GoW2 - too many bugs
I like the Gears of War’s universe. I bought Xbox 360 just because I was excited by Gears of War’s screenshots and I didn’t regret it. After purchasing Gears of War standard edition I definitely had to have Limited edition as well so I bought it again. I preordered Gears of War 2 Limited Edition immediately when it was available and I also bought all map packs. I think I’m big Gears of War fan.
Despite the previous paragraph I have to say I’m disappointed with Gears of War 2. I started to play multiplayer one month ago and I was shocked by the amount of still unsolved bugs. In the first Gears of War the biggest problem was host centric nature of the multiplayer. In Gears of War 2 this problem is even worse but in advance quality of the game looks like badly tested beta version. That is something that I really didn’t expect. Gears of War 2 shows that excellent graphics and game design can be wasted by inadequate game architecture and lack of discipline in testing (or lack of testing methodology at all).
I’m working as a Senior Software Engineer. I have MSc. (in A class) in Computer Graphics and I have strong passion for programming. I’m also interested in computer networks (I passed Cisco networking academy). From professional view I can hardly accept the game as completed product. I would have to solve all bugs and issues as part of warranty, if my employer sold the product in similar quality like Gears of War 2.
You have sold about 6 million copies of the game so I guess you have big responsibility to your customers and you should start to act like that. We paid full price for the former AAA title of the platform and we’re expecting to get the game in adequate quality. I know there are plenty of people who feel defrauded. Almost in every game somebody is complaining.
I possess about 50 games and I spent a lot of time playing multiplayer in Halo 3, Call of Duty 3, Call of Duty 4, Call of Duty 5, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, Forza Motorsport 2 but I have never had such problems with network connection like in both episodes of Gears of War and none of my games except Race Pro have so many bugs like Gears of War 2.
In next sections I’m going to describe some problems I remember from past month but almost every day I find something new. I hope you will not take my previous paragraphs as any form of attack. This is just criticism from disappointed fan. I’m looking forward for your response.
The algorithm for host selection is unbelievably poor. It almost looks like random selection without taking into account quality of host’s Internet connection. I played so many games where everybody of my team was complaining about the quality of connection. Lag between 2 to 3 seconds is not an exception. If I play about 10 games in a single evening I will definitely find such laggy game (I have Internet connection from the best provider in my country - it’s cable TV from UPC with bandwidth 20/1.5 Mbits/s).
If you play Guardian where one player has 25 kills, next are two bots (computed on host) with 5 – 8 kills followed by rest of human players with 0-2 kills something is obviously bad. Many matches are not about players’ skills but about match’s poor quality.
I especially like behavior of A button. In a match with big connection issues you almost cannot use it because host will not get it in time and it teleports you back to location where you used it or it. It is not a fun when you jump over obstacle and after 2 or 3 seconds you will be teleported back to the location in front of obstacle. The match with these conditions is unplayable.
The host hit detection and movement detection isn’t generally bad idea. It is used in all MMO games but they use dedicated local servers with excellent Internet connection. Using this model with hosting on players is not a bug it is absolute failure in the game’s architecture especially for ranked matches. More over this mistake is shared between Gears of War and Gears of War 2 and I don’t see any obvious change to improve our game experience.
Discussion about hit detection algorithms and defense of host centric nature of the game is from my point of view very weak. I read many articles describing why the game uses host hit detection. Generally it looks like you prefer the bullet lag over the cover lag. Do you think we don’t suffer from cover lag? Example: I am playing from Europe with host and other players in USA. What happens when I push the A button fraction of second earlier then host or any other player shoots me? It will take much longer for my network traffic to arrive on host (especially in laggy match) so my covering will not be used. That’s mean I will have a cover lag as well as a bullet lag. A bullet lag makes most weapons useless. I think you have never simulated a match among players from different continents.
Gears of War is definitely highly connection sensitive game played all over the world and it is also the only game with such serious issues I have ever played. I expect significant improvements in the host selection for Gears of War 2. The algorithm must use better metrics of host’s Internet connection – ping to all other players, connection stability and upload speed. I also expect dividing the world into regions (for example by continents and one global region) an allow players choosing the region where they want to look for matches. Otherwise it is just ignorance of network basics. For Gears of War 3 I would like to see completely rewritten net code and usage of dedicated servers for game hosting (if it is possible on Xbox Live). That’s probably the dream because we already want such improvements for Gears of War 2 but you didn’t answer to our wishes.
