11-Year Itch: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare’s Multiplayer

Zap zap.

How do you keep a multiplayer game interesting, or even alive, over years and successive instalments? I hugely admire how Magic: The Gathering has, a few missteps aside, kept revitalising itself with expansions for over twenty years. New card types, abilities, and stories come and go, but the core game is still there and quite splendid. Call of Duty is now almost eleven years old and seemingly doing pretty well for itself.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks, in many ways, to bring the biggest shift since Call of Duty 4 in 2007, with exo-suits changing a player’s basic abilities. I wonder how it’ll work out. Come see more in a new lengthy trailer.

See, the exo-suit gives players the ability to quickly dodge sideways, hover, cloak, and other tricksy things. These change what a player is rather than what they can do, which could effect every encounter more than the usual CoD refresh of weapons and abilities. Maybe. We’ll have to see how it works out.

It seems to still follow the familiar CoD 4 blueprint in enough ways that it’ll be familiar, but changes enough to look quite exciting. I probably won’t play it, but the design challenge is fascinating. CoD is massively popular, selling kajillions, so it’s a gutsy move. But perhaps also a necessary one if it’s not to fade away.

Say, gang, what other long-running games and series do you admire for shaking things up?

34 Comments

  1. gorgonaut says:

    The Game of Life keeps throwing me curveballs. However, having enjoyed a calm period, I now realize that’s where the fun is, and I find myself seeking weird situations. Also, games.

  2. tixylix says:

    Looks like they just tried to make Titanfall to me

    • Heliocentric says:

      I was getting UT2004 passed through a nostalgia filter, with lots of customisation.

      • yojimbojango says:

        I’m glad i’m not the only one that saw, “get the satellite and throw it into the goal”, and “throw the satellite at an enemy player to disable their weapons” and remembered this exact game mode and even strategy in UT2004’s bombing run.

  3. unangbangkay says:

    I could never get the hang of CoD gunplay. It always felt too “floaty” to me, and my theory is that a lack of perceived feedback from the weapons was a factor. All the guns felt like I was just aiming hoses at people, compared with the cacophony of a Battlefield game.

    Oddly enough, I didn’t feel the same way about weapon feedback in Titanfall, so if they’re making CoD more like that then they might be on the right track to hook me.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Yes, the walking turret syndrome.

    • TheVGamer says:

      I mean, the shooting was designed for the controller and with a controller, Call of Duty feels much better than Battlefield, I think. It’s the reason why so many shooters have guns that have virtually no recoil, it just isn’t very fun to manage it using a controller.

    • Tei says:

      COD’s seems to be really well done.
      The part I did not liked is playing 5 min, then having to wait 5 min for the next game (or maybe 3). The network model shape the game into a lot of small session, and I hated that as much a lot of people liked that.

  4. Maxheadroom says:

    For all the hate CoD games get they are very accomplished little man-shooters. Good maps, good engine, nice balance.

    My issue with it is the yearly iterations are just too frequent to invest in any of them. No matter how good this one turns out to be, a year from now no one will care and all the buzz will be about the next new one. So there’s no point in even picking it up cheap in a sale.

    It’s exactly why I still play TF2, but the last CoD I bought (black ops 1) sits greyed out and uninstalled in my steam library

    • Artiforg says:

      Looking at the COD games on Steam; They don’t lose their price like most other AAA games do. MW3 is currently £29.99 and that’s 3 years old! Black Ops 2 is 2 years old and that’s still full price (£39.99). Compare this to Bioshock Infinite which is only a year old and that’s now £19.99 and is regularly on sale for much less. The COD games tend to go on sale at 50% off which doesn’t mean much when their starting price is so high.

      I guess that must mean they sell well at the higher price.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I suspect the prices are kept high so that people will move on to the new iterations rather than large numbers of people picking up MW3 for £3 and playing the MP on that.

    • Baines says:

      Maxheadroom, COD games definitely developed issues with their engines. By the time of Modern Warfare 3, the old engine had already started falling apart at the seams and in some areas (the spawn system, the console netcode system) had already completely broken down with the remaining employees either unable or unwilling to fix it.

