Fashionably Ignorant: The Call of Duty Conundrum

twin garbage spewers

twin garbage spewers

“hurrdurr its the same as last year”. Not even close. Fashionable to hate CoD, but it’s also ignorant. – Total Biscuit.

It’s difficult to level any type of criticism or critique without being labeled a hater or a whiner.  There’s an art form to the science of engaging someone with vastly different views from your own and I’d be lying if I said I had it down.  It’s also a bit of a catch-22 to mention a big name like TB for fear of being accused of pandering for views or attempting to stir up the pot.  That said, TB is supposed to be one of the last remaining peoples champions.  A voice of reason among a cloud of disillusioned phonies.  He not only has a significant audience but he has the reputation of being the white knight and that’s why his recent comments regarding the state of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare rub me the wrong way.

Before diving into the details, I want to start at the outskirts and work our way in (just like any successful first person shooter should).  Call of Duty revolutionized the world first person shooters with the release of CoD 4 in 2007.  Fast paced battles, small maps, laser-like weapons, and killstreaks!  Everyone was in love and couldn’t get enough of it although I wouldn’t understand how or why for a few more years.  As time went on it became quite clear that the reason CoD was so popular was due to it’s plethora of skill equalizing factors that gives nearly every player an equal shot at feeling like a king for a day.  Instant respawns, accurate and fast-firing weapons, multiple kill zones and firing lanes, excessive verticality and murder holes.  This is of course to say nothing of the peer to peer connections (think Dark Souls PvP) or a minimap that showcases constant player locations thanks to shots fired, UAV’s, and various kill streaks.

It’s difficult to emphasize just how devastating some of these variables can be.  If I had to choose a biggest offenders list, the peer to peer system, map design, and minimap coverage would be at the very top.  In 2005 after our CAL season had wrapped up an outside sponsor stepped in and organized a Battlefield: Vietnam world championship.  It was the Americans versus the Europeans.  One round on US servers and one round on Euro servers.  However, there was one major detail to iron out; the Euros played with a setting that highlighted flags being captured on the minimap and the Americans did not.  For the life of us, we couldn’t understand why anyone would ever want to play with a setting that demolished any semblance of tactics, subterfuge, or strategy.  If someone had further suggested that not only do we show which points are being captured but where at on the map people are firing from, both sides would have thrown their hands up in disgust and walked away.  Today in 2015 both of these are default settings that no one bothers to question anymore.

Another area I want to focus in on are kill zones and firing/kill lanes.  These are terms used to describe the degree to which any one person has the ability to sight in on someone else and take them out.  A large reason why so many people have such poor KDR’s is due to the degree that kill zones and firing lanes are implemented year after year.  While it used to be possible to circle the map and work your way in from the perimeter, CoD is designed in such a way that you always have multiple blind spots and you’re unable to cover all of them.  This is true not only for your immediate vicinity, but holds doubly true for anyone head glitching/proning/crouching a ledge somewhere with an assault rifle waiting take you out at range.  In my opinion, along with the minimap abuse it’s one of the chief skill equalizing factors.

Several days ago TB had this to tweet out regarding the Exo suits in Advanced Warfare: “…Mobility makes a huge difference to the age old cod problem of dying too fast. It’s no longer a case of, the first person to open fire wins a fight. Dodging and careful mobility can turn the tables”.  By mobility he’s referring to a players newfound ability to quickly dodge in any direction including being able to double jump and swiftly crush an opponent under their heel.  What bothered me about this statement was its lack of contrast with mentioning the absurd power and range of assault rifles and how the long game completely nullifies any perk gained from the new Exo suits.  Double jumping and or dodging is all well and good in a close quarter fight, but aside from 1 or 2 close quartered maps, the vast majority of Advanced Warfare is specifically designed and caters to long range gunfights in the form of assault rifles.  If you’re under the impression you can rock a shotgun or dual SMG’s then I implore you to join up with a friend and win handily until you’re paired up with a group of individuals who have no problem sitting on pre-determined fire lanes and completely locking down the map from afar.  No amounts of strafing and dodging from your Exo suit or otherwise will save you from unabashed fire lanes that will have you locked down until said shooter is removed.

