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Co-Op Game Play and MMO's
JohnSpeakPlaying co-op games has been few and far between for me in the past and apart from a few titles I have generally avoided playing games in a co-op mode. I can actually name all the games I have played in co-op off the top of my head.

Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City
Mass Effect 3
Portal 2

Three games... Only three.
These games, as good as they are, struggled to hold me playing them for any duration due to the fact that the co-op mode is either a watered down version of the single player campaigns or a totally different game (With the exception of Resident Evil: ORC but that's just a game which lacks.. enjoyment). I found this to be puzzling as to me, they are taking the best part of the games and not allowing you to share this experience with friends of PUGS if you wish to do so.
Portal 2's co-op was good, I will admit. It is in fact a different story from the single player aspect of the game BUT it is a version of the game which is actually good but this is really a one off.

But there is a title which is coming out in the UK in a few days which I hope is the start of changing this method of creating co-op versions of games.
Dead Space 3, which is a survival horror game with an amazing story, is being released with a FULL CO-OP version of the main storyline. This means the game can be played single player and co-op with the co-op version losing NOTHING from the main story. In fact if you play the game in co-op mode you actually receive bonus scenes and story information. This for me is an amazing thing and other games developers should take note of this and apply this to any games they wish to make co-op.

But another question I have often asked myself is what's the difference between a co-op game and a MMO?
You play both online with someone else or in fact a group of other people.
A game which really fits this is Starwars: The Old Republic. A MMO which can be played solo from start to finish. In fact the only time you need other people is if you want to run Flash points and Operations. The strength of this game is not with it's multiplayer grouping aspects or the social aspect BUT it's the stories and you do not need anyone for those.
So why are MMO's not labelled as Co-Op games?
Maybe to seek out a specific portion of the gaming population?
Maybe because the gaming developers don't want to be labelled as co-op since co-op games have not really been high sellers in the past, or at least that's not why people buy the games?

Who knows but really ask yourself... why are mmo's and co-op games different?
Comments
#1 | Tromador on 06 February 2013 08:34
Answer: Scale. MMOs are "massively". You'll never meet or have the opportunity to play with quite so many strangers in normal co-op games as you will in an MMO.

Co-op isn't really so new. Original Doom had methods to play co-op, though it wasn't the game focus. I used to play Diablo 1 over dialup in co-op and that was the full game - this back in 1996.

For more modern concepts, Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death (2005) included full game co-op mode. Then the middle ground between co-op and MMO created by NwN.

Really, co-op is about playing the game together with a friend, or couple of friends. MMO is about playing the game together with numerous strangers, developing an in-game economy and being able to support large groups. Also, when a co-op is done, it's done. One can always replay, but somehow it's not in the same way as repeating an instance in an MMO. You might run Kaon 5 times a week to get the loot drops, but you couldn't really envisage grinding Portal 2. It's a completely different playstyle.

You're right in your example, SWTOR can be played solo through a story. Fine and then you're done - but where is the real fun part of the game? It's not in the solo content, but rather in the multiplayer content, the flashpoints. Somehow I can quite happily redo the same FPs over and over, but I wouldn't want to do the same planet several times a week, even with different classes.

I suppose, that is the crux. A co-op game, such as the upcoming DS3 has a beginning a middle and an end. We'll play through it, enjoy it and then it will be done with. Maybe we'll replay it someday.

An MMO is much more open ended, even without expansions. A good endgame keeps you occupied, working towards the next thing and encouraging you to come back over and over again.

Why are they different? Because they are, simply. They aim to achieve different goals and are thus designed in a different way.
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