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Side-Quest: Why Cooperative Play Rocks

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November 18, 2008 3:14:51 PM

Article by Travis Meacham.

Several of the recently-released big games feature superb cooperative multiplayer modes and we couldn't be happier. This week's Side-Quest addresses why cooperative multiplayer is better for socializing and gives a brief retrospective of its evolution from the arcades.

http://www.tomsgames.com/us/2008/11/18/sidequest_cooper...
November 18, 2008 4:38:18 PM

I definitely prefer co-op over other multiplayer modes. Versus can be fun, but if one player is simply better, the other will end up just quitting. And two people can enjoy a game together instead of waiting for the other person to stop playing. I wish PC games offered more co-op modes. I don't understand why console games offer split-screen and system link play while the PC version usually has no co-op mode at all, even within a LAN.

I probably would've paid money for Battlefield: Bad Company if it had a co-op mode. That was a glaring omission for me.

Probably the best co-op mode is when it's competitive co-op so then the other players can try to get the best scores and stats. Especially when there are awards and medals or some other reward involved, even a simple kiss from a female character in the game for getting the best score.
November 18, 2008 5:16:09 PM

As a big fan of BF2 and BF2142 I love the co-operation that comes from playing in a well organised squad. It is especially good (and rare) if the commander is using VOIP to guide his side (you really can crush the other side in this case).

I tried out the Left4Dead (being a big Valve fan: HL2 and Doom 3 are in my personal top 10) demo over the weekend. It is quite nice. A few server issues (to be expected over the weekend with a big demo). The first on-line game was great. Lots of VOIP comments and text helps to me the other newbies. Lots of communication in general. Smooth gameplay.

After that first game I played one particularly bad one with one guy berating the other two for not having a mic and making stupid text comments. While he other 2 guys generally were playing a "solo" co-operative mode and getting themselves killed too often. Hopefully the idiots won't buy the full game!!

The same kinda thing happens in BF2142. Some guy hangs out by the vehicles lobing EMP grenades at them until some shoots him (and wracks up a friendly fire penalty). Then if there isn't an OP around it is impossible to kick someone because you need so many people (%) to agree to this.

In summary when it works co-operative play is great!! When it doesn't work a game session usually sucks... Just because a game supports co-operative (or competitive co-operative) play doesn't mean that people are going to play it this way!!

Bob
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November 18, 2008 6:11:02 PM

Co-op is so fun, why WOULDNT someone put it in their game?

At least if a person is on your team and they hack you dont care, cus its AI. PVP is fun, but overrated, too many hackers and glitchers to deal with. Grabbing my mouse and playing a full game of l4d with 3 other human players with enhanced AI that i know isn't cheating NOW THATS FUN.
November 18, 2008 7:10:54 PM

I've played more game hours than some of you have been alive and the most memorable ones have been with co-op play. Serious Sam comes to mind.
November 18, 2008 7:18:30 PM

I much prefer cooperative play. That is part of the reason Tribes was the first competitive FPS that ever caught my interest. While team CTF isn't quite coop, it does have you helping out your team.

With RTSs in particular I greatly prefer comp stomp to competitive. Mainly because some of my friends have a tendency to be sore losers when they spend upwards of half an hour building a base only to see it torn asunder.
November 18, 2008 8:32:30 PM

I've always been a fan of Co-Op since my old amiga days & null modem cables. Then I got a pc, and along came Diablo, Co-Op on that with a friend was awesome... There was the Dooms & the Quakes which had multiplayer, but the focus was on PvP... sadly this trend seemed to continue for years where the only solution was usually to team up against bots in a PvP game.

A few old work mates & I try to get together at least once a year (going back over 15 years) for a GeekFest, sometimes this is the only time we see each other for that year - the best fun is always Co-Op because of the varying skill levels & you don't really want to kill your mate for the 100th time... (PvP really does generate animosity, or at the least, disinterest).

The last meet we had we played Fear Combat Co-Op with as many maps as I could find. It was so much fun we ONLY played it all night, we all agreed this was the best night we've ever had, it wasn't the game so much as the Co-Op experience...

I recently downloaded the "Left 4 Dead" demo, played it solo for about 15 mins, then realised what a gem this game would be Co-Op, so I grabbed my 2 daughters & loaded it on their PC's and we played for hours. Now my 2 daughters are NOT gamers & very rarely play games at all, but the experience was so good for them, they didn't want to stop playing.

I'm glad to see the come back of Co-Op, and the way it's implemented in Left 4 Dead is brilliant. (I'm also becomming a big fan of Synergy for HL2.) Game companies take note!

As a side note to this, there is an issue I'd like to bring up. That issue is the need to have multiple liscences/purchases of a game for multiplayer. I have no issue where multiple people are playing the game & they don't live together, but to use my previously mentioned "Left 4 Dead" experience, if I wish to play this with my 2 kids I'll need to buy 3 copies of the game. Now here in Oz it costs $100 per copy - so I'd be up for $300 (for 3 copies) so we can play it on my home lan. There is no way I can afford this, especially for the limited amount of time the kids (they're very busy with Uni & jobs) would use their copies.

