With the Summer drawing to a close and the latest release of First Strike out there in people's hands for a few weeks now, it is time for us to take stock, and look back at how this release went. Of course there'll also be quite a bit of eye candy to be had in this article too, taken from heavily populated games post the release of First Strike 1.5, so enjoy.
So just how did things go? Well as seems to be something of a tradition these days with our releases, something went wrong with the parent game literally days before our release date. In this instance it was an issue with the EA Master Server. It seems that GameSpy decided to change the location of their server which deals with several Battlefield games including BF1942, BF2, and of course the one that concerns us the most, BF2142. Now it was thought that this server move would go smoothly causing no issues whatsoever to players of the games concerned. Famous last words, of course this turned out not to be the case and all these games suffered from intermittent connection to the EA Master Server meaning that you'd drop out of play every 5 minutes or so. There were also issues with stats not registering, but that is a minor issue when compared with not being able to enjoy a full round of a game without banging out half a dozen times. Obviously with our release occurring so close to this incident no doubt a lot of players new to First Strike have assumed that the issues they were experiencing with our mod and BF2142 were caused by First Strike, and I can state categorically here that that was not the case. Within a week the problem was fixed, and not long after that everything went pretty much back to normal. Any bugs, crashes and further issues after that point were all ours.
Overall despite these issues the release has been a success, people have stuck with us despite the initial EA Master server bug, and we have been releasing a steady stream of Hotfix updates with the First Strike Launcher through our Auto Updater system. This has allowed us to address several balance issues that came to light on release, and fix a long term problem with the space map Battle of Yavin, on which we shall go into more detail in a later update. In addition we have made a few server side updates that have also fixed a number of issues including getting our persistent stat tracking system operational again. I ask all First Strike server admins to restart their servers if they have not done so already, this will cause your server side version of First Strike to update, and as long as you're running Punkbuster, stats should then start to be recorded by your server.
What has been most pleasurable for me personally to witness on release, has been how theories on how the gameplay would flow on the new maps such as Jundland Wastes have proved to be true once we got large numbers of people playing the thing on servers. In testing there were many naysayers who felt that the Jawa Sandcrawler would be a useless asset due to it's slow speed, and that nobody would want to drive that thing across the map. You can clearly see from the screenshots in this article just how wrong they were. People just love fighting over that thing, and the fact that the mobile one can be captured makes it a dynamic asset that can really turn the tide of the battle. People also felt that the little tank that could, the MLC-3 would be useless in any situation where it saw real action, but that asset also proved its worth with a capable driver at the wheel. The Sentinel also turned out to be just as fun an asset to use and fight over as we expected it to be, so it is great to see lots of people playing these new maps and enjoying the fruits of our labour. Makes all the hard work worthwhile.
So we hope people stick around, enjoy the new maps, and the changes and balance tweaks that have been made to the old, including the inclusion of co-op and singleplayer functionality, again something we'll go into more detail about in a future news post. We'd like you to know that we'll be further tweaking the mod based on player feedback, and in a later update we'll also look at revealing our big plans for our next big release, finally the fabled release of the Battle of Hoth that you've all been waiting for. Until then, see you out there on the Battlefield.