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Anyone else feel like esports and twitch are ruining multiplayer FPS games?

Gamingtodaynews1f - Anyone else feel like esports and twitch are ruining multiplayer FPS games?
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Including my TLDR from the bottom at the top for those who dont want to read the whole thing.

TLDR: Games these days, especially multiplayer FPS games, seem to be designed more for the most toxic, sweaty try hard player base, and people like twitch streamers and professional esports players, and many design choices tend to reflect that in modern games. This makes many modern multiplayer shooters much less accessible and fun to play for more average games than games have in the past. And sadly, these guys tend to dominate discussions and chase out casual players over time. Gaming these days seems to be treated more as a professional career/job, than a hobby and games seem designed for that crowd and less for more casual gamers.

So before I begin this is legit not trying to be a run of the mill banned "multiplayer games make me angry" topic. It's more a criticism of the recent direction I feel multiplayer FPS games have gone in, in recent years, and how I kind of believe that they've been getting "too hardcore" for the average player if that makes sense. I feel like most more recent games are getting harder than most games have been for the most part in the past (exceptions exist and I'll get into them), and that a lot of it has to do with stuff like twitch, esports, and that culture. And I feel like as a more casual FPS player I'm being crowded out of games.

That said, to start:

I've been playing online multiplayer games a long time, since about 2005 in general, and 2010 on a more "full time" basis if that makes sense (meaning i have the gear to play new titles, whereas before i was limited to low requirement f2p games). I play on PC. I never saw the point in paying for like xbox live so i never did, especially when PC did it for free. I started out playing games like quake 3 and f2p games like soldier front and combat arms, and eventually moved to stuff like COD, battlefield, TF2 when I had the hardware to do so.

While I don't play every FPS game out there, I've played a lot of them, and I have opinions on what works and what doesn't. I've generally always avoided hyper competitive games though. You know, stuff like counter strike. I used to play a lot of arena shooters in my low requirements days and always lacked the precision to play those games super well. IN part because of reflexes, in part because of not having the right gear, ie, stable framerates, bad mice, etc. And ultimately, I didn't find them very fun. Like I remember playing counter strike the first time after spending several months before this playing combat arms and I was like "this is IT?! feels worse than the f2p games I played". And it did. THe mechanics felt antiquated, like something that was 10 years old (because it was at that point, this was in 2008), and the community seemed very….blinded by nostalgia. Everything was that these artificially difficult mechanics were good, it meant you had "skill", if you didnt like them that mean you sucked, blah blah blah. I felt like the community seemed very…insular and toxic if that makes sense. Like stuck in the past, and had this "if you dont wanna spend 400 hours playing dust 2 to git gud, you just suck" mentality. Like, no, I DONT wanna do that. I dont enjoy getting my *** kicked by people who play the game 12 hours a day for years on end in a game with seemingly artificially difficult and counter intuitive mechanics when I can play a more casual title with people my own skill level and more enjoyable mechanics.

Why do I bring this experience up? Because I feel like much of modern FPS gaming is turning into this. And I feel like a lot of it is because everything has to be an esport, and everything has to appeal to the super competitive twitch crowd and people like shroud and dr disrespect and summit1g, etc.

Like, for years after the CS incident, i found tons of games I enjoyed. I mostly played stuff like COD, battlefield, as well as stuff like planetside 2. SOme games were harder than others, and I did get wrecked in some of them, but I generally found them enjoyable enough to keep playing. Contrary to my above opinion im not necessarily totally against hard games. I just hate games feeling artificially hard by design to appeal to a bunch of sweaty tryhards who feel like they have to get their meaning in life pub stomping more casual players online. I hated the artificial difficulty and of CS and toxic try hard mentality, for reference, not the fact that it was hard in and of itself.

I'd say I first started noticing a trend toward this more toxic hardcore mentality in gaming as a whole with the release of PUBG. I was skeptical to get the game, for reference. I generally dont do good with tactical shooters like arma and while the idea of battle royale really spoke to me, I wasnt sure if I'd like it. But some friends got me into it, so I bought it and tried it and was hooked. And I ended up watching tons of streams of it online. And I felt like it was fun. But then something happened, I noticed most players were using the M16 on twitch. It was apparently really good, even over powered. So they nerfed it and increased the recoil a bit. Okay, cool. Not viable any more, got it. Now to use the M416, and that was dominant, but other than that, I felt like the meta was in a good place.

