Gobbets! COD Black Ops’ Server Non-Scandal

By Alec Meer on May 15th, 2010 at 1:13 pm.

The best-selling game of 2009, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, caused all manner of uproar, none of which managed to impede its steamroller progress in the slightest. Still, it’s good to hear that franchise-inheritors Treyarch have paid at least some attention to the complaints. Specifically, the lack of dedicated servers, which both denied us the modding and customisation we’re so used to and complicated online games hugely. Things will be different in COD: Black Ops, aka Not-Quite-Modern Warfare…

“I think dedicated servers are excellent. I don’t see any reason not to see them unless… well, I just don’t see any reason not to,” studio head Mark Lamia told PC Zone. Good to hear. But could you also ensure it has a decent singleplayer game, free of horrific grenade spam? And not, say, a workmanlike stomp that relied on a one-level gimmicky zombie mode for its success.

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34 Comments »

  1. LewieP says:

    *CODBLOPS

  2. Dreamhacker says:

    Treyarch sure have been going downhill since DBTS ’98 :(

  3. Wordy says:

    Could this finally be the time Treyarch makes a better CoD game than IW? I’m going to go with yes.

  4. Samuel Bigos says:

    “I think dedicated servers are excellent. I don’t see any reason not to see them unless… well, I just don’t see any reason not to,”

    That pause was when he was going to say “…unless Activision don’t let us” but decided against it.

    • Wordy says:

      Well the outcome of the above quote is either that Activision didn’t force IW to remove dedicated servers and replace it with a P2P service, instead going it off their own back, *or* they’ve seen the backlash from the PC community and decided against it for the next game, and let Treyarch do their own thing (probably knowing full well that the worst was over).

      Both of those scenarios surprise me.

    • Jimbo says:

      I think Activision are probably just more concerned about goodwill now than they were last time around. Everybody is on a hairtrigger with Activision bashing at the moment.

      The mainstream FPS genre is also starting to look like it might be competitive again for the first time in a few years. Activision can’t really afford to just keep acting like dicks for the sake of it anymore, though I’m sure that won’t stop them.

  5. Jimbo says:

    ““I think dedicated servers are excellent. I don’t see any reason not to see them unless…”

    ‘…Activision tells us not to?’

  6. Daniel Rivas says:

    Could be that the whole dedicated servers thing was a weird hubristic move on IW’s part, and Activision just didn’t care either way.

    I could see whoever was in charge of multiplayer networking at Infinity Ward saying “This method that everyone else uses for multiplayer, it’s shit! Utter shit! WE CAN DO BETTER! Plus, it works okay on the consoles.”

    Really, I doubt Activision have a particularly strong opinion on how the networking works in their games. Probably I’m wrong.

    • Wordy says:

      You’re right, I’m sure they don’t care that they’re now able to sell map packs to PC users at £11 a pop instead of getting them for free. Not at all.

    • HermitUK says:

      Yeah, the reason a lot of people assume that IWNet was Activision’s idea was because it kept the online multiplayer a closed system. In short: No dedicateds = No custom Maps = players more likely to buy expensive map packs. After all, players would have no doubt found a way to quickly port the CoD4 maps over before Acti/IW could sell them.

      Of course, it may be they think this time round they can handle the competition, or that Activision are genuinely a bit concerned over the MW2 backlash and IW collapse. Noted that Raven are rumoured to be tasked with producing the Black Ops map packs, too, which is interesting. First it suggests Actsivision need Treyarch quickly focussed on a new title (MW3, perhaps?). I wonder if the sales of the first pack on PC for MW2 were healthy enough that Activision think they can still sell them even when put up against custom maps.

