When buying a video game, you’d expect to get all the game content all the time, right? Well… maybe not. The gaming industry has shifted from a complete (and singular) game model to more online and multiplayer content — games as a service. Even then, you’d expect that you get to keep what you pay for. That’s… not strictly true.
New Call of Duty title Black Ops 4 seems to be experiencing some issues with South African servers in the Blackout battle royale mode — giving users no choice of playing Solos or Duos.
Right now, South African Blackout players are only able to participate in the Quads mode, which isn’t everyone’s first choice considering you’re playing with complete randos most of the time. This wouldn’t always be a problem, but you might drop in with team-killers or players who just don’t want to cooperate. Picture the frustration when no-one in your Quad wants to land in the same strategic spot on the map, and you end up taking on teams of four on your own. It’s like Solos but everyone else has more firepower than you do.
— Chantelle “Chani” Alexander 🏡 (@Chani_ZA) November 27, 2018
Activision and Treyarch have been silent since the update that left players sans Solos and Duos. And after a bit of digging many realised that this was an isolated problem. Activision finally responded to a Reddit post explaining that they’ve disabled the modes in certain regions due to low player numbers.
The option to play Solos and Duos has been temporarily disabled for some regions to ensure that players are able to have consistently full matches with solid ping. For now as part of the tests, only the featured playlist will be available to play as Treyarch looks for various solutions for Blackout players in these regions.
This lack of players isn’t something we’ve experienced — since the beta, games have been full, with player numbers reaching 90+-player games without a lengthy wait. According to Activision, Treyarch has decided to disable these modes “to ensure that players are able to have consistently full matches with solid ping”.
It seems that the problem is only present in South Africa and South America, and the developers didn’t make a point of informing players until a few weeks in. Studio Design Director of Blackout, David Vonderhaar, replied to a tweet yesterday, explaining how Treyarch is testing out this system to fix lobby issues.
A few regions do not have enough players to support all 3 playlists. You would either (a) never find a game (b) have to start it with a handful of people (c) have so much latency that neither you or the people with you have a good time. We are talking over other options.
— Vahn (@DavidVonderhaar) December 4, 2018
The thing we really appreciate about the Black Ops battle royale attempt is the fact that you’re able to play on local servers, which improves ping and game availability (when you can sync games to the loadshedding schedule). But although players don’t always experience issues, the developers might know something we don’t — and would need to find a fix for a persisting problem.
If game devs knew about this problem, and they are implementing a test to fix that problem, it would’ve been considerate to at least release a public statement. But now you know why you’re being lumped into the Quads section — and we’re hoping for a proper fix soon.