Windows Firewall "Stealth Mode"
I am going to try to keep this OP as to-the-point as possible, with as little lashing out at monolith over the absolutely sub-par support and absenteeism that have up to this point enraged the living hell out of me (starting now, I guess).
I recently spent an entire day trying to tweak my network settings again so that I would stop getting "Connection Lost: Failed To Connect To Server!!!" 19/20 times I attempted to join a game. I still try to play the game every once in a while but I get very discouraged now after even a couple failed attempts. To put the question I know is coming to rest, YES. My NAT is open, I have forwarded all GFWL ports and I always queue solo. My connection is cogeco cable, with 10.28 mbps down and about 1.52 mbps up. As I was going through troubleshooting, I tried that website that pings popular game ports, and found that they all came back blocked. I was a bit perplexed by this, as I had seen other users in the official "Connection Problems" thread complain of this as well. Long story short, I used a specific port ping to test individual ports (both popular game ports, service ports, and ports I had designated myself) and found that regardless of whether or not I had opened up the ports via my router, the ping ALWAYS came back "Stealth". As in the ports were not responding, at all. Apparently this is a feature of windows firewall that cannot be disabled or altered in any way. Obviously games are still able to function through it but apparently only if the program sending the requests is doing it properly.
Have you guys eliminated the possibility that windows firewalls stealth mode feature is blocking access to one of GCI's port requests and causing the game to boot users back to the home screen? Either way, it is inhibiting your troubleshooting step involving the whatismyip.com game port test, as anyone running windows firewall (vista or 7) will not get any results from it, no matter how many ports they open.
Thanks for your time, and just to be sure that my efforts and frustration are being considered, I would very much like an admin or dev reply somewhere in this thread.