Co-op games need improved story progress framework
Two of my favorite co-op game are Borderlands and Dead Island. Both are huge, open world sandboxes with a loot system that encourages replay. They also both share a glaring flaw: cumbersome shared story progress. Although XP is shared at all times, for players to share in the story progress they must be at the same point chronologically. Quests cannot be done without prerequisites having been completed.
The fact that in both these games, everyone had to be extremely close, not only in level, but in terms of the story, has always annoyed me. Friends who join a session late often find they are getting messages that any story progress the host makes will not count toward their own games. This co-op structure always seems to force the group to either quit and start over for the guy who got on late, or force that guy to do everything over again later. I really wish they’d fix this in such a way to make it play like Gears of War or Halo, where every act and chapter counts toward your progress, no matter what order you do it in.
I can understand the mechanics behind not being able to take credit for a quest you drop into right in the middle, but if you’re in a session and a completely new quest gets started, then players should all be able to get credit for completing it. As co-op play becomes more and more popular as a mode among gamers, then publishers need to work to make the framework more seamless.