Call of Duty 8: Modern Warfare 3 (known affectionately by fans as ‘MW3’ and by Activision as ‘License to Print Money Forever 3’) is prepped and ready to be released upon gamers the world over. As a fan of Call of Duty, I have purchased most of the games in the series and all of the ones released on modern consoles; I have given Activision roughly $420 in the process (not including all the DLC packs) for the privilege of owning them. And yet, despite all this, I simply am not excited for the release of MW3. But all is not lost, and since I am sure Activision will be devastated if they do not get my money, I am going to list all the things Modern Warfare 3 needs to address if I am going to care about its impending release.
10. BALANCE THE MULTIPLAYER
Modern Warfare 2 was an unbalanced mess. Have I sufficiently pissed off all the fans of MW2 yet? Good, but hear me out. Tell me if this class combination sounds familiar.
Pistol with tactical knife
"Sir, it's is broken. All of it."
This is known as the “Run around like a crazy person and knife people faster than they can say ‘is that Wolverine?’” (Or something along those lines…). Basically, people took a game about Modern combat and turned it into a game of ‘Slappers Only’ in GoldenEye; except instead of slapping each other players knifed each other; and instead of being a fun alternative to shooting, it was totally game-breaking. Nothing is more demoralizing than watching a deranged psychopath with a knife unleash a nuke on a server full of otherwise well intentioned gamers. It is up to the developer to make a game where the class customization system can’t be broken into teeny-tiny pieces.
While we are on the subject of broken ‘WTF’ decisions, why were shotguns allowed to be a secondary weapon? Halo had a game type called ‘Shotty Snipes’ which involved all players spawning with both a shotgun and a sniper rifle. MW2 had a game-type that did this as well…all of them.
9. DON’T KILL THE PLAYER CHARACTER IN SINGLE PLAYER
When Modern Warfare killed off the U.S. Marine the players were playing as in a nuclear blast, it was a mind-blowing experience. For most gamers, this was the first time they had experienced something like this in a game. The player is supposed to be an invincible killing machine (and given the events up to this point, it can be forgiven that someone would think this way). Then MW2 did the same thing, this time in an airport massacre. Despite the controversy, the level simply did not have the same impact as the original Modern Warfare. If MW3 continues this trend of killing the player, it will lose all of its impact and will diminish any sense of gravitas the story of MW3 is able to conjure up (unless the player is torn into pieces by a large pack of wild apes, because that shit would be awesome).
8. MAKE SURE YOUR MULTIPLAYER ISN’T A BUGGY MESS
Like this, but not as adorable.
I am quite aware that those words are most likely going to incite a massive flame war amongst ardent supporters and detractors of the Call of Duty model of multiplayer. No matter what side of the argument you fall on, it is clear that Modern Warfare revolutionized the way multiplayer games are designed now. Even Halo, the original online innovator, took a cue from Modern Warfare with unlocking armor and earning credits for great feats of multiplayer glory.
With all its innovations, Modern Warfare has never been a perfect system. With every major game release, it is expected that there will be a variety of bugs and glitches. Modern Warfare 2 had some of the worst bugs and glitches of all time. Just watch any of these videos.
And that is just two of the videos. Searching MW2 glitches creates a veritable cornucopia of videos for your viewing pleasure. Perhaps the best part of the videos is in the second clip about the various glitches in the map Terminal. About 1:15 into the video, they use one of the glitches as a ‘Pro Tip’ to help you get better at the game. If the only way to get better is to break the game, it means your game needs some serious fixing.
7. DON’T REMOVE FEATURES FROM PREVIOUS GAMES UNLESS YOU REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING BETTER
Modern Warfare was a great game, and I think most people are in agreement with that statement (or can at least agree that it did some revolutionary things for the shooter genre). And Treyarch came in and took the formula from Modern Warfare and, in most cases, improved upon it. They added a 4-player Co-Op mode, Zombies. Treyarch also added one of my favorite features of all time in Lobby Leaderboards.
How is this not a thing yet?!
Then, after World at War, Infinity Ward took all the improvements and threw them into a fire. Gone was the wonderful Zombies mode, replaced with Spec. Ops mode. Which, while a great new addition, only supported 2 players; this means half of your old buddies from your zombie slaying days were going to have to be pushed to the sidelines. But in that situation, at least it was replaced with something semi-similar. The choice of Infinity Ward to remove Lobby Leaderboards seemed to have no reason other than "We don't like Treyarch". It was not replaced with anything better or different; it was simply shown the door and asked to never come back.
It would be like if Infinity Ward was tasked with making Street Fighter V and they decided that they no longer needed Ryu and Ken and replaced them with a plate of spaghetti and nothing.
6. FUTURE WARFARE: BEST IDEA EVER
Let me take you on an imaginary journey to a time known as 2007. People used to dance in the streets, people loved everyone regardless of color or creed, and a video game based on modern warfare was a unique idea.
Flash forward to 2011. People forgot how to dance; People don’t love each other the way they used to; and almost every shooter released is based on modern warfare. There is Call of Duty: MW2, Battlefield: Bad Company 1 & 2, Battlefield 2, Medal of Honor, and more. Now with the upcoming showdown between the juggernauts MW3 and Battlefield 3, the ‘modern’ trend shows no sign of slowing down.
So I am going to pitch what I think could improve our increasingly stagnant favorite genre, move the year to 2033. When I mention ‘Future Warfare” I do not mean space marines, because we already have plenty of those, but a time between fighting aliens and fighting in the Middle East would really freshen up the stale shooter market. I am not saying it would be easy, and I know that Call of Duty prints money, but every good company thinks of an exit strategy for when the money well dries up. So there is your idea Activision, I accept checks and most major credit cards as well as job offers with 6 figure salaries.
