GOG has restored the online play option for Battlefront 2, and the old timers in the community are all set to get the new servers up and running.
December was great for Star Wars: Battlefront 2. Not the new one which came out in November and was the subject of a lot of controversies and flak due to its loot boxes and leveling systems. It is the original one released in 2005, the clumsy, crazy shooter which we all keep returning to, and we are not the only ones. As reported by Steamcharts, Battlefront 2 has never had less than 100+ players despite its Gamespy servers shutting down. Of late, the player count has gone into four digits courtesy GOG, which resumed online option in October and is presently working on updates (a new patch released last week itself). It is incredible to see this 12-year-old game readying to make a comeback.
As per our best understanding, these are not the old players, once again trying out the game after a gap of years. Battlefront 2 cost $3.39 during a December sale, although Steamspy’s figures are not accurate, it indicates that the game has got tens of thousands of proud new owners. It might still be nothing more than a minuscule proportion of the over three million total that it had, but, it is not terrible. Sadly, most of the new players are finding Battlefront 2’s web support to be in bad shape. Hope they can get it all streamlined.
Identical problems have been shared by users on the Steam and GOG forums. “They fixed the issue of joining for most, but still the lag is killing any chance of playing seriously,” a user wrote on GOG. “Want to love this so much, but the lag makes it unplayable,” writes another. The most common problem appears to be the high ping on the current online servers, which is obvious since the present Battlefront 2 online servers are hosted by the players. But, some of the industrious fans are working to resolve the issue.
AsLan has been a Battlefront 2 servers host for several years and has given the server package code to GOG that their community is using, and this code was released by LucasArts several years ago. “Myself and others have basically been working to find a way to host a server on rental machines (machines with top quality internet speeds and stability rented out from server providers),” AsLan wrote. “These are what all good BF2 servers have been hosted on in the past, as the game’s design necessitates the host having excellent internet speeds. This is rather tricky, as all but the most expensive rentals don’t have a GPU, and GoG removed the code in the exe that allowed us to run the game without rendering it (and as they removed the dedicated server mode which means we have to effectively use a self-host server format on the rental machine).”
“Myself and a small team of players who have been with the game since the beginning have made pretty good progress so far, we’re able to get servers up on rental machines, and we’re able to accommodate for map changes using a program I wrote, but there are still issues, some of which will only be fixed when GOG release a new official dedicated server package based on the source code.”
AsLan has already tasted success in operating a dedicated server, irrespective of those issues, and said that GOG’s newest patch improved the server stability in a big way. There are still various issues to be addressed. There is no running dedicated server mode, full servers are not seen in the lobby, passwords fail to work in case you didn’t start the game with a batch file, and servers wrongly show nil ping. However, if GOG comes up with totally dedicated server assistance, the player count of the Battlefront 2 will go up several notches.
In case they don’t. Still, a lot of people will play. As of now, the community is divided between the new built-in online support by GOG and two of the fan-created options: GameRanger and SWBFSpy.
“In terms of performance, SWBFSpy is unquestionably the strongest candidate out there right now, I know the Spy team, and they are hardworking and very competent,” AsLan writes. “The real problem Spy has at the moment is lack of players and a somewhat exclusive community—the vast majority of players are EU players (though they do have US servers) that have been playing for a long time and enjoy the game in a certain way. Were Spy to have a significantly larger player base I would recommend it as the best place to play without a second thought, but it doesn’t. I actually wished GoG had contacted us before releasing their initial server patch, if they had simply patched Spy into the Steam and GOG versions of the game, everything would be perfect right now.” AsLan says: “The game hasn’t had 64 player conquest servers in a long time, but for the last week our servers player limits have capped regularly.”
In case you want to play Battlefront 2, look out for AsLan’s server, General 4726. If you don’t spot it among the listing, that might mean that despite it being an over a decade only, it is full to the capacity.