Patching My Head In

I’m not a massive games-player, but having recently built a new PC I was keen to see my new graphics card (a Sapphire Radeon HD 4850) at work.

CoH Patch Download Screen

I loaded Company of Heroes, forgetting that the Company of Heroes – Opposing Fronts installation would overwrite the former. Oh well. Granted, I obviously did not need to load both pieces of software to have a quick game and to see my new 3d card at work, but I did. The only problem is, I have had to apply about 6 patches so far – that means downloading probably in the region of 1GB of data, and each time wait for the download, and then the patch to occur.  As the patch itself obviously has to be done while the software is not running, that also means several restarts of the software.  I simply can not figure out how to run Opposing Fronts without the update applying.

It seems to be a cycle:

  • You can’t not log in to the online server with Opposing Fronts;
  • Patches are required for online play because they change the balancing of various units etc (put simply, they change the e.g. armour effectiveness, or turn-speed of various units, or whatever).

But of course from my perspective, the main issue is that I do not want to play online right now. In fact, I never have with this game.

I see this as quite an unthinking obstacle for the customer.  I recently purchased a PlayStation 3, and have found that to be very similar – and patches come thick and fast as either the Playstation Network software is updated, or the games themselves. It’s quite a frustration overall, especially if you did not aim to play online in the first place.  My colleagues tell me that the PS3 is also particularly slow with it’s patches, compared to say the XBox.

I do understand the need for online players to be forced to work with the same data, but I believe that assuming your customer will want to play online is dumb – especially for those games like CoH where the campaign modes are actually pretty good.

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