Last year I got a Playstation 3, and it happened to come with a bundle of Call of Duty: Black Ops. More or less this was the first CoD game I’d ever played, and the first I ever went online with. Earlier this year I decided to get Modern Warfare 2 for cheap and try that out.
These are definitely skill-based games, especially with online, and in the case of Black Ops there is Zombies Mode which is basically a survival mode where you keep fending off increasingly difficult waves of zombies that grow in numbers with each wave you kill off. Everything about these games are hard and require twitch and growth of player skill. In fact, what is CoD if not a shooting gallery at the carnival dressed up in the clothes of a military shooter. But the thing is I started off being very awful in both of these games. But over time I gradually got better. While depending on the circumstances, it’s easy to get mowed over, I have noticed an improvement in my kill/death, and have learned some of the quirks of these games that help me stay alive and win a lot more. Besides just needing twitch with the guns, with aiming, with thinking ahead of where the opposing team is going to be, and knowing the layout of the maps is all pretty important (knowing the maps is the most important, I’d argue). And if you’re playing on a team then knowing how to communicate and coordinate is very important as well. Even having just two or three others with you that know what they are doing can let you do very well. Almost like how in the military you are trained to work in a team as even having one guy with you is a “force multiplier”. It probably isn’t a shock that on Gamefaqs Black Ops has an online guide written by an ex-soldier who says that a fair amount of military tactics can be employed in these games’s online. There’s a lot of twitch, skill, planning, and improvising that goes into online play. But if the team is good, they’ll adapt to anything and know what to do and where to be to stay in control.
Something you might find interesting is that I’ve played with several people who also play CoD and are fairly young, and from different parts of the world. Something I’ve noticed is that they don’t play a lot of games, and they don’t seem top lay any other FPS games beyond CoD. And if they do play other games, it will likely be another skill-based game, such as a sports game, or racing, or to a lesser extent an open-world game like GTA or Just Cause 2 or some such. These are all games that do a different job, but they tend to have skill-based gaming running as a common thread. And if it’s skill-based, then it can never truly be “beaten”, only mastered. Just like you don’t “beat” a trade, but spend years learning it until you are a master (welding, martial arts, engineering, gardening, sports), but because you don’t “beat” these games, you will come back to them over time because they fulfill a job well, and people keep coming back to these games because they can depend on these games to do their job and that their mastery of these games isn’t thrown out of the window with each iteration, just like someone who played Super Mario Bros. 3 will likely not have a hard time with Super Mario World because their mastery of the one wasn’t entirely thrown out with the sequel. This would explain sports games and especially Wii Sports. But this would also explain the justification for DLC as since they don’t play a lot of other FPS games, they see it as getting more mileage out of their game.
There are two big problems that have been plaguing the Modern Warfare games with their online multiplayer, and one is with time invested. 2 and 3 really upped the time investment with these games. Black Ops on the other hand took what people liked about MW and then cut down on the stuff people didn’t like. 70 ranks in MW2. 50 in Black Ops, and the ranks don’t feel like they take as long to go through. The only thing ranking up gives you is new guns. Everything else is available at the outset to be unlocked with by CoD points, so the player can pick and choose what they want and ignore everything else they don’t care about. You no longer grind attachments for your weapons but use points to buy them, and only what you want. The time-wasting is cut down a great deal. You can get claymores right away instead of waiting over 30 ranks on MW2. There’s also contracts that give you challenges to earn money and/or exp upon completion to speed things up even further. There’s also wager matches to make (or lose) more points in special game modes.
The other issue is balance and longterm support. There were a lot of things in MW2 that were broken and never got fixed due to what happened with IW. Black Ops fixed a lot of this. .Grenade launchers and explosives were overpowered and couldn’t really be countered on MW2, so they were given a solid counter and adjusted to be effective but not overused as they were in MW2. Killstreaks that could be abused pretty badly was another thing that got addressed (no insta-win Nukes). But Black Ops did have some issues, mainly with needlessly nerfing sniper rifles over a non-issue from MW2 (quick-scoping), and with making a lot of the guns very bland in their variety resulting to certain guns with clearly standout characteristics being overused compared to the others (the FAMAS and AK-74 due to their higher fire rate with similar damage output paired with many of the maps being short to medium-range combat created major redundancy with weapon variety). And overall something I’m seeing is people getting wary of these games being treated as disposable by Activision. To the people that buy these games they still see value in them and many still play the older games (MW2, even with all its issues, has amazing weapon variety and makes it worthwhile to play through to learn their quirks and get good with them, even if some of them are broken). The developers are going to have wise up and combat this by providing greater longterm support to their games. Black Ops 2 seems to be expanding on everything people liked about that game (less time wasting crap and greater emphasis on player customization) and hopefully addressing their few faults. Modern Warfare 3 appears to have some more fundamental issues that may be beyond “patching” to resolve. Still, I’ll probably get it down the line when it’s much cheaper. Even an average CoD is better than much of the junk that passes as gaming coming out today.
Anyways, that’s about all I have to say about that, take care as always!
Never played CoD so I cannot comment. But it does seem to have taken the place of the Quake/Unreal Tournament playing people used to do.