CoD4 Modern Warfare’s multiplayer was an obsession of mine and my group of fellow gamers.  Up until a month ago, we played Hardcore Team Deathmatch for several hours each night, enjoying every second, chatting about life and having a fun time fragging and getting fragged.

I’ve been playing Modern Warfare 2 for almost a month now, and I am no closer to enjoying this game than I was four weeks ago.  At this point, the majority of the matches I play end in a sense of frustration.  I realize that right now, this is the most popular game on Xbox Live (according to Major Nelson’s weekly poll) However, let me count the particular ways that this game irks me. 

  1. No Party Chat – IW, I understand that some people may be cheating, calling out enemies when they aren’t supposed to, for instance when they’re dead.  But you broke one of Xbox Lives’ best features, and the fact that I can’t enjoy my friends company without muting all the anonymous assholes of Live is a dubious tradeoff of fun vs. ensuring “fairness.”  Penny Arcade’s Tycho says it best:

    There are playlists that support Party Chat, identified by a black asterisk, but players who are just beginning to play don’t have access to any game types that actually support multiple party members. It wasn’t a deal breaker, in that we could mute people (everyone) in either the lobby on the in-game roster, but anytime you take a process that involves zero inputs and substitute fourteen, it’s something you should take pretty fucking seriously. Two years ago, Halo 3 allowed you to set a global policy of only chatting to friends, and if Infinity Ward is going to pulverize bedrock platform features in the service of some mostly ambiguous gains, they might do well to emulate that ancient software.

  2. Killstreaks are the same as achievements – Custom killstreaks change why people are playing multiplayer, and in my opinion it’s not for the better.  Corridors, corners, stairs are all chock full of players just hanging around waiting for an unfortunate player to walk by to increase their killstreak.  This issue is wrapped up in the same debate as camping, boosting, etc.  The fact that you can get a game altering reward for killing 25 players in a row without dying has changed the way people play the game.  Robert Bowling mentions in an interview with G4TV that he doesn’t like multi-player achievements b/c it changes the reason people play multi-player matches (I’m paraphrasing here).  Yet now the majority of games that I play are filled with people just sitting in one place of the map waiting to get their attack copter, instead of playing like a team.

I realize neither of these issues can be fixed by an easy patch.  I just want Infinity Ward to know that they’ve crafted a frustrating experience.  I’m torn since most of my friends continue to play, which is a powerful incentive, and ultimately got me into online gaming in the first place.  I continue playing in hopes that the game clicks like the original Modern Warfare.  Otherwise, it’s on to Left 4 Dead 2 or back to CoD4.