It’s Hard to Play in UCD

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Rory Galvin explains why UCD isn’t the best place to game

UCD hates gamers. Well, not necessarily. We have a large games society, with daily events covering all kinds of games digital or otherwise, plus a huge community of fellow gamers to connect with. Board games work fine, same with card games, but it’s video games that hit a wall here on campus. The main culprit? UCD themselves block all game servers on their Wi-Fi.

That’s right, if you’re connected to UCD Wireless, or even Eduroam - you will not be able to play any games online. That means no Valorant, no Fortnite and especially no Overwatch 2 (but that might be a good thing). This extends beyond PCs too; from firsthand experience, the PlayStation store works okay, so you can download games and updates, but again you cannot do anything online multiplayer-related. 

Now, there is the argument for UCD’s decision: not wanting students to be gaming all day instead of studying. Yet, it’s 24/7, so it doesn’t matter if you want to play when you have a 9am class or you're in your residences at midnight. That’s what we must assume UCD’s reasoning is anyway - and even then it’s a strange decision with no compromises whatsoever.

there’s an entire line of communication severed for those wanting to contact people far away.

Discord is a massive platform used in the university: you can see it being incorporated into most societies and even some classes and entire courses. The messaging platform technically works throughout campus, but one vital feature does not, and that is the ability to voice chat. This can really hurt the social aspect for gaming in the university, as not only does this make gaming online even harder (if you can play in the first place of course), there’s an entire line of communication severed for those wanting to contact people far away. I can imagine international students using it to talk to friends and family at home - and Discord is a great method made completely unavailable due to UCD’s internet blocks.

So, what is there to do? The very simple thing is to play more single player and local multiplayer games - obviously it’s not ideal, but it’s an opportunity to invite others over to play, as well as do the same at society events - the single player games are for your own enjoyment. To play online, it’s a little trickier. You will need a VPN (short for virtual private network), but not just any one, as UCD also blocks a lot of connections with that. Only VPNs with the option for obfuscated servers will work, and even then your mileage may vary. If you find the right one and get it to work, you’re absolutely flying, despite now having a slower connection on the already slow campus Wi-Fi. If you can, hook up your device of choice through ethernet.

Everybody plays video games - and it feels like most games these days have a required connection to the internet, or at least have a major aspect of them that are online. UCD should realise this and let the people play instead of making us jump through hoops.