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Civ4 MultiPlayer Has Become Unplayable!

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Multiplayer & PBEM' started by sirkris, Jun 10, 2006.

  1. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    A. I use the Wait option most of the time. Most of my games are with friends, though, where waiting for a dropped player to return is the norm (and the game would halt if they couldn't return). Just because you, personally, have no use for a given feature does not mean nobody else does. Not everyone is going to share your playstyle preferences.

    That you hold no recognition of this in your criticism undercuts all the rest of your points. You may be making some valid points, but your point of view represents your perspective, not everybody's perspective.


    B, C, D are all related. You're having trouble with grief players, and the game isn't set up to allow you to cope. I would have to agree that it would be better if you could protect yourself from jerks. The MP world for Civ4 is akin to the wild wild west, with foul language in unmoderated chat, and with lack of protections against the lowest common denominator taking over. However, the player who cites Blizzard as a company who can do no wrong must not have actually played Blizzard's first internet title, Diablo, with its Battle.net service being a collecting pot for the worst possible samples of online human behavior. That game was rife with cheats and hacks end to end, while Civ4 is not. An objective comparison between Civ's first shot at built-in online MP vs Blizzard's first shot with Diablo has to favor Firaxis on the whole. Both are untamed environments, but Civ4's is less chaotic. That is not to claim that it's good enough, when several problems are self-evident, but overblowing your criticisms is the surest way to turn off the people to whom you are trying to speak. Turned off and tuned out. Why should they bother to listen to criticisms that overly emotional, factually challenged, and unobjective?

    Clearly, the game is vulnerable to deliberate sabotage by players. Is this really the responsibility of Firaxis, though? Given players of good will, whose aim is to actually PLAY THE GAME rather than to make mischief and torment others, these issues are not problems. Your example of the Diplomacy screen, where your opponent brought in a friend and tricked you into a stuck position... Why would you even want to continue that game? If people want to be jerks, take yourself elsewhere. You want your cake and to eat it too, that you can play in open games and never run in to griefers. Technology does not exist to prevent that. Giving power to game hosts to kick out players, even if limited to the launch lobby, would only give griefers one more way to torment you, by setting up false games with the sole purpose of kicking you out of their lobby just to mess with you.

    Griefers are the gaming equivalent of terrorists. I'm afraid there are no easy solutions when it comes to stopping terrorists. Malicious people will find ways to ruin games no matter how much protection is put in place. To some extent, players have to roll with the punches. If you are going to play in open games, with strangers, you need to accept that some of them will refuse to "play nice". Just get out and move on. Any resistance you try to offer them is only going to play right in to their hands, since their whole purpose is to try and get your goat.


    E. This one is a real problem independent of griefers, but it tends to hit your style of wide open random games the hardest. Games between friends or within families don't see people coming and going, don't see replacement players coming in, etc. What are obvious problems in one setting may not even come up at all in another. Sometimes testing procedures have gaps, where a problem like this can hide. If you think it through, you should be able to imagine how this one could have been overlooked.


    F. Strange things happen when lots of players are connected peer to peer. Civ4's synching system is what prevents cheats and hacks from taking over the community, though. Hacks go out of synch. Period. Nothing anybody can do will override what is going on at your system. You may have legitimate complaints about the flaws involved, but I notice the absence from your list any complaint about cheaters and hackers. That's a huge accomplishment, and Firaxis did well with it on essentially their first try.

    I've played dozens of games of Civ4 MP and not hit any of the problems you mention here, not one. However, I surely play with fewer players on average than you, and mostly (though not exclusively) with all humans on the same team vs one or more teams of AI civs. That different style simply does not run afoul of the things that are plaguing your open-to-the-public MP games.


    G. This is the most absurd point of all. Your list offers no mention or acknowledgement of things done right, only complaints about things not done well enough to suit you. Once you assume bad faith on the developer end to be the cause of your woes, you might as well pack it in and go home. If you are right, then nothing you complain about will matter, because the devs won't care. If you are wrong, then you are doing a significant injustice to the devs, which can only undercut their morale or give reinforcement to the notion that fans will complain no matter what the devs do or try to do, so why bother listening to them or trying to respond to their requests?


    - Sirian
     
  2. knupp715

    knupp715 King

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    No offense Sirian but I've never seen you in the MP Lobby before, or playing any type of online game. Yes maybe in the few games you played with people you knew (beta testers or friends) you never had any problems.

    This has nothing to do with the norm though. That norm being a bunch of people joining a game, arguing about settings for a bit, launching and then facing a number of connection issues. All of which have not been fixed. None have been fixed in any patches released. And instead of new patches being developed to fix those problems only 4 (maybe only 3 I can't remember) patches were made IIRC. There were many more Civ3 patches that fixed a number of things and yet Civ4 only deals with SP issues and moves right onto an expansion.

