Top 10 Things People Hate About Multiplayer in Call of Duty
Alex Co takes a close look at the Call of Duty titles and points out the problems of the games' multiplayer modes.
by Alex Co on 11th Sep, 2012
If you play a lot of Call of Duty's multiplayer, chances are you've nerd-raged at some point for various reasons. Sure, it's never fun to lose, but that's not the only thing that gets my blood pressure rising when I play online.
In writing this I am in no way disparaging the Call of Duty franchise. These are just the things I’ve noticed that really, really annoyed me – which, I’m sure some of you have experienced at one point or another. If you think I'm wrong, feel free to discuss it intelligently in the comments, for the fanboys who blindly follow the franchise and think it can do no wrong; this article might not be for you.
(Disclaimer: All views expressed here are from me only and does not represent Gameranx as a whole. I will be basing the list on both Modern Warfare games and Black Ops only, as they're the most relevant today. The article pertains to the console versions of the games.)
10) The Host Shouldn’t Have an Advantage
Let’s start with the obvious but ever popular host advantage. If Call of Duty had dedicated servers, this wouldn't be an issue at all. But alas, there's none. So we have to live through someone being able to kill you in one to two bursts, while you need to unload a full magazine to off someone. One perfect example of this is when you meet an enemy head-on, and both of you start shooting at each other. You're sure you fired first, but on the kill cam it shows that he fired first and you barely got a shot off.
If that's not rage-inducing, I don't know what is!
9) Squads and Playing as a Team DOES NOT Matter
This is something I've been feeling for quite some time now. Squads do NOT matter in a Call of Duty game. Before you start flaming me, hear me out. Squads are a big help, but they're far from being needed. When I play with people I know, it's usually easier because I know they can hold their mettle against the competition; sure, we sometimes use flanking maneuvers but it's not needed as the maps are kind of small and linear.
The dynamics of needing squad-mates are a moot point, since all that's needed are kills to win the game (let’s face it, people play CoD for Deathmatch, right?). Will someone give you more ammo? There's the Scavenger Perk for that, need someone to kill a camping dude? There are all sorts of killstreak rewards for that as well. Do you get my point now?
8) Kills are All that Matters
The title says it all, if you finished a round with 12 kills, 8 assists and 14 deaths? Well, tough for you as people will chide you for the 14 deaths instead of looking at your assists (yes, I know the franchise is slowly deviating from this). While the game has an accumulated scorecard that will show you helped your team the most People will still think you “failed” because your kill/death ratio wasn’t high enough.
7) The Mystery of the Vanishing Bullets
Has this scenario ever occurred to you when playing a round of Call of Duty multiplayer? You and an enemy face-off, you both shoot and he somehow gets the better of you, but for some reason your last few bullets fired automatically vanishes into thin air when you do. What the heck is that? If you don't believe me, try it out for yourself. It's not this way for noob-tubes, rpgs or other explosives - just on guns; which make this all the more mystifying on why they designed the game like this.
6) The Community Might Need a Little Bit of Work
In my quest to know what annoys people in Call of Duty's multiplayer, one topic that was always thrown my way was the game's community.
Complaints ranged from how people playing it are homophobic, racist bastards -- to how their community consists of 12 - 15 year olds pretending to be older than they really are. You can't escape how their voice breaks out in pre-adolescent squeaks that come out from time to time.
Granted that there are a lot of "kids" playing FPS games these days, but there's something about the Call of Duty franchise that has become the demographics’ new "haven" for online gaming. I mostly attribute it to the franchise becoming so big now that almost every kid in the world wants to be a part of it to be deemed "cool."
There’s a reason why you sometimes hear the term “X game is good since it doesn’t have CoD kiddos,” or something to that effect.
5) The Game WANTS You to Camp
Yep, I said it. The game WANTS you to go hide in that little hidey-hole of yours so you can pile up your killstreak rewards and unleash all that crap on the enemy.
My reason for saying this is that the game rewards you for playing as passively as possible. Sure, there are no respawn times, but what will you get if you run around like a headless chicken across the map? Get tagged by that camping guy, that's what.
