Poll Question 008 – Do you prefer to play alone or with a squad?

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3

I’m an only child. This means I have no brothers or sisters. I developed the ability to play on my own. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons I play SP games, who knows. One aspect that was introduced into Half-Life 2 that I didn’t like was the Squad feature. I recognize that having a squad around you varies the style of gameplay but I prefer to play alone.

Squads

David, a PlanetPhillip reader, recently described a nice squad set-up but I remain unconvinced. So, this weeks poll question is:
Do you prefer to have a squad or go it alone?

I know that people like different things but I would be happy to never play with a squad.

Well, as expected I suppose. It seems we all like to be solo heroes or heroines!

The Poll

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27 Comments

  1. Fluffy The Hamster

    When playing alone, you can progress at your own pace. You only care about yourself thus, you can do whatever you want to satisfy your objective.

    When you are leading a squad, everything changes. You have to care about your squadmate, ensure that they don’t get stuck in the middle of enemy fire. You have to do things based on what will offer the best for your squad, rather then yourself. You are forced to babysit people who are not as smart, powerful or resourceful as you. This is often a drag and problematic at best. Games like Quake 4 and SWAT 3/4, however, do this quite nicely.

    However, there’s one thing you should add and that is being in a squad, but not leading it. This solves two problems: The need to be in a squad and not the lone hero and the problem of leading a bunch of soldiers which are not as smart, powerful or resourceful as you. If you are in a squad, you are being cared for by someone else. Your only care is yourself and maybe squadmates should they require it. The squad moves as the NPCs move and you follow them. Most (if not all) games don’t do this. However…

    [Whorage mode on] Combine Destiny 2 will! [Whorage mode off]

    I’d rather be in a squad. I enjoy the aspect of ordering around other people, even if they are essentially useless compared to me. If they were people, I would command them too, if they’d let me.

  2. dufferx

    I think they get in the way. Prefer to go it alone.

  3. alone is my preference

  4. However, there’s one thing you should add and that is being in a squad, but not leading it.

    I never said anything about leading the squad. That was an assumption you made. Although I do acknowledge that it is very different. I prefer to just have two choices if I can, because I like to polarize people’s opinions.

    If they were people, I would command them too, if they’d let me.

    I love that sentence, so contradictory yet true.

  5. JC

    I rather play alone, I hate those annoying squad folks in HL2 (I use to kill them by using a console command that allows you to literally “burn down” every single entity in the game)
    This is what you have to do in order to fget ride of the squad team:
    Bring the console and type:
    “ent_setname kindling; wait; ent_fire kindling ignite”
    You can bind this command to a key (eg: bind MOUSE3 “ent_setname kindling; wait; ent_fire kindling ignite” ), so next time you feel like killing someone in the game, you just gotta aim at the character and then press the key you previously selected 🙂
    (WARNING: if you kill Alyx, the game may crash to desktop).

    BTW, Fluffy, by the lenght of your posts I asumme you have plenty of free time… LoL (just kidding)

  6. Luke L

    I hate squad AI, it’s usually worse than enemy AI and that’s saying something. However, I love playing co-op with my sister. That way you get all the benefits of a single player game (go at your own pace etc) without having to unstick your teammate from a wall. Also, in games like Splinter Cell, it is very well integrated. You each have to rely on each other to perform jumps, actions etc.

  7. David

    As I said in the Wish list post, I’m just tired of the one-man show. I feel there is so much more potential for better character and story development with a properly implemented squad. As Fluffy said, having a squad that is just NPC’s that you’re a part of but don’t command would be much better.
    However, in this case the argument of AI comes into play again. Aside from developing a better AI I believe there is another way around this problem. A first person shooter is linear just like a movie. Since they’re linear I don’t see why a designer couldn’t just litter the stage with scripted sequences that are all based off of If-Then statements. For example, something simple could be as follows: “If Player trips this sequence box then send NPC_Squad1 to this spot and NPC_Squad2 to this spot.”
    This would completely eliminate the whole NPC’s getting stuck issue and also let you move at your own pace since the scripts would be waiting on you. It gives the Squad its freedom and gives you your freedom. This could also be used to make the game much more cinematic and getting it closer to a “Gamovie.” 😛
    As things stand now I still vote for squad because it adds another sense of realism to the game. I feel it’s much more fun playing the game with the intention of keeping everyone alive than playing with the “Looking out for #1” attitude.
    Hope I provided some insight, now lets get those numbers in the poll leaning more towards Squads! 😀
    Cheers,
    David

  8. I went for playing with a squad. I have to admit that 90% of the current implementations (such as the HL2 one mentioned) are absolutely horrendous due to issues like AI and simply being useless.