Please don't do this though.
5. DON’T INCREASE THE LEVEL CAP
The level cap in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was 55. Based on this list http://postworthy.com/?p=39063 on 18 of those 55 levels, the player will only unlock a variety of challenges. That means that just under 1/3 of the time; the player does not unlock any new weapons or perks. Now I see this as a sign that the level cap was too high. So naturally, what would be the solution to this perceived problem? Add more levels of course!
Modern Warfare 2 had a staggering 70 levels for players to rank up through (http://callofduty.wikia.com/wiki/Call_of_Duty:_Modern_Warfare_2_Ranks). 4 of these levels unlocked only more challenges. 9 levels only unlock additional killstreaks (and after the first 3, really, who cares?). And there is even 1 level that does not unlock a single thing. NOTHING!
So, let’s give them benefit of the doubt and say only 6 of the killstreak unlocks are useless. That means that 11 of the 70 levels are unnecessary. That means that 15% of the levels are completely pointless. Now, admittedly that is an improvement over Modern Warfare 1. But all too often, the player still finds themselves unlocking pointless things. Call of Duty: Black Ops attempted to alleviate this by letting the player spend points on what they wanted to unlock, but all too often the player is barred by meaningless level barriers. At this rate, Modern Warfare 3 will have 87 levels to rank up through and 20 of them will be useless challenges the player can ‘complete’ as their reward.
This is all you got for all your tireless effort...
4. CALL OF DUTY ELITE IS COOL, BUT I AM NOT GOING TO PAY FOR IT
Call of Duty Elite is a subscription service that offers a wide variety services that has not been offered at any point before for fans of Call of Duty. CoD: Elite will offer a dizzying array of statistics from accuracy, kills, deaths, as well as heat maps to help players plan for the competitive edge. In addition, players will also have access to download the DLC content for Modern Warfare 3 free of charge, similar in function to Battlefield’s VIP pass.
Although the emblem is way cooler for Call of Duty...
However, the difference is that the VIP pass for Battlefield Bad Company 2 was included in all new retail copies of the game. It did not require a fee. I already pay Microsoft for the ability to play on an online service that doesn’t suck to use (side note: why does PSN not have cross-game chat yet?). So it seems extreme to ask me to give you extra money after already playing an exorbitant amount of money simply to own a copy of Modern Warfare 3. When I go to a restaurant I do not have to pay for access to the ‘better’ part of the menu; so why should I have to pay for access to the ‘better’ parts of the MW3?
3. BRING BACK THE UNLOCKABLE EMBLEMS AND TITLES
Stupid Gamertag. Awesome Title.
Unlockables are like crack to gamers. As a collective group, there is nothing we love more than being able to show other gamers that we are better than they are. While I enjoyed the sentiment of being able to create my own emblem, I also am tired of looking at all the disgusting (albeit creative) ways that people can make emblems that look like a penis.
One of the best things I recall about Modern Warfare 2 was trying to unlock some of the more difficult emblems and titles. One in particular was ‘3xt4 c1sby’. Which, after your brain finishes exploding from trying to interpret that, says ‘extra crispy’ and was unlocked by calling in a massive fleet of Stealth Bombers; and to this day unlocking that title legitimately is one of my greatest gaming accomplishments. If Activision brings back my ability to brag to my fellow gamers by rubbing a variety of titles and accomplishments in their faces, then my interest level in MW3 will skyrocket.
2. I AM TIRED OF THE ‘PLAYER! DO EVERYTHING WHILE NPC’s DON’T DO SHIT!’ GAME STYLE THAT SEEMS PERVASIVE IN MODERN CALL OF DUTY GAMES
Ramirez! Do Everything!
But Sir....One does not simply....
But Ramirez was not the first character in the Call of Duty series to have his AI companions demand action while they stood by and passively watched. I have played every Call of Duty game since the original on the PC (with the exception of Call of Duty 3) and in each game, the AI does progressively less and less. In the original, you felt like just one small soldier in the much grander conflict. In Modern Warfare 2, the player was essentially Batman awash in a sea of teammates as useful as Aquaman. I want to return to the old games, where the player was no more important or invulnerable than the soldiers they were fighting beside.
1. INSTEAD OF RELEASING MODERN WARFARE 3, PUT THOSE RESOURCES TOWARD A NEW FRANCHISE
As a company, Activision is not known for their strong emphasis on new franchises. In fact, their entire major release list is populated by previously existing intellectual properties. Call of Duty, Cabela’s Big Game Hunter, Transformers, X-Men, and Wipeout. Pardon me if my excitement level does not cause me to shout from the rooftops.
The other night I had a dream. In the dream, Activision released a press statement. In it they said the following, “We want to announce that Modern Warfare 3 will not be released. Instead, we have chosen to use the resources from that franchise to buy the rights to the Mirrors Edge franchise from EA and will be releasing Mirrors Edge 2 in Q1 of next year. Also, we are proud to announce our plan to turn the entire office into a giant bowl of Jell-O and we will invite everyone for a Jell-O swim party. “…Yeah, my dreams are about Jell-O a lot. Yeah, I know Mirrors Edge wouldn't count as a new franchise; but my heart yearns for a new Mirrors Edge.
I cannot express how badly I want this game.
Johnny Lightning writes a variety of articles for WikiGameGuides.com and can also be followed on his new found Twitter account here @RealJohnnyLight