Infinity Ward has fucked over “Call of Duty” fans who play on the PC.

Yes I am upset and it’s probably a bad idea to write a blog entry when I’m as upset as I am now, but I’m going to anyway because this needs to be said. This is not a review of the game, I’ll write one of those later. This is a warning to anyone who’s thinking of buying it for the PC: Don’t fucking bother.

The reason why is quite simple. Infinity Ward decided that it was too much work to do much more than simply port the game over from the Xbox 360 so that’s all they did. The broke a long-standing tradition among first person shooters on the PC and decided they were not going to release a dedicated server to the fans. Instead they announced that MW2 would make use of a new matchmaking service they would be calling IWNet. They made this announcement during an interview on BASHandSlash.com’s podcast. It was not received well:

Bowling, the Infinity Ward community manager, said IWNet makes multiplayer more accessible to the PC community on Modern Warfare 2, replacing the need for dedicated servers that are hosted and managed by players. But the hardcore PC crowd to whom he was talking, on BASHandSlash.com’s webcast, did not take the news in a completely positive light.

“The silence you hear is because we’ve got a community right now structured in such a way that it relied on having dedicated servers,” one of BASHandSlash’s moderators told Bowling.

“You’re definitely reshaping the way the community has been set up,” another said later.

“Definitely,” Bowling acknowledged.

Reshaping is certainly one word to use. I prefer to use the words fucked over. Which is definitely a much harsher assessment, but the lack of dedicated servers is not the worst of it. A bit later the folks at ArsTechnica filled us in on the other changes to come:

We thought the lack of dedicated servers was bad, but now we can add the lack of console commands, the inability to have a say in who hosts the game, a lengthy pause while the game migrates to a new host if the currently selected host quits, no leaning, no option to record matches, and no way to kick or block trouble players, hackers, or cheaters.

See that last part I made bold type above? That’s where Infinity Ward has fucked over PC fans of their game. Mere hours after the game hit store shelves there was an aimbot/wallhack released for the PC version which you may recall me writing about previously. CoD:MW2 was released on November 10th. They didn’t get around to banning the first batch of cheaters until November 30th at which point about 2500 people were banned from Steam. Not that it matters as there is a crack out there and you can make as many Steam accounts as you want, each of which gets its own SteamID. There’s even a YouTube video showing you how to do it. Plus there are new hacks being created all the time. That’s just a fact of life on the PC. Hell, some of the hacks even advertise themselves in the game.

There’s no way that Infinity Ward or Valve can keep up with the cheaters in any reasonable amount of time. If we had dedicated servers this would be less of a problem as the admins can kick and ban by IP address at the first sign of a cheater. As things stand now not only are there no admins to deal with cheaters, but there’s no means of kicking cheaters at all. At the very fucking least it would’ve been nice to have the ability to call a vote to kick someone who’s being an ass in the game, but Infinity Ward won’t even let us do that.

I can live without dedicated servers if I have to. I can live with the max size of a match being 18 people. I can live with not being able to use custom user created maps. I can even live without the ability to lean around corners. Not being able to get rid of the cheaters, however, completely ruins the multiplayer game which, when you consider how short the single player is, is the main reason to buy the game in the first place.

There’s a certain class of person out there known as a Griefer and it appears they are having a field day with MW2. And why not? It’s not like anyone can do anything about it outside of Valve and Infinity Ward and that’ll take weeks before the SteamID is banned and then they can just make another one and keep right on going. This evening I joined and quit no less than two dozen games because the cheaters were out in force with no less than at least 4 cheaters in each game and one where half the players where cheating. I spent an hour just trying to find a game that didn’t have a cheater in it. When I quit the last game I sat down and wrote this entry.

This has to be the stupidest decision Infinity Ward has ever made. I find it hard to believe there isn’t a single person on that development team who didn’t foresee this being a problem with their decision to drop dedicated servers and remove any ability to kick players from a game. It was one thing when it was one guy every few dozen games or so, but when every game you join has a whole bunch of fucking cheaters in them it kills any desire I have to play the game at all. On the console versions all you have to worry about is people taking advantage of glitches that will eventually get patched and when people get banned there they can’t easily get back in. The PC is a completely different environment and only a fool would try to treat it like a console, but that’s just what Infinity Ward has decided to do.

As a result of this fiasco I can not recommend people buy the PC version of this game no matter how amazing it is. Perhaps IW will come up with a fool-proof way of eliminating the cheaters in a more timely fashion, but until they do it’s just not worth the aggravation on the PC. As a long-time fan of the company I am deeply disappointed and my outlook isn’t helped by the almost complete lack of comment from the Infinity Ward people on the problem.