I wanted to make a picture of one of Far Cry 3's tigers crying gigantic crocodile tears (or maybe one of its crocodiles crying tiger tears - or just tigers) for this post, but I'm rubbish at Photoshop. So, um, use your imagination. Awww, isn't that sad? That tiger - in addition to the fact that a gun-toting madman is cavorting about his island home and burning everything to the ground - now has to worry about inconsistent connection speeds and host disconnects. Truly, there is no worse fate. But perhaps there's hope? While Ubisoft tied cinder blocks to dedicated servers' shoes and hurled them into the ocean, it was fairly upfront about why it thinks its alternative solution will be just as good.
Admittedly, I'm pretty skeptical, but here's what a community manager said to get a pitchfork's tip removed from their most pierce-able of neck regions.
"The maps are hosted in 'the cloud'. Same as in FarCry 2. They are not downloaded from the server itself... We have something called 'Host Migration' in place. It transfers the hosting role to another player automatically. It's quite fast too. Usually takes no more than a few seconds."
"PS. The decision to exclude dedicated server functionality was not taken based on concerns over PC piracy."
However, the community manager did note that - as ever - stability will be based on the host's connection, so you might want to brace yourself for some bouts of choppy waters. Beyond that, "anti-cheating mechanisms" were mentioned, though not in any real detail.
It's difficult not to be disappointed about this, though. Frankly, I'm mostly interested in Far Cry 3 for its single-player, but I could see wildly inconsistent stability, lag, and even brief yet irritating host switches killing any sort of community long before they get the chance to kill each other. I mean, a lack of dedicated servers won't render every match unplayable or anything like that, but it's an extra barrier to entry in a world full of smoother multiplayer experiences.
What do you think, though? Is a lack of dedicated servers a deal-breaker for you? Are you currently or have you ever been a sad tiger?