Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Bungie interview reveals Epic could've done 'friendly' ranked games

When Epic was approached about not being able to party-up with friends for ranked games, he said:

Microsoft came to us and said there would be a lot of cheaters if we did it that way so for right now this is how it is. In the future we might roll out some additional functionality. -Mark Rein, Epic V.P.

The blame was directed at Microsoft's anti-cheating efforts with the TrueSkill system. It seems to suck a little bit of the fun out of playing team-based games if you can't play with your friends. Some gamers wait with hope for updates, others prepare themselves to live without the feature, and the motivated use work-arounds.

Those all of these situations will find the following tidbit of information good-to-know. In 1up's review with Allen Murray (of Bungie) reveals a bit more information on playing ranked games with friends. When asked if Halo 3 will have this problem, Allen said:

You will most definitely be able to create a party with your friends and enter into ranked matchmaking -- that's where the fun is! The Xbox certification process and True Skill system do not prevent games from having a feature that allows parties of friends to enter into ranked matchmaking as a team -- but they also do not provide that feature as part of the core set of matchmaking services. -Allen Murray, Producer

In effect, it would seem Microsoft is still to blame, but in a different way. They didn't provide the feature, but didn't prevent developers from using it. In order for Gears of War to allow a group of friends into ranked games, Epic would have had to develop the feature themselves as Bungie has.

At least we know it is possible. I personally implore other developers to follow and shamelessly mimic Bungie's matchmaking efforts. A lot of us are dying for Halo 2's excellent fragfest-creating system in the other games we play.


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