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UT2004's devastated community and UT2007's future

Discussion in 'Unreal Tournament 3' started by raveno, Jul 10, 2005.

  1. raveno

    raveno New Member

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    Today I was at the atari forums and I read this rather disturbing thread entitled "Decline in UT Community". In it was revealed that Epic changed the code in UT2003 and UT2004 to boost UT2004 player numbers with bots and that Gamespy willingly publishes these player numbers to make it look like UT2004 is a popular game when it actually has very few players. Even quake 3 has a lot more players and I consider its numbers pretty low.

    Now I'm a bit pissed off because I just bought this game for my nephew and a copy for myself because I thought this game had a large following according to www.gamespy.com, but that is a total lie. Apparently www.csports.net carries the real player numbers for this game and my goodness they are low!

    After many days of playing I found out that for the most part I was playing against bots online and I feel a bit stupid. Also the servers in many cases seem empty. I was going to register at the atari forums and voice my displeasure but they seemed to have removed the thread but luckily I read most of my stuff offline so I was able to make a copy of the thread. It is attached to this post if you want to read it. Why would a company change their code to fool customers that their game has a large following when nothing could be further from the truth?

    This is really upsetting because I would have chosen Battlefield 2 instead. I want a online game so I can play against real players not bots. Is UT2007 going to be publishing false player numbers as well? Next time I will check out credible statistic sites before I buy an online game :(
     

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  2. Brood

    Brood Developer

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    You came in a bit late, I think you will find that most people enjoy numerous mods rather than the vanilla game.
     
  3. T2A`

    T2A` I'm dead.

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    Do you have any actual proof Epic's code counts bots or are you just believing what you read from one guy on the Intarweb? :rolleyes:

    The game is still fun. The only difference is you have to work to become part of a community, and since you posted here, you might as well stick around. There's more to the game than just opening the server browser and poking around. Post on forums, hit up IRC, join a clan... You'll find games to play.

    Does the game have crap player numbers for what it has to offer for a hell of a lot of reasons? Sure. Should that affect whether or not you play it? No; only the fact of whether or not you enjoy the game should. Besides, pubs generally suck in this game anyway. You're better off not looking for random servers to play on and sticking to a community.

    Check out nightstormer's post on the second page of that stuff you posted. He pretty much hit the nail on the head as to why the player numbers are low, though I'd also add that mods do nothing but separate the community even more. Example: Pub CTF is almost non-existent. Pub ultra-mega-headshot-instagib CTF is quite popular (comparatively speaking).
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2005
  4. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Wandering spirit

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    Obviously to fool people into buying the game.

    Sorry, but the amount of players online isn't that much of a priority to me; I care more for what the game has to offer, and in this case I think that's pretty much. The main problem with the player numbers is that they are spread out over different gametypes, so some gametypes have almost never have anyone online. :hmm:
     
  5. Wowbagger

    Wowbagger Curing the infection...

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    IMHO UT2004 is the best MP FPS ever made and all the reviews at the launch gave UT2004 very high scores (i didnt read ONE bad review)

    But it IS dead and it died way too early. :(

    Why? i have no idea.
    Sure the game is still fun but when i cant find ONE good CTF server with the retail maps running and NO idiotic mods, its not fun anymore. (hell, even the official servers run CTF-FaceClassic ONLY)

    I want to play UT2004 with people online not offline with bots.

    Epic delivered, maybe it was us the community who killed it?
     
  6. Selerox

    Selerox COR AD COR LOQVITVR

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    Not dead, asleep...

    The players. Whiny, arrogant players who rather than play the game, simply talk about it. They created a self-fulfiling prophecy by telling themselves the game had "died", even when thousands of people wre playing it, and guess what? Thousands of people started believing it too. So the number is players started to drop. When that happens, it's a one way street.

    I'd also blame Epic for strangling the UT200x series at birth by making a game that quite frankly wasn't UT. UT2003 had elements of UT, but it was an entirely new game. Guess what? No-one wanted that. They wanted UT, with a few tweaks and new graphics/maps. We didn't get it. We got a mess. A mess that took a whole new game to fix.

    Will UT2007 inject life into the series? Yes, I've got no doubt about that. Most people are starting to go into the "holding pattern" that they did at the end of UT99. People are waiting for the new game, but people are still playing the game.

    As for CSports.net? I don't trust their figures at all, and never have done. I don't trust Gamespy's either tbh.
     
  7. shadow_dragon

    shadow_dragon is ironing his panties!

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    About once a month somone drops in here were udneniable proof that UT is dead and mentioning something about bots being counted as players. (as if it's a conspiracy) and everytime they manage to mention that Quake3 is still doing well. It reminds me far too much of the old petty flame wars that used to go on between Q3 and UT.
     
