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Do you care about your kill to death ratio? A lot of other people certainly do, it’s part of something that has become somewhat of a staple in our multiplayer modes these days, that being statistics. While this is certainly not a bad thing, we all love to compare our stats with other people, they are becoming far more important than perhaps they should. I’m sure you have encountered the people that prioritise their statistics higher than everything else, like playing the game.
First person shooters are the genre that has been affected the most by this recent trend. A lot of people simply don’t care about playing the objective when they can just farm a bunch of kills and appear better because their kill to death ratio is higher than others. This is obviously a load of bull, but that doesn’t change the fact that stat tracking is having a much more negative impact than it should. Especially when you consider that people actually reset their accounts and create new ones for the sole purpose of having better stats than other players.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start telling people how they should play a game that they paid money for or use their time. However, when these people have a negative effect on the way other people want to play a game it highlights the problems with the system. For example, if somebody wants to play capture the flag, and half the people in the game are camping for kills instead of playing how they should be, then that person has a right to be annoyed. If you chose to play in that mode, you should play how the game is intended to be played, otherwise the experience is ruined for other players.
The effects of this go much deeper than just the obvious ones it has on an objective game type though. I’m sure we’ve all been in games where people quit out and leave the teams uneven just because they died too many times and it’s affecting their precious stats. People caring more about their statistics rather than their actual performance is just plain bad, it does nothing to enhance the experience of online multiplayer. I also assume we’ve all seen our fair share of cheaters online that do it for the same reason.
More on the point of why this is so annoying is that the developers don’t seem at all interested in fixing these problems. Despite the fact that they’re having such a negative impact on their games they carry on using the same system, one that is fundamentally broken.
The ugly truth here is that stats mean absolutely nothing apart from conveying the facts; the history of a player. They do not determine how good or bad a player is, or which weapon he is best at using. They’re simply an element that aims to keep players coming back time and time again. While their integration isn’t objectively bad, there’s certainly significant room for improvement when looking at the established formula for stat tracking. They are given value only by the type of person that thinks that do anything but contain the history of the player. If this kind of system is to stick around for much longer, both developers and players need to start thinking of how they can make a system capable of tracking far more precise data that might actually contain something other than just the facts.