GoW2 finally playable after third patch?

Posted in news on March 27th, 2009 by Flo
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gow2 logoThe 3rd Gears of War 2 patch is one I’ve been waiting for, for a long, long time. In my eyes, it seemed the last chance to update the game in a way that it would be actually playable for normal people with a normal frustration level. In other words, this patch should take care of the glitches, and more importantly the incredible lag. Now the patch is here, it’s time to find out if it’s Epic’s first successful GoW2 patch or if it’s yet another Epic fail.

Let’s begin with the biggest change, the new RPG style ranking system. In other words, you can farm yourself a way to the ‘top’. I guess that this shows the problem of the system: it doesn’t show how skilled you are, just how long you’ve played the game, and there’s no one to one connection between those two things, unfortunately. In other words, the rank is quite meaningless, they could as well have made a clock that shows your playing time instead… It is, however, better than the unclear, and partially unfair, old ranking system. Although a better solution would have been to make 100 skill based ranks instead of 100 experience points based ranks.

Nevertheless, the old ranking system is still used in an invisible way for matchmaking. And needless to say, it still doesn’t work. The skill differences between the players in the teams are still very big and total walk-overs aren’t rare. It’s a shame that they didn’t change that.

One of the other big changes is the new system that puts a bot in the team when someone leaves. To be honest, I still don’t know what to think about it. Of course, it’s better for the team than lacking a player, but I prefer playing against a team full of real players who don’t have auto-aim, and who don’t know how to play the game (you’ll understand that last thing when you’ve played annex or King of the Hill against a team of 3 humans and two bots). But oh well, I guess it’s pretty nice not having to play 1 vs 5 anymore.

Besides these two large game-mechanic changes, there’s also a content update. There’s 250 gamerpoints of new achievements and there’s a new map pack. I haven’t got it, so I don’t know if it’s worth buying, but the maps look good. The big question in my opinion is: is the game now playable enough to actually buy extra content.

The answer, surprisingly, seems to be ‘yes’. I say ‘seems’, because I’ve only played for about 2 hours, but they were nearly without any lag. When scrolling through the change notes I noticed that thist wasn’t luck, or at least shouldn’t be. They’ve made the data exchange faster, people who standby are found faster and you are teamed up with people so your ping is lower than 200ms. It still isn’t totally lag free, but it’s a great start. Next to that, the matchmaking seems to be a lot faster than it was. I’m finding matches in 1 or 2 minutes. This used to be a lot more.

Also some minor changes have made the game a lot better. Like the new playlists. You can now actually choose between two gametypes that you want to play, because every playlist now just contains two gametypes. No random horrors anymore (except the maps.. but oh well).

When summing everything up, I’ve really got a positive feeling about this patch. I actually think that it might have saved the ¬†game. With the lag preventing changes, the game is actually playable online, and it’s not as irritating as it was. It feels less like wasting time, and more like having fun. ¬†Sure, it still has a glitch or two, but the problems aren’t as serious as they were.

So, if you have stopped playing GoW2 because the lag nearly killed you, try it again, and play the game as it was, probably, meant to be. This patch has really done it’s job well.


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