Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights for you:
- Who is your most hated game protagonist?
- Which game have you played the most in 2018 so far?
- What videogame enemy scared you the most?
It's tough out there. Seasoned Dota 2, CS:GO, and StarCraft 2 players are just waiting to pounce on new players. Fortunately we have singleplayer modes and bots to practice on. What happens if you never escape the practice zone and head out into the competitive scene?
It's not uncommon. SIngleplayer modes in online games can be a crutch, but sometimes they are all you need. This week ask the team: What multiplayer games do you prefer to play solo? You'll find our choices below, but we'd love to read yours in the comments too.
Phil Savage: Literally every RTS
I guess if I need to be specific, Red Alert 2 and Tiberian Sun, but I don't enjoy playing any RTS in multiplayer. In part it's because I'm not a fan of 1vs1 competition. Mostly, though, I just want to make a nice base. I want to get some walls in place, lay down a few turrets, and then focus on my economy—laying the groundwork for a rapid ascent up the tech ladder. When I do destroy my opponent, it's usually because my army has grown so large and strong than I'm embarrassed about them having nothing to do. I'm a career turtler, which isn't really compatible with the micro-heavy blitzes of competitive RTS play. Give me a skirmish against an idiot AI, and I'll see you in an hour or so, once I've finished building the biggest and best units and mined half of the map.
Philippa Warr: Heroes of the Storm
So here's the thing. I don't really enjoy Heroes of the Storm as it's slightly too lightweight as a MOBA for my tastes and I have no nostalgia or affection for the extended Blizzardiverse which might override that. However! I used to pop on and try out new heroes when they were announced just to see how they play.
In that instance, you get a single lane to play in, plus a relatively dumb bot and the usual neutral minions. The idea was that you could practice the new hero's moveset and get a sense of whether you like them in a relatively safe playground. A handy byproduct for my ego (as well as for the allure of a new character to players with a bit of currency to spend) was that the "match" would generally be a total stomp in the human player's favour. I'm not ashamed to admit that I have used these hero try-out sessions as mood boosters on days when I just needed a bloody win, damnit!
Do they still have that mode? Asking for a friend who has a magazine deadline coming up...
James Davenport: Battlefield games
I'm that person, the idiot lone wolf that plays whatever objective is nearest or best serves my internal narrative: that I am a god. I am not a god, but I am also not a skilled FPS player. The needs of my squad are second to me finding the perfect sniper nest, the ideal LMG flank, whatever gets me kills. Sorry. I hear Battlefield 5 makes being a selfish ass difficult, so I'll get what's coming soon. For now I'm just going to lay in this bush and wait until the perfect moment to strike. I'm that confident in the rest of my team.
Tom Senior: Dota 2
I admire Dota 2, but it's a terrifying bottomless time sink. I don't think I could ever get good enough at this game to be satisfied. Even if there was an end point, I don't want to ruin other people's games with rookie errors, so I've largely played games against bots.
Playing solo eliminates the intricacies of team play, but I can still enjoy the hero design. It's quite relaxing to web up a lane as Broodmother, sending her spawn to chew up creeps while preparing hit and run attacks on heroes from the trees. I've played enough dumb bot matches to understand what's happening in a pro match. And I always tend to buy into the yearly International battle pass package, just to watch the games in the client and feel like I'm part of the event. I'll probably never play Dota 2 online, but there's just enough solo play infrastructure there to help me enjoy the game regardless.