It looks like the folks at Infinity Ward may have started a trend among developers of first person shooters on the PC. Word now comes from a Q&A about Bioshock 2‘s multiplayer mode over at The Cult of Rapture that it will not have dedicated server support, LAN play, or the ability to kick troublemakers from the game:
Do you support LAN play on consoles or PC? Do you support dedicated servers?
Short answer, no and no. There is always a finite amount of time for the development of a game. Bringing Multiplayer to BioShock was a daunting task between the tech (there was no multiplayer support in the codebase from the first game) and the expectations of the community. Either you try to do everything and so nothing feels finished or you focus your efforts to do a smaller number of things really well like an accessible online experience. We chose to spend the time we had creating a solid game foundation and unfortunately that did not include LAN play or dedicated servers.
How does your matchmaking system work and how do you make sure there isn’t lag or bad match ups?
The matchmaking system takes a couple of things into account. We try to get you into a game as quickly as possible (since we know how much waiting really stinks), but match you up to people who are as close to your rank and skill as possible, with a certain amount of weighting to each factor, as well as requiring a low ping for those matched players.
How do you deal with people who grief or cheat or are otherwise not making a good ranked experience? Can you kick them?
Even though we are doing everything we can to try to find exploits in our own game, there will always be people who will find a way to grief a game. There is no kick option as we felt like it often leads to more unfair kicking than fair kicking. We hope that because there are a variety of player goals and a multitude of options for ranking up and killing, the player will always feel like he or she is gaining something in a match with mean people and griefers. If you do get matched up with one of those people, please report it, leave that game, and we’ll try to smooth out the online experience as best as we can.
It sounds more or less just like the multiplayer system in Modern Warfare 2 which a lot of fans, including myself, weren’t happy about. This is disappointing to say the least and I expect it’ll be plagued with similar problems as a result. No word on what ant-cheat system they’ll be using, MW2 uses Valve’s VAC system, and that could go a long way to determining how much of a problem cheaters end up being.
Back when I wrote my rant discouraging folks from buying the PC version of MW2 the number of people using aimbots/wallhacks was simply ridiculous and, combined with how long it takes a ban in VAC to be enforced, was making the multiplayer almost pointless. These days it’s settled down quite a bit and I can only assume that someone must be banning cheaters more often as it’s possible to go through a number of sessions with nary a cheater in sight, but the damage has been done and now legitimate players are accused of cheating simply for having a high kill/death ratio. It’s even happened to me and I’m hardly a great player.
I never bought the first Bioshock due to the ridiculously restrictive SecuROM DRM it had and it was looking like BS2 was going in a similar direction, but they recently announced they were scaling back the restrictions for BS2 at least somewhat:
There will be no SecuROM install limits for either the retail or digital editions of BioShock 2, and SecuROM will be used only to verify the game’s executable and check the date. Beyond that, we are only using standard Games for Windows Live non-SSA guidelines, which, per Microsoft, comes with 15 activations (after that, you can reset them with a call to Microsoft.)
What does that mean for your gameplay experience? This means that BioShock 2’s new DRM is now similar to many popular games you advised had better DRM through both digital and retail channels. Many of you have used Batman: Arkham Asylum as an example to me, which uses the exact same Games for Windows Live guidelines as us as well as SecuROM on retail discs, and now our SecuROM is less restrictive on Steam.
This is better than the first game, but still not fabulous. It was loose enough to make me consider buying the sequel along with perhaps the original – seeing as they’ve since dropped the DRM from the first game altogether – but the fact that they’re using a similar matchmaking system as MW2 has dropped my enthusiasm back down to zero.