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The Call of Duty series is killing me. Not literally, but my wallet sure is lighter these days.

This isn't an isolated incident. GamePro reported that Activision is basically making mountains of money from not just selling Call of Duty games but charging for downloadable content (DLC) as well.

Just how many DLC map packs are being sold? The publisher reported that trigger-happy gamers downloaded the $15 Black Ops map packs 18 million times.

I've spent $60 just on map packs. Thankfully, I borrow the game from a friend when I feel like going online. Unfortunately, a majority of my friends love to play the newest of the new when it comes to Call of Duty — and this includes downloading every map imaginable.

Call of Duty Map Packs
Give me your monies.

It's quite costly when you think about it, and when Modern Warfare 3 hits, I'll either have to pony up the cash for DLC or get left behind playing with people whom I don't know in Black Ops. Usually, these people yell obscenities at me and scream “noob” because I can't put in all those hours to get good.

How can someone keep up?


It's one thing to get the newest $60 game when it comes out, but the number of map packs to come out with each new Call of Duty game has increased.

Now don't get me wrong — I like new content. But not only does each new title parade around new stimulating maps or zombirific experiences to up the gaming ante, so too does the cost go up.

I remember when map packs were $10. Halo games are still providing map packs at that price, but how long will it be when the noob-screaming masses who headshot people like me all day start to dish out $20 for a map pack? Black Ops' latest map pack, Rezurrection, is a step in the wrong direction.

Call of Duty Rezzurection
Give me your monies, too — but for recycled maps.

Rezurrection contains one new map with zombies and throws in three old maps we've already played or paid for in World at War.

I know I can vote with my wallet and choose not to buy it — and I often do wait for things to go on sale if I can. This problem of spending so much for maps may change with the arrival of Call of Duty Elite, a yearly service where players will get all the map packs and a slew of other online features for $49.99 a year.

But where does that leave someone like me who wants to game with friends but not shell out all that extra cash?

It's one thing to wait a while to try out a triple-A title's story mode, but older games can become a wasteland online when the next hot thing comes out. And often times, the most popular shooters don't go down in price.

By then, it would probably be too late. I can't even mention playing World at War or Halo 3 online without being laughed at by my friends. The games are just too old, and they don't have the new maps or the new smell.

With the rising popularity of DLC and the ever-increasing amount of it, I don't expect things to change. Maybe someday soon we'll all be paying $20 to play updated “classic” maps that feature nothing new but a different coat of paint.

Call of Duty Zombies
Monies…err, brains.

It seems that a gamer like me who does end up getting the content should sign up for the yearly benefits offered by Call of Duty (and now Gears of War 3) for new maps. But surely, if DLC prices have gone up steadily, so too will these yearly fees….

All I know for now is that my wallet will continue to lighten and that a game's multiplayer isn't like Perfect Dark's or GoldenEye's — gamers now have to put in quite the investment to get all the enjoyment out of the different play modes, and it keeps costing more and more.