  8. Zur

    Zur surrealistic mad cow

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    Gamespy is commercial through and through to the point where they alienated Mac players with their game protocol. I don't trust them.
     
  9. naliking

    naliking New Member

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    Bah. I've said it countless times. UT2004 player numbers are completely made up and not even remotely close to what Gamespy posts.

    Many of us were around when Epic made a "code change" in UT2003 after a patch (which was never mentioned in the patch ;) ), in order to count bots as players and who knows what else, soley for the purpose of giving the appearance that the game was popular when the game was pratically dead. UT2004 numbers are so low you can count the players by hand in minutes, but of course www.gamespy.com reports that UT2004 is the 4th most played online first person shooter game. We all know that is nonsense. UT2004 actually ranks around 16th position :D . www.csports.net seems pretty precise since they now try to filter bots and other methods of cheating the stats system.

    What is bothersome is that there seems to be a willful attempt to deceive players and the community (and most games do not do that intentionally), and Gamespy of course goes along with it.

    Tampering with online numbers and creating bogus player counts to generate publicity and sales can actually be considered illegal in some countries, because it is fraud. Anytime you see magazines or websites quoting Gamespy figures saying UT2004 is a top game, that is actually fraudulent advertising.

    What is funny is that members of the UT community, and a lot of server admins have asked Epic to stop doing this cheating ever since UT2003 and many probably abandoned the game since this nonsense continues and will probably continue in Unreal Tournament 2007 . Fanboys that know the truth keep saying online numbers don't matter but apparently Epic thinks so :D

    As pointed out in the Atari comments thread (the zip file you attached to your post) UT99 is the only successful game in terms of popularity that Epic have made. All the sequels were either cheesy or just a ripoff of community mods/maps and games like Battlefield 1942, Quake (if we consider UT2003), and Planetside which Onslaught is based directly on :D

    In fairness to Epic, it was Digital Extremes that started the destruction of the Unreal Series with UT2003 but Epic continued the trend in UT2004 :)

    Let's see if they get it right with UT2007 and if the game can stand on its own merit rather than creating false statistics to influence players and Game magazines and reviewers. If not there is always Enemy Territory:Quake Wars .
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2005
  10. Discord

    Discord surveying the wreckage...

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    Meh. It's still the 14th most popular online FPS in the world with 273,000 players this month, even according to CSports. It's not ubiquitous like CS, but I dunno that I'd call this community "devastated." I never have a problem finding a game, although sometimes I do have to wait a bit to get into a "good" NA CTF server.

    The upside is that you end up recognizing a lot of the people you play with... that's fun.

    Besides, most of the highly- populated games use ping limitation... sure, there are 1,000,000+ players, but the number of servers you can actually get into is a good bit less.

    I have bots filtered out of my serverbrowser, so it's pretty rare that I run into them... if I do, I usually change servers. And I still get games when I want them.

    UT != dead.

    But yeah, it's true that Gamespy stats count bots as players, and it's true that Epic is complicit in that. That sucks, I really wish they wouldn't do that.
     
  11. hal

    hal Dictator Staff Member

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    I can't believe that thread got deleted (I actually posted in it).

    The bottom line is that, yes, bots do appear to be counted in the server browser totals. This is nothing new as it has been happening since UT2003. It IS harder to find a good pub game than it used to be. Player numbers ARE dwindling. No one will deny any of that.

    What does bother me, though, is the notion that the game is a disaster or that the community is devastated. Combine the UT players with the UT2004 players from Csports and you get numbers comparable to the Quake community, and solidly in the top 10. What we have is a pretty evenly divided group of players that are split on the gameplay that they prefer. That, to me, is the main disappointment.

    One thing that people keep saying - and the naysayers keep ignoring - is that the type of game that has dominated the Gamespy/Csports lists for the last few years has changed. Action FPS are no longer the darlings of the consumer and military/tactical shooters have taken its place. You cannot dismiss that!

    For the type of game that UT2004 is, and considering that it had to shake the bad rep that some assigned to UT2003, I'd say that one year later... it's holding its own. Those are not bad numbers. Sure, I'd like to see them higher, but I have no doubt that come UT2007... they will be.

    Devastated? No. Disaster? No. Dissappointing in that the UT and UT200x players weren't able to unite into one strong community instead of two evenly divided ones? Yes. Of course, the exact same thing has happened to the CS community but, fortunately for them, their player numbers are enormous. I'd say look for the same thing to happen when Quake 4 comes out.
     
