Monday, December 7, 2009

Modern Warfare 2 for PC

A little over 2 weeks ago, I posted an article called, "But...I'm a PC Gamer," about Infinity Ward's direct porting of Modern Warfare 2 to PC, and addressing people claiming this could mean the death of PC games.

Generally, certain advanced options are given to PC games, such as use of an in-game command console and the ability to host servers for multiplayer games. On the PS3 and Xbox 360, online multiplayer games are usually populated using an automated matchmaking system.

I stressed that being able to choose what servers I play on is very important to me:

In server-hosted online games, any group can create a static server, for which they set the rules. They can kick off and ban cheaters and troublemakers, they can use experimental maps or weapons, or even ensure the game is as "vanilla" as possible. These benefits are what make online gaming fun for me.

However, I reasoned that match-made games are okay for console gaming, and I've played Uncharted 2 online without any problems, so matchmaking instead of hosted servers might not be so bad.

Then I saw this post by Les on Stupid Evil Bastard, entitled 'Infinity Ward has fucked over “Call of Duty” fans who play on the PC.' Guess where he falls on the issue? Unlike me, Les has actually played Modern Warfare 2 on PC, here's what he said about the experience:

This evening I joined and quit no less than two dozen games because the cheaters were out in force with no less than at least 4 cheaters in each game and one where half the players where cheating.

Earlier he says:

If we had dedicated servers this would be less of a problem as the admins can kick and ban by IP address at the first sign of a cheater. As things stand now not only are there no admins to deal with cheaters, but there’s no means of kicking cheaters at all. At the very fucking least it would’ve been nice to have the ability to call a vote to kick someone who’s being an ass in the game, but Infinity Ward won’t even let us do that.

So yes, I completely underestimated the potential for problems, having never played match-made online games on the PC before. The PC, being a much more versatile machine, allows for all sorts of hacks and cheats not possible on consoles. Since hosted servers can ban by IP address, it's much easier to weed out cheaters. You can change your IP address but it's not always easy, and there's usually a limited number of addresses available to you. As it is now, you're banned from playing Modern Warfare 2 online by your Steam ID. As Les points out, you can get as many Steam IDs as you want, so that's not a big deterrent.

My earlier post was more intended to address why I like PC gaming better that console gaming, and why I didn't think it was that big of a deal that Modern Warfare 2 didn't include the usual advanced PC options. When talking about online play, my conclusion was that both online matchmaking and hosted servers are possible within the same game. If there's any doubt, developers can include both methods. I think we been shown now that if you only stick with one method, on PC games it should be static hosted servers.

I really hope this gets sorted out soon, I'd like to get into Modern Warfare 2 eventually,


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