Call of Duty: AW – Part 1

August will see the MP reveal for Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. I thought I would try and capture my thoughts on the franchise in general, as well as the next iteration specifically, before the hype train hits full speed. My intention is to follow up with another post in November when the game has just come out, to provide my initial feedback and then a further post sometime later to see how valid my initial feedback was.

I dislike Ghosts. A lot. I sometimes still jump on for a few games, but that is about as much as I can take before I get bored and frustrated. I have put in far fewer hours on this game than I have any other CoD title. Everything about the game encourages slow, campy game play and this is simply not conducive to having a good time. The maps are terrible, the killstreaks suck (the dog does not suck, but is way OP). This game can be summarised in two words: IED and Stonehaven. On the flip side of that, Infinity Ward have, in Ghosts, made the most technically sound CoD game I have ever played. Lag comp is minimal, hit detection is excellent and I glitching is minimal to the point of being insignificant.

Function over features
I do not want to see a stack of new features unless the problems with the existing features have all been addressed.

Emphasis on PTFO and not K:D
If the game mode is not FFA or TDM then do not publish the kills and deaths in the scoreboard. Publish caps, defends and score. Players should gain score based on PTFO; kills performed whilst attacking of defending the objective should be scored more highly than regular kills. In FFA and TDM the objective is to kill, so in these modes kills can be rewarded with more score. This should help to avoid streakless games of TDM from BO2.

Simple game mode choices
FFA and TDM available in regular and hardcore. Some fun modes in a separate playlist: gun game, OITC, infected, stick and stones, etc. Team tactical: TDM, Dom, Demolition, CTF and hardpoint, all with teams no larger than five or six.

A variety of sensibly sized and not too intricate maps
Ghosts is boring in part because the maps are too large and too intricate. MW2 and BO1 probably had the best mix of maps that suited all game modes. These games also offered a good mixture of backdrop; snow, jungle, urban, grassland. Stonehaven and nuketown are simply horrible to play. Check the objectives in a line or a triangle, put three paths between them.

Working spawn system
The spawn systems seem to have got progressively worse in terms of spawning you in front of an enemy. In Ghosts I have genuinely been spawned facing away from, and in the cross-hairs of, an opponent.

Avoid features that highlight flaws in the engine
CoD suffers from issues with camera angles that mean sometimes you can be killed by someone you cannot see (despite looking right at them), but who can see your whole body. MW3 suffered from horrendous lag compensation issues that exacerbated this flaw. Ghosts brought the lean feature to console for the first time and actively encouraged people to abuse this flaw. I am particularly worried with how the exo suit in AW will work with knife lunges and strafing.

A properly balanced game
All perks should be counterable. Weapons should have different characteristics that make them more/less suitable for different styles of play and situations.

No nuke/M.O.A.B/KEM or similar
These killstreaks encourage camping and boosting and not PTFO. If something like this is included, it should at least not instantly end the game.

No quick scoping
A. Sniping was perfect in BO1; competitive and useful in the right situations. Sniping was terrible in BO2; a sniper rifle should not be the weapon of choice for CQC.

No OP equipment, especially if it is unmanned
The IED from Ghosts is cheap. It is low (no) skill. It encourages camping. The grenade launcher remains OP from MW2; speculative use, multikill achieving grenade launchers are again low skill. C4 has been OP in a few games, but probably reached the height of its powers in BO2; I have no problem with C4 as long as it cannot be replaced with scavenger and cannot be thrown like a Frisbee. Tactical insertions are not missed, they should not come back.

No death streaks and no second chances
If someone gets dropped, they die. The end.

No lethal support streaks
Support streaks should only be things that can help your team, not things that directly harm enemies. UAVs, ammo, vests, all fine.

The ability to turn off the music in the menus
Okay so I know this last one is just me, but I hate the music in these games and IW always prevent you from turning it off. Why?

Hopefully, November brings a fun game to play. One thing is for certain, the FPS landscape has never been so competitive. If SH slip up, then I think people will start seriously looking elsewhere.

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