PvP: Single vs Multiplayer Experience

Published: March 31, 2014 9:59 AM /



Welcome to a new TechRaptor feature PvP! This is where our Raptors will go head to head against a tech or gaming issues, fighting for what they believe is right. Who will win? You help us decide! Join in the conversation in the comments, even suggest an issue for us to battle it out!

First up is the age old question of why people buy games. Is it for the single-player experience or is it for the multiplayer experience? Some games just slap it on as an addition to just appeal to more of an audience, others are starting to leave it off all together. Let's see what Raptors Mike and Aaron have to say about it. Hit up the next pages to see their argument. Who do you think is right, let us know!!

 PvP: Single Player Wins

by Mike Johnson

Single player is where it’s at.  Give me a long game with a great story, a cold soda, and a comfortable couch and I will gladly fork over the cash to dive in.  Keep the abuse-filled voice chat, the cheesy strats, and the hack mods— I just want to play by myself for a bit.

Story-based games are my bread and butter. To me, they’re like a good book that stars me.  I can save princesses, slay dragons, and cast magnificent spells at my own pace and in my own way, with a healthy supply of saved games to fall back on if accidents happen.  That’s how gaming should be, and that’s how it started.

The first game I remember truly loving was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on SNES. It was single-player, but my brother and I would trade off when the other died or finished the dungeon, and we could spend hours in front of the console adventuring to save the princess.  We owned multiplayer games, but preferred the the thrill of exploring for secret items and rupees and the well-crafted story.

Fast-forward to the games of today, and we’re surrounded by fast-twitch shooters with expansive multiplayer. The physics engines are so evolved that we can run up walls and deploy massive robots to assist in shooting one another to endless respawns.  Video games have become a sport, with thousands tuning in to watch live tournaments of Halo, League of Legends, or Dota 2.

In these games, players seek to destroy their opponent.  Competition is great, and though competitive multiplayer can be fun in its own right, it still takes something away from the enjoyment of the game.  Rather than engage in a story of one’s own, now the object is to force a narrative on someone else— I’m better than you. That makes others look like this:

immvp sad

For the casual, just-picked-it-up player who hasn’t gotten his 360 no-scope technique ironed out yet, these games present a monumental barrier to fun. But anyone can grab a single-player game of his or her choice and dive in.  While it may take a bit to learn what the game is about, as long as the genre matches, those stories can be experienced by anyone.

Of the top ten best-selling PC games of all time, only two of them feature multiplayer as the main component of the game— World of Warcraft and Battlefield 2.  All the others— Sims, Diablo 3, Half Life, Starcraft, and Minecraft— feature a well-rounded single player experience.  Even in World of Warcraft, an MMO, single player dominates gameplay for a majority of in-game time.  I can jump online whenever I want, and if I choose, I can level my character to the maximum completely alone.

What brings players, and their money, to these types of games is the ability to have fun on their own terms.  I don’t need a buddy to team up with me, and I’m not watching the clock to see when the residents of this game’s super-players are sleeping so I can scrounge some points on the ladder. Instead, I can log in, play the game, and enjoy the story I’ve created for myself.

When a developer doesn’t have to focus resources or time to developing balanced maps or fine-tune class balance, they can spend that on narrative.  Games like BioShock, Elder Scrolls, The Last of Us, and The Legend of Zelda are all driven by a strong single-player narrative.  Some of those games have actually brought me to tears with their stories and their characters.

The stories that we have access to in these games have never been better. The technology we have today couples the thrill of an interactive game with the unspoken bliss of a truly great book.  I actually just stared at some of the views in BioShock: Infinite for a good five minutes before continuing to play, and due to the miracles of single-player, didn’t get a headshot for my trouble.

Bioshock infinite columbia vista

I re-rolled in Skyrim I don’t know how many times because I couldn’t fathom how an Argonian/Khajiit/Redguard/Altmer could be the Dragonborn in the middle of the Nords' hometown.  These are the things that it’s fun to think about, not min/maxing my class and perks for a night of noob-bashing. In these games, I’m the hero and I didn’t have to languish at the bottom of MMR for months in order to get there.

