Back From… Brink Does Clans, Tourneys

By Alec Meer on November 16th, 2011 at 9:09 am.

The long-faced men can officially be friends!

Brink: a most curious beast indeed. I’m still not entirely sure what I make of it. While I wish it had done quite a few things a little differently, I’m heartened to see that it hasn’t been left to die: a forthcoming update will better turn it to the not-so-tender mercies of community-centric play. Clans and tournaments will be the focus of the patch – the kind of stuff that perhaps should have been there in the first place, but hindsight is 20/20, as my Dad so helpfully observes several hundred times a year.

You’ll be able to create a clan, recruit members, create some sort of no doubt nightmarishly ugly clan symbol, manage things via a dedicated profile page and, of course, wage war on other clans. They deserve it, the rotters.


There’ll also be events, tourneys and the like you can sign your men up for (see, I can say ‘men’ without worrying about sounding sexist, ‘cos Brink’s player models are universally male, right?). Brink may have fizzled somewhat after launch, but Splash Damage’s games do have a strong history of retaining sizeable online playerbases and perhaps, now, this will join the territorial enmity of its predecessors.

Exact-o-details here.

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37 Comments »

  1. Gnoupi says:

    The main problem, unfortunately, will be to find actual members to recruit, now…

    I loved the game, but hard to find a lot of players, 6 months later. I doubt this update alone will really bring people back, so I guess there will be some free weekend event or something on Steam, one of these days.
    Because aside from that, there is not much to “retain”, nowadays.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      I had a lot of fun with Brink, but unfortunately the servers just aren’t populated enough. I hate hate hate playing against bots too, so those servers that just have a couple of people aren’t very fun. I’ll give it a try again, but I don’t want to be forced to play at specific times for tourneys.

    • Rahabib says:

      I plan on giving it a second go now that they supposedly “fixed” the weapons to hit where you aim at, added in demo recording, and a few other things they should have released with the game.

      If they had just released an SDK at launch, all of this could have been avoided.

  2. HexagonalBolts says:

    It’s strange that more games don’t make this a distinct part of their program. Why not have a simple player profile and groups one can join in game, perhaps a clan news page and a simple way to challenge other clans? Even that (surely relatively simple) step I’m sure would bring about so much more structure to online communities.

    Or regularly organised online tournments, not randomly organised on some obscure website that only the most dedicated players know about, but a weekly one accessed via an option on the main menu, for all levels of difficulty…

  3. Njordsk says:

    My 2nd biggest letdown of 2011.

    • suibhne says:

      My biggest…precisely because the basic mechanics are pretty darn good.

    • wyrmsine says:

      Yep, this could have been an awesome game. Instead, well, it’s another of those cautionary tales against releasing 1/3rd of a product for full price and expecting DLC to pick up the slack. Shame, too – the mechanics were great and I was really enjoying what little I’d seen of the world.

  4. Nahkatakkimies says:

    Why isn’t this already free-to-play? Highly-customizable characters would fit perfectly and the non-existent player base would be remedied. Just add some silly hats with a price tag and you got yourself a winner!

    • kwyjibo says:

      It isn’t free to play because it was a console release, I have no idea how those versions are doing, but because of this – the PC version is totally dead.

      It’s been out several months, and has already dropped out of Steam’s most played 100. No one is going to buy this game now, even in the Christmas period because all you’ll get are empty servers.

      If these guys have any sense, and they want to see their creation thrive, it’ll go free to play next year.

      To everyone else out there making a multiplayer shooter and trying to charge an entrance fee – what the fuck are you thinking?

  5. trooperdx3117 says:

    Not really any point to this really is there, just checked the steam stats and basically no one in the world is playing this, its not even on the top 100 list of games palyed in the last 24 hrs.

  6. Flukie says:

    I really did enjoy this game when it came out but there was no staying power, and unlike the other splash damage games no ones really stuck with it. Its a shame but they’ve got to rethink some things to make it worth coming back to.

    Make it free to play too, I don’t mind, I won’t play it again unless they generate content and that’s the only way they are gonna do that.

  7. ran93r says:

    I love SD and I did enjoy Brink but something did feel a little flat. I’m prepared to give it another shot for fun but realistically I can’t see it moving my attention away from BF3 as my go-to manshoots.

  8. mondomau says:

    Biggest let-down of the year. I still love the visuals and design style but, gameplay wise, it just didn’t deliver in any category. Even the Parkour was limp – BF3 actually does it better. I can’t see me being tempted back in by the promise of super competitive play, since the few remaining die-hards that still play will be ridiculously good at it by now.

