Should games like Destiny be allowed to omit matchmaking?
Video games were originally produced as not only an entertainment source, but a way to make friends. A recent trend in games is forgetting the latter and forcing gamers to bring their own friends to the party.
Games such as Destiny are omitting matchmaking for their hardest, most prominent missions and single players can barely experience the entirety of the story unless they have five friends to do everything with. From Raids, to Trials of Osiris, let's take a look at how one of the world's best games fails to please.
I've been out of the Destiny droves for quite some time, focusing my efforts on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare for my YouTube channel.
I was an avid Destiny gamer before, however, and I certainly knew my way around the game. Upon my return, post-Taken King, I've realized a few differences, though most of them were easy to wrap my head around. Then, Iron Banner returned to the Tower.
Along with the announcement of Iron Banner came the tale of the Trials of Osiris, a game mode I've heard of, but never experienced. With the promise of challenging enemies and devastating rewards, my interest was officially piqued.
Today I maxed out my Iron Banner reputation and went in search of the Trials of Osiris game mode. I learned that Trials had been pushed back due to an exploit some gamers have been using in Crucible. No big deal. Then I saw it. Trials of Osiris disables teammate matchmaking, so players will have to form their own fireteams.
I happen to be one of those stereotypical gamers that plays alone. Between YouTube, GameSkinny, and any other outside interests, I can't find the time to band together five of my friends to play as a team. Brilliantly, I previously came to the conclusion that because Raids offer exceptionally good gear if players complete them in a fireteam, Trials would offer single players gear of the same quality.
Essentially, if Destiny players want to rank in the top percent of leaderboards, stand a chance against opposing players in the Crucible, or experience the entirety of the game, they must do so with five friends.
Gone are the days where players can relax and blow the heads off of enemies in peace. Instead, one must listen to the incessant rambling of fireteam members and work in unison to fight the real boss battles in games.
Think about it. In Destiny, players are forced to play with other people, just to get by. Standard strike modes offer matchmaking, generally finding some high-level player who runs through the entire match and kills everything without letting you get a word, or bullet, in edgewise. Crucible offers team player versus player games.
Story mode, the only mode possible without partners, is the most neglected mode in Destiny, taking mere hours to complete. That only scratches the surface.
Raids, the critically acclaimed, all-star game modes in Destiny are why many players buy the game, and debatably the largest reason for the game's success. Raids are only available to fireteams of six players. You can enter a Raid solo, but good luck entering even the first area! The entire puzzle aspect of any Raid requires all six members to be doing the right action at the right time. In short, solo gamers need not apply. Raids are where the real Destiny action comes out with epic boss battles, brain melting puzzles and blockbuster level design. Not to mention Raid gear. The only way to earn the best gear in the game is through these incredibly hard levels.
Trials of Osiris, Raids' player versus player brother-in-law, requires a fireteam of six members because, let's face it, if you show up alone, against six maximum level, best buddy enemies that are fully equipped with Raid gear, you're dead already.
Finally, Weekly Nightfall Strikes. Bested only by Raids, Nightfall Strikes offer incredibly challenging enemies, level modifiers that drastically change everything you know about the game and great rewards. Nightfalls are a bit better, requiring only two fireteam members to play, but the game still won't find those players for you, you'll have to bring your friends to the party.
Games like Destiny seriously need to have a warning on the front of the case that says, "Warning, if you don't have 5 friends, you won't be able to play this game," because without those fireteam members, players are missing out on the meat and potatoes: Raids, Trials, and Nightfalls. Story, Vanguard, and Crucible constitute the salad, and nobody only eats the salad. Even vegetarians have tofu.
The solution to this major problem is so simple: matchmaking! I'm single and ready to mingle, so let me. Find five other players that are roughly my level and let us complete the Raid together. I know what you're going to say. "But BlackTide, what happens if I join five people that don't know what they're doing?" Another simple solution, have a grading system and match players based on their Raid experience. Join four Raid experts with one Raid apprentice, and one newbie.
When matchmaking was first introduced to video games, it was all about making friends. "Matchmaking is going to be great. Players will meet strangers that enjoy the same game, become friends and play together." Is the matchmaking era over? No! Has every gamer in the world found at least five other players that they do everything with? No! What about the new players, people that only joined the ranks of gamers with the fresh consoles? What about the stereotypical gamer with zero friends?
Long story short, video games should never, ever, neglect matchmaking. There are always people out there who prefer to be a lone wolf. It's one hundred percent biased to allow people with friends to experience an entire game while solo players only get the basics. If video games can't find a way to bridge this gap, perhaps they shouldn't be released in the first place.