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Will the best game in the world finally become playable? »

FERDY CHRISTANT - NOV 4, 2010 (08:30:59 PM)

Few of you know that I am a gamer at heart. If I would not be hindered by responsibilities (which are good!) I would probably play games all day every day. Knowing myself I therefore restrain myself to one game at a time only, which I may then play for a year or more whenever the opportunity arises. I also restrain myself in types of games, they have to be games that I can disconnect with easily. I will therefore never ever start playing WoW or other games that require continuous attention.

I tend to love first person shooters (FPS). I do not care that the genre is not very original and I care even less about the story involved in such games. It is about the gameplay and competition. In this area, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is my favorite game of all time. It is the speed, insanely competitive gameplay, enormous amount of weapons, customization options, killstreaks, equipments, deathstreaks and so much more that is keeping me hooked for a long time now. You really have to acquire speed, skills, detailed map knowledge and strategic insight to stand a chance in the ultra competitive environment of this game.

However, despite all this praise for MW2, the multiplayer experience of the PC version is one of the worst of all:

  • There are no dedicated servers. This means users are hosting the games. Users as in a user's desktop, not a real server either (not allowed). It takes forever to join one.
  • User-based hosting causes lag all over the place. You may shoot somebody on your screen yet not hit them because the other user has moved in a different position already and the network can't keep up.
  • In the midst of a game, a user which is hosting the game may just leave. Host migration then kicks in which often fails
  • You cannot really browse for hosts or maps. You can select your game mode and then the engine selects a random map and tries to find a user hosting it. You cannot play your favorite map or go to a favorite host this way. It's all out of your control
  • Sometimes the hosting engine joins you into a game that has already been lost or where there are 5 seconds left. In addition, there is a one minute intermission between games. In practice, you spend a lot of your time waiting, not playing online.
  • There's no auto team balancing once a game is in progress. If one or two of your team are leaving this is a guarantee for losing the game so it has an exodus effect and you might as well stop.
  • There are a fair amount of unbalanced elements in the game that are never fixed:
    • Noob tubing: unskilled players shooting their grenade launchers all over the map, with an allmost guaranteed one-hit kill. Combined with a secondary RPG and a grenade it takes little skill to "perform". Skill becomes unvalued.
    • Quick scoping: A technique that allows snipers to use their one-shot kill weapon from both far away and up close because the scope zoom is too fast.
    • Duck and shoot: Players jumping, diving and then immediately shooting. The time between the dive and shoot is zero, making this an efficient misuse of a defensive tactic.
    • Killstreaks such as the Chopper Gunner and AC130 are way overpowered and most often simply mean the end of the game.
  • Saving the worst for last, there are hackers everywhere, ruining the gameplay even more, and nothing is done about it. The most common one is the wall hack, where cheaters see other players through objects. More subtle methods, such as two friends chosing opposing sides, user 1 killing user 2 by agreement 25 times over for a nuke (= end of game) are not battled either.

Not such a great game now, eh? But there is light at the end of the tunnel. At November 9th, Activision will launch Call of Duty: Black Ops, the sequel to MW2. From the announcements so far, it seems they will pretty much fix all the issues mentioned above, will have dedicated servers, and new game modes and customization options.

Finally. If this means that the best game ever gets the online experience that it deserves, I'm sold.

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Comments: 2

COMMENT: FERDY

NOV 9, 2010 - 03:31:46 PM

comment » @Bas: Was actually thinking of waiting in line but decided to wait for a day and order it online. I'm thrilled though, looking forward to this so much. «

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