Anyone who has played a multiplayer game online knows how frustrating glitches or bugs can be. One of my primary concerns about future next-gen titles that utilize PVP modes is that they will continue to use old mechanics and methods while repeating entrenched problems. Sure, new games may look amazing and add new content, but if the online arenas aren’t cleaned up from lag or exploits, many of us will continue to feel it’s a fruitless endeavor. News from the devs over at 343 Industries has me hopeful for the future of online multiplayer, specifically PVP.
Halo’s dev team is equipped to fix problems before they become wide spread and turned into YouTube trends. First there is Trill. Trill is a temporal processing and in-memory analytics engine. According to Rob DeLine at 343 it is two to four magnitudes faster than the competition, making it the fastest in the world. When this is combined with another tool, Tempe, a data analysis tool, it allows devs to watch replays of real-time play and find bugs, exploits, or problems. During the Halo 5 beta these tools allowed the developers at 343 Industries to fix a glitch almost immediately after it appeared. To a certain degree this is unprecedented. Yes, glitches and bugs are typically reported and exposed via YouTube channels and forums, and eventually they get added to a list of needed fixes. But for games that rely heavily on an engaged and happy multiplayer crowd, the faster these problems are fixed the better player engagement will be. It can also give players a confidence in the game and its company, ensuring better DLC saturation rates in the future.
I’ve previously said that as the next-gen landscape fills up, game launches are going to become more important than ever before. When there are only a few games in the market, a rocky launch can be slowly rectified and weathered. But when a game launches with bugs and exploits that ruin the competitive nature or fun factor of a game, and there are a host of other games available, it will be far more painful to have unfixed problems for any length of time. So, in a way, Halo 5 may change the industry through consumer expectations. If millions of gamers become accustomed to having glitches fixed and addressed almost as soon as they appear, then games that fail in this regard will soon be seen as inferior.
Call of Duty Unraveled
As someone who played a lot of Call of Duty, from the original title all the way to the latest catastrophe Advanced Warfare, I’ve seen my fair share of exploits and bugs. In typical Call of Duty fashion the first few weeks were a complete mess, full of instant 10th prestige lobbies, people under the maps, and javelin suicide bombers that made you want to pull your hair out. I have a sneaking suspicion the Black Ops 3 is going to do very little to revive the dying franchise, and from the early looks of the gameplay they aren’t changing much. If my predictions are correct, then Black Ops 3 will repeat similar mistakes and problems that every single Call of Duty to date has dealt with. Hopefully when compared to the system that Halo 5 will have in place, gamers will start to perceive the difference in quality and demand better. Call of Duty’s fan base and sales have been steadily shrinking, and better industry standards from other big titles like Halo may magnify the short comings of wavering franchise. And I say all this as someone who only ever played the Halo campaigns co-op with friends and family, and only briefly dipped my toe in the PVP, learning very quickly how much it was outside my wheelhouse. I’m actually hoping for the success of Halo 5 and the poor reception of Black Ops 3 so that Call of Duty can go through a rebirthing process. And as an avid gamer I want the industry and the consumer expectations to continually rise. So hats off to 343 Industries for continuing to push the industry forward, not just with new games and better graphics, but with better standards and practices.
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