However, it is an interesting possibility to have players partially take over the roles usually assigned purely to the AI – making the players Player Monsters as it were.
Currently there are really only two core setups for combat in all games (single and multiplayer):
- Player vs. Monster (PvM).
- Player vs. Player (PvP).
The first is the staple of all offline singleplayer games. All objects apart from the player are computer controlled, and fighting is against the games AI. This also occurs in many multiplayer games, especially massive multiplayer games, where fighting mobs of monsters is common for groups.
The second is used in many multiplayer games, and somewhat defines many of them. First person shooters like Counterstrike are built on it. Some massive multiplayer online games (MMOG’s) also use PvP combat infrequently. This is something that can annoy many and doesn’t seemingly fit when there is PvM combat available. On a personal level this has turned me off playing quite a few MMOG’s.
This is where I would have thought Player vs. Player Monster or PvPM would work best, or at least add an entirely new way to play.
Singleplayer experiences could have it as an optional mode – a difficult one to design, since many rely on the AI not being proactive in fighting the player(s), so it would play differently. Some players would highly enjoy playing as the enemies, as Halo 2 suggests with the Elites being playable in the singleplayer. I still think the Hunters (Top right) and other races from the Halo universe would be interesting to play as, defeating the cocky Spartan-armoured players with much more clever assaults and playstyles!
For multiplayer games, where players usually group up against AI-controlled monsters, the tactical nature is missing apart from preparation. This is because the AI is static, and has simple patterns to its attacks and movements. Obviously, CPU time is problematic and thinking time limited for the massive amount of monsters in every dungeon.
Add in monster objectives, such as killing a certain amount of enemies, or stopping them for a certain length of time, or defending a specific hidden object on one of the enemies (who can obviously retreat) for a time would allow the monsters to “win” while the players playing them would obliviously not be able to level up, gather loot or adventure, but be satisfied they can achieve something – as well as the benefit of playing an otherwise inaccessible character. I am sure many would love to become a huge dragon, or a space pirate, or a NPC henchman, especially if they can do special things.
On the normal player side, fighting a thinking objective-archiving enemy would be;
- Strategic – since many players would know how to break combat strategies using the monsters they have, and monsters can sometimes be tough to kill when AI controlled
- Safe – as much as monsters can kill them normally, they will not be killed to be looted or for the sake of being killed. Monsters are there to kill the unwary player anyway.
- Satisfying – Beating dumb or predictable enemies and encounters usually gets tiresome. This would provide a rather large challenge for those who want it.
Since it would be likely much harder unless the player monsters are not terribly good, or purposely lose, then the objective system would probably provide a greater reward of whatever form the game would give – such as a powerful magic item, monetary rewards, a specific note that you defeated the monsters as player-controlled and so on.
Hopefully, Player vs. Player Monster might be something that is developed in the future, for one I’d be sure to love playing as the “enemy” and ordering around what I used to be shooting at!
(PS: This is rather a test post to get my writing style and formatting done, and to test gallery)