But the hardcore competitive community didn't think the same. "ItS oVeRpOwErEd" they said, while demonstrating that they could spray people at 50-100m away with it. I tried to do this myself, I never could. Because you literally needed to be a god tier player to do that. Maybe it was a bit more powerful, but just nerf the damage or something a bit and it should work.

But no, the hardcore competitive community got the developers to COMPLETELY redesign the weapon balance in radical ways. And they ended up making ALL the guns WAY harder to use. Like borderline uncontrollable to me. It was ridiculous. I ended up getting frustrated and lost interest in the game soon after. After investing 400 hours in the game under the old meta. I wasnt about to relearn the game from scratch.

I took to the forums and complained about the changes. And those werent the only changes to the meta that were happening that were alienating me. A lot of the community also wanted faster circles that led to less predictable player movement. I tried sanhok in beta and HATED it. Because the circles were always moving, everyone was always moving, but again, the hardcore players wanted, it, because "skill". They wanted the game to rely less on tactical positioning and playing the circle, and more on shooty shooty, so they forced everyone to constantly be moving, so that more engagements would come down to who had better CS Pr0 g4m3r aim rather than, you know, strategy. Like the way I learned pubg, it was shooting yes, but a lot of it was strategy. A lot of it was positioning, playing the circle, etc. You couldnt do that any more. Because the community didnt want a slow game based on strategy, but a fast shooty shooty like it's COD…but with terrible mechanics for a game like that.

Of course, I complained. But i would be met with stuff like GIT GUD SCRUB and of course, IF YOU THINK THIS IS HARD YOU SHOULD PLAY COUNTER STRIKE I HAVE 2000 HOURS IN THAT YOU DONT KNOW WHAT SKILL IS. And of course, it all made sense. Because people like shroud and other twitch people, who were counter strike pros, were into the game, and dropped school all the time, and ran around shooting like rambo with their mad counter strike skills, the entire game's meta shifted in that direction. And a game that I previously enjoyed, became far less enjoyable to me as the meta shifted. The guns became too hard to use, and every strategy I learned to position myself early on was changed, because those strategies were looked down upon, the entire game had to be about a bunch of CS twitch g4m3r pr0s running around and using their mad counter strike skills to shred everyone else.

Like Im gonna be honest, let's talk about averages. You know how KDR works right? It's how many kills and deaths you have. Theoretically, the average KDR is roughly 1. And in most games, I normally get around 0.8-1 these days. So slightly below average, but in the average range. When you watch people like shroud, and viss, and summit, you're talking people who get like 5-10 kills most matches. Their KDRs are insane. Like if you have say, a 5 KDR which wasnt far off the mark for the high level streamer players, about how many standard deviations from the norm do you think that is, assuming a standard bell curve distribution of KDRs? My point exactly.

The fact is, these are not average players. These are way above average players. The top 0.01%. But for some reason, the entire meta shifted around them and everyone else who thought like them. I made these points before on forums, because everyone i came across on r/pubattlegrounds seemed to be like 2.5 KDR, 3 KDR, 4 KDR, which are also way above average. But here's the thing, if you drop, get 50th place, and 1 kill, congrats, you're average. Your average player should only win 1% of the time. Yet the people on forums demanding these changes are people who win like 15-20% of the time. Think about it, they come in first place, 15-20% of the time. In a match with 100 players. They have KDRs well above 2, and are basically pro gamers. But they're the ones telling the devs that the circles are too slow, that we need more recoil to the guns. It aint the average dude. I dont think the average dude goes to forums.

Now, the common response I've heard to that is the above average player knows the game better than everyone else. And that's true. But their suggestions also are only applicable to them. Like, I dont think the average player thought the recoil on the original guns was too low. I dont think the average player thought the circles were bad. Heck when they tried changing the circles to a sanhok style circle movement, they saw a HUGE drop in player retention soon after and quickly reversed it.

