Posts Tagged ‘black ops’

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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Call of Duty: I have seen better days. (Part 1)

Before I get on my soapbox, I must mention that I have been a Call of Duty fan ever since the first game came out.  I have owned almost every COD game that has come out on PC.  I have played competitively in almost every COD game to be released on PC.

Well, now time for that soapbox….wait a sec, let me hammer this nail in…*bangbangbang**…..ok, good enough. WARNING:  In the end, this is a rant and should not be conceived as any other group’s thoughts.  I will try to be constructive as possible and only expect the same from anyone else.

I thought this appropriate after hearing the release numbers for the latest game in the series (Black Ops).  Hearing that it had the biggest release day, beating Modern Warfare 2, and also had the most money spent on it for development, I expected…..more.

Ever since the release of Call of Duty 2, the PC has only ever been served a lowly port of the game.  However, it didn’t start lowly at first.  If you are old enough to remember vCoD and UO, then I tip my hat to you.  I speak of the first Call of Duty and the first expansion pack United Offensive.

Ahh the good ol days.  The days when a gun had recoil, maps spanned large distances, melee took 2-3 hits to kill someone, and grenades were not nuclear (do a lot of damage from far away).  Its always interesting to go back and play an old game.  You can find yourself in a completely different time and world of gameplay.  Without going on this rant early, I want to point out one thing about the early games.  They had a wide skill gap.  A skill gap is determined by both sides given the exact same weapon and who is going to come out the victor most.  I will use COD1 as my skill gap comparison for the later games.  Next is Call of Duty 2, the first big sequel IW would come out with and the first big COD console game.

My literal first words when I first started playing Call of Duty 2 was “Wow, this map is small” (playing on matmata).  Sadly, it didn’t get much better.  The next thing was the gun recoil lessened and a Hold your breathe button turned a couple heads and “ORly?”.  However, Even this console port had a decent amount of features (including allowing you to change the DX level, a feature that allowed one to play the game on even the oldest PC gaming machines).  With mod tools, we were able to create our own maps, and mod out the “ported” features that were console specific (holding your breathe for the sniper rifle was only ever created for the console).  The storm was only a slight drizzle, but quite manageable.

When the news of Call of Duty 3 broke, people started looking up.  However, things went south quickly after hearing immediately afterward that is was a console only game.  Since Treyarch was the developer though, many hearts were not broken to hear that the game did not live up to the COD name.  I like to think of this as a look at things to come still.

Next was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.  Since the PC community was still playing Call of Duty 2, it was a long wait for a new game and a good look forward to a refresh of the series.  However, what was delivered was yet worse.  I did not think maps could get smaller after Call of Duty 2 but I was proven wrong.  I did not think the gun recoil could get any lower than Call of Duty 2, I was proven wrong (and if you disagree, look up the scorpion + silencer glitch).  This latest installment also brought along the gametype that I believe to be the biggest abomination to FPS….hardcore.  Summary of my feelings on that, encourages TOO MUCH camping.  Why not just ignore hardcore servers, well, if 90% of servers did not have hardcore turned on, I would (and 7% of the normal servers are full or empty).  Although they mention they listen to the community (which is how they came up with hardcore), apparently they don’t listen to many.

Time for a little story that you won’t see in many places.  Punkbuster was not stopping many hackers.  The main competition modders of the PC community knew this and worked to improve upon this.  To let you know the credit of these modding gods, they are able to break through punkbuster in 10 minutes flat.  Anyway, they submitted their product to IW and get the usual “We will get back to you”.  In a couple weeks, it was announced that they will again use Punkbuster.  I bet you feel better about now about playing PC games online.

Back on track, With the inclusion of so much on Modern Warfare, it was a good variety.  Mod tools can again fix small maps and turn off perks if need be.  The patches even came a bit more with this one.  Sadly, the PC community manager for IW left after this installment, and the storm was only beginning.

Many were not too cheery to hear Treyarch was going to be developing the next Call of Duty game.  With the not so stellar release of COD3, standards were low.  However, they took a page from World of Warcraft clones, if you can’t beat it, copy it.  The first thing I noticed about Call of Duty: World at War, the game was quite similar to Modern Warfare, just with many new skins.  It was a bit better with the inclusion of a new zombie mode and guns not being so powerful.  Even the maps were growing larger again.  However, the game had MANY MANY bugs.  The patches themselves total in over 3GB worth of files (spread across 5 separate files).

Infinity Ward was up again and they needed to out do themselves after Call of Duty 4.  However, what they would deliver would turn out would have the worst PR for a game that anyone has seen.  As a bonus, Call of Duty: I have seen better days (Part 2) will have dedicated servers and keyboard/mouse support.  Stay tuned…

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