Call of Duty online has improved but it still needs balance.

There are two very different Call of Duty online experiences available to fans at the moment; Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare or Treyarch’s Black Ops. Both of these have positive and negatives. Although the one thing to remember is that the online experience has done nothing but improve over the last 4 years.

I know most people will immediately argue that Call of Duty 4 still remains the greatest online shooter out of all instalments. Yet you cannot blame Treyarch or Infinity Ward for trying to extend this experience and improve it. Many fans will argue that nothing needs to be changed. Even I find that Cod 4 is probably the best out of the lot, although I wouldn’t want the companies to stop trying to expand the experience. This is something that will always be difficult given how great Cod 4 was. If Naughty Dog can do it with the Uncharted series, then everyone can.

What I want to highlight in this post are the differences between MW3 and Black Ops. Yes they were produced by different companies even though they both fall under the Call of Duty franchise. But both games have positives that can only shape future shooters for the better.

When I think of Black Ops I think of slower gameplay. Not Battlefield slow, just a lot less frantic than Mw2. In fact, it was more on par with the speed in Cod4, which in many people’s opinion was perfect. Black Ops was a more simple game than MW2, even though all that customisation gave it a facelift, it was more basic and more similar to Cod4. It rewarded good gun skill. Plain and simple. I do not remember ever being in a game that was ruined by air support or poor spawns or bad map layouts. Yes, the maps weren’t phenomenal and the guns not too exciting and the killstreaks nothing like as fun as those in MW2. But all this meant it was a more solid shooter.

Treyarch had also managed to vastly improve it’s game considering the last outing was in Call of Duty World at War. Even though I enjoyed this, World at War is considered to be the weakest of all Call of Duty games. Given the fact it was the first one released after the prestigious Cod4, it was never going to meet expectations.

However Black Ops brought something completely new to the table. For the time, game developers and community managers were listening to players. Fans voiced their opinions on sites as basic as Twitter and they saw the changes within weeks. Black Ops had patches. The game only improved after it was released. Over-powered guns were tweaked, spawns were improved, even joining parties became more stable.

You think of MW2 and the noobtubing and spawnkilling and headglitching and all the crap that game with the game. How easy it could have been to wipe all that clean and improve the game. Yet they were too stubborn back then and many fans label MW2 as a ‘broken’ game. It’s very difficult to go more the 5 games in MW2 without rage-quitting. Yes the pace was better (in my opinion) than Black Ops but the guns were too lethal and the killstreaks far too over-powered and easy to achieve. Black Ops improved all of this, but took too much of it away. They took away too much pace, too many killstreaks and too much lethality from the game.

MW3 arrived last November and managed to sell 6.5 million copies in just 24 hours. Over $400 million worth.

1.5 million people queued at midnight on Monday to grab a copy as soon as possible, myself included.

Black Ops only managed $360 million on the first day and MW2 just $310 million.

People forget that the vast majority of people simply have fun playing the game and enjoy it. However when you have this much exposure, the negatives will always manage to worm their way to the surface.

Cod4 sold 7 million copies worldwide over the last 4 years.

MW3 managed this in one day.

You can see how much less exposure the game had back then. it is obviously more difficult for the flaws of a game to appear when the fan base is smaller and very dedicated. Obviously it was still a massive game and appealed to millions of people, yet when you compare the figures of COD4 to MW3, the argument makes itself.

That all said, MW3 still has problems. The guns are far too lethal. There is still no map as exciting as Highrise, Favela or Terminal and you still get odd games that are ruined by overpowered air support.

But then to call in my counter-uav on that argument ( πŸ˜‰ )- all these flaws are far less intense than they were in MW2.

I can go for longer without rage-quitting, there isn’t a bad map in the game and there is no gun as powerful as the UMP or Scar from MW2. Finally, Robert Bowling, the community manager for Infinity Ward and Modern Warfare 3 has started listening to his fans and taking on board what they are saying. For the first time, a modern warfare game has patches. Game chat has been improves, overpowered shotguns and machine pistols have been nerfed and spawns have been vastly improved. Even the new ‘Infected’ playlist that was released on the 5th February already received it’s first patch on the 6th February.

Modern Warfare is finally listening to it’s fans and taking on board what made previous games successful so that it can work towards becoming a better experience. That said, the community is finally becoming more mature in how it voices the opinions. You talk with intellect and reason, and they will listen to you. You act like a dick and call Robert Bowling a cocksucker- you will be ignored.

I loved black ops for its slower game play and consistently had an 8/10 experience on it. However, even though MW2 irritated me and left me screaming at the tv, it gave me moments of 10/10 excitement. I’ve never had as much fun on a game at times as i did with MW2. The same can be said for a lot of my friends. The flaws that made it unbearable at times are finally being recognised and altered. This window of pure rage every 4/5 games is getting smaller and smaller. The franchise is getting closer to releasing a “total” shooter.

 

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