Call of Duty 6 (geez, has there been SIX of these now? guess so) have been released last week and was one of the most anticipated releases of 2009. However, during the twilight moments of the game’s development, Infinity Ward, developers of the game, announced that the game will not have a working multiplayer LAN component. To play with other players, you NEED to be using Steam, an online game distribution system created by Valve.
The decision to ban dedicated offline server caused a huge community uproar, with many people arranging for boycott of the game, canceling pre-orders and making their vocal dissent felt on forums. Infinity Ward responded by deleting and removing all negative comments on the game.
The following are the major changes brought as a result of switching to Steam and disabling private dedicated servers:
- VAC instead of Punk Buster
- IW.net matchmaking instead of server browsing
- Players of similar ranks will now be playing each other
- DLC will cost money on the PC
- Mods are probably unlikely
- The game will be fully integrated in to Steam (even retail copies it seems)
On top of that, the price of the game has been raised to be $10 more expensive on the PC, making it the same price as console games. Furthermore, the effort to ban dedicated server is obviously a power play designed to fight piracy of the game. Previously, pirated games can still play multiplayer with other players via LAN and cracking the copy protection of the game. However with Steam integrated into the game, players can only play multiplayer if they own original copies of the game, regardless of whether they are doing it online or offline. Furthermore, the game requires an active connection to the Internet in order to play (it uses the connection to verify you are running a legit copy of the game).
These changes, in trying to fight piracy, hurt most of the hardcore gamers who purchase the game expecting it to work offline for their competitive clan’s matchmaking capabilities. As a result of these changes, most websites that review the game saw an interesting trend: the official reviewer’s score is often high, but the user-generated scores range from the low 2’s to 0 on a scale of 1 to 10. As a result, although IGN PC game gave the game a near-perfect score, 314 users gave the game an average of only 2.0. Is this justified? Well, as a way of expressing the community’s rage, perhaps things are not as black and white as it seems.
Nevertheless, a week after the game was released, TeknoGods have released a crack that allows players to play Co-op using the game’s dedicated server. You see, all the required information to host your own games are available in the game, but Infinity Ward has simply disabled them. Their tool allow you to host your game and other players can connect to it, although because of the way the tool works, you still need to be connected online and have a valid Steam account (which can be created for free) to play.
True multiplayer is still missing, however. Currently the trick is to put a space in your in-game nickname to get Multiplayer working without getting kicked by Steam, but Valve is expected to close this loophole quickly. As it is, the tool works only for Co-op, with true multiplayer dedicated hosting still being worked on. But given the progress of the crack, it’s only a matter of time before Infinity Ward’s terrible decision is rendered useless by the dedicated programmers hell bent on making sure their game does exactly what they expect from it.
I for one, will be waiting for the game to be patched to support Garena.