If you find a little spot and guard it intelligently, you can pile up the kills in no time. After you've reached your third and final killstreak reward, then it's "safe" to go out into the wild. It's not like you're going to gain anything more by being alive anyway, no? It will also give you the chance to use all those automatic killers the game rewards you with.
4) It's Better to Bring a Knife to a Gun-Fight
Who here hasn't been a victim of Call of Duty's teleporting knife attack? Modern Warfare 2 had it worst with its Commando Pro perk that basically acted as a poor man's shotgun. I can't even count how many times I've gotten a kill just by doing a knife stab in a fit of uncontrolled panic. I and most of the people I've played with online has seen this magical teleporting-knife that's now become so infamous that people started creating things like this:
3) Skill Should Decide a Gunfight and Not What Perks You Have Equipped
How long I've been playing the game, honing my aptitude with the gun of my choice and other factors should determine how good I am in the game. Not because I have the "correct" Perk in use. Have you ever played Counter-Strike? Were you good at it - If so, I'm guessing you relied on your aim and expertise on different weapons instead of reloading very fast, or being undetectable by drones?
Perks should complement the gunplay, NOT be the center of it.
2) Game Balance? Who Needs it?
Call of Duty's multiplayer IS fun, despite the reasons I've listed, but that doesn't mean the game's fair. On the contrary, the game is unbalanced as a crooked scale; from noob-tubes, to how some guns are just exploited, the game has a crap-load of balancing issues.
Let me give one example I remember vividly from Modern Warfare 2. I was playing in the Estate map. I was in the second floor of the house and my Perks at the time were Scavenger Pro, Commando Pro, and Danger Close Pro, I fired an rpg straight to the parked car and bushes that I knew were the enemies’ starting off point; from that one rpg, I got five kills in an instant. How friggin' wrong was that?
Oh, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I was a noob-tubing SOB when I was playing. I hated everyone doing it at first, but decided that I'd rather use those exploits rather than be killed by them.
1) There's a Damn "Win" Button
Last but definitely not the least is that I absolutely hate that the game's killstreak rewards act as a "Win" button. Oh, you just capped eight straight guys? Good for you! Here, press right on the directional pad to unleash a chopper that automatically guns down enemies for you. If that's not enough, have a pack of angry, rabid dogs that will not only kill for you while you're free to hunt other people, but will also tell your whole team where enemies are!
There's almost no risk-reward system in play with Call of Duty's killstreak rewards system. Sure, it's fun when you get to do it, but what of your victims? They're already getting blown out, so why not blow them out even more? It might just be me, but i don't consider that fun.
Even when I was the one doing it, you really don't feel like you "earned" those kills. I mean you earned a killstreak reward, but pressing a single button to net a lot of kills is just plain wrong.
There are a lot of things the developers can do to make their killstreak rewards system NOT be a 'win" button. One good example would be upping the risk in using it. Let's say you earned a chopper gunner reward, instead of mercilessly just shooting guys from above, why not also have the risk of you dying if the chopper gets shot down? So, if you have a third killstreak reward waiting for you, and you only need 1 or 2 more kills to get it, you have to decide if using your chopper gunner at that moment will be worth it, or risk getting it shot down, killing you in the process and being back in square one. I'm sure the creative people at Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games or Treyarch can think of a lot more than.
That concludes my vitriol-filled list. Now, the good thing here is some – if not most – of the problems listed here are being remedied by Treyarch in Black Ops 2. There are no “Pro” Perks in the game, killstreaks are being replaced by scorestreaks and so on. Of course, there’s a chance that will spawn new problems of its own, but we won’t know for sure until we played the game extensively, right?
If you think I'm being anti-Call of Duty just for the heck of it, you'll be glad to know that a similar list for CoD's main rival – Battlefield -- will also be making the rounds.
Yep, a Top 10 Things People Hate About Battlefield will be going up soon. So have your troll remarks ready and your flame suit on.