Essentially what it amounts to is this; the more variables thrown into the mix the harder it is to consistently get the cream to rise to the top.  The harder it is for any one person to consistently crush another individual into oblivion means there’s a better chance for the other 5 random Joe’s to get their licks in and feel accomplished about themselves.  Whatever skill there is that’s involved with strafing, aiming, and Exo dodging is completely nullified via the brutal effectiveness of long range combat.  Long range efficacy in combination with killstreaks and instant respawns ends up rewarding some of the worst behavior you can have in first person shooters.  It promotes stagnant and dormant players (we used to call them mushrooms) and instead of battles being fought tooth and nail over a given area of the map, you end up with head glitching contests and players confining themselves to a small area in order to control spawns.

Looking back on my own experience, there are clear parallels between the extremely popular Battlefield 1942 Desert Combat Mod and Call of Duty.  It featured guns that had 2-4x the fire rat of it’s predecessors along with bigger clips and better accuracy.  The vehicles lost their parabolic arcs and slow reloading times and instead fired a round that more closely resembled a laser beam than a tank shell.  Dominant players on infantry based maps who might be accustomed to 15:1 KDR’s suddenly found themselves struggling to hit 5:1.  If you really want to go down the rabbit hole we can go all the way back to James Bond on the Nintendo 64.  Everyones favorite way of playing the game seemed to be license to kill.  Why license to kill you ask?  Because they found it the most fun.  The fun aspect about it was that it completely leveled the playing field and nullified the ideas behind body armor and weapon runs.  The klobb suddenly became a good gun.

Sometimes I wonder how low the average KDR has to be in order for people to draw the line.  In the time it took me to hit level 50 in AW, I’d say the average KDR is significantly below 2:1.  That means most people are killing just over 1 person for every death they take.  There was a time in my career that I was ashamed and embarrassed if I died more than 2 or 3 times in a single round regardless of the amount of kills I had.  4 or 5 was tantamount to lunacy.  Is 40 kills and 20 deaths really a great game?  How about 35 kills and 12 deaths?  What if people were able to learn from their death as opposed to saying “meh, can’t watch 4 doors all at once”.

In order to create meaningful combat people have to feel as though they’re learning from their encounters instead of chalking them up to random garbage and making the same run with the same skillset all over again.  There isn’t anything to be learned from dying to to an assault rifle 3 miles out while you were strafing back and forth and attempting to capture said point.  Dying after walking into a room and that has overhead fire lanes and doors in N, S, E, and W quadrants is not going to teach anyone anything.  Exo suits are being used a travel system instead of a means to battle other players because they’re rendered redundant by virtue of high powered and fully automatic precision weapons.  There simply isn’t any way to learn from your experiences or sort out who’s good and who’s bad because everyone has been reduced to a similar level.  Ask yourselves what the odds are that you would’ve noticed Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan if basketball hoops were 6 feet tall, the courts half as long, and with twice as many players.  More (variables) is not always better and in this case it seems to be decisively worse.

22 comments

  1. The average kdr in absolutely every game is slightly less than exactly one when suicides are taken into account. For every kill there must be a death, and the global kdr goes unchanged. I agree with most everything else though.

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  2. rhaegar:
    The average kdr in absolutely every game is slightly less than exactly one when suicides are taken into account. For every kill there must be a death, and the global kdr goes unchanged. I agree with most everything else though.

    Of course you’re correct here but I was attempting to highlight the subtle difference in KDR’s today versus a landslide difference many years ago.

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  3. Another A+ article. Game Informer should publish your writing. Out of curiosity do you feel some game modes are better then others, such as Domination being better then S&D because it doesn’t need to have as much camping/slower play or is it just as bad ?

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  4. Ydoc05:
    Another A+ article. Game Informer should publish your writing. Out of curiosity do you feel some game modes are better then others, such as Domination being better then S&D because it doesn’t need to have as much camping/slower play or is it just as bad ?

