Respawn had several options when they realised that PC Titanfall players weren't playing much Capture The Flag or Pilot Hunter, leading to long wait times. They could have rebalanced the gameplay, perhaps, to make things more engaging. They could have released some quirky mode-specific burn cards to tempt us onto the playlists. They could have let us browse server lists on the PC version.
However, they eventually decided on Order 66: cutting both playlists altogether unless you want to take your chances in Variety Pack mode. I'm still seriously enjoying Titanfall and its new DLC pack -- you can read my Titanfall Expedition review here -- but it's time for some tough love.
“We have an amazing and large PC audience with the vast majority of users predominantly playing Attrition and Hardpoints game modes,” reads a new post on Respawn's blog. “CTF and Pilot Hunter have not been widely used modes on the PC version, so players trying to access these modes had overlong wait times to find other users and it was making for a poor experience.
“We want to make sure that not only is there compelling content in the playlists we offer, but that the experience of joining a match works well. We’re tracking what playlists players are choosing, and we’re going to continue to look at unpopular playlists and add new ones on both platforms.”
Which means that Pilot Hunter and CTF are now no longer supported as playlists. At all. Unless you happen to chance upon them in variety pack.
Now, in fairness, Pilot Hunter and CTF are the least popular modes in Titanfall. Capture The Flag can be fun but doesn't fit the canon or setting in any way -- plus, the fact that Titans can directly pick up flags is a bit silly, even though it was fixed 24 hours before the playlist cull! -- while Pilot Hunter is seen by many as a pointless derivative of Attrition. I disagree on the last count (personally I enjoy the more aggressive gameplay that Pilot Hunter encourages over vanilla Attrition these days), but Respawn have the metrics and the player counts are clearly tanking on PC. As such, funnelling players onto more populated playlists might make sense on paper.
But the game has only been out for a couple of months! We shouldn't be losing playlists this early... especially when Titanfall needs all the modes it can get! The paucity of gametypes was my major criticism at launch and the situation hasn't improved despite the excellent Expedition DLC pack. Cutting playlists now is UNACCEPTABLE, whatever the reason.
Oh, and why can't CTF/Pilot Hunter players be matchmade with Variety Pack players for the duration of a single match? Seems like that shouldn't be too difficult with all that 'cloud power' knocking around.
The Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions remain unaffected.
Respawn are apparetly working on some gameplay tweaks to both modes, along with some new ones. Hopefully we'll see some fresh gametypes very soon. Tomorrow's Top Ten Tuesday will likely focus on a Titanfall wishlist, so let us know what you'd like to see from Titanfall in the comments!