Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands was released on March 25. At launch, the game suffered from numerous server issues and problems with lag. Eventually, a lot of that was fixed. However, 38 days later, crossplay across certain platforms is still a mess. And so, tired of waiting for the crossplay woes to be resolved, I finally just bought a second Xbox console so my fiancée and I could play together. This solved our problem, but it also highlights that uh…Wonderlands (and other games) need to eventually work as advertised after release.
While I know some, including folks here at Kotaku, don’t like the Borderlands series, my fiancée and I have a blast playing the games together. Sure, the writing is sometimes cringe-inducing and the storylines don’t always land. But there aren’t many big, open-world looter-shooters with simple drop-in, drop-out co-op that aren’t also tied into some live-service model and that we can play casually together. So Borderlands—and now its latest spin-off, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands—is something we both enjoy and get excited about. (And if you actually play the games, you’ll see that there’s more to them than “lol MEMEZ.”)
When it was announced that Wonderlands would feature crossplay, we both got excited. I could play on my PC and she could play on my Xbox Series X in my office. It was a beautiful dream, a simple and easy solution. Co-op with our own screens that didn’t necessitate party chat or a living room TV.
But sadly, crossplay has been a mess since Wonderlands launched. For the first week or two, we couldn’t play together at all as Gearbox’s Shift servers seemed to fail constantly. We also had problems sending and receiving invites. Eventually, Gearbox’s rejiggering got things to a point where we could play together but whenever we did, one player would lag constantly, making the game nearly unplayable for them. Looking online, it became clear that not everyone has had the same issues, but many players trying crossplay between Xbox and PC were (and still are) suffering from all sorts of online annoyances.
Finally, I took matters into my own hands, buying an Xbox Series S at our local Target last week. Considering that these consoles have become pretty easy to grab and sport a lower price point, this ended up being a viable solution to our problems. And now, we’ve been playing hours and hours of Wonderlands with no problems at all.
Yet, I know a lot of people out there don’t have the space or the money to just go out and buy a new console. This isn’t me providing players with a tip of “Broken crossplay? Buy a new console!” Rather, it’s a tale of how, even as crossplay becomes an expected and standard feature, it’s still far from perfect or easy to get working, even in new, modern games.
I also think that as games continue to rely more and more on the internet and connections to servers, it’s becoming harder and harder to ignore how terrible most online game launches are. Weeks or months of players waiting and hoping things get fixed so they can finally play the game they already bought isn’t an acceptable norm. If our future is online and interconnected with other platforms and consoles, great. But hopefully, devs and publishers will be willing to spend the money, time, and resources necessary to make sure this stuff actually works. Otherwise, the future is going to be even more annoying and frustrating for a lot of people.