    I’ve played quite a bit of domination and it’s being exploited rather hard. I’ve had fun on a few close quarter maps despite these issues but as I mentioned they’re few and far between. There’s already been significant evolution of people nailing down firing lanes between the pre-order day and the first day of launch. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like in a few weeks.

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  5. I think it’s interesting to hear a competitive player mind frame but FPS’s have changed. If someone is able to get a 15:1 K/D then he clearly has no reason playing against the people he is playing against. To me he isn’t showing off his skill, he is being a bully picking on lower level players and should be playing people his own skill level. That wasn’t an option for you as you and your team was vastly superior to almost everyone you played, there was a clear skill gap and you guys profited from it, you had no competition. Now days I think the biggest reason for overall K/D’s being lower is because the people are actually playing people who are there own skill now generally. Every game has the guy going like 5-100 simply because he is bad and maybe mentally retarded but even back in 1942 those people could still kill, not often but they still could(I should know I used to be one) As someone who was always on the receiving end of one of those guys I was willing to learn from my mistakes but in situations like this where I was against a guy going like 15:1 K/D I couldn’t learn as I was dying faster then my brain could process wtf just happened and got frustrated so I started using my memory to win, memorizing where the popular paths were and the way everyone went and then taking paths that would cause me to ambush you guys, basically giving me a free kill., as afterall you pro players all do the same thing and most people followed there blueprint so it made it easy for me to memorize your patterns and capitalize on that. Using the guns that counter the popular guns you used, never taking you head on as I totally fucking sucked and couldn’t win head on. Suddenly I learned that FPS in general requires no skill, just a good brain and timing to overcome skill, even in battlefield 1942 this worked.

    In Goldeneye I didn’t see any element of skill, just a good memory was needed. Memorize where the armor is and the best weapon in the set and run a train between the two areas until you win. I was by far the worst FPS player in my group of friends and yet I always won decisively every time because I had the best memory, I knew where the armor was and the best guns were. By the time they found them it was to late for there skill to overcome the point gap I created with my superior memory. I took heavy damage every fight but it was no big deal I knew where the armor was and they were to dumb to follow me to it. Again no skill, dick move on my part not telling them where they were. I loved license to kill because it was an adrenaline rush knowing you can die in one hit basically.

    in AW those firing lanes you talk about are only an issue if you rush them head on like a moron, using the exo suit to get around them works wonders, especially if you don’t go airborne for to long. I have had no issue dodging shots and surviving for a frightening amount of time in these fire lanes with properly timed jumps and boost dodges. It’s amazing how inaccurate people become when you start jumping and sliding around properly. Like all FPS’s an element of timing and memory is needed to overcome this issue of a skill gap. Or the novel concept of ignoring the guy in the fire lane also works. I think it’s a problem of you not evolving( or rather excepting that gaming has gone beyond) 1942. I’ll be honest I hated CoD for years, not because of skill equalizing factors are there because there are a few(minimap being the biggest as you pointed out). I hated it because it was basically the same game year after year. I don’t mind buying and playing a good or decent game 3 or 4 years in a row but after that do something else and mix it up drastically and that is what AW has done. It’s a temporary fix but one that will hold for a while.

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  6. I guess its to be expected, but its still definitely disheartening to know that sitting in a corner, peeking through a crack in the wall is what “gamers” live for now. The celebration of mediocrity in our society is honestly disgusting. I really hope that we can grow a community who can cast some influence on society, so that horse shit like cod can be laughed about in the years to come.

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  7. It’s difficult to level any type of criticism or critique without being labeled a hater or a whiner. Except on Mister Picky Pants! That’s why I love this site. I don’t have any hands on experience with this game and probably never will, but I feel that something that need’s to go is stat tracking, k/d stat track in particular. Way too many people who want to have those “pretty numbers”, people want to have those 2+ numbers and feel like King shit while playing like dog shit to achieve them, camping and picking people off from afar, clipping, not playing objective, whatever it may be.

