Home > Gaming, PS3 > Call of Duty Boom or Bust Post Blackops 2

Call of Duty Boom or Bust Post Blackops 2

I’ve been a big fan of the Call of Duty series since the first Call of Duty and United Offence pack for PC. I’m a mature gamer who loves to sit down at night play with my group of friends. I remember the times on Call of Duty when users were able to create their own maps, and DLC content for PC was free. Sniping was sniping (not quick scoping) and the maps were so big that you needed jeeps and tanks to drive you around the map. The only downfall this game ever had on PC was the fact you had to install patch after patch in consecutive order if you had to reinstall the game for any reason, and there were many patches. I moved to console gaming shortly before purchasing Modern Warfare 2 (I have COD 1 – 5 on PC).

I see a lot of comments on the Call of Duty forums about lag, and constant feedback from my friends on this every night. The past few years Call of Duty has been using peer 2 peer connectivity for multiplayer. This means you are not directly connected to a server, but a player within the game lobby, in which the game itself picks out as being the best host while waiting for the game to start. The lag issues in this situation depend solely on the game host, how far away you are from that person, if he/she has his/her network set up properly, and if the hosts ISP is throttling internet traffic.

Considering that the US right now has no regulations on ISP’s throttling traffic of users, Canadian users can expect the lag issues with games that use peer 2 peer connectivity to increase sustainably over the next several months and years, not decrease with any new release. There are some major complications right now with a commonly used throttling vendor CISCO, catching gaming traffic. ISP’s in Canada are stopping the use of this technology as a result. ISP throttling is extremely hard to detect from a developer point of view, especially when only running ping tests to try to find players best suited for a host in the game lobby. Throttling has even been pointed out by the developers of COD as being a major problem. Throttling usually doesn’t present itself until the game is underway.

The only way to correct and/or minimize the lag problems is for the developers to use dedicated servers. This way they can detect and correct any game connectivity faster, and is not completely dependant on peer connections in game. It can also give the developer and publisher way more control over game hacks, and glitches. However that won’t be done with the Call of Duty franchise for several reasons. The biggest reason, is because setting up dedicated servers is a huge expense. Considering that Call of Duty has been a best seller for several years, one would figure that dedicated servers would be factored into the purchase of the game, or even to Elite Premium memberships. Essentially profit over quality seems to be the motto of Activision and it’s COD developers over the past few years.

Back in 2010 I purchased the first Black Ops for my PS3 on release day. I’m the type of player that doesn’t really care about single player or zombies. My whole infatuation with the Call of Duty series has been strictly multiplayer, and I know many, many gamers feel the same way. Now this is not a wine fest, more of a reminder and a look back at a pattern that both developers of this franchise have displayed, and what may be in store for the newest Call of Duty game Black Ops 2, due out this November.

It took 6 months from release day on the original Black Ops before my friends and I were able to connect through the party system through the PSN and play together on Black Ops, due to the fact that the networking part of this game was NOT beta tested internally on the PSN. This had nothing to do with ISP throttling. It was the coding of the game, and to this day the game is still suffering from that mistake. There are still problems with the party system on PS3 when backing the party out of a lobby, which proves that not all problems can be solved through “patching” after release. Beta testing must be internally done to correct major problems like this.

During the Modern Warfare 3 pre-release hype, Activision intentionally left out some very critical points on its new COD Elite Premium service, which lead to widespread misinterpretation to the public on how this service and premium services would actually work for non-XBOX gamers. After release in November, the COD Elite service crashed (worked fine in beta), and wasn’t fully up and running until March 2012. PS3 users found out months after buying into the premium service that their premium content was considerably delayed due to a business pact with Microsoft which was not disclosed on purchase, nor advertised prior to December 2011. Lag problems on Modern Warfare 3 still persist due to the P2P connectivity of the game.

Call of Duty regardless of what developer makes it, seems to be rushed out the door on every release. As a result, the quality of the multiplayer aspect of the game has steadily decreased. I’ve noticed a significant decrease in game quality since Call of Duty World at War.

The media blitz on Black Ops 2 is set to start off May 1st. Having a proven track record in sales, I can sell you a bag of dog poop and make you think it’s the best damn fertilizer you ever bought. However at the end of the day it’s still dog poop. So while others will comment that Black Ops 2 will have a major appeal due to its zombie aspect, I truly and firmly believe that the majority who purchase this game for multiplayer, maybe stepping back a bit from the franchise. There’s evidence of this in Modern Warfare 3. The COD premium elite membership have not sold as expected, otherwise there would be enough people populating the premium maps to separate game modes in Elite playlists rather than put into a moshpit style on all platforms. Elite for the most part has been a major flop, not a major success, and the market is starting to pass judgement on this franchise. I do not believe at this point, it’s developer specific, as the commentator below believes. I think it’s a big problem related to the quality of the franchise on whole, and that seems to be starting to show. I don’t agree with this commentator at all, but important to provide a different take on this situation.

But coming from a development background and speaking about the Call of Duty franchise, you can only put lipstick on a pig for so long, before that lipstick becomes part of your reputation and what you’re known for especially in a competitive industry such as game development. If that lipstick hasn’t been noticed by now, it will be with Black Ops 2. The one thing this commentator and I agree on, is that regardless this franchise is finished post Black Ops 2 unless a major refit, and quality issues of the game are worked out.

Attn GUNNS: The developers of COD are using consumers to help patch these games up. If nobody complained, you wouldn’t be able to play. Right now gamers are unfairly beta testing post release games and reporting problems to the developer which should have been tested and fixed out prior to release. As a developer I can tell you these are not minor problems especially with networking code (which considering the problems with Black Ops should be ironed out for the new release), but problems associated with the internal coding of the game, which should be tested prior to release. The game or software should work almost perfectly out of the box. Minor glitches only. For some reason different rules apply to the gaming industry on whole that are NOT accepted in the professional software development field.

The difference, games are $60, professional software development can range in the tens of thousands. Professional developers would be sued if they released product the same way the COD developers are releasing them. Patching should only occur on minor problems, not with the major problems that are occurring and being reported on the COD forums. The problems being reported on the COD forums, are also evidence that these games are not quality tested to save money and time, and being rushed out!

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