Share your story in Re:“Fight back against Call of Duty” first thing
By Kassandra Sachetta | For the Guardian
Upon their release in November, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was met with a storm of mixed reviews, with some gamers saying the classic-modern-heydays-and-them-with-themmed-relationship FPS franchise had finally hit rock bottom.
But in this vibrant living-room moments, a new element started to emerge – the game itself.
Despite showing never-before-seen technical prowess – the game could play like an Xbox One controller on a PC, instead of PC on an Xbox – the multiplayer and co-op portions of the game suffered from lengthy queues that became longer and longer. People complaining of the lengthening waitlisted at internet storefronts, and with it, long delays for the game itself.
“After just a few hours we found that players could wait for a very long time at certain stores,” Valve programmer Michael Stranges wrote in a Steam community thread detailing a server-wide update that was simultaneously coming to the game’s disk-syncing, client-client syncing, and client server build. “By the end of the day, we had more than 100 reports of severe server issues.”
While Black Ops 4’s loot boxes and cosmetic and progression mechanics came into contention for cynical gamer reaction, this has only made players more dissatisfied with the game’s actual experience.
Infuriated gamers took to internet forums to share their stories of exploitation and the horrifying discomfort they felt while trying to play Black Ops 4’s lengthy server queues. Some even uploaded videos of players reporting increased anxiety and general distress while waiting for game patches and for the game to be updated to in-game maintenance.
“The heat was turned up pretty much right away,” Soren Hansen told the Guardian. “I got annoyed because that seemed unfair to other people who were playing, and pretty angry at [the] developers.”
Hansen, who grew up playing Call of Duty and had some experience as a PC game developer, felt the game’s tech was an impressive achievement for him and his friends. But the game’s restrictive server implementation brought him to tears, he says, feeling unheard and silenced.
Hansen was one of hundreds of other Black Ops 4 users that had experienced the same issues Hansen described in his Steam post: that, when “the game is not updating properly” it shuts down, leaving no way to log into play for the whole 30 minutes or hour that he was waiting.
After Hansen’s company, My Games, uploaded a video detailing their server-loading issue, the company “started getting a lot of concern and angry people”, Hansen says.
“So then what we did was that we posted about the people and their server issues, which we then started getting support calls from people saying that they were getting support from our tech. And then it snowballed from there.”
With the company backing down, Hansen started posting YouTube videos detailing service issues of players on his server. But when he tried to upload a video of a screenshot of his server again, he says “we got in trouble with our user agent, so we couldn’t upload our content on YouTube”.
“So it’s like if you want to watch us broadcast, you have to first call these support people to get their patience,” Hansen explained. “But we got interviewed by a Netflix spokesperson who asked us how many users we had affected by this, what they wanted, to get somebody else to comment on it.”
Having expressed that his company was being “bullied” for the reliability of their server—as though complaining about servers was a victory for the game developers that gives them time to “satisfy a demand”—his company has now begun working with a hacker group called Disruptor Beam, who hired Hansen to upload some of their own public news and to post about the company’s insecurity.
“The article has over 800,000 page views,” Hansen claims, “and we got these titles like ‘Revenge Video’ and ‘The Rise and Fall of My Games’.”
“It’s just been an interesting experience. And a lot of people out there with the same complaints are turning on our servers, but the companies are not going to listen to them. They’re just waiting to get their money back.”