      They’ve had some map issues as well. Though the worst offender was again Modern Warfare 3, and there it was a combination of a misguided attitude towards how maps should be designed, the spawn system part of the engine already being broken, and new employees making maps without being aware of how quirks of the game engine affected play. (An example of the last is “head glitching”. The COD engine fires bullets from your viewpoint and your viewpoint is around head level, not gun level. This means you can still fire normally over an obstacle that covers all but the tip of your head, while your target can only see and target a sliver of your head in return. Other than MW3, the map makers knew about this and designed obstacles and cover accordingly to limit this mismatch. The MW3 map makers apparently didn’t know this, and created a lot of head glitch friendly locations.)

      As for balance, that’s kind of iffy at best. (And again fell apart completely with MW3.)

      • Maxheadroom says:

        You clearly know a lot more (and are a lot more passionate) about this than me.

        I’m was a casual player at best (as evidenced by several post match messages directing me to “Uninstall the game you noob”. Fun times)

  5. mtomto says:

    Maybe I’m getting old, but I just loathe shooters :)

    • derbefrier says:

      Hmmm I might have to give this a try if friends buy it. Haven’t played a CoD in a couple years now it might be fun. I don’t hate CoD I just got bored with it like a lot of people. This may be enough of a chaange to get a few months of enjoyment.

    • RARARA says:

      I myself tend to indulge in some first person shooting while viewing gentleman’s relaxation videos *nudge nudge* *wink wink.*

  6. Heliocentric says:

    Am I understanding right that the grind and unlocks are now all cosmetics?

  7. RARARA says:

    *Titanfall trailer*

    “That’s just CoD with mechs!”

    *CoD trailer*

    “That’s just Titanfall without mechs!”

    Did they just combine FPS capture the flag with rugby in the Uplink game mode? The level of bro-ism is off the chart.

    Did we also get a man’s ass shot at 0:26? Call of Duty has ended sexism, guys!

    Not to mention all those kids being suckered into doing maths in the customization option.

    • Tei says:

      Theres a alternate universe where game journalist score games in fun units:

      – histerical fun: I actually rolled on the floor, for reals
      – laught out loud: I am having fun
      – amused: made me smile
      – entertaining: I was not bored
      – distracted: I was so busy, I forgot how bored It was
      – mildly boring: It was borin on the center, but not on the other parts
      – watching paint dry: its boring, but is my choice
      – boring: time is slowing down, please senddsss HELP!.
      – dead boring: actual parts of my body are breaking/malfunctioning because of how bored of my skull is my brain
      – dead skull: when you look at the abysm, the abysm something something.

      Gamers call it “the hysterical-lol-musing scale”, because all the games usually are there (7-10).

      Except Tom Chick.

      The Tom Chick of this alternate universe uses the “Hey, that actually surprised me” scale.

  8. Shadowcat says:

    Call of Crysis?

  9. El_Emmental says:

    The Call of Duty franchise haven’t shook anything but people’s wallets since CoD4/MW1.

    At $100 per game (DLCs are mandatory on such MP games) every year, and very little changes (because of the psycho-rigid nature of their audience – very much like the Counter-Strike one), I wouldn’t take the modern Call of Duty series as an example of innovation.

    Just like with Guitar Hero, Activision is afraid they’re losing steam (sic) especially since they didn’t made any effort to keep the talented developers at Infinite Ward (refusing to give them their royalties to force them to stay… seriously ?!).

    That’s why the board of administration and approval finally allowed the new group of devs to add “new” features, the commercial strength of the Battlefield 3/4 and Titanfall titles showed the market could be ready for a switch of leadership in the shooter genre and it could mean the end of the CoD era.

    What are these “new” features this time ? Rehashed game design elements from 2007 (Crysis), to counter the success of Titanfall 6 months ago. If you live in a vacuum only made of Call of Duty titles (like thousands of people), sure you’ll see it as the best gaming innovation ever, but if you ever made contact outside of that CoD bubble, it’s just Activision trailing behind.

