I'll admit it, I'm beating the dead horse yet again. I have talked a lot about Modern Warfare 2 — whether it's about how I feel about the game, the acclaim it's receiving, its community, or its recent debacle with Activision, there's always something to be said about this widely popular shooter. But this time, I mean to comment on Dan Garofalo's recent Call of Duty: The End of a Love Affair post that made the front page.
The format of this post will consist of excerpts from Dan's post, followed by impressions, memories, or otherwise comments by yours truly.
"I consider myself a Call of Duty fan. I've been playing the franchise for years; since the very first when it was released in 2003. I remember seeing my dad walk in with the EB Games bag, and hunching over his shoulder, eyeing the download bar."
This is nearly as innocent as my first Call of Duty experience — which was of Call of Duty 4. I received the game for my birthday, and on that Friday, I can recall staying up until the wee hours of the night playing through my very first Call of Duty — it was bliss because I was being led down a corridor, and due to my lack of previous Call of Duty experience, didn't even realize it.
"Things have changed though for the franchise, and for me since that fateful download reached its end. No longer am I at the end of Elementary School; and no longer is Call of Duty a game that I tell my friends about at the lunch table, with expressions of blankness greeting my excitement. Both the franchise and I have matured, some for the better, and some for the worse."
While the same can't quite be said in my case (as the gap from Call of Duty 4 to Modern Warfare 2 was only two years), the online douchebaggery certainly can attest.
"The first few months were great; as I had my entire friend base willing to play at a whim. But as the months past, and my kill and hour count only went up, my weariness for the game and the community began to wane. It seemed like before Modern Warfare; the community wasn’t filled with the infamous idiots that had plagued other communities. Sure, you would run across the occasional jerk, but that occasional jerk soon made up the entire community, and it reached a point that I had to unplug my microphone entirely just to get passed the bigots and enjoy the game. While this group of players seems to make up the entire Xbox Live Community, I never felt the makeup of the Call of Duty fan base be made up entirely of it."
For some reason, all the douchebags seemed to be late to the party on Call of Duty 4, and for that very reason, before the launch of Modern Warfare 2, Activision and Infinity Ward both knew they had a captive audience that could barely contain itself for the release of their game.
With such additions thrown into the multiplayer mix, as new weapons, weapon attachments, and perks, the highly volatile Call of Duty community has found new ways to kill itself, both literally and figuratively. New weapons like the Akimbo 1887s have broken the game, while otherwise reliable assault rifles have been nerfed to the point of uselessness. Now, or so it seems, the majority of the weapons used are the ACR, the UMP, the AUG HBAR, the aforementioned game-breaking Model 1887, and the Intervention – all of which may have different rates of fire, sound effects, and appearances, but operate ostensibly as their Call of Duty 4 counterparts had.
"Two years later; the latest addition in the franchise was added, and with it came the end of my Call of Duty love affair. The bigots were there in full force, but it seems that with the success of the franchise, Infinity Ward lost the love factor that they put into all their previous games. The campaign was just ‘there’; lost in a convoluted story that had so many twists and turns that it left the successful formula back at the third plot twist and didn’t look back. The multiplayer scene though, lost its way for different reasons. The game was ripped apart by the community—and still is—with a new exploit being found what seems like every day; ruining the game. Whether it was the dual shotguns, or the multiple care packages, to what is now god-like grenade and rocket launchers, the bigots and idiots can no longer be avoided by just unplugging the headset, as they’ve infiltrated the gameplay itself."
From drug-themed call signs, game-demolishing "Tactical" Nukes (for which I cannot understand how in any way they are at all "Tactical"), immediately life-ending grenade launchers, to the hundred-plus number of camping spots, machismo is an unavoidable reality in Modern Warfare 2, which is precisely why I have stood far, far away.
What was once a quaint, and immersive retelling of an all-too-familiar World War II story, is now shadow of its former self, with a barely palatable single-player that likely forgot how many plot twists it had along the way, an utterly volatile community that stops at nothing from tearing itself apart at every possible chance, several game-breaking exploits, and plaguing lag have all converged to create one hell of a self-depricating, self-destroying mindfuck.
Wrapped in a worn blanket, beaten, drinking out of a non-descript brown paper bag in an alley in New York City, sits what we once knew as Call of Duty. I imagine this poor homeless man to withstand some more undeserved beating, raping, and especially milking in the near future by its volatile community and tyrannical publisher alike.
Farewell old pal!
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!