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Why I hate XBL

Old 07-27-03, 11:11 AM
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Why I hate XBL

I subscribed to Xbox Live last December, with my first games being Ghost Recon and NFL 2K3. I loved it, especially Ghost Recon. I met a lot of good people to play with, and it made for some enjoyable multiplayer sessions.

Fast forward to the present. Over the course of that time I've picked up a number of other XBL essentials, including MechAssault, NBA 2K3, NCAA Basketball 2K3, Clone Wars, Wolfenstein, Midnight Club II and Outlaw Volleyball. The number of offline games I picked up during that time just about doubled that count, and so I was more interested in playing through those than getting online for a game. Mainly I would jump online just for the downloadable content, but rarely did I have time to play any multiplayer.

Recently, I've been playing a lot of Outlaw Volleyball and Midnight Club II offline, just to open up the unlockables so I can get ready for online play. This brings me to my first point - the trend in playing a game to death, just so you can get the online content, is not a good one. At this point I am sick to death of playing OV because I played it for over a week straight. I also noticed on MCII that not many other people have played through the single player game, because all the games I could see were for Los Angeles, and a lot of vehicles were the same, except for the handful of players who were asking for all-vehicle cheat codes.

MCII, in my brief online experience, was pretty lacking. Not because the developers didn't put in a lot of modes or options, but because it seemed there just weren't enough players online to support them. This is my second point - there are a lot of XBL games now, but it seems there aren't nearly enough subscribers to give them the full online experience. I played one game of OV last night and my ranking was 900/4000. That means there have been only 4000 players that have played a ranking game of volleyball during the 2+ weeks it's been released. That's pretty sorry. And my guess is that these players aren't coming back to OV, that they are loyal to only a few select games and sample the rest. Wolfenstein when I went online briefly was pretty full of players. Ghost Recon I see the same players playing it, and I know that one is a big hit. I'm sure the sports titles never get light on players. But for the two I mentioned - MCII and OV, it seems like there's just not enough there to support it as was planned. MCII especially, there were only circuit and cruise games - for a Saturday night. No CTF to be found anywhere.

And going back to my online experience with both OV and MCII last night - the quality of players is pretty sad. Not to say they don't put up a good game, but I played a game with someone on OV last night and all they did was spew insults - about my gamer tag, making crude gestures, extremely immature. I turned off my voice chat because it wasn't worth it to comment on their insults, and what did they do? Drop the game, because they didn't have someone to react on the other end. Pathetic. MCII wasn't as bad, but not the gaming experience Microsoft had planned when conceiving the XBL service. A thousand kids asking for cheat codes, team games that had no communication whatsoever. Immaturity abounds on XBL, I'm finding out. In contrast, I found there were a lot of pre-teen XBL players on MechAssault the few times I went online with it, but at least they were good players and good kids, and were interested more in playing the game rather than spewing insults or polluting the chat channel. I don't want to fault kids for playing, more power to them, but there should be a way to give feedback or rank XBL players depending on how they behave online. I would have loved to give those guys online last night bad feedback. It would make people think twice about ruining a game for someone else, because other people would avoid playing with them in the future. Good for the good gamers, but rightfully bad for the ones who ruin it for everyone else.

Anyone else's thoughts?

Jeremy

Last edited by jrutz; 07-27-03 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 07-27-03, 11:48 AM
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Sounds more like reasons to hate online gaming in general than XBL specifically.

That said I agree with your assessment, especially about the bad gamers ruining it for everyone else.

Online gaming just isn't my cup of tea, as I've said repeatedly and won't bother going into details again.
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Old 07-27-03, 12:21 PM
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Re: Why I hate XBL

Originally posted by jrutz
the trend in playing a game to death, just so you can get the online, is not a good one
I agree, to an extent, and this may change with future releases. In "Midtown Madness 3" (Videogame Talk review), you have to play through the single-player modes in order to unlock vehicles/races for use in single-player/split-screen multiplayer...which is fine. When played over Live, those limitations disappear. The host may limit the types of cars you have access to, but it's not based solely on what you have or have not unlocked. There are still a couple of remaining cars that you have to unlock if you want to use them over Live, I believe, but there's a difference between unlocking a bonus and having immediate access to base functionality. I really like the approach to unlockables in "Midtown Madness 3", and I hope future games keep that model in mind. Also, one other thing MM3 does that I thought was neat is let you log onto XBox Live while playing through a single-player game. That way, if you're waiting for a group of friends to hop on or something, they'll see you as online and can invite you into Live games while you're playing a single-player race.