So, apart from technical/piracy issues, their needs to be something done about this side of things. Years ago, I don't remember the game, (one of the RTS games?), it would allow 1 retail copy to allow (spawn?) 2-3 other versions for Co-Op play on a local lan, perfect for home lan casual use.

November 19, 2008 2:17:22 AM

I agree games should allow you to install multiple copies on different computers instead of forcing you to buy a bunch of copies. The only game I know of that kind of did that was Marathon by Bungie. It had a full game license code and also a Network code so that you could play the full version, but a friend could also install and play with you on a network using the network code.

Co-op can also make a bad game at least somewhat enjoyable. And competitive team-based games are an extension of co-op. I've never been a fan of death match unless it was with friends.
November 19, 2008 2:38:06 AM

That actually was implemented in Starcraft. You had the option of installing a spawn copy that could only play multiplayer in games that the host CD key was hosting.

I don't know what ended up happening to that idea, I loved it.
(sarcasm)I guess starcraft wasn't profitable enough for that to stick (/sarcasm)
November 19, 2008 2:40:07 AM

Toatl annihilation did the spawns i seem to remember.
November 19, 2008 2:46:08 AM

Id like to play more CO-OP in COD : World at War - but it doesn't seem as accessible as the other multiplayer modes.

Maybe i'm using it wrong.
November 19, 2008 9:03:25 AM

Having a strong dislike for any form of competition be it in computer games, board games or plain life situation, I've always felt drawn to all form of cooperative gameplay in the games available. As such, I've always found it a bit saddening that the greater part of the multiplayer effort on computer games have been dedicated to oppositional play rather than cooperative one.
Therefore, I must say I was really pleased to read this column and felt close to the author's opinion. However, one aspect that I felt was missing from the article was the behaviour of players in both categories. I think (just my opinion) that cooperative play usually tends to give birth to rather pleasant communities, while oppositional play often triggers all kind of adverse behaviour in player (insults, power playing, cheating, noobism ect...).
November 19, 2008 9:25:05 AM

Co-op rocks, me and my friend prefer playing Sport Sims that way as we can usually crack the Vs "power moves" that you cant defend against pretty quickly, exploit inbalances etc.
Co-op for me is a massive extention of logeivity and replay value.

For me, the best Co-op game (or at least the best memories) date back to WCW Vs NWO on the N64.
That and Streets of Rage for the accidental friendly fire :D 
Halo as well actually, Gunner / Driver combo in the Warthog was awesome.

Ok, i could go on......
November 19, 2008 9:46:02 AM

infornography42 said:
That actually was implemented in Starcraft. You had the option of installing a spawn copy that could only play multiplayer in games that the host CD key was hosting.

I don't know what ended up happening to that idea, I loved it.
(sarcasm)I guess starcraft wasn't profitable enough for that to stick (/sarcasm)

Not sure if you were saying Starcraft was the first or just mentioning it as a reminder. Marathon came out like 4 or 5 years before Starcraft. I don't remember what kind of install feature the old Blizzard games had, but I assume they must've had some kind of network install since I remember trying out LAN games with my brother. The Marathon Trilogy, Myth 1, and Myth 2 all had the option to install a network copy too.

Halo was pretty much saved by co-op for me. It would've sucked without it, and it's a big disappointment to think of how the game was originally shaping up for PCs until it was neutered for XBOX once Microsoft bought them. And Halo can probably be credited for popularizing co-op FPSes on the console. Perfect Dark had an excellent co-op mode too and it's the earliest FPS example I can think of on console. Marathon 2 and Infinity had co-op modes but they weren't that good. Marathon is a bit more slow-paced and it didn't allow you to save your game, you could only start from the beginning of a level and it left you without any of the weapons you'd already found.
November 19, 2008 10:30:54 AM

Some of my best gaming memories are of all night nerd wars with my son and another gaming friend playing one or the other of the Serious Sam games. The Serious Sam series are okay, if silly First Person Shooters, but when played with a group of friends, they are hilarious. I can't remember a time when I laughed so hard.
I enjoyed co-op gaming so much that I tried Guild Wars with my son, and a friend, and really enjoyed the game for a while, but the time commitment got to be too much. A pee break at the wrong time meant you had to start a 3 hour quest all over again. Straight forward FPS games with a co-op mode are an incredible amount of fun. I wish more games could be played in co-op mode. Large scale role playing games like Oblivion and Fallout 3 would be excellent if you could wander the world with a good friend, taking on monsters and quests. It would be great to have a list of the best co-op games out there.
November 21, 2008 1:39:50 AM

My co-op fun began with novalogic's Delta force. Crap-tacular graphics where you were shooting at a slightly different shaded pixel. Too bad it doesn't work with XP. It would be a fun blast from the past.

By far, the king of co-op games are the Tom Clancy series (raven shield ghost recon).
The older games were very good, but the latest with Advanced Warfare is awesome. You MUST work together or you will die.
The majority of my winter weekends are spent playing this with best of friends.

Not sure why you couldn't take a pee break in S.Sam. Beena while since I've played it, but don't remember that being a problem.

I'm 100% for the single licence for a network. There's no way I'm dishing out 200+ bucks to play a game on my 4 station lan.
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