Many South African dreams were crushed last week when EA and Respawn Entertainment confirmed that Titanfall would not be coming to South Africa at all, due to the performance of the game on local shores not being up to the standard they want it to be.
The Studio explained their decision:
“After conducting recent online tests for Titanfall, we found that the performance rates in South Africa were not as high as we need to guarantee a great experience, so we have decided not to release Titanfall in South Africa at this time.”
Titanfall makes use of the Microsoft Azure servers, of which there are only 6 in the world, so SA players would have to play on EU servers if they wanted to play the game – something we had to do to take part in the beta.
My beta experience was actually really pleasant. Although my ping was at about 170 constant, the game was completely playable and I never once felt I was at a distinct disadvantage for a slightly higher ping.
The same can be said for all my friends who also took part in the beta – no one experienced adverse delay. In fact, I can’t really find someone that had a terrible experience, which is either testament to the games good net code or a note on the SA gaming community, as we’re generally made of sterner stuff when it comes to ping and playing on international servers.
It seems that we were not given the chance to reflect our own opinion on the matter, as Respawn Entertainment and EA took it on themselves to cancel the games launch in South Africa.
So, What Now?
The community has banded together to try get the message across that we do actually really want to play Titanfall, and has started a petition page on change.org for the company to rethink their last minute decision.
An excerpt from the plea sums up the whole situation quite nicely:
“We believe that this should be OUR decision to make. We enjoyed the experience so much that we are willing to pay the admission price and put up with high latency in order to play this game. Many of us were swept up in the post-beta hype and eagerly awaited our shiny new Titan on March 11th, this announcement is not only a huge disappointment, but a kick in the teeth to all FPS gamers in South Africa. We have been putting up with bad latencies to EU and US for many years in order to enjoy our favourite titles in a multiplayer environment. Please don't take away what might be one of the best FPS titles of the decade, on the pretense that we would not enjoy the experience with a higher latency.”
With 1300 signatures and counting on the petition, it is quite clear the community really wanted to get their hands on Titanfall when it releases internationally tomorrow, but I think we will have to get a lot more signatures on that petition to justify the games release.
Personally, I get both sides of the story. On the one hand, EA and Respawn Entertainment (due to legal reasons) would have to launch the game stating that our location could adversely affect gameplay, or just simply not launch the game at all.
For locals like me who have been playing on international servers for years with incredibly high pings may not understand why, but that’s because our international has actually managed to get better over the years.
If you think of World of Warcraft when it started, South Africans were playing on US servers with an excess of 1000 ping without complaining, so the mere 170 ping most SA gamers received in Titanfall seems like a dream.
But alas the decision stands, so we will have to look to other means for now if we want to get our hands on the game.
Well, thank to the slightly dodgy client that is Origin, there is in fact a way to purchase Titanfall through the origin client. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) such as JustFreeVPN, you can mask your IP to make it look as if it is coming from the US or Europe.
Simply log into one of their free servers and open your Origin Client. You will then have access to purchase Titanfall and give the game a go. Once you have purchased the game, simply disconnect the VPN without closing Origin and simple as that, it’s time to game.
Whether or not you will have to use the VPN to log into Origin every time to gain access to Titanfall remains to be seen, and depends entirely on the Origin Client’s local limitations. Do not fear about using a VPN, as it is entirely legal, so no trouble will come of it.
At the end of the day, even if the game was never going to become a hit game in the Telkom Do Gaming League, the community would have at least liked to be given the choice. We’re not new to this and this isn’t the first time that South Africa is getting the short end of the straw, and it has never stopped us before, so I say- Let the Titans Fall!