I recently broke news on a PC community member’s podcast that Modern Warfare 2 would be introducing a completely new backend infastructure called IWNET that would allow matchmaking for multiplayer games on PC. The news, by default, means no more browsing through a Server List for a server with the settings / ping you want among other things, and sent shockwaves through the hardcore PC community, leading to many more questions than answers as to ‘HOW’ this would work, and if it would really be better for the PC community as a whole.
Questions, assumptions, and speculation I intend to dispel.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is actually the biggest investment Infinity Ward has ever made into the PC version of our games. It’s also the most feature-rich PC version we’ve ever made. IWNET takes the benefits of dedicated servers and allows them to be utilized and accessed by every player, out of the box, while removing the barrier to entry for players unaware of how to maintain a server on their own.
How does it do this?
Matchmaking & Smoother Gameplay: When you want to player a multiplayer game on PC, in the past. You’d have to scroll through a Server Browser which listed every available server which was hosted by individual server admins. Each had their own private rules, mods, or ways of playing the game. Most players would also use the server browser to find just the best quality game (based on PING). With IWNET matchmaking, it takes all that into account for you. All you have to do is select the playlist (pre-set gametypes with custom rules) that fits the style of play you are in the mood for. When you do, it will automatically find you a game with the best performance, ping, and preferences based on your location and individual connection as well as matching you with players of your same SKILL. So you’re always guaranteed the best game performance for where you are and what connection you’re playing on as well as an equal game with other players of your same skill level, not rank, but skill level. It doesn’t mean you’ll just be thrown into a random game! It will put you in the game that will give you the smoothest gameplay possible without you having to manually find a server with the best ping.
Playlists and Private Matches: As I described above, Playlists are pre-set game modes and gametypes for public games. If you just want to jump into a public game of Search and Destroy or Hardcore Search and Destroy and you don’t care about fully customizing it, then you can utilize playlists to do that quickly for you. However, say you’re in a clan and you want to play a Clan match with another team, or you want to practice for an upcoming tournament that has specific rules in a private game. Then you can start a Private Match (which is essentially like running your own private server) where you have complete control over the rules, who can join, boot players you don’t want, and essentially control the entire game or tweak it to your liking. Once the rules are set, you can invite the other team in or just start it up with your clan to practice with the custom rules before the match. This now allows you to play custom games out of the box without the need to install mods, find a modded server with the rules you like, or worry about not being in control of the match.
Party System and Friendslist: Modern Warfare 2 on PC also makes it much easier if you want to party up with your friends, or again, with your clan for a match. You can utilize the friendslist to see when your friends are online, and invite them to your Party. A Party allows you to move from game to game as a group. It’s great for clan matches, because you can party of with your clan and move from public game to public game together. Or if you’re doing a scrim, party up and invite the other clan (who is in a party) and they’ll all join at once. Set up a private match together and play. It makes setting up scrims or games with friends easier and hassle free.
Cheat / Hack Free Games: The biggest benefit of using IWnet by far is the fact that you don’t have to worry about joining a server full of aim-bots, wallhacks, or cheaters. Or relying on the server admin of the server to constantly be monitoring, banning, and policing it. Modern Warfare 2 on PC allows us to control the quality of the game much more than ever before as well as utilizing the VAC (Valve-Anti-Cheat) system to keep games clean of hackers and cheaters.
All in all, IWNET adds a load of new features that the PC version of our games have never had before and allows us an infrastructure to continue to update and improve on the game post-launch.