Brink, like Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Wolfenstein, has been awaited by a large part of the competitive ET community as a possible sequel to their favourite game. As of its release, May 10th 2011, it's been pretty clear the game has problems for competitive play: ATI cards have horrible problems (and so do certain nVidia cards), the game has a very low skill ceiling and is geared towards pub play. Furthermore, there's barely any way to reinforce a competitive ruleset, there's no first person spectating and demo recording is impossible. Sound slightly familiar?

Splash Damage, in all fairness, did manage to patch a few of the issues up. However, the bigger, problematic ones, are still around. A patch is supposed to be coming, but thanks to Brink's publisher, Bethesda, there's virtually no information on what exactly the patch does and how soon it can be expected. Meanwhile, player numbers are dropping at incredible rates; yesterday's peak activity was less than 2,000 compared to 17,000 on release day.

And with this essentially flawed game, we're playing tournaments. Big tournaments even, €15,000 in prize money from ESL is no small feat! But what does that mean for the competitive community? It means that after the tournament, the competitive playerbase will know what state Brink is in, and they're off to play other, more polished titles instead.

This sound familiar? Because it's happened before. When Enemy Territory: Quake Wars came out, it faced a lot of similar problems; the game was geared for pub, no SDK for almost 2 months, no competitive restrictions, but still there were tournaments with prize money. After the big tournaments, the playerbase died. People were fed up with ETQW and its flaws, and rightfully so. However, those that did stick around got to play ETQWpro in it's 1.0 form; and my compliments to hannes, as it made the game a lot better.

But was it too little, too late? It definitely was. The ETQWpro community existed of roughly 50 active players, far too little to actually sustain a game at all. Should the game have been in the state it was in now at release, then perhaps the activity would've been a lot higher - you can't tell. It would've been worth a try, though.

And with Brink, there was a chance for Splash Damage and Bethesda to give it that second try: And early SDK release to selected modders, or even a proper integrated competitive mode, would've seriously empowered the competitive community. Instead, the same mistakes were made, and we'll be seeing a dead game after ESL is done, most likely. And that's not just a shame for the competitive community, but also for the developer and publisher; I don't think anything shows off a game quite as well as some top-tier fragmovies. Sadly, we probably won't see many of those in Brink.

Next time, please, Splash Damage and Bethesda: Examine what happens after release, and learn from it.