Monday, 18 November 2013

Le Morte d'Chivalry

The title is an allusion to a collection of stories about King Arthur, his knights, and their adventures. It might to certain degree reflect the current condition of Chivalry: Medieval Warfare quite nicely. As in the stories, at the beginning there comes an occasional troublemaker (bug) now and there of whom the eager knights promptly take care of. But as the story grows and continues, Camelot slowly falls to ruin, and betrayal.

Now, I believe Chivalry could not really suffer from betrayal, and as far as the core game goes all is well. Community is decent, players are of all varieties, from most experienced veterans that fought thousand battles, to the newest of the new still wet behind their ears. Where the problem arises is the actual execution.

I love Chivalry, I still play it almost every week with my friends. But the recent changes and patches are not good. Neither for the game, nor for me and my friends. The game continually stops working after a match or two. Funnily enough, I dare to say I know the reason.

I can safely blame Chivalry: Deadliest Warrior for all the things for which Medieval Warfare is suffering at the moment. As soon as the Torn Banner Studios started implementing infrastructure for the expansion, these strange bugs started to occur. We came to this conclusion because our computers range from latest and greatest to old and battered. The computers are also running on two different operating systems, thus eliminating the possibility of this being only something a few can encounter.

Now, Chivalry never really was well-optimised game, but it never impaired our play. Post-session is another story though. Every time you exit to desktop, it feels like your computer is waking up with a hangover. It feels like it needs some time to recover from shock. But this only happened when you exited the game. The game itself never abruptly ended on its own. And the slow recovery of the computers was mostly met with a well-meant joke or a clever remark.

But now, it comes to the point of unbearable. Only to start the game it takes well over a minute. Luckily, at least the server list is working as intended. But once you join the game it can be another story. The game can stop at random, or just lag long enough for you to get killed. The picture freezes and you are free to ponder on meaning of number 42 for all that is worth.

While we are on numbers, let me say that I have reached rank 21 four times in a row. In same breath, let me add that I tried to unlock the last secondary weapon for the Knight. I had to acquire 24 kills, with the sword. At this moment, I think I killed more than hundred people with a longsword, yet I still require 24 kills to unlock the weapon. The counters are broken, and need to be fixed.

When your match ends, this is the time to get out your rosary and start praying that the two gears on the screen indicating the loading of the next map do not stop spinning. Not only that, God forbid if they spin too fast. This as well is a sign that something has gone wrong, and you will soon have to restart the game if you want to continue playing. After two or three restarts you really lose any will to try again.

The game itself is fun, great, all gory and engaging as ever. But everything except the interaction with other players has gone to hell. Everything is either half broken or not working, and this really needs fixing. While the Arthurian legends are great, and stories entertaining, I would prefer if the Chivalry found some other book for inspiration when it comes down to working as intended. Utopia might do nicely.

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