Submitted by Hitman0769 1965d ago | opinion piece

The Online Shooter Learning Curve Debate: How Late is Too Late?

Joel Taveras of DualShockers writes, "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. Why does this happen?" (Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Casual games, Halo 3, Industry, PC, PS3, PSP, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Warhawk, Wii, Xbox 360)

JoelT  +   1965d ago
There are so many shooters
out there than can get really punishing, really fast. Especially if you haven't been playing since the very beginning. Warhawk is a perfect example of this!
thevokillist  +   1965d ago
I have yet to play Warhawk, but MW2 gets real punishing, real quick when all I see are people camping, boosting, and/or noob tube.
eggbert  +   1965d ago
probably had the most difficult learning curbe i've ever experienced. I got it like 2 years later for $10 though.
evrfighter  +   1965d ago
Keeping up with your skills in cs spefically the ak pretty much means you'll top frag in all new shooters coming out even today.

It's punishing if not used right but godly even against awps if you really know how to use it.

I usually dm cs when i take a break or when a new fps comes out to ensure my domination.
kancerkid  +   1965d ago
Wow, I guess I must be good at games then. I got Battlefield bad Company 1 last year. And after playing it for a week or two I knew everything I needed to know and was doing perfectly fine. And I was only playing with the best people who had the game because I got it years after it launched

MW2 is hard to learn? I play that once in a while when my roommate needs to go to the bathroom and consistently come out on top in any mode. I don't like that game at all, by the way, but it is real easy.

I play BFBC2, but I have taken about 3 months off, and I can guarantee you I will be owning the battles up after one day of play.

Noobs are noobs
NegativeCreepWA  +   1965d ago
Warhawk was a fun game but had way too much auto-aim for my taste.
MmaFanQc  +   1965d ago
"Online Shooter Learning Curve"
with an image of MW2.......kinda funny because MW2 have an aim assist for noobs who think they are badass......
#1.3 (Edited 1965d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
Bobbykotickrulesz  +   1965d ago
I AM badass!

Wooo go me
ryhanon  +   1965d ago
I know I am not an exceptionally good FPS player. I know this because I've seen videos of great players and know I simply cannot compete. Depending on the game I'm playing, I get a good beating with no chance of success.

This is probably the biggest reason I personally have always preferred the Halo series to most other online shooters. They use the TrueSkill Matchmaking to try and match players with opponents of a similar skill level, thus keeping things relatively evenly balanced (I know more than Halo utilizes this, but it's a good example).

Despite my lack of skill playing FPS games, whenever I play Halo, or other TrueSkill games, I rarely *feel* like I am not very good. I almost always feel like it is a well balanced match, something I think makes the game more fun.

I suppose one could argue that it makes it harder for people to improve their game if they're never playing against people significantly better... but because it is less frustrating, I think these games have a better lasting appeal than they would otherwise have.
#1.4 (Edited 1965d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
scissor_runner  +   1964d ago
What is funny is you can become as good as them. The difference between the two is fear and practice.

I still play high skill based fps almost like a sport.

This is one thing the console gamers are missing out on. The game are so much better when you are trying to kill the best. Killing noobs is very boring.

This article just exsposes how casual the console fps players really are. You can not miss the boat on a game. Also the best games can not be beaten with guides. You will need to develop skill.

Good games require extra effort like practice. For some reason gamers lack this now.

Part of what makes a hardcore gamer is when they first get crushed by a game then when they master it a true hardcore gamers is created. If you've never went thur this then your sort of missing the point of hardcore gaming that makes it fun.

I mean seriously try quake 3 now it's like 10 years old and almost every player knows how to rocket jump and sight rail even in close quarters yet if you can get a good flag run you really do see what makes gaming so epic than any story you could read or watch in a game.

The same happens in most true hardcore games. If your not getting this from your console or pc games then you are being cheated.

Also this is where the so called hate for some games comes from. You are not given the tools to even have a hardcore game. Play with aim bots turned up is not the point
ryhanon  +   1964d ago
Yeah, for the most part I agree with you.

I know this isn't true for everyone, but I think that the amount of time and effort required to build up that level of skill is simply not feasible for many people given the already limited time we have to devote to a game.

About 15 or so years ago I had all the time I needed to play a game and get really good at it and I was absolutely the kind of gamer that cared enough to do so. Unfortunately, that's not a luxury I have any longer and, unless I find myself a sugar-momma willing to fund my video game addiction, I'll likely never find myself with that kind of time again.

Many gamers these days, like myself, are getting older and just don't have the time we once had to master these games. So for us, it's a nice thing that we can just hop in and have fun without having to put in the requisite hours of practice to get really good. If that means I have to play with a little aim-assist or a matchmaking system that matches me with people at a similar skill level (even if they're "noobs" remember that they're a similar skill level as myself, so it's not really "noob killing"), then that's fine by me.

