Last week, the PC version of Titanfall received some pretty significant changes that didn’t all sit well with the fans. One particular point of contention that lead to a lot of complains from the fanbase was the removal of the capture the flag mode from the game’s playlists. While it was still available for play in private matches, it became hard for anyone who was a fan of the mode to realistically be able to play a match without some serious extra work. After some fairly significant backlash, Titanfall developer Respawn Entertainment decided to take the mode in a new direction, that direction being one hundred and eighty degrees away from the aforementioned direction and what is best summarized as a “please forgive us; here, we will just undue our original decision so would you please stop yelling at us on Twitter now?” Capture the flag is back in PC Titanfall in all of its glory, and this is just a great example of a developer listening to fan feedback and acting accordingly. They actually laid out an excellent post on their site explaining their original decision and reversal and it is a good read for anyone looking for a good example of a company interacting positively with its customer base.
So why did Respawn Entertainment decide to axe this wildly popular game mode in the first place? Well, that would be because this wildly popular game mode was actually wildly unpopular. As they explained in the aforementioned post:
“The reality is that less than 1% of the player base was even trying to play CTF, let alone actually able to get in to a game. With that few players attempting to connect, our matchmaking would just sit there, spinning forever, waiting to find a game to play. This is a bad experience for the user, and so we had to look at how we fix it.”
Good thing they listened to their fans and brought back the highly innovative “sit around and wait for nothing to happen” game mode that was a big hit with people who loved Titanfall but also wanted to fall asleep. Fans of the mode were quick to point out, however, that if they wanted to sit around and wait for a match wasn’t it their right to do so? And, more importantly, now that they identified a problem with the matchmaking for this mode couldn’t they, oh, I don’t know…fix it? Their solution to fixing the problem was to take the mode out behind a shed and beat it with a shovel, then drag its mangled body back out in front of its audience and proclaim, “Look! We fixed it!” It would be like if you went in to the doctor with a sore throat and they “fixed” it by amputating your neck and setting your house on fire.
Now that the mode is back to the adoring masses which will surely just go back to ignoring it now, Respawn Entertainment had to come up with a new method for optimizing the gameplay, and they are doing it by tweaking the matchmaking system the game uses. They detail the whole thing over in their enormous post, which honestly only needed to be one sentence, which could have just been “ok, its back you babies” which is all most people really cared about. I have a feeling this is going to be a perfect example of a tl;dr situation, but for what it’s worth, they do an excellent job not only detailing how their matchmaking works, but showing their work on why they made it work in the way they did and how they are working to improve it. It really is worth a read, but if you can’t be bothered to take a look at it all you basically need to know is they will be expanding the matchmaking parameters which might leave you playing in suboptimal matches, but hey, at least you’ll be playing.
Fans of the capture the flag mode should head on over and check out the new system to see just how well it works, and to help justify Respawn Entertainment’s decision to undecide upon their original decision. You owe them at least one game.