Ok, so it's Stimulus Pack day today. Infinity Ward releases it's 5-Map pack to the world, including 2 older maps from the original Modern Warfare game, one of them my favourites (Overgrown. Snipers Delight). I am level 3 Prestige in the game, and have clocked up an unhealthy amount of time shooting American Teenagers. But here I am, and I haven't bought it, and I have no real impetus to. I've thought long and hard about it, and I'm reaching conclusions as to why CoD just doesn't grip me anymore.
Firstly, the price. 1200 MSP. If we wanna look that in rough dollar terms, let's say roughly £12. 12 fucking pounds. For 3 new maps, and 2 re-hashed ones. I am ALL FOR the older maps, but they required very little in the way of development by the team, and I think £4 a map is a bit much, in my humble opinion. I've always stuck up for DLC. It means people get a bit more life out of their favourite games, after they thought it was all over. It's like finding that extra beer in the fridge, that fiver in your jeans. It's a triumphant feeling. But at this price, it's a bit too much.
Secondly, I just think it's losing it's edge, it's lustre, it's fun factor. It seems to be a WoW-like treadmill these days. People showing off how much time they've spent on it, and illustrate this by playing a game of humiliation, and one-sided expertise bullying. It's still fun, but it feels a bit like a game in which no-one wins. The people who are constantly getting the AC130's are winning in-game, but haven't seen daylight for 3 months, all for that special little title you get at level-9 prestige.
In a wonderful coincidental vibe, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has also released a map update.
Now, it's only 2 maps, indeed maps that have already been done, but released to be played in different modes. It's also only free if you're in the 'VIP Club', meaning that you basically bought Battlefield brand new, to try and stem the unrelenting trade-in business. So, it's nowhere near as much, in fact it's no new content, and it has stipulations to it's free-ness, but nonetheless it is free. And their schedule looks to be pretty jam-packed with downloadable content, too.
But lets get to the meat and gravy as to why I can't put Battlefield down at the moment...
It's a team game. The term 'Team Deathmatch' on Modern Warfare 2 should gain Infinity Ward a visit from Trading Standards, on the grounds of misleading the customer. It isn't at all. It's completely selfish, with people stealing your care package, sending you out into sniper fire to locate them