I Might Be Done With Call of Duty

I’ve been playing first-person shooter games for quite a long time. I remember scoring a copy of Wolfenstein 3D on a 5.25″ floppy disk at a local computer store and playing the hell out of it. From there, I went on to Doom, Duke Nukem, Quake and countless variations and rip-offs, such as Heretic.

However, once games started going the way of Unreal Tournament and Quake Arena, I started getting turned off. These games were less about thinking than just running at top speed around memorized maps, fragging noobs with rocket launchers. At one point I also tried getting into Counter-Strike, but was just rubbish at it.

So for a long time, I stayed away from multiplayer shooters and opted for single-player experiences, even with games that had multiplayer modes.

Right around when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out, I decided to get into multiplayer matches and ended up getting hooked. I bought every other game that came out: World at War, Modern Warfare 2, and Black Ops. The latter I got on launch day and with maybe one or two exceptions, it hasn’t left my Xbox disc tray for about a year. And I’ve never once played the single-player campaign.

So naturally, I’ve been excited to get my hands on Modern Warfare 3. I’d seen the trailers and teasers but would’ve still bought it sight-unseen. I pre-ordered it from Amazon, so it showed up at the house on launch day. That night, I played for maybe 3 hours, which is more time than I rarely get to game in a single sitting.

Almost immediately, something felt…wrong. Right off the bat, it was obvious no attempt had been made to fix matchmaking, if there even existed a matchmaking component to begin with. My first match, I was thrown into a lobby with level-30 players, who had obviously bought the game at midnight and been playing it non-stop.

Modern Warfare 3

It shouldn’t be surprising that the typical opponent still just runs his ass off like a crazy person around the map in memorized patterns. But in MW3, it seems even worse than ever before. Again, I can’t quite put my finger on why this seems so pronounced in this incarnation, but at least a few times I truly wanted to throw the controller, or at the very least, take the disc out and put it away for a long time.

Another annoyance is that the money-based upgrade system from Black Ops was not carried over. At first it seemed strange in Black Ops, but it ultimately meant that you could buy what you wanted, in the order you wanted it. Sure, you had to wait for some things to be unlocked at certain XP levels, but it seemed like a good system. Now, in MW3, they’re back to the old “level up” system, where you have to keep moving up the XP ladder to get the next best weapon or perk. So it was frustrating to immediately get into games where opponents had “bouncing betty” mines and personal radars already, and I’d be hours away from having the points to even counteract them. And so far, I’ve gotten my ass shot off a lot by guys camping with those stupid personal radars (blatantly ripped off from the movie Aliens, by the way).

And speaking of leveling, you even level up weapons now. Where in Black Ops, you could fairly quickly buy a red-dot sight for a gun, in MW3, you have to level up that gun enough to unlock it. Again, I think the money system in Black Ops is superior, in that you can focus on collecting enough cash to get the attachment you really want.

Oh, and did I mention “quickscoping” was back? Yeah, that too.

If you’re a quickscoper, I fucking hate you.

Modern Warfare 3 does have a few unique multiplayer modes, like “Kill Confirmed”, where you collect dog tags from fallen enemies, giving your team extra points. And there’s the usual stuff like Domination and Headquarters, which I never really got into because they’re magnets for camping snipers. I was also hopeful that add-ons like the Call of Duty Elite service and Facebook integration would add some new, interesting aspect. But so far, I’ve yet to see much integration at all. And the Elite app is a completely separate app you can’t access within the main game.

I’ve been lamenting this to people for a few days, and recently talked to a co-worker (a hard-core COD player) that was telling me he’d opted to go with Battlefield 3 instead of buying MW3. The more he described it, the more I started to think I should give it a try. It definitely sounds like it’s slower paced, and is less rewarding to the run-and-gun, quick-draw players.

I’m going to give MW3 a little more time, but I can’t help but think I’ll be making a switch very soon.

  • http://www.jeffhilimire.com Jeff Hilimire

    What ever happened to A, B, up, down, left, right. Done.

  • http://www.atlantajones.com Andrew

    Sometimes I think back then we were better off.

  • http://www.mojocomic.com/ Skar

    While reading this it was almost like reading my own game history. I also started with Wolfenstein 3D on those floppy floppies. And after that I also went to Quake and Unreal Tournament. I did like those games though. Loved Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament. Loved the quick gameplay, tried stuff like Rainbow Six… but that was way to slow for my taste.

    But ok. This was all on the PC. So let’s skip 15 years ahead. I bought an Xbox360 and became a console player. And then Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out. I loved it! The whole online experience was balanced and addictive. I played it for a year, until World at World was released and I switched to that. And I kept on ‘upgrading’ my Call of Duties until Modern Warfare 3.

    But Modern Warfare 2 already felt different. Too chaotic. Too massive. Just too much. But yeah, I got used to it and played it. But I also bought another game, Battlefield Bad Company. And when Black Ops was released, I also bought a couple of months later Battlefield Bad Company 2. I just liked the change of gameplay.

    But somewhere in August/September of this year, I was doubting if I even wanted to get Modern Warfare 3. I had seen the trailers, liked it, but also liked what I saw about Battlefield 3.
    Eventually (long story short) I preordered MW3, was all hyped about it, played it and kinda liked it. But yeah… especially the first few hours it felt different. But I figured I just needed to get used to the faster pacing – especially if you compare it to the slower pacing in Black Ops…

    For the last 2 months I played MW3 and I liked it. I was addicted and just wanted to play it. But sometimes we got overrun by another team of quickscopers and other stupid, irritating methods of play… and then I just often had the urge to rage-quit (which I usually never did, maybe once or twice).

    But ok. A couple of weeks ago I bought Battlefield 3. Just to get some variation in my gaming experiences. I just had enough of every night MW3 and wanted to see some other scenery. And since the moment I started playing Battlefield 3, I never played MW3 anymore… except a few instances where my wife asked if I wanted to play together splitscreen.

    Let me – as an old-skool Call of Duty fan boy – try to explain what I love about playing Battlefield 3.
    When I’m playing Battlefield 3 I feel more part of a team. We all have the same objective and don’t mind about our kill-death ratio or killstreaks. Better yet, there are no extra benefits to staying alive for a long period, except the spawn-tickets for your team won’t drain. There are no killstreaks, so nobody has benefit in being a lone wolf. Of course there are people who go lone wolf, even me. But all with the same goal, getting to the objective. And I start to learn that sticking with a few teammates works even better… since some can heal/revive others, others can give out ammo… so we can all help each other… and it works like a charm!

    The nice thing about BF3 is that everything gives you points, so helping your teammates can sometimes even be more rewarding than only killing the enemy. I have been the MVP for a few times, by maybe only killing 5 enemies… but also placing mines (and destroying tanks with it), healing or reviving teammates, repairing friendly vehicles or just one of the pure basic things… spotting enemies.

    That’s just one of the best features of BF3… spotting enemies. It helps your teammates, it gives you a spot-bonus (if the enemy you spotted gets killed), but most of all… it feels like you really help your team.

    The thing I first had to get used to – except the controls – was that the maps were a lot bigger than MW3… if you die, you sometimes have to walk a bit longer before you encounter an enemy. But eventually that just fits with the whole slower pacing. And I love it. Especially because every match still feels different, because of the size and no predictable patterns.

    So. Just to make a long story short: I love BF3, but will likely also play MW3 – just for the short snacks and the times my wife wants to play together.
    Because that’s the one and only downside of BF3 … it has no online splitscreen support.