Monday, January 25, 2016

The State of Online Gaming Address

Just like the president giving the presidential "State of the Union" address I'm here to talk to my fellow gaming community supporters about a topic of interest. I'm here to talk about something that concerns us all. That topic of discussion being the state of online gaming. I know that some of you out there in vidya game land want to believe that the servers, and the netcode are our only problems in the competitive gaming scene. If we were to be honest about it, and look deeper though we'd realize that that's not the case. While netcode, and servers could use improvement it's the majority of players who are out to grief the online gaming populous who are mostly at fault for the poor conditions of the online offerings. The trolling is worse than it's ever been, and the cheating even more so. It's gotten to the point where these grief mongers are openly displaying such behaviors without repercussion, because no one is doing anything about the problem. The gaming community is passive about the situation as are game, and console moderators. They think if they ignore it, it'll just go away. The sad truth is that you can only ignore a problem for so long before it becomes so in-your-face that it's undeniable. I think it's best that we all work together to bring this problem into the view of the moderators before it gets to that point. Otherwise we'll be left playing a mess of a game that's not worth playing.

If you've been following gaming news Ubisoft recently stepped up to the plate regarding their latest FPS release to do what every online gaming developer should be doing. They have used the banhammer to put an end to cheating, and have banned players who cheat from their game. While I'm not a huge fan of Ubisoft, or their games I find their stance on cheating to be a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope. I have to commend them on their efforts to make the game enjoyable for the gamers who want to play it the way it was meant to be played. It's a rare thing these days to see developers who are willing to take such a stand, and Ubisoft definitely deserves praise for what they are doing.

When it comes to other developers studios like Netherrealm they feel that their best approach to win back their initial paying audience is to tweak the online netcode, and improve upon it. While this would be good for friendly online matches between friends it fails to address the lingering problem that is "You vs Randoms". If you've ever played "Mortal Kombat X" online against random players you'll be all too familiar with the cheating, and trolling nonsense that goes on 99.9% of the time. I've uploaded several matches, and have even done a one hour long MKX Twitch broadcast showing exactly what I'm talking about. The proof is there. What studios, and developers like Netherrealm need to understand is that not every gamer has the best intentions in mind when getting into the online portions of their game. They need to have in place a banning system like Ubisoft to combat the problem that is trolling, and cheating for players who would openly abuse the system. Simply adjusting the netcode, or changing it completely is only going to fix the problem for friendly online matches against friends. It's not going to help the players who go online to play against random players across the globe. The cheating, modding, and hacking is not going to be stopped with a better netcode. It just isn't.

As far as console moderators go it's a given, and a well known fact that they do not want to address the issues at hand either. Moderation requires a dedicated staff who understands what the hell is going on, and what needs to be done. This staffing in turn requires staff payment as any job would. A payment plan that console creators obviously don't care to invest in. Why do I make these bold claims against console creators, and moderators? Where are my facts? Well, my friends I have happened upon repeat offenders over, and over again on the PS4, and Xbox One. On top of that Sony's PSN grief system is so out of the way when it comes to ease of access that it's as if they don't want to bother hearing about your complaints. They have added an extra step to the grief reporting process on consoles, and have totally removed the website complaint form that was once there. The grief report options available on the Playstation consoles also do not include options for cheating reports, or trolling. It only includes beating around the bush bullsh*t that does not allow the gamer to properly report those who are abusing the PSN experience.

I'm personally not sure how Sony, Microsoft, or any other online console developer would deal with the problem that is modding, and I'm not going to claim that I have all the answers, but I sure as hell know that something must be done to figure out the problem for the sake of the gamers who care enough to actually pay for the games, and the service.

Another issue plaguing the quality of the online console experience has to do with the type of gamers console creators, and game developers are seeking out. I understand that these companies are a business at heart, and that businesses have to focus on money, but for them to seek out a community that is wholly destructive to the company's efforts is counter-productive. If you sh*t in the money pit that is your business long enough, and allow non-paying gamers to do the same it's gonna overflow with sh*t. Your company's name will reek of sh*t as will your products. No one in their right mind will pay for what you're pushing, nor will they care to recommend you to others. Believe it or not, but those casual thuglife yoloists who you go to bat for are more than likely downloading pirated copies of your games to their modded consoles. It's the legit gamer who wants a decent online experience who is paying for the sh*t you are shoveling. Stop catering to the anarchists, the yoloists, the thuglife wannabes, and the hackers with your avatars, and console themes. Stop offering that same bullsh*t in your games developers. Unless you are some sort of sadomasochists who like to see your potential profit bled from your sorry ass then stop! Seek out those who would actually pay to play on your consoles, and who would pay to play your games.

I'm gonna close in asking that the gaming community (the legit gaming community) speak up for yourselves. Don't bend over, and continue taking it up the ass. You can do several things to help fix the situation. You can stop paying for the services that do not offer the fun experience they claim to offer. You can stop paying day one prices for games where the online is a known trouble spot, and you can openly discuss the matter on social media, on forums, and with the console creators, and moderators that make the products you are interested in. Whatever you do though, don't be silent. Don't be passive, or passive-aggressive.

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