Changing the Integrity of Competitive Call of Duty
Popular Counter-Strike content creator and analyst Mohan “Launders” Govindasamy recently stated that having a dominant team speaks to the integrity of the game. This set my cogs in motion and I began to wonder if this theory can be applied to the various titles in Call of Duty and how it can be used to improve our upcoming game, WWII.
Starting with everybody’s favorite: Black Ops 2. The title is hailed as the most balanced and competitive in Call of Duty history. Throughout its reign, we saw two dominant teams, which were Impact and compLexity. The former was undoubtedly the best team in the beginning of the game. They won the first five tournaments they attended, including the prestigious World Championship. The roster consisting of Christopher “Parasite” Durate, Adam “Killa” Sloss, Marcus “MiRx” Carter and Damon “Karma” Barlow were an innovative team who utilized much of the available weaponry to effectively play the map pool. This factor, combined with Parasite’s rotational knowledge and ability to anchor, guided them to many championship wins.
However, the art would later be perfected by compLexity. They built on that rotational knowledge and abused it with brutal aggression, suffocating whoever happened to be the opposition. Any one of Patrick “ACHES” Price, Ian “Crimsix” Porter, James “Clayster” Eubanks or Tyler “TeePee” Polchow could take over when needed, which was the key to their success. Following the World Championship, this team would go on to win seven LAN events with one second place finish.
In Black Ops 2 there were four teams that won premier LAN events. In Ghosts, there were eight. This speaks volumes about the differences between the games and their competitiveness as a whole. While Black Ops 2 played host to Hardpoint, Search and Capture the Flag, Ghosts fielded Domination, Search and Blitz.
Hardpoint and CTF allow for more rotational play, spawn manipulation and synergy to effectively pull of these plays is much higher. My issue with Ghosts is that both Domination and Blitz required little to no rotational play. Teams could be punished too hard through losing the initial trades which resulted in one team being spawn trapped. The beauty of Hardpoint is that it gives the better team a chance to reset.
The weaponry was another difference. Black Ops 2 gave players the most diverse weapon choices we’ve seen with multiple assault rifles and sub-machine guns having their uses in particular instances. During the Ghosts era, the leading weapons were either the MTAR-X or Vector as they could be used effectively at any range. This is similar to one of the issues in CS:GO. Launders, is concerned that one of the weapons is lightweight and deadly at all ranges, leading to its abuse in competitive play.
Comparing past games to our current title, Infinite Warfare, we have had three different team winners in four premier events: Rise Nation, eUnited and OpTic Gaming (who have won two). Our current game modes are Hardpoint, Search and Uplink. Hardpoint, making its comeback after Ghosts, was obviously a big bonus with the following titles supporting the game mode well, up until Infinite Warfare, where the maps let the game mode down drastically.
The number of wall runs add a random element to certain gunfights and hill control. Scorch and Breakout spring to mind, some of the hills are in questionable places on these maps. In spite of that, I have to say that generally, the better team wins on Hardpoint, even taking those elements into consideration.
The other game mode, Uplink, is the biggest problem for me. Although it is popular with the fans due to its ability to produce entertaining games, it has become a brute force game type. One team scores points when they kill the entirety of the enemy team with very little tactical play. The passing element is a way that this could be improved. By reducing the movement speed of the drone carrier it would force players to have to pass the drone. It would make the game even more enjoyable to watch and would add tactical depth as teams could develop ways to effectively deliver the drone around the map.
Weaponry in Infinite Warfare is also a problem, despite the recent increased usage of the ERAD, initially, players were restricted to either the KBAR or the NV4. The high fire rate and accuracy of the KBAR made it worthless to even attempt to use a sub-machine gun. Furthermore, the majority of maps in the map pool have very few close quarter gun fights, making the assault rifle the weapon of choice.
And when talking about integrity, we must also consider payloads. Active Camo, in particular, has no exploitable weaknesses. If one team can earn two camos in a game they are likely to win it. In this regard, we should just be glad that we don’t have multiple payloads with this type of game-changing ability.
For WWII to be the most competitive game in the Call of Duty series, I would like the game modes to be Hardpoint, Search and Capture the Flag. Until something better is released, these are definitely the best three available. Boots on the ground is also a better platform for these game modes, in that Hardpoint rotations take longer, therefore, making more decisive rotations important.
If there is a chance that some form of Uplink is added to the game due to its popularity, I could see this working in boots on the ground by throwing the drone into the portal, but it is a bit farfetched considering the era the game is set in.
The maps are one of the most crucial aspects since they also affect the effectiveness of the weaponry. Sticking to the three lane formula is a good start. Since Black Ops 2 our best maps have been built on this. For example, Standoff, Raid, Sovereign, Fringe and Detroit, to name a few.
I’m not sure what we could expect if payloads were to be added but I believe the best way to produce useful, competitive payloads is to make each one counter another, therefore meaning they all have value. I am hopeful about the next Call of Duty and maybe it is time for Activision’s redemption with competitive fans.