The Tip.It Times

Issue 199gp

Co-op or Competitive?

Written by and edited by Tip.It

Ah yes, the argument as old as gaming itself: Co-operative multiplayer, or competitive multiplayer. I always thought it strange that these two methods of play were lumped together under the name “multiplayer” even though they are completely opposite from each other (killing an enemy or helping a friend). Surly neither can be said to be better than the other, or more important than the other, and this brings up another interesting point. How come most of us really prefer one style to the other? Personally, most of the gamers I have talked to either love co-op or they love competitive. Why can’t we love them both? Let’s take a look at players of both games types…

Jon’s palms are sweaty on the controller as he nervously walks down the dark hallway. Goldeneye is an old game but it’s his game and there is no way some freshmen in his dorm is going to beat him at his game, not today, not in Goldeneye, He glances at his ammo situation and thanks himself for going to get that AR-15, he’s going to need it. His eyes detect a flurry of movement at the corner of his screen and his hands leap into action, precisely turning and aiming the target. With reflexes and skills honed over ten years of playing he fires shot after shot with perfect accuracy. His human opponent, smarter and faster than any AI could ever hope to be, valiantly fights back with equally impressive skill and nearly takes out Jon with a grenade; Jon dodged it in a flash and returns the favor with a remote mine of his own that finishes the match. Jon stands up with an adrenaline rush and holds his controller high with a yell; he thanks his years of practice and triumphantly proclaims “HA! No one beats me at Goldeneye! No one!!”

Across the hall Matt and Ryan are in the middle of a Co-op campaign in another FPS game. Best friends since they were three, Matt and Ryan knew they could count on each other as they progress through the level. They both know Ryan is better at sneak attacks so he takes a side path for a secondary objective. Suddenly Ryan yells out in alarm, he was ambushed badly. Matt does a 180 and takes off as fast as he can, he changes to his best gun and screams “Hang on Ryan!!” Ryan runs in desperation towards Matt as he gets hit from all sides; Ryan knows there is no one better than Matt when it comes to crowd control. Matt jumps off a ledge and lands right next to his best friend, tossing him a better gun before opening fire on the oncoming horde. “Ryan, I’ll hold them off, RUN!!”. Ryan makes it about ten steps before stopping and turning around, he can’t leave his friend behind, and there’s no one better at dodging then Ryan. Together, back to back, they fight for each other and emerge from the jungle level victorious and together.

Naturally, first person shooting games are a great example to show the differences between the two styles of gameplay, and illustrate that they are both equally fun to play. So why does everyone take sides? If you think about it, almost all games have aspects of both types of multiplayer, including Runescape. Yet people usually focus on one element of multiplayer and ignore the other. Look at the groups on Runescape, some groups of RS call themselves clans and live in the wild, spending all their resources hunting down their human prey. Meanwhile, there are those others groups who instead of hunting humans spend their time working together to kill the KBD or Kalphite Queen. Is one group better than the other? No, but everyday PKers in MMORPGs and competitive players in FPS games will call the co-op players “sissies” that “aren’t good enough to fight other people”. At the same time people that prefer co-operative play think negatively about those that play to kill other players. If you don’t believe me look at the wild in Runescape. We have all seen the player in the wilderness saying “why are you attacking me, please stop!” and the attacker replies with a laugh and says the wilderness is for killing.

The whole co-op vs competitive preference draws a deep line inbetween gamers. This divide is based on something far greater than the simple “my console maker is better than yours” argument and this Editor finds it strange that this divide is settled relatively peacefully. Why do we all draw our swords when someone says they prefer a different company, yet when someone says they prefer a vastly different type of game (killing vs helping) we all get along? Think about that next time someone says World of Warcraft is better than Runescape. Can't you two instead agree that MMORPGs are better than first person shooting games? Or agree that computer games are better than console games? Human nature seems to make us want to argue at anything and everything, but it doesn't have to be that way. People can get along just fine even if they have different tastes. I think we all need to take a lesson from the competitive/co-op debate, which rages on, peacefully.

Did You Know...
... that if your barrows armour degrades to 0% while you have a full inventory, you will continue to wear it?

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