Infinity Ward's Robert Bowling has sought to defend Modern Warfare 2's lack of dedicated server support on PC by explaining the alternative system, IWNet, in a bit more detail on his blog.
First, he reflected on his original comments in a podcast over the weekend, which revealed that Infinity Ward plans to replace the traditional clients-connecting-to-dedicated-servers model with something closer to Xbox Live or PSN, where players are paired up by matchmaking software for peer-hosted games.
"The news, by default, means no more browsing through a server list for a server with the settings/ping you want among other things, and sent shockwaves through the hardcore PC community, leading to many more questions than answers as to 'HOW' this would work, and if it would really be better for the PC community as a whole," he wrote.
"Questions, assumptions, and speculation I intend to dispel." Mmm.
The game is "the biggest investment Infinity Ward has ever made into the PC version", he wrote, and IWNet "takes the benefits of dedicated servers and allows them to be utilised and accessed by every player, out of the box, while removing the barrier to entry for players unaware of how to maintain a server on their own".
There are four key components to this, apparently. The first is that the matchmaking software finds you the best possible game for your needs, based on skill, location and connection quality. "It will put you in the game that will give you the smoothest gameplay possible without you having to manually find a server with the best ping."
Point two is that you can have playlists and private matches, which allow you to run clan matches and seek out games with the parameters you desire. Point three is that there's a party system and friends list, which allows you to group up and communicate with your friends/clan and move together between games.
Point four is that IWNet utilises Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) and doesn't distribute control of individual sessions to server operators, thus allowing the developer to keep a closer eye out for cheaters and hackers and hopefully stop them ruining your experience.
"All in all," wrote Bowling, "IWNet adds a load of new features that the PC version of our games have never had before and allows us an infrastructure to continue to update and improve on the game post-launch."
So will everyone now calm down and live happily ever after? Well, the obligatory angry petition is up to nearly 120,000 signatures, and Bowling's post is pretty much what people thought he meant in the podcast anyway, so we suspect not.
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