    However the few examples I’ve seen of decent, non-disruptive allies such as Alyx in episode 1 show me that AI helpers have excellent potential to greatly improve the depth of gameplay as better uses of them come up.

    “Lone Wolf” gameplay has already had a lot of the situations it works in exhausted while helpers (that actually help while still working off AI) are quite a new introduction to games, so I’m very interested in seeing the potential it has based on the few good examples I’ve seen.

  9. I like the squad when ther is a big ambush but if it isn’t there I will do it on my own

    i have really no preference

  10. Zockopa

    Yeah,well. For me its like MMAN wrote.
    HL EP1 was great to be acompanied with Alyx
    but the Squadmates in HL2 are just anyoing
    for well known reasons.
    On the other side it was cool to be in a
    platoon in Call of Duty 1.
    Me thinks to that playing as part of a
    squad is not genreally a problem but a weak
    AI kills the fun. And we all know that AI
    is not the main focus in gamedevelopment.
    Probably because there cant be a nice shader
    effect on it….

  11. Fluffy The Hamster

    BTW, Fluffy, by the lenght of your posts I asumme you have plenty of free time… LoL (just kidding)

    You’re right. Not only do I have too much free time, but I rarely play video games, either.

    Aside from developing a better AI I believe there is another way around this problem. A first person shooter is linear just like a movie. Since they’re linear I don’t see why a designer couldn’t just litter the stage with scripted sequences that are all based off of If-Then statements. For example, something simple could be as follows: “If Player trips this sequence box then send NPC_Squad1 to this spot and NPC_Squad2 to this spot.”

    [Whorage mode on] Combine Destiny 2 will do this. Early versions depicted the squad moving when you move forward (They don’t if they have an enemy in sight), the appropriate idea being that you are the point-man. [Whorage mode off]

    Also, Call of Duty and it’s sequel does this *excellently*. Up to the point of which the developers could point into everyones faces (and still do) and scream “HAHA! OUR AI IS BETTER THEN YOURS!”

  12. JC

    I remember having played a game where the “squad system” was sort of well implemented, it was “Freedom Fighters”.
    Anyway, I still prefer to go as “one army man”.

    Fluffy, maybe STALKER will make you play more… 🙂 (well, if it is released one of these days)

  13. Darth Marsden

    Someday I envision playing an FPS with one, maybe two teammates who berate each other when they run out of ammo, cover each other when they need to reload, know to take out the weakest enemies first, peer round corners, fall back if needs be…

    But we’re not there yet. We’re a long, long way from truly realistic AI. And until we finally reach that level of sophistication, I will always stick with going through games alone.

  14. Maybe two teammates who berate each other when they run out of ammo

    That would be fun. I got carried away and imagined these two squad mates who started an argument which escalated until they shot each other. I’m so sad!

    BTW, nice to see you back Darth.

  15. Fluffy The Hamster

    STALKER probably won’t be released in my part of the Middle Of Nowhere, Ireland for a long time.

    There’s some squad games with good AI. Games like SWAT 3 (don’t know about 4: never played it) and the Rainbow series. Those tactical-squad-based-shooters.

  16. Snotball

    I think it all depends on what kind of theme or genre the game is, and what features are to be used. As stated it works great in a game like Call of Duty, but I reckon that’s because most movement is scripted. They do have some interesting AI anyway though, seeing how NPCs care for their own lives, cowering behind stuff and hugging walls. It’s the only “realistic” AI I’ve seen…

    But that wouldn’t really fit in HL2 anyway, would it? Combines wouldn’t seem as frightening if they are busy hiding behind a barrel. But that’s how I think rebels ought to act though.. Instead they just stand around like idiots screaming; “Hahahaaa, like that?!”. I know it all depends on info_node placement and they have the cowering ability. But that’s only ever used if they are RIGHT ontop of the respective nodes, which they don’t seem to care about anyway.
    They prefer to run dead on an enemy instead of staying where it’s safe, taking them out at a distance.

