Random Rants: Why I suddenly hate Infinity Wards.

Infinity wards is the game studio behind the horrendously good game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.

Modern Warfare was a new step for the COD franchise, not being in the endless slug of WWII games. The resulting story was brilliant, engaging, and thought-provoking, as well as downright fun.
However, past the Single Player there was an incredibly deep multiplayer, based on team play with a leveling system that let you slowly improve over time. Personally it was the second best multiplayer I’ve ever seen.

Then there was Modern Warfare 2.
Now, same style of game, same studio. So what exactly is different?

Infinity Wards, in their infinite wisdom, decided to make the PC multiplayer without use of third-party dedicated servers.

For you guys not in the know, dedicated servers are the bread and butter of PC multiplayer. A server is a computer that’s designed to run programs and send data to multiple computers at the same time, which is why they’re sodding awesome.
They allow multiplayer to expand with modifications, custom maps, a bunch of other tweaks depending on the game. It also allows communities to form around servers, meaning you get to play with a group of people who are friendly and fun to play with. Of course there’s still nondescript servers around the place, which means you can have whatever play experience you want, the choices are infinite. There’s also the benefit of being able to quickly ban hackers, mute micspammers, all being controlled by the admin of the server.

Now, I don’t hate the 360, but I think the players are being screwed over by having to pay for an online service that in many ways is sub par. And one of the major problems is that they have a terrible online system, which at best has developer hosted servers, and at worst (And far more likely) one persons 360 acts as the server, and as a result they get a huge advantage.

The effect is that the PC experience, with all its customisation ability, is gone, and replaced by a boring vanilla controlled by the developers which, while mildly acceptable, isn’t going to make anyone happy, especially not the guys I go to a LAN with every month or so. Especially not when they make the player limit 9v9, which is completely stupid from a gameplay perspective, and probably brought on by the fact they’re going to have to front the bill for the servers themselves, and account for peer-to-peer hosting, which they could have avoided if I remember correctly. And the lack of dedicated admins mean that they’re going to have hackers, micspammers, and a bunch of exploiters.

The PC community has made it very clear they don’t want this to happen. There’s even been a petition with nearly 20,000 signatures.
So why, in all sanity, would you want to take a system as good for the player as the PC multiplayer, and turn it into  a console version of the multiplayer? It’s not fair for the people who were looking forward to an improved version of the multiplayer from COD4, and has logically no upsides to the playing experience.

The first Modern Warfare game was one of the most pirated I’ve seen. While you couldn’t go online, people used programs like Hamachi (making a virtual lan and bypassing online CD key checks) to bypass this, and as a result IW lost a lot of money. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be people who pirate games on the PC, and to think you can stop that is just stupid, best to put your best anti-piracy on the software and leave it, not to make the game not worth buying to stop the people not buying it.

So, in an effect to stop pirates, they’ve made the game effectively not worth pirating. Not to mention ignoring the 20,000+ people that would have bought the game if it wasn’t a pile of crap now.

For me, this game, and possibly all COD games to come, are not worth my time anymore. It’s a pity, but if they’ve made it clear that they so desperately don’t want me to buy their games, I won’t.

Maybe Bad Company 2 will be a little more welcoming.

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