those of you who know me as a friend and fellow gamer you are well aware of how much I love the Gears of War franchise. I have followed it since its debut in 2006 all the way up to its current trilogy ending Gears of War 3.
The game has often come under fire with its multiplayer component and it hasn’t been until Gears 3 that they finally nailed down the plethora of glitches and bugs associated with it. The biggest complaint leveled at Gears of War multiplayer in the past was ” Host advantage”.
” Host advantage” was a term explaining what happens when you are playing in a public match and someone on the maps whips out his shotgun and goes on a massive killing spree decimating everyone he sees with no remorse! While the technical side of it is far less thrilling suffice to say that it bestows a better connection to the game server you’re in to the person designated as the ‘”host” and that person then has a better accuracy ( due to not having any LAG to the server) and seemingly never misses ( even from extraordinary distances??). The end result is one team getting incredibly pissed off and the Host feeling like he just became superman in the span of a single public match.
EPIC Studious announced well before launch that Gears of War 3 would have ” Dedicated Servers” for its last outing. This mean that no longer would public matches be saddled with the dreaded Host Advantage. The Epic Run servers would be running all public matches and would be optimized and tuned. Goodbye Host advantage!
At launch these servers performed incredibly and still do to this day. Matchmaking is fast and smooth and downtime between matches is almost non existent. I soon discovered how much of my past successes were based on my own skill versus my ” superman boost” I would occasionally get from past Gears games. Yes I to pulled host several times and was amazed at how ‘ skilled” I was at Gears of War.
Gears 3 public matches played fast and played good. Skill rose to the forefront again and we all had an equal playing field to blast each other a part on.
Then things changed and no one could have seen this coming. The inevitable flow of DLC was upon us and at first it was a small issue of player compatibility. EPIC had to make sure that players with DLC could still play with players who didn’t have it; far to many games simply booted players from a lobby if they didn’t have a required map.
EPIC went above and beyond this time and simply allowed players who didn’t have the content to play in matchmaking games with the new maps but could not create a private match with the new map content. This was addressed with a simple update and still gave players a compelling reason to buy the new content through character skins and having full access to the matches for Horde Play and private matches with other players. Life was good ( but not without a few rough patches while these issues were addressed) and we where happy… for now.
The next step EPIC took was to segregate the matchmaking experience. What this meant was that players who did not have all the current DLC would still be able to participate in matches with new map content in public games but in light of not OWNING the content themselves they would have to play those games on standard servers ie. NOT DEDICATED SERVERS.
If you owned all the current DLC you would continue to bask in the awesomeness of dedicated servers just like you have done since day one.
The Gears community is now split and not by our choosing. I assume there is a technical reason behind the shift and EPIC are very good at what they do so this decision most likely did not come likely. In fact most of the new players who are currently playing have no clue the change has even occurred and will continue on their shotgun blasting ways occasionally seeing an abnormal K/D on the score board and going ” Gee I really am getting better at this game!”, and I’m sure that EPIC was gambling on that.
The Die Hard Gears fans however all very concerned and while a simple solution is to simply buy all the map packs and DLC content I cant help but feel that this is a clever way to entice us to buy the DLC. I don’t remember the announcement about Dedicated servers having a caveat stating ” Only if you buy all of our DLC”.
In an industry where we the gamers are always looking at ways to throw rotten tomatoes at the very people who fuel our hobby; this is probably a very minor issue but in the world of competitive multiplayer sometimes the little things are the ones that matter most to us.
Dwayne ” EVO Knight” Morash