    Maybe all the issues in SP that could be fixed were done so for the most part in previous patches. But what about MP??? Do the developers not care about the MP community?????? I don't care if the developers built this game MP from the ground up. If dev. aren't going to maintain the community why create it at all. They should make a SP game instead.

    Then again maybe that is why they are releasing this expansion so early. So they can have all the MP players who were driven away when civ4 was released because of connection issues to come back and give it another go. But if it's like I expect and nothing gets fixed in the expansion I doubt they will stay.....

    And if connection isssues really do lie with gamespy, which firaxis is pointing the finger at. Then the developers should get up and do something about it. Find out what the issue is and fix it.
     
  3. sirkris

    sirkris Chieftain

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    Yeah I've never seen that guy around either.

    Meh at any rate, looks like everyone -except- Sirian agrees with me on this thread, or at least so far they all have. Anyone who plays multiplayer consistantly can speak from first-hand experience about these bugs.

    Sirian, your premise of blaming the players for the game's flaws is counter-productive. As someone who develops network-engineered software for a living, I can tell you that it is the responsibility of the programmer (or development team in this case) to make the software as functional as possible.

    Most people don't want to have to jump through a bunch of hoops (joining ladders, organizing with groups of friends, etc) just to play a game. Civ4 is designed to be played openly online, so you can't criticize players for trying to do exactly that.


    Simple fact of the matter is, the developers are responsible for the flaws in the game. That's ok, but when they refuse to even acknowledge the problem, that's when they deserve to be criticized. Just because you don't play in the online community enough to have encountered these core problems with the game yourself doesn't mean that those problems somehow don't matter. They just don't matter to you. And I really could care less about that. =)


    As for the rest of you, great comments! I agree that this thread should be kept active in order to raise awareness about these important multiplayer issues.


    --Kris
     
  4. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    So you want me to go away and leave your thread alone? No problem. Good luck making your case to the developers.


    - Sirian
     
  5. knupp715

    knupp715 King

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    I'm pretty sure he doesn't want you to stay out of the thread. He just disagrees with you. If everyone who is involved with the making of Civ4 decides to leave when somebody disagrees with them well then....I just don't know. :)
     
  6. CB Droege

    CB Droege I

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    I was one of the persons who disagreed. I think that MP is fine as long as you play PTBS with people you trust. I never play with random people online in ANY game. I already know that that never works out.
     
  7. knupp715

    knupp715 King

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    To everybody should have to play PTBS and look for people they trust just to play an MP game???

     
  8. CB Droege

    CB Droege I

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    I'm not saying that you have to, but it's not the devs fault that people are jerks, and you have to play knowing that playing the game in certain places or certain formats will lead to different experiences. 95% of online gamers are asshats, so if your going to play with just anybody on random servers, your pretty likely to get asshats in your game.

    Organized PTBS is not asshat proof, but it is certainly asshat resistant.
     
  9. Elledge

    Elledge Chieftain

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    Jesus, what a depressing attitude.

    So because Civ 2 and Civ 3's multiplayer wasn't built in, it doesn't count? Where's the logic there? And Alpha Centauri? Besides, it's not like all the same developers are writing the same code for Civ 3 and Civ 4; they're just solving the same problems that hundreds of other games have had to deal with, and usually much better, although they've admittedly done a great job of eliminating cheating.

    I mostly agree with Sirian. Civ4 multiplayer doesn't have a lot of problems, and most of sirkris's points (The Vote Window, Mid-Game Joiners, The Dreaded Diplomacy Screen, Game Difficulty Settings) are ridiculous. I see someone try to change their difficulty maybe once a month, and I've never in eight months and hundreds of games had someone harass me with the diplomacy screen.) As for mid-game joiners, are you asking them to not include hotjoining support? I have never once, either, seen someone join a game with the obvious purpose of screwing it up. And your solution for the vote window basically amounts to total impatience. What on earth do you have against waiting one or two minutes in a multi-hour game for someone else to get back? I don't see any better way they could handle this.

    Basically I have no idea where you find these people you play with that trail you and intentionally **** up all your games. I suspect you're seeing shadows, because I haven't encountered one bit of any of it.

    However, the bugs it does have suck ass. The retire bug is ridiculous and ends 1/5 non-ladder games I play, and I find it pretty sad that they can go half a year without fixing such a really large issue.
     
  10. Serenya

    Serenya Chieftain

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    I agree with Siran as well. For point A, for instance, I too always select wait, because I'm playing with friends and if one can't stay connected the game is done for the night. So, as he said, just because the OP doesn't use the option is no reason to eliminate it for those of us who do.