    I fail to see how in a game where you die so fast, jumping around and dodging is going to save you. It might save you from what? 1 of every 10 gunfights? About the same odds as turning on people in any other CoD. But, like I said, I have no experience with this one so its basically speculation. You pretty much answered it yourself with Exo suits being a means of travel rather than a means of battle. Not much else to say really, CoD is just the same tired game every year. Though I hear the visuals in the campaign are pretty solid, cut scenes in particular. Sorry to say though, graphical improvements won’t save this sinking ship.

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  8. Tyler:
    I think it’s interesting to hear a competitive player mind frame but FPS’s have changed. If someone is able to get a 15:1 K/D then he clearly has no reason playing against the people he is playing against. To me he isn’t showing off his skill, he is being a bully picking on lower level players and should be playing people his own skill level. That wasn’t an option for you as you and your team was vastly superior to almost everyone you played, there was a clear skill gap and you guys profited from it, you had no competition. Now days I think the biggest reason for overall K/D’s being lower is because the people are actually playing people who are there own skill now generally. Every game has the guy going like 5-100 simply because he is bad and maybe mentally retarded but even back in 1942 those people could still kill, not often but they still could(I should know I used to be one) As someone who was always on the receiving end of one of those guys I was willing to learn from my mistakes but in situations like this where I was against a guy going like 15:1 K/D I couldn’t learn as I was dying faster then my brain could process wtf just happened and got frustrated so I started using my memory to win, memorizing where the popular paths were and the way everyone went and then taking paths that would cause me to ambush you guys, basically giving me a free kill., as afterall you pro players all do the same thing and most people followed there blueprint so it made it easy for me to memorize your patterns and capitalize on that. Using the guns that counter the popular guns you used, never taking you head on as I totally fucking sucked and couldn’t win head on. Suddenly I learned that FPS in general requires no skill, just a good brain and timing to overcome skill, even in battlefield 1942 this worked.

    If you honestly think that games should be always skill equalized so you are playing against someone who was on your exact skill level, than you are a mad man. If Baseball was this way every hitter would hit roughly the same number of home runs, and every pitcher throw the same number of strike outs, but its not. People can be with in a certain skill gap, and still be crushed, so I’m not sure how you could say it’s bullying. Also if you “sucked” in bf I doubt you were overcoming the commonly used guns by more skilled players, with dinky ones that have been overlooked. All Im saying is you started this topic by saying you were not a god BF player, and then two lines latter claim to take on skilled players with simple flank tactics. Imo you argument doesnt hold up, and comes across as ignorant superiority.

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  9. The exo suit is a big problem in this game, especially for Domination. From my experience, people only use the suit to get on top of one of the 500 rooftops on each map and just wait for people who will try and capture the flags. I’ve also noticed that hipfire is worthless this game. There have been numerous times where I’ve gotten the drop on a guy, but he still killed me because I chose to hipfire while he chose to ADS.

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  10. I would take TB’s comments about AW with a grain of salt. Most CoD games look good (or average even) for the first month or two when people see all these players absolutely wrecking the inexperienced. Then people learn how to exploit weaknesses or circumvent obstacles (such as dealing with the added mobility), and the game suddenly doesn’t look so great and all the “improvements” that have been made seem increasingly insignificant or a cause of frustration. Just wait, this game looks shiny with some of the new editions that have been added, but I’ll guarantee that this game will follow the same curve of interest with gamers as the past CoD games.

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  11. Well, to be fair to TB I think he’s right when he says that most people hating on AW are ignorant. The game not bad “because its the same every year,” and if that is the end of someone’s line of reasoning then TB is right in pointing them out on their incomplete argument.

    Clearly thats not a reasonable argument and there are many other far more important factors that make CoD a bad game. Those factors, of course, are all the ones you’ve talked about over the years. And although TB hasn’t considered this issue from every angle, he’s definitely trying to. He even understands that increased mobility widens the skill gap, thats actually pretty impressive and is definitely not something most people would have ever thought of).

