Trolling, hacking and cheating are just some of the words in which the gaming community would associate with Activision’s record breaking series “Call of Duty” which seems to exceed the heights which the previous version of the game year after year. With the game being hailed as the “Multiplayer Revolution” by some areas of the media, many will wonder if the COD train will ever slow down. Within the community though, there are many who dislike Activision’s running of the game as they see it as a chance to make even more money and, at the same time, not to put too much work into the game. If this is the opinion of many in the community then why is the game so popular? With many seemingly reluctant to even try the game, how can so many gamers be new to this gaming legacy? It’s time to go for a 25 kill-streak and Nuke the facts.
With the first Call of Duty game being released way back in 2003 for the Playstation 2 and Xbox, the series has come on leaps and bounds from the World War shooter which, at the time, seemed to be trying to overhaul Medal of Honor as the main World War 2, first person shooter title in the previous generation. Call of Duty 3 was the first Call of Duty to be released on the current generation of consoles; the multiplayer barrier was broken and allowed the game to rival popular titles such as Wolfenstein and Counter Strike. However, the multiplayer revolution for the Call of Duty series began with Call of Duty 4 which took the world by storm. The game sold around 7 million copies within the games first two months.
The reason Call of Duty 4 was so successful was an overall great game. The campaign was gripping from start to finish, the graphics were phenomenal and the gameplay mechanics were easy to learn and felt natural to the average FPS player. These successful features were vital in the rise of popularity of the games multiplayer which has since become the leader in multiplayer gaming. The online gameplay wasn’t difficult to learn but was very addictive at the same time and this was something which both the PS3 and Xbox 360 community would thrive upon. To this day, Call of Duty is still riding high, higher than ever could have been imagined. Modern Warfare 3 was released in November 2011 and made a total of $400 million within its first day of release in the US and UK alone.
How are Activision and Call of Duty able to continually bring such high profits when one of the games main problems is that the gameplay has never changed since Call of Duty 4? It is widely regarded by many in the industry as to have the exact same mechanics as it featured in Call of Duty 4 and the game has never truly evolved. For many, this is what they know from playing every Call of Duty since the fourth game and feels familiar which, no doubt, will suit many gamers. However, there seems to be more and more gamers who seem to disregard the Call of Duty series as being old fashioned in that the gameplay has not changed at all. Killstreaks are still a major factor in the online gameplay and there is little difference if you were to play the COD 4 campaign to the MW3 campaign, in regards to graphics and gameplay.
To be honest, this is one of the main reasons why I do not play COD anymore. The game is far too similar to the original Modern Warfare and this goes for the “non-modern” games, World at War and Black Ops. The last game in the series which I played was Black Ops but only because I received it as a present. I am indeed one of these players who have thrown off the shackles of the overused mechanics of COD. For me, game series need to show some change in direction as to the overall feel of the game whereas COD merely feels as though it is a copy of the previous version. I feel that as much as gamers seem to really hate what Call of Duty has become, they will continue to buy the game because their friends will buy it. Of course there are many other factors which contribute to my dislike of the game including behaviour and pricing.
As I mentioned in the introduction, Trolling is a severe dislike which I, as well as many others, have in multiplayer games. Players are no longer using public lobbies to chat, instead use the party system or not at all. Many players have been put off of the game after receiving abusive messages either by word or voice which often leads to unnecessary abuse. Hackers as well bring the game down a level as there is no need to cheat in order to win the game. If you want to advance then you need to develop your skills at learning the game and earn it honestly. Earning a gazillion XP in one match is no way showing that you are a great player of the game. It just shows that you wish to cheat yourself and everyone else buying the game by earning Killstreaks etc. The community was not always like this however, there was a time where everyone would game in peace and could compete fairly.
I do believe that one of the main reasons for this rise in poor behaviour by gamers is down to immature or under-age players getting copies of mature games. Parents will buy their children anything to keep them happy. I know of children as little as 5 who play or have frequently played Call of Duty and other mature games because they wanted to. This is down to poor parenting in my eyes but that is a whole different subject. It is the case with many popular games these days such as Fifa and Halo.
Of course there are several good things which the game possesses these days. Online functions are free for everyone who plays the game, online passes are not featured and means that the customer is getting the best value possible when they buy the game pre-owned, they do not have to spend anymore. On the topic of money, Call of Duty released the Elite service which accompanies MW3. For most this service may not seem important but Call of Duty Elite gives the hardcore player the chance to gain access to map packs early as well as special perks to their clans and detailed statistics. Although in saying that, the map-packs cost too much and do not feature enough content.
With the amount of money in which Activision/ Infinity Ward/ Treyarch make from each Call of Duty game, I feel that there is so much more in which could be put back in the game. As I mentioned before, the game does still possess some positives but they are few and far between. Without the huge community which Call of Duty has managed to satisfy for years and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Battlefield 3 tried to out-do Call of Duty and failed to dent the high flying series. Once upon a time, I did see why the game was so highly regarded, but now I don’t believe the hype.