On Always Online Games (The Good)

Going to try something a bit different today. Namely, splitting this topic in to two posts. But hey, if Peter Jackson can find a way to split The Hobbit in to 3 movies I can make this topic two posts.

There have been quite a number of games that have come out over the last few years that essentially require you to always be connected to the internet. Games such as the latest Sim City, Diablo 3, Dark Souls 1 & 2 and Watch_Dogs, just to name a few. Each of these games handles things a bit differently, some obviously better than others. The question really is, why do I really need to be connected to a game that is essentially single player.

Today I am going to write a bit about the positive side of always online and tomorrow I’ll discuss the aspects of it I don’t like.

The first thing that really sticks out to me is the ability to easily play with your friends. Now, I’m not a huge coop player, but a lot of people I know enjoy playing through a game with another person for various reasons. In some instances the story is different when you’re playing coop versus single player. Sometimes it presents a greater challenge as seen in Diablo 3 where the campaign difficulty is increased as you add more players. What matters is that having an always online connection lets you easily drop in and out of a friends game. You don’t have to wait for a connection to be established or thanks to friends lists not having to wait for some way of knowing that person is online other than spamming invites.

Always online connections also allow for games to be updated without having to run through a patcher. I don’t personally know how this would work specifically, but I think that if this is being used that it would allow you to keep playing even if some other part of the game needs to be fixed. If you didn’t have these always online connections it could be difficult to ensure that all the players have updated game files.

Another “good” aspect of this is friendly competition through online leaderboards. This is does not specifically require an always online connection, but it easily allows you to see how you are doing compared to your friends. If you’re connection is always online than it is easier for the system to remain updated with real time stats.

I feel like this topic might have been a bit of a stretch. I am not exactly the biggest fan of always on connections, especially in games I would consider single player. Tomorrow post will discuss the things that I don’t like about always being online, but I felt the need to at least try to say something positive. I think opinions on the subject vary from person to person, and I’m sure some people reading this might have other reasons for liking always online games. If you happen to have other thoughts, feel free to add them in as a comment.