there are a lot of XBL games now, but it seems there aren't nearly enough subscribers to give them the full online experience
I noticed this for the first time last weekend, when I was reviewing "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (Videogame Talk review). I hopped online three or four different times, and it was so disheartening to use Optimatch or something and find almost no one playing. I tried on different days, different times of day...but I don't think I ever saw more than two games going on at once, and this is for a rather high-profile release that's only a few months old. It was so bad that in order to actually review those multiplayer aspects, I had to use the split-screen multiplayer. I had an easier time finding people locally to play than over Live, where I thought I'd have at least dozens of potential opponents...and hey, I'm a shut-in, so finding people around these parts is no small feat. I think the biggest problem is that back when "MechAssault" and "Unreal Championship" were released, you had a lot of players and only a handful of games. Now, you still have a lot of subscribers, but they're spread among a lot of games...plus, I'd imagine the "kewl" factor of Live has worn off on some players. I also subscribed back in December, and for that first month or so, I was on Live pretty regularly. But after the initial glow wore off, there was a space of several months when I didn't play online at all. Despite the fact that there are a half-million Live subscribers, I'd imagine a pretty hefty number of them are in the same boat I was in. I've been playing a lot online recently just because I have new games that take advantage of Live, but I wouldn't be surprised if I fall back into my old single-player-only habits very soon.

the quality of players is pretty sad
It varies. Like anything, I'd guess probably 90% of the people I've played with-slash-against are pretty cool. Some talk a little trash, most don't really say anything at all...but for the most part, no major problems. The guys playing "Clone Wars" varied greatly in age, but everyone was surprisingly great, several even warranting a label like "exceptionally polite". I've never really had any terrible experiences online... a couple of people were clearly on with nothing in mind but trying to rile others, but that's kind of an inevitability, however unfortunate...

There is a way to leave feedback -- I've never done it and couldn't run you through the process, but it's there somewhere. I remember seeing something specific in the "Midtown Madness 3" manual...I can look it up if you'd like, but it might be an interface unique to that game.

One of my complaints is that the Communicator was supposed to be this huge part of the experience, and it's...really not. Because chat was so sparse and I don't ever use the mic unless someone directly addresses me, I even got in the habit of not plugging it in.
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Old 07-27-03, 01:01 PM
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Re: Re: Why I hate XBL

Originally posted by ctyner
I noticed this for the first time last weekend, when I was reviewing "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" (Videogame Talk review). I hopped online three or four different times, and it was so disheartening to use Optimatch or something and find almost no one playing. I tried on different days, different times of day...but I don't think I ever saw more than two games going on at once, and this is for a rather high-profile release that's only a few months old.
The Clone Wars was a high-profile release?!? You could have fooled me.

Some games just aren't going to sell well, whether online or offline, but with online games, the failure effects your enjoyment.

You have to do a little research... there was little buzz for SOF, and it only sold 44, 000 its first month. There was little for Outlaw Volleyball, plus it had to compete with the other new arrivals on store shelves, KOTOR and NCAA 2004. DOH!! What timing!

If you have a group of online friends and largely avoid playing random strangers, problems #2 and #3 are non-existent, and online gaming is as (high-quality) fun as can be.
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Old 07-27-03, 01:37 PM
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Re: Re: Re: Why I hate XBL

Originally posted by mr.snowmizer
The Clone Wars was a high-profile release?!? You could have fooled me.
Well, I did qualify it with "rather". Maybe it's just because I spend so much time online reading about games, but the game seemed to get a lot of attention on various websites.
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Old 07-27-03, 02:18 PM
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Without question, Xbox Live is a far superior console gaming experience than the PS2. But the number of online games is probably contributing to the smaller number of people playing each game. There are so many options that everyone is spread around the various games.

I never use Live. I'm not sure why though. For the most part, I do most of my gaming in single-player mode. I play SOCOM once a week, so it's definitely the online game that I've played the most. All of the gamers I know have PS2s so we play SOCOM. If they all had Xboxes, we'd probably be playing Ghost Recon.
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Old 07-27-03, 03:10 PM
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Re: Re: Why I hate XBL

Originally posted by ctyner
It varies. Like anything, I'd guess probably 90% of the people I've played with-slash-against are pretty cool. Some talk a little trash, most don't really say anything at all...but for the most part, no major problems. The guys playing "Clone Wars" varied greatly in age, but everyone was surprisingly great, several even warranting a label like "exceptionally polite". I've never really had any terrible experiences online... a couple of people were clearly on with nothing in mind but trying to rile others, but that's kind of an inevitability, however unfortunate...
You know, of the games I've played Live, Clone Wars and Ghost Recon were the best in terms of having some great people available to play online. Totally polite, good teamwork. Too bad we can't get them to play any other games...

I think the feedback option is title-specific. There's no feedback option associated with the XBL dashboard, and with outlaw Volleyball there was only the option to add or remove someone from your friends list.

Jeremy

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Old 07-27-03, 03:52 PM
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Old 07-27-03, 03:56 PM
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I've got vast online PC gaming experience... been playing since Doom 2 over BBS. I have limited experience with Xbox Live. Played a few games of that Whacked demo - I sucked at it, but it was fun. Also played the Motorcycle demo - really nice guys... I sucked at that too. Played Unreal, but got my ass handed to me... seemed like there were alot of cool people playing though. Ghost Recon is awesome though - always some good games going on with people who know what they are doing and who communicate.