    Agree with you on pretty much everything else though and I think it’s good that you pointed TB out on this. You’re right, he is thought of as the “white knight” and It’s bad that he’s going around telling everyone that AW is a good game.

    Oh, and pointing out a big name youtuber’s flawed argument is not “pandering for views”. Keep doing what you’re doing. :)

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  12. Problem with quoting TB on CoD is that he is no expert on FPS games + those are his first impressions. There’s no point in ridiculing someone who comes from a way more casual perspective when discussing CoD. TB is not an omnipotent mastermind of videogames and people should have realised that by now.

    I think people forget stuff like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpmeOB0Zyu0

    I am not saying TB is right. In fact I would argue that you shouldn’t even listen to him in the first place when he is giving his first impressions on multiplayer FPS, but you have to understand where he is coming from with his arguments and why he thinks the way he does.

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  13. Several days ago TB had this to tweet out regarding the Exo suits in Advanced Warfare: “…Mobility makes a huge difference to the age old cod problem of dying too fast. It’s no longer a case of, the first person to open fire wins a fight. Dodging and careful mobility can turn the tables”. By mobility he’s referring to a players newfound ability to quickly dodge in any direction including being able to double jump and swiftly crush an opponent under their heel. What bothered me about this statement was its lack of contrast with mentioning the absurd power and range of assault rifles and how the long game completely nullifies any perk gained from the new Exo suits. Double jumping and or dodging is all well and good in a close quarter fight, but aside from 1 or 2 close quartered maps, the vast majority of Advanced Warfare is specifically designed and caters to long range gunfights in the form of assault rifles.

    What makes it worse is awful netcode atm which introduces a lot of one frame and behind corner deaths. Not way you properly play around that if you don’t have the time to respond anyway. But yea, the maps are still very much classic CoD, so the freedom of the exo suit is kinda limited because of that. It still looks like the most fun CoD in years, but I’m not going to buy it without dedicated servers or at least a stable player hosting system (have the connection and location to pull host almost every time).

    Jeremmmmmmy:
    The exo suit is a big problem in this game, especially for Domination. From my experience, people only use the suit to get on top of one of the 500 rooftops on each map and just wait for people who will try and capture the flags. I’ve also noticed that hipfire is worthless this game. There have been numerous times where I’ve gotten the drop on a guy, but he still killed me because I chose to hipfire while he chose to ADS.

    I like how Titanfall works around it by placing all the flags indoors (of course the unnerfed C4 by multiple people at once kinda ruined that again, but they nerfed that). The bigger maps (to make room for Titans) suit the parkour movement nicely too.

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  14. Gundogan: What makes it worse is awful netcode atm which introduces a lot of one frame and behind corner deaths. Not way you properly play around that if you don’t have the time to respond anyway.

    I don’t know that I’ve seen a server yet where everyone had healthy ping the whole time through. Everyone appears to have ping issues with their bars fluxuating between 1 red, yellow, and then at the end of the match it shows everyone at full white. Lots of teleportation and slideshow issues related to the lag. Even had a few of them happen on stream.

    Also, apparently we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we had numerical ping values. Bars4lyfe

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  15. WaldoDude: I don’t know that I’ve seen a server yet where everyone had healthy ping the whole time through.Everyone appears to have ping issues with their bars fluxuating between 1 red, yellow, and then at the end of the match it shows everyone at full white.Lots of teleportation and slideshow issues related to the lag.Even had a few of them happen on stream.

    Also, apparently we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves if we had numerical ping values.Bars4lyfe

    The ping bars are clearly bugged or something is seriously wrong (like with my typing in my previous post, tired I guess oO) with the netcode. Jumping from less than 100 to more than 400 ping all the time is like pre-2000’s player hosting on a dial-up modem.

    And the bars…. they are like wifi! Numbers are confusing man.

