As much as I loved this past generation, I think one of the worst things it’s left behind is the idea of progressive unlocks in multiplayer. I hate to lay the blame at just any one game’s feet, but let’s face it, everybody pretty much took this from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Now every franchise from Halo to Assassin’s Creed is borrowing the idea, and multiplayer suffers for it.
Last week and over the weekend, I ran into a lot of this with Battlefield 4. While I enjoyed what I played of the game, I couldn’t help but get frustrated that all of the things I really wanted to do were behind a wall of arbitrary XP unlocks. These requirements dictated that I get a certain amount of XP before getting better weapons—which is extremely difficult to do without better weapons.
This trend is particularly problematic for someone that really doesn’t have or wants to budget that much time into multiplayer gaming. It turns what’s supposed to be a regular night of fun into just another grind, where you’re plugging away at a game until you can get to the stuff you actually want to do. It’s ridiculous that I have to wait several nights before I can even use the medic items in Battlefield 4, or unlock a decent sniper rifle in the recon class. I could understand it, maybe, if all of your XP went towards whatever you wanted to unlock (perhaps if you got to spend XP like currency), but in Battlefield they’re made specific to that item. Want a better assault rifle? Better use the shitty one for fifteen hours.
It’s such a chore, and it’s killing my interest in multiplayer gaming at all. I can see why, from a developer’s standpoint, you’d want to give people a reason to invest in the game long term and feel like they’re working toward something. But for me, that stinks of insecurity. If you’re not sure your game is fun enough to keep people coming back night after night, why should we even be playing it in the first place?
What do you guys think? Am I being a fuddy duddy about this? Or is this something that bugs the rest of you guys, too? I miss the days where I could just hop into a game and play right there with everyone else, without having to jump through a bunch of hoops first. But maybe I’m just old and out of touch.