Black Ops 2 Adding Ranked Dedicated Servers

An image from Sentient Beings Monthly. Pictured middle-left: last year's model.

Has it been a great 24 hours for revolutionary new tech developments or what? First Minecraft revealed “LAN” – named, of course, after LAN parties, which paradoxically didn’t exist until just a few moments ago – and now Activision’s pointing its scope at longer-range latency with a new addition to Black Ops 2’s scary future war arsenal: dedicated servers. Unlike Modern Warfare 3’s, however, these are ranked and everything. “Confirmed: Ranked Dedicated Servers for ‪#BlackOps2,” tweeted director of technology Cesar Stastny. See?

What, though, does this mean for Call of Duty: Elite on PC? The service has been MIA since Modern Warfare 3’s launch 5823929587949238 battledeathkills ago in Call of Duty Standard Time, and it’s shown no signs of surfacing. I asked about it during E3, only to receive an all-too-predictable “we have nothing to announce at this time” followed by a “bleep-bloop, Strike Force will change the way you… bzzt… DLC until the end of time… bzzt… please press the reset button or contact customer service.”

Given, however, that the initial delay stemmed from fears over PC’s inherent insecurity as a platform, this seems like a curious move. I mean, it’s nice that Treyarch’s not panicking and locking everything down, but more player control – at least, you’d think – probably means even less of a chance for Elite to reach our war-torn shores. I’ve mailed Activision to clarify, but I can practically hear the Automated Response-O-Tron 2.0 preparing to transform and roll out. By which I mean type “no comment” and then return to its cold, electric-sheep-less slumber.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    But what happens when those Dedicated Servers are hacked by terrorists and used to take over America? Oh, the hubris.

  2. SteamySashimi says:

    Mods plx.

    • Shortwave says:

      Beyond the one mp zombie mod in blops.. I didn’t really see anything that would of.. For example..
      If I walked into a room and someone was playing a blops mod.. I wouldn’t even know it’s a mod unless I asked.. I mean, it’s just.. A custom game.. : / I seen nothing game changing in the slightest..
      So when I hear Blops 2 will also have mods, I sort of expect the exact same thing.. Sniper only maps, some zombie games.. Random server that’s instakill? Insta reload.. Okay, yay.

  3. Alexander Norris says:

    Hallelujah. Now if they can release mapping tools (haha, yeah, right)…

    • Jugulator says:

      Maybe they’ll release the tools, allow you to make your own maps and then charge you 25$ in order to play them.

  4. Sonblade says:

    For realsies!? Gee golly mister Treyarch, maybe if the game actually adds something new to the multiplayer I might consider picking up the game!

    • Shortwave says:

      I’d be happier if they released a game that actually made use of modern PC hardware.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        I’d be happier if they released a game that contained some gameplay beyond “shoot angry man in the face”.

        • Shortwave says:

          Theres some things that just never get better with time, like barebone old school shooter mechanics.. I’m totally fine with all of that! It’s just.. Every other single thing there is, seems to be lacking in my mind.. Ha.

        • RizziSmoov says:

          Well you could get Treyarch to make spiderman games again but that wouldn’t sell 30 million copies would it?

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      I dunno, BLOPS 2 is shaping up to be interesting. The strike missions which lead to branching narratives, the Battlezone style RTS levels, not to mention the futuristic setting…

      Will keep a lookout.

  5. Splotch says:

    Yeah still not buying this… or the next one. Or the next one. Or the next onanofuoaebhf[‘uasdbuasdubfvbasifsdjfbhaj

    • Valvarexart says:

      Me neither, but this is the best-looking of the new ones so far…

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        Because everyone knows better graphics = better games am I right?

        • Shortwave says:

          When they expect you to pay full price every single year for a new title.. Why not expect better graphics?.
          As well as everything and anything else.. I mean they do need to work for their money don’t they?

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            My bad as the kids say these days. I would expect a better game not just prettier graphics but people like me who play games for the gameplay rather than the graphics are very firmly in the minority.

          • Shortwave says:

            That sounded a bit belittling and counter productive to everything PC gaming is.
            I welcome all innovation in technology and try to encourage it.
            That’s why I’ve always been nothing but a PC gamer. Since the 80s.
            I mean, where can you go with twitch shooter mechanics exactly?
            Got any ideas? I couldn’t think of anything that’s not been tried and tested already..

