In my humble experience as an online gamer, I have become puzzled as to why other developers dont learn from their competitors success' and failures. It seems as if every dev is disconnected from the next. For example, why dont FPS/Team games learn from Resistance Fall of man and incorporate that games terrific community support into their games. This led me to think about what exactly I have come to expect from FPS/Team/Clan based games.
1. Party/Lobby System-Every game that requires teamwork whould have a lobby/party system where you can invite people from your buddy list and just talk. Resistance is a great example of where that was an amazing success.
2. Chat support-this sounds obvious but alot of the newer games are going gold with very buggy chat support. What cant one segment of code that works for one game be distributed amongst all the developers so that they all have equally great chat support. UT3 and CoD4 are prime examples of where the chat support is lacking.
3. In-game and PSN buddy lists-Some people will disagree with me on this but I think having two separate buddy lists is a key feature that should be incorporated into every game. My rationale for this is such, when setting up clan battles or gbs it is important to have a person on the competing clan on your buddy list to coordinate the gb. Resistance is a great example fo where this worked. While I agree in a system also where you dont need to re-add you current PSN buddys to every game, I also think it is very important to have a separate in game buddy list. Maybe the two could be incorporated together so you could have both.
4. In-game message system-Warhawk is a prime example of a game that an in-game message system and/or a lobby system is in desperate need. I cant tell you how frustrating it is to be in a game where you cant communicate with someone unless either a, you are already in game with them or b, you have to sign off the game and send a one line message over PSN and hope they have they announcements turned on.
5. Dedicated Servers- Speaks for itself I feel. I am sure there are many of you that have joined a game where the lag was so bad the game was unplayable. While I think it is also neccessary to be able to host private, unranked games, all ranked games should be run through dedicated servers.....peroid.
6. Ranked game searches-In my opinion, all games whould have an auto search function (ie joins the first game that meets the criteria) and a selectable search function (ie lists all the game that meet the criteria and allows the user to select the one he/she desires). Warhawk is a great example of where this works to some extent. It has selectable ranked games but it does not have the auto search function. Along with the list of games and their descriptions, it should also have the host connection strength, even for dedicated servers.
7. Stat tracking- what gamer isnt interesed in their stats, their friends stats and the stats of the highest ranked person in the game. Every game shoud come equipped with stat tracking. THe level of stat tracking could be determined by the developer and the type of game but some form of stat tracking should be included.
8. Customization- whether it be weapons, characters, interface, etc., customization is a key feature that allows the individual gamer to have their own unque identity online.
To conclude, I feel that these features should become a standard among all team based games. That lack of one of these features can cause a great game to get a bad reputation that it shouldnt deserve. Let me know if you guys/girls think of anything else additional that you would like to include in thei template. I think it is fairly complete and would benefit everyone and not be too costly to the developers. Heck, maybe Sony and MS sould get together and distribute a packet that includes a standardized community support system that would be required to be implemented into every game.