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  16. I agree with your article completely. I have to say from my own experience it seems that the skillful players are suffering from the way multiplayer games are going at the moment. This I feel is because gaming companies are trying to copy the call of duty style of gameplay in the hopes of achieving their success instead of trying to put their own personal stamp on a game with originality, instead they are trying to reach into the Cod market. Personally when playing Halo 4 from my time playing it there are changes made to the game from Halo 3 to make it more like call of duty such as deaths come more easily, like who shoots first will mostly likely get the kill. Also trying to add these variables and that they feel the more selection the game has the better with more killstreaks or features instead of well-balanced and enoyable game that is more fun than frustrating. I hope soon that this trend will end but unfortunately I cannot see this happening in the short teerm future

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  17. I was initially excited for AW when I heard that there would be much more movement, and (hopefully) therefore greater accuracy and a fast-paced playing style would finally be rewarded. However, as you said, with the plethora of skill equalizers and ridiculous variables, it seems like this CoD has really only changed aesthetically.

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  18. flowen:
    I was initially excited for AW when I heard that there would be much more movement, and (hopefully) therefore greater accuracy and a fast-paced playing style would finally be rewarded. However, as you said, with the plethora of skill equalizers and ridiculous variables, it seems like this CoD has really only changed aesthetically.

    You know, it’s my hidden hope when I post something like this that someone blows me out of the water and tells me what a daft cow I must be for missing a huge piece of the puzzle. I don’t want it to be this way :(

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  19. Wally I have to admit that I am a little bit confused in what exactly you want in a game and I was wondering if you could clear up some points for me/us. As a reference I am not a FPS player, I would in general consider myself as a casual scrub in most games, and I do for the most part enjoy the content you put out (which might be less obvious when you read on). I am not sure, if this article is the right one for this comment, but yeah let’s see. Sorry btw I believe I was not able to make my points very clear, I am not a native speaker and I do not have enough time to find the right formulations etc.

    My confusion derives from several factors, but it mainly comes down to the fact that I don’t understand your baseline that you use to judge games in general. For me a lot of your arguments sound like: ‘This game is bad, because it is not BF42. My opinion is justified because I was an evil overlord in BF42, which is btw the only reference needed to come to any conclusion about any game’. This does not have the feeling of ‘I want to educate all the poor and misguided gamers to want better games’, but it seems to me arrogant and to some part ignorant. This is because you often seem to generalize too much in the sense that everybody should come to the same conclusion you have, but you seem to ignore the fact that not every player enjoys the same things. Therefore, it would be helpful if you could explain your baseline better such that it easier for us to compare your opinion with our own baselines. If you are not too pissed about my opinion, let me raise some details I would like you to clarify.

    First of all, why does a game has to be competitive (I’d really prefer skill-based, because competitive reminds me too much of team vs team/tournaments/etc.) and not casual in your opinion? If I recall correctly you don’t want to play competitively anymore at least not in the way you used to with 20ID, but you still want to have competitive games which sounds contradictive to me. When you describe casual games you always bring up the line ‘king for one day’ with a bad connotation, and it seems that you want to be the ‘king of all days’. However, as I said before you don’t want to be ‘king of all days’ by joining a team, although you try to get that edge on occasion (DayZ (okay mainly for not having to gear up) and Arma (more for social reasons, then improving your win chances)). Which leads to the conclusion, you want to have the feeling of superiority over all scrubs by individual skill. But what makes up your motivation to be better than others? And what are you willing to do to achieve this goal?

    Now the second part of my confusion comes into play. So you want to tune your individual skill (‘I want to have a game I really can sink my teeth in’), however, you only want to do it if the learning experience is similar to BF42. With learning experience you always refer to an immediate justification of what went wrong, however, a game with skill equalizers doesn’t provide you that feedback. So why not adjust your learning method? Do you really believe that it is impossible to gain an advantage over the standard scrubs of the world, because of skill equalizers, or does it mean you have not found the right learning method yet? Did you really think of all possible strategies that you can employ to get a satisfactory gaming experience, i.e. did you find all strategies to cheese it by being inanimate objects, or did you simply give up too early?

