Black Ops To Charge For Dedicated Servers

By Quintin Smith on September 13th, 2010 at 2:49 pm.

He's aiming at your wallet, I think.

Let’s recap. The PC version of Modern Warfare 2 didn’t have dedicated servers, and there was much pulling of hair and spontaneous internet howling. More recently, Treyarch confirmed that Call of Duty: Black Ops (out November 9th) would have dedicated servers. It was Infinity Ward that abandoned the PC, not them, they said. In an interview with C&VG, Treyarch studio head Mark Lamia said “I think dedicated servers are excellent.” Things were looking rosy.

Rosy like a rush of blood straight to the rage glands, it turns out. According to this article on IGN, Blacks Ops will be only offering dedicated servers through server rental site GameServers.com, where you’ll be paying £9.95/month for an 18 player max ranked server, or 66p per player for a month of an unranked server.

Hardly what we were expecting, to put it lightly.

, .

141 Comments »

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  1. LewieP says:

    Presumably because Activision get a cut of it.

    • LewieP says:

      Oh, but presumably it will be hacked to support all dedicated servers pretty sharpish.

    • Vadermath says:

      Presumably, the same thing happened with MW2, which is what makes such a predicament probable.

  2. BooleanBob says:

    In fairness to Treyarch, I imagine they probably fought like lions to squeeze even this (tidily profitable) concession out of Activision. Even so…

  3. Tarqon says:

    It’s the same model that EA used for Bad Company 2. There’s no reason for this other than greed really, but I don’t mind much as long as they don’t cut mod support.

    Call of Duty without mods isn’t worth playing though.

    • frameset says:

      Not just greed but also supporting the stupid play more to get better guns mechanic these games insist on.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I hate the play more to get better guns mechanic. Bring back multi player like Quake and Unreal.

      That is not meant to be sarcastic. I really do hate it.

    • Mungrul says:

      Hear, hear.
      We need more Quake-style, rocket-jumping deathmatch.
      I miss games of superhuman movement and fantastical weaponry.

    • subedii says:

      I feel pretty much the same way. Trickling out “experience points” and weapons to go with them is something that’s annoyed me with online FPS’s for a while now (and it’s especially annoying when online RTS’s try to pull that as well, like C&C4), and it’s irritating that more and more games are following that model. I don’t have the time or inclination to stick with one multiplayer game doggedly for hundreds of hours in order to “unlock” all the useful stuff.

      It annoyed me when TF2 went this route as well. The class updates are nice, but all I can say is I’m glad that the unlocks are also random drops, otherwise I wouldn’t have the majority of the alt-weapons my account currently does. Alien Swarm was a bit more palatable there, but that’s only because you level up pretty fast. The fact that it’s not competitive but coop instead probably helps too.

      If you have to go with some kind of XP / unlock system, it’s far preferable when it’s purely cosmetic and doesn’t affect the actual gameplay. DoW2 does this, as you rank up in the races you play your units and commanders get different models / textures, giving a visual sign of their rank. Doesn’t affect the gameplay any, and C&C4 pretty much showcased why having unlockable units instead is bad idea.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      You’re all wrong.

      RPG mechanics are what make FPSes bearable. Without them, it’s just one long, monotonous grind. With them, you’ve constantly got an easily-attainable goal to work towards with an immediately-usable reward at stake.

      The real problem is with poorly-designed RPG mechanics. When the goal isn’t so easily attainable because the developers were bad at pacing things and the game is a grind without you having all the tools to play with, things are less fun. The worst offenders are games where you have to unlock basic functions (hello, BC2) or where the high-level weapons are better than the starter ones instead of just being different (CoD4, funnily enough, was not guilty of this).

      Also, Quake-style FPSes are horrible twitch-fests devoid of any semblance of tactics, and should die a horrible death (by which I mean not be made except seldomly or in the form of revival/preservation projects like Quake Live).

    • Freud says:

      @ Alexander Norris. If the core gameplay is good enough it people will play because they enjoy themselves. Not because they are salivating over ‘earning’ something.

      I have played so much Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 and the old forgotten gem Savage without a single reward in sight. Just because the game in itself is fantastic. No gimmicks. Just gameplay. They had that ‘just another game’ quality which Kotick would kill to have in a bottle.

      I know there are probably some behavioral scientist that is whispering things in the ears of studio heads. But for all those that log on and play MW2 multiplayer because of those carrots there are also people who refuse to play it because of the same thing.

    • subedii says:

      @ Alexander: MW2 didn’t just have unlockable weapons, it also had the unlockable or upgradeable killstreaks / deathstreaks / perks. And you can’t say that quite a lot of them were kept behind for the later levels because they were more useful.

      I prefer to play FPS’s when they’re fun, not for the promise of having fun later on. If I’m going to get bored with the gameplay of an FPS, I’m going to do it with or without all the unlocks available. I got bored with BFBC2 even though I had most of the useful stuff. I still like to play TF2 even though I’m actually missing most of those unlocks. Making me “earn” additional options (or sometimes even outright better weapons) doesn’t make me any more interested in the game.

      Also, if you think that games like Quake are devoid of tactics, you’ve clearly never seen or understood high level play. That’s not even to say I like playing Quake either, because I don’t.

    • Skurmedel says:

      If you need to add rewards to your FPS perhaps it just isn’t good enough to start with. Or it’s just another way to keep people playing even though they wouldn’t. I player BC2 long after I got tired of it just to get the unlocks. They didn’t make the game better.

    • subedii says:

      For that matter, Halo 3 / ODST / Reach are amongst the most popular FPS’s around, even after MW2 dropped. Their unlock system is purely cosmetic as well. You have access to all weapons and equipment from the start, you can just vary how you look over time.

      And that’s fine by me.

