Going From Co-Op To Solo Play

I’ve always loved co-op gaming, from the arcades of yore to Bubble Bobble on my NES to current gen titles. I’ve never been a huge fan of PvP as I’d rather work with someone than against them.

I struggle pretty badly with FOMO (fear of missing out) in many forms, and co-op gaming is one of them. If other people are playing and I’m not (for whatever reason), I feel left out. And it’s not even that I couldn’t join them, sometimes I am simply too ill to play games (as thoroughly depressing as that sounds and is).

I am exceedingly fortunate to have had many excellent co-op partners over the years, but my favorite is, unsurprisingly, my longtime partner. Our taste in games and gaming is largely similar, but we do differ here and there.

Case in point.

The first Borderlands is my comfort game. When I feel sh*tty, I want to play Borderlands. I decided to boot it up the other day, and I’ve been playing it solo. In the couple dozen times I’ve played the game (I’ve literally played it start to finish over twenty times), I’ve never done a solo playthrough…until now.

As you’d expect, the game feels super different solo as opposed to co-op. I still love it, but it’s not the same. My partner offered to play it with me, but I know he doesn’t usually go in for repeat gaming. That is to say, once he finishes a game, he is often ready to move on to the next game; I admire this. He is exceedingly busy and he still manages to play more games than anyone else I know.

I appreciated his offer, but I didn’t want to drag him through another playthrough. So I’ve been going it alone.

The Division 2 officially releases on Friday and I’m terribly excited to play it, but I have a feeling I will largely be playing it solo which is a departure from how I played the first. One of my very regular co-op partners isn’t interested in getting it at launch, and my partner wasn’t wowed by the beta so he decided to pass.

I’ll be traipsing through D.C. solo.

That’s perhaps not entirely true. Two of my friends are getting The Division 2; hopefully I can team up with them here and there, but I’m starting to feel like a gaming pariah (though I know that’s more in my head than in reality). It’s just strange going from co-op gaming nearly every day (Destiny 2), to almost none at all. It shows me, yet again, how different my gaming landscape is now than it was even five years ago.

I love both co-op and solo play games, but there is something oddly sad about playing a game designed for co-op by myself. It’s not going to keep me from playing it, but it definitely won’t be the same.

Side note: no joke, as I sat here writing this, my partner came into the room and I told him I was bummed out about playing The Division 2 largely by myself. He straight up offered to play it with me even though he wasn’t into the beta. I appreciated that so much even though I declined. I appreciated the gesture more than anything.

Do you enjoy playing co-op games solo? Do you prefer solo or co-op games in general? Or do you enjoy both?

12 replies »

  1. I prefer to play co-op games. It’s gotten to a point that I have to push myself to play co-op games solo. I’ll usually avoid it and play a solo game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like co-op in principle more than execution. I’ve had great experiences with co-op in the past — drunken split-screen Halo at university was a particular highlight — but I’ve also had terrible ones. Ultimately it was terrible co-op experiences that caused me to hang up my Final Fantasy XIV adventurer’s hat once and for all after playing the game for over 3 years pretty consistently.

    Co-op with friends is great. The trouble is, no-one in my circle of friends ever wants to play anything any more. Two of the group of five that I regularly hang out and/or play with now have kids, and this apparently makes them completely unavailable to do anything fun at any point ever. The others never want to do anything unless everyone is doing something… so inevitably we just end up not doing anything. I’ve tried suggesting a variety of games that I know they’d all be into — particularly short-form stuff that would be friendly to the busier members of our group — but I tend to get very little enthusiasm in response.

    It doesn’t help that my social anxiety kind of precludes me from seeking out strangers with whom to play games online. I won’t voice chat with people I don’t know, and there are even times that I don’t like voice chatting with people I DO know. As you might expect, this makes it a bit difficult to make new friends who might be up for gaming a bit more often.

    But, even if that wasn’t a problem… I just enjoy single-player more, and I always have. I love immersing myself in a big RPG more than anything else, and that’s not something you can really do with someone else… unless you’re playing an MMO, and I don’t want to play another MMO, for although I loved Final Fantasy XIV for a long time, I’m still yet to play an online game that, for me personally (your mileage may vary, as ever!) is even a fraction as satisfying as the single-player experiences I love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Schedules make it so hard to line up play sessions with people for sure. I feel you there. And voice chat wigs me out, too. Every time I play with someone new I’m like VOICE ON VOICE CONTACT AAAAAAAAAAAAAA.

      And that makes complete sense. Immersing yourself in those worlds is amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoy both quite a bit. And reading this, I realized I (read: we’ve) never did the Portal 2 co-op short campaign. We should do that….or Borderlands or the Division 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh shoot, we never did. Also I think I’d be terrible at Portal. But I’d still try!

      Also thank you for being willing to play things you don’t want to just so we can play together. <3


  4. I like both, but I mostly play alone. Especially since becoming more chronically ill, it’s much easier to play alone, since I can pick my own schedule and pace.

    Once I get The Division 2, I’d be up to playing with you sometime, if you’d be interested.

    I also think you should play with your partner sometimes, unless it wouldn’t make sense to co-op sporadically.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can definitely understand that. I always feel bad when my health makes me crap out on plans. Which is…often. So I feel you.

      Oh we do play games together super often. He just isn’t super into The Division specifically and I didn’t want us to waste the money on buying it if he wasn’t really into it. That was all.


  5. One of these days, perhaps in the summer, I’ll have PS Plus and be able to get a multi-player game! I would love to play something with you! Even if it is just us on chat hanging out playing different games. I feel bad that I feel so busy and even though I interact with your posts on Facebook, never drop a hello or a comment. I apologize if that stings, I do not intend for that to happen!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, I’d love to get to play something with you sometime! Or yes, even on party chat!

      Oh, Allen. I just appreciate your friendship and kindness; your support has always been a lovely bonus. <3


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