The Online Shooter Learning Curve Debate: How Late is Too Late?
Whether you’re a casual or a core gamer, at one point or another, we’ve all fallen victim to a good old-fashioned online ass kicking. And sometimes, it’s not because you’re unfamiliar with the genre, or unfamiliar with the control scheme. Sometimes, it just happens because you waited too long to buy it and/or play it. It’s the online shooter learning curve, and it’s a casual’s worst nightmare. However, even core online gamers fall victim to it.
Warhawk anyone? The 2007 online shooter was arguably the worst game that you could “jump into” anytime after its launch. Within a week of release, it was already too late (if you wanted to actually enjoy it that is). The game, which still has a rabid following to this day, expected players to pick up and master three very different modes of play (Air, Ground, and Vehicular Ground). Once you finally got your bearing with the ground combat, it was time to take to the skies and learn a completely different control scheme. The problem with that was as soon as you even learned how to take off, other players were already locking on your position and shooting you down. Anytime I even looked at a plane I would have flashbacks to Top Gun and in my mind all I would hear was Berlin’s 80’s ballad “Take My Breath Away,” and thought about Maverick and Goose chasing me all around the game’s god forsaken maps.
If you need to think of an online shooter in more recent times, you don’t need to look further than Modern Warfare 2. The game, which seemed to have inherited all the MLG “try-hards” from the Halo series, has one of the biggest learning curves to get used to. While I think that there’s nothing wrong with being competitive and even talking a little smack, when you see all of the self proclaimed “pros” running around while making the game un-enjoyable, it’s enough to keep players away.
Even the most seasoned FPS veterans have trouble adjusting to the game’s speed, lack of recoil, and lack of reality, ZING! That’s why they turn to tactics like using the grenade launcher attachment. And you know what? I don’t blame them; how else are they supposed to survive online?
So, while pros moan and grown in the game’s lobby, calling the weapon a “noob tube,” instead it should be referred to as the “pro pipe” as it’s really an amateur players only line of defense.
I have this one buddy who plays nothing but sports titles and Uncharted 2 online (which is also a shooter). When he tried to make the jump over to Modern Warfare 2 he described it as “being too frantic and all the other players being too demanding.” For him, it was constant yelling and screaming at him for not knowing what was going on.
Throughout the process, he brought up a great argument. He said “what’s the point of having these ranks and leveling up if I’m a level 8 and yet the game has me facing off with 70’s right from the start?” What kind of retarded game is this?” And you know what, he’s absolutely right.
It’s because of these broken ranked matchmaking systems that make these online shooters have too big of a learning curve. It’s because of these learning curves that certain players and (listen up developers) potential buyers stay clear from these titles. A month is an eternity in gamer years, and once you missed the boat you feel like you have to wait for the next one. I can easily think of about 5 high profile shooters that I never had the chance of enjoying because I didn’t want to jump in to late and get curb stomped all night. How many have you missed out on? Let’s hear it in the comments section!