So far, I'm pretty happy with XBL - I mean, it's 50 bucks for a year and even though I haven't used it much - I think it's easily worth it. I'm anxious to try Outlaw Volleyball and Midnight Club 2 and I can't wait for Counterstrike. SegaGT Online, Steel Batallion, and DOA Online have me excited as well. Nope - I just don't see any reason to dislike xbox live. Gaming online with a PC is better, but there's not as much variety in the games. The XBL community will improve as time goes on.
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Old 07-27-03, 04:03 PM
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From what I've seen, Ghost Recon, and Unreal are the games to play. I cannot even begin to comment on how bad sports games can be on XBL. The few times that I have tried to play, I have run into people who either: selected All Star teams only to play with, or would use some "glitch" in the game in order to win (see the onside kick in Fever).
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Old 07-27-03, 04:46 PM
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Overall my experience on XBL has been pleasant. I do sometime run into jerks, but they were in a minority. I find that if I stick with friends in my friend list (over thirty) I usually have great exp.

I think it's not about online gaming that bad, but like all thing where people are involved (i.e school, work...) you are bound to meet some bad apples.

P.S.
Even if the XBL was totally bad, the very ability to update game content is cool.
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Old 07-27-03, 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by evenflowddt
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Hope you're kidding...
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Old 07-27-03, 07:43 PM
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I myself love playing xbox live...

I usually play by myself against people i dont know, havent really had to deal with any idiots that much so its been good to me so far.The people i have dealt with have all been very friendly and cool to me..

Nothing beats playing against a human enemy..

One other thing that makes me love "live" a lot is i get to play with 2 of my buddies that live over 500 miles from me.We get to catch up with each other while killing some people in wolfenstein..

Also,i wasn't excited about live at all when it came out but after hearing what "Halo 2" is gonna be all about, i decided to get it and get myself familiar with the service before the game comes out..
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Old 07-27-03, 08:02 PM
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For the most part I like XBL. What I do hate is getting into a group and having some ass drop you because it's "Friends only". I think that's rude and a pain in the ass.

I also think those of us on High Speed still outnumber the ones who are still using Dial up. So this limits the amount of players.
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Old 07-27-03, 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by jrutz
Hope you're kidding...
Nope
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Old 07-27-03, 11:00 PM
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Originally posted by Giantrobo
For the most part I like XBL. What I do hate is getting into a group and having some ass drop you because it's "Friends only". I think that's rude and a pain in the ass.

I also think those of us on High Speed still outnumber the ones who are still using Dial up. So this limits the amount of players.
Robo, what games are you playing?
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Old 07-28-03, 07:38 AM
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Originally posted by Gallant Pig
Robo, what games are you playing?

MechAssault...been dropped a few times by hosts.
Ghost Recon
Clone Wars

I have Wolfenstein but I've yet to go online with it.
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Old 07-28-03, 09:02 AM
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I've played very little XBL, but what I have I loved. I have played more games with good players than with bad. I think it's going to be a case where the bad experience sticks out more.
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Old 07-28-03, 09:37 AM
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I like XBL but I also play with it very little even though I have several games now.

When Unreal came out, I played the hell out of it. The novelty wore off and nothing new really came out for awhile that I was interested in. I went for months without playing on it. I went on the other day with Unreal and all it seemed was that there were either clans or kids now.

I don't have any local friends with XBL so that sucks a little. I have met several cool people online & have added them to my friends list but actually seeing them online after that is a rarity.

I agree that it defintely sucks to have to play a game to death to unlock it enough to play decently on LIVE. I went on with MC2 soon after I got it and all I heard was bitching b/c my car was too slow. I have yet to go back on since then for MC2. I have tried to unlock MC2 to go back online but OV & KOTOR have recently taken over my life. By the time I unlock a decent amount of MC2, most players will have moved on to something new (as I probably will as well).

I love the single player game of OV so playing it to unlock stuff has not bothered me as much but it still sucks to go online and play people with every character unlocked with massive points for each player. Talk about uneven play.

MM3 is probably one of the best examples of how great XBL can be in my opinion (I hate squad based games). You don't have to unlock tons of stuff in MM3. Everyone is equal to what cars they can pick (just not equal in skill) which is as it should be. Hosts can dump people who are cheating or being obnoxious. It has a good variety of team or races on XBL.

I am a single player type individual but for $50, I like jumping on XBL every now & then. Unfortunately, most of the people I would probably get along with and enjoy playing with have similar habits & we will never catch each other online at the same time.

I want to get back online more often but...what...yes...oh sorry, KOTOR is calling me again. Gotta go.
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Old 07-28-03, 12:24 PM
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Sounds more like reasons to hate online gaming in general than XBL specifically.
I was thinking the same thing. I don't like online gaming with random anonymous people. But I love it when I can play with friends I already know. In fact, that's the only time I play online - when I can play with my friends. It's just not worth it to deal with all the chaff out there. I don't go online to make friends - I go online to meet friends.
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