would rather prefer if I got rewarded with at least the feeling that I was outplayed in an even field by someone that has either better skills or more resources spent on it, if not the taste of being able to defeat someone with a bigger commitment than I. I mesure this reward in the amount of endorphines my brain segregates from the adrenaline rush needed to keep the focus on the task.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Radiator Full Pig View Post
    The whole point of competition is to win. Its not taking part, like you might of been told in school or when young.
    Its to win. To have your skill go against their skill and determine whos was greater.

    As for the people complaining till the end, I find there are few things worse that having what is a good game basically go undecided because someone screwed up the balance some way. What i mean is you could have a game as close as close can be, and it can be fun. But you can be robbed of that final triumph merely because the other team got an advantage that was not part of the game (A man leaving is a good example of this, or crazy insane lag). If you accept what i say about competition being a comprasion of skill, a dropout from a game means the comparison doesnt happen, and therefore the time you just spent was wasted.


    But (and I'm not disagreeing with you) just winning is not enough, how you win is also important. Otherwise cheating, spawn camping, stacking could be considered fair game.

    Also what you consider winning. Tying with what you just said, I could come up second in a unreal tournament match. But if I just telefragged everyone instead of just shooting them I could consider that I proved myself more skilled.

  11. #11
    No, the whole point of competition is not to win. There are many things that people like about competition: there is a social aspect, the exhilaration of testing yourself against another person, the chance to improve by learning from someone else, the moments of brilliance where one person tricks the other or pulls of something impressive or has an incredible comeback, and yes, the thrill of victory itself. It matters that all parties are absolutely trying to win, but I think most sane people can enjoy a competition where they didn't win and not feel later that their time was wasted.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tikey View Post
    but (and i'm not disagreeing with you) just winning is not enough, how you win is also important. Otherwise cheating, spawn camping, stacking could be considered fair game.

    Also what you consider winning. Tying with what you just said, i could come up second in a unreal tournament match. But if i just telefragged everyone instead of just shooting them i could consider that i proved myself more skilled.
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  13. #13
    Playing competitively is the best way to explore a game's system.

    (Playing competitively may also involve just fucking around with a game, in order to find new ways to win.)

    Edit: Stuff like this is why:

    But (and I'm not disagreeing with you) just winning is not enough, how you win is also important. Otherwise cheating, spawn camping, stacking could be considered fair game.
    Saying "Spawn-camping's off-limits" is sectioning off parts of a game's system as areas that you should not explore. Playing to win removes that.
    Last edited by JackShandy; 23-04-2012 at 06:06 PM.

  14. #14
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    Gotta agree with the whole winning isn't everything, my example would be the many 4 player split screen gaming sessions where i could kick the other lads around quite simply because it was my game and i knew every trick in the book. Boring for all involved but stick on a bit of co-op, different story altogether. Shooting stupid bots with my friends was a lot more fun than dominating them in a death match.

    In my opinion anyway, games that involve cooperation will all ways be better fun for all over competitive games (not that they don't both deserve their place, just cater to different people). In BF3 I'm more proud of my top squad ribbons than my (few) MVP's and there's been some brilliant squad teamwork moments I'll defiantly remember for much longer than my highest killstreak. Wish they'd bury the whole K/D ratio in some menu somewhere and not feature it so predominately.

    Don't see how to do away with competitiveness/winning though and i struggle to think of a multi-player game scenario where everyone would be happy with a draw for every match.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JackShandy View Post
    Saying "Spawn-camping's off-limits" is sectioning off parts of a game's system as areas that you should not explore. Playing to win removes that.
    All you say is fine and nice if you're playing in a tournament of a closed competitive match.
    Now, if I join a random server and one of the teams is spawn camping you'll notice it's as much fun as watching the microwave oven.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Tikey View Post
    All you say is fine and nice if you're playing in a tournament of a closed competitive match.
    Now, if I join a random server and one of the teams is spawn camping you'll notice it's as much fun as watching the microwave oven.
    If the opposite team's working as a team to spawn-camp you, and you can't get anyone else on your team to work with you to defeat it, then yes. That sucks. That's a problem with playing team games with random online strangers, not with playing to win.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tikey's Avatar
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    It isn't fun for the spawn camping team either.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Tikey View Post
    It isn't fun for the spawn camping team either.
    So, you're saying they would find the game more fun if they didn't try to win?

    If you're interested in discussing this, I'd appreciate it if you could first define Fun, and explain why it's the most important thing to get out of a game.

  19. #19
    Network Hub Peter Radiator Full Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tikey View Post
    But (and I'm not disagreeing with you) just winning is not enough, how you win is also important. Otherwise cheating, spawn camping, stacking could be considered fair game.
    Well, if you see winning as enough, you understand why people cheat. Because it feels like winning. Of course, i meant winning the game, which means playing within the rules of a game. Or else you are not playing that game, but something quite like it, but importantly different.

  20. #20
    Network Hub Peter Radiator Full Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman Tribe Leader View Post
    No, the whole point of competition is not to win. There are many things that people like about competition: there is a social aspect, the exhilaration of testing yourself against another person, the chance to improve by learning from someone else, the moments of brilliance where one person tricks the other or pulls of something impressive or has an incredible comeback, and yes, the thrill of victory itself. It matters that all parties are absolutely trying to win, but I think most sane people can enjoy a competition where they didn't win and not feel later that their time was wasted.
    What you describe is the reasons people play. Playing is different from competing, though you can do both at once.

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