With all the things to love about first person shooters, the multiplayer experience is almost always the defining factor. Ask any FPS gamer why they bought a game such as Battlefield 3, or Modern Warfare 3, and they will more often than not give you the same answer: “I bought it for the multiplayer.”
After playing first person shooters games, as well as watching them being played, I must confess in my humble opinion that the multiplayer aspect of first person shooters have gone downhill rapidly in recent years. We argue about which is better, Battlefield or Call of Duty, when the fact is that they are both another cookie cutter game cloned from the previous installment with just enough more fluff from the last one to lead gamers to believe it is “Bigger and Better.”
With all the potential to create the perfect online FPS multiplayer experience, why is there a growing lack of originality in the FPS gaming business? Why is there no class? Today I will provide you with what I believe to be the right formula for creating the paramount first person shooter in regards to multiplayer. The talent and potential is already in the industry, but it is in the application of it where the defining mixture of aspects has been lost.
Step 1: Back to Basics
Take a first person shooter such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, Killzone, or HALO and strip it bare. Take out all killstreaks, perks, custom classes, etc. Do this to the point where the game is raw, and the only things you have are the basics: a guy, a gun, and a map to play in.
Step 2: A Playing Field
Some of the best first person shooters to play online have the biggest and best maps. Give a game a variety of large maps; even if the game doesn’t have vehicles, players need room to breathe. Absolutely massive maps are the best for any shooter, with lots of places to go or hide. If people complain, throw in some relatively small maps to make them happy. The last thing, and I emphasize this, a player should possess the ability to enter or break into any building within the borders of the map. Developers, spend the extra time to do this please, it will be well worth it!
Step 3: Clear the Clutter
Another thing to do is to get rid of the Heads up Display. I do not want my screen cluttered with so many silly contraptions; I say again, get rid of it. You do not need crosshairs, that’s what the sights on your gun are for. In addition, no one should know exactly how many rounds he has at any given time. There should be the bare minimum when it comes to HUD. The very most that should be given in any serious first person shooter is the small and flat type of compass at the top of the screen showing cardinal directions, and maybe a given knowledge of how many grenades or magazines the player possesses, but nothing more please.
Step 4: Kill ‘Em All
Perhaps the most stressful aspect of any FPS shooter today is the excessive amount of effort needed to kill your enemy. Especially in any modern-day themed FPS, only one to three shots should be needed to send your enemy to the ground with a firearm, depending on the caliber, or whether or not they are a zombie. In addition, once they are on the ground they should stay there. Medics should not magically bring players back to life with one shock of the paddles. If men rose from the grave with such ease in reality, war would be a whole lot less terrible.
Step 5: Bells and Whistles
I personally would be happy with a game at this point, but if one must insist that there be killstreak rewards, ranking, perks, custom classes, and things of the sort, I would only agree to custom classes and ranking. Killstreak rewards might be okay, but perks have no place in an honest first person shooter. This is what disappointed me the most about the Modern Warfare series. Giving a player supernatural abilities and arguing that it “makes the game fair” is absurd. Taking the perks out entirely gets rid of the complications that they arouse, and makes the game more genuine and simple, especially if realism is your thing. The thing to remember regarding killstreak rewards, ranking, custom classes, and such in a game, is that to have a lack of them in the game is more often than not a better option than doing them wrong. For instance, do not insult my intelligence by telling me I can create my own loadout, the way I want it, and then tell me I can only have one attachment on my weapon at a time. I would rather just choose my weapons from a given list as a match starts.
To sum this all up, the basic thing to remember is that it is better to have a raw and simple first person shooter, than to put forth the false image of creating an immense FPS multiplayer game, when in reality it is all fluff that would be better had in not been put in the game in the first place. If you ask me, the perfect recipe for any FPS is big maps, and I mean BIG, easy killin’, no HUD, and clean, raw, gameplay, without the fluff that only captivates the hearts and minds of noobs, while the true hardcore gamers are left in the street gnashing their teeth.