Multiplayer-Only Item

There are video games that feature both Singleplayer and Multiplayer modes, and in at least some of those games, the gameplay has little to no differences between the two. Yet despite this, the Multiplayer tends to have special items, abilities and such that either do not appear in the Singleplayer mode at all (even though they technically could), or they do appear, but are completely useless in it. This trope is about such cases.

One of the potential reasons is that usually, these items are about causing Interface Screws to other players, which wouldn't work against AI-controlled opponents. In some other cases, certain items might appear only on Multiplayer because they would be too destructive or powerful in Singleplayer, or to give a sense of accomplishment to those who get their hands on them. Other times, things like The All-Seeing A.I. render things like stealth useless when used against computer-controlled enemies.

Note that this isn't specifically about just items, but also any kinds of abilities, powerups, units and such that either only appear in Multiplayer, or are worthless in Singleplayer. Also, both Multiplayer and Singleplayer must have very similar or identical gameplay for it to count; it doesn't count if Multiplayer and Singleplayer are wildly different and each uses completely different items.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Action Adventure Game 
  • In ToeJam & Earl, one of the presents available exclusively in a two-player game is called "Togetherness". When used, it brings the other player to the player who used it.

    Artillery Game 
  • Worms series:
    • Both Worms Armageddon and Worms World Party feature Invisibility, an utility that renders the entire team invisible to other players, which lasts until someone from the team fires a weapon. It appears only in online battles, which by default are restricted to human players.
    • In Worms Blast, there are a few weapons that are useless against AI-controlled opponents. A good example is the tentacle monster, which, if it catches a player, requires you to quickly mash a button in order to not get killed - AI enemies ALWAYS come out of it unharmed, meaning that it only causes them to be immobilized for like 5 seconds. The utility that reverses the controls doesn't seem to have any effect either.

    First-Person Shooter 
  • The Crystal Ball from Blood allows you to spy on other human players. Since there are none in singleplayer, the Crystal Ball is not present. To an extent the Orb's Secondary Fire is multiplayer-only as well, as it requires more Focus than Caleb has available.
  • In GoldenEye 007 for the N64:
    • Some characters only appear in Multiplayer, and many others only become playable in Multiplayer. The most notable example is Oddjob, whose low height is such a useful "ability" that a common house rule is "No Oddjob!".
    • Inverted in the case of one weapon that can be obtained without cheats in single player. The Phantom submachinegun is only available on the Frigate mission and does not appear anywhere else.
  • Death ball in Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and death alt in Metroid Prime: Hunters are temporary powerups that give the morph ball an instant death radius similar to the hyper ball from Metroid Prime Pinball. The classic Super Missiles are also available in Echoes Multiplayer, allowing super missiles to be rapidly fired.
  • Call of Duty has been doing this since the second game, with each game typically having at least a small handful of guns that can only be used in multiplayer. The Call of Duty: Black Ops games expand this to Nazi Zombies-only weapons, though alongside inversions with weapons only available in singleplayer, such as various World War II-era weapons taken from World at War showing up in the game, some only available in Zombies mode and others only usable in the singleplayer flashback mission "Project Nova". Black Ops II goes even further with the inversion, including an entire set of 60s-era weapons from the first Black Ops that can only be used in singleplayer.
  • Battlefield games ever since they've started having full singleplayer campaigns as of Battlefield: Bad Company tend toward this as well. Bad Company 2 in particular has a metric ton of modern Russian weapons that you never see outside of maybe one level, settling for arming 95% of the endless Russian hordes with just two guns. Battlefield 3 makes it less apparent, but still has some notable omissions from its campaign, like the fact that you only get to use a pistol one time (an M9 at the start of the first and last mission), and NPCs only use them twice (Solomon's .44 Magnum in the same missions as above, and Dima's MP-443 in a cutscene). 3 also has an inversion with the Barrett M107 - the devs felt there was no way to keep a proper depiction of the weapon balanced, so they opted to just not include it in multiplayer.
  • DOOM features a large number of weapons that are exclusive to multiplayer, such as the Burst Rifle, and features grenades and abilities designed to disorient players that are absent in the singleplayer modes.

    MMORPG 
  • Final Fantasy XIV has a set of abilities for each class that are only usable in PvP and cannot be used in PvE.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has items that grant players extra PvP fights per day, as well as items that you use to defend your campground when other players attack you. Both are useless if you don't opt into PvP.

    Platform Game 
  • Banjo-Tooie has a Multiplayer First-Person Shooter mode whose selectable characters are mostly NPCs in the Singleplayer game. It also has two exclusive items: Proximity Eggs, and Honey Jars (which grant temporary invisibility).
  • Several weapons and items in Conker's Bad Fur Day are exclusive to the Multiplayer mode, and those that appear in the story mode may only be used at specific points rather than full time. Examples include the katana, the silver magnum and the bat.
  • The two-player versus mode in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 would randomly replace item boxes with teleports (swaps the two players' positions) and Robotnik (causes the player to take damage and lose all of their rings).

