As those who have read my bio on Avault might have noticed, I claim to have very little skill in multiplayer. (If you haven’t noticed because you haven’t read my bio on the main blog page, just smile and nod.) While there are probably a thousand reasons why I’m not brilliant at multiplayer, what’s more interesting is that despite my obvious failings when facing humans in mortal combat, I actually do enjoy it. However, I don’t find myself playing against my human friends very often. Instead, we play co-op: two humans, battling together against the forces of [insert currently preferred antagonist here] and triumphing against carefully constructed and measured odds.
While it might be tempting to read my statements, combined with my previous blog entries, and conclude that I only play CRPGS in multiplayer, you’d be quite mistaken. A good friend of mine and I spent countless hours killing, and being killed, by neverending swarms of xenomorphs in the original Aliens versus Predator. We also played the ultimate in marathon gaming, Age of Empires 2 — the two of us versus the maximum number of AI opponents on the highest difficulty. Some of those games would last for over six hours, requiring multiple breaks for food, beverages, restrooms and the requisite strategy sessions. Of course, playing cooperative multiplayer with my beloved was a different experience altogether, especially when we would play the original Crusader Kings. There’s nothing like having this discussion with the woman you love:
Me: You know, my ruler’s son just came of age and he needs a wife. I see you have a good candidate in your court.
Her: You mean my ruler’s niece?
Me: Yeah. She’s kinda hot.
Her: What are you talking about, her character portrait is fugly.
Me: Sure, but look at her stewardship rating. And what guy wouldn’t drool over her huge tracks of land.
Her: Large tracks of land, eh? Do you mean…
Me: Yes, it’s what your thinking.
Her: Well, don’t get your hopes up. My ruler is about to change his inheritance law to Salic Primogeniture, so your son won’t be in line to inherit those huge tracks of land.
Me: Damn. That’s what your dad told me just the other day.
Her: What was that?
Me: Oh, nothing.
Of course, this is not to say that I do not enjoy CRPGS in cooperative multiplayer; I’ve played countless hours of Bioware’s original NWN and its expansions (not its lackluster sequel by Obsidian). But I’ve often wondered, if we leave aside all those disagreeable players who use the words “n00b” and “pwned” a billion times a game, how many of my fellow gamers play various RTS, grand strategy and FPS titles in a mostly cooperative mode? Am I really such a strange breed of gamer, aside from my numerous other quirks?
What do you think?