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Favorite/Least Favorite progression systems in multiplayer gaming


Kyoshi
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Multiplayer gaming is pretty much the biggest thing in the industry at this point. Tons of people love multiplayer gaming for many reasons. Me, one of my favorite things in multiplayer games, specifically shooters, is the progression system. Made popular by Call of Duty in 2007, many games now utilize progression systems of various kinds, having mainly to do with leveling up, completing challenges, earning XP and all that good stuff. That was one of the best things introduced to multiplayer gaming, because I love that feeling of progression and the many stats that come with it. I am sorta a stats nut. :P To me, progression systems that are done well can be important, at least for someone like me. If I am having an off day and the games just aren't going in my favor at all, knowing that I am leveling up and completing challenges regardless helps ease frustration. 

So that established, what are some of your favorite progression systems in multiplayer games? And if you want to delve into the other side of that coin, do you have any least favorites? Discuss away ye pones!

So I am going to say this right away, my favorite progression system is definitely in the Call of Duty titles. While the series has been drenched in greed lately due to Activision being garbage as they do, a key strength the games have possessed, even in their weakest entries, has been the progression systems, and that makes sense considering the series pretty much pioneered how to do this type of correctly. The satisfying feeling of leveling up, the sheer amount of challenges to complete for XP and the different medals you get for doing different things like headshots and such, it all adds up to make the game addicting, as it is known to be. Sadly the past few Call of Duty titles just haven't hooked me because of their gameplay design issues, but Black Ops 4 has rekindled my excitement. I know Call of Duty is hated by many and for many legit reasons, but BO4 looks quite fun. It's multiplayer progression system seems just as good as ever. However, the battle royale mode, Blackout, is a different story. You only increase in rank with wins. So, that is lame as hell.

Speaking of lame, a couple of good examples of, in my opinion, bad progression systems are Overwatch and Splatoon 2. Both of these games, to me, have terrible progression systems. Overwatch is fairly straight-forward. You earn XP while playing and you level up, that's it. The XP you earn is all based on how long the match is so everyone earns the same amount of XP, not counting the win bonus which is tiny. That makes everything an even playing field, sure, but it is not satisfying in the slightest. It all means that leveling up and earning XP is not based on your performance at all, but rather just time. There's also nothing in the slightest like challenges to complete or anything like that, so it feels as basic as you can possibly get. You can boil down level ups to a certain number of matches and it feels so hollow. I like being rewarded for doing well in a game like this, especially if we lose despite my best efforts. Knowing that I earned something extra by doing well is really nice. Again, it can ease frustration, but that doesn't exist in Overwatch. With a game as unbalanced as that, it doubles the irritation I feel and it is one of the many reasons why I have stopped playing it altogether. Not only that, but the only reason to level up and the only reward you get, is a loot box every time, a loot box that contains very basic cosmetics. Um, yay? So the progression system in Overwatch is entirely loot boxes, nothing else. I just can't bring myself to like that at all. Even Call of Duty, a series that loves its loot boxes lately, gives you more for leveling up. Weapons, equipment, things like that. It works. In Overwatch, it just doesn't.

Splatoon 2 is a weird one, because while it does a couple of things right, it pretty much falls in Overwatch's category, but in some ways does it even worse. You get the standard XP, you level up and leveling up here does get you new weapons which is cool but the positives end there. Firstly, leveling up eventually takes FOREVER in this game. It takes so damn long that again, it doesn't feel satisfying. It is more apparent because like Overwatch, your performance in a match just doesn't mean much, especially if you lose. Splatoon 2 is one of the most frustrating multiplayer games to lose in that I have ever played. Winning nets you a pretty substantial amount of XP, more than you could possibly earn in a match on your own accord, and losing net's you...jack shit. Oh, but your weapon loses its freshness rating, so yay! Not only do you not get the XP bonus, you also lose freshness rating on your weapon! FUN. The game lost me around level 33 or so. I just couldn't stand the frustration anymore that the game gives me. Again, there are no real challenges to complete for splatting people and such, it is all based on wins and losses and the level system isn't good enough to make up for it.

So yeah, that's my take. What about all of you?

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