Why you stick around and keep coming back to same game(s) year after year?
Why some games blow up and become massively popular while other games die out fast?
Lately I've come to think of those questions.
2017 was a special year for gaming. The "birth" of the Battle Royale genre that took the world by storm (pun) turned gaming a little bit upside down for me.
Before I get to that though, let me start off on Starcraft.
I started playing Starcraft II in 2011. I came into the game with no RTS experience & only knew that it was a widely competitive game and wanted to have my take on it.
Quickly I realized this wasn't just a game I was going to play a little bit on the side, I loved it. To the point where I've played 7000+ games in total.
I always thought Starcraft II grew on me so much because of the pure survival aspect of the competitive game modes.
Me & my opponent face off in 1v1. Only one person will live, the other will die. The adrenaline rush when you sit there macroing with anywhere from 50-350 apm keeps each and every game interesting & different from eachother. The excitement of seeing myself getting a little bit better with every game session. Seeing my opponents getting tougher and tougher and me getting better by each day.
That, that is what made me love Starcraft so much, but it never got me thinking why I spent so much more time playing Starcraft than just about every other game. Content wise I never gave a fuck about starcraft. I didn't finish any of the campaigns, nor did I do any coop-missions either. It was all about 1v1 & the occasional teamgames.
The dream of one day acquiring the blue star (Masters) was and is the dream for many old and new players.
I was one of those players that actually hit that goal, and when I did I realized something I should've realised a long time ago.
It was never about being best, it was never about dominating others, it was merely the competitive spirit of playing against another person and having a battle to test our strenghts in something I enjoyed.
The journey to getting good was the main motivator that kept me playing, not actually getting there in itself.
I feel that the Battle Royale genre struck this psychosocial aspect that a lot of gamers possess.
The goal of survival and being the last one standing is what keeps many people including myself queing up for new matches almost daily. The interest in getting better while playing with friends or playing alone and feeling the adrenaline kick in when the match is almost over and there's only a handful of players left.
Look at games like Fortnite & Playerunknowns Battlegrounds. These games has next to no content but is still widely played and loved by fans all around the world.
What these games do so correct is that they target the essence of why we play video games in the first place.
Around 2013 I was playing a little bit of Halo 4 on my 360 and mind you I was SHOCKED at the amount of content that game had to offer, all kinds of gamemodes/maps/mission I almost didn't have enough time to go through everything. It even had DLC which added tons more to the mix.
Still, did I play Halo 4 a lot?
No. I didn't and let me tell you what I did instead. Instead, I spamqueued up for Zombie mode on black ops with friends. A gamemode that had much less content but on the flipside offered a more exciting athmosphere that made the experience of playing more thrilling & social.
That doesn't mean Halo 4 was bad, and I realize I speak for just myself not only on this topic but in the whole blog, but I feel inclinded to say that I definatly speak for more people than myself when I say that game athmosphere beats content in every single way.
I wish more developers knew that if the basegame itself doesn't excite players it wont matter how much content you spit into the existing game.
Fortnite doesn't even have anything more than just one map and has had a concurrent amount of players up to 3.4 million. That says everything, really.
However, there is one major thing that separates Battle Royale games from other games like Starcraft. One problem with Starcraft is that it's not a casual game in any way. Ladder is extremely hard & tilting. New players can't just come in and face off against players with nearly a decade of experience. It most likely wont be as enjoyable playing as much as other games for them.
Call it an anti-feelgood system. A system where you constantly have to win to feel like you're getting somewhere, where a bad day on ladder can make you feel like shit.
You don't really have that aspect in games like Fortnite, if you die there you que up again. It's a very simplified version of competitiveness. The rules/game is easy to understand, you can jump in and get work done on your first day with the game.
You just can't do that with Starcraft, hence why I personally belive it's not as popular as it was.
I don't know what to say really, I just felt like I needed to write something about this.