This week, Ubisoft gave Wildlands' Ghost War mode a much-needed update, detailed the future of PvP, and doled out a harsh penalty for quitters.
Ghost Recon: Wildlands' free Ghost War PvP mode arrived in October as a promising tactical multiplayer experience hindered by long load times, ridiculous glitches, and lack of hype. The November 15 update adds a lot of content and balance. In testing the game over the last day, I no longer encountered any of the issues I previously reported on within PvP mode, and all of my matches ran smoothly.
Title Update 10 added character tweaks and much-needed map adjustments. For example, the south spawn point on the Quarry map has been adjusted to make both sides feel balanced in the amount of time it takes to reach mid-map. A portion of the Dust Town map that was too easy to camp and defend has been removed.
There is now a time-out penalty for players who leave mid-match, which is great because it always felt like a high per cent of my random teammates quit. I hated being stuck in a one-versus-four situation because my teammates left as soon as they were killed.
I wanted to test how strict the time-out would be, so I totally ditched my teammates mid-match. At first, nothing happened. I was disappointed when I loaded into a new match free of any punishment. I decided to leave again and take a break. It wasn't until after I returned to Wildlands that I realised I had a two hour and 15 minute penalty timer before I could search for a new Ghost War match. Turns out the game had hit me with a savage four-hour penalty that counted down while I was off the game. I'll never leave my random squadmates again!
Players have complained that a four-hour cooldown period after rage-quitting is too severe. Ubisoft said the time limit was correct, but that it had partially bungled the rollout: On its forum, it said the penalty should only have affected players who quit three matches in a 24-hour period. There was also supposed to be a warning pop-up about the quitting penalty, but I only quit two matches, never received a pop-up, and was still banned for four hours.
Ubisoft has issued a more relaxed penalty for players quitting five times in a 12-hour period, and the overall penalty system will be adjusted in the next update. My matches have stayed pretty full, so it looks like the punishment for quitters either encouraged players to stay, or angered them enough to never return.
In addition to the balances and quitting penalty, the Ghost War update brought a lot of new content.
Uplink is the new game mode, but it's nothing like the Call of Duty mode of the same name. Ghost War's version requires two teams to fight for and hack an access point on the map. Hacking the access point will grant your team an instant victory. This objective doesn't seem to increase the pace of the game as I'd hoped. Uplink will add some variety, but whether or not you play for the objective or still treat it like a simple team deathmatch depends on your teammates. I hope we see a more interesting mode in a future update, perhaps something like a Search and Destroy bomb-planting objective, or a battle royale mode.
Ghost War now has several new maps in rotation. Uplink has four specific maps: Warehouse, Oil Rush, Burnout and Sub Factory. The standard team deathmatch mode has Cartel Depot and Farm Town. I'm disappointed we still didn't get a snow map, but the maps are all decent.
Disruptor is the new Assault subclass, and it seems to be a pretty popular choice because you can completely jam nearby enemy HUDs. It works pretty much like the jammer enemies in the Fallen Ghosts campaign DLC. Unfortunately, the Disruptor was locked, even though it should have been available with my season pass, so I wasn't able to test out the subclass. The Disruptor will be available to unlock with a prestige token after the one week early access for season pass or Fallen Ghost DLC owners.
Finally, Ubisoft has also detailed a roadmap for future PvP updates coming to Ghost War. The November update was just the first of six monthly updates that will continue adding improvements, more maps, modes and subclasses. This future content includes the addition of ranked play, which I think suits the competitive nature of the no-respawn tactical team deathmatch.
Since the severe penalty timer is adjusted and we have more transparency on the issue, I think players should be pretty pleased with the overall update, despite the blandness of Uplink.