For those of you that play on Xbox Live with a constant group of friends, the advent of party chat may have seemed like the second coming of Jesus Christ himself. No longer would you have to deal with the jerks on Xbox Live or listen to the squealing of a child who just wants his chocolate milk.
However, your friends will not always be online when you want to play a rousing round of Grifball or tear up an enemy’s helicopter in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. What gamers are left with are the dregs of Xbox Live, those who go without a headset and those who are already in a party with their friends. Recall for a moment, if you will, the glory days of Halo 2. Nearly every match you had multiple people speaking on both teams, and I think many people would be hard-pressed to say this was a terrible experience all the time for them. People would invite other people to their games after the match was over, friends would be made, and Xbox Live was fun. I sorely miss that sense of community and camaraderie these days, and I’d love to see it come back.
I’m not saying that party chat is the root of all evil on Xbox Live, but I’m getting sick of jumping on Halo 3 alone and not having a single person in the game speak. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 implemented a few great ideas, like having certain playlists that require players to exit out of party chat in order to play. Halo: Reach will put those who are in party chat and those with unplugged headsets into the “quiet” group (as opposed to “chatty”) so they will be matched with similar players.
I think it’s great that some developers are, well, developing ways around the issue. To me, the point of gaming online is to have fun and test the skills of myself and my team against others, and it’s a bit hard to do that when you’re the only one talking. If other companies don’t create workarounds too, then I fear for the future of Xbox Live. Sure, there will always be a strong sense of competition and the urge to destroy others, but that’s not what it’s all about, nor should it be. For me, it’s a way to connect with others over something I love…and to win, of course.
What do you think? Am I over-reacting? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Note: PlatformNation does not condone the use of foul language, as shown in the above picture from Penny Arcade. Their opinions and use of the English language is their own and we thank them for the use of the image.