So, yesterday the LittleBigPlanet servers went live. People who managed to secure early copies of the game have been playing it without the community features for the past few weeks, but now they're finally able to go online, publish their levels and play with other users. Brilliant. Or not. As with any online community, LBP is having some teething problems....
People stealing levels
Some of the most popular levels from the LBP beta - God Of War: Demon Skull, Metal Gear Solid: Return To Shadow Moses, Hollow Bastion - are being copied and republished by other users, and they're taking all the credit for them. In some cases they have more hearts/plays than the originals. Sure, we can copy protect our levels, but we shouldn't have to. Hopefully Media Molecule catch onto this and ban anyone who's found copying other peoples' levels. Seriously, what are these people thinking?
There are dozens of these scattered across LBP's thirteen pages of Cool Levels. They're designed specifically to earn people Trophies; for example, supplying enough point bubbles to get all the score multiplier awards, or giving you enough boost to earn the incredible speed Trophy. We don't think this is exactly what MM had in mind when they designed the game's community features, and it's simply a shameless way for the creators of these levels to get hearts/plays and up their play/share/create scores.
People uploading unfinished/broken/test levels
We've lost count of the amount of times we've played a level, only to find out that it's an empty room with a single obstacle in the middle, a pile of random junk, or a level that's impossible to complete thanks to bad design. Before anyone uploads a level they should test it to within an inch of its life, trying every possibility and making sure people won't get trapped or stuck. Probably 50% of the levels online now are like this, and again, Media Molecule need to plough through the archives, moderating any levels that aren't up to scratch.
People asking for the Kratos costume code ALL THE TIME
This is more of an internet problem than the actual game itself, but look at any LBP forum - GameFAQs, the official one, Gametrailers, anywhere - and you'll see dozens of posts like 'PLS GIVE ME KRATOS KODE PLS!!11' or 'WILL SWOP RESISTANCE BETA COEDE FOR KRATOTOSOS COSTUME EEE!!1' Expect to see this making its way to the main game. Take our advice; if you have the costume (like us), don't play online with it. If you do, expect dozens of desperate, begging PSN messages. "PPLLZLZLLZLZLZL!!!!11111!!"
The servers can't cope
Last night, about the time when the Americans were waking up, the servers suddenly imploded. Nothing would load properly, the game would freeze and hang, and even checking your friends' profiles or uploading a level was impossible. Hopefully they'll add more heft to the LBP servers come the EU release, otherwise the game's at risk of buckling under the weight of the millions of users trying to play it. It took us nine or ten attempts to upload our level last night, and multiplayer was lag-tastic.
But even with all of this, LBP is still incredible, and we had more fun last night than we've had with some entire games. When the servers are sorted out, the griefers are smashed with the banhammer and the game's available to the general public, LBP will be perfect. Now it's 'merely' brilliant.