Levitating leader (Guardian on Gold Rush)
We were fighting on the upper right part of the map when one of my teammates threw a smoke grenade on the enemy leader. His impact against the wall wasn’t computed correctly and as a result one of coordinates had incorrect value (other two coordinates matched leader’s previous location). The leader stayed levitating and we were unable to execute him.
Spectator mode (Guardian on Pavilion)
It was probably in the most laggard match I have played in Gears of War 2. Movement in this match was almost impossible. The most of the players were unable to go from buildings to the centre yard because we were always teleported back to the building.
The surprising part came after the second round. The third round started but I stayed in spectator mode and I wasn’t able to change a camera. I tried to push everything including both analogs for few minutes. Then I noticed that my avatar was in the yard and I could control him! I was playing from spectator mode (bird perspective)!
Lost packet (Annex on Fuel Station, Guardian on Ruins)
A bad connection to host has other annoying consequences. If you fire from a heavy weapon or place a grenade and packet informing about your action is lost the action will never be realized on the host and other players. I saw this with smoke grenade on Ruins where I placed it on the floor near to flamethrower. Three enemies run over the grenade and they didn’t trigger it but in my inventory I had zero smoke grenades. Similar situation was on Fuel Station where I shot from mortar, I heard the shot’s sound, I had one projectile less but the action has never been completed. The shot “disappeared”.
Infinite ammo (Wingman on Jacinto)
In one match I had infinite ammo to my weapon. I didn’t need to reload. First I thought it is a glitch I have activated somehow but my teammate has same game behavior.
Levitating Bloodmouth’s riders (Horde on Gold Rush, Horde on Grind Yard)
I have seen several times riders levitating on respawn points without theirs Bloodmouths.
Enemy out of the map (Horde on Flood)
One wretch fell through the map and only part of its back was visible.
Levitating meat flag (Submission on Subway)
Again after a smoke grenade meat flag levitated above the floor. After some shooting he got back to the floor and we could continue in the match.
Meat flag without shotgun (Submission on Subway)
I didn’t see the situation preceding the bug but meat flag somehow lost his shotgun and from that time he was invulnerable. Nobody was able to get him down and so we couldn’t finish the match.
-1500 xp (Annex on Gridlock)
After winning the laggy Annex match on Gridlock, I received experience for completing the match but I have also received penalty for leaving the match before the end. My friends have same experience from many other matches.
Collision detection (Gridlock)
If a player goes through the building in front of respawn and rolls from the stairs leading to the yard with Boomshot he will very often ends up on the railing. Then he needs to make several rolls before he gets back to the floor. During this time he is very easy target for Longshot, Torque Bow or Boomshot.
Silly bot’s AI (Wingman on Tyro station)
Replacing quitters by bots is excellent idea. However the bot’s AI should be improved especially for wingman game mode. My bot doesn’t follow me and generally he plays very poorly. Bot is very easy point for enemies. He uses some very strange enemy detection script which is probably mostly based on distance and ignores obstacles. Several times I have seen him aiming on the ceiling because somebody was upstairs despite other enemies shooting him from distance. On tyro station it is also common that he is run over by the train.
Lagging pregame lobby
What should I expect from the match when even pregame lobby is “lagging”? Several times we have selected the game mode, the map and the countdown already started and I still didn’t see the names of other players.
Unable to find opposing team (Horde)
What team does the game look for when I want to play public horde?
Coop campaign – the part on river
This is very frustrating part with a lot of bugs. In a part when you have to cut off tentacles I have levitated many times and few times I got outside the boat.
Coop campaign – B. Carmine rushing
On Insane difficulty B. Carmine is unbelievable. I would like to kill him myself. In harder parts he is rushing and then he is killed very quickly.
Coop campaign – can’t see Nemacyst
In the Act 1 Chapter 5 I don’t see static Nemacyst above the gas station. We have to kill them but only one player in co-op sees them.
Party – disconnecting
Xbox Live parties are very unstable when you play Gears of War 2.
Party – too many players
Once, when I was trying to find some mathes, it threw an error with message like: “Too many players in the party …” I wasn’t in any party and I needed to restart Xbox before I could join some match.
Last edited by AladinCz; 05-25-2009 at 09:18 AM.