Tuesday, August 14, 2012

COD Being Innovative... WTF?

With 8 current titles, the Call of Duty franchise has grown exponentially from its roots. As of April this year, 40 Million active users spanning several platforms, were all logged onto the series. The total sales of all 8 games reached an extraordinary number of 100 Million copies in November, 2011.

Rarely feeling the need to innovate the series, COD has mainly been selling by copying the old MP system and pasting it into the newest title. This has been done for several games in the series. A few new weapons, a couple new game modes, different kill streak perks... This was mainly the only changes few can remember.

This does not mean the game is stale, however. COD found a niche in the gaming world and gained a very large following online. Millions flock to the newest title as if it were the next generation iPhone.The internet is scoured daily for leaks about the next COD. It seems players cannot get enough of the series, even if the last innovation was Modern Warfare. But then we come to Black Ops 2. Apparently Treyarch got tired of hearing the old quip about a copy/pasta game and decided to change that.

Set in 2025, Treyarch has stepped up the multiplayer setting. Mirroring the campaign, many new weapons and attachments will make their way into the hands of players. These attachments deal a bit more kick to the weapons. The millimeter scanner sends out a pulse wave that reveals enemies through walls and smoke cover. This is just one new fun addition.

One of the bigger innovation is the create-a-class system. It completely destroys the older version, allowing for far more weapon combos. You can mix and match 10 items from every category, allowing for even more tweaks to suit your style. It also adds a new twist to the Wild Card function. Wild cards take one of your ten slots, but they allow you to pick 2 perks from the same category. Perk pros have been removed as well.

COD points have also been replaced with a new ranking system. Each rank allows one new unlock. However, with over 100 unlocks and only 55 levels, players will need to prestige multiple times to get everything in the game.

A 6 team multiplayer mode also changes the old standard of squad v squad. Now it's squad v squad v squad v squad v squad (1, 2, 3, 4, 5..) v squad. Hard Point mode is a new adaptation of KoTH (King of the Hill you morons). You need to hold one area to add to your score. In multi-team, this is chaos at its finest.

Potentially the biggest game changer is the drive towards making it a competitive sport. League Play adds an arena style, where players are divided into skill group divisions. The more you play, the higher you climb. CODcast adds a twist where spectators can provide commentary on live matches, or previously played ones. Picture-in-picture, along with map view options adds more depth to these commentaries. Live streaming can be done directly from the game (no PC necessary) and can be viewed on any tablet, computer or mobile device.

Innovation has never been a driving factor in any COD game so far, but Black Ops 2 seems to be breaking that tradition. Will it bring a new fire into the series? Or will taking a chance cause a major flop? I guess players will find out in November.

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