  12. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    Ugh.....naliking, it would help if you had ANY facts to back your statements up.

    UT2003 ALWAYS COUNTED BOTS AS PLAYERS. This was never denied and was always undeniable.

    UT2004 DOES NOT. The ONLY time bots are counted as players in UT2004 is when bots are ACTUALLY PLAYING. That means if you join an empty server and then 10 bots join behind you, those 10 bots will count. However, as long as the server remains empty, the bots ARE NOT COUNTED. This is how UT2004 has worked from the beginning and was a massive change over how UT2003 worked.

    So in essence, the OP got it backwards. There was a code change in UT2004 to fix the problem with UT2003 where bots were ALWAYS reported to the master server player counts. That no longer happens.
     
  13. Discord

    Discord surveying the wreckage...

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    That's better than it was, but it still ought to be never IMO.

    Topics guaranteed locked or deleted at INA (and they've really been into deletion lately):

    1. OMG WHERE'S TEH STATS?!!
    2. UTComp (any)
    3. ONS vs TDM
    4. Instagib vs Weapons
    5. Low online numbers for UT2k4

    I'm surprised that one lasted as long as it did. I didn't post in it because it's been done to death over there.

    That's a common assertion. Plenty of truth in it, too.

    Others like to point at the learning curve. Still other people point to hardware requirements, although you can run UT2k4 on a reasonably old machine these days. Another scapegoat is the multiplicity of gametypes (ie, since there are so many, each one ends up underpopulated individually... thereby causing reactions like threadstarter had).

    I like to point out that a lot of the players, especially in the classic gamemodes, have been playing UT for a godzillion years by now. They know what all the weapons do, they know the maps, they know how to tweak for performance, they know how to configure UT's umpteen little control details, and they're ready to rock on day one. That makes it really hard for a new gamer or even an old gamer who's new to UT to get into the action and have fun... which is why I say thank freakin' God for ONS... a lot of the vets won't touch it with a 10- foot pole, which helps make it comfortable for newbs.

    And plus, the market has changed a lot since '98. And the Epic boys are getting older. :p


    You can go over and over this stuff until you're blue in the face, it won't really do much for you. I like the game, I play the game, it's that simple. Some people (apparently a lot of people, lol) don't. So?
     
  14. Zur

    Zur surrealistic mad cow

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    The world is dying, can't you tell ? What are you doing sitting on your arse playing a video game then ;) ?
     
  15. naliking

    naliking New Member

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    The fact that they would delete that thread rather than lock it speaks volumes! ;) . You will notice that Epic has never commented on this issue.

    Here is where the stupidity of fabricating player numbers lies in this case. Both Epic and Gamespy has sacrificed their credibility and integrity for minimal gain in terms of real world player numbers. This means that while a certain amount of people like raveno may have been fooled into purchasing the game under a false premise, the real player numbers shows that it has not yielded significant gains in attracting more players online.

    It will no doubt fool magazines and magazine reviewers who will automatically give UT2007 rave reviews and great scores. Look at the great scores UT2003 and UT2004 received and it turns out neither game has longevity and both failed to appeal to a large audience.

    I don't think you can combine the UT2004/UT2003 community with the UT99 community to claim the Unreal Community as a whole manages to make the top 10. Other games are holding their own as separate entities from their predecessors. Clearly the UT99 community is a different beast which rejects most things that have do with what many claim are flawed sequels :D .

    You cannot blame tactical military shooters for Unreal franchise's decline. UT2003 is what almost killed the franchise within a blink of an eye. UT2003 was one of the most if not most downloaded demo in game history at that time and within 2 months the Unreal franchise came crashing down. A well done sci-fi game has not been made recently to compete with the polish of some of these military shooters. I'm willing to bet Enemy Territory: Quake Wars or some upcoming sci-fi game will prove you wrong.

    Quake 4, I don't have much hope for as far as online gaming but Quake Wars holds a lot more promise judging from the trailer.

    I just hope Epic is not spending the bulk of UT2007 development creating a method to create ghost A.I players that have pings in order to fabricate fictional player numbers. :p
     
  16. naliking

    naliking New Member

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    UT99 had bots but never counted them as players online. UT2003 started counting them after UT2003 demo was released and it was immediately noticed by server admins after a patch to the retail version. When this was taking place there were a few threads at the atari forums about it.

    EPIC had been asked numerous times and never denied making a change to count bots in UT2003 and in fact always ignored any post about it, and finally in UT2004 when it was getting out of hand they changed the code to make it not as noticeable by only counting bots when someone joins an empty server (but when that person leaves do the bots leave the game in progress when the server becomes empty? :D) .

