Extracts from an email I wrote to someone who writes a popular gaming blog and yet has stayed quiet over this shitstorm. I've skipped the intro
Whilst you've probably already guessed I am primarily a PC gamer (though I do own a 360) please don't dissmiss me as a raging PC eliteist. Although certain memers of the community cannot compose an argument that goes beyond "IW SUX", this is a serious issue with far reaching implications for the whole gaming community, I understand the soapbox is primarily geared towards a console audiance but this affects everyone.
So where to start? Firstly I'd like to show how this is a change for the worst. Firstly in terms of ping (connection) times this is clearly a worse setup. With my fairly slow internet connection I generally ping under 40m/s to servers in Western Europe (Scandinavia, UK, France, Germany etc) (I'm from the UK). In an interview here
http://www.tek-9.org/news/mw2_developer ... -2115.html
The developer himself suggests we will be achiving ping times of around 100 m/s which any serious online player in the PC community will tell you is a serious step down. Remember, this is not an independant body saying we will be achiving these times, this is one of the devs, who will surely be presenting a "best possible" scenario.
In the same article we also have
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 problem with this statement (besides the obvious one that taking peoples ability to play how THEY like is an obvious step back) is that balance is not done in a vacuum. Weapons that are perfectly appropriate for casual public play are thorougly inappropriate in a serious clan match set up. The big example of this in CoD4:MW was the underbarrel grenade launcher. With enough practice skilled players could fire shots to hit the enemy spawn right from the off. I could go into a long talk about why certain weapons were impractical for serious matches, but to do so would be boring and take up a lot of your valuable time so I'll move on.
Since we can not 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.
Which is pretty much like someone asking a politician. "With your regressive tax cuts and abolishment of social welfare programmes that many of the most socially disadvantaged in our country rely on, what do you plan to do about the issue of poverty.
Politician: Our goal is to eliminate poverty.
Well thats all very well and good but you haven't really said how making the problem worse helps that goal.
Also, going back to clans...Is there a way to have more than 18 people in a server, because my clan has at least 100 members and we like to get 20-30 on our servers at the same time.
Mackey-IW: Games cap out at 9v9. The software has great latency tolerance. See above!
Again, a pretty obvious step back here. Personally I never liked playing more "tactical" FPS (I.e not ones in the Quake/UT fast paced mould) more than about 9v9 precisely because after that number they started to turn into fast paced Quake/UT style games, but thats not the point. Many many people, probably the majority of "casual" players (they very playerbase they pretend to be serving with this change) enjoy these more chaotic instant respawn gametype. Much like the above, this again is reducing the quality and breadth of the experience to improve their control over it.
And lets not forget the lack of mod support, clan support such a change could bring. Despite the image being somewhat crude and open to interpretation this image essentially sums up what I am trying to say
http://www.destructoid.com/elephant/pho ... 3#prevnext
So lets look at their supposed reasoning for the change.
You said IWnet was created to help stop piracy, what do you say about the Xbox 360 version leaked and shared on torrent sites?
Vince-IW: IWnet was designed to make the MP experience on PC easier and more balanced.
Well its good they said it wasen't to stop piracy. Stopping people pirating the single player version of the game is sadly, nearly impossible. However MW2 requires steam which nearly eliminates people playing pirated copies online, seeing as this is so IWnet has nothing to do with piracy.
Lets deal with the first point first, making the experience easier. Personally I have been playing PC games online since the time of Quake and I have NEVER heard anyone ask for a matchmaking system instead of the dedicated servers system. I have many friends who I'd probably define as more "casual" games who only very occasionally play a game like CS and I've never once heard from one that a server browser was too complicated.
However, I can accept that there might be a tiny minority of PC gamers who do not understand how server browsers work and might prefer an option that just says "Play Online Now!". Thats fine, if you implemented that it would be a bonus not a flaw, but not INSTEAD of dedicated servers. Its perfectly possible to have both, for just one example, L4D had just such a system.
The second point is also ridiculous. Firstly, as I said balance will be different depending on the gamemode played, and more importantly how serious the players are. Secondly, I'm sure they'd admit (and if they didn't they would be either fools or liars) that no game is ever perfectly balanced on its first release. The PC community generally reacts much faster and better to these imbalances than developers ever do due to free market principles. The community very quickly comes out with a variety of mods and those that do not fit the needs of the playerbase die and those that do survive. In opposition to that we have a centralised patching scheme by the developers whose knowledge of the dynamics of the game will generally be far inferior to that of the hardcore community that make these mods.
So why is this so important?
Because its all about taking control away from gamers and placing it in the hands of large companies. If they are allowed total control over their product they can and will exploit it for all its worth. Just to give one hypothetical example most PC gaming clans in CoD4 use a server config called "Pro-mod". With the ability to implement these changes into the game taken away how long will it be before companies start coming to us with their own "Pro-mods" for this demographic. $5 For a few changes to some .CFG files that any competant modder could do in 5 minutes.
The PC is vital to gaming as a whole because it provides a counterweight and a different slant on gaming culture. It has shown for years the positive impact that an active community and modding can have on games. Lets not forget that L4D was born from an idea that came from playing a CS Mod, which itself is a mod. This I must stress is not trying to say that PC gaming is "Better" than console gaming, just different, and diversity in any community is a good thing, it encourages open debate and creativity. I've never heard the moddability and versatility of PC games being brought up as a negative, rather than staying silent in IWs attempt to stifle this, the 360 and PS3 community should be demanding that some of the benefits of the PC system such as dedicated servers and mod support are technically possible on their system and long overdue.
I have shown how this is not about piracy, hacking, improving the experience or any other supposed "benefit" banded around by IWs PR department, this is about control. Some would say that IW have a right to do this, it's their product, thats true but in the same way one has a right to charge extortionate prices for food you own to a starving man. Because you have the right to do something does not make it ethical. To end with a point you to this
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/ar ... 4&site=cvg
WoW subscription for playing a FPS online? There is simply no justification for that. Its not a gaming world I want to live in and although many havn't seen what the big deal is yet, they wouldn't either.
(I've now done more work on this Email than on my History essay so I hope you read it
Love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
Yours, Rich. (E-Bass)