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What Makes A Great MMO Shooter?

Rate this Article Since the advent of video and computer gaming, shooters have always been one of the most popular genres of all. So what really makes a great multiplayer shooter? What keeps the players returning to the game? MMO Square - What Makes A Great MMO Shooter?

Since the advent of video and computer gaming, shooters have always been one of the most popular genres of all. Be it tactical combat or space shooters, the continual action and interaction of the game was sure to hold the players attention for hours on end. So what really makes a great multiplayer shooter? What keeps the players returning to the game?

Let’s discuss 6 major factors that contribute to making an on-line multiplayer shooter great or really great.

1. Variety of Gameplay

Shooters are shooters…you shoot and bring the enemy down. But how you do it and why you do it can make a big difference in maintaining the popularity and lifespan of the game. One of the founding classic 3d shooters that did this was the Unreal Tournament Series.

These are called “game modes” where the players had to accomplish certain objectives like Capture the Flag where player teams had to take back their flag from the enemy base and bring it back to theirs (while staying in one piece), DeathMatch where you had to bring down your opponents (every one of them) and Domination which meant that a team should dominate or hold a certain position in the game map or battle arena.

A variety of these game modes or types gave the players several options in playing the game thus avoiding as much as possible the possibility of players getting bored of playing the same game over and over again. Due to this, many MMO shooters maximize the game modes they have to offer, with some of them, such as Global Strike, going as far as to offering unique game modes like zombie or werewolf mode where players who are “killed” by the host zombie or werewolf will be switched over to the other team.

2. Player Character Class and Design

When a player starts playing an MMO shooter, one of the first options that should be available would be the ability to choose or custom make your own player character or on-line avatar. A shooter need not have so many characters to choose from. A few good ones would do fine but the design of the player characters have to be balanced. Most great MMO shooter games have characters that look the look, walk the walk and talk the talk.

Ghost Recon Phantoms: Taking cover

Let’s take for example the game Ghost Recon: Phantoms. The game has only 3 character types Assault, Recon and Specialist. The designers had to create a good balance for these three by combining the appropriate looks, the specialized skills and abilities, the weapon and equipment options for each character type as well as the upgrade and advancement options for each. An Assault character would definitely be heavily armed and pack more armor than a Recon ghost, the ghost however would have the equipment and abilities to get him out of the tight spots and situations which he was trained for.

Not to mention, some games, like the current popular MMO shooter Dirty Bomb, offers players a huge range of different characters to play as, along with the ability to switch between 3 different “loadout” characters while you’re playing a match. In games like these, having the right character mix depending on the different situations that call for them are essential to the gameplay and to win the match.

This is why we believe that MMO shooters need to have at least a few characters for players to choose from in order to give the game that something extra that can make it great.

3. Weapon Options

Let’s say you chose a certain character class and it’s time to go into combat. Having the right stuff and the necessary player skills would definitely contribute to your in-game performance and possibly the outcome of the game. The weapon selection or choices don’t really have to be so many but their performance should count.

Most MMO shooter/FPS pro players usually go through the selection of assigned weapons, choose one that suits their gameplay style and stick with it match after match. They actually end up specializing in it. An example would be the venerable sniper rifle or AWP as most FPS players call it. There are many kinds or models of sniper rifles but again, the player chooses one or two that suits him best, depending on whether he would bring down his opponent from afar with a stream of bullets or a single shot and how good he is at doing that would determine his rifle of choice.

Providing good quality in-game weapons for the player to choose and be good at could definitely make or break an MMO shooter game.

4. Map Variety and Tactical Design

It’s hard not to mention CounterStrike when talking about game maps. Probably the MMO shooter game with the most maps ever created, CounterStrike has withstood the test of time and still one of the leading most played MMO shooters to date. But what’s so special about CounterStrike maps that they have been copied, adopted and referred-to by many a great MMO shooter games that followed? To begin with, the design.

Combat Arms: Killing streak

Multiplayer shooter maps have to be tactical by design. Player path, walls, tunnels and various obstacles have to be placed and positioned in such a way as to aid players by presenting hiding spots, choke points as well as for flanking and outflanking options. The ambiance and look of the environment is important as well, they have to hold and appeal to the players taste and attention. Having a variety of well designed maps that depict different places and situations would not only make the MMO shooter great but extend its game life as well.

5. Good Graphics and Ambient Sounds

Though graphics and sounds are important to playing a game, it still isn’t everything. However, having acceptable graphics and at least good audio are things that a good MMO shooter should have. Combat Arms is one of those on-line FPS games that have great environmental graphics. The weapon sounds are appropriate to the weapons in use as well as the ambient sounds for the different areas of the maps. The way a map or game arena looks (as mentioned earlier) can no doubt pull the players attention and at times get him wasted for admiring the environment too much while his opponent takes aim and clicks his mouse button.

6. An Active On-line Gaming Community

Definitely the one thing that extends the life of a MMO shooter game is the continual presence of on-line players playing it. A gaming community sort of gathers these on-line players together to create scheduled activities (like tournaments) and promote social on-line interaction like forming clans, groups and teams. It’s also a great way to make on-line friends or get into heated debates and quarrels just the same. A community supports both the players and the game. Team Fortress is one of those on-line multiplayer FPS games whose lifespan has been extended for so long by its community of players, modders, mappers, video makers and supporters. Without them, Team Fortress would have faded away into game oblivion and Team Fortress 2 would have never seen the light of day.

Most MMO shooter games that have withstood and endured the test of time and considered popular by today’s standards would have all if not a mixture of these. Shooter games have a come a long way but let us not forget that like all games, eSports-oriented MMO shooter games still rely on the human element to be considered great.

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