TL/DR: GBX didnt just drop the ball on this one, they deflated it and part of the community helped.
Things were ok-ish pre M2.0. There were connection issues and the absence of server browser was a bummer. Still, it was fairly easy to find players and there were only 4 Mayhem levels and the game was balanced enough that if you played coop you didn’t have one player doing all the killing.
Come M2.0 the matchmaking design took a nose dive with 10 Mayhem levels and you had to swap between them if you couldn’t find a match in one. Still, this was around DLC2 and cartel event so there was still plenty excitement to be had. The connection issues on all platforms still persisted.
A while later, after users reported that they didnt like having to swap between mayhem levels, one GENIUS implemented a feature where as long as you are ON mayhem, you can get matched with player of ANY mayhem. So you had mayhem 10 players getting matched with mayhem 1. Naturally it made the game boring for both parties and discouraged online play with randoms. This change also seemed to go under the radar with the reddit sub because even now, when someone asks why matchmaking is ■■■■■, they list that there are too many matchmaking options (which hasn’t been a thing for about a year).
From here on, GBX did nothing to improve matchmaking design or coop balance and considering my last point, it may be for the best.
Sadly, part of the community added fuel to the fire. From the release day players (at least on the reddit sub) were very vocal about keeping their games closed due to modders.
I’ve met about a dozen modders throughout the two years and only one or two were problematic. The rest were friendly and were happy to use proper guns in coop. The last time I had real fun in this game was when o joined a modded lobby in which all enemies had raid level health and all loot was world drops (including data mined stuff). THAT was mayhem. Cherry on top, he was a friendly player.
More often than not, the following player behaviour was observable:
- getting kicked right on join
- getting friendly fired with a rocket launcher (almost always Zanes, for some reason) - on purpose. There’s no way to mistake being tea bagged.
- player AFK
- player leaves game on public but facing bosses (killing within seconds) then quitting
- player quitting right as you join
Pair the bad design with connection issues, slow load times, community not wanting to play with randoms, balance that allows one player to erase a raid Boss in under 10 seconds and I’m left wondering why they’d bother introducing coop function at all. It’s amazing the current community events are getting completed.