Does that make me a "casual gamer"? Eh, I'm not sure. I never much cared for the two labels, but I like to think I live somewhere between "casual" and "hardcore"... "softcore"?

heh, I dunno.
scissor_runner  +   1963d ago
I guess your casual core yet the other will not admit it and carry on like fanboys. Try playing some quake wars I think it's dirt cheap now too. You can just run people over lol great fun unless they shoot you with a tank also great fun.

I can spot and kill 3 snipers pretty quick or just transport players where we need them. It's a great game not to much on consoles can touch it. It got a port but it's not really the same so much was missing.
ZombieNinjaPanda  +   1965d ago
Warhawk, if you haven't been playing from the beginning, you are at the most severe disadvantage ever.

I started from the beginning then took a a break, jumped back on and people were flying circles around me.
Hitman0769  +   1965d ago

It was the most difficult I ever experienced in a shooter (EVE Online for MMO) and I picked it up in October after its summer release.

You are a soldier for trooping on though, how do you like it now?
taz8080  +   1965d ago
Playing launch day and learning strategies and the maps can mean the difference between having a good time and having a miserable time. After a few weeks in a game like CoD all the camping spots, explolits, strategies have already been figured out and a new player could be overwhelmed very quickly.
thevokillist  +   1965d ago
I agree with you. And you are able to correctly assume that someone will always be in that spot. After a while, people will stop using those camping spots...
Ninferno  +   1965d ago
this is all very very true. thats why i would never touch a game like counter strike.
Hitman0769  +   1965d ago
This is a very common problem and can also mean the difference between people trying out new games and just hating it the first time they pick it up and not giving it a chance. Games like Warhawk suffer from this immensely. Many people would like to buy these games but already know from trying them out that they have "missed the boat" and it's a shame. In the rare case that they do buy a game very late they wonder why they even bothered and fail to master the title. Many attempted solutions to these problems such as minimum and maximum rank limited servers and existing ranking systems do not work as Joel has pointed out here and really it all boils down to game design lacking in compassion for the beginner or novice of said franchise in place of a focus on the needs of those who will master it during the launch window.
booni3  +   1965d ago
this is a really good topic, ive thought about this one. its even worrysome when you first start a game, like BFBC2, and you see all the players running around doing things and you arent sure what the objective is. i think the problem is that the devs see the saturation of the shooter genre and figure that after all these halos and call of dutys that everyone should know how to play a shooter by now. they do little to cater to the newer, or casual crowds.
BeaArthur  +   1965d ago
Yeah but if you play online games on a regular basis you should be well versed enough to compete without knowing exactly what is going on. Some games do have a steep learning curve though. I tried the War for Cybertron demo a week after it had been out and I just got destroyed the first few matches until I got the hang of it, but those first few were annoying as sh!t.
Unicron  +   1965d ago
Isn't it uniquely fun though once you get into it? I too got slaughtered until I got into the groove. Every game has its own style and pacing, you just need to hang with it.
BeaArthur  +   1965d ago
Oh yeah, now I love it. I was just using that as an example. Level 23 scout.
ChronoJoe  +   1965d ago
I gotta say I fit right into war for cybertron.

KDR is up @ 4:1 on the PS3 version. I'm not as good with a warrior or leader though. They're good but they don't have the flexibility of Scout/Scientist, and not as good for solo play.

Warhawk is a game I just can't grasp. It has auto-aim on everything and idk what I'm really supposed to do. I fire rockets, they don't die. They fire rockets, I do...

I got the hang of dodging rockets after a while but still what good is that when they dodge my rockets 100% of the time, I still can't kill anyone. (that's a lie, I can. Just not as much as they kill me).

KDR on MW2 3.5... KDR on transformers 3.8...KDR on Warhawk, 0.7? HOW CAN IT BE SO DIFFERENT/HARD. Arggggggggggggggggggggg.

Battlefield games throw me off a bit too. My KDR on those is like 2.0-3.0. But I find myself having to try a lot harder. On transformers/cod, I just run around, on Battlefield I feel a little campy with some of my tactics e_e
raztad  +   1965d ago
The best way is to match the rounds. Noobs with noobs, veterans with veterans. KZ2 does a nice job. It would be extremely frustrating to go and play against Colonels and generals in KZ2. You dont stand a fuking chance.
BeaArthur  +   1965d ago
This is the exact reason that I buy games that I know I am going to play online day 1. I'm always worried it will ruin the experience if I wait two months and then get it, only to have my ass handed to me so many times that I don't give the game a fair shot because I am pissed off at it.
dizzleK  +   1965d ago
if you didn't get in the beta for the game you may as well forget it. even in betas theres people who put waaaay too much time in.
trounbyfire  +   1965d ago
KZ2 will murder you if you don't play often
trust me its hard
theonlylolking  +   1965d ago
That is why so many people dont like the online and they just cant explain why other than saying"its too hard".
evrfighter  +   1965d ago
I've only played kz2 twice online. First time I went 20-12 second time I went 43-20 ish . The aim assist while unscoped made it felt like I was cheating. Wish there was a console where aim assist is turned off for everyone.
JumpNPlayBon  +   1965d ago
All said and very well true in most cases. I've never really been into the shooters that took place during WW1 or WW2 so I missed out on a lot of shooters. It wasn't until COD4 had been out for years that I even knew it was a different era. I just never paid attention to anything that said COD because of the era in which it took place.

