My favourite games used to be the immersive single player types that I could really get deep into, but now I much prefer online stuff.
tbh, I had started to lose interest in games a few years ago until discovered xbox LIVE, and it seemed to open up a whole new area that really got me back into gaming in a big way.
During the last generation, I had a Gamecube. a PS2 and an Xbox, but I only really played once or twice a month for a few hours. Most of the time I'd just play MP games with my friends, like FIFA or some shooter.
But one day I spalshed out on a 360 with GRAW, and after playing once online, I've been doing it ever since.
I really enjoy the idea of testing yourself against so many other people in the world. In some ways it's the perfect AI you play against, because there's nothing artificial about it. It's a fantastic challenge to play people who can adapt to the way that you play, and it's a massive buzz when you win.
I understand what you say about getting whooped, but that's just all part of the learning curve. I often play online games where I can see that someone totally new to the game is playing me, but I'm not going to go easy on them. The best thing to do is probably to play with friends anyway. Either just amongst yourselves, or together against other groups of people.
I play with the same group almost every day, and most of the time we laugh, joke and have a good time playing the game.
I meet loads of different people all the time, some much more amiable than others, from all over the world, which is nice. Sure, you have to put up with some really stupid people, but they are relatively few, and beating them just makes the experience even sweeter.
I still enjoy single player games, but the best game experience is online if you ask me.