18 January 2010

Call of Duty and Gaming Links, 18 January 2010

History repeats itself...

    Ars Technica has posted a bombshell: What we and Activision learned from Modern Warfare 2. Others have said it first. But it signifies more to see a respected source like Ars Technica say it: "PC gaming doesn't matter." And they're right -- as far as the money goes. The Ars article goes on to note that MW2 would not have been what it was without PC gamers and their contributions, but that doesn't figure into Activision's calculations. They don't care, and they demonstrated that by with-holding until 3 weeks before release the info that the PC version of MW2 would be stripped of dedicated servers, custom mapping, or game mods.
    One item the Ars article missed was that Activision and Infinity Ward don't care much about console players, either. Overseas MW2 players have been complaining and campaigning in this Infinity Ward forum local search thread started on 12 November 2009 -- 2 days after the game's release. Mind you, local search had been a hot topic during MW2's production run-up, well before the much anticipated 10 November 2009 release date. The success of the user-selected local search option in Treyarch's Call of Duty: World at War led MW2 forumers and twitter participants request the inclusion of the local search toggle.

    The official response, days before the official release date, as quoted in the OP of the 12 November IW forum thread linked above, was that the local search function had been built into the back end of MW2 matchmaking, so there was essentially no need for a user toggle. It would all be done for the player behind the scenes. Libel laws and politeness make me hesitant to use the word "lie". I think the words "player" and "behind" were involved, all right, but they signified the pranging that foreign players, especially those in Australia, got in red-bar connection games once everyone in the continental US got home and took the shrink wrap off their copy of Modern Warfare 2. The local search thread has run to 125 pages as of 18 November 2009, and the local search function is still bollixed up in MW2 matchmaking without much in the way of an official response or commitment to fix the problem.
    One would expect that, since Treyarch utilized the CoD 4 engine in Call of Duty: World at War, that Infinity Ward would follow suit and absorb some of the uncontested improvements of the latter game. Many assumed that the "squad system" of the World at War multiplayer lobby would carry over with its ease of use and helpful colored highlights to identify your squad/party mates in the lobby. Nope. The MW2 multiplayer lobby remains buggier and less reliable in retaining party members than its predecessor. We all continue to burn incense and chant "Everyone hold hands!" when going into an MW2 lobby. How does that happen, since it's the same engine? Perhaps there's some legal or technical reason why effective common-sense improvements in the lobby system made by Treyarch in World at War were overlooked by Infinity Ward for Modern Warfare 2, but we've yet to hear anything about getting those shortcomings fixed in some other manner.
    There's a rivalry between the Infinity Ward and Treyarch studios (and that extends to the rabid fanboi elements in each camp who flame at the drop of a forum post). If this is why Infinity Ward failed to include much needed lobby system and match-making features, it is insane. The devs need to get their heads out of their fourth point of contact and fix, first and foremost, the local search function and the crippled lobby system. Yes, Modern Warfare 2 is a great multiplayer game. But it stings all the more having this great thing to do with friends and enduring unnecessary grief to do it.

    The YouTube link below for ThatGuyWhoCamps is a really good TDM game on Terminal. He's particularly skilled at dropping prone as he lays fire on his targets. I've never acquired the knack for it, but it sure seems to be effective. The best moment in the vid is at around 4 mins. He's wounded by two guys near the L intersection at BurgerTown. He falls back and gets both of the enemy with his AUG as they come at him. He even manages to evade an apparent martyrdom grenade one dropped out of his butthole.

    On to the links:
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    Non-Gaming Links:

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