            Either way, theres nothing wrong with wanting better graphics, ha.
            What else are they bringing to the table? : / Oh yea.. Dedicated servers, lol?

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            You seem pretty confused over what a “twitch shooter” actually is. I suggest you give Warsow, Xonotic or Quake Live a go (all free so no excuse) first. Hell even TF2 is more of a “twitch shooter” than the CoD games (also free so again no excuse).

          • Shortwave says:

            Was just playing Quake Live. : P Instagib ftw.
            I guess some wouldn’t consider COD a twitch.
            But than again they probably get owned hard.

          • Lamb Chop says:

            Yeah, I’m not really sure how you could characterize COD as anything but a twitch shooter. The headshot mechanic and high damage basically guarantees that people with better reflexes and high accuracy are always going to outperform others. And nuke you. Over and over again.

  6. Hirmetrium says:


    If I was a COD PC player at this point, I wouldn’t trust Activision at all. Call of Duty elite had a launch just as crappy as Diablo 3, with echos of “we didn’t expect this number of people!”. Well, wonder where all that money you sleep on comes from?

  7. Shortwave says:

    I’ll consider playing a new COD when the next gen’ consoles are out.
    At least then I can expect something a bit more and slightly new feeling.
    Again… And again. It’s like the energizer bunny. But not reliable in any form.
    Others than reliably being a washed up turd.

    Kaaay. Back to one of the many better free to play shooters.
    Like Blacklight Redemption which feels like that futuristic cod we never had, if you ask me..
    PW2, F2P, whatever you want to call it.. Pros are gunna’ be pros and noobs gunna’ be noobs.
    Whatevz! /endrant OH, will planetside be out before this? I hope so! Mech games! YES YES.
    Sorry what was this article about?

    • Tridae says:

      Prize for most comments on a single article goes to . . .Shortwave!
      Maybe I just noticed it because your pic is easy to spot unlike my stupid wiggly arm triangle thing.

      Anyway. . carry on. . .

      • Shortwave says:

        Lol, yea.. Looks pre’ bad. I realized this. Stop replying to me so I stop replying to you and looking worse. : ( /me goes for a walk

  8. db1331 says:

    This makes me wonder if Activision gives its underlings more freedom than you would actually think. Infinity Ward shat on the PC players who made their games so successful by removing dedi’s completely in MW2 and later having unranked dedi’s in MW3. Treyarch has always used them though. When the news first broke about no dedi’s for MW2 I thought for sure it was just Activision making IW stick it to us, but it would seem that wasn’t the case.

    I haven’t bought an IW CoD since CoD4, and will never buy one again. I’ll pick up Treyarch’s offering every other year because they at least pretend to care, and zombie mode is worth the price of admission alone. Plus, I’m above average at twitch shooters and enjoy making people rage in MP.

    • Hirmetrium says:

      I think it helps that Treyarch don’t piss in Kotick’s coffee like West and Zampella did. IW still suffer for the sins of their fathers.

      Also there’s nothing to say they don’t copy and paste the code from BLOPS. Like they do with the rest of the game. BOOM!

  9. Film11 says:

    Don’t forget that Black Ops 1 also had ranked dedicated servers! And a fine thing they were too, credit where credit’s due.

  10. Mordsung says:

    Many PC gamers, me included, were dumb enough to buy MW2. (Though, to be fair, CoD4 and WaW were great games so they hadn’t shit in our coffee yet for us to get too worked up about)

    Many PC gamers, me included, were dumb enough to buy BLOPs because of the promise of dedicated servers.

    I think a good chunk of us smartened up and skipped MW3.

    I really hope PC gamers remain smart enough to kill this franchise on PC.

    • MasterDex says:

      They kind of did shit in the coffee before the release of MW2. I had it preordered for ages then news hit that they weren’t including dedicated servers and thankfully, I had the good sense to avoid the franchise since, cancelling my preorder while making a pledge to myself to boycott Activision from thereon out.

      • Mordsung says:

        Being that I had experienced some games without dedicated server support that were fine, I gave IW the benefit of the doubt.

        I don’t NEED dedicated servers, I just need functioning MP.

