Poll Question 038 – Why exactly do you prefer to play alone?

6th July 2007

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

Back in Poll Question 008 I asked whether you preferred playing alone or with a squad. The results were quite conclusive (75% preferred to play alone) and I thought perhaps it was time to dig a little deeper. This week’s poll question is:

Why exactly do you prefer to play alone?

The Choices

Below are the choices, I have ranted a little, just to give you something to disagree with!

They never work properly.

They get in your way, they die without doing much good, they can actually make life harder for you. Where exactly is the damn benefit? Squad Romero for Half-Life 2 is one attempt to improve they way squads work and I, for one, am looking forward to see what the author produces next. However, even if the squad worked exactly as we expected then I still wouldn’t want a squad!

Changes the game too much.

What’s the point of create this whole concept as me as the Saver of Humanity if I have to rely on a squad of untrained, scruffy and despondent rebels? I wanna save the world, rescue the chick and reap the glory all on my own. Stand aside Squad Rebels!

Makes the game too tactical.

If I wanted to worry about positioning my squad to maximize my potential I would play team/MP games. More tactical games can be interested from the Run and Gun too often seen but I believe there are ways to do that without having to have a squad follow you around like a love sick puppy. Plenty of mods have featured very tactical battles with only the play and their wits to use.


Feel free to add your concise idea in the Other section. It won’t appear for other users but either you or I can add the details to the comments.


  1. AI

    Just like in the “real” Army, I would prefer to go on “hunting trips” alone, the others get in the way! That’s why I like Far Cry, for the freedom to work alone!

  2. zeroth404

    squad mates are baggage.

    I prefer to run into battle alone and armed to the gills. If I have friendlies following me, they’re going to get mowed down just trying to keep up with me, or lag so far behind that they are completely useless.

    I prefer to play a game with as little AI/human interaction as possible. I like an adventure, not a soap opera where I have to chit chat and make sure my AI buddies don’t get killed. Unreal is a perfect example of my kind of solo mission.

    Half-Life 1 had a great balance of AI interaction, where I could just ditch the friendlies and they wouldn’t get in my way much. or I could just blow their brains out and chuckle with glee as my crowbar or explosives spew their guts in random directions. I did the same in Duke3D. the Security officers in Half-Life 1 serve three purposes: human shields, walking turrets, and punching bags. The scientists serve to tell the story of the game…and of course, as punching bags. The squadmates in Half-Life 2 are nothing short of useless baggage.

  3. Definitely #1. I really like allies when they feel clever and actually help, but it’s a car crash when their AI is awful and they just get in the way.

  4. Luke L

    Even games that are designed primarily for AI team play (i.e. ghost recon) act terribly in my opinion. In the older games (ghost recon 2) I would regularly leave my men at the beginning of a map and go lone wolf. However when playing co-operatively (with 3 friends playing the three other team mates) it actually works very well. Therefore I think it’s primarily because of how the team AI is implemented that it fails so miserably most of the time.

  5. geekofalltrades

    I put “other,” although I was tempted by the first option. I just really dig the vibe of being alone… it makes the game much more atmospheric for me.

  6. I’ve just always had a problem with trying to keep my mind on many things at once. In this case, the squadmates. However, that is not to say I don’t like squad games. Star Wars: Republic Commando was a really good game and I think one reason for that was the way the squad was easy to use and manage. Also, I think that HL2 didn’t make your squadmates seem to have personalities; even the scientists in HL1 had more personality.

  7. Whenever the words Follow Freeman come up on screen I just moan and say No, please don’t follow Freeman.

    I really enjoyed Squad Romeo because of the squad aspect but it was all scripted. When an AI squad starts following me in HL2 I normally try and get them stuck somewhere. The only thing they’re good for is the medic and a bit of extra ammo. Except when they insist on feeding it to you one round at a time.

    One day they might get some intelligence but until then I prefer to go it alone.

