On Always Online Games (The Bad)

So yesterdays topic was I would consider the good aspects of always online games. Today will be talking about the things I don’t like about always being online. Now, I feel like there is more that I don’t like than I do like, but I’ll try to keep it short-ish and hopefully not ranty or bitter.

The first thing that I would say I don’t like would be having to deal with content I’m not particularly interested in. I’ve mentioned before how I feel about being forced in to PVP content, and I feel very similar for games forcing certain online content on me. I’ve talked about player invasions in both Dark Souls 1 & 2 and how I don’t really want to do that since it is essentially PVP. I’m not the least bit interested in allowing other players in to my game in any capacity that is not for cooperative purposes. If I invite you in to play that is one thing, I don’t want someone just popping in to my game without my say.

This leads in to my second issue, not giving me the option to opt out of this content. I think this is a bit less of an issue for most games, but any game that requires an online connection AND allows other people to just come in without permission should allow me to disable that feature and NOT penalize me for it. I won’t count Diablo 3 in to this because that is partially a COOP game and doesn’t fit with my PVP analogy. I’m referring to games such as Dark Souls 1 & 2 and more recently Watch_Dogs which released on Tuesday.

While both Dark Souls games allow other players to invade your game for that additional PVP aspect. At least the PS3 version of Dark Souls allowed you to disable this, and admittedly I don’t know if the PS3 version of Dark Souls 2 has the same feature but I know the only way to get out of this content on the PC version is to start Steam in offline mode. Personally I don’t feel that this is an acceptable solution. I should just be able to disable it via the menu system.

Watch_Dogs falls kind of in the middle of this. It does allow players to “invade” your game for a variety of activities (mainly to try to hack you), but they make it somewhat easy to disable this, as long as you find the right menu. However, they penalize you for doing this. It essentially locks you out of specific skill trees that you gain xp points through a notoriety system. I have no problem with that so far, but I do have a problem with the fact that if you had done some of this and had earned xp if you decide later to turn it off you lose all the xp you earned and the skills that you bought. Now I understand the reason for this, which I think is to keep people from only enabling the feature to hack other players and then disabling it to keep them from hacking you, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The last issue, and the one I feel is the most important is the plain and simple fact that it allows other people to interrupt my gaming.  When I’m playing a game, especially one I would consider single player, I don’t want to be interrupted by some random person coming in with the sole purpose of messing with me. I understand that this content is there for people who like the sense of randomness or enjoy the unexpectedness that comes from a non AI opponent. That just isn’t for me. Have the feature in the game if you want to, just don’t force it upon me.

Now, I may have ranted a bit more than I intended, and if you disagree (or agree)  feel free to leave a comment discussing it.

Right now I have disabled the online features on Watch_Dogs so if you ever catch me streaming it you won’t see me having to worry about other people.