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Why the future of single player games should be offline
Posted on Wednesday, September 3 2014 @ 13:13:07 PST

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.


Why the future of single-player games should be offline.
 
Chances are, during the last few days you might have noticed some difficulty playing your online game of choice.

For myself, that game would be World of Warcraft. Battle net has been taking quite the beating from DDoS attacks. In fact, quite a few games or services were targeted in these attacks. PSN, LoL, and XBL were some others, just to name a few.

DDoS attacks in general are becoming quite problematic, growing in size and frequency year after year. It is the go to weapon of choice when it comes to causing trouble because: 1.) It is effective and 2.) You do not need to be a sophisticated hacker to do it. In fact, there are programs that will do it for you, while you sit back and hit a button and watch hundreds of thousands of gamers suddenly cut off from their entertainment.
 
This is bad enough as it is in regards to games that were designed to be played online. No raid tonight, someone blew up the servers. But what makes it even worse is that because of the steady intrusion of the “always online” ideology that some game companies are taking, that this is starting to effect our single player games as well.

Without any help from any DDoS attacks, there are countless examples of games being brought to their knees on launch day due to server instability, one of the most notorious belonging to SimCity, another single player game forced into an “always online” package.

Why is this done though? It’s certainly not done for the benefit of the player, that’s for sure. No, it is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at DRM which has been proven time and time again to do nothing but hurt regular gamers.

Another example is Diablo 3. From the very beginning Blizzard made it clear that that was going to be an online game, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I didn’t like or agree with that direction, but at least they were not trying to hide the fact, so I simply avoided the game for a good year. I chuckled to myself hearing about all the woes people were having trying to play the game because Blizzard’s servers could not handle the crush of people.

Then one day, the sale came. Now I’m in that same boat. I thought it wasn’t going to be that bad since the game was older, but I forgot that all of Blizzard’s major IPs (World of Warcraft, Diablo III, Starcraft II, and Hearthstone) are tied to their almighty Bnet. If that goes down, you ain’t playin nothin! Or conversely, say they just so happen to release a new patch for the game (like the most recent one) and you want to check it out. Except, a million other people were just thinking the same thing. And you suddenly find yourself in an hour-long queue just to gain entry to the server.

Listen, I just want to turn on the game and kill some demons for a little bit. It’s not asking for much.
This goes for all single-player games. I don’t want to sign in. I don’t want to check for updates, I don’t want to check for latest DLC. I don’t want to check the leaderboard. I just want to turn the game on and play.

There is nothing wrong with online play, in and of itself, but don’t make traditional single-player games revolve around the concept. It’s a crutch and when someone kicks that crutch out from under you and you fall flat on your face, you are left with a bunch of pissed off customers who paid you and want to know why you can’t keep your servers online. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Every single-player game needs and should still have an offline option. You’re just asking for trouble otherwise.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of GameRevolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article, posted earlier in August 27, has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan
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