There is zero hope for it to return to the glory days that we all remember back in our high school and college days. And I know what some of you are thinking as you clicked to read this blog: “Nerd, you already whined last week about why Warzone is trash. Why are you writing a SECOND blog about how you hate this franchise?”
Well, because this time I’m not just talking about Warzone. I’m talking about the entire mothership of dogshit that is modern-day Call of Duty.
Why do I think the most successful video game franchise ever made out of the United States is officially done-zo? Think back to the old MW2/Black Ops days. Why did you get on every single night to play the game? To play with your friends, grind the guns/skins/emblems, max out your prestige rank, compete against others; we all had our reasons.
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Guess what: every single one of those reasons has been fucking ruined by the systems put in place by Activision over the last few years.
Let’s start with “playing with your friends”. Do you see the image above? Have you seen it before? Of course you have.
It’s been a bug in the game since day 1 which was…5 MONTHS AGO. And it’s not the only matchmaking bug out there. I’ve joined friend’s lobbies and been kicked right as the match starts, I’ve been kicked from a lobby less than 60 seconds after joining while we wait for our last friend to join, every night at least one of us seems to have our console or PC crash mid-game, etc. Oh, and this isn’t just an issue with the latest entry in the series. We had some of the same difficulties playing last year’s Modern Warfare as well.
And that’s all before you actually get into the game. I don’t know about you but I used to put HOURS into CoD when I was younger. Like I used to start at 6pm every night and play until my dad woke up the next day to go to work. I was a motha-fuckin grinder. My friends that I play with now though actually went outside as kids, so they don’t have the skills that I formed as a young adolescent.
Enter my biggest issue with skill-based matchmaking: my friends never want to play with me anymore because the lobbies are much harder than their normal ones. Meanwhile, I’m dropping 50 bombs every match playing against shitters while they’re having a miserable time against prodigies like me. And I know, this used to happen all the time back in the day as well, but it wasn’t every. single. fucking. match.
It’s so disheartening to hear your boys be like “yea… I think I’m gonna get off tonight. just not having fun.” after only like 3-4 matches knowing you’re unintentionally the reason. And regardless of how much we fucking hate it, SBMM is here to stay so there’s literally nothing we can do about it. So I’m just trapped into playing with other grinders like me instead of playing with my IRL friends.
Speaking of the grind, it’s pretty fucked up now too. All the things we used to spend hours and hours pushing for (camos, prestige ranks, special emblems) have been watered down so badly that they aren’t even worth it anymore. The default camos you can earn by completing various challenges are either dogshit or repeats from the last 5 CoD entries. Only one skin has ever really popped out to me in the last 3-4 years and that’s the Damascus skin from MW, which requires you to get EVERY OTHER SKIN ON EVERY GUN IN THE GAME.
Now tell me, who wants to do that when you can just pay $20+ for a badass gun in a few minutes? That’s Activision’s plan: make everything you get in the base game so bland and boring that you have to pay to look good in the game, and they even go further than that with blueprints where your skins only work on ONE gun using specific attachments.
Even the Battle Pass follows that formula. Look through the last few Battle Passes for Black Ops Cold War and Modern Warfare. How many of those items were worth it (not including the overpowered new guns added every pass)? Like 2-3 per pass right? Ok now compare that to the Fortnite Battle Pass where EVERY Pass has at least 8-10 skins, gliders, and emotes that you will use regularly during that season. Activision isn’t doing this by accident; they’re intentionally watering down their battle passes so you still are inclined to buy items from their store.
What you can’t buy from the store though is a prestige rank…which unfortunately means nothing nowadays. It used to be one of the biggest flexes in gaming; a symbol of the hours of grinding you had put into the game. And what is it now? Another tactic to keep you playing the game year-round. Instead of 10 levels that take hundreds of hours to grind, they’ve spread it out so that you can only max out at certain prestige levels each season. Why? Treyarch’s reasoning is that people want something to grind for each season, but in reality the longer you play the game, the more likely you are to buy more shit from the store.
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And that’s the main reason this series is going down the drain. When I said Fortnite ruined the gaming industry in every blog I wrote in 2019, this is what I was talking about. As soon as companies saw how much Epic Games made on the microtransactions from Fortnite they immediately pivoted every system in their games to follow suit. It’s kinda like the mobile games market. Remember when games like Doodle Jump and Angry Birds were the best games on the app store? What’s there now? An extremely simple game that took a week to make and is flooded with ads to maximize profit.
That’s what Call of Duty has become: an automated money funnel for Activision. They could care less that we hate SBMM because it’s proven to maintain the player base. They could care less that the weapon balancing gets worse and worse year after year because it keeps people playing their game instead of giving up.
They could care less about anything that you just read in this entire blog because, at the end of the day, they know that people are still going to buy their game because of the brand name and, in turn, spend hundreds of dollars on their store.
So here’s my advice: move on. Stop hoping that the next entry might be better every year. It won’t. It’s never going to change.