Well, might as well get this out of the way. A couple of days ago I filled out a survey for Battleborn. I originally gave it some positive points, but at the end when it asked me if I would purchase or refer the game to a friend I gave it the lowest marks.
Why did I do that? Because as an Australian being forced to play overseas it was a lag filled mess. Playing competitive is nearly impossible because if I try to snipe someone in the head I have a 3 second window of hoping they don’t move. Then I’m suddenly thrown into the respawn screen because in that time someone snuck up and stabbed me, I just had to wait for the data to cross overseas.
It’s annoying to be able to step to the side and watch my own shots being fired from where I originally was standing, watch my bullets move across the area, hit an enemy, then wait a moment for his health to chip down and the hit markers to beep up. It creates such a disconnect to the player.
Sometimes I had trouble sprinting because the game kept forgetting I was moving and left me in this weird hobble state where I was constantly turning it off and on.
This happens all the time and I’ve been fighting/begging developers to fix this problem for over a decade. I rarely get a response and when I do it’s usually the same copy and pasted comment of, “Our system is designed to put you in the best match”. Which has never really worked, especially in a P2P system. The problem has never been selecting the best connection, it’s being lumped in with Americans and forced to play their games.
In a P2P system you need the option for ‘local only’. Otherwise the US player will always have host because their minimum speed is like our fastest available speed.
When Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 came out, I describe that first day as completely green? Why? Because the ping rating for every player was in full green. There was no lag problems at all. Then the following day, I see that after an Australian player left my match, a US player was thrown in. The game was paused as the match transferred host status to this US player. He was the only person on green ping, and that game became unplayable (online) from that moment on. There was no option to search locally, we were forced to rubber band all over the place.
When using servers, then pretty much every Australian/Oceania player is relying on someone being nice enough to remember us. If not, we’re completely out of luck. No hope for a decent speed because no servers exist at all!
Even if we do get a few servers, if there’s no way to select them personally then we’re still out of luck because we’re still thrown into US servers. There’s a good chance our servers will be full all the time (and I’ve even seen foreigners in our servers).
When Battlefield: Bad Company 2 came out there were local servers, but I never played in them. I couldn’t select them. Did you ever notice how at the start of a match a random player would run over to a fence and knife it? He was the Australian player, testing out which server he was in. Usually finding it took 3 seconds for the fence to be destroyed, indicating he wasn’t on his local server. Thankfully for future games they not only gave us our own servers but gave us the option to limit our searches to just AUS servers.
I remember when Homefront came out, the developer promised Australian servers. It was the reason I actually bought the game. But every match was a red ping.
I remember the beta for Transformers: War for Cybertron came out, which had a P2P system. When I booted up the menu I saw search options, with the ability to select ‘local only’. That convinced me to buy the game, I hadn’t even started my first match. When I did, I don’t think I ever had a laggy game.
Halo: Reach came out in 2010, with local search options. Today the game gets about 500 players a week. If I stick to Team Slayer, and wait 5-15 minutes, I can find a game. Australians only, no lag, all fun. The wait may be long, but I can always tolerate that more than I can tolerate lag.
Halo 4 came out in 2012, it did not have local search options. That game was a lag filled mess and was dead in 3 months. I still remember clearly my last moment in multiplayer. I stepped on a man cannon, flew through the air, teleported back to the edge of the man cannon and flew through the sky, teleported back and flew, hit the ground and committed suicide. I punched that power button.
Gears of War 2 came out as a laggy mess. Players soon left that game because they were getting annoyed they could get sniped with a shotgun. I went back only a month before Gears of War 3 came out, just to clear up a few achievements. But what’s this? No lag? Australian servers? Huh? What? When?
Yeah, they fixed this little problem. Now Australians could play with just themselves, and a bots for anybody who didn’t fill the rest. Unfortunately it was too late, nobody returned back because we never expect this problem to fix themselves. They admitted this themselves when talking about Gears of War 3.
Hell, I can put Gears of War 3 in right now and play online with no lag. Yeah, it will mostly be against bots since everybody left, but I don’t care. No lag!
A couple of months ago I got a beta key for Smite on PS4. I decided to play around with it, since it was free (even though I don’t like LoL Moba styled games). I got some enjoyment out of it, but I could only play with US or Europe players. It was annoying. If I was asked to pay for this I would have said no. Eventually I was getting frustrated with the game, I was about to quit and delete the game. I booted it up one last time and, to my surprise, I find the option to only play with Australians! The game was no longer laggy! Want to know what I did next? Shoved some money into my console for the developer to have, and I’ve been playing it a bit regularly since. Which reminds me, I need to give them some more money due to the amount of hours I’ve been playing.
Just so you know, I am completely aware of how difficult it is to get Australian servers. I keep up to date with this stuff, I’m still regularly complaining to my government about how badly they’ve been handling this stuff. I know how much more expensive, how much more limited data is to run them. I know. It’s annoying (although a P2P system with local options can still be just as good).
What’s really sad though is I doubt this thread will ever get notice. I expect a few comments from some US players going, “lol just buy better internet loser” and a few AUS comments saying, “Yeah! I was enjoying the game except for the lag!”. I’ve been through this before, time and again, I expect to do the same if the Overwatch beta has the same problems, and every time for every game after that. I’m getting tired of this. As all Australians are (and New Zealanders, and everybody in Asia, South Africa, Japan, etc., don’t think I’m leaving you guys out).
I’ll probably check in on this thread right before or at release. Check out if anybody in Australia can actually play it. Most likely will not hear of any changes and Battleborn will just disappear into my memory as another game I just had no chance to enjoy.