Does Always On Work?

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Does Always On Work?

Post by CivBase on Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:50 pm

Time to talk about the gaming industry's most recent hot topic. Though nothing has been officially announced, supposedly leaked plans for the new Xbox say that it will require a constant connection to the internet to operate. Thanks to the recent failings of Diablo 3 and Sim City, most people see this as a horrible idea and I figured this was a relevant discussion which might be interesting.

Of course, I think most of us would agree that an always-online requirement for a game console is horrible; I definitely wont be getting a next-gen Xbox if these rumors are true. Still, can always-online work for a video game?

Diablo 3 and Sim City are examples of always-on at its worse, where their respective launch days were so crowded that the game was unplayable for quite some time. Sim City even went as far as removing game mechanics just to get it into a playable state. There are, however, examples of always-on working well. Starcraft 2 uses an always-online system yet it is considered to be a great game and the always-online component receives almost no controversy. Even Steam, who's offline mode was left broken and worthless for years, is effectively an always-online platform and it controls over half of the PC market.

I'm certainly not supporting the crippling always-online DRM that we've been seeing in game recently. It was a horrible thing for the developers and publishers to introduce to their games. But... can it work? Is steam's use of an online requirement an acceptable limit? Can it be pushed farther? What about Starcraft 2?

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Re: Does Always On Work?

Post by dragoon9105 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:45 pm

Always On is actually a great idea when done well and not for shoving DRM down peoples throats.

Sim-city could have done so much better by having an offline 'private' mode and a heavily encouraged online region mode. so people could play the damn game when the servers weren't off.

Generally nobody complains much about Starcraft 2 being always online because the game is literally built in a Multiplayer down perspective. Generally speaking most players play the campaign once or twice then go into custom games or Skirmish. Players that previously played or were playing wow when Sc2 came out were used to blizzard pushing RealID already.

Also as far as i'm also aware so far as your online when you register install and log onto SC2 for the first time you can play the Campaign and Single player skirmishes offline as well, don't quote me on that though.

Diablo 3 is an interesting case, Originally if blizzard went with its original plan of using Wow servers and didn't bother to tell anyone about it launch would have been fine but announcing it and then getting huge backlash from Wowplayers and fans in general forced them to improvise and then everyone acted surprised when there was launch problems.

and to answer your main question civ. Yes but games that aren't built for singleplayer. MMO MMS(shootshootbangbang/Battlefield) Free to play games, They all work rather well using the model because your expecting to need to be online to play with other people. There is absolutely no reason why you should be forced to play say Half life with a damn internet connection. Whats it even there for, Patch support? probably not. Even then if your going to have a RPG or a strategy/Simulator game. Games that are traditionally played alone forcing an always online requirement just pisses people off.
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Re: Does Always On Work?

Post by Nocbl2 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:37 pm

Diablo III was fine after a few days. It was a good game that was worth the wait. Thought I should point that out.

Overall I think it's a problem but only really if your servers suck. It can still be an issue even with goddamn Hal 2000 running them. There is always going to be an error somewhere--it is simply the nature of systems. They are designed to fail.

Honestly, it does nothing to stop piracy anyways, which is supposedly the intention of always-on. It really does nothing except be a nuisance, and I for the life of me cannot see why a company would defend it if they can't make it even work. For the most part, it does work, at least technically, but again: it does NOTHING to stop a determined pirate.
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Re: Does Always On Work?

Post by Lord Pheonix on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:20 pm

All it does it hurt the people who payed money for the game.

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Re: Does Always On Work?

Post by Rotaretilbo on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:26 pm

The problem with Always-Online is just that: it has to always be online. Name a game that is truly Always-Online, with the except of an MMO, that hasn't been a giant disaster? StarCraft II, for example, features an offline mode for when Battle.net is down, which allows you to play campaign and even skirmish with AIs. Steam's offline mode may not have been the best on launch, but it was still there, and it kinda worked sometimes. The Always-Online market makes sweeping assumptions about everything. While proponents might argue that everyone has Internet and we should just get with the program, that's not always the limiting factor.

As we saw with both Sim City and Diablo III, client-side servers can fail. If Diablo III or Sim City had featured an offline mode on launch, they would have avoided a lot of the complaining.

The other limiting factor is our ISPs and the government. Developers and publishers seem to forget that the Internet travels from our homes over a network of cables and servers to get to their Always-Online content. For example, a few days ago, I was online at around midnight messing about, when suddenly, my Skype dropped out. I thought nothing of it, but when I went to post what I'd typed, my browser couldn't resolve the host. As it happened, my ISP was doing maintenance on their DNS uplink. I was without Internet for something like eight hours, nothing I could do about it. But it was fine, because I still have a myriad of single-player games at my disposal that I can play to pass the time during such outages.

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Re: Does Always On Work?

Post by Lord Pheonix on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:35 pm

I had that same problem last night as well. DNS server wasn't connecting for shit so I had no internet for quite a long time. If I had decided to play video games and "always online" was standard practice then I would have been fucked. All those games that I had payed money for I would not be "allowed" to play because they can't confirm that I bought them since the internet isn't on.

And they can say it's not DRM so that's not the reason you have to be always online, but we all know it's fucking DRM.

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Re: Does Always On Work?

Post by KrAzY on Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:12 pm

when my internet is working well I have more productive things to do then play games... infact when my internet is out my first reaction is usually to open up a computer game until it comes back... like a skirmish on CoH against some hard bots.


always on gaming is annoying
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