With the reveal of the multiplayer portion of Call of Duty: Ghosts slated for sometime in August, it is important to look back on the series and see what can and should be done. Thus, here are a few suggestions that may improve and breathe new life into the multiplayer formula.
1. Skill-based gameplay modes
It seems like Black Ops 2 was onto this idea with its introduction of the League Play system. Theoretically, this system was designed to pit you against players with a similar skill set. However, my experience with the system turned out to be nothing but a campfest, which brings me to my thoughts on camping. Camping seems to be synonymous with most first person shooters, and I don’t know if there will ever be a solution to it. I classify my play style as run and gun, but once in a while even I have to stop and either take a breath or intentionally wait to kill an unsuspecting enemy. In my opinion, however, there is a difference between this and a person who sits in a single spot for the entire duration of a match and, due to the map layout, is virtually invincible. Though I am guilty of being somewhat stubborn and unintentionally contributing to the camper’s killstreak in an attempt to kill him or her, I eventually give up going to that region of the map once I’ve realized the futility of trying to kill the camper. I blame this phenomenon on poor map design and overpowered perks and gun attachments. There should not be a single spot on any map in a decent multiplayer FPS where a person cannot be fairly killed. Regarding weapon attachments and perks, a clear indication of an overpowered element is something you run into more often than by chance in the matches you play. A thorough inspection of the layouts of all of the maps as well as a thoroughly thought out balancing of perks, weapons and attachments will be key in making matches fairer, and thus forcing players to rely on their skills and wits to achieve victory.
On a related note, in previous titles, I have wanted to use all of the guns that the games offer. Though the games provide incentive to try out all of the weapons via a challenge system, ultimately I felt that in order for me to have a shot at winning a match, I always wind up having to stick with one or two guns to stand a chance.
2. Infected 2.0
This was one of my favorite modes in Modern Warfare 3, but it isn’t without a few hiccups. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this gametype, Infected starts out with a group of up to 18 people, and after a few seconds, a random person becomes an infected and it is his or her goal to infect other people. The issue is that the infected person can only infect other players either with a direct stab from their knife or a successful toss of their throwing knife. Survivors are tasked with surviving the entire match while avoiding infection. In all, it’s every person for him or herself. One of my main gripes with this game type is the ability for split-screen players to join in a lobby. Though not every split-screener does this, I have witnessed players unfairly boost with their partner to get a MOAB. Thus, I like Infected, but this issue needs to be addressed. A simple step to begin fixing this is to simply prohibit split-screeners from joining an infected lobby. It is important to note that this will not prevent all cheaters from exploiting this game type. This leads in to my main gripe with Call of Duty in general detailed in my next suggestion.
3. Better policing of boosters and cheaters
How many times have you played a match in Call of Duty and stumbled across two players from opposing teams hiding in an obscure corner and placing tactical insertions? You see one player’s K/D go up, and before you know it, he or she is calling in a MOAB. This is such an obvious attempt to exploit the game that I am surprised that Infinity Ward and Treyarch haven’t done more to try to prevent this. So far, what we have is a complaint system both in the games themselves and via Xbox Live. However, this doesn’t seem to prevent boosting and cheating. The revamped reputation system that is expected to be a part of the experience Xbox One should help with this, as it isn’t designed to prevent cheating but merely sequester it. In my opinion, this is a step in the right direction, and I can’t help but wonder why the game developers haven’t implemented a more thorough system of cracking down on boosting already. A simple but perhaps slightly harsh suggestion would involve implementing a tracking system in which the game can detect the location of players at all times throughout a match. If two players from opposing teams are detected in the same area for more than a certain period of time, they would automatically be kicked from a game and perhaps even be put on probation. In all, my hope is that Infinity Ward will take players’ complaints seriously and strive to provide a fairer experience for legitimate players.
4. Multiplayer cooperation
When competitive multiplayer gets to be too aggravating, it is nice to take a break but still be able to share a fun game with friends. Treyarch addressed this with the inclusion of a zombie mode in their titles. Thus, it would be interesting to see something similar done by Infinity Ward, and perhaps even outdo Treyarch by making it bigger and more stimulating. For example, having nine people engage in various activities for a common cause could be an interesting addition to Ghosts.
There will always be fans that will appreciate the multiplayer formula the way it is. In fact, given how popular this series is, this is an almost guaranteed fact. However, I for one, am feeling the staleness of the formula. I yearn to feel genuinely challenged in multiplayer, and I hope that Ghosts can provide that challenge.
What are your thoughts? Are you a fan of keeping things the same or would you like to see some new elements implemented?