Ruining the game

Filed under: Rant by tamber
6 June 2010 @ 08:00

I often enjoy playing a nice violent video game (Although, due to lack of money, I only have two. (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (The one I play the most) and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (Don’t play this as much, due to a few issues I have with it.)), usually to unwind or be somewhat social with friends (Most of whom are separated from me geographically.). However, I am getting more and more frustrated with the sheer number of cheaters on Xbox Live. What makes this worse is that using a console rather than a PC, cheating is supposed to be reduced, but hey-ho.

The latest event was a rather enjoyable match, up until it turned into a boosting session. ${BOOSTER}… boosted off two members of our team (Presumably his friends.) until he got a Nuke for a killstreak.

This was annoying enough, but he had to go one step further. The nuke started it’s countdown at 166 minutes, rather than the normal 10 seconds. Why? Because, once the nuke countdown has started, no matter how many people you kill, your team’s score will not increase. However, you still gain XP from these kills. Doing this makes the match nearly endless, so you can gain XP to your heart’s content, without any of that frustrating “winning the game” business that wastes time.

Of course, this is far from uncommon; indeed the leaderboards are now almost completely useless, due to the number of people who used “10th Prestige Lobbies”[1], or otherwise manipulated the game to make it to the top of the scoreboard. In fact, some of them weren’t happy with doing it once, they had to keep doing it over and over again. Once you realise that you can’t really get anywhere on the leaderboard legitimately, the fun starts to decrease. Coupled with the apparent complete apathy towards the cheaters, even the incredibly obvious ones (Such as the folk topping the accuracy leaderboard with -100000000 misses. (Congratulations, IW, your system is braindead.)), it stops being fun altogether and feels more like a grind.

Whilst I’m ranting about MW2 and IW, I feel like I should bring up my feelings about their play-testing of the maps the game shipped with. Whilst I appreciate that it’s difficult to test games thoroughly, due to the amount of variables and sheer manpower needed to test every single eventuality, the general feel of the game was that it had undergone little testing; with glaring flaws such as a glitch that allowed you to keep respawning your care-package markers (So that you, effectively, had an infinite amount of them.); or a texture issue that meant people could lay down in the floor on a hill and snipe, all the while staying protected from the enemy because the game thought they were behind a hill.

Yes, on a platform like the Xbox 360, you have the ability to patch your games after release; and those patches are forced onto your users if they wish to play online (Which helps prevent people ignoring an update to carry on using the glitch.), but it is not a substitute for not releasing those issues. And then there’s the wonderful wait before the fix is finally released, during which time people keep on abusing the glitch with few (if any) consequences. One gets the impression that the issue only gets fixed when the developers play against it and get frustrated, although I’m sure the reason for the delay is the extensive testing that patches require.

The effect is that, whilst I like the game, the fun is taken out of it when you try to play against people who just hack what they want out of it. Why bother putting the effort in if others are going to reap the rewards without that effort?

[1] “10th Prestige Lobbies” are hacked game lobbies that run almost permanently (Using the hacked nuke method as above.), with insane amounts of XP for a kill (To the point of needing scientific notation to represent it.), and automagically invite you back after you leave to choose the prestige menu item. (Basically, one hit takes you to the next prestige level.) They also can do things like unlocking all titles and emblems (Which makes it really obvious that someone has cheated, when they’re 5th prestige but have the “Prestige 10″ title (Only supposed to be unlocked at 10th.) and the 10th prestige emblem. (Again, only supposed to be unlocked at 10th.))