      It could also be a rather clever bit of marketing. MW2 sold excellently despite the lack of servers, but Treyarch’s CoD outings have never been so highly hyped/anticipated as IWs games were – let’s not forget that until the dedicated server slip there were stacks of people salivating in anticipation of MW2. Confirming dedicated servers this time round might be an attempt to draw back the punters on the PC – maybe they’ve just decided they’ll bring in more than they’ll cost.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Aren’t you all ignoring the Bad Company 2′s introduction of in-house dedicated servers? As I understand it the BC2 model means the low lag and reliability of dedicated servers, with the control of IWNet’s P2P. In other words if you run it on dedicated servers, but servers that you retain control over, then the publisher has no reason not to use it. The piracy danger is circumvented, and the customer gets a better service, if not the mod freedom that old servers offered.

      Then again, i might have totally misunderstood everything, but thats hardly going to get in the way of me telling the world what to think.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I’m not a fan of bad companies model either and if future battlefield games employ that i won’t be buying them either. What happens when ea drop support? Bf2 is safe as long as gamespy keeps going, but some ea games (mercenaries 2 for example) were only a year old when support was dropped.

  7. Caps says:

    CoD 5′s SP/MP wasn’t great. But it had Co-op and real PC support.
    And the thing that sold it for me was Nazi Zombies. Me and my friend had mighty fun with nazi zombies. Especially the later maps which came as FREE?!?! updates.
    I’m going to be excited about this game until it’s clear that it only has some boring SP and a DM/TDM/Objective MP. And I’ll continue to be excited if they bring back zombies or some other kind of half-original MP Co-op.

  8. mod the world says:

    Black Ops will have dedicated servers? Does that mean i have to browse through a endless list of servers just to play and get abused by random admins?

    I WILL BOYCOTT THIS GAME!

    • Luckylad says:

      I laughed quite a long time at this statement. This is what Activision was hoping the online community thought about CoD4. Guess they just don’t understand their customers after all. I mean grenade and tube spam are still the most efficient ways to kill someone. Honestly I don’t think they care what we want in a good balanced and genuinely fun game. They are just out to sell their crack no matter how many diseases infest it.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    If it truely does support dedicated servers i might buy this game*, if not it can bugger off.

    Really, I don’t need another shooter I need to play for 60 hours to unlock everything.

    *for next to nothing even if it gets good reviews.

  10. Flembot says:

    Exactly! I was very, very exited about this game before. I think I’m going to boycott it now!

  11. Real Horrorshow says:

    WaW multiplayer was better than CoD4. Better guns, and definitely better maps. Dogs > Helicopters.

  12. wazups2x says:

    Are you serious?

  13. Clovis says:

    Great, dedi servers. But that doesn’t mean it will allow user-created maps. I really can’t imagine Activision allowing players to make their own maps.

  14. Real Horrorshow says:

    Absolutely. I don’t see how the idea is preposterous. Both game’s multiplayer are set up exactly the same but with different guns and maps, a couple new perks, etc. It just comes down to preference. You can give IW the creative credit for coming up with that set-up in the first place, but that’s not really part of the fun factor, is it?

    It’s less spammy with noob tubes restricted to the last unlock of rifles, the replacement of the chopper with dogs which you can actually protect yourself from if you’re alert (without having to lug around a worthless rocket launcher), and the artillery gives you a chance to escape the blast area as opposed to just instantly vaporizing a section of the map.

    Then there’s the guns like I mentioned: the fun-as-fuck-to-use flamethrower, the FG-42 which gives me warm and fuzzy memories of CoD1/UO, Japanese WW2 guns for the first time in an FPS worth playing, and just the neat classification of the guns that comes with being a WW2 game: SMGs, rifles, automatic rifles, bolt action rifles (always a favorite in CoD but missing in CoD4 for obvious reasons).

    The maps are better designed with more nooks and crannies and bigger than most CoD4 maps. The jungle maps are very pretty looking and, WW2 or not, are much fresher than the dusty shitholes in CoD4 that have been a FPS staple since de_dust. The bombed out eastern Europe maps, while not fresh, are nonetheless quite detailed and some of the best that have been in the series.

    And on a more technical note, the sound design in multiplayer is leaps and bounds better than anything in the series before it (I wouldn’t know about MW2′s multiplayer sound). For the first time in the series, having speakers isn’t tantamount to having a wallhack because of shit sound design that lets you hear footsteps behind walls and under floors with perfect clarity.