    Puzzle Game 
  • In Gruntz, the Multiplayer levels are about conquering other players' fortresses. These Multiplayer levels feature Curses: special items whose purpose is to cause some temporary inconvenience (primarily Interface Screw) to other players, which includes shrinking the screen to a tiny rectangle, making the terrain pitch black, forcing the screen to shake, or causing the gruntz on the battlefield to randomly change their colours. While it's technically possible to put a Curse item on a Singleplayer level, they serve no purpose there, since there are no human players to be affected by it and AI-controlled opponents don't react to it either way. The only Curse that can be potentially useful is the one that changes gruntz' colours, allowing for a "remember who is who" kind of level.

    Racing Game 
  • Wipeout has the Multiplayer-only "REVCON" weapon that reverses an opponent's controls.
  • The "Ghost" item in Super Mario Kart is only useful in purely competitive multiplayer ("Match Race" and "Battle Mode"), and thus is only enabled in these modes.

    Real Time Strategy 
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn had some multiplayer-only units such as Commandos for both sides, as well as napalm missile launchers and chem soldiers for the Brotherhood of Nod.
  • In Command & Conquer: Red Alert, several units, buildings, and special abilities (Tanya, Soviet rocket soldiers and allied nuclear missiles, among others) are normally not available in the Singleplayer campaign, although they sometimes appear as unique units (sometimes even required to survive) in a couple of missions.
  • In Pikmin 2 and 3, the multiplayer modes include several items that can be earned randomly, and each of them provides a different effect either in favor of the player who got it, or against the rival player.
  • StarCraft II: Several Singleplayer upgrades are not available in Multiplayer (for obvious reasons), but there are some Multiplayer upgrades unavailable in Singleplayer. For example, both Marines and Marauders can use stimpacks in Multiplayer, but only Marines have it in Starcraft II Wings Of Liberty Singleplayer. Similarly, you can give Zerg units one of three upgrades at a time in Heart of the Swarm's campaign, but in Multiplayer, Zergling can have both attack and movespeed increased (instead of one or the other or increased life).
  • Warcraft III:
    • The Night Elf campaign denies you the use of Chimeras, their most powerful air unit, for Fake Difficulty. The expansion allows you to use them during the penultimate level, but only due to a case of This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman.
    • The expansion's Blood Elf campaign removes all human and dwarven units (though some have elven equivalents). However, it also gives you Game Breaker Naga units to compensate.
    • Many missions have only one or two neutral structures (and even then tend to be watered-down versions), while Multiplayer can have many more.

    Role Playing Game 
  • Bravely Default has abilink, which allows for using moves and skills that were sent or learned, respectively, by anyone on your 3DS friend list.
  • Dark Souls has summon orbs: they allow you to "invade another player", which means entering another player's game to do PvP. Of course, they are absolutely useless in solo mode - the few times you can invade NPCs (Lautrec in the first game, Licia in the second) requires using unique orbs meant only for that purpose.
  • Mass Effect 3:
    • The characters you can play as in the Multiplayer co-op mode have exclusive powers pertaining to their own race that don't appear in the Singleplayer mode. There are DLCs that allow Shepard to use those powers, but only two powers (Dark Channel and Lash) are brought from the Multiplayer to the Singleplayer mode.
    • More in line with the trope, there are the "Supply" items: missile launchers which Instant KO any enemy touched by the blast, Health Packs that instantly restore all health and shields, and an Ammo Pack which refills all Ammo and grenades.
  • The Wonder Launcher in Pokémon Black and White is an item that allows you to use items in matches against other players, including items that do not show up in Singleplayer games such as more powerful XS defense if used correctly.

    Shoot-Em Up 
  • Bazookas in Star Fox 64, if you do well enough in Singleplayer to earn them for Multiplayer. Star Fox Assault has demon launchers (a more powerful homing launcher), stealth suits, fire burst pods, booster packs, predator rockets, demon snipers and cluster bombs.

    Turn-Based Strategy 
  • Culdcept has the Haunt spell, causing a Cepter to be controlled by the (not very bright) computer for two turns. Quite damaging to players, but useless in Singleplayer (to you, anyway) since your opponents there are already controlled by the computer.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • In Grand Theft Auto V', some cars available in Online do not show up in Singleplayer: specifically the Hijak Khameleon and Grotti Stinger GT from the core game.

    Unlisted 
  • The first South Park video game (for Nintendo 64, IBM Personal Computer, and PlayStation) had the Alien Dancing Gizmo, which causes players to sing and dance uncontrollably when hit by its beam (just like Cartman in the episode "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe") — if you hit Cartman with it, he'll make one of two comments after it wears off. Obviously, it is completely useless in the Singleplayer mode if you use cheats to have a full arsenal. To a lesser extent, there's the Warpo Ray. In addition to the piranhas, you can fire a yellow laser that shrinks other players, and a purple beam that transforms other players into helpless animals. When used against Singleplayer enemies, however, they merely damage them.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MultiplayerOnlyItem