Call of Duty: I have seen better days (Part 2)

In Call of Duty: I have seen better days (Part 1) we covered just some of the issues that have come about since the onset of Call of Duty. Now onto Part 2.  This is where all hell breaks loose.

Things were looking up for the new game.  There were a bunch of new perks, weapons, equipment, and maps.  I first noticed some trouble when they announced one killstreak called Tactical Nuke.  Even with the high 25 killstreak needed, no player should be able to end the game prematurely.  One might even think 25 kills was high enough.  However, with stacking killstreaks,  it is nothing a couple helicopters couldn’t get one through to.  It wasn’t a deal breaker though.  It was off-setting, but I was still on track to enjoy this next installment.  Then came black Saturday.  On October 17th, 2009, a community podcast called Bash and Slash held an interview with IW’s community manager, Rob Bowling (aka: 402).  They poked for some new features that they might get from the new game.  However, the answer they got was IWNET, the matchmaking service that was carried over from console to PC, and doing away with dedicated servers.

Now, to be fair, I would agree that finding the right server could sometimes be clunky.  However, it was not reason enough to throw away dedicated servers.  Dedicated servers have some issues but the idea has lasted as long as it did because it was purely community driven.  The community puts up the servers, sets up the rules, uploads the mods, manage it, and can even resell slots for their own purpose when they are not using it.  This also created quality control that many server providers took to heart.  As with any server, there would also be community admins to manage and keep out hackers.  Granted, it wasn’t foolproof, but it was enough to keep the hackers at bay.  With IWNET, they threw all of this away.  They took away what made the game a PC game.

Things didn’t get better as a couple IW employees had a forum interview hosted by Best Buy.  Here, we found out just how bad things were.  There would be no console for people to change commands on the fly.  There would be no lean because the game “wasn’t balanced” for it.  When accused of it being just a straight console port, they countered with “No, in the PC version, there is Mouse/Keyboard support and Graphic settings”.  That is a quote, it is not taken out of context nor paraphrased.  This is where I think I can speak at least for the majority of PC gamers in saying that is a direct insult on all PC gamers.  If you think a PC game is only a version with (minimal) graphic settings and support for keyboard/mouse, you should never make a PC game.

The community rose up and decided to boycott the game.  I joined the ranks and stood strong as launch day arrived.  However, my comrades were less determined:

Boycotts do nothing

Discouraging, yes.  However, I made sure that I would stick with my boycott.  I have to this day and will continue no matter how long.  The P2P servers had the issues everyone knew they would, but IW did not listen.  MW2 went on to die a lonely death on the PC. Sadly though, the damage done to the FPS genre was already done.  This effect was so ever lasting that it would effect future PC FPS games to come.

With this PR disaster, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 was born to pick up the slack.  Even with all their talk of sheltering PC gamers from the IW boogieman, they too had terrible issues.  I do not want to take too long so I will leave with this:  really buggy game, no new maps, no mod tools, servers that could only be purchased from one company (aka: no choice).   Same issues, different game.  Next up was Treyarch.  They needed to clean up the disaster that was MW2.

Coming in, Treyarch were ones to at least listen to the community in some respect.  However, the games they put out would be buggy and riddled with issues.  There is a reason the patches in World at War were so large and many.  As Black Ops (aka: BlOps) came to launch, not too many details were disclosed on all of the features.  I decided to give this one a shot anyways on launch day.  They still went with only one server provider to hand out servers, however, they allowed private matches so it was a decent replacement for LAN servers.  They had console, but many of the commands we not changeable from console, disabling the power user from fine tuning his game while in game.  They had promised mod tools after launch, but have yet to see them.  I doubt they will ever come out because last time I heard a promise of something after launch, it happened almost a full year after the release and the content released was so buggy, it was unplayable.

