State of the Union: Call of Duty Modern Warfare

Is it ever too late to bring back a segment from years ago?

It’s been almost two years since I wrote one of these, and the one I wrote was about the curious Far Cry 5.

So, a State of the Union is a summary of what’s going on with a game during its lifecycle. We examine the past, present, and future of the game. This one is going to be a bit tougher since the game has been out for a few months versus me doing this in say June when the game is pretty much done.

But screw it, we’re doing it.

Let’s talk about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019).

The Lead-Up

I feel pretty confident in saying everyone knows the story of Call of Duty. If you don’t here’s a quick refresher.

  • Call of Duty typically launches annually in November (now October) and is published by Activision.
  • Activision has 3 different studios developing the games, with a few smaller ones working on ports or multiplayer.
  • Leaks start to pop up early April-ish.

Fans were excited for an Infinity Ward developed game and rightfully so. The word on the street is that they were developing a modern entry, no futuristic crap or anything.

 

Solid trailer.

The hype was real as Activision and Infinity Ward came out with new features such as cross play, free maps and content post launch, no supply drops, and shared character progression across all game modes. This had the makings to be one of the best Call of Duty’s to date.

Of course it wouldn’t be Call of Duty without some drama. In one of Sony’s State of Play’s Call of Duty made an appearance with a campaign trailer and a surprise tease of Spec Ops Survival Mode. The best part about the tease was the information that Survival Mode was coming to PlayStation first and would be exclusive to PS4 until October 2020.

Nice.

The Release 

October 25th came and Modern Warfare arrived.

Screen Shot 2019-12-23 at 7.46.06 PM.png
Wikipedia coming in clutch almost two years later.

Reviews were positive with praise being directed towards IW’s campaign, multiplayer, graphical prowess, and gameplay.

But you didn’t read this much just to see this information. You want more.

Let’s dig even deeper.

Post Release 

Post launch hasn’t been pretty for the game.

A lot of criticism has been directed at the underwhelming execution of the Spec Ops mode. Who’s idea was it for there to be no difficulty modifiers in a PvE co-op environment especially when the past iterations have had them?

On the other hand a lot of criticism has been directed at the multiplayer. Infinity Ward has opted to travel down nostalgia lane, and the community is quick to point out that nostalgia doesn’t always work. All the gameplay improvements made since 2007 have pretty much gone out the window.

I’m going to be real with you guys; Modern Warfare is ushering in a dangerous change in the gaming world that can be perfectly summarized by this one tweet.

The reason why this is so important is the evidence rising that stricter Skill Based Matchmaking or SBMM is being implemented in this year’s Call of Duty. Just a recap SBMM pairs players of similar skill levels to each other disregarding key factors like connection. Basically, developers seem to be going to extreme lengths to protect the casuals while the boomers/hardcore player base is(are) getting the shaft. This is going to make me sound obnoxiously old, but my friends and I had to push through the stomping to become better.

One other thing that could be looked at is the idea that they’re catering to casuals so they can make more money. Call of Duty WW2 had a patent surface that went along the lines of purchasing new items influences the matchmaking system in the game. Basically, if you bought an item, it’d put you in a lobby that you would dominate to influence your decision to purchase more items. On the flip side, purchasing these items would match you against people who don’t have said item to encourage them to buy it. Nefarious to say the least.

SBMM isn’t a new system, and gamers have been furious over its implementation in similar titles such as Apex Legends and Fortnite. The problem is that with this system in place, it doesn’t give any incentive to improve yourself as a player, as the system is *intended* to work. Most people play these games for fun: not to pursue a career in professional gaming or to lose water weight due to the proverbial “sweat fest” nature of matches.

Another thing to look at is the state of the game. At the time of me writing this, December 31st, 2019, the game is a fucking mess. So many bugs, questionable design choices, and lack of communication is really shitting the bed. Pretty sure if you go on Reddit a few people on PC still can’t play this game, and it’s been 2 months since launch. Activision just invested a ton of money, and fleeced a ton of money, to start their Call of Duty League. Modern Warfare is going to be the game that pro players will be playing in January, and if this game stays in its current state… yikes. I’d be pretty pissed if I spent $25 million for a spot in the league.

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Big leagues and big problems.

I think the reason why this game is so polarizing is because it’s such a pivotal shift in the franchise. Everything was looking good with free content, no supply drops, cross play and progression, yet here we are with a questionable finished product. It also doesn’t help Activision is saying that this game is the most played Call of Duty game this generation and has earned over a billion dollars in sales. News like this is scaring the fans and making the future look dark.

Like I said earlier, this one was hard to cover since it’s January. I guess I just wanted to cover the bigger picture of this game. What do ya think?

 

 

 


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