Opinion: DCS World's Multiplayer Dependence
DCS, lately, has been an interesting simulator to enjoy. Between the multiple modules that are due to arrive sooner rather than later, the mod team that I am now a part of and the vast amounts of modules I have yet to explore; it has been a bit difficult for me to find the same type of enjoyment in DCS as I did when I first tried it out so many years ago.
To be honest, it is not that I do not enjoy my time flying. Quite the opposite, I enjoy it now more than I have ever done. But, as time has passed, the types of activities I do to enjoy my time in this extremely vast game have changed a lot. At the start, I flew DCS like I flew all my other flight sims: like a hermit. I sat down and the only thing I ever did was do single player missions. Those, alongside campaigns, kept me mostly satisfied for a while. Until it got stale. That is when my luck came to the rescue.
It was about that time that my best bud, "Ribbon-Blue", decided to also get into DCS. He also introduced me another one of his friends, now my friend, "Kosmos". Some others that got into DCS around the this time were "Prov", alongside "Hueman". We started flying more regularly, and some of my other friends (like "Raptor86") slowly starting drifting towards organizing flight nights where we do semi-organized combat sorties.
I found more fun and excitement in those early multiplayer sessions than in all my single player sessions combined. Yet the reasons behind my enjoyment might not be clear. Anything is better with friends, of course, but there is more to it. The same stale missions that I used to play became more random with more players involved, which led to situations in which I have never would have been involved if I was flying by myself. Everything became more dynamic and two things became clear to me:
First, DCS is currently best experienced by having a group of close friends to enjoy it with, hell, even flying with randoms can be extremely entertaining. Not only due to the fact that flying together is great but also due to the fact that you can discover and learn new airframes and ways to use those airframes together! That is an experience unique to DCS and some other flight sims but one that is rare on other sides of the gaming community.
Second, DCS is dependent on multiplayer and community to be truly enjoyed, something that is a double edge sword. I'll explain why. With community comes great potential for future growth and additionally, potential for community-made creations that can elevate the experience even more. Just look at mods such as the A-4E, C-130J and MB-339. All of those are community-made creations made by passionate individuals that have changed the way I look at DCS, an impressive achievement!
But what happens if the player plays the game like I did, as a single player title? Other sims such as Falcon BMS and IL-2 Great Battles have alternatives for them, while also having rich multiplayer communities. DCS, currently, is lacking on single player features. The main feature that is missing is the dynamic mission or campaign generator, instant mission aside. We know that Eagle Dynamics is working on it and I hope it will turn out to be a great tool for all of us to use, but its absence is more noticeable to me more now than ever before.
To give some context: I have been extremely busy with several projects (and so have some of my friends), including being the sole (for now) texture artist for the DCS UH-60L Blackhawk project. My time for extremely long DCS sessions is no longer there and even when I have sessions with my buddies, which I always enjoy greatly, my lack of energy has made me prone to exhaustion.
This is why I have delved into shorter single player flights to clear my head. In those flights is when I started to think to myself: "hey, I could be playing a 30 min flight on a dynamic campaign in Falcon" or "Man, I wish DCS had some other way to play on my own". I realized that I had become dependent on DCS' multiplayer to even enjoy DCS.
I just hope that, as I manage my time, I start finding time to fly more with my buddies. But for the time being I think that, aside from the Blackhawk and the occasional session with my friends, my enjoyment of DCS World will not be the same as it was with multiplayer. That dynamic campaign generator can not arrive soon enough, I am counting on you ED!
About the writer:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer, content manager and the co-founder of Skyward Flight Media ever since.