I've given up on Call of Duty. I haven't played competitive multiplayer in almost two months. But why the drastic change? I've been very vocal in the past of my support of the series (and of the developer, Infinity Ward). I put about 15 days into the multiplayer in Modern Warfare 1. I even picked Modern Warfare 2 as the top game of 2009. But sadly, the honeymoon is over. Here's why:
1. The multiplayer in MW2 is broken. The more people play a game online, the more issues and glitches that will come up. Modern Warfare 2 is one of the best selling video games of all time, and consistently at the top of the 'most played' list on Xbox Live every week. Combine this with the lack of a public beta, and you're in for a glitch-laden experience. Infinity Ward did a public beta for Modern Warfare 1, and it not only helped them work out a lot of glitches and exploits, but it was also a good PR move. It got the word out on the changes to the game, and people loved it. But for MW2, they said they didn't need to do a public beta. From a PR perspective, they were right. However, from a testing perspective, they couldn't have been more wrong. At or around launch, there were problems with the Model 1887 shotgun, javelin suicide bombers, 10th Prestige hacks, care package speed runs, infinite emergency airdrops, etc. While these have all been patched, there is still a myriad of issues. I could make a lengthy post for these glitches, but let's just say there are still a LOT.
2. Their downloadable content is uninspired and overpriced. In Modern Warfare 1, they released a downloadable map pack for ten dollars. It had four new maps. Now, they've released five maps for fifteen bucks, and two of these are copy/paste jobs from Modern Warfare 1 (Crash, Overgrown). The worst part? Activision marketed this as 'A Cure for Mapathy'. It's as if they said, 'Are you tired of playing the same old maps in MW2? Then you should pay more to download two maps that you just spent the last two years playing!' It's a slap in the face to fans of the series.
3. I've been playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 instead. I NEVER thought this game would be as good as it is. I liked the earlier Battlefield games, but I wasn't expecting this. The graphics aren't as sharp or 'crisp' as Modern Warfare 2, but the maps are enormous, and I'll gladly take that trade-off. To show just how large they are, take a look at this:
There are also a lot of features that make the gameplay deeper. There are tons of vehicles, including a pilotable UAV. If you play as a medic, you can actually defibrilate recently-killed teammates and bring them back to life. You can 'spot' enemies for your teammates to track them for a few seconds. The developers allow online stat tracking, and it's insanely deep. And the best thing of all? There are no game-changing glitches. The M60 is overpowered, but it's not a deal-breaker by any stretch. If you get in a good group of people, you can play for hours and not notice the time flying by.
Call of Duty used to be that way. I'm rooting for them to make a comeback with the next one, but with all of the changes going on right now at Infinity Ward, I'm not counting on it.
So, what have you been playing lately?