Bad vs Good Matchmaking


Hello again everyone.   Its been a busy summer for me, I have made sure to keep some time to play games and I figure its time for another “what I’ve been playing” update.    This time two games I’ve played approached a system in such strong opposite fashion that I’ve title my post around it.  Matchmaking.

Let’s start with the bad:  APB

I have spent maybe ten hours of playing APB most of that in action zones and I can see the fun.  Unfortunately the fun is hiding behind a terrible matchmaking system, and complete reliance on PVP for conflict.    The game has a great character creator, some amazing customization options, a pretty cool music system, and decent core mechanics.  I really believe Realtime Worlds would have had a much more successful game if they had done two things:

  1. Provide some PVE content.  Use this content to fill in the gaps between PVP, and to craft more elaborate missions.  The core GTA like mechanic is fun, but without story, context and character it feels shallow and repetitive.  More involvement of NPCs would go a long way to “selling” the world to me.
  2. Created a matchmaking system that actually made match-ups that were even close to fair.  When my friends and I all R15 get matched up against 3 people all +R150 something is Broken.  Worse is that when we kept getting matched up with those 3 people mission after mission.  BROKEN.  You are not encouraging new players to play your game, by matching them up with crazy high people.

    Find a way to expand your pool of people, pull people from one instance of a district into another,  use PVE enemies as opposition if there are no appropriate leveled humans.   Maybe even allow the match-up to happen, but “level scale” the teams to make them closer in power to one another.

Now for the Good. No the Great: Starcraft 2

This is a fantastic game.  A game that is not afraid to be what it is, a classic style RTS.  No bones about it if you play Multiplayer SC2 the game is all about build order, APM, counters, and all the other (scary to me) troupes of RTSs.   Yet Blizzard created a matchmaking system that WORKS.   Yes you will Lose,  but the system does work and after a few losses you will get matched up with players you could win against, and even players you do win against.

Even more so, they provided one of the best (if not the best) Single player Campaigns I have ever played in an RTS, along with achievements, challenges, unlocks, and pretty darn good A.I. opponent my friends and I struggle against.

Blizzard provided a the complete package of a game in the box, sure it was a $60 box but I already feel its 2x the game than many games on the market today.

Now on to other games I’ve been messing around with:

Eve Online

Account canceled again.  Simply the fear of other players and the shear enormity of all the human interconnection scared me away.  I would love to play a single player or better yet a co-op version of the game, but the full MMO where almost anyone could be an enemy  is not for me.

World of Warcraft

Yes, I am still playing.  Just very little now and then.  As much as I would love to do raids and play around with the “end game”  I could not bring myself to commit the time and attention to playing at that level.   So instead I’ve  been slowly working on leveling up my Rogue and maybe going back and leveling up some other characters.  Growing new characters is my favorite part of the game, and I want to experience as much of the old world as I can before the Cataclysm.

Of course if I had a Cataclysm beta key, I would be playing a whole lot more. *hint, hint*.

Bioshock 2

I bought this back during the July Steam holiday sale and have been slowing playing around with it.  Its a good game, exactly what one would expect, I guess, from a squeal.    Though nothing in it thus far surprises me and nothing stands out as memorable.  The first game, well outside from awful end fight, stood out for me as a triumph in FPS; memorable characters, environments, and gameplay.  This game, thus far, not as much,  but it’s been a solid experience and one that I will probably complete.

Angry Birds Iphone

This game.  *sigh* I bought it for my wife and I, and she loves it.  I like it and its great fun when all I have is my phone and a few minutes,  but oh boy am I terrible at it.   I recommend it for any iphone/ipad owner.

‘Till Next Time

That’s about it. I am sure there have been other games.  When I get the time I really need to go finish Red Dead Redemption, and Alan Wake, as well as several PS3 games.  Of course Dead Rising 2 and Civilization 5 are just around the corner so I’m not sure where I’m going to find time.

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