The following started out life as a tweet, but then my thoughts on the matter ended up being a little larger than a simple tweet could cover. So it’s found its way into being an unscheduled, unplanned blog. As a result, I have clue how long or short this is going to end up being, so bare with me.
Out of nowhere, I delved back into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Multiplayer the other day. And was shocked to find myself really enjoying myself. Not to knock Call of Duty, I already highlighted the game in my best of 2019 list as being a very good video game. No, the thing that actually surprised me was just how much more I was enjoying it than I was the sessions of Apex Legends I played either side of it.
I have spend some good amount of time building up Apex Legends and how much I love the game these past few months, but after spending some time with Call of Duty, I had something of a revelation. That maybe I wasn’t quite enjoying myself as much as I thought I was.
As we are right now, me default approach to anything negative I read on Twitter is to disregard it as cry-babies being cry-babies. I’ve read so many trashy opinions and people copy/ pasting the same tired hashtags at everything they don’t like that I’ve come to subconsciously ignore then as soon as I realise what they are. Right now, I’m having a little bit of a personal crisis as I realise that maybe not all these people are buffoonish as I first suspected.
When it comes to Apex Legends specifically, there are two major complaints that people throw in the direction of its social media accounts. Almost always with so little originally to how they go about doing it that it becomes difficult to actually take in what they’re saying. It almost becomes white noise.
But if you slap your cheeks, wake up and actually read them you see #1: Make solo games permanent and #2: Remove skill based matchmaking. There is also some complaints about the map, but I’m still not prepared to give those people the time of day.
Now, having spend time time with Call of Duty these past few days, a game whose multiplayer is almost entirely a solo gamer’s affair, I found myself having much more fun and success ploughing through the fast paced, quick to die and quick to respawn of that game. Where as in Apex, I’m finding that I’m only really having one good game in every 10 or sometimes 15.
In Apex, I am as team focused as I can be at all times. But the number of games where people will drop out/lag out before we even drop, where they solo drop and/or run away from me and and the third with no indication they plan on doing so and just rush around with little or no regard for their team mates is almost always the reason games end with is placing in the bottom three. Everyone thinks they can 1v3 enemy squads and then get annoyed when their team mates who are halfway across the map don’t rush in to get themselves killed trying to revive them.
When I occasionally get a team that wants to stick together, ping loot and actually use the systems to let us know where they’re going and where the enemies are, I have a much better time. It just feels like other players are often ruining my experience of this game I, otherwise, really enjoy. Would adding a permanent solo mode increase my enjoyment of the game? Probably not, the team aspect of the game is what drew me into it, but the bad team mates is what’s ruining it for me.
It’s almost the exact same thing that ended up driving me away from Overwatch. I love the idea of these team based, role based video games, but once you get past the initial rush of their release you just end up with try-hards who want to do everything on their own and not play the game in the way it was intended to be played. It’s fine if you’re an amazing player who can do it all alone, but sadly the vast majority of us are not.
Then we come to the other issue of skill based matchmaking. This issue is one I’m less sure how to feel about. Playing Call of Duty, I have been having a ton of fun, simply because the game is still gauging my level of skill. Thus I had a handful of games in a row where I was the best performing player, eventually this will fade and I’ll find myself in the place I find myself with the vast majority of competitive shooters.
A position where the game finds my skill level and every game I play becomes a sweaty experience that I struggle to have any fun with. I play video games to wind down, and a lot of the time that means I’m playing them before or after long shifts at work. The last thing I want to do at these times is be wired and focused on the game like it was a life and death scenario. Thus I end up having a pretty torrid time.
That’s the place I’m at with Apex, that’s the place I was at in Overwatch before I stopped, that’s the place I’ll eventually find myself in if I keep playing more Call of Duty.
I think it’s the inevitable end point of the vast majority of first person shooters I play, in that the game eventually forces me into a position where I’m not enjoying myself anymore because I only want to play casually. One of the biggest reasons I have stuck with Destiny for so long is that I mostly avoid the competitive aspects of the game. It’s why I have zero excitement for the announcement of the return of Trials of Osiris.
Remembering how utterly terrible I was at them in the first Destiny, even with a (kinda) coordinated team.
I feel like the easiest solution for my problem with Apex would be to find some regular players who have the same casual, team focused approach that I do. Yet every time I’ve tried to reach out to people in game who seemed to be on my page, I have had no luck ever playing with them again. I feel like I’m doomed to play a game enough that I end up hating it because being bad at something just isn’t fun.
Am I saying I want to stomp in every game I play? Of course not, but right now the middle ground most games fall on end up being more effort than I want to put into the hour and a half I have to play before going and doing another 13 hours at work.