    • deneb says:

      @Alexander Norris: Actually, the idea is, or at least used to be, that people would play multiplayer for the sheer enjoyment of it, not some ultimate end of unlocking all weapons, perks or reaching the maximum level. It’s a testament to how gamers are becoming increasingly inured to the idea having carrots on a stick being flailed in front of them that even the multiplayer portion of an FPS is starting to be seen as something grind-y, and it’s downright ridiculous the pace at which gamers have accepted as “things to unlock, or work for” those which used to be available from day 1. It’s becoming less and less about the enjoyment with each iteration.

      Clearly, Jonathan Blow was right in his observations regarding the reward mechanisms of games.

    • psyk says:

      This game is approaching the unlocks in a different way, you buy whatever you want with cash earned in game like counter strike but persistent.

      Also MW2 wasn’t that bad the guns didn’t get any better (apart from the launchers), the kill streaks you could choose what you wanted to unlock and when, the worst unlocks in MW2 were the perks which were set up all wrong for example no cold blooded till lvl 26 (I think).

      @Skurmedel

      Playing a game you don’t like just to unlock stuff sounds really sad I feel sorry for these people.

    • psyk says:

      Forgot to mention battlefield

    • Barman1942 says:

      @Alexander

      There is no grind if there’s nothing to grind to. If you’re not enjoying the gameplay, you shouldn’t be playing the game.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, here I thought playing games for fun was the general idea, with stuff like ranking up in BF just being icing rather than the reason you play. It worked well in BF2 because it took bloody ages to rank upso generally you just played for th enjoyment of it, the fact the unlocked weapons A: could be chosen rather than predetermined and B: almost entirely were not any better than the standard ones (few exceptions that weren’t just down to personal preference, but you could easily choose to go for those first anyway).

    • Alexander Norris says:

      FPSes are ultimately repetitive, and always will be. It takes time to make custom maps for them, especially good quality ones; mods only serve to divide the playerbase and even if they didn’t, it would be untenable to demand of modders that they constantly add new content to a game. Ultimately, you’re left with shooting the same models on the same maps with the same guns and it gets incredibly boring incredibly fast if played in anything more than short bursts. No “core gameplay” will ever be good enough to keep an FPS (or pretty much any video game) interesting for more than a few tens of hours (or perhaps a couple of hundred if your tolerance for sameness is particularly high), at least not until we get a game with so much content that you’ll literally never see the same thing more than a handful of times.

      @subedii — MW2 is an example of RPG mechanics in an FPS done terribly wrong, because the balance is atrocious. A good system of RPG-like progression mechanics in an FPS gives you some fun stuff at the start, and then more fun stuff as time goes on. There’s nothing wrong with unlockable killstreaks per se (nor is there anything wrong with killstreaks in theory as opposed to how they’re put into practice in MW2, incidentally, but that’s not really related to this conversation), it’s just that MW2 as the paragon of absolutely atrocious design that it is handles them badly, just like everything else. CoD4 was mildly better only because you basically start with the broken perks and weapons (you get the AK-47, Stopping Power and Steady Aim from the moment you unlock create-a-class).

      Oh, and I was exaggerating about Quake, sure – the point is that the focus of Quake is on bunnyhopping aptitude and railgun twitch-aiming skills, neither of which make the game interesting or enjoyable as far as I’m concerned. Anything faster-paced than the Battlefield games is too fast to let you strategise at any useful level (which is, incidentally, why CoD4/WaW/MW2 are regrettably better on consoles – there’s no quick-scoping idiots sprint-jumping around corners or 50-slot servers that make playing the game completely pointless).

      @deneb — the point is that the XP and progression is what makes the game enjoyable, not that people are “playing the game for the next unlock.” It’s no different than finding the movement or the gunplay fun; you’re just enjoying a different aspect of the game (the presistent character progression).

      But thanks, Barman1942, for presuming that because you don’t understand how XP progression and unlocks can be enjoyable, no one on Earth is allowed to enjoy them. FPSes with experience points, unlocks, perks and player-created classes are essentially FPS-RPGs. This is what makes them fun, and better than “pure” FPSes like Quake or UT, which have far too little content to stay interesting, and if the act of shooting people in the face in the same manner over and over again without any significant variation is something you enjoy, that’s a shame.

    • psyk says:

      “(which is, incidentally, why CoD4/WaW/MW2 are regrettably better on consoles – there’s no quick-scoping idiots sprint-jumping around corners or 50-slot servers that make playing the game completely pointless).”

      Lucky you, I seem to find at least one quick scoper(sp) in every match I play.

    • Ringwraith says:

      About the unlock system, it seems Black Ops is going someway to alleviate the problem, as instead of unlocking things on ranking up, you earn money to buy unlocks, any of which you can buy from the start provided you have enough cash. Therefore higher-level players don’t have exclusive access to higher-tier weapons, killstreaks or other unlockables, they just simply have a wider arsenal to choose from, as there’s nothing stopping you from making a beeline for the stuff you want from the start.
      At least, that what it seems to be, how the specifics of this system actually work has yet to be seen.

    • DrGonzo says:

      @ Alexander

      Your wrong! Rpg mechanics make shit FPS’s bearable. A good FPS is great without them. Not that they are a bad thing, added to an already good FPS it’s great. But a lot of games strap it on for lack of a good game.

      Half Life 1’s multiplayer over LAN is still the most fun I’ve had with a shooter and that had no RPG mechanics.

    • DrGonzo says:

      “Anything faster-paced than the Battlefield games is too fast to let you strategise at any useful level”

      That really is a comment on yourself, not the games. When playing an intense game of Quake the amount of tactics that run through your head, it’s absolutely exhilarating.

    • subedii says:

      FPS (or pretty much any video game) interesting for more than a few tens of hours (or perhaps a couple of hundred if your tolerance for sameness is particularly high

      You talk about how playing an FPS for a couple of hundred hours in unlikely without things like Unlocks, to be blunt, it’s unlikely with them. The unlocks don’t change that, at least not for me. They’re just an artificial limitation. Some people might like grinding towards those, but if it’s gotten to that point where you’re playing because you’re working towards the next unlock, and not because you find the gameplay itself fun, then you’re already playing the game for the wrong reasons. And if that’s not the case, then the unlocks aren’t really all that important.

