May 5, 2009
Playing “Cops & Robbers” (the new add-on for Burnout Paradise – don’t bother with it; it’s not worth 800 MS points) this morning reminded me of a few more things about multiplayer on the $100-a-year Microsoft Live “service”.
- It staggers me that there’s no standard option on the service to select only local matches. Given how serious a problem that is for every Live subscriber who doesn’t live in the US, it shouldn’t be on a title-by-title basis; it should be an option on the system. Every game should have a standard interface for picking matches (within the pointless “player vs ranked” matchmaking system) which shows the ping of each match BEFORE IT STARTS so you can opt out. Which shows a LIST OF AVAILABLE MATCHES ORDERED BY PING so you can find one that’s actually playable. Burnout Paradise doesn’t even let you know the ping of the match you’re in – it’s not until you’ve been flung off the road by your fifth invisible car that you realise “hang on – there must be a lag problem here”.
- Why is there no option to turn OFF other peoples’ voices coming out of your TV? If you have no headset plugged in (or your wireless headset has run out of charge because the battery in that thing is pathetic), then people’s voices filter out in an irritatingly muffled fashion from your TV. Your only option, if you don’t want random chatter broadcast around your living room, is to turn your TV sound off. That’s just stupid. I actually bought a headset not because I wanted to talk to random Americans in COD4, but because I was sick of their voices coming through the TV.
As for “Cops and Robbers” – it’s bizarre, but it’s made the 320 points I spent on a flying DeLorean ripoff (which IS awesome) look like a sensible purchase.
You get the feeling Criterion was too busy making silly videos to actually playtest the thing. With any lag it’s just complete chaos, and they’ve made really stupid decisions – like to constantly flag updates on the status of the gold RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCREEN so you can’t see what you’re about to hit.
Thank you, Google image search.
I can’t see it having any legs at all. Still, if you’ve bought it and you’re in Australia, please free to hit me up for a low-lag game so we can get SOME use out of the damn thing.
April 29, 2009
What’s this I hear about Infinity Ward patching the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty 4? FANTASTIC! About time! I suppose they’re finally going to give Australian users the ability to pick local games where the ping allows us to actually hit people!
They’re not? The patch is just about stopping cheaters?
Damnit. Look, IW, if you still care enough about COD4 to be releasing a patch now, could you please have mercy on us and fix the matchmaking problem? Please? (We know it’s possible – those hacks at Treyarch managed it in World at War.)
April 26, 2009
By which I mean online games sold at full price in Australia despite mainly not working here because of the way they handle matchmaking and lag. It should be possible for an Australian user to specify in the options that the game only search for matches hosted locally (COD 5 does it); but many companies apparently can’t be bothered worrying about the experience of their overseas customers.
Valve – I’m looking at you. For the love of God, patch Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress 2 already. (Also you, Infinity Ward – Treyarch did it for Call of Duty 5, based on COD 4 – so is there any reason you can’t patch COD 4?)
I am so sick of being constantly stuck playing in a US-hosted game and not being able to hit anything.
UPDATE: Oh, I may have complained about this before.
February 10, 2009
Another game that, if they’re going to sell it to Australians and other non-Americans, desperately needs a “local connection only” option – Left 4 Dead. The matchmaking insists on anyone but Americans being condemned to matches with one-bar ping, and, as with most online FPS games, that makes the whole thing pretty much unplayable.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SELL YOUR GAME TO AUSTRALIANS AT FULL PRICE*, THEN BLOODY WELL MAKE IT PLAYABLE FOR AUSTRALIANS. If it’s a multiplayer game, have a local connection only option so that it’s not nigh-on impossible for us to find a playable match.
*Or, because of the exchange rate, significantly more than full price.
January 19, 2009
For Australians playing either of the current versions of Call of Duty (the decent one by Infinity Ward, and the “oh well, at least it’s got some new maps, I wish the weapons weren’t so crap” World At War), every game session is a reminder just how little American developers care about us. (It would almost make me feel better about US developers having to wreck their products worldwide because of our idiotic rating regime… if I were a spiteful person, that is. Misery loves company.)
The problem is lag – in that it’s completely pointless playing a game when you only have a “one bar” connection, since you have to hit an enemy five times before it registers – basically, it’s unplayable.
Now of course it’s not the COD developers’ fault that internet connections within Australia and across the Pacific link aren’t faster.
- Their matchmaking system chooses American hosts for us regardless of whether there are nearby Australian games with vacancies. It also strongly prefers US players as hosts, even if a majority of gamers in a match are in Australia.
- Their ranking system penalises you for quitting a “one bar” game. Even if you do that before you’ve fired a bullet or been hit by one.
And therefore two things they could – in fact, should, since the game they’ve sold is second-rate anywhere but the US until they do – do are:
- Give gamers an option of selecting matches hosted in a particular region.
- Not count, for win-loss records, games quit because of lag – eg by virtue of only having one bar of connection, or before a shot is fired or a death suffered.
I don’t think either of those are too much to ask. Either that or stop charging us as much as (more than, actually) your US customers for a shittier product.
UPDATE Courtesy of the comments, apparently COD:WAW does in fact have an option to limit the searching to local matches. And it works! Unfortunately, although COD4 is still full price in Australia, they haven’t patched that game with the same functionality…