Updated 12/17/09: I just might have to eat my words as IW looks set to prove me wrong. A couple of recent Tweets from Robert Bowling indicate that there is indeed a patch for the PC version of MW2 in the works that will fix several bugs and at least one currently undetectable cheat.
While it doesn’t appear to deal with the issue of people using aimbots/wallhacks to cheat — IW seems content to rely on Valve’s VAC system to identify and ban those players — it will fix a cheat involving substituting texture files that paint all players as red, remove extra foliage that obscures line of sight, and eliminates the blood splatter effect when you’re wounded. All three of those changes give a huge advantage to the player using them, are not detected by VAC, and won’t necessarily result in a ban if you use them according to Valve’s official FAQ on the topic. The patch should fix that exploit and repair any modified texture files.
I still say that the problem with aimbots/wallhacks and the lengthy delay between when someone uses them and when they are actually banned for them (Valve says it can be many weeks before you’ll be banned) is still something they need to address. It only takes a handful of cheaters in a night or two to put you off of playing the game and that’s something you’d think IW would prefer to minimize. Still, they are working on patching exploits and bugs in the PC version and I have to be fair and admit that’s more than I thought they’d do. Bowling has even hinted that IW might be, and the emphasis is on the words “might be”, considering making available some means for custom content such as user created maps.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 moved over 6 million copies for the Xbox 360 and PS3 combined smashing records along the way in November. Sales on the PC? Well, those numbers are much less impressive:
According to a new report from Gamasutra on last month’s NPD figures, the PC version of Modern Warfare 2 moved “nearly 170,000” copies at retail. That doesn’t include figures for Steam, Valve’s digital distribution system, which are likely to have been significant—today, over 100,000 Steam users were playing the game online at the same time, but we’re not sure how that breaks down to retail and online sales.
Still, at least 170,000 copies to a group of gamers that balked at the lack of dedicated servers and a higher-than normal price tag is…. pretty good?
On the one hand it’s good to see that PC gamers are generally voting with their wallets, but on the other hand the success of the game on the consoles pretty much guarantees that the folks at IW aren’t going to be too concerned with the plight of those 170,000 PC gamers that did buy the game. If anything I’d hazard a guess that they’ll probably just use it as a justification for dropping PC development altogether.
To date no one at IW has had anything to say about what they plan to do with all the hackers/cheaters running rampant through the PC version of the game. Infinity Ward front man Robert Bowling (a.k.a. @fourzerotwo on Twitter) has been addressing player concerns about issues such as the over-powered Model 1887 Akimbo shotguns, the public-private match glitch, and the unlimited ammo glitches, but both of the attempts I made to ask about IW’s plans to deal with the hacking/cheating issue on the PC went completely ignored.
Now he does get a lot of tweets and he does end up repeating a lot of the same answers, but in digging through the last 24 hours of his tweets I found only three replies to people raising concerns about the PC version. One of whom had to send out 16 tweets of his own before Robert even responded and when he did, this was all he had to say:
@Zube56 what specific issues on PC are you wanting the team to look into? You’re 16 tweets in and haven’t named anything (besides cheats)
Considering cheats are probably the biggest issue the PC version is having at the moment, you’d think that would be enough. The other two replies weren’t any more useful.
One was to report a cheater through the player’s Steam account page, which isn’t always practical. The cheater in question was named “Multicam” and if you do a search for that name on the Steam forums you find at least two people with that name. Given that only one of them has played MW2 recently you could probably figure out which one to report, but type in my gaming nick (GodLes) and you get five people. Type in “Sgt Mike” and you get 9. Type in “Sniper Killer”, and I’ve seen a lot of players who go by that name, and you get 33 possible choices. The more popular the words the more possible players you pick up. “Ninja”, another popular gaming name, gives you 9,228 possible players.
Given the low number of PC copies sold combined with the ridiculous number of Xbox 360 and PS3 copies sold, I’m not too optimistic that IW is going to lose any sleep at night over the problems the PC version is suffering from. I know I won’t be bothering to ask Robert Bowling for comment on the issue any longer as it’s clear he has nothing to say. I will continue to follow his tweets to see if IW does decide to toss us a bone somewhere down the line, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.