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And since, pubg has kinda declined. We could point to tons of reasons why, but anecdotally, with me, it was these changes. The hardcore community took over the game, demanded all of these meta changes, and got them. And in my experience it ruined the game for me, made it virtually unplayable, and i just lost any fun i originally had on it. Luckily for me there was pubg mobile, which was a lot more casual friendly and i stuck with until being replaced by COD mobile for me on mobile, and other games like apex and warzone on PC, but yeah. I kinda felt like i was pushed out of pubg by this.

Now, as you can tell by the title, I'm not here to just talk pubg, or counter strike. This isnt intended to be a "multiplayer games make me angry" topic. It's most games these days actually.

Another good example is actually overwatch. Now, I LOVE class based cartoony shooters. I loved team fortress 2 back in the day, and I loved overwatch at launch. I played the crap out of both over time. But I feel like that overwatch was more directly tarnished by esports for me. You see, while im just running around as soldier 76, or riding a cart as bastion and killing stuff, the competitive community is doing what the competitive community does best. Try hard, sweat, and then complain about everything. I avoided competitive playlists for a reason. I dont want that pressure on me. I just wanna play the game, casually, for fun. I like winning and getting kills, but competitive makes people take these games WAY too seriously.

But over time the competitive crowd got the meta changed. Mostly it was small fixes, no big deal. Standard balance crap. But one topic that kept coming up was team composition. I dont know too much of the details as i always just screwed around in pubs and people just played whatever. Dont have a medic? Well, sucks to be us, maybe next round. But the competitive players obviously would try to find the best team composition possible. THey'd play mercy, and then have like 3-4 tanks, and then some DPS players, or something like that. And the competitive players said "hey this is hard to predict how to play against". So they wanted more predictability to the game. And you know what? Blizzard listened. And now we got the role queue.

The role queue, for those who dont know, limits a 6v6 match to being 2-2-2 class wise. Every game is played like this. Youll have exactly 2 DPS, 2 tanks, 2 healers. You choose what you wanna be before the match and you're forced to play that role all match. Makes the game simpler and more predictable. But they didnt just role this out for the esports crowd, casual players ALSO had to suffer with this. Because all those sweaty players dont just want their precious competitive rules to apply to competitive, because they too like to sometimes play casual and dunk on the scrubs, the casual playlists ALSO got stuck with this.

And the results are less than spectacular. It appears that, in a first person shooter game, most people like to SHOOT THINGS. And if you want to play a DPS player and SHOOT things, well guess what? You literally giot queue times of 6 minutes. It used to be that you could join a game, any game, in less than a minute. But if you're a DPS player who wants to play pharah or soldier 76 or junkrat, have fun waiting extremely long periods of time because the amount of players who actually wanna do this are the majority of the player base. Meanwhile healers can get in games easily because psh, no one actually WANTS to be a healer. Well, some do, but it's a minority. But when you FORCE people to an exact 33/33/33% team composition and in reality the player base is like, 60%/30%/10%, thats a problem. Of course there is a mode hidden in the "arcade" section of the game to play the old way, but i get the impression most people are just gonna hit "quck play" rather than dig for that specific version of the game.

Now, we could instead debate "is it fun to be a healer in a shooter?", and we might conclude that for most people, the answer is no. Of course, I dont think, in casual matches, it's that big of a deal. Before role queue, most matches were roughly 3 DPS, 2 tank, 1 healer in casual. SOmetimes we'd have no healer. SOmetimes we'd have 2 DPS and 3 tanks. It varied. And it worked out fine. Maybe the competitive players wanted predictability but i had no issues switching between at least tank and DPS as needed. I just hated playing healer in particular, because in an fps game i wanna shoot things, weird I know.

