This is something that has been bothering me exponentially as the years go by. To give a hint of where this is going, the word that is killing my joy to play games is META. This is not a rant about nostalgia but how the internet has shaped game mechanics to WIN WIN WIN.
I've grown with videogames all my life. Even tho I love my single player gametime, I'm always carving to share my experiences with other people. The thing that has always drawn me into games as opposed to movies or books is freedom, customization, and discovery but the internet has destroyed that part for me.
What happened back in the day? You played Golden Axe II or Streets of Rage 2 with your sister, and each one chose their favorite character. It was YOUR character. You didn't care if it was "the best" or not. You loved it because, in your eyes, the character was cool, badass, sexy whatever. You played Pokémon and you proudly used your ghost/vampiric squad against your friend's water-based Pokémon. If you played an RPG, you wanted to explore every last bit of the map and look for loot with weird perks that would separate your experience from say, your friend who was making an all-in strength build. The same could be said about YuGiOh, BeyBlade, or boardgames IRL.
What happens nowadays? You play Overwatch or R6 Siege and go for the character you like the most. Next thing you know, the text chat is: "Character X, please change to character Y" and if you don't your teammates will start to throw or jump right into voice coms to blame you on everything bad that happens… because the character you chose is not meta now that they nerfed his attack radius from 5 meters to 4.6.
The same happens in MMORPGs like ESO or GW2 where people will start complaining or kick you if you group up with them to complete a dungeon and your build is not current meta. Card games went from providing a surprise with every match, to play over and over against people chasing the exact same cheap decks they found over an "August 2020 Meta Analysis" YouTube video.
And I mean, people seem to be loving this free access to most efficient tactics replacing every bit of discovery, trial and error, progression, and satisfaction that games can provide.
I came back to LoL after years of not touching it. I convinced my friends who always bashed it without ever playing it to download the game. What happened? We queue for our very first match and they already had paid skins for their characters. I was like "Why? You barely just finished the tutorial, there are almost 150 champions and you not only paid actual cash for a character you don't even know it's abilities but also for their premium skin?" and their response: "Yeah, but I looked for the top meta support and Roy did the same for the ADC, so we're good". Well, LoL is now uninstalled because if I play with my friends I always have to do the exact same things down to the clock (because they found a guide which said that if by x minute you didn't have this and that, you'd be as well surrendering even if you had an advantage) and if I play with strangers it's a coin toss.
I seriously hate this min-max culture, I hate that now I have a fake sense of freedom to chose. And my biggest gripe is that it is slowly but surely crawling into single-player games. Ubisoft open-world games are full to the brim with this shit of "there are tons of equipment and skill trees to cater every playstyle… but in reality, the ONLY thing that will make the difference between you dying or not is DMG/s"
I'm sure that as time passes, this will only get worse. There are a couple of multiplayer games that are arguably meta-free like CSGO or Quake Champions but these are far in between. Literally THIS and THIS sum up everything.
Source: Original link
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