Needless to say when I finally picked it up I got my ass handed to me quite regular. Same with MW2. But the key is to take your licks and stick with it and you will get better. At least this works for me. I'm a gamer so I love a challenge. I also have the luxury of being able to game for as long as I want, everyday and any day, so the curve is not that hard for me.

Though I do wish these devs would do a better job with matchmaking. There is no way a level 8 should be thrown into a match with a level 70. That just makes it hard and not very fun for casuals or new players. COD is a guilty of this in a huge way. There should at least be an option to play with similar levels..
bashesh  +   1965d ago
I think BFBC2 stands out on this one. Its well balanced where nobody has a super-powered weapon so new players don't feel outgunned. Plus squad system makes sure that you have got somebody experienced to watch your back.
theonlylolking  +   1965d ago
He speaks the truth and his friend.
Unicron  +   1965d ago
Trying to get back into Warhawk, my team was spawn camped hard... I wish I hung with it, cuz it's a fun game, but damn, that turned me off fast.
Hitman0769  +   1965d ago
You should try not to let one bad experience get in the way of your enjoyment of a game. Easier said then done in a game like Warhawk though where people tend to stick to the planes after they are very good at it and simply destroy everyone and everything.
Unicron  +   1965d ago
It's mostly a time issue now, sadly.
dinkeldinkse  +   1965d ago
Leave the server
That shit happens to everyone and it doesn't matter how good you are at warhawk. If the other team is better than yours or just simply outnumber your team then you are fucked. Unless of course both teams suck really bad then the elite players just slaughter people. I love slaughtering people in warhawk.
dillydadally  +   1965d ago
I had this exact problem with Shadowrun. I bought the game, super excited because the price had gone down and I had always wanted to try it. I played the tutorial, hopped in a map, and... got owned by the first guy I saw. Rinse. Repeat. However, the REAL problem is the community itself. I was getting yelled at by my own teammates for not knowing what to do. How do they expect me to know what to do?!? Am I supposed to know the maps and the strategies without ever having played? So after being called a myraid of names by my own team I put the game down and never played again. Congratulations to them, they just killed any future growth of their community.
Taran  +   1965d ago
Alot of times I pick up these kinds of games late knowing full well that it will be rough, but the challenge of catching up is what does it for me. I enjoy getting my tail kicked by someone just to return later and issue double the beating back.
Spenok  +   1965d ago
Simply put, never. Its never to late to jump into an "online" game (note, not just shooter) and be so far behind its just impossible to catch up in skill or with ingame items/bonuses. All you have to do is stick to it, and you will eventually learn/catch up.
blodulv  +   1965d ago
I'm generally always behind as I complete the single player campaign before hopping online. That goes for any game that has a decent campaign I mean (i.e. not Left 4 Dead).

I get my ass handed to me the first couple of hours and then I start to get the hang of things and find my groove.

It's all about perseverance and being able to withstand a few good quick beat downs before hanging in there and doing some damage.
NBT91  +   1965d ago
Personaly, I don't think MW2 is a good example on the basis of being hard for new players, I have put considerable time into it and it seems to me that I do good fairly often but there will be times when I suck at it. No shooters are really that hard to get into, just aim and shoot (or in MW2's case, just shoot). One recent example I can think of, Split/Second (Racer), it forces you to only use cars you have unlocked in the single player campaign, so for new players who jump straight into the online.., You have lost before the races has begun, and that sucks. (BAD Game btw, incase anyone was wondering, the Demo is better than the rest of the game has to offer)
Father Murder X  +   1965d ago
I can agree
I bought Modern warfare for the 360 and played campaign and waited before I went online got slaughtered and have been getting slaughtered in every call of duty since than.Guess why I never liked the series since COD 4.

I stop playing Warhawk for a few months and when I got back I was garbage. Haven't touched it in a year.

With BBC2 and Halo 3 i went online immediately. hell I didn't beat the campaign on Halo 3 until last year and I got the game on launch. Haven't touched the campaign on Bad Company 2 yet.

I bought Socom:Confrontation for the PS3 and found out that I was playing with vets who got the game at launch. Totally took the fun out of the game. It gets frustrating as hell.