        I wouldn’t have even minded IWnet except that playing with my westcoast friends as an eastcoast player meant it was impossible for all of us to play with no lag.

        One set of us was going to lag no matter what, just depending on what side of the continent the host was on.

  11. MasterDex says:

    Dedicated servers?! But Activision, The people that want those are the smallest minority of the core! You can’t be listening to them! It’s not as if they advised against the removal of dedicated servers or, you know, explained perfectly well all over the internet why dedicated servers were a must for a competitive online game.

  12. po says:

    Is this going to be like the so called ‘private’ servers for BF3, that are really just overpriced rented servers, and not private at all, as you can’t run them on your own hardware?

    Not to mention those were a convenient excuse to shut down the EA run servers, leaving just rented servers run by ban-happy mods.

    Sure, call them ‘private’ or ‘dedicated’, but they aren’t going to be anything like what private and dedicated servers were back during the days of Quake > Q3, the Unreal Tournaments, and BF42 > BF2142.

    Without the freedom to run it on your own hardware, and without the possibility of modding, every last ‘private’ and ‘dedicated’ server is going to be limited to the same small amount of content provided by the base game and it’s DLC.

    Activision and EA can dress it up as much as they want by changing the meaning of the words, but the simple fact is that FPS shooters have gone to shit thanks to them. They may be giving us better graphics, but they’ve pretty much taken away everything else that made FPS games great.

    • MasterDex says:

      No one is changing the meaning of any words. A dedicated server doesn’t mean that it must allow the end-user to run the server on their own hardware.

      Though I’m right there with you with wanting such an option as standard, I can’t get pissy with Activision, or at least EA, for using dedicated GSP’s to run any private servers. They are private too. Sure, they may not be player-owned, but once rented, the player has the option to keep anyone they like out.

      It’s not as if GSP’s were only created in recent times. Back in the days of BF2 and 2142, rented servers were the norm. They continue to be the norm for most games that even today, still allow player-owned servers, and for one simple reason. Rented servers take the load off the players, they’re run in data centres which have business grade networks and they automate a lot of the tedious support work, freeing up admins to play the game and moderate their servers.

      Sure, some GSP’s aren’t the best and there are some rather questionable limitations on who exactly you can rent from but the fact remains that they’re still going to be the preferred option for most people, even if the server files were publicly available.

      As a final note, your comment about EA using the player-run servers as an excuse to drop official servers is right on the money. But who cares? 1)Player-run servers are going to be better administrated – by actually being administrated. and 2)There’s no reason to spend money on official servers that could be redirected to better uses when server supply outstrips demand – which it nearly always does with these big titles.

      • po says:

        My real problem with the BF3 servers is the huge cost. For the cost of 2 BF3 servers I could get my own hardware colocated, and run a lot more than just 2 game servers on it. Also, renting BF2 servers back in the day from third parties, cost a lot less than what EA is charging now, and they included extras like a webserver with enough space for a clan website, and the server stats system.

  13. int says:

    Thank you Treyarch.

  14. zeroskill says:

    Wow what a BIG improvement. I can see the headlines now: “Corperate gaming boss revolutionizes video games forever, adds dedicated servers to PC multiplayer games, says to media: Thats just how we roll, here at Activision . We are just years ahead of the curve.”

    har har har

  15. Issus says:

    I kind of feel like they’re playing good cop bad cop with us.

    MW2: Sorry, no dedicated servers. Also, not balanced for lean.
    Blops: What? Yeah, of course we’ll have dedicated servers!
    MW3: Dedicated whats?
    Blops2: Ignore that last guy, I’m much better, you can have all the dedicated servers you want (terms and conditions apply)

    Also, shouldn’t this be “re-adding dedicated servers”? :P

    Terms and conditions:
    Dedicated servers can only be bought through preselected companies, can only run certain gametypes with certain rules, and only hold a max of 12 players. If you want more, then it won’t be ranked. Please don’t hate us!

  16. piratmonkey says:

    IW (or whatever derivative company made MW3) made it clear that they dont give a damn about the franchise, at least Treyarch is trying to do interesting and sensible things.

  17. Maxheadroom says:

    I’ve found it much better value to only buy every 3rd iteration of the CoD series as the yearly incremental updates just dont add enough thats new.