But yeah. It fits into the general theme I'm trying to portray. In order to make the game better for the sweaty try hard 1%, and all of those sweaty esports folks, everyone else has to suffer and deal with a worse, less fun version of the game as a result. And that's the thing. Gaming used to be about FUN. If you take anything from my post to demonstrate it's not a whiny "FPS games make me angry topic", take this from it. Gaming is meant to be fun. It's a hobby. That's what turned me off from counter strike. Those people dont seem to have fun. They treat the game like a job, grinding copious amounts of hours to build up skills to dominate others who dont care about it that much. And that culture alienated me. I'd rather jump in and shoot things. Not worry about being some gaming ubermensch who spends 12 hours a day repetitively playing the same game over and over so that over the course of months and years i can dunk on people who logged in for the first time. But I feel like this is an example of two games that went in a bad direction, simply because they appealed to those people, rather than the more casual "just for fun" base. ANd both games are significantly less fun as a result.

But it's not just overwatch and pubg. Even more mainstream games are being infected with this mindset. Battlefield 5. They greatly increased the recoil of guns from previous games like BF4 and BF1. I cant use half the guns in the game effectively at all, and im stuck using the same handful of low recoil/lowish DPS guns to get kills. Then I go back to older battlefield games and the weapons feel like lasers in comparison.

Even COD mobile feels hardcore. It's pandering hard to the mobile esports crowd, which youd think is an oxymoron but apparently not. The game is full of sweaty people who use like 4 fingers to control their character so they can run, jump, shoot, and slide all at the same time, and here I am getting destroyed because i dare hold my device like a controller, using 2 fingers, and trying NOT to give myself early onset arthritis and carpal tunnel by holding my device in an awkward way to get kills.

Idk, I mean, the more I look at gaming, and modern games of the past 5 years, relative to games from even as recently as 5-7 years ago, but sometimes as old as 10-15 years, I just feel like gaming these days is trending too much toward these hardcore players. Everything has to appeal to the twitch streamers, the esports players, the people who spend 12 hours a day playing games and that's their life. It's actually pushing more casual players like me out of a lot of games. Because I have no desire to keep up with people who want to expend monumentally more effort into games, who play games more for dominating others than for fun, and who just wanna treat gaming as a hobby, not as a freaking full time job.

I think thats the big problem. Gaming these days is being treated almost like a career, and games are now being designed around these career type gamers. The twitch streamers, the esports games. But in order for them to draw these people, they need to have extremely high "skill ceilings", which often translates them to being difficult to play for more "average" players. They need to be balanced just right, even if these balancing choices make the games less fun for people overall. I feel like most games in the past, I wont say all of them, but most of them, used to be designed for the more average person to have FUN in. You jump on for an hour with the crew, play a few rounds, log off, go about your life. Gaming was seen as a leisure activity. Not this super sweaty try hard career thing full of professionals who compete in televised tournaments, and twitch streamers who get millions of views simply because they play games AND are really good at them.

But gaming also has this huge cultural problem. It's toxicity. Opinions like mine, in most subs, are downvoted. Like, if you dare suggest "yeah games are too hard" or "this isnt fun", because most gamers who hang out on subs dedicated to that game tend to trend to the hardcore, you'll face extreme toxicity for expressing such opinions, being told you suck, to uninstall the game, git gud, and how they spent like 2000 hours playing counter strike before this game and how it's not even hard compared to that. It's not socially acceptable to say "yeah, i want games to be a bit more easy and accessible to the average user". Nah, it's just this huge circlejerk of how great people are and how skilled they are and how everyone else should be like them. When, to go back to my KDR thing, statistically, those people are the exception, not the norm. Again, think of a bell curve with a slightly below 1 KDR (accounting for accidential suicides in game) being "average". If you're so good you have above a 2 KDR, congrats, you're way above average. If you have a 3, 4, or 5 kdr, you're so way above average you're like in the top 0.1% of players. But they just seem to dominate the discussions and dictate how everyone else plays and use toxicity to bully people into submission. It's obnoxious.

And yeah, that's my rant. I guess given this is closing on 20k characters i should give a TLDR:

TLDR: Games these days, especially multiplayer FPS games, seem to be designed more for the most toxic, sweaty try hard player base, and people like twitch streamers and professional esports players, and many design choices tend to reflect that in modern games. This makes many modern multiplayer shooters much less accessible and fun to play for more average games than games have in the past. And sadly, these guys tend to dominate discussions and chase out casual players over time. Gaming these days seems to be treated more as a professional career/job, than a hobby and games seem designed for that crowd and less for more casual gamers.

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