Modern Warfare 2 has long earned the ire of PC gamers for its lack of dedicated servers, but Infinity Ward has now announced that it’s taking away much more than control over hosting with the game in one long face-palm of a question and answer session. No servers, no console, no mods, no problem!
Infinity Ward needs to realize that talking to people in the PC community does not end well for the buzz around its game. The lack of dedicated servers was "announced" during an interview with a gaming podcast, and the interviewers were stunned into silence when they were basically told their community, as they knew it, was dead. They would have to learn to adapt to Infinity Ward controlling all aspects of the servers, or move onto another game.
More recently, Best Buy hosted an online chat between gamers and Mackey McCandlish and Ryan Lastimosa from Infinity Ward. The floor was open for questions, and the pair systematically crushed any hope that the PC version of the game would even attempt to make gamers happy, or allow for what the community has been taking for granted for years. We’re going to take a look at some of the more telling questions from this session, and give our thoughts on why this is bad, bad news.
Josh111: PC Question… What will the max amount of players per map be for PC multiplayer on IW.net
No matter how good a connection the host has, no matter how powerful your dedicated server was, the maximum number of players online is 18. If you have a larger clan, you’re out of luck. If you’re waiting for someone to create a custom map to allow larger groups, don’t bother. There is no news on mod tools or the ability to add your own content into the locked-down server structure.
Infinity Ward says the maps are balanced for only nine players per side, but they also say there is no lean in the game because the game "isn’t balanced for lean." Remember, you can easily answer any inconvenient questions by saying it would ruin the game’s balance.
Somehow, I doubt between the past games and this one they’ve forgotten how to implement lean. Likewise, with the ability to run your own servers players can decide what size games they’d like to play on, or use new maps that are larger. As the system is set up now, however, that is simply not an option.
Q: Is there a console in the PC version of the game, so we can change our field of view from the xbox’s default 65 FOV to 80 also can we tweaks the weapon damage for each gun, removes perks, graphical debris, breathing sway, also thru console like we where able to before or is this all gone?
Vince-IW: We would like you to play the game the way we designed and balanced it.
The lack of console commands is going to be something that may not make the headlines, but may be one of the most annoying omissions to the game. The ability to tweak and adjust your play experience through the console is something PC gamers have enjoyed since… well, since there has been modern gaming.
There is a long list of adjustments and tweaks gamers can make to titles like Borderlands on the PC in order to adjust settings. Now you’re locked into whatever options Infinity Ward sees fit to put into the menus.
This is, for all intents and purposes, a console game that plays on your PC. You won’t be able to make any tweaks, you can’t adjust anything, and even better? You won’t be able to make recordings of your matches. The question in the chat showed just how far the gulf between what gamers want and what Infinity Ward is giving them has become. "Is there a /record feature? Answer yes… please. We’re trying to give you a ‘chance’," the gamer asked. The answer was a simple "No."
DudezTY: Since we cannot kick people in ranked matches, how will we stop hackers who get past VAC?
Mackey-IW: Our goal is to ban hackers from the game.
It’s a shame that it’s impossible to show a jaw dropping on an online chat. There will be no way to kick players, and Infinity Ward seems sure they’ll simply be able to keep hackers and cheaters from playing.
That’s a pipe dream, of course, but with no control in the hands of the players, no ability to control who is hosting, and no ability to kick or ban players from your game, you’re just going to have to take their word for it.
kaRMa: Please give me a direct answer. On the PC version. Are all games hosted by players, and is there a five-second delay when host migration is in effect?
Why is this a problem? Because Infinity Ward also revealed in the chat that the game will pick who hosts. You have no control over it. If the host leaves, there will be a five-second delay while the game picks the next best host. Players have no way of controlling who is hosting, and of course we know there will be no dedicated servers.
The host will of course have a ping advantage, which should be mitigated by the software "having a great tolerance for latency," and a five-second pause if the host rage-quits before the game restarts will ruin any flow the game enjoyed until that point.
What’s more interesting is that they said ISPs will have to deal with you hosting games, even if there is language against running servers in their usage agreement. Infinity Ward’s response is that since this isn’t a "permanent" server, they have to deal with it. When someone else asked what would happen if their ISP throttled traffic that comes from running a server, they were told that "only players capable of hosting will host."
They better hope that no ISPs get upset, because there is no way for any player to control who hosts. You can’t opt out of hosting. If the host quits, the game stops for five seconds while the next one is selected by the software. This is good for gamers… somehow.
Moriarte: Ignoring IW.net, is the PC version a direct port of the console version?
Mackey-IW: No, PC has custom stuff like mouse control, text chat in game, and graphics settings.
This is the amount of work that went into the PC version: you are given the ability to use a mouse, to use text chat, and to adjust graphical settings. Are your fears now put to rest?
To sum it up
We thought the lack of dedicated servers was bad, but now we can add the lack of console commands, the inability to have a say in who hosts the game, a lengthy pause while the game migrates to a new host if the currently selected host quits, no leaning, no option to record matches, and no way to kick or block trouble players, hackers, or cheaters.
You have to wonder if there are any actual PC gamers working at Infinity Ward, as it will be a challenge to find any member of the PC gaming community that will stand up for any of these omissions, not to mention all of them bundled together. At launch, this will be one of the most locked-down, inflexible, and gamer-unfriendly game ever created.
It won’t stay that way, of course. The pirates will have the game up on the torrent sites soon, if they haven’t already, and the code will be ripped apart and modded to allow everything gamers want. How quickly will dedicated servers pop up for these pirates? It’s hard to say… but we have a feeling it won’t be long. Those that buy the game legally will have no choice but to play exactly how the developer and publisher want them to. On the other hand, this has given us some incredibly amusing images from the peanut gallery. The images were found on Evil Avatar’s discussion thread.
It’s now official, every copy of Modern Warfare 2 will require Steam activation which means you can get it a lot cheaper in your retail store than on Steam (60€). For example in Poland this game is around 25-30€.