    ..and as the last CoD I bought was the original BLOPS I’ll have to wait for next years offering. Hopefully that’ll have dedicated ranked servers too

  18. Flappybat says:

    The multiplayer in Call Of Duty is a joke for the most successful FPS game.

    In most of the games you are forced onto listen servers causing much worse ping than dedicated. Actual ping is hidden by the UI so players aren’t outraged by 100-300 average ping. The game adds artificial lag to players with good ping. If the host disconnects everyone is forced through the unreliable restart of the game on a new host.

    There is no mapping tools or mod support, like all new games. Day Z has shown how silly this is with Arma 2 glued to the top of Steam’s Best Sellers for weeks.

  19. elmo.dudd says:

    Nathan, you managed to spend the bulk of the post on the topic of automated replies.

    So a short history of dedicated servers in the recent CoD franchise:
    MW1 – Dedicated servers as expected.
    WaW – Dedicated servers as expected.
    MW2 – Matchmaking via IWnet per the direction of the West and Zampella controlled Infinity Ward.
    BlOps – Matchmaking and dedicated servers as expected.
    MW3 – Matchmaking via IWnet with support for unranked but very customizable dedicated servers (would be nice if it had the option for a Ranked dedicated server that cut off all the customization options, of which there are many).
    BlOps 2 – Same as BlOps.

    Regarding Elite, that is a product independent of Treyarch or Infinity Ward (or Sledgehammer, or Raven) made by Beachhead, it is independent of a particular release – as a PC gamer I don’t miss it. My console playing friends think it is neat, but not crucial (they mostly just use it for heatmaps to see how they are performing in given regions – if I am feeling that self-analytical I just watch playbacks of my matches, which are automatically recorded by MW3).

    Another bit of info regarding BlOps2 is the return of Combat Training, i.e., bots, which I personally favor for a quick snippet of shooting.

    • rocketman71 says:

      BlOps – Not dedicated servers as expected, only if you pay for them. You can’t make your own dedicated server.
      MW3 – Same, and not even ranked
      BlOps2 – Same shit as BlOps

      All 3 of them: no LAN.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        “as expected”, depends on your expectation. When I say dedicated servers, I mean a separate box continually running the game while listening for clients. The developer opting for a business partnership around such is their decision – I would prefer it be open, but to not call it dedicated is worthy of ridicule. As a player I am glad to see any form of dedicated server play as it (generally) provides a better experience.

        Regarding LAN, if they want to own player progression stats, and thus attempt to keep them fairly legitimate, it makes sense to control that. They could do unranked LAN…

        Regarding your other post,
        “Let’s use the proper name. They are not ranked dedicated servers. They are PAID dedicated servers.”
        There is no proper or improper, you are appending/replacing adjectives. You removed ranked and put in paid, but in both cases they are still dedicated servers.

        But it is nice to see someone not holding a double standard for BF3 on this.

        Nonetheless, RPS could do a much better job when they make a post about a CoD game. Either skip the coverage, or do some research beforehand, and try to spend less than 80% of the text content on snark and double standards for first person shooters in general.

  20. Shooop says:

    Too bad there isn’t a game worth giving a damn about to play on those dedicated servers.

  21. Memph says:

    I look forwards to seeing that pic on reddit with catcopters ‘shopped in. If it hasn’t happened already.

  22. alilsneaky says:

    Oh gee Call of duty adding dedicated servers.

    First Microsoft invents the laptop today by adding a keyboard to a tablet, and now call of duty invented dedicated servers, truely a great day for the advancement of technology.

  23. kzrkp says:

    Lazy console port mimics basic PC game features, news at 11!

    Next thing you’ll be telling me they’ve added the option to ADJUST THE FOV, like such that I don’t get nausea and headaches from playing.

  24. wazups2x says:

    Other important pcdev tweets:

    Confirmed: Lean and Adjustable FOV in MP #BlackOps2

    Confirmed: #BlackOps2 engine has significant performance improvement for PC

    And DX11 confirmed.

    You got to admit that at least Treyarch puts some effort into the PC version, unlike Infinity Ward.

  25. rocketman71 says:

    Let’s use the proper name. They are not ranked dedicated servers. They are PAID dedicated servers.

    Still no public server files released.

    Still no proper LAN support.

    Just like BF3.

    Thank you, but NO.