The psychology of Total War gamming.
An amateurs attempt.
I would like to know if you agree or disagree with my observations and opinions, so please read the following statements carefully, and with that in mind.
There will be a test
Total War players basically polarize to either single or multiplayer self descriptions.
A few are both, and some switch back and forth, but the camps are fairly well separated and distinct at any given time.
I am writing this to explore the differences between the two, mainly to be able to make suggestions in game design that will be beneficial to both players and designers.
Basic motivations for the two groups, at least at their extremes, are quite different.
Single players play to win, multiplayers play to play.
The SPs play against the machine at progressive levels, and to the end of learning how to, and then beating the game.
This can be a great deal of fun, and is great interactive entertainment.
The MPs play against other people, they too want to win, but their expectations are very different.
Because of the nature of multiplayer, MPs can achieve winning only half the time, and still be comfortable with the game.
In fact they might consider the game to be very well balanced, if their equally skilled opponents won half their games together.
A SP might become discouraged winning only half the time, and there by unable to progress to total victory at some point.
MPs might also become disinterested in the single-player game because of the imbalance of testing a person against a program, preferring their opponents to be at least equally people like them selves.
SPs have an offline community of like-interest players, to compare progress and share tips and advice with.
MPs play in an interactive real time community, that encourages natural gang groupings to both learn from and team together for multi-partner encounters.
Most MPs at some point become community-aware.
By that I mean that they begin to understand that teaching new players, forming clans, and participating in events, are necessary to maintain the community of multiplayers.
New MPs are constantly arriving, but there is no guarantee that they will fit in the culture, and become integrated into the society of avid players.
MP community needs to be maintained to keep a pool of qualified players active enough to provide challenging partners for games.
What does this mean to game design?
You can encourage SPs to participate in multiplayer, and the reverse, but their personalities will not be changed, and they will always gravitate back to their respective core groups.
You can’t really mix the two, except those who already play both sides of the fence; it is like the apples and oranges comparison.
The must-win orientation and accompanying aggressive attitude of the first-person-shooter SP, versus the “good luck and have fun” real-time-strategist community sustaining MP, are a bad mix.
They aggravate each other, but are happy to coexist, if left to satisfy their own needs in their own games.
Or, I have a totally different understanding or view.
Thanks in advance!