[Update 17 April 2010: Added speaker identifier to desired items on the hardcore HUD. Tweeted JD_2020 for his FYI.]
Call of Duty: Black Ops website
With Modern Warfare 2 essentially a known quantity, this might be a good time to review what I'd like to see in the next version of Call of Duty. Here are some ideas presented stream of consciousness style:
- A campaign which makes sense. Say what you will about Treyarch's World at War single player: Predictable, somewhat clichéd, etc. At least it made sense. Frankly, MW2's campaign had a few too many WTF? moments in it to suit me.
- Real co-op. I like how Treyarch did it: Nearly every campaign mission could be played co-op with friends and on Xbox Live match-making. No BS about more than 2 players "ruining" the experience.
- Achievements in co-op. "I want Achievements that can be earned via co-op. Don't make me play solo just to get the achievements like W@W. It takes away from the fact that there is a co-op mode." [Cerberus4417, 2Old2Play]
- Customized single player & co-op. I'd like to select my own weapons kit for co-op and single player (maybe as an unlock for completing the campaign). No, you don't have to add perks to the mix, but if I want to play the entire level with a particular weapon, I'd like to be able to do that.
- Less repetitiveness. Consider using an AI director at least for co-op missions. Valve uses this technology to great effect in Left 4 Dead.
- Fewer gimmicks. Speaking of single player campaigns, no button-mashing mini-games. Just in case you thought you'd like to stick one of those Call of Duty old school wrestling matches in there. I gave IW and Treyarch a pass on the dogs, since killing them didn't require 5 minutes of thumb-destroying button pressing. But don't make me hit "X" for a half-hour while some pixilated enemy who lunged from a closet I'd just sprayed with machine gun fire breathes halitosis in my face.
- A real melee strike. I miss the old school melee with the weapon butt. Bring it back, please. You can keep the magic lunging knives and bayonets in, but give me the old skull-cracking with the rifle or pistol butt.
- A real lobby system. Like say, one that doesn't eject one or two party members when merging with another lobby. Seriously. And, IW guys, would it kill you to color highlight the party/squad members in the lobby? It makes taking a headcount a lot easier.
- Less action movie shit. Yeah, the whole akimbo experience looks better than it plays. Skip it in the next game, please.
- Some kind of online stat resource. Treyarch, put your hand down! You did a nice job on World at War. Just make sure that Call of Duty: Black Ops gets the same treatment.
- A public multiplayer beta. Sit down, Treyarch! Look, a beta won't find all problems, but I think it might have saved Infinity Ward a glitch embarrassment or two.
- Booster prevention. Everyone knows the leaderboards are a joke on Modern Warfare 2 and World at War. Let's try to prevent that in the next game, please.
- Don't let teamkillers run rampant. Put your hand down again, Treyarch. Three strikes and you're out worked for me OK in World at War.
- An official channel for reporting glitches problems. If you have a twitter account for a developer representative have it be only for game related stuff, not personal stuff. I'm a fan of the game, not necessarily a fan of the PR person.
- A compass and voice comm identifier on the hardcore HUD. Leave everything else off, just leave the compass & the identifier for who's speaking on the HUD. It would seriously help players who want to communicate.
- Have callout locations visible on the HUD. Halo: Reach is doing this. It's an excellent idea to help promote teamwork and communcation. Steal the idea.
- Find a way to make objective games work. Figure out some way to make it so that working towards the objective is really rewarded. Maybe don't make personal kills/deaths visible on the scoreboard. Make it capping/securing points on there instead. If ganging up on a dom point makes the securing process go faster, make sure every participant gets some points out of it.
- Try not to kill a major character just for cheap thrills. I'm a gamer. I die all the time. It was awesome in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare when Sgt. Paul Jackson died. It was moving. It was a daring piece of story-telling. In Modern Warfare 2, it felt like a ripoff, both of the first MW game and of the player. Seriously.
- Don't go for the public outrage option. When I saw the first crude YouTube video of the "No Russian" level, I totally thought it was a hoax. I tweeted Robert "Fourzerotwo" Bowling with the link and told him he should quash this hoax right away. Well, unfortunately, it turned out to be real. I wasn't outraged. I don't have any moral compunctions about video violence. I just thought it was a trash piece of storytelling, something that I wouldn't personally play in a video game. It turned out not to be that big of a deal in PR terms. But it remains one of the huge, gaping plot holes that made me go WTF?!? while playing. Supposedly, some TV writer was involved in the MW2 story. He must have been out of the office the day they cooked up that level.
I probably missed some important stuff (like dedicated servers, mapping, & modding support for the PC crowd), but that's what occurs to me at the moment. Bottom line: You can't please everyone. Don't try to. Just try to make the best game you can. And, remember, it takes one headshot to kill a zombie. Whoever cooked up the World at War zombies apparently never saw a zombie movie in his/her life. I cannot begin to tell you how pissed I was when I shot my first zombie in the head and it didn't die.