When Modders Strike Back and What They Could Mean for Modern Warfare 3

Dedicated servers,” decreed Robert Bowling, “but not for ranked games.”

And our shoulders collectively slumped.

When Infinity Ward Creative Strategist Bowling told us at E3 2011 that dedicated servers for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 were a possibility, we were optimistic. When we later heard they were a for real, confirmed thing, we were elated. And then we heard that Infinity Ward would be controlling which servers would be able to host ranked games for MW3 players — and dedicated servers were not on that list. The triumph of Infinity Ward paying attention to its PC fanbase was marred by yet another barrier against PC gamers.

Barriers don’t generally hold back committed modders, though — just ask the creators of alterIWnet.com, a modding site made up of dedicated servers (and a lot of other stuff) for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Even though Infinity Ward might tell us dedicated servers can’t be used to play ranked matches, that doesn’t mean someone won’t find a workaround.

In fact, we’ve compiled a few examples of some pretty intense modding communities and the lengths they’ve gone to in order to mod a game into submission. This happens all the time, though, so feel free to leave your favorite examples of communities running amok in game code in the comments.

Temple of Elemental Evil Gets Saved by Modders

Dungeons & Dragons title The Temple of Elemental Evil came out in 2003. When it landed on shelves everywhere, it was nigh unplayable. Gangs of gamebreaking bugs ran roughshod throughout the title, causing all manner of stability issues. While the game was one of the more faithful recreations of D&D in digital form at the time, it was a bit of a mess when it was released.

And it seemed near the time of its release that ToEE may be destined to suck forever. Publisher Atari yanked the plug on developer Troika, and as the studio was violently sucked down the drain of obscurity, so too were the chances for any official patches and support from the game’s creators.

But it’s hard to let a good D&D game just slip through the cracks, it seems, because ToEE still has a robust community of players. It was the modding community that stepped up to save the title, fixing the bugs itself. One modding group, Circle of Eight, spearheaded cleaning up the game and eventually even began offering expansion content for it — all of which is available at www.co8.org. The amount of work that must have been required seems insane. Congratulations — you can play ToEE even today with tons of content because of the hard work of a community that wouldn’t let the game die.

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