    • suibhne says:

      Ho now, I can’t imagine any way in which BF3 does the movement better. If you approach a railing in BF3 from a slight angle rather than straight on, you’ll just go through the jumping animation over and over without actually going anywhere; Brink was much more intelligent about parsing your movement relative to the level geometry from all sorts of angles. BF3′s “parkour” failures have led to many frustrating deaths online. ;)

  9. Gurrah says:

    I really wanted to like it, but all in all it was a desaster. It’s essentially a multiplay-only game, which isn’t a bad thing, only when you make every possible mistake in the book when it comes to multiplayer shooting it becomes a bloody nuisance and waste of money. It has one of the worst engines I’ve experienced in years, framelag beyond belief and on top of that you had to deal with real lag as well. It certainly looked pretty but was unplayable, for me at least. Oh, and the advertised free running and parcour element was a joke really, ActionHalfLife did and does that ten times better, and that little gem is getting quite old in gaming-years.

  10. JayArr says:

    Funnily enough, I was talking to a couple of friends last night about Brink and what became of it. We were comparing it to the original Call of Duty, which still has several thousand regular players eight years after release, while Brink had a total of eleven servers listed on Gametracker.com that had people connected to them, and then there were no more than four players on any one server (although obviously the site won’t have info for every single server online). That was at like 9.30 in the evening.

    It wasn’t that bad a game, but the sheer volume of bugs early on drove me away and then sapped any enthusiasm I might have had to go back to it. I think the worst one was the audio error I’d get on some maps where there’d be horrible clicking noises every time I moved even slightly. My avatar sounded like some giant insect from a sci-fi horror movie. Pretty unbearable when you’re wearing headphones.

  11. Zulthar says:

    I wanted to like it but it feels way too… stiff. Animations are boring and the fact that everyone just crouch when you kill them makes it worse. Kills weren’t satisfying. All class-related skills felt clunky as hell and the map design didn’t really allow for much parkour. Every map only had like two floors.

  12. Kinch says:

    Only played Brink during the Steam free weekend, but have to say I enjoyed the game despite its flaws (what game has no glitches?). Still, I didn’t think it worth my 49.99. The price has been reduced since then but there are so many other, better games to play that I can’t be bothered to return to the Arc.

    Agree with Flukie, “no staying power”.

    What I remember Brink mostly for is character creation/customisation. I loved it.

  13. Crimsoneer says:

    I actually really enjoyed Brink, and was rather sad when it “died”. I still think a solid update, £10 sale and free weekend on Steam could bring it back.

    • kwyjibo says:

      You didn’t think it’s death would be quick and inevitable?

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      I didn’t think it was a forgone conclusion before release, no. It was only when the dismal early player numbers (steamgraph records a peak concurrent player count of a little over 10,000) came in that the alarm bells started ringing.

      @ Crimsoneer: Didn’t they already do that with Agents of Change? That gave them a small spike in player numbers and then it dropped off again completely. At this point they’re re-arranging deckchairs between the two halves of the Titanic as it rests on the floor of the Atlantic ocean. Which is a shame, ’twas a decent enough game.

  14. Jumwa says:

    My partner and I passed on the game solely because of the lack of female player options. We really liked the sound of it at first, but their whole rationalization for why those dang womens just can’t be allowed irked us.

  15. Insanity says:

    I thought Brink was really awesome, the team play was great and I thought the gunplay was good too. It was also pretty good competetively aswell. Sadly any hope for this game was destroyed by the crippling performance issues that the game had at launch and still has now.

    I played a few matches with my team and they were excellent, sadly we had no subs or back-up players as no-one else in our team could get it to run over 15fps. Oh and the console style UI wasn’t the best either.

  16. Ogun says:

    Loved the multiplayer and could imagine it becoming a worthy successor to ET if anyone was actually still playing it.

    Can’t help thinking that it would’ve had more staying power if they’d scrapped “single player” entirely – considering that it’s an absolutely bloody terrible single player game. The marketing disappointment was almost as big a problem as the technical issues/no Steam on day one.

  17. Psychopomp says:

    Their attitude to the ATI problems pretty much ensured that I’m never touching another Splash Damage product.

  18. celozzip says:

    the reason no-one’s playing is this attitude of ‘nobody’s playing so i won’t bother playing either’ when the entire fanbase does that you get a dead game.

    i used to get dozens of servers in the browser and last night there were 4 that had a decent amount of people in them, there were a lot of 1 player servers though, just people playing sp.

    the two problems with brink, for me, are 1 – the AWFUL sound. it’s an abomination. everyone seems to be loving it on the forums but i can’t stand it. can’t tell what the hell is going on or where anyone is, it constantly cuts out/goes muffled due to ‘realism’, it’s just fucking horrible.

    number 2 is the shooting mechanics, but since the patch it felt pretty good last night, less like holding my thumb over the garden hose and watching my bullets spray everywhere and more like a real fps where you aim and hit people and they die. still too late to save it though.