    If you can answer all these points positively for you (my learning method is perfect, my measure of success is the best, etc.): how do you explain then the existence of players that appear to have an advantage over the general scrubs to win a lot of their played rounds (e.g. some random Twitch or YT person)? Another question in the same line: Is maybe your measure of success too tainted by your BF42 experience, in the sense that everything under a KDR of 15:1 is not enough for you anymore?

    All these factors/questions make me unsure if you speak to a general audience or only to people that have a similar baseline as yourself and I should take your opinions more like ‘I as a competitive player cannot enjoy the game so I give you my first impressions based on the experience I have made so far before I gave up on the game’. This sounds very much like TB that you seem to criticize here.

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  20. Roetelefloet:
    My confusion derives from several factors, but it mainly comes down to the fact that I don’t understand your baseline that you use to judge games in general. For me a lot of your arguments sound like: ‘This game is bad, because it is not BF42. My opinion is justified because I was an evil overlord in BF42, which is btw the only reference needed to come to any conclusion about any game’. This does not have the feeling of ‘I want to educate all the poor and misguided gamers to want better games’, but it seems to me arrogant and to some part ignorant. This is because you often seem to generalize too much in the sense that everybody should come to the same conclusion you have, but you seem to ignore the fact that not every player enjoys the same things.

    That’s a lot of text so I’ll do my best to respond to each of your points. BF1942 was the game I played competitively so I often use it as a means of comparison. I’ve attempted to extrapolate what it was about BF1942 that made it great (often accidentally so) and contrast that with where FPS games such as CoD are at today. If at all possible I tend to avoid blanket statements and generalizations because I think it’s important to define your how’s and why’s as specifically as possible.

    Roetelefloet:
    First of all, why does a game has to be competitive (I’d really prefer skill-based, because competitive reminds me too much of team vs team/tournaments/etc.) and not casual in your opinion? If I recall correctly you don’t want to play competitively anymore at least not in the way you used to with 20ID, but you still want to have competitive games which sounds contradictive to me. When you describe casual games you always bring up the line ‘king for one day’ with a bad connotation, and it seems that you want to be the ‘king of all days’. However, as I said before you don’t want to be ‘king of all days’ by joining a team, although you try to get that edge on occasion (DayZ (okay mainly for not having to gear up) and Arma (more for social reasons, then improving your win chances)). Which leads to the conclusion, you want to have the feeling of superiority over all scrubs by individual skill. But what makes up your motivation to be better than others? And what are you willing to do to achieve this goal?

    To take a game to a competitive level to me is synonymous with skill-based performance. It would be odd to see basketball for instance lower the hoops to 6 feet and quadruple the team sizes. It wouldn’t be as competitive or create an environment where skilled players can shine like they do now. When I say I don’t want to play competitively anymore, I’m saying that there aren’t any shooters out there that I’m interested in taking to that level. If a good player in CoD is 2:1 KDR and a great player is 3:1, (assuming comparable SPM’s) that’s not something I care to pursue.

    If there were something tasty out there for me to dive into there’s nothing I wouldn’t do. My success in the past wasn’t based on incredible skills as I feel most people have relatively similar skills. It was based on me wanting to win more and trying harder than the next guy. I’d jump in head first and become completely absorbed and break it down to a science in order to win. I don’t see that happening anytime soon though.

    King for a day is referring to CoD’s strategy of favoring RNG factor over player skill. There are so many random variables that despite any given players skill, it’s often RNG whether or not it’s able to shine. IMO a great player should consistently rise to the top of scrub heap and there should be marked differences between amazing players and lower tiers. That’s what it is to be amazing or skilled at something.

    Roetelefloet:
    Now the second part of my confusion comes into play. So you want to tune your individual skill (‘I want to have a game I really can sink my teeth in’), however, you only want to do it if the learning experience is similar to BF42. With learning experience you always refer to an immediate justification of what went wrong, however, a game with skill equalizers doesn’t provide you that feedback. So why not adjust your learning method? Do you really believe that it is impossible to gain an advantage over the standard scrubs of the world, because of skill equalizers, or does it mean you have not found the right learning method yet? Did you really think of all possible strategies that you can employ to get a satisfactory gaming experience, i.e. did you find all strategies to cheese it by being inanimate objects, or did you simply give up too early?

