Why I'm Done with Call of Duty
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David MarseillesDavid Marseilles

Why I'm Done with Call of Duty

I like a good shooter. It calms the nerves and prevents me from unleashing fury on the many, many idiots around me who richly deserve a crippling dose of all-too-honest rhetoric on a daily basis. Call of Duty does a fairly decent job of presenting well-balanced, competitive multiplayer that can provide a huge number of hours of play before it begins collecting dust. The combination of perks, weapon upgrades and experience, provides a richer gaming experience than, say, Medal of Honor. The popularity of the game ensures longevity for the multiplayer and even ensures you can unload on odd hours if you like, not just during primetime. It doesn't do everything well, however. And I've decided I'm done with the franchise as a result.

Every game these days wants to nickle and dime you to death and Call of Duty is no exception. Black Ops DLC packages of 4 multiplayer maps an extra zombie map will run you $15 each. Activision has released 3 such packages thus far, charging loyal fans of the series an extra $45 in total. The game retailed at $60 when it was introduced, so loyal fans have paid $105 for the package — a package that frankly, isn't much bigger than expectations would be for a $60 game. But the players are hooked, and clearly are willing to pay whatever Activision will charge. Activision has noticed, and is introducing Call of Duty Elite, a vague service with yet unknown benefits (well, unknown to me - I couldn't make heads or tails of what it actually does) for a monthly fee. I imagine the DLC train will still be going, and I'm sure 360 users will still be paying their Xbox Live fees.

More than that, I still hate the death of the lobby system. It used to be in an online game, you could open up a lobby with custom settings and if people wanted to join your game, they could. Nowadays, this has been replaced with matchmaking. You get thrown together with however many strangers into a randomly chosen map and have an opportunity to veto that map. Standard settings apply. Custom rules and map choice are only practically available if you have a very long friends list. The old lobby system was a very freeing way to play. After all, we're talking about a game, not a job. Why should you have to play a map you don't enjoy? Why should you be forced to endure noob-tube spammers? Why shouldn't you be allowed to play your favorite map as often as you like? Matchmaking doesn't have to be implemented to reduce choice — especially with a game that has as many players as COD, but right now, that's the preferred way of doing business.

Nuketown is one of the more popular maps on Call of Duty Black Ops, and is my personal favorite. Sometimes, however, it won't come up in my rotation for weeks, and when it does, might only be available once. Most of the time, it's the only map I actually want to play. That probably wouldn't be true if I got to play it on demand, but it is true now. One PSN, Treyarch put up a cool temporary mode called Nuketown 24/7, which is exactly what it sounds like. That's great, but why is it temporary? What about Firing Range 24/7? Why am I allowed to pick my mode, but I'm forcefed a map? Why is my gaming experience feeling increasingly like a job, where MAYBE, if I'm really good, I'll get a casual Friday? I pay for my games, and in exchange, I expect to be able to play them my way. As a final smaller complaint, COD is not particularly fresh to me anymore. With a new title released every year, the "haven't I played this before?" feeling looms large.

As complaints go, this one is small, and easy to rectify. I'm done with COD. I gave Activision a shot, and now I'm giving someone else a shot. Dice claims Battlefield 3 will engage in a new, more open mentality with multiplayer. No word on whether you get to choose your favorite maps or not, but I'm going to give them a shot to win me over. All I really ask is the freedom to play as I choose. I'm new to Battlefield, and I assume DLC robbery is still on the menu, and Battlefield probably isn't fresh to players who been with the franchise from the beginning, but it's fresh to me. Take note Dice, and don't scrimp on the freedom.


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