With the advent of games as a service, we’re playing our favourite games for longer than ever before. On the one hand, that’s great, yet on the other, it means we’re missing out all sorts of other experiences while we’re frantically logging in to check our shiny new pauldrons. When we do finally get around to seeing what else is out there, it can be a monumentally daunting task to tackle one of these other games that have spent years growing into fan favourites.
As I’ve probably written far too often, one of my biggest obsessions over the past two years has been Rainbow Six Siege. Even back during the beta, it could be a daunting proposition to play, not exactly helped by the fact tutorials in Siege are essentially non-existent. Quite how it feels two years later when the map and Operator count has doubled, and the skill level has increased exponentially, I shudder to think. If I rocked up to Siege as a newbie now, I’m pretty sure I’d bounce right off after suffering repeated 30-second blitzkriegs from attacking teams.
What really got me thinking about this though was a press release I got emailed about Blizzard’s Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft. I put a fair chunk of hours into this around launch and had a bit of fun, but any thought of going back to it for a casual game swiftly evaporated when I read the PR blurb. It was just full of nonsensical jargon that would absolutely terrify new players, yet I imagine those intimately familiar with it are loving the Hallow’s End event. Layer on the need for constant card packs to stay competitive, and just keeping up with Hearthstone is an expensive and difficult proposition. Going in blind though, you’re probably going to get the floor wiped with you.
Whilst moaning about games have longer-term support is an oddity, there is ultimately only so much time and energy we have, and delving into something immeasurably deep is an intimidating process. Having fallen off the Counter-Strike bandwagon long before CSGO launched, I look at it now and know too much time has passed for me to dare try my skills on Aztec.
This is the reason why I look at DOTA 2 and just wonder how the heck is it earning new players. If it is. I can’t imagine the number of people wanting to start it up for the first time is overly huge, particularly considering the wealth of experienced players out there, but somebody must be doing it I guess.
From my point of view, I either get on-board with an online game at launch, or I never get on at all. This does mean I churn through my fair share of duds though, burning through the likes of Ghost Recon Wildlands before realising it’s perhaps not the long-term experience I was looking for.
How do you feel about multiplayer games, are you prepared to wait and see whether an online community takes off before committing? Is starting a new multiplayer game deep into its lifespan too daunting? Let us know your thoughts!