The cognitive dissonance going on here is amazing...
Now, how can you argue with that!?!?
But, check this out; All I know is there be some truly gifted, and when I say gifted, I mean virtual savant type motherfuckers who play MP with awe inspiring talent. If you know only slightly the rudiments of gameplay, to watch one of their replays and be able to recognize the micro mechanics required to pull off some of the most jaw dropping tactical maneuvers, is to witness a pageantry of gaming wizardry that will make you seriously doubt your own eyes.
Gamers like this are what's known as Ubah. They deserve, and belong in a class by themselves. They dictate the height of the bar, not by edict, but by demonstration. The example they set is what propels the competitive spirit. This is a good thing. No matter the perversion created in it's wake, competition remains the vehicle of excellence. Player vs Player is what drives it. Simply characterized, it is the pursuit of worthwhile engagement. Not egocentric peen fluffing, but at it's purest, highly valued contests.
Esteemed or not, this is at the core of its acclaim, and its problem. Because there is such a shortage of "good" players at any given time nowadays, getting a "good game" comes at more and more of a premium. The stakes are higher when you factor in the narrow window to get a game going relative to not only how long it takes to fill a lobby, but actually thread all the needles to get it launched. Then there is the added uncertainty of lag instability, mini dumps, and smurfacide. This is what has devolved the act of "playing a game" into an inscrutable menagerie of Russian Roulette. The stress weighs heavily on some, and turns otherwise sensible fellows into temporary insanity candidates.
The fact that the MP player base is so difficult to get into is not lost on the community, but it's not about being sensitive to potential new players anymore. The law of diminishing returns is in full enforcement nowadays, and I dare say it's not that no one cares, it's that no one sees any results from caring. It's unreasonable to expect a community that has painted themselves into a corner to open up when would be 'new blood' can't accept why they're in the corner in the first place. They judge them as elitist or egotistical without walking a mile in their shoes. MP diehards are so diehard because as one veteran put it, "there isn't anything like it".
The only way one can understand is to be bitten by the MP bug and find one day that it's crawled halfway up on your back where it's mutated into a monkey. To others all they see is an 800 lb gorilla though. A little bit gunslinger, a little bit crisis junkie, and a whole lot of by-the-autobiographical-book titled, "Formula for Success in MP - How to alienate disrespectful adversaries, and influence mutual regard amongst fellow multiplayers".
There is one fundamental reason this game has retained the nucleus of MP'rs that it has over all these years, and as simple as it is, it's hard to accept. Sins, with all it's flaws, quirks, maddening deficiencies, and outright unrequited potential remains unique in all of gamedom. Yes, the promo tag line said it all, "...unrivaled...". It's not about what it could have been anymore, it is what it is now and that's still one of a kind, yet unequaled, and thus special to many who would rather relish it as they may for as long as they may.
I don't know how many SP's there are that still consider it the most fun game they own. I suspect this is why you don't see leader boards for best sport, friendliest opponent, or players with the highest "FUN RANKINGS" for SP. But, there is no shame in a game of casual cyber grab ass, and if you like your gaming recreation like you like your medical marijuana -PRESCRIBED- then by all means light it up! It's yo thang, do whatchoo wanna do now baby! Passing judgment on MP though will remain unfulfilling because they are not the enemy.
Mods on the other hand are true works of art and science in their own right and should be appreciated as such. There should be a voting academy that sanctions the best mods and recognition for their creator(s), along with a paid contracts to develop an expansion. Modders for their part are part repressed mad genius, and frustrated gamers if you ask me, but vive la différence as they say.
In conclusion of this bloviated dissertation; Do you like modding a bad ass mod that takes untold hours of dedication, skill, and effort into layers and layers of immersion to render ever increasing levels of sophistication? Or do you like to while away the hours in a virtual hyper realm of induced imaginative reality playing an epic SP war against supreme cosmic villains? Or, is team play your game - a contest of wits and skill that pits your best against your fellow competitors best in a clash of titans (yeah, I said it) for a winner take all, no holds barred, struggle to the finish?
Fundamentally its a question of disciplines. Which do you want to develop that you derive the most rewards? I think most MP'rs would tell you they value the contest above outcome. There is a point where victory is the last thing your worried about because the struggle is so great, it becomes it's own reward. This is the essence of MP. Outsiders who can't grasp this simple premise is likely because they think there is a man behind the curtain to which they shouldn't be paying attention. In other words the same who consider how you make your bed makes no difference once your lying in it.