Single player opens up a world of opportunity for everyone that picks up a video game, whether it’s an on-the-rails story like The Last of Us or an open world adventure like Skyrim.  The fun is there for the taking, and not from other players.  They don’t require a friend on the couch in order to make it exciting, but rely only on your own imagination and willingness to take part in a story that starts out in a game, but becomes your own.


PvP: Multiplayer Wins

by Aaron Blevins

Multiplayer gaming has been a staple in video game history.  Pong started the popularity of video gaming by putting you against someone else.  Whether it's playing against friends and family in your living room, or playing against friends spread out across the world, thanks to online gaming, gaming has turned from creating a wonderful world to explore by yourself, to focusing on experiencing that world with others, whether competitively or cooperatively. Multiplayer games are like enjoying a new experience each time you play with someone which makes that one of a kind experience greater than single player experiences.

mario kart multi

In late 2008, sitting in my dorm room with 6 other people around the TV we are playing Mario Kart 64 on the N64.  Yes 11 years later we are focused on a game involving Nintendo characters throwing turtle shells at each other.  Now none of use would be classified as your typical "nerd", more than half of us were NCAA athletes (I myself Track).  What made this game so addicting is the fact that we all played as a child, I dominated my neighborhood with Toad, but playing against others we weren't used to showed me new techniques and became insanely competitive.  We left our room open almost at all times due to so many people wanting to get in on it.  Instead of the 4th player rotating out, we had to rotate the 3rd and 4th place finishers to let so many people play.  One night, Mike and myself (easily the two best players) were neck and neck on Luigi's Raceway going to the finish line, when Trey pulled a lighting bolt in 3rd place, uses it, as we are 50 feet away we spin out into each other flatten out and Trey passes us for the win.  He goes onto screaming and running down the hall that he beat us, my RA jumps out of his room because it is now 1:00 AM thinking the floor is on fire.  No John, it's just the excitement from a one of a kind multiplayer experience.

I could spend this whole article sharing insane moments that you wouldn't believe, whether its from Goldeneye 64, Halo 2, or that miracle hail mary touchdown against my brother in law to win the game in Madden, everyone has special memories when playing any games with your friends.  Arcades were a staple of gaming interaction, whether it was competitive fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, or teaming up with a partner to shoot aliens in Area 51 or zombies in House of the Dead, arcades were a staple in bringing gamers together before the internet.  I remember purchasing the Xbox Live starter Kit and being able to play online for the first time in Unreal Championship and talking to other players.  Xbox Live and online gaming has changed multiplayer gaming forever.

Nintendo has also been a huge game changer in creating ways we play together.  Some have been challenged by technology, such as linking for Gameboys together to play Zelda: Four Swords, but still a wonderful experience if you could create it.  Other ideas have flourished such as Wii Sports.  Wii Sports brought gaming to people who looked at gaming as a waste of time and money.  Every parent was playing Wii Tennis with their kids now and having family bowling night right at home thanks to Nintendo.

Resident Evil has moved to a Coop focused story
Resident Evil has moved to a Coop focused story

Coop experiences are great and games like Left 4 Dead have become hugely successful thanks to the intensity of going along and keeping your teammates alive.  Capcom has even moved their Resident Evil franchise to a Coop experience with 5 and 6 being all about Coop. Even with mixed reviews companies realize the importance of being able to play with your friends one way or another.  Which is why games like Warcraft have been so successful for so long.  With options to raid together or go PVP it is fun for everyone.

Now I know some may argue some companies tack on multiplayer to great single player games, such as Bioshock 2 and God of War Acension, but still I thoroughly enjoyed Bioshock's fun multiplayer compared to the stressful battles of COD.  Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare is my current addiction of multiplayer and all my free time is spent playing the well balanced experienced.

Multiplayer has become so important that Titanfall has become a sort of life source for Microsoft, hoping to bring new players into the next gen experience with multiplayer ONLY gameplay (even though there is a campaign multiplayer mode played competitively) Whether you are enjoying a Pokemon Battle locally or online, Mario Kart races with your friends, or raids with your Guild in World of Warcraft, multiplayer has become the staple of gaming and the different experience you get each time is an experience you cannot get with any single player game.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

No author image supplied

I like MMOs, RPGs, and sandboxes, all played with my trusty hedgehog sidekick Harvey. When I'm not building, slashing, or rolling, you'll find me… More about Mike