A big part of the marketing for the new Call of Duty game has surrounded Headquarters, a new social hub where players are supposed to be able to hang out and customise load-outs together in-between multiplayer matches. The only problem is that they spent most of the weekend vacant.
The up to 48-player space is supposed to represent an Allies encampment after having stormed the beaches of Normandy. Normally, players hanging out in the HQ would be able to watch one another open loot crates or even go play the odd game of Pitfall -- you know, war stuff.
But after Call of Duty: WWII started having major server issues at launch, Sledgehammer Games eventually decided to make HQ default to solo mode. That means while players can manually invite friends to join them in the space, they won't automatically see anyone else after loading it up for themselves.
Imagine walking into an empty bar where there's no one at the counter and the people you expected to meet there have only just texted you "On our way." A social space isn't much of one if it's populated exclusively with the game's AI-controlled characters.
Updates deployed to improve online server experience. Solo HQ is part of the maintenance. FYI - You can invite friends to your HQ.
— Sledgehammer Games (@SHGames) November 4, 2017
Late on the weekend, Sledgehammer Games announced that Solo HQ would be the default experience for players while updates were being pushed out to try and improve server performance.
After that, Activision announced "We're performing server fixes & will be restarting Call of Duty services to improve the quality of connection. Sorry for the inconvenience." While the servers have now recovered according to the company's Support Twitter account, many players have still been reaching out to Activision about the persistence of Solo HQ:
A lot of players appear frustrated in part because some Daily Orders, activities that offer bonus rewards upon completion, actively require you to interact with other players in the HQ to fulfil them. In the absence of the HQ space working as originally intended, players who want to get their rewards for beating someone else in a 1v1 or commending another player will have to invite a friend to join their game or simply forgo them if nobody's around.
HQ was revealed back in June as the game's "dynamic social hub," one where players would be able to practice, sharpen their aim in shooting ranges together, or just take a stroll around and admire the scenery. "Socialise, customise, compete, reward," it was called in the trailer.
Basically it would be what the Tower has become to Destiny players, but so far that hasn't been the experience for a lot of people.
Users on Reddit and the Call of Duty forums have been commiserating over the current state of the HQ and sharing pictures of their existential loneliness to cope while they wait for the service to be full restored.
This video is a good example of what some are experiencing. It's somewhat different looking from the HQ's original trailer.
At this time it's still unclear how many players are affected or if Solo HQ is still the default while Sledgehammer Games continues to tinker around with the servers. While some people have continued to report trouble finding matches in multiplayer, the studio's server updates from earlier in the day appear to have improved things.
When exactly the Headquarters will finally become the bustling WWII party everyone was promised at launch remains to be seen.