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Yesterday marked two weeks since the launch of Advanced Warfare and after only two weeks the Steam peak player count has been cut down to under half of the already sad launch numbers for the PC platform from over 35,000 peak players to a little over 16,000 peak players. Even with COD:Ghosts launching with just over 35,000 peak players it was at least able to maintain decent interest into December (which is still sad) before it crossed the 50% player base loss so it only begs the question of how many weeks – literally weeks – does Advanced Warfare have before it’s remaining player base has lost interest? And the other question is where are those players going – because looking at the stats it definitely isn’t back to Ghosts and even Black Ops 2 has remained somewhat steady since the Advanced Warfare launch drop. The only other conclusion is to other games – and there have been a number of big releases recently so that may be attributing to those numbers.

Steam Peak Player Stats – 11/3 to 11/18


For myself I think the loss of interest has pretty much already happened unfortunately because I have already found myself back in some Black Ops 2 games – or just not playing anything. Although I applaud Sledgehammer Games for taking a giant leap and trying something new by drastically changing the mechanics of Call of Duty I just can’t enjoy it. That smooth COD avatar movement that I loved so much has been severely changed to the point that it just doesn’t feel like COD to me now. I have heard other COD veterans talk about this with previous games which ultimately led them to leaving COD but I haven’t felt it until now. Sure there have been minor changes throughout the past few releases but this is drastic. This is a real game changer for the worst for me. Over the last week I have tried to force myself through games thinking in the back of my head that it is just a period of adjustment but dang it I just don’t like it. Everything I hated before like obsessive bunny hopping and hip fire spraying is now the defacto standard in Advanced Warfare. Instead of some mild bunny hopping from a few random players there is now Exo boost jumping everywhere – all the time. Instead of some casual hip fire there is spraying all the time – while flying through the air – with lasers on every gun – sometimes two guns – and sadly it works very effectively. The maps seem large but with most objective game modes they just play like an absolute mess because how quickly maneuverable the maps are with the Exo mechanics. Without the Exo mechanics I think the maps would play awesome and objective modes would actually be good fought battles but unfortunately I haven’t been able to test that yet because no one plays those playlists. Which on that topic is really the nail in the coffin for me. Horrible connections and playlists that I can’t find a game in. I understand patches and fixes take time but let’s face it – the terrible skill based matchmaking system that is in place is not going to get a drastic overhaul and all of the sudden create wonderful smooth connections. This has to come from the start and in my view is a huge failure to not AT LEAST have matchmaking to dedicated servers like Black Ops 2. The game is two weeks old and when I get on to play in the evening between 8PM & 11PM Eastern Time there are no games to be found in Capture the Flag, Search & Destroy and at times Momentum & Uplink. This is absolutely pathetic and shouldn’t be happening. I purchased the game to play the modes that I enjoy playing – not what the developer thinks I should be playing because of my in game skill level or narrow based location. The time was there is this new 3 year development cycle. Servers and a server browser should not have been left out of this game. Period.

So what are the developers doing about the state of the game? Well we are being told they are actively working on issues and they have released two patches already – one dealing with “connectivity optimization” – from which I personally saw no change in the games I have played since but I guess only time will tell how things are going to improve in the short term. Glen Schofield on the other hand is busy Tweeting out information on Activision stock and the millions that could be made with Advanced Warfare.

I don’t know why but this literally angered me a bit when I read this earlier. To me it just shows how out of touch these developers truly are with the community. I understand that you want the game you just put years of work into to excel and do good but when so much of the community is complaining about the same terrible connection performance issues and the lack of real benefits that true dedicated servers offer – it is disgusting to see this level of discussion about so much profit being made when we all know that the reason the games don’t have these features is because upper management doesn’t want to cut into those profits to produce a more solid product.

I think a day of change is coming. I don’t know when but take a look at the recent news with these big AAA game releases – Advanced Warfare, Assassin’s Creed Unity, FarCry 4, Halo – there have been some major release issues and fans are starting to see this as an issue more and more. Media is starting to cover it more and more. I think that “disappointing” Ghosts title as the article Glen linked to put it will be a repeat this year for Advanced Warfare and when sales are down, DLC purchases are down and overall COD community interest is down later on this year – for the second year in a row – for one of the largest flagship game franchises in history – I think Activision is going to take a little more notice and maybe… just maybe that could be the spark to ignite some change for COD 2015. Wishful thinking I guess…