    And in general, I read the initial post as a rather incoherent rant, not designed to get the devs to seriously consider it.
     
  11. sirkris

    sirkris Chieftain

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    Perhaps not, but it IS the developers' fault that the multiplayer system crashes at the drop of a hat, ass or otherwise. Besides, virtually every MP game takes "asshats", as you put it, into account and has security measures in place to deal with them. But not only does the game lack any such security measures, but all the existing bugs actually make it easier for "asshats" to ruin a good MP game.

    And no Sirian, I never said you should leave. But if you're so defensive that you can't take some constructive criticism from concerned players (let alone address it), then perhaps you should go to a different thread. :p


    --Kris
     
  12. sirkris

    sirkris Chieftain

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    I know it's popular to attack the messenger, but your underlying thesis that it's just me and that I'm somehow hallucinating or whatever falls apart when you notice that I'm not the only player who has come forward and reported on these issues. Let's just take a few quotes from *this* thread, for example. If that's still not sufficient for you, I'll be happy to go through the forum and put together a nice little montage of player complaints about the exact same points I've outlined here.

    But for now, since I still need to fix breakfast, here are a few other players who are apparently "hallucinating" about the bugs in the multiplayer system:


    ....Or perhaps these players I just quoted are all "shadows" of my imagination, too. :p


    I'll put together a more comprehensive list of player complaints regarding the multiplayer system if you wish to keep spinning it as though I'm just making it all up myself. =)


    --Kris
     
  13. knupp715

    knupp715 King

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    My main issue with MP is the connection issues and bugs. Since I'm a ladder player I don't have to deal with the things that Kris is upset about (Exhibit A-D). I think that those things are just design issues and can be improved in future expansions and maybe even future civ games.

    However the connection problems and bugs shouldn't be fixed in future games. It should be fixed in a patch, after they are discovered...not just ignored...
     
  14. TrailblazingScot

    TrailblazingScot I was kittenOFchaos

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    Civ4 multiplayer isn't unplayable and isn't becoming so, if it was I'd be amongst the first to know with over 500 games to my name and rising.

    Non-ladder players, apart from being really poor at the game generally, don't configure their setup well and have all sorts of issues (typically those with awful pings or poorly configured routers). People playing regularly on the ladder usually iron these things out and unless you're pushing for more than 8 players in a game it goes smoothly.

    The mid-game joiners is another symptom of the issue with crap people, that they can't password their civ or bugger off. On the ladder that can be addressed, if it is just some random, it won't. The reason it is there is that some bright spark had imagined people playnig long games dropping in and out of it as the urge took them. What gets me is the head-mistakes joining games in progress...crazy. Thankfully it has been a while since I've been inflicted with such a case.

    As for diplomacy, on the ladder that never happens and when I've played non-ladder any person who has tried to talk to me I've destroyed so that isn't an issue. All it is there is in teamers to share money and resources, other than that it is a single-player device in my view.


    Essentially the problem isn't with the game, it is with people and by avoiding the ladder you are avoiding the best players of the game both in ability and attitude. Your lookout.
     
  15. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    Why should I stick around? To listen to you expound on your professional credentials? To fend off your jabs about whether or not you've seen me playing Civ4?

    I was met with being told you could care less about my point of view. Then after you say such a thing, you have the gall to claim that as constructive criticism and paint me as weak for walking away. Whatever legitimacy your perspective may hold is being drowned by your indiscretions.


    - Sirian
     
  16. Elledge

    Elledge Chieftain

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    Sirkris, I'm saying specifically that there are not hardly any people out there to intentionally screw up your game through pausing on the diplomacy screen, hotjoining, changing to "settler" difficulty, or holding you hostage on the wait screen.

    Now here are some miscellaneous unrelated quotes which were included in your post following that sentence:

    This is about connection problems and bugs, not what I was talking about.

    Ooooohkay. I wouldn't brag about having this dude on your side.

    Yeah, the bugs, not what I was talking about.

    OK, that's 1.

    Mookie offers a solution to your problems, which is apparently supporting your claim that they make the game unplayable. Wait, no.

    Since this guy doesn't play lobby multiplayer, I'm not sure why you're using him as backup in an argument about your lobby multiplayer problems.

    What's this about? Oh yeah, the bugs again, which is still not the point of my previous post, but maybe if you keep supporting the fact that Civ4 has bugs with ardent quotes I will eventually break into tears and leave.

    That's a fairly decent idea to throw around, but it doesn't really support your point.

    This quote seems to support the idea that Civ4 games last a long time. Wait, what thread was this again?

    Yep, there are bugs.