    But it’s not just their audience and the laziness of the higher-ups causing that lack of change, it’s also a perfectly logical consequence: the CoD franchise is so enormous, no executive or board will ever have the charisma and confidence to steer it toward something innovative or different, the risks involved are in the hundreds of millions of dollars, nobody can afford that (in terms of money, career or stress).

    At this point, production is no longer “risk management”, it becomes a psy-kotick risk aversion. The Call of Duty franchise entered in a “survival” phase now.

    • Asherie says:

      “DLCs are mandatory on such MP games”

      Except I bought the DLCs for Ghosts and suddenly couldn’t find any games. Seems everyone didn’t bother to buy them and with no way to disable them I’m stuck “waiting for more players” with the other 3 people that bought them haha.

  10. kevmscotland says:

    I was all:

    “Customisation… probably limited so they can DLC that, meh.
    Vertical maps. More DLC map packs of old ‘classics’ incoming….
    Oh satellite mode sounds interesting. Loved the ball pass to the opposing player to disarm him….. ”
    Preorder Day Zero edition… and I’m out.
    Maybe next year.

  11. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    Magic the Gathering is a weird choice of example, it’s practically the poster boy of blatant money-hungry power creep.

    If MtG isn’t the prime example of “Buy the new stuff or be hopelessly outclassed”, what is?

    • Synesthesia says:

      Pretty much, yes. It is still a wonderful game, but don’t even think about playing it seriously without investing heavily on the latest, game breaking cards. Netrunner is doing quite well against the power creep. If you haven’t checked it out, i highly recommend it. It’s the first LCG to ever grab me this powerfully.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Magic does suffer power creep but they’ve kept the game going, changing, and interesting for 21 years in a world where you can’t simply slap on fancier graphics and tweak the AI and controls then call it a sequel. It’s still really impressive to me.

      • iaguz says:

        I’d fully agree that it’s an expensive hobby to get into but it’s not because of power creep. It kinda depends on what formats you like to play.

        If it’s casual then whatever, your deck is just gonna be bad no matter what and you’ll be beaten by someone who has a stronger collection.

        If it’s a limited format like draft or sealed you like then it doesn’t matter about power creep since it’ll be localised in whichever set you’re playing.

        If it’s Standard (a format where only cards from the last 1-2 years are legal, also the most common competitive format), then it’s more because of the constant rotation of cards and not power creep. There are formats where players can make decks with cards from almost any set and when a new set comes out maybe one or two cards might make some decks a bit stronger. In terms of raw strength, the best magic cards have already been printed and Wizards have been fairly careful to ensure it stays that way.

        Magic’s expensive because they don’t print as many Jace, The Mind Sculptors as they do Mountains, because Wizards of the Coast understand that there’s a business and community element to having and trading collections. It’s fascinating, but like I said, prohibitively expensive.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      The 9-10 most powerful cards in Magic: The Gathering were printed in 1993 and haven’t been reprinted since. In fact, they have a policy against reprinting them that they refuse to break for any reason. It’s a money hungry beast, but for reasons other than power creep.

      • zentropy says:

        Here I was about to enter forum warrior mode, and then I notice it’s already covered… Well done chaps! o>

  12. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    What’s an Exo-suit?
    Anybody really as long as you get one that matches their eyes.

    this terrible joke brought to you by a very boring day at work

  13. PopeRatzo says:

    This looks pretty great. I don’t like MP shooters, but if they ever decide to do a proper single-player campaign, I’ll consider buying.

  14. WeeCapo says:

    As an old gamer, what i truly dislike (with all my soul..) of this “modern” game is the high damage of the weapons… for me skill != high damage because high damage = pure luck in many situation (aside for sniper, asmd, railgun weapons) ..Seem the law of Carmack… when Carmack (that as Game Designer is a Zero) wants that Quake 3 was playable by his secretary… But this is a trend.. a trend for helping console gamer also, i’m sure.

  15. Engonge says:

    Ashamed to say this.. but this might be good after all. +100 on the screen is still disgusting though.