      You do realise that we’ve already given you examples to the contrary? Games are entertaining for as long as you find them entertaining to play, and that tolerance varies for different people. Counter-Strike didn’t need an unlock system to become (or remain) one of the most played FPS’s of all time. Halo 3 didn’t need to trickle down the Battle Rifle or the Plasma Grenade to keep people playing. Even now, I’ll happily bust out SWAT 4 to play a few rounds of Barricaded Suspects, but that’s because I find the gameplay fun and unique, not because I gained access to a new variant on the MP5. No amount of unlocks in the world could have supported MW if people didn’t find the core gameplay itself fun. And likewise, just because Halo 3 doesn’t have weapon unlocks doesn’t inherently make it a much more boring game to play in comparison. I don’t need unlocks for that any more than I need unlocks in any other competitive game to have fun with it, as long as I am having fun with the core gameplay of it. It’s like saying that the rules of football should be changed to add new ball types and different arbitrary rules and equipment every other week because otherwise the games clearly more dull and there’s no point in having a 5-aside kickabout in the park, or watching the world cup.

      At least acknowledge that you’re speaking from a personal preference here instead of issuing a blanket “you’re wrong” and talking about how FPS’s need unlocks to remain fun to play. I’m primarily an RTS gamer, so talking about “depth” of strategy at play in FPS’s just strikes me as a little weird. individual FPS’s work by their own rulesets, you play them because the gameplay is fun. ArmA by comparison, is a far more complex affair with a tonne of factors to consider and account for when you’re playing in any large scale and organised manner. But that doesn’t make the game more fun necessarily. Neither do weapon unlocks, and as far as I’m aware they don’t really keep me playing when I otherwise would have stopped. They’re about one step above achievements, with the added dis-incentive that they usually have a bad effect on gameplay balance.

    • Urthman says:

      I don’t mean to pile on Alexander Norris personally (dude is welcome to enjoy the games he enjoys), but the stuff you seem to enjoy is exactly the trend I hate in modern video games.

      Too many games seem to use extrinsic rewards (Achievements, weapon unlocks) to motivate gamers to spend time grinding away at stuff that’s not much fun, instead of making the gameplay itself intrinsically fun and rewarding. That seems to me like the slippery slope to Farmville and Cow Clicker.

      Give me an environment that’s fun to explore and I don’t need an Achievement Unlocked! for finding a secret passage. Give me a game that’s additively fun rather than trying to get me addicted to watching my XP bar get bigger until a prize pops out of the skinner box.

    • frymaster says:

      it’s not at all the same model that EA used for bad company 2. all the bad company games have only allowed rental via specific people, true. But the key point is there were lots of them. It’s not amazingly difficult for even small GSPs – on the order of “renting a couple of boxes and renting out game servers on them in your spare time” to become trusted partners. And as soon as you have at least 2 people offering the service in a particular area, you can be sure the prices won’t be too bad.

      The key point is that black ops will have only one provider of servers. That’s an instant monopoly, and means if you live somewhere they don’t have a datacenter, you’re screwed.

      no idea what deal has been made for black ops, but for what it’s worth, the deal for EA stuff is along the lines of: a) certain restrictions on how many servers you can stuff into each box, and b) having to run a certain number of public slots for every rented slot you provide; no idea of the ratios off-hand.

      still sucks for those of us who’d like to run the thing on our own boxes though :(

    • Bloodloss says:

      I do hope you’re trolling Alex. If so, well played. Otherwise, I don’t really know what to say. People have played FPS for decades not for the ‘+Level up! You unlocked a slightly different camouflage or gun that you could’ve already been playing with and enjoying hours ago if it wasn’t needlessly locked away from you until now! woohoo!’ unlock systems, but for the fun of fragging each other. I don’t think any game would suffer from removing it because I play them to have fun in a game shooting people, working as a team to achieve objectives, etc. I don’t need a pointless system that limits the features in the game from me until I’ve spent X amount of hours playing, and if that is all that’s making it ‘bearable’ for me then I’d have to ask myself why I’m doing it in the first place. Similarly, I and many other sensible people wouldn’t play games on the Xbox 360 just for the achievement points – I know, it’s shocking but bear with me – we play it to enjoy the gameplay, and when we get bored of it we stop playing it as it’s a video game and not a second job that needs arbitrary systems to keep us grinding.

    • Barman1942 says:

      @Alexander

      Except that an FPS-RPG doesn’t change the experience, it just means you “mindlessly shoot people in the face” for a while until you’re awarded with something shiny that does jack shit. The fun in FPS games, is using teamwork and tactics together to achieve a goal or overcome a challenge.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      @Barman1942 — except RPG elements make shooting people with friends more fun. Gasp!

      Here’s an example of a game with good RPG elements I’ve just though of: Section 8. It doesn’t even have experience levels and unlocks; shock horror!

      @subedii —

      At least acknowledge that you’re speaking from a personal preference

      Of course I’m fucking talking from a personal preference point of view. What fucking part of what I’ve said so far has led you to think I have secret proofs of the objective truth of everything I’ve said so far stashed away in a corner which I’m jealously denying you?

    • Kryopsis says:

      I vehemently disagree with Alexander. RPG-like progression is necessary when the core gameplay is dull and unappealing. (Would you play World of Warcraft if you would never level up?) In case of FPSs, a well tweaked gameplay experience is much more likely to extend one’s enjoyment of the game than gaining XP per kill. From a personal experience, I’ve played Team Fortress Classic much more than Team Fortress 2, simply because the game appealed so much to me. No amount of unlockables or XP perks would make up for conc-jumping from the moat in 2fort and infecting the enemy team with a deadly pathogen as the Medic.

