Gears of War is a lot of fun in multiplayer. Except when you're in Australia and it keeps connecting you to a match hosted overseas. So is Epic changing up its matchmaking options for Gears of War 3?
Speaking to Games.on.net, Epic's Cliff Bleszinski says it's tough to balance the needs of a global gaming community.
"There's many ways you can go about it and we're still working on it through all of our title updates," he says.
"Right now you have the situation where you have Americans who get pissed off that they're playing with people from the UK, or even Mexico. They're like 'F!%k, it's laggy' even though they may only have a 75ms ping, but they're like 'F&*k I'm playing with English guys again.' Whereas if we dial that back so that only Americans are playing with Americans, or UK with UK, there's only so big a pool.
And when it comes to Australians versus Australians, that pool shrinks even further.
"So in Australia, Gears does fairly well there," says Bleszinski, "but when you have people who play Gears, and play online, and play in Australia, we have a subset of a subset of a subset. So at any given date you may not be able to find anybody to play with. So they're screwed. So then you want to have a pool with the Americans.
"But there is a lot of back and forth, we're still tweaking it, we don't have a silver bullet yet but I can assure you we're still looking at it."
He's right. Gears does fairly well here, but Australia is still a very small market. The number of local Gears players looking for a match at a specific time is still pretty small. Local filtering works better in games like Call of Duty 4, Modern Warfare 2 and Halo 3 because those games sell a lot more copies in Australia than any other online shooter, Gears included.
Here's a suggestion though, Cliff, since you're still tweaking it: ask Microsoft to setup a dedicated local server for Gears of War 3.
Interview: 30 intimate minutes with Cliff Bleszinski [Games.on.net]