Worlds Without People: Persistant Online Worlds in Console Mech Games


Were it not for the threat to longevity and the reliance on community, the factor that would make or break persistent-world multiplayer-focused games like MechAssault 2, ChromeHounds, and Armored Core V is the execution. Each of these games has a different way or approaching this style of game.

What MechAssault 2 did, which might have contributed to the decline of Conquest mode, was give Conquest mode its own spot on the main menu, separate from single-player and multiplayer.  This meant that it was easily passed-over by people looking for multiplayer. “Out of sight, out of mind,” as they say.

ChromeHounds and Armored Core V fixed this issue (Though, admittedly, the decision made with MechAssault 2 to have Conquest as a separate gametype was likely intentional) by making their persistent-world multiplayer the only multiplayer, with inconsequential “for fun” matches as a secondary gametype within the persistent-world multiplayer.

While ChromeHounds still sequestered its single-player gameplay away from its multiplayer, Armored Core V went all-out and integrated its single-player missions in with its multiplayer. The missions are still single-player, but they ultimately serve to help the player’s team in small ways.

Curiously, however, both ChromeHounds and Armored Core V decided to forgo non-online multiplayer. Neither game has split-screen or even system-link multiplayer, which may contribute to longevity problems. While it was a great game while the servers lasted, with the servers down now and no way to play online (Which means no way to play the real­ game) there’s absolutely no reason to even buy ChromeHounds anymore.

Armored Core, which has always been faithful in keeping a split-screen mode, did away with not only split-screen, but system link as well with Armored Core V. Time will tell how this decision will pay off, but personally, I don’t like it.

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