      There are some advantages to a well-designed XP system, to be fair. If teamplay is sufficiently rewarding, you’re more likely to have people being useful on public servers. Also, the feeling of achievement will likely make you play more often, even if not for longer sessions.

      On a different topic, I find the title of this post too sensationalist: at first glance it seems to scream “Those bastards at Activision wants people to pay for Black Ops multiplayer!!” but in truth, you only have to pay if you wanted to rent a server, in which case you are limited to only one provider and a hefty fee. Nonetheless, this is misrepresentation of the issue and I’d expect better from RPS.

    • subedii says:

      @ Alexander: Nice how you pretty much ignored everything else in my post, and everyone else’s. Or for that matter, cutting off half of the one sentence of mine that you chose quote and which might have maybe issued context to the poor lonely sentence fragment.

      Starting off your post with a blanket “you’re all wrong” didn’t exactly give the impression that you viewed your post as anything other than the “correct” and objective opinion.

  4. MeestaNob says:

    Activision are just hopeless.

  5. goatmonkey says:

    well I must admit this doesn’t make me more inclined to buy the game

  6. Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox says:

    We have a Sami population in Sweden which are an indigenous people living up North, and since I’m from that area I’m pretty well connected with all the medicine men up there.

  7. Jetsetlemming says:

    Didn’t one/some of the Battlefield games do this same thing? I recall this definitely isn’t the first time such a deal has been struck.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      Pretty sure Bad Company 2 used this model.

    • Monkeybreadman says:

      All of the Battlefields (except 1942) have used a similar model. All RANKED servers can only be hired from certified providers which have to protect the server files from the user. The reason being they can change the server settings and mess up leaderboards etc. To be fair i don’t mind this as my computer and connection cannot host a 32 man BF server and EA/Dice don’t recieve ANY money from this.

      What’s happening here though isn’t such a good idea because they are only allowing ONE provider to host servers, meaning they can set whatever price they want. Activision doing it wrong yet again

    • jon_hill987 says:

      UT2004 had ranked servers that could be run by the public.

    • suibhne says:

      The DICE/EA approach is only superficially similar. There are apparently no kickbacks to DICE/EA, first of all – only contractual agreements about stuff like server load. Second, there are plenty of GSP choices with DICE/EA and only one with Treyarch/Activision. This appears at first glance to be a difference of degree, but it’s really a difference of kind: allowing only one GSP to host dedi servers for the game means that many parts of the world will not have ready access to good servers for CoD:BO, whereas DICE/EA’s system allows GSPs in unrepresented areas to apply for a partner contract. If there’s a market, in other words, DICE/EA generally welcome it; Treyarch/Activision apparently prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist.

  8. dethtoll says:

    NNNNNNNNNNGGHHHHHH

    it’s a good thing i don’t actually play multiplayer

  9. Navagon says:

    Meh. It’s ActiBlizz. I’m long since done expecting anything good out of them.

  10. Xaus says:

    Are you kidding? Activision was probably the one to initiate this process. They saw the demand for dedicated servers during MW2. You underestimate their business sense and outright greed… they didn’t think “Fuck them, we’ll just ignore them.” They were thinking “How can we exploit this and suck every penny out of them?”.

    Bingo.

  11. Freudian Trip says:

    Doesn’t everyone charge for Dedicated Servers? Defconservers.com sure seem to think so. If you want a 10 slot CS 1.6 server (a joke. Who plays 5v5 CS?) it’ll cost you $8 up front and then a $13 monthly charge.

    This is just the game developers getting the money instead of someone else. Certainly sounds like the end of the world to me.

    But yea, fuck Actiblablabla.

    • Sorbicol says:

      I think the point is that they are forcing you to get dedicated servers through one specific provider. Most people prefer a choice, or the option to run the game on a server they already own.

    • Brumisator says:

      Also, you used to be able to host your own server if you so wished.

      BF:BC2 already has this “only approved hosting companies” system. It’s not good, but it’s nothing new.

    • Junior says:

      As I understand it, a further problem is that they’ll not be hosting a server near you and your clan say, forcing you to connect to the closest server farm there is.

      If you’re a little out of the way, you could end up paying for a server which gives you and your local friends considerable lag.

  12. Incognito says:

    I´m glad that I don´t care for the Call of Duty series at all, haven´t done since I beat the first one, and don´t have to put up with all the stupid things that surround this series.

  13. Dawngreeter says:

    This sounds like a good way to give people a reason not to pirate the game.

  14. Brumisator says:

    Self-respecting PC gamers still play CoD?

    • Heliocentric says:

      Cod4 multiplayer is aces once you have all of the junk unlocked.

  15. czc says:

    They don’t have any servers in South Africa. So for South Africans it would not be feasible to play this game on servers not hosted in South Africa due to our appalling internet.

  16. Jetsetlemming says:

    I don’t really super mind this, honestly. Sucks for people running servers I guess, but those prices are competitive with other server hosting services and all the benefits of having dedicated servers (no host advantage, static game setting, improved ping and performance in general, etc) that MW2 lacked are in this system. The exclusive deal is a far lesser offense than strictly peer to peer hosting, and I suggest that we, as angry internet men, save our anger for something more deserving, like GFWL’s multiplayer system, or Randy Pitchford claiming PC gaming is dwindling on shacknews.

  17. Sondar says:

    Oh RPS, we knew this weeks ago.

    • suibhne says:

      Did we? Other game news sites seem to have posted this info within the past two days.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    Dedicated servers don’t matter*.
    * 1 if you are turn based
    .
    * 2 if you are glacial in pace
    .
    * 3 if you are for 2-8 players
    .
    * 4 if actions are limited per. second(s).
    * 5 if you have inherent mod support.

  19. The Juice says:

    Sorry, I used up all my astonishment and rage when they released video of RC cars with explosives strapped to them.

  20. rocketman71 says:

    Hummm… Didn’t we comment on this already like ten days ago?. Yep, we did.