    • kwyjibo says:

      The reason you get a dead game is because the developers chose to charge for a multiplayer only shooter with no unique selling point.

  19. son_of_montfort says:

    As an aside, why do all of the character’s faces look a little like Hugh Laurie? Are the developers huge Fry and Laurie fans? Or maybe just House.

  20. El_Emmental says:

    Flukie : “no staying power”

    +1, biggest letdown of the last 5 years for me.

    I loved Brink, but it couldn’t hold me any longer… I tried, several times, but it was over, Splash Damage refused to fix it (gameplay-wise).

    Sure, the performance on release was a real nightmare (almost as bad as Red Orchestra 2 !), but a few patches later, it was mostly solved.

    The biggest problem is the gameplay experience itself.

    If the game performance at launch was the real problem, you would still see players playing the damn game, and many people would gladly come back (now that most important bugs are ironed out)

    Instead many people checked back a few weeks/months later, and they saw : less people, same gameplay problems.

    Why bothering ?

    TL;DR : Splash Damage dropped the ball on Brink, the gameplay is broken and stuck in an uncomfortable position that could solved with a lot of good-will and some mapping skills (or just an enormous amount of good-will : releasing map editor/SDK).

    [ !!! ] PRETTY BIG WALL OF TEXT AHEAD [ !!! ]

    The game had some very serious design flaws, like :

    1) Not being able to change Body Type or Character (specialized in 2 classes) ingame => you had to disconnect from the server to change, then rejoin it. More than 50% of rounds are lost because of this unjustified limitation.

    => It’s pretending 100% of players DO play the objectives and are equally skilled regarding all FPS aspects. Perfect clones.

    Anyone who played pubs (or even matches) for more than a single hour perfectly knows 20% of the team does 60% to 80% of the important job, while the others are doing support/indirect support/area control.

    NB: The same thing happens with real-life soldiers at war, with employees in companies, etc – That’s how humans work as a group : each human plays a role, and each role is necessary (you can’t get 50% or 100% “do-ers” in a group).

    Splash Damage tried to deny this natural phenomenon, forcing down the throat the “EVERYONE’S A WINNER, EVERYONE GETS AN OBJECTIVE TO COMPLETE” not-so-brilliant concept.

    Consequences :
    => When the 20% “do-ers” don’t have the right Body Type/Character for the Objective, the team is stuck and can’t make a move.

    => Since Brink players usually play more than 30 minutes per session, they inevitably bump into such situations since they stay on the same server, and it’s extremely rare to find a well-balanced game where both team have the right Body Type/Character for all their players (roles), so the map cycle is rolling fast most of the time.

    2) Terrible terribad awful map structure design
    => choke points everywhere with NO interesting gameplay solution (spamming grenades + GL + camping isn’t fun at all), not enough (at most, 2 per entire maps !) flanking/tunnel/alternative routes, despite the fully-working “parkour” system.

    => maps are made of small closed corridors, with no alternatives gameplay challenges or real verticality, they’re empty of any obstacles, so it always end up in being “the best spammer/camper holding the small corridor/room wins”.

    3) No major update or fixes of existing maps, despite clear design flaws making defense or attack impossible. Early block on Container is so common I often spam my teamate (when I’m on defense) “DO NOT BLOCK THEM, DONT GO BEYOND THE DOOR, LET THEM APPROACH !”, otherwise we’re in for 10-15 min of boring fish-shooting in barrels and mass meh-quitting on BOTH sides.

    4) No map editor = no custom maps, no community-fixed version of official maps, nothing.

    5) Just plain bad class balance :
    - Engineer : can open Safes (attack), repair Robots (attack), repair Cranes (attack), defuse Bombs (defense), defuse Hackbox (defense) and roll-back Hacking (defense)
    - Soldier : can put Explosives (attack)
    - Medic : can revive Hostages (attack)
    - Operative : can put Hackbox (attack)

    * Official statement regarding the Engineer being able to roll-back Hacking (despite having no Hacking skills/tools/role) : ‘We tried giving this ability to the Operative class instead, but it was too complex for players’ (that’s basically what the guy wrote)
    => “It’s too hard for beginners when the Operatives have their own objective in Defense, let’s remove it !” :|

    Since you always switch sides, and map change pretty frequently, you always end up on Defense.

