The Miserable State Of Multiplayer First-Person Shooters

The first-person shooter genre currently suffers from many trends it could do much better without.

Story Highlights

  • The multiplayer first-person shooter genre is becoming stale with time while almost all other genres are evolving into something greater.
  • The genre has been suffering from the same issues for decades, and we’ve yet to see the studios take definite action against them.
  • The first-person shooter genre is still one of the most popular multiplayer genres out there, but it will need to get rid of these issues alongside massive improvements if it is to stay relevant in the scene.

The first-person shooter genre, once one of the most popular video game genres, if not the most popular one, has been reduced to nothing but a miserable state these days. The modern first-person shooter games are barely a shadow of what they used to be, not only from a gameplay perspective but in general as well, due to the trend of game studios trying to monetize everything and then shoving it down the throat of their players.

There’s barely any first-person shooter game where you wouldn’t come across hackers that can ruin your experience in just a matter of minutes, which is a decade-old issue, and it doesn’t look like things will change for the better any time soon. Other than that, as you know, first-person shooter game communities aren’t exactly the most welcoming ones, but that, too, is an old issue.

Despite being old issues, these things somehow continue to get worse with time. If these games are making so much money from these microtransactions or simply from the game’s price tag, they should invest in improving their games and making them more secure and strict against hackers. Instead, we get incomplete games full of glitches and bugs, not to forget the terrible optimization.

At the top, the financial strategies of these FPS game developers have ruined the genre. In some cases, you’ll find a game that is usually free to play, but to unlock any cosmetics or any additional features, the player has to pay a fair sum of cash. Most people may argue that at least we don’t have to pay for the base game, and these microtransactions don’t really have an effect on the gameplay. But is that the truth?

Free-To-Play Games That Aren’t Exactly Free-To-Win

Take Overwatch 2 for an example. In Overwatch 2, you have to grind 100s of hours to unlock different characters, or you can simply choose to pay for them. In a game like Overwatch 2, where picks matter the most, not being able to pick the optimal character that your team needs just because you haven’t played enough matches or paid for the character can be considered somewhat of a pay-to-win behavior. 

Another interesting bit is the fact that Battle Pass characters are available for both free-to-play players and for those who’ve purchased the Battle Pass. But here’s the thing: Battle Pass owners can start using their new super OP character right off the bat, while the free-to-play user will have to grind for weeks to finally be able to get a chance to try that character for themselves. 

Yes, you can get these characters for free, but only if you grind for hours straight.
Yes, you can get these characters for free, but only if you grind for hours straight.

It’s true that Overwatch 2 isn’t really the best game to give an example of, considering that the game is one of the most negatively reviewed games available on Steam. But this sort of strategy isn’t only limited to Overwatch 2. There are many games that are pay-to-play, but when you log into the game after buying it, you see that you have to spend additional money to unlock more stuff. Just how much money do these studios think the players have?

Hackers On A Free Reign

We have Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, easily one of the most popular first-person shooters out there. The game is massively popular for both good and bad reasons. CS: GO went free-to-play in December 2018, and ever since then, it has become a home for many hackers due to the absence of a paywall.

It’s true that Valve does introduce some new tactics to challenge these hackers once in a while, such as Prime or an occasional massive ban wave to cull the number of these hackers, but yeah, that doesn’t really work that well. The hackers do find a way back to the game one way or the other.

This isn’t really limited to just CS: GO. Any multiplayer game is bound to have a multitude of hackers. The problem is that there’s really not a definite solution for it yet, and there likely will never be, and we’ll continue to have our competitive games get thrashed by these hackers. Honestly, it is kind of expected to see many hackers in free-to-play games, but you’d find several of them in paid games as well.

A hack that lets you see other players through walls in CS: GO. (Credits: Bhop on YouTube)
A hack that lets you see other players through walls in CS: GO. (Credits: Bhop on YouTube)

An effective reporting system that lets the other players kick the hacker out of the game while also imposing a suspension on them would be a good way to deal with it. However, the reporting systems we have in modern first-person shooter games are mostly ineffective and useless.