  8. Haha, I’m flattered that my map is being talked about! I started playing Rainbow Six Vegas recently and it has made me completely rethink squads and HL2. I still love Squads (Vegas is definitely one of my favourite games) but implementing them correctly in HL2 is rather difficult. I’m going to have to completely redesign everything with better cover in mind and also figure out a way for the cover to be utilized more effectively.

    But thats off topic. 😛
    I think that if a squad is seen as an ally instead of a burden they become a much better part of the game. Advanced Warfighter and Vegas did this very well. You can get super tactical if you want or you can simply order them somewhere. In HL2, because the engine isn’t really set up like the engine in Vegas, squads have to be very inventive and creative to work without being a burden.
    So not sure where to vote on this poll. When they work they work fantastically and I love it. When they don’t work I appreciate the ambiance created by being in a squad but am frustrated by the squad sucking.

    At any rate, my next map probably wont have a single thing to do with my first map, but the architecture will definitely be better and more cover and squad oriented! 😀


  9. Tetzlaff

    For me it’s both an atmosphere and a gameplay thing. I quite like the “lone wolf” feeling in classical FPS. That doesn’t mean I don’t like NPCs, there are quite important, it’s always nice to help NPCs and work together with them, but I prefer to explore and fight on my own.

    The gameplay aspect is mostly due to the imperfect AI of computer controlled team mates. It most times ends up in babysitting, or at least on caring more about the AI comrades instead of focussing on the combat itself. I really like to play team games with real people over network, but it just isn’t the same level of fun with NPC comrades.
    What works quite fine however, is when you occasionaly work together with few AI team mates. That aspect worked really well in Quake4 for example, the part where you accompanied Strauss was really fun, but it also worked because he had to do some hacking mainly while the player had to take care of enemies.

    What also works really well are team-base SP games where you controll the multiple characters directly by switching between them. Like in Project Eden.

  10. Anonymous

    I simply hate H-L1’s NPCs with a vengance. Half the time the scripted sequences activate at wrong times or not at all. Also they (NPCs) seem to get stuck behind walls. However, a game with good AI was Tom Clancys rainbow 6 for the N64. The AI was good because it had to be for you to survive.

  11. If the squads could act/fight more intelligently, and could be moved to more useful positions, then I would like to use them in the sections where cannon fodder is useful. But the way they act now, they’re more trouble than they’re worth, and get in the way more often than not. It forces me to use the “send squad” key alot, and it’s not terrifically good at sending them, esp. if it’s a long way away, or in a tight map (small hallways).

  12. This question could have an incredibly in depth response, but what it basically boils down to is:

    Other people suck. The only AI character tht I have enjoyed playing with is Alyx, and that’s primarily because she generally managed to keep out of the way.

  13. Many reasons. They don’t shut up, they get DIRECTLY in your way at every other turn, they just make things feel unnatural after hours of SP,you get a 4 man rebel squad that can barley even find the trigger on the gun. It may sometimes depend on mod, but the annoyance level is always there. The worst by far has to be Alyx on Smod 5.56, she dies in 4 bullets and loses the whole game for you. The worst has to be vortigaunts, they present too many objectives that only they can complete, they rant on and on at unnecessary times, their only value is in the lightning. Squads just ruin the general feel of freedom in source, and often times, make it way too evident that you are on fixed track, often controlled by them. (IE: Alyx’s combine door sapper, Vortigaunts powering up door motors in ep2.)

  14. BayTheMoon

    Only on one or two occasions have I felt the need for a squad to get out of a sticky situation. Most of the time they either do nothing or get in the way.
    As for Alyx, she is a pain in the proverbial. Too many of her appearances are toooooooooooooooo long, talking absolute b******s when I just wanna get on with it.

  15. It’s usually used (gaming) to distract me from the chronic pain. or frustration.. It allow me a bit of peace…I can be some one else for a while.. And with the pills I have to take…it’s the safest place for me to be…lol

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