    So in the absence of any other people at all who report being griefed and harassed through the hotjoining and diplomacy systems (I won't say vote screen, because once a few months ago I did hear about some jackball holding people hostage there), I'm going to continue to conclude that you're either jumping at shadows or at least wildly overestimating the scope of the problem.

    EDIT: And as Mookie and DD and others have said, you're bringing a lot of these problems on yourself by not playing ladder. The ladder exists to bring together non-griefers and people who manage to scrape together good connections; it is its raison d'etre. Playing ladder eliminates complaints A through D, mostly eliminates E and F, and G is something totally unrelated.
     
  17. MookieNJ

    MookieNJ Noob

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    In conclusion, Civ4 Multiplayer has many connection issues, random out of syncs, and other annoying bugs that make the game frustrating at times to play. Hopefully these issues are addressed in a future patch.

    However, if you stick with it, configure your firewall and router properly, and play mostly on the ladder with players who set up their stuff correctly and don't constantly quit games, you can still have a fun and mostly rewarding MP experience!
     
  18. Elledge

    Elledge Chieftain

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    Hey, what are you trying to do, resolve this thread before it degenerates into a drawn-out flamewar? My post was grade A bait! Don't you blow it.
     
  19. sirkris

    sirkris Chieftain

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    Lol nah I usually don't take the bait anyway. =)

    Besides, I believe my analysis can stand on its own merits. And there are many people who agree, whether or not you agree with them yourself.

    I never said that there are people conspiring to follow me around or whatever to ruin games. Nor did I say that the majority of players out there were like that. In fact, a relatively small percentage of games I've played gets hijacked by spammers. And I suppose that, if you don't play a lot of open MP games (if any), such a low percentile would seem insignificant. But when you play as often as I do, in open games where you're free to meet new people and play without a whole subset of complicated rules, even 1 in 10 games being hijacked can be an annoyig nuissance.

    When I started this thread, I had just experienced my 3rd ruined MP game in a single day due to spammers. On the latter 2 I booted up a packet sniffer in the background, and the IP addresses were different (i.e. that means it probably wasn't just the same person).

    Since then I've noticed the frequency go down, and spike up, and go down again, etc. I have no idea what causes such peaks aside from random coincidence though. But when you combine that with the connection issues, with the OOS bugs, with the crash bugs, with the numerous design flaws (i.e. the way the timer works), with the total lack of any sort of security admin safeguards for the host (like IP banning, rejecting specific new joiners, etc), and the developers' apparent self-denial and/or nonchalance about the whole MP issue, the multiplayer aspect of the game becomes a dubious chore at best.

    And so far, the main solutions being offered on this thread revolve around joining a ladder, downloading a separate program (i.e. hamachi), only playing pitboss games, only playing with pre-arranged friends, etc. But the people who suggest that, good as their intentions may be, are simply missing the point. I've met many interesting people by playing open MP games-- most of whom are very skilled and challanging opponents. There are times when I'll host an open game, and virtually everyone who joins is someone who remembers playing an MP game with me (and vice versa) at least once before. These are people who don't join ladders or clans-- they just boot up their Civ and play a good game with some random people. And what's so wrong about that? You can do it with just about every other gamespy-based MP game without nearly the problems you experience in Civ4.

    As for the title of this thread, I acknowledged in the first post that it was a bit extreme. But I had just had 3 games in a row ruined by those very things in the list, let alone several similarly-ruined games in days previous, so I was a bit frustrated to say the least.


    So I guess it simply comes down to this: If you haven't experienced some/any of the problems documented in this thread, consider yourself lucky. And I hope you never do have to put up with that. Nonetheless, these problems do exist. I'm not the first person to have experienced them, nor will I be the last. But at least they're documented now, in some rant-ish form or another. The devs will probably ignore it, or at best respond defensively as Sirian did. But the documentation is here anyway, and I stand by it 100% (as do many others apparently). =)


    --Kris
     
  20. T_Raccoon

    T_Raccoon Warlord

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    we're not talking about how civ 4 has a better multiplayer then Diablo we're talking about the fact that civ 4 multiplayer is broken and needs to be fixed not ignored. Why are you even comparing? Civ 4 mutliplayer is NOT Diablo multiplayer we arent even talking about Diablo either.

    what most people are saying is that there arent that many people who intentionally ruin your game or that there is but that isnt the game developers fault.

    The thing is, it is the game developers problem.

    There are games that allow you to block certain people so you dont have to play with them. Why couldnt this be installed into the game. This isnt about the fact that most of the things Kris says doesnt happen too often its the fact that these things that Kris has presented us with CAN happen. Things that shouldnt be happening too. the game has bugs that need to be fixed as well as some other things.

    Unfortunately if someone like Sirian doesnt understand these facts then Kris you can forget about Firaxis fixing MP for you cause it aint gonna happen.
     

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