I wanted to get people's thoughts on the emerging trend of incorporating storyline elements into competitive multiplayer.
I know it's been done at least once before in Bioshock 2, where the whole multiplayer component had it's own narrative hooks that tied into the world of Rapture, and it may have happened before or since that as well. But the idea seems to be picking up steam lately with three big name titles.
Next week Assassin's Creed Revelations ships. Players that level up in the multiplayer component and complete certain challenges will gain access 'behind the curtain' of the Templar organization, giving players a different look at the Assassin/Templar war they've been fighting.
Mass Effect 3 will let players affect their standing in the single-player world through their performance in the multiplayer component. If certain players don't particularly wish to engage in a ton of side-quests that involve traveling, dialogue trees or what-not, and just enjoy shooting their way through the universe, they can stick to the main quest and use their multiplayer performance to ensure a better ending.
Max Payne 3 will include storyline elements as well, according to writer Dan Houser. Exactly what kind and how they will be implemented is still a little hazy.
Personally, I LOVE this trend. It feels like a great way to get people like Jeff, who are multiplayer-averse, to dip their toe into the multiplayer world. Especially in the case of non-traditional multiplayer modes like Assassin's Creed, which Jeff eventually found himself loving once he got over his aversion to it.