Black Ops still had its issues, but they got it to a point where things were at least tolerable.  However, the series would never be competition friendly ever again.  I feel as if the COD series was a good friend long ago, but then became rich, became a douche, and never come by ever again.  Here he comes (as BlOps) saying he is sorry so he brings in a case of nanny light and thinks everything is all better now.  There are still huge imbalances that have mysteriously stayed for the last 3 Call of Duty games now.  The problems only seem to stagnate or get worse with time.  This will most likely be the last Call of Duty game I play for awhile.  Maybe Its time to mozy into something else that will have a listening developer and a thriving community *cough*TF2*cough*.  Goodbye for now Call of Duty.  You provided many good memories over the years, but the abuse has to stop.

Overall, the Call of Duty franchise has made lasting effects on the FPS realm.  They have had a massive variety of features created and then copied by other games.  Sadly, one of those is dedicated servers.  It is a sad day whenever I see a PC game actually advertise dedicated servers on the back of the box.  Its brings a tear to my eye how much has been taken from the genre without giving back.  Let this be a lesson to new comers to the FPS genre,  know your roots.  There might not have been perks or killstreaks, but we still had so much more with mod tools and actual dedicated servers.  And so, I end this article with this: Until the day comes where dedicated servers are replaced by something more effective, or mod tools become illegal, never let IW nor any game company get away with any excuse for not including dedicated servers for multiplayer or mod tools.  You owe it to yourself, not if you are just a PC fanboy, but as a Gamer that demands the basic standards of their video games.

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Comments

Posted On
Jan 19, 2011
Posted By
Toronto

I totally on almost every single point, CoD derived itself from the pc community, and BlOps ist trying to earn praise for that. I mean – the devs did some outright stupid comments on pc-versions altogether, with Kotick in place the company just blews out utter bullshit, year for year.
I do not get the CoD-Hype altogether. Yeah, MW was a good game – but was MW2? In my opinion it is EXACTLY the same game as MW1 with slightly different maps (which are not so different at all after all). And BlOps is following that path – it is uninspired, works like crap (or not at all) and the publisher obviously does not care about the customers. After the release of WaW you have yet to see a lot of missing patches for MW2. The same thing will happen to BlOps, once the new CoD is out the support for this game will go down the drain.

But there is something I have to disagree on, talking about BFBC2:
“really buggy game, no new maps, no mod tools, servers that could only be purchased from one company”

All these things have been fixed by Dice. And while the lack of new maps might be disappointing for the first 6 months, it is understandable. At least they figured out their problems and eliminated them. Now you get new maps. Still missing are mod tools, but it is possible to rent servers from more providers nowadays.

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Posted On
Jan 19, 2011
Posted By
Oni

Nice. I haven’t bought a CoD ever since it went console. As a loyal PC gamer I cringe at the idea of console features in my platform of choice especially when developers leave out dedicated servers and mods from games just because the consoles couldn’t handle them.
At the moment I’m a ardent Battlefield Bad Company 2 online player and enjoyed it so much. Of course, the lack of mod support is the major flaw that seem to stick out from a game that originated from a humble beginning that was kept alive by modders (BF1942, Desert Combat mod, BF2….).

Then, CoD Black Ops came out and I was tempted to buy. I wisely waited for reviews and I heard it was not coded to utilize the GPU, an obviously console centric design. Yes there were patches but the damage is done. – I won’t buy it. I find it insulting when a developer promised that they’ll support the PC version but gave us the opposite end result. Promising they’ll bring back dedicated servers is a moot point if they forget that a PC works best if the trinity of CPU, GPU and RAM are fully utilized. Besides BFBC2 have spoiled me with it’s fully destructible environment.
I’m saving up money to build a new PC to as my first Windows 7 rig. All because of Battlefield 3 won’t support XP. DICE promised the PC version will be “special”. Let’s hope they are true to their words. I have been screwed by Microsoft when they pulled Alan Wake from the PC, after I spent a year in building a Vista PC. As a result I didn’t buy Vista when it was launched and maybe I should thank M’soft for not letting me suffer through it.

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