Now All Pro 2k8 has got the be the most hardcore guys online for any console game. If you are recently buying that game (for 5 bucks) you shouldn't even waste your time online. Those guys are hardcore as hell. maybe the most underrated game this generation.
#18 (Edited 1965d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
NarooN  +   1965d ago
horse feces.
It doesn't matter how late you come into a game, it matters how much you *want* to get good at it. I remember how I got ass-raped when I first started Counter-Strike in 2005. Now I can do those badass 180-degree AK headshots and quickscopes just like everyone else. You just gotta keep playing. No one picks up the controller or keyboard and just rapes from day one unless they're an FPS veteran like me.
DuneBuggy  +   1965d ago
LoL good post. I understand where the article is coming from as far as being more "fair"...But life isnt fair, why should online play be any different concerning peoples skill level? Sure you can try to level a playing field to a extent like controlling cheating etc...But peoples skills or ability to memorize the maps?
Somebody has bought that same game as you and from day one and does nothing but eat,sleep,chug Red Bulls, and play it.
And your at odds with that no matter what.
scissor_runner  +   1964d ago
Spoken like a true hardcore gamer. Hardcore means you don't stop. You play to beat the best.

Another problem is the single player mode doesn't really create skilled highend players. Console players are shelter from skill based situations way too much.

Just look at how Many people believe playing with noobs of your level helps. If this was so you wouldn't be doing 180 headshots because it's possible you'll never see such a thing playing with noobs.

The whole match making thing should actualy throw you at the best player you can find. Many of these games on console are boring because they are slowed down. To understand what I'm saying play any fps that runs 60+ frames easy and notice how it's so much harder to hit people.

Seriously play quake 3 on the week end when we all get off work. It's full of people in the industry lol. Or try quake wars.

I think teams have gotten so good they don't use mics any more.
NarooN  +   1964d ago
Another example of Unreal Tournament 3 on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Epic Games stated they slowed the gameplay down to account for the fact that many people who would buy it on these consoles wouldn't be able to aim or keep up at the default speeds. I bought the PS3 version and forced all my friends to play in my server with the SpeedFreak mutator (it speeds the game up to normal PC speed) and some left while others stayed and adapted. Great fun. I enjoy the PS3 version since not only is it one of the few (if not the ONLY) games for the PS3 with keyboard and mouse support, and it even has full mod support with a dedicated mod-browser built right in.

I used to play Killzone 1 online on the PS2 for four years, and that game was 100% skill-based. Guerilla received so many complaints about how "hard" the game was that they made KZ2 really casual-friendly, a reason why I stopped playing it after I got my Top 1% in the World trophy. KZ1 was about aim, map control, teamwork, and awareness, much like Quake, Unreal Tournament, or CS. It was amazing getting good at that game.

I used to play against bots on KZ1 but only to practice with the beastly sniper rifle they had. As a matter of fact, I think that's the only real way to get better with bots, is to improve your aim. When it comes down to teamwork or tactics, you won't get anywhere only playing bots. The reason I love competitive gaming is because humans are usually unpredictable, and that challenge - the one that forces me to stay on my toes at times, is what keeps me coming back for more.
Xfanboy  +   1965d ago
Tf2 is a respawn fest!!!
dinkeldinkse  +   1965d ago
Man, there is too many babies
Your supposed to get your ass kicked online when you first start playing a particular game online. That is suppose to be your motivation to keep playing. Other players kick your ass and then you get good at it and kick the shit out of them.
Dazel  +   1965d ago
Rainbow six three on the old xbox
was a bitch to jump into late but i stuck with it and i'm still here 6 yrs later ;op
caca94   1965d ago | Spam
rumplstilts  +   1964d ago
Excellent article that sparks excellent discussion. Pretty much the best thing I have seen on N4G all week. Seriously I can't see any trolling yet here. I am proud.
Nugundam0079  +   1964d ago
Homegamer  +   1964d ago
its not really how early you get into the game its just how good you can adapt to a game cause you could be awesome at one game online and then suck at another becuase you haven't played it before its really not how early or late you get into its just that can you adapt to the gameplay and learn all of its secrets? thats the secret to being the best online cause I never played modern warfare 2 until a friend brought it over and I played on his level 45 acount that was on prestige and I kicked the games @$$ after learning the controls and getting used to the gameplay
kesvalk  +   1964d ago
shooters are not the worst offenders, try playing League of Legends or DOTA, until you have mastered the builds, items contruction and the advanced strategy of the game, you will not even have a chance of winning...

monster hunter have a very steep learning curve as well, in fact, before playing online is advised to play the entire offline game, just to get a grasp of things to come... is a little absurd in fact... but it's a blast to play after you get better and start making advenced strategies with your teamates...

i think that, except for MMOs, you will get ass kicked in the start in every game you play...

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