    I actually didn’t do well with BF1942 when I first started playing. In fact, I did so poorly that I might have given up on it if it weren’t for a free demo that it had out. I was walking in BF straight out of quake and those two games clearly didn’t play like one another. I kept at it because I wanted to see if there was a way to become skilled at this and the rest is history.

    I think any game requires at least a few separate play sessions before you can reasonably make up your mind about it. It’s never a good idea to form a conclusion after the first 5 minutes of a game. I don’t currently see any problems with my learning methods (although IMO I start very slow and ramp up quickly after a few days) but rather I don’t care to master the skills of proning on a ledge somewhere in order to lock down a firing lane. I know exactly what it would take to become a great player in a game like CoD and I feel like those skills are so rudimentary that anyone can be a great player which is why I’m not interested. Once again referring back to the NBA analogy, if the 3 point line was 3 feet out from a 6 foot hoop, there’d be a lot of great 3 point shooters. Not that some wont be better than others, but that margin is very, very small.

    Roetelefloet:
    If you can answer all these points positively for you (my learning method is perfect, my measure of success is the best, etc.): how do you explain then the existence of players that appear to have an advantage over the general scrubs to win a lot of their played rounds (e.g. some random Twitch or YT person)? Another question in the same line: Is maybe your measure of success too tainted by your BF42 experience, in the sense that everything under a KDR of 15:1 is not enough for you anymore?

    All these factors/questions make me unsure if you speak to a general audience or only to people that have a similar baseline as yourself and I should take your opinions more like ‘I as a competitive player cannot enjoy the game so I give you my first impressions based on the experience I have made so far before I gave up on the game’. This sounds very much like TB that you seem to criticize here.

    The individuals you’re referring to regarding CoD do not post every match they play. They lobby farm in order to find a group where ideally everyone is garbage and there aren’t any teams and most importantly where they’re host. In addition to this, they’ll finish a CoD game with double digit days played. The first DNA bomb (25 kills in a row) I saw was posted on youtube from a guy who has in his own words, streamed for at least 18 hours a day since the game came out. It took him 3-4 days of 18 hours a day using long range assaults and SMG’s in TDM to get 25 kills in a row. That’s insanity and in no way indicative of greater than average skill.

    There isn’t a magical KDR value that I need in order for a game to be satisfying. However, the lower that number goes the less likely that game is to be a skill-based shooter. If that number is too high it probably means something needs tweaking. I’ve no doubt that many of maps where I exclusively ran helicopters and saw average KDR’s in the 80:1 ratio were far, far too high. I can remember raging and being furiously upset when I would finish a helicopter map and I died at all because I felt it was pathetic to die even once. It marred my otherwise perfect game and it was therefore ass and needed to improve.

    I’ve played nearly every CoD since CoD 4 and I’ve around 1 day played (24 hours) in the most recent CoD AW. Unless you require 48 hours play time for an adequate review, I wouldn’t exactly call these first impressions.

    Hope I answered your questions.

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  21. Thank you Wally for answering my questions. Indeed, your answers are very helpful to establish the aforementioned baseline. I hope I didn’t annoy you too much with my questions.

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  22. The main disagreement I would have to have is with the verticality point: The verticality in Call of Duty multiplayer is really not much at all. Maybe compared to Battlefield maps where you can’t get to higher levels of buildings, but in general it’s really not much. It may be my experience with old arena shooters (primarily Quake) or the Halo games up to 3 (never went past that in the series other than ODST) where there’s much, much more verticality…

    Even in this new one with it’s super-jumps and whatnot the vertical gameplay is minuscule. It’s not like the enhanced mobility helps in other ways either: I lost count of how many normal looking areas were fully out of bounds or otherwise blocked by invisible walls during the free weekend.

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