    It’s still a travesty, though. “We care about the PC” my ass. They are as bad as DICE.

  21. hamster says:

    I was under the impression that dedicated servers are typically not hosted on home PCs, but are provided by commercial companies that do this sort of stuff (for a rental fee of course). Now people can only rent servers from an exclusive host but the prices aren’t out of the norm. And it’s not like people host dedi servers with home PCs/connections anyway, so I don’t really see the problem here.

    • rocketman71 says:

      People that host dedicated servers either

      – Have a dedicated server already in which to install game servers

      or

      – Use dedicated servers for LAN parties, because you can’t host your own server and play when you have 30 people on the server.

      As someone in both those situations, I’d say that yes, this is definitely a good problem. But it’s a big problem for Treyarch. They lost 30 sales with this stupid decision.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Besides, most commercial game server providers are shit anyway. Their admins will never have the enthusiasm of a true fan that went to the trouble (and believe me, it’s trouble) of hosting his/her own server. And customer service usually sucks.

    • Inferno says:

      Please learn more about dedi servers. The server providers do not provide “admins” to run the server. The person who pays for the server chooses who gets admin on the server. All those CSS server with admins are servers hosted by commercial server providers, not by the admin themself.

      You’ll still be able to admin your own server and set whatever rules you want on it

    • bjohndick says:

      @inferno

      It sounds like you actually need to learn more about dedicated servers.

      Or atleast you seem to be confusing “Admin” of a game server, with “Admin” of a server in terms of the actual physical machine. I’m relatively certain any of these server hosting providers worth the money have some real “Admins” somewhere along the line, unless I missed the headline where actual computer server administration managed to go completely automated overnight.

  22. Jerry says:

    You don’t understand why Call of Duty is popular. It’s precisely because it’s unfair.

    Billy Mays here with another FANTASTIC product.

    Tired of losing? Just can’t cut it in anything competitive? Hate to have to put in effort to be successful? Wish you could win and make youtube videos like you’re anything more than a 5 thumbed cripple with the hand eye coordination of a brick? Worry not! Now there’s Call of Duteh!

    Sit in this myah corner with Akimbo G18s and press mouse 1 when anything moves! Instant gratification guaranteed! Add vague, generic commentary and watch the utoob subscribers pile on!

    Warning, incompatible with high school education, any sort of character, soul, or IQs in the triple digits.

  23. Alexander Norris says:

    £9.95 for an 18-slot dedi? That’s rather cheap. I mean, sure, the official provider thing is absolutely shit, but if that’s the final price then they’re at least not trying to fuck server renters over, price-wise.

    The slot limitation is actually a good thing, by the way. The maps were built for 12-18 players, not 24-50.

  24. Coins says:

    We will rage about this, yes. We might even do so for a while, but in the end, this will have a market. And it’ll grow, and before we know it, it’s the most normal thing. ‘Paying for dedicated servers? What, you think we get those for free?! Since when do game companies have souls?” And so we take another step down the greed road, the the quality of gaming loses a level.

  25. Rinox says:

    I like to laugh now at the people who went all “haven’t you heard dimwits! Black Ops will have dedicated servers!” after my criticism of CoD4 and its spitting in the face of PC gamers.

    where is your god dedicated server now?!

  26. Joe Maley says:

    I think this is best.
    Otherwise it would turn into L4D, where you join matchmaking to be placed into a dedicated server loaded with crappy mods made by scriptkiddies.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      But why stop there? Clearly, all mods take away from the purity of the Developers’ vision, so all mods should be banned. Why should filthy players be allowed to muck about with the Developers’ Holy Gameplay? They’re not the ones who are professional makers of video games! The Developers are the only ones who are right, and they are right about everything! To doubt them by making or playing mods is heresy and should be punishable by death.

    • panther says:

      Instead of agreeing with this trash decision like a hack, think of a better solution?

      You can filter dedi servers running vanilla version.

    • Tei says:

      “Otherwise it would turn into L4D, where you join matchmaking to be placed into a dedicated server loaded with crappy mods made by scriptkiddies.”

      But the problem there can be bad mods, not being modding in general bad.
      Modding has given us Team Fortress, Counter-Strike and Desert Combat. Do you think these where bad?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      @Joe: Um. Wow. Sure, there’s always a tendency for some of that. But there’s also better servers and mods. I mean, with that attitude about anything can turn out to be dissatisfactory.

      The only reason part of me is glad they don’t is because it may help show people what .. er.. nonsense Activision are up to. But I’m rather pessimistic on that front and people who play the game at this point will probably just want more/better and fork over the money. No, this is probably a bad thing because, just as the launch without dedicated servers, this could set a precedent.

      Of treating your customers like crap.

    • Monkeybreadman says:

      That precedent was set ALONG time ago

  27. Kazang says:

    Servers aren’t free you know.
    EA have been doing this with the BF games since BF2. You rent servers off a approved host.
    Their is very little different between this the old method of hosting dedicated servers.

    66cent/slot is actually quite cheap, L4D servers are 1.19euro/slot, BF:BC2 63cent/slot, high quality CS:S servers are 79cent/slot.
    Gameservers.com are great hosts in my experience and offer quality service at good prices. You can choose exactly where your server is hosted (brussels/london/newyork/dublin/etc) and they are generally speaking the best hosts around.

    I’m big hater of Activision in general and didn’t buy MW2 on principle, or any other non-blizzard activision game, nor will I be buying Black Ops. But this is the kind of move that goes towards placating me, not angering.
    They are quite within their rights to control how the dedicated servers are used and as game dev myself I totally understand their wish to keep control of how it’s played.

    I would expect this kind of naive rabble rousing from forum morons but seeing it on RPS is quite disheartening. We need to direct our nerd rage at far more deserving things than this.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      You sound pretty ignorant honestly. BF2 was like that for ranked servers only, as with global rankings you sort of have to at least try and make sure everyone is on equal footing, ie, all the servers they played and increased their rank on had a certain set of rules, maps, and so on. It wasn’t ideal, but at least it made some sense.

      The difference with this decision for Black Ops is that you can no longer host a server on your own hardware, something that was very much possible for BF2. Perhaps you’re not aware because you never actually looked into hosting, and instead only played games casually, but there are many, many people and many, many game communities who have their own hardware and the connections needed to host damn good servers for any game.

      The fact the dedicated server files won’t be released to anyone outside the company they partnered with means that is now impossible, and even though all these people and communities have invested the money and time to get the machines needed to run the games they want, they’re now required to pay a third party for it, on top of buying the game itself. How the frak does this sound fair to you? Maybe it doesn’t affect you personally or you and your friends’ playing habits but that’s hardly a reason to call people who dislike this decision and wish it doesn’t become a standard because it does affect their gaming, any of the names you called them/us.

    • psyk says:

      Wow elitism at it’s greatest in that post, so unless you set up/hosted/looked in to a server your a casual gamer, NICE.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      If you take the possibility of “playing casually” as an insult of some sort then perhaps you’re the elitist. But yes, it did strike me as quite weird that someone with such bold claims about how dumb you have to be to oppose this or how he’s “a game developer” was apparently unaware that there are many people and communities who do that kind of hosting, even if he doesn’t do it himself. I mean, what does he think the use of releasing the server files to games he mentioned, like Counter-Strike, is? Just a gift for the server hosting companies? No, they just take advantage of what Valve offer to their customers. I mean, I’d understand if a company wanted a cut from the money these server hosts make, just like Valve now makes money from net cafes that use their games, but it should be done in such ways only, ie without affecting the actual players and their communities.

    • psyk says:

      The wording makes it seem extremely elitist, I didn’t know you had to insult people to be elitist oh well you learn something new each day :S *cough*bullshit*cough*

    • Al3xand3r says:

      I love you how you don’t respond to pretty much anything I’m actually saying, and the only retort you have is that something “seemed” so and so, which leads back to the only problem being your perception, and not what I said. Oh well, keep being delusional, friend, it’s rather entertaining.

    • psyk says:

      Why should I answer questions about someone I don’t know? which are the only questions you asked.

      “Perhaps you’re not aware because you never actually looked into hosting, and instead only played games casually!”

      That’s the extremely elitist statement I was replying to and I kinda stopped reading after that to be honest my second response was just to show my amazement that to be an elitist snob you have to use insults which is bullshit.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Uuh, what? When did I ask you anything about anyone else, or yourself for that matter? I just assumed you came to the comments to discuss the topic here, which is what I was actually doing, until you and your inferiority issues came in at least. Again, no elitism there, it’s all in your head, there’s nothing wrong with playing casually. I do that myself honestly, most of the time. I already said why I found ignorance on a particular subject from a particular person who on top of that was so opinionated over it but you prefer to discuss elitism instead, oh well, lol.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      There was supposed to be a “weird” somewhere there, ie, I found ignorance on a particular subject weird, but whatever, it’s not like it maters, the discussion outlasted its welcome, keep it up, lol.

    • psyk says:

      I never wanted to respond to what you were saying or I would of done from the start, all I wanted to do was say what an elitist statement you made

      “even if he doesn’t do it himself. I mean, what does he think the use of releasing the server files to games he mentioned, like Counter-Strike, is? Just a gift for the server hosting companies?”

      Two questions about Kazang that you strangely went on to answer for him/her yourself.

      “In the English language, the question mark (?), also known as an interrogation point, interrogation mark, question point, query,[1] or eroteme, is a punctuation mark that replaces the Full stop at the end of an interrogative sentence. It can also be used mid-sentence to mark a merely interrogative phrase, where it functions similarly to a comma, such as in the single sentence “Where shall we go? and what shall we do?”, but this usage is increasingly rare. The question mark is not used for indirect questions. The question mark character is also often used in place of missing or unknown data.”

    • Kazang says:

      For a start MW has no communities that have their own hardware, you know why?
      Because MW doesn’t have any dedicated servers at all.
      The give people dedi servers as a compromise and there is nothing but rage…..

      This makes you sound like a spoilt child. At the end of the day they are under no obligation to provide dedi servers, then they do and whine even more?

      Nice, real nice.

      Aside from that.
      MW and Black Ops are nothing but casual games, there is no competitive scene worth playing in for those games. Having dedi servers wont change this and I do think that they are hurting themselves more than the gamers but this is there choice and it’s not my place to dictate to them what they should do with their software.

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Uuh did I say MW in particular has such communities? I was talking about what many PC gamers do. if they released MW4 with just lan support or something would that mean you can say “there are no online communities for MW since MW4 didn’t have online at all so it’s fine they do the same for MW5 duder” or what? And you’re wrong anyway, there are plenty such cases for MW, it’s MW2 that doesn’t have dedicated server support. I get it, you don’t particularly care or affected by this issue, others would have preffered something else, and if what they wanted was offered your experience would be the same whereas now that your personal experience remains the same, theirs is negatively affected. What gives you the right to call them dumb for expressing that? It’s not like anyone’s gonna lose sleep over it, nor are they going to bomb Activision’s offices for not catering to their needs but this is the topic here, so they give their 2 cents just like you are, and their “needs” for this game would not affect yours so I don’t see why you needed to oppose them so aggresively, calling them names because they express what they want out of online gaming on PC. Meh, whatever.

  28. Freud says:

    I won’t buy it. Not because of some outrage that Activision are being idiots when it comes to their games again but simply because I don’t think Treyarch is a particularly good developer. They make games I regret spending my money on. I might not be smart, but eventually even I catch on.

  29. CilindroX says:

    Same here, no multy-thingy for South America… Guess it’s back to BC2 and 200 ping for me :S

  30. G says:

    Not a Brilliant Idea!

    • G says:

      We knew it was coming. Im not surrprised that it was this game and company to do so either.

      Can someone fill me in though, I dont play multiplayer games. People here are saying that you must pay to play Counterstrike 1.6 and Battlefield Bad Company 2? I never knew this.

    • G says:

      Honestly, I am new to this, if I were to buy Bad Comapny 2 and start playing it today, would i have to pay a monthly fee? Is a dedicated server one that you can control yourself, choosing the map and weapons etc and who can play with you?

    • Al3xand3r says:

      Dedicated server is software and hardware dedicated to hosting the game. Ie, you don’t play and have other people connect to your PC to play together as it happens in MW2, instead you and the others connect to a third machine that nobody’s playing on as its sole purpose is to serve your game.

      How many options you have depends on the game, often you have the options you mention without a dedicated server. The advantage is that it’s a machine solely geared to hosting, so it does a better job at it, and usually comes with far better internet connection, enough to upload all the data needed to all the players connected to it.

      And o, you don’t pay a monthly fee to play, this is strictly for people who want to host their own server rather than just fire up the game and connect to someone else’s. Now they no longer have the choice of company, nor can they have their own machine, if they have the means, to take up the server role, they must always go to this one company and rent one from them.

      I suppose it doesn’t affect the majority of players though I’m inclined to think that, indirectly, it does, if many local communities end up not getting the game because they don’t like this one company, or if they make their servers private as they don’t want to play with randoms, or whatever else whch could result in a reduced ability to find good hosts to play on.

      Oh well, at least Valve won’t be doing that shit any time soon, no wonder their games are so played online, new or not.

    • G says:

      Thanks very much.

  31. Centy says:

    There’s hardly need for all this fuss though we are getting dedicated servers and we are getting them in a much better way than with Bad Company 2 which I seem to recall everyone gushing over. We get as much access to the server as we did with a rented CoD4 server.

    I dislike the fact they have chosen to go with only 1 GSP since I would have much rather rented from Multiplay personally but I can see why they did. To ensure every single server gets updated at the same time it makes sense and from what I hear Gameservers are pretty good they have a lot of back end tools and support for mods and are very competitively priced. Sure you can’t host your own server on a box if you have one but so what the price you pay to run that and the net to make sure it works far outstrips the price of renting one. I’m getting together with 3 mates which makes our own Black ops server a mere £10 for 3 months each.

    I ask you if you are still bitching about this and everything Treyarch have done to make the PC version the best one then really maybe you should build a time machine and go back to 2001 because the rest of us would like to move on and take the good offer we are being given. Yes it’s not what we expected and monopolies are bad but the fine print shows the price will NEVER go above the current price for server slots and support is always forthcoming.

    Really compared to Bad Company and Modern Warfare 2 it’s a nice step forward unless the modding tools fail to arrive then Treyarch can go fuck themselves.

    • spod says:

      You’re a back end tool.

      :D

    • Centy says:

      Yes cheers, sadly my logic is under a torrent of spam posts becrying the end of times or people saying Call of Duty sucks.

    • Rinox says:

      The tragedy is, for all their marketing smoke and mirrors about optimising for PC and offering players value-for-pay by updating the game/servers, it’s all a big joke if you look at TF2 and Valve.

      This is nothing but a money grab. Not the worst money grab in the world, but a money grab.

    • Centy says:

      Oh I totally agree it’s a money grab and I am entirely sympathetic to people who don’t want to rent from just 1 provider but to everyone else who’s just moaning for the sake of it or because they can’t host their own well you know calm down.

      You can’t expect other companies to act like Valve since Valve don’t answer to shareholders they have free reign to do as they see fit which in most (not L4D2) cases they do for the benefit of the general player. I think Treyarch and, dare I say it, Actiblizz have done the best they can to help slow down the pirates and help give the customer what they want.

      Lets face it they could have just thrown the game out the door with listen servers and no support as Infinity Ward did and still have sold a bundle with little loss. Yet they have done what seems to be the best they could for both parties and instead of getting all ‘Internet angry man’ on them I applaud that they have chosen this path. It might not be perfect and suit everyone but it certainly is a hell of a lot better than most companies manage these days on PC.

  32. Player1 says:

    They shall burn together with Activision and their product…

  33. Smeghammer says:

    Gameservers.com is crap. Their shoddy service is the sole reason that my TF2 gang rented our own dedicated server.

  34. Danny says:

    This, my friends, is an outrage!

  35. Mark Raymond says:

    As long as the pricing is competitive this doesn’t bother me. I’m assuming GameServers.com made a deal with Activision, which they probably paid exclusivity rights for. They bought it; they earned it.

    If I do buy BO this year, it will be on the PC, and it will be because of dedicated servers.

  36. Tei says:

    The keyword here is “crippled”.

    Seems the version distributed of the game will be unable to host games. You will use a gimped copy, and if you want to use the non-gimped version, you have pretty much rent it with the hardware that powers it.
    This all to create a “virtual escarcity” and profit from it. Is not inmoral because gaming is not a basical need. You don’t need games to live. But is sureally evil. A evil way to monetize something out of thin air.
    But what if a user find a way to host games as a dedicated server with his crippled copy?
    then we will be able to host in a dedicated server.
    And this another problem, serving a crippled software create the false impression that the user has to allow to use the software in the crippled way, but the user don’t need to to that.

    • Tei says:

      postdata:
      Lets suppose that it works copying the dll “srvdmnd.dll” to the directory of the game.
      The authors of the game can’t say I am not allowed to copy files around on my hard disk.

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      It’s only evil if it’s mandatory. Just don’t buy it! It’s juvenile junk anyway.

  37. Nathan says:

    To respond to your question, “Who plays 5v5 CS?”, I have some answers.

    http://www.wcg.com/
    http://www.cevo.com/
    http://www.eco-league.com
    http://www.esportsea.com/

    irc.gamesurge.net #findscrim or #sourceinvite or #sourcescrim or #sourceringer

    CS was made for 5v5. There are maps (aztec for instance) and certainly ways to play CS with more than 10 people, but to argue that, say, dust2 or nuke, or any sort of “canon” custom maps such as cpl_mill, season, strike, wasn’t made for 5v5 would be fallacious.

  38. kheopss says:

    why the hell is so hard to make the multiplayer and servers like counter-strike ?

  39. Bam! says:

    Just jumping back to the earlier discussion of like, how RPG elements in multiplayer FPS are ruining/the-only-way-to-make-bearable the gameplay, I come down HARD on the ruining side. The whole RPG thing in multiplayer FPS’s is basically transplanting what got everybody hooked on MMO’s (i.e. the Pavlovian press-button-get-treat mechanic) and plopping it right smack dab down in the holiest of holy PC gaming genre (the FPS) like Auntie Fenwick’s slick chompers in your hot Xmas pudding (you have xmas pudding in the UK, don’t you?).

    Again, saying that running around shooting people in the face isn’t fun or compelling is like saying hitting a ball over a net with a racket with some guy isn’t fun or compelling. Or that hitting a ball with a club into a hole isn’t fun or compelling (except it really isn’t).

    Now lemme take out my socket and I’ll plug (get it?) Plain Sight (I don’t) for a hot minute. This game gives you TRULY novel and inventive gameplay w/out RPGish masturbatory gameplay elements. And, hey, if anyone needs the $ its them, yet you can throw your own Dedicated Server up (to my knowledge) anywhere you damn well please.

    And let’s not-LET’S NOT-forget about all the hidden game communities going on right now that are simply under our radar. Seriously, that’s where most good multiplayer gaming happens these days. Underground in obscure UT2004 mods that came out like 7 years ago. Small, tight-knit communities. Little enclaves of super-fun hiding in the Internets. Stuff we’ve never even heard of.

    Now put THAT in your pipe and smoke/suck it.

    • Rane2k says:

      Agreed.

      It´s not like people threw away their games after 3 weeks before unlocks and achievements were “invented”.
      I´m not entirely opposed to such things, but it seems like it´s promoting non-level playing fields, if the veterans have access to a wide array of weapons and perks, against beginners (not noobs necessarily) who only have 2 or 3 basic guns and abilities.

  40. Rob- says:

    Sure it’s not necessarily the best way to go about it but how is this is the end of the world? It’s not like you’re paying a subscription per person for access to servers. The only difference is the GSP exclusive.

    Lack of lan-servers is the key bad point brought about by this. The other point (exclusivity) is yet to be seen whether it’s bad or not.

    Peculiar article to say the least RPS.

  41. Red Scharlach says:

    They just couldn’t resist it, could they?

  42. Dawngreeter says:

    This here is CoD an’ if you don’ like it, you can git out.

    Nah, it’s evil.

  43. Konky Dong says:

    You know what Activision? Why don’t you go fuck yourself.

  44. Jason says:

    “FPSes are ultimately repetitive, and always will be. It takes time to make custom maps for them, especially good quality ones; mods only serve to divide the playerbase and even if they didn’t, it would be untenable to demand of modders that they constantly add new content to a game. Ultimately, you’re left with shooting the same models on the same maps with the same guns and it gets incredibly boring incredibly fast if played in anything more than short bursts. No “core gameplay” will ever be good enough to keep an FPS (or pretty much any video game) interesting for more than a few tens of hours (or perhaps a couple of hundred if your tolerance for sameness is particularly high), at least not until we get a game with so much content that you’ll literally never see the same thing more than a handful of times.”

    Uh, maybe *for you*, but there are plenty of people who just get off on the competition. And ya know what? These silly role playing game upgrades don’t do anything for serious FPS gamers. Not one damned thing. I’ve played a *thousand* hours of COD4, and I would have never made it out of a couple of hundred just playing the vanilla game. Ya know why? Because it’s just not as good as promod. You just have a low tolerance for the way these games are meant to be played, don’t force your opinion on everyone else.

    There’s (still) a huge market for games that don’t revolve around fillin’ bars.

    It upsets me that people are making such a big deal out of this “news” (which is old news!)–it’s better than nothing, and it’s the same model BC2 uses. Hardly the travesty everyone is making it out to be.

  45. Dick says:

    You sure they werent wearing their coolface.jpg?

    Seems that only Valve knows how to properly troll their fans and get positive feedback out of it.

  46. Dick says:

    You sure they werent wearing their coolface.jpg?

    Seems that only Valve knows how to properly troll their fans.

    -Update coming soon-
    3 months later. LOLUPDATE!!!1
    OH U!

  47. Mark Raymond says:

    Unnecessary RPG-isation of games, to the extent that it erects an artificial barrier against the player’s efforts and progress, has got to be one of the worst things to come out of the hivemind of this generation’s designers.

    Surely a game should become more challenging as you play it, not less so as you put in the hours repetitively grinding for experience? I’m all up for levelling systems in games where the player is granted more gameplay options as they put in the hours, as it’s a way of introducing more complex concepts, more complex problems and more depth to a game. However, games like Castle Crashers or Dead Rising, where the end game is dramatically easier than the early game, are, I think, poorly designed for the aforementioned reason.

  48. ed says:

    Pfft. Whatever. Good. Let these big battery-farm devs on big IPs make stupid decisions about servers, unlocks, DLC, DRM, etc etc. The further gone these companies are into fantasy land (all the way up to pay-per-play, I expect), the better games put out by people with dignity and creative passion will feel in contrast. We’d better just make sure we keep supporting such devs with our purchases, though, rather than lapping up well-polished corporate excrement.

  49. SOGgy Bottom says:

    @Mark Raymond

    I blame the success of WoW for this RPG-isation

  50. Adam says:

    This post is misleading. The news release from IGN states the model will be similar to what we get with CS:Source. You can play on dedicated servers for free, but if you want your own it will cost. Same deal. It’s not like it costs to “play” on a dedicated server, only to run your own : )