Call of Duty: WWII was intended to be a return to form for publisher Activision's flagship game franchise but its launch has been marred with errors and rampant server issues. The back-to-basics approach for the latest Call of Duty entry from developer Sledgehammer Games earned praise for finally moving the series away from over-the-top future tech and verticality, but it's not delivering on its promises. At least, not yet.
This year's Call of Duty is the first for the current generation of consoles to see its setting move back to the past, back to World War II where the franchise began with its first three games. This meant, classic, old school weapons mixed with the franchise's modern gameplay mechanics and modes, bolstered with a few new online features. At the moment, it's difficult to enjoy, and in some cases impossible.
Throughout launch week and most notably this weekend, Call of Duty: WWII quite simply hasn't been working. Today for instance, every match of competitive multiplayer or the game's co-op Nazi Zombies mode has booted my party before completion. Since the game released, I've yet to see a single other player in the game's online social hub, dubbed Headquarters. Fail.
Fortunately for Activision, the game's marketing combined with decision to go back to the past helped the game double last year's Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare in sales during launch but for anyone paying attention and waiting, or for busy and impatient players, a week of "it's not working" is enough to make one lose interest and focus on the many other major releases flooding the market these last few weeks.
The developers have been addressing the connectivity problems online and just now, posted a lengthy official update to explain the issues and detail their action plan:
Online Connectivity – While our previous Game Update which released early Friday solved several critical needs, unfortunately it also had an adverse effect on server performance. As a result, we moved to P2P (listen) servers. Overall, the game is stable, however we know that P2P brings things like Host Migrations and other issues that make for inconsistent gameplay experiences. Our objective to return to dedicated servers is our highest priority.
Dedicated Servers – This weekend we rolled out various test solutions in limited markets in order to fully analyze real-world conditions without risking disruption. This level of data and diagnostics is helping us work toward a permanent solution as quickly as possible. We’ve begun to test dedicated servers today in the US. We’ll watch this test closely, and once we analyze the results we’ll look to expand.
Game Disconnects From Server - After much testing, our engineering teams identified the root cause of this issue, which can also result in lost stats and post match lobby freezes. Later tonight, we plan to deploy a patch across both consoles worldwide. We’ll monitor the results, and keep everyone updated.
Headquarters – As we focus on the return to dedicated servers as our highest priority, we will continue to utilize a solo-HQ experience. Players can still invite friends, which we encourage everyone to try. But we get it, HQ is best enjoyed with a thriving, fully populated social community interacting together. So hang in there while we address the most pressing concerns first.
We also want to reinforce our commitment to PC fans. We have the next PC Title Update ready to go, but we believe we need to work through the issues noted above first – many of which also affect PC players. For this reason, we’ll wait a bit longer before deploying the patch to the PC in order to ensure everything is the way it needs to be first.
On one hand, it's odd and unacceptable that a paid-for product and live service straight up isn't delivering on what it's suppose to - especially in a game that's mostly based on online play. And this isn't Activision's first rodeo. They've been shattering records and serving millions online for well over a decade with Call of Duty releases. On the other hand, the game did double last year's in sales so there's more activity to service. Perhaps Call of Duty: WWII, a game that is otherwise polished, wasn't quite ready for wide release and this is evident from the message from the devs above.
Update (Nov 13, 2017 - 4pm): Sledgehammer provides status update on testing dedicated servers in specific regions and platforms.
DEDICATED SERVER UPDATE: US matches on PS4 have been hosted on Dedicated Servers. Results are encouraging and we will be deploying the test to XB1 shortly. Thanks for your patience – stability on dedicated servers remains our top priority. #CODWWII
— Sledgehammer Games (@SHGames) November 13, 2017
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