But then again, it is something we have to live with. Even if these game companies did end up building better anti-cheat software or simply getting stricter with their cheat detection, hackers will find a way around it. But, still, if there’s anything these studios can do that will help in reducing the number of hackers there are in multiplayer first-person shooter games, they shouldn’t hesitate to put all their effort into it.

Lack Of Bug Fixes

When it comes to multiplayer games, a single bug can ruin the game for many players. You’d expect these game studios to take it seriously since they’re making so much money out of it. However, that rarely happens. Many first-person shooter games are riddled with bugs and glitches. Players turning invincible, getting stuck in places, or anything that can cost them or the opponent team the game tends to ruin the fun for everyone.

One can argue that bugs and glitches are rare, but in some cases, people can exploit these bugs to win games and ruin everyone else’s experience until the studio finally decides to take action and fix these issues. It is a fairly common sight in Call of Duty, as spotted by Reddit user u/famrob, where people will try to replicate a glitch in their favor to get free wins until it gets patched.

Last players in the circle. 22 kills Durable gas mask. Frantically running around and finding stims once the circle is totally closed. 2 self revives. Lost because there are 2 solos just sitting in the gulag unharmed. Cool
by u/famrob in CODWarzone

These bugs and glitches shouldn’t even exist in the first place. But yes, even if there are bugs or glitches, the studios should try to fix it as soon as possible. These studios should also appropriately punish the users who had abused the glitch to ruin the game for others and to get free wins so they don’t do it again. 

Messed Up Matchmaking And Smurfs

Matchmaking issues and smurfs are another problem plaguing multiplayer first-person shooter games. These games are heavily based on the player’s individual skills, and getting matched up with someone who is far more or less skilled than you can ruin the experience for all the players, which is why matchmaking is so important. Everyone wants to play against other players of roughly the same skill bracket.

In most FPS games, matchmaking sometimes doesn’t work as intended, and the skill gap between players is huge, which ruins the experience for everyone. That’s also where smurfs come in. Smurfs are basically high-skilled players using a beginner account so that they can play against lower-skilled players and stomp the games easily.

A player aces the round after killing everyone on the opponent team in Valorant.
A player aces the round after killing everyone on the opponent team in Valorant.

Some people create new accounts and raise their rank by playing on them, and once they hit a high enough rank or medal, these players then sell their accounts for money. Alongside this tactic, there are many high-skilled players who take someone else’s account to boost their rank for money and return it to them once they’ve reached the desired rank.

Yes, it sounds pathetic, but it is fairly common in multiplayer games. Many multiplayer games have a detection system in place for this type of play, such as Valorant, and some even punish players for smurfing. But, when it comes to other first-person shooter games, you rarely see players getting punished for smurfing and ruining the fun for all the other players.

Takeaway

Multiplayer first-person shooter games have always been a popular yet highly competitive space. However, in recent times, these games have been going down the slope in terms of quality, and it looks like the genre is only seen as a cash cow by many studios. In most cases, you have two choices: grind on the game with everything you’ve got or spend money on the Battle Pass. 

If these studios want the money so much, they should also have something to show for it. But what do we get? Games that are riddled with bugs and glitches and are swarming with hackers and smurfs. Where is all the money going if they’re not using it to make the game better for their audience? Shouldn’t be the casual audience the first priority of these studios?

Online first-person shooter games have always had these issues to some extent, but isn’t it about time that we should look for a definite solution for these issues? Every other genre is evolving drastically these days. The RPGs, fighting games, and even MOBAs introduce some improvements once in a while, but the pure first-person shooter genre is becoming stale. One can only hope that Counter-Strike 2 will bring the much-needed change.

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Source
Forums BlizzardPC GamerForums BlizzardPlayVALORANTDexertoTalkEsportsBhop on YouTubeReddit user u/famrob

Fahad is a news reporter at eXputer with a huge passion for fighting games. For the past year, he has been utilizing his skills to report on the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Side by side with his bachelor's in computer science, Fahad has also acquired a certification in English for Journalism from Coursera. Fahad now dedicates all his time to either playing video games or reporting news at eXputer.

Experience: 1+ Years || Covers News Stories at eXputer || Bachelor's in Computer Science.

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