    Sorry, I have reasons for liking WaW multiplayer more than CoD4′s. And they far outweigh any of the reasons everyone is suggest they not like it, like “but-but-but it’s Treyarch!” and “It’s WW2…again!”

  15. bildo says:

    good cop, bad cop. This is still being published by Activision who made the decision in the first place.

  16. Kevbo says:

    I’ve always liked the multiplayer in Treyarch’s version since they implement vehicles and feel more like BF2. They also open the maps up more which prevents the gren spam games that infest both MWs. Anyone looking for one of the best COD4 mods should check out Star Wars: Galactic Warfare :)

  17. BooleanBob says:

    I don’t know anything about the single player, but Nazi Zombies (which as I reckon had several levels if you stumped up the extra dosh) really was excellent fun. Subsequent levels (that you paid extra for) had a lot of thought put into them and really didn’t feel so much like a gimmick as a fully-fledged wing of the game.

  18. Hyperion says:

    cant help but feel that this game was made just to spite/troll IW by Activision. Especially this, the dedicated server thing.

  19. rocketman71 says:

    That’s a very retorted (sp?) way of NOT confirming dedicated servers.

  20. Shadow Aspect says:

    Dedi servers a definite good thing, IWnet’s decisions regarding who is a good host for a game just boggles me sometimes. Over the weekend I was playing a game, everyone seemed happy with the host and pings were all pretty good. Then the host left I guess, so it switched to me. Instant full ping for me, and 1 bar of ping for everyone else. Not surprising really considering I’m on a roughly 1MB line in the middle of nowhere. Was I really the best host it could pick?

    Also, if any future games use this system, they really need an option to elect yourself out of hosting, and/or vote for a new host. At the moment you have to leave the game to force it to switch hosts. Not much fun.

    • Shadow Aspect says:

      Oh, and it could do with checking the prospective host’s NAT level before selecting them as a host, as no-one’s going to be able to join them if they’re set to Strict. I presume this is the reason games will sometimes drop out when host-switching, saying something like ‘couldn’t connect to server’.

    • Wordy says:

      They could do with having some sort of vote system to kick players as well, a la L4D. To prevent abuse it should probably require a 70-80% majority, but it would remove a lot of the issues related to hackers ruining games.

    • Shadow Aspect says:

      word: Yes! Valve will only ban hacks, not players, so if people use private hacks then they’re basically guaranteed to get away with it.

  21. Bosshog says:

    I’m so relieved to hear that they’ll be supporting dedicated servers. That, and the lack of modding and console commands where the primary reasons why I didn’t buy MW2. I just pray Treyarch doesn’t make some retarded attempt to block user created content. I always love playing and building custom maps and using custom skins, makes things so much more interesting :D I mean, i’m sure people would make attempts at building maps that would allow you to power level your rank, but that could be easily resolved if they just removed experience gains on custom maps. Then they could release packs of user made maps for free and allow experience on those particular maps. Even if they didn’t add console commands, so long as they worked to include the other two, I’d be more than willing to shell out some dough for this game.

  22. GRIM-WARD says:

    Well it looks like you need to play console then, why are you playing PC? being able to host a server allows gaming clans to host modded servers with custom maps and admins to keep unruly cheaters/ hackers and bullies at bay.U say harassed by server admins? u must have not been fallowing their rules, were u hacking? U must be a IW net fan!

  23. GRIM-WARD says:

    “mod the world says”: May 15, 2010 at 2:25 pmBlack Ops will have dedicated servers? Does that mean i have to browse through a endless list of servers just to play and get abused by random admins?

    I WILL BOYCOTT THIS GAME

    Well it looks like you need to play console then, why are you playing PC? being able to host a server allows gaming clans to host modded servers with custom maps and admins to keep unruly cheaters/ hackers and bullies at bay.U say harassed by server admins? u must have not been fallowing their rules, were u hacking? U must be a IW net fan!