    Exaggerated whoreage:
    For all I know the only difference from Goldsource AI to Source AI is that they’re now able to shoot, while running.

  17. SPY

    reading the comments it seems that some like squads and others don’t. personaly I HATE playing in a squad, (for me it’s a reson to NOT buy such a game even!). like you PP, I like to play alone, (even when I have 2 brothers). not only the squad walks sometimes in the way, they also take most of the action away. this was specialy the case with Cod2. you had to run like crazy to get a first shot at a enemie, when you where to slow you only did see death bodies that where killed by your squad. and when I had to choose between leading a squad and being in a squad I obviously prefer leading the squad, simply because I can leave the squad behind and do it myself. but even this doesn’t work always. a month ago I bought Brothers in Arm, wich is a game that makes the most of playing in a sqaud, (very nicely done, that I have to admit). but even there it didn’t work leaving them behind, because when you did that they simply took the leading and run passed you to take credit for all the action again.

    it’s realy a shame that game companies seem to think that people like playing in squads, because most of the latest released games seem to have a squad systhem. I think they do this because there is a huge mp community, (playing together), maybe they thought that playing in a squad would make sp gaming more interesting for the mp-community.

    leon

  18. meme

    I would prefer to play with teammates who influence the game, my decisions, and “make things happen” in the world [i.e. an engineer who welds a door open for me, or a medic who heals the other guys]. The only problem is noone has gotten it right yet! With the exception of opposing force, I don’t think I have enjoyed teammates company anywhere else… That’s alright, one day they will develop a universal NPC code for all games or something like that- Maybe, maybe not.

  19. MattyDienhoff

    Yes and no.

    I actually enjoyed Anticitizen One a lot, it’s one of my favourite chapters. True, the squaddies do get in the way sometimes, but they manage to be fairly useful in a firefight while not stealing all of your thunder. Besides, indoors, it’s easy enough to send them to the nearest corner to get them out of the way long enough to get past.

    That said, I do prefer to spend most of the game alone. Combat (especially with Overwatch soldiers) is a lot more flexible when you’re on your own, you don’t have to keep track of allies” locations or status, and if a grenade lands on the ground next to you, you only have to worry about yourself.

    So, yes and no. I like lone-wolfing, but the squad sections were a good change of pace and I enjoyed them just as much.

  20. mmmm I really prefer to stay as a lonewolf but I get lonely after time and seeing my squad or frienldlys gives me a good feeling, then I round up as many survivors as I can then throw a nice nade dead center of everyone showing my bleeding heart love 🙂

  21. I prefer alone, or with just 1 other person, maybe 2 at most. any more than that and organization becomes something you have actually think about, and usually requires 1 person to act as a leader to work well. With just 2 people, it becomes a partnership and can operate with both people being roughly equal. this works best if each person has a complementary skillset (fast accurate short range fighter complementing powerful long range fighter, etc)
    Some people might claim it takes more skill to work alone, but it’s not. I’m not even going to try to pretend that it doesn’t take more skill to work in a team than alone.

  22. Chris

    this is another Poll Qustion that really depends, I play alot of RTS games on Single Player but when it comes to an FPS I am all over Online Multiplayer.

    1. All these polls are about FPS games unless specifically stated. The site only covers SP maps and mods for the Half-Life series of games.

  23. I’ve never done any team play… never been able to get the servers to work, not that I tried very hard…lol.. But either.. Games that require you to keep some one alive through the game or part of it is a royal pain… Like in MOP with Alex..it’s a toughy. But no one forced me to play it..lol I have actually made it through with Alex in tow.. ONE TIME..lol.

    1. I’ve never done any team play… never been able to get the servers to work

      I’m not talking about multiplayer games, but single player games where you have a squad of rebels with you, just like in Half-Life 2.

      1. Need a “either” or “both” option…Yea I misread it.. I’m blind in one eye and barely see out of the other..TRUST ME Gettin old SUCKS!! .lol

  24. EDIT: Sorry just erase the other one

    I’ve never done any team play… never been able to get the servers to work, not that I tried very hard…lol.. But either squad or none, a squad can come in handy, other times be a pain in the butt..
    Games that require you to keep some one alive through the game or part of it is a royal pain… Like in MOP with Alex..it’s a toughy. But no one forced me to play it..lol I have actually made it through with Alex in tow.. ONE TIME..lol. None of the other squad members made it.. Just Alex and I.

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