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PC Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer is Satisfying


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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (MW2) multiplayer is definitely a lot of fun to play, but has some annoying characteristics, especially for competitive players.

The multiplayer component for MW2 is probably the most anticipated multiplayer game this year. With Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (CoD4) being the largest competitive title in South Africa, this was expected.

Cod4 re-defined the genre with its fast-paced style and entertained both console and PC players alike. While the standard version of the game presented a lot of enjoyment for casual players, the competitive mod – ProMOD – also allowed for balanced play in the competitive community. This created a lot of expectation when MW2 was announced, and while this expectation has been met in many ways, the game also disappoints in other areas.

Matchmaking was meant to balance the teams so that players got a fair game.


IWNet is Infinity Ward’s server management software which controls play, matching players from all around the world together based on ping and skill levels.

On a true competitive level, IWNet is horrible. There is simply no way that any player who has experienced the stability of dedicated servers could possibly say that IWNet comes close in delivering the same service.

IWNet relies on peer-to-peer (P2P) connections, which means that one of the players in the match is hosting the server off of their residential line.

This has two implications: Firstly, players have generally higher pings (delay between the server and other players’ computers) and secondly the host has a massive advantage over the other players.

This effect is known as “host abuse” and there is no doubt about the host's advantage over other players on the server with IWNet. In first-person shooters (FPS) like MW2, delay is a big factor in determining the overall experience of the game, which is why having a low delay or ping is important.

Having a higher delay results in bad hit registration and players will notice that sometimes when playing that they shoot at someone and only get the kill a second or so later. This is especially annoying when it presents in the form of the player being instantly killed by someone walking around a corner.

Most players playing MW2 for the first time might not notice this immediately, however, over a period of time it becomes very obvious and also very frustrating for the gamer. As further proof, have posted a method for players to get a more accurate reading of their ping.

While the standard MW2 shows players that they normally have a ping-rating of three or four green bars, this method shows that the host sits on a 0-20ms ping while most other users are playing from 100ms and upwards. This difference in delay is enough to prove that the host has an unfair advantage.

As far as using local bandwidth goes, Route Sentry does not seem to work with MW2, even though the servers are being hosted on local players' lines. This means that local players have to use international bandwidth, which is obviously more expensive.

This is probably because the game requires all information sent and received to be transferred via IWNet. Thankfully however, the game does not seem to be bandwidth intensive, using about 50 MB per hour. Players who end up hosting will probably use a great deal more though, perhaps even as much as 200 MB per hour.

Finally, matchmaking just does not seem to work effectively. Infinity Ward are releasing small updates quite regularly but there was no constant experience of “balanced servers” throughout this review.

Looking to play locally, IWNet often takes an age to find someone hosting locally and the game often fails because the host is probably trying to host on something less than a four MB line. The matchmaking system often bombs out for South African players because of the system not finding an adequate ping. It would seem the game requires a large amount of volume of players to play, but in South Africa this is just not possible.

Players of CoD4 will realise how this contrasts to having a list of favourite dedicated servers, which run 24/7 and allow one to play whenever one wants, assuming there are other people playing.

In conclusion, IWNet delivers a sub-par service which most console players have become content with, however any PC player who has experienced dedicated servers should be disappointed with this aspect of the game.

Click 'next page' below for more about local play.


Review Ratings

Weapons :9.5
Killstreaks and deathstreaks :9.0
Competitive Prospects :1.0
Overall Rating:7.1
Industry Rating:9.0

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