Today I want to talk about something I consistently struggle with and I’m certain others do too. You’ll see a lot of people online state they “don’t like multiplayer games”, and I’m sure they’re right, but I often wonder “why?”. With so much time and money invested into multiplayer experiences on all formats, and with many of the most popular games being solely about the multiplayer experience, why is it that some of us shy away from that? I include myself in those comments by the way and that’s what I’m trying to do today.
I can say, hand on heart, that it’s not the games themselves I don’t enjoy. I’ve been known to have the odd game of Fortnite and Apex Legends (which as I type this up is currently updating), I spent quite a few Mondays joining a weekly night of GT Sport and I play and love Final Fantasy XIV. The fact I’m bad at most of these games does account for some of my anxiety around playing them, I hate to be that guy that’s letting the side down or getting in the way, but it doesn’t account for everything, because there have been times, and specific games, that I’ve sunk a lot of time into the multiplayer of. The most obvious is Final Fantasy XIV, as mentioned, but that comes with caveats. I’m in two linkshells and two Discords for that game, I barely engage in conversation in either, if an invite goes out to do random dungeons, I tend not to reply or find a reason not to (“the kids are awake” is the most common one, though there is some truth to it). I’m currently using the excuse of trying to get through the Main Scenario Quests for Shadowbringers as a reason not to engage with the Duty Roulette…
At the start of this year my attendance on GT Sport night began to become erratic and since the beginning of the pandemic and with the schools being closed I’ve not joined in at all. Again, the kids have become an easy excuse there, most nights they’re up and down the stairs after being sent to bed and they keep that up until 10:30 pm quite often, it makes it difficult to get involved in something that requires so much of my attention. But its also the feeling that I’m not as good as the others that has become an additional obstacle. There were people around my skill level, so I’d still get to race and I honestly didn’t mind pootling around further down the field so long as I got the odd battle, it was more the feeling that I would get in the way (or on the odd occasion that I was at the front of the field, I found that I had to concentrate so hard that I’d be too exhausted to drive in follow up races).
And so, I find myself ignoring playing with others. Honestly, I’d love to be going off and doing dungeons and raids in Final Fantasy with a regular party of people, I was way into Phantasy Star Online back in the day and loved nothing more than grinding through Ruins over and over again or taking on some of the tougher quests and working as a team through them with people using monikers such as xMESSYDOGx and VOG then gathering in a big group in the lobbies and chatting the night away, I do genuinely miss that, but my mind just doesn’t seem to want to let me get to that stage, I’m too afraid that I’m forcing myself onto people, or that I’ll say the wrong thing or that my ability (or lack thereof) is ruining somebody else’s enjoyment of the game.