    Only a blind fanboy would fail to recognize that bots (and maybe counting demo players) makes up almost all UT2004 player numbers reported on Gamespy. Search my post history as I have explained this to you before!

    Let's do some basic math. If you have 1000 servers and each of them have one real player and 6 bots, Gamespy will report 7000 players when in fact there are only 1000 players. You are so blind with your fanboy mentality that you will do anything to defend anything remotely Unreal related, even the unethical fabrication of player numbers. :)
     
  17. Sir_Brizz

    Sir_Brizz Administrator Staff Member

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    UT2003 always counted them. That is a well known fact by all of the UT community. There was no patch or any other crap involved, bots WERE ALWAYS COUNTED.
    That's because they never did make a change. UT2003 always counted bots. UT2004 is fine as a fix. 90% of the servers that have bots in them ARE ALWAYS EMPTY. The bots coninue to be counted until the current game ends, and then they are not counted anymore. Even by OVERESTIMATING the number of bots, it can't be that more than 50% of the players that are reported arebots. Even by that EXTREME overexaggeration, there are ALOT of UT players.
    I know you have, with similar results. You have ZERO facts, and the only thing you can come up woth to back you up is CSports.net, which almost all of the community of every game CSports reports DO NOT AGREE WITH THE PLAYER NUMBERS. Wtg :tup: I guess? :con:
    That's right. Although it's an extreme overecaggeration of what is actually happening, because IF THOSE 1000 SERVER REMAINED EMPTY, GAMESPY WOULD REPORT ZERO PLAYERS. How many people do you know that stick around on "bot" servers for more than 5 seconds by themselves? I'd like to know how much time you spend in game period, because the way you talk is as if you've never even run the executable.
     
  18. klasnic

    klasnic ra ra rat Putin!

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    Very interesting read, you guys. I personally don't believe for a mo that this community is dead or indeed that 2k4 isn't a popular game. I do, however have one theory as to why the UT community has become so diverse... MSU. Do any of you have any thoughts on it and UT's modding community? Has it had as much a negative impact as a positive one?

    I think MSU brought in a whole lot of ppl to the UT scene who were never really part of it, were never really UT fans. How many mods rather than building on what was good about 2k4 and improving upon it actually turned it into a completely different game? All these realism mods (and incidentally I do play a few) turned something Unreal into realism.

    If I wanted that I'd go buy a realism game. I don't. The reason most mods flopped online imo is there was nothing unreal about them.

    Successful ones like JB, Chaos, CloneBandits... They all built on 2k4 and made it just as much or even more fun. The realism ones and there are so many may be very polished and some are very good but still there's nothing unreal about them.

    Is it possible a lot of community ppl actually went different ways because very little 'unreal' stuff was made. The community needs good talented ppl to develop stuff that players actually want and will use. Imho the community became too diverse because of MSU, because there were too many different things to choose from when all I personally want is an Unreal game :)
     
  19. naliking

    naliking New Member

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    Bots were not counted in the original UT2003 demo. Use some logic man. You don't even have to have been a server admin to figure this out. Why would Epic need to start counting bots when UT99 was a success and had tons of players. They even stated that they thought that UT2003 would do HUGE numbers online. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for them to start counting bots as early as the UT2003 demo. They thought UT2003 would be ****ing HUGE. They thought it would be the Counter-Strike Killer. They had no clue :D

    Now imagine the shock when player numbers for the demo and retail version of UT2003 tanked and people started fleeing from the game as if they were doused with gasoline and set on fire. :)

    Even if you believe they enabled bots before the patch, they would have done it in response to people's reaction to the demo, and if we make an even bigger leap, one could argue perhaps they were planning this deception from the reaction people had to the UT2003 leaked BETA.

    You claim I exaggerate the effect bots (and perhaps demo players) have on the amount of UT2004 player numbers, but as I have pointed out countless times before, I have in the past actually counted players by hand and my numbers come close to matching www.csports.net numbers. Also consider the fact that ONS often has tons more bots online than actual players. So you might have 4 players and 12 bots. Now if there are 1000 ONS servers that would yield 4000 + 12000 bots - LOL! Which would mean Gamespy would show 16,000 players for ONS when there are actually only 4000 players :p
     
  20. T2A`

    T2A` I'm dead.

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    It's just another reason to add to the large list, I believe. There were already enough gametypes upon release. Ten gametypes is nothing to shake a stick at, and then someone found out about VCTF in addition to those ten. None of the mods are really all that accepted and played too much, but you're right that now there are who knows how many gametypes compared to the original 11. The real purpose behind MSU, IMO, was for Epic to find some people to hire.
     

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