    => So you’ll have at least 50% of the Defending team being Engineers, since they can defend ALL objectives (their +31% damage bonus even helps with downing Hostages), set up 1 Sentry and 2 landmines.
    And they can double the Command Post buff while they’re waiting on defense (leaving a mine to protect it).

    Then, when switching to the Attacking team, they’ll be able to attack HALF objectives.

    Consequences :

    a) Everyone specialized his characters in ” Something + Engineers ” (=> if you don’t, you’ll end up having to rely on your teamates for 2/3 of objectives… that’s suicide)

    b) Team composition = Engineers + the minimum amount of other classes
    - Everyone (but the 2-3) play Engineers
    - the Teamplayers (1 or 2 max) play Medic and spam revives
    - no one (or just trolling people) play Operative, unless we need a Hackbox
    - 1 guy plays Soldier to give some ammo to the Engineers when Defending, or when we need some Explosives when Attacking

    And what did Splash Damage do to fix these problems ?

    nothing.

    Same body type/character limitation.

    Same flawed maps.

    Same unbalanced classes.

    You can release all the free DLCs and bugfixes you want, not fixing such flawed major game design elements is not what I call “devs supporting their game”.

    With Agent of Change (DLC) and this patch, they’re supporting the “Brink Project”, not the game itself.

    And the game is dead now, just like Shattered Horizon.

    Until they admit they failed on these elements of the game, the game will remain dead.

    It is impossible to do a perfect game, that’s why I don’t blame them for failing on these points, I blame them for refusing to admit some of their major game design decisions were -in fact- wrong, for the type of gameplay experience most players want (= public server gameplay with all types of gamers).

    All excellent games and mods went through this, there is no shame in reworking your game, a game developer should be proud of it instead.

    Possible solutions they’ll never work on :

    a) Remove BodyType/Character limitation. You can change “while inside spawn” (= TF2) or “upon death” (= most other multiplayer FPS).

    b) Add a “free Abilities” unlock mode to any player when they play a vital class AND they are alone on that task (or only 2), giving the most important (not all !) Abilities of this class temporarily
    => anyone can jump in the game and still be useful, even if he hasn’t grinded the XP for the class his team really needs.

    c) Rework maps : lower some details to be able to
    * add obstacles of various size/shapes (crates doesn’t count, no)
    * add much more secondary ways/tunnel/ramps around chokepoints

    d) Nerf the Objectives role of the Engineer, so he’s a “Jack of all trades, master of none”
    * Can no longer roll-back Hacking
    * Takes longer than an Operative to remove the Hackbox
    * Takes longer than a Soldier to remove Explosives

    e) Buff the Objectives role of the Operative
    * Can roll-back hacking (once he connected the PDA to the Hackbox = wireless hacking duels possible)
    * Can remove Hackbox once hacking is at 0%
    * Makes the EMP grenade a level 3 unlock, but less powerful + add objective x seconds immunity between each EMP blast (to prevent spam)

    f) Buff the Objective role of the Soldier
    * Can remove Explosives
    Possible extended capacity :
    * Can put Explosives on Crane to lower the Repair % (-20% to -30%) (once per Crane life)
    * Can put Explosives on disabled Robot to add a +10%/+20% required Repair (once per Robot disable-repaired cycle)

    g) Bonus : give me a reason to not use dark grey/brown/blue clothes as camouflage, like rewarding with extra XP points players using funky clothes/attributes (<= that would be awesome, we would see more clowns with crazy characters)

    Sadly, Splash Damage won't do anything.

    And we can't do anything : no SDK available.

    Only hope ? Brink 2

    Who will buy-preorder-recommend Brink 2 ? No one

    Case closed. NEXT !

  21. seattlepete says:

    This is the kind of damning response that only a true fan could put together. I loved ET:QW so much that I was really crushed when the only game I’ve ever looked forward to for years was delivered as a steaming pile.

    Really the biggest thing for me was the parkour. Does anybody care about that? Is parkour huge in the UK or something? Because in the US there was mild interest back in 2008 and I’m pretty sure all those people are into UFC now. The emphasis on parkour and those dumb “gamne-changing” vaults and jumps forced the level designers hands into creating tight, choke-prone death-traps. ‘Players need something to jump over!”

    I would give all my scopes and extended magazines for an icarus or boat. A BOAT! The whole friggin’ game takes place on a floating island and there are no boats I can use to flank the enemy?

    ARRRRRRRRGHFIFLKHfjkipgjklnlaskdfn;dfasdefsdafsdAGJFIOazJlj:L<JMk!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!1!!1!1111!!

  22. DarkByke says:

    I love Brink. 100% Trophy/Achievements done for PC and PS3.

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