Saturday, April 18, 2009

Disabled But Not Broken

Recently an update was published to the Call of Duty: World at War game for the PC platform.  That update came bundled with the game’s first Map Pack.  The update also comes with some fixes and changes to make the game play better, or at least that’s the intention of it.  Like many PC games that get updates from developers, there’s a list of changes that went into the game.  People would look at the change list and see what has been implemented in this update.  I am one of those people.

As I looked through the fucked-up mess that plagues the franchise forums, I came across a thread in regards to the game’s bipod.  As soon as I read that, I knew something is afoot, and with it I get a bad feeling on what I was about to read.  After following a few leads, I came across a thread where the poster expresses his frustration in the disabling of the bipod while in the prone position (aka laying down).  As soon as I heard that, I was also up in arms over this.

The big machine guns in the game all has one universal feature: a bipod.  The bipod enables users to mount their machine gun on a ledge or on a flat surface.  At the cost of mobility, you gain something much more: a machine gun with high accuracy and faster firing rate.  Sure, mounting the MG on a ledge may not always be ideal.  But when you stare down a long hall or alley, it is one of the best defensive option in the game, bar none.  There is nothing like this as enemies have very little chance to survive once the gunner is locked in.

What baffles me is the reason Treyarch disabled the bipod while prone.  Their excuse is that they feel that there is a potential threat that can possibly lead to a denial of service attack.  Whether or not this affects the client or the server software remains to be seen.  And there has been no widely publicized case of a certain bipod-related bug ever happening.  Yet Treyarch feels that the threat is so big that they need to disable it without telling anyone about it.  That’s right.  The update notes that I mentioned before contained no information with regards to the disabling of bipod while prone.  This frustrates me and throws me for a loop.  It’s one thing to say that you’re going to make a change to prevent a potential problem from occurring.  But it’s another to make that change without telling anyone about it.  In effect, they removed the one defensive option that I rely on because I find the option to be the best when I have the equipment and time on hand to deploy.

This undocumented change thing is nothing new.  Such a thing happens all the time, more often in the world of MMO’s.  But undocumented changes tend to be so small and so minor that it doesn’t affect anyone.  In many cases the change tend to be visual rather than gameplay-related.  This undocumented change is gameplay-related, which changes the way people set up defenses and suppression fire.

I’m ticked off that Treyarch would go behind the gamer’s back and make such a change without saying a word.  Not only did they screw this up but this is another bullet point to add to the things that Treyarch has done wrong with this game.  I have been tolerant on how they are supporting the game.  But this one hits me really hard.  So what happens now?  What will become of this?  Who knows?  I just know that I cannot deploy my bipod while prone even though it would help immensely in keeping enemies away.  Now I gotta deal with the machine gun’s recoil... That’s just fucking terrific...

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