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Titanfall cuts out two PC playlists... for our own good?!

Jonathan Lester
EA, multiplayer, PC games, Respawn Entertainment

Titanfall cuts out two PC playlists... for our own good?!


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!

Add a comment11 comments
KingTitan  May. 19, 2014 at 12:12

Apart from the obvious (More game modes, weapons, better customisation options, etc) here are a few things I'd like to see:

- Quicker matchmaking/jumping into games/less "Connecting" when moving between menus
- Ability to hack/hijack enemy titans
- More campaign levels to create a bit of context to the matches
- Perk that allows you to tame some of the indigenous beasts to fight for you
- "Capture the Titan" mode

Late  May. 19, 2014 at 12:19

That's worrying!
As you say, we need more modes - not less.
I appreciate it's going to be frustrating to be sat in a lobby for a long while waiting for a game, but I'd rather that than have the option taken away from me.

I'm a hardpoint player, but I like to dip into the other game modes from time to time. I'd only played one game of CTF before this weekend - and didn't much like it. But yesterday I played five or six games and enjoyed it a lot. It was no Hardpoint, but it's definitely my second favourite now.

I'm not a fan of Pilot Hunter, and have only played it a couple of times. But who knows - perhaps I'll end up enjoying it lots in time.

I'd hate to think they might remove a game mode just because it's historically not so popular. People might get into it. And even if it's not one of your favourite game modes you might pop in just to have a change once in a while.

Choice and variety are good. Give us more. Not less.

JonLester  May. 19, 2014 at 12:26

@KingTitan: Those are some awesome suggestions! Got a few of those down already (especially your first point, which is high up the top ten) but will definitely credit you for "Perk that allows you to tame some of the indigenous beasts to fight for you" and "Capture the Titan" mode" at the very least in the article.

The same goes for anyone else - I'll directly credit and link if this sort of thing ends up in the article.

@Late: Right? If Titanfall already had dozens of game modes and a couple got cut, that'd be fine. It happens all the time, indeed, many major multiplayer games cycle them to keep things fresh. But it's WAY too soon for this, especially since CTF received a major patch (no Titan captures) less than 24 hours before the playlist was removed!

Also, the Expedition maps are fantastic in CTF. WarGames especially.

Last edited by JonLester, May. 19, 2014 at 12:51
Tsung  May. 19, 2014 at 13:02

A simple update would of sufficed.. Next to each game mode the number of players currently playing it. The only plausible reason not to do it is because the numbers really are not that great (for all game modes).

CTF needed one tweak, remove the ability satchel charge the flag rooms/ area. That one tactic was lame and made the game rather boring.

Why is there no "Hard Point" option on the New maps?. I have the choice of Attrition and Variety, has anyone played Hard point on the new maps (via Variety) or is it missing entirely? I'm starting to suspect it is; I played them for a good couple of hours over the weekend never got hard point in rotation.

Talking of new maps, Swamps and the VR one are both great maps. That 3rd one, omg. boring as hell. I ended up playing Pilot hunter on it and spend 15mins running around trying to find the other players. That 3rd map feels soul-less.

Also what have they done to Match Making? I was in a party with 2 friends, it took 10 mins to find a match. We played, then the game decided to rematch the two teams, so then we end up waiting another 10 to 15 mins for the next game. Really really broken.

I love playing Titanfall when I can play the game, but seem to spend more time in the lobby than in the game nowadays.

Last edited by Tsung, May. 19, 2014 at 13:05
Tsung  May. 19, 2014 at 13:04

Double post

Last edited by Tsung, May. 19, 2014 at 13:05
JonLester  May. 19, 2014 at 13:16

@Tsung: It's rather worrying that Titanfall's matchmaking seems to gotten worse and lengthier since launch, both on Xbox One and PC.

On the subject of Runoff: I also found it to be visually tedious and rather lacklustre at first, but after extended play, I found myself loving the new opportunities for sniping, DMRs and the Charge Rifle. My advice would be to give it a chance and get as vertical as possible, it'll grow on you. Still nowhere near as great as WarGames and Swamplands though.

(it's all in the Expedition review, FYI)

Last edited by JonLester, May. 19, 2014 at 13:21
Late  May. 19, 2014 at 13:24

@ Tsung
Bearing in mind I've only played on xbox One...
On the first day there was only an option for Variety, on the new maps. On the second day the option for Expedition Attrition was added. I've seen no option for Expedition Hardpoint.
I'm hoping it gets added. Soon.

I've played about 20 games of Expedition Variety, and have never once got Hardpoint. I've had mainly CTF and LTS, with the occasional PH thrown in. Can't recall if I got attrition in there, too.

I did, however, get one game of Hardpoint on the War Games map via the normal Hardpoint matchmaking.
I probably played about 20-30 games of Hardpoint over the weekend, and that's the only time I've seen an Expedition map come up in there. I've no idea if it was a glitch, or if the new maps only get included in the roster if all 12 players in the lobby have bought the DLC, or whether they're supposed to come up regularly but I was just very unlucky.

Suffice to say, that one match was good fun. (Hardpoints A & C being pretty much where the flags are in CTF, and Hardpoint B being in the middle of the map, in an area the titan can claim - but it's in a tight corridor.)

As regards the new maps, I love War Games. Probably my favourite map in the full game, even though it's not ideal for my playing style on hardpoint (I favour maps where you can get titans into two of the hardpoints, like Outpost 207 and Nexus).
I also like the Sewer one - probably more than I like the Swamp one.
Horses for courses, eh!

Last edited by Late, May. 19, 2014 at 13:25
wqasf  May. 19, 2014 at 15:09

Respawn aren't developers. They're the video game equivalent of McDonalds employees. They are a stupid, uninspired, and lazy group of people.

Late  May. 19, 2014 at 15:41

The group who came up with COD 4: Modern Warfare and Titanfall - two of the most loved and highly acclaimed games of the last decade - are stupid, uninspired, and lazy?


stevenjameshyde  May. 19, 2014 at 15:57

Titanfall one of the most loved and highly acclaimed games of the last decade? That's a bit of a stretch, surely?

Late  May. 19, 2014 at 16:34

Maybe a tad.
I think most folk agree it's great fun with fantastic level design, and would probably put it in or around the top ten percent mark.
It'd definitely be in the top few percent for me.

I definitely wouldn't say either title was stupid, uninspired, or lazy, by any stretch, though. Certainly the COD titles after MW can be accused of that, but MW and Titanfall both set themselves apart from their stablemates.
Both can trace their origins to some degree from earlier games, but there's very few games out there that can't do that (and those that can are usually little-known indie games).

I wonder whether "wqasf" has actually played either, or is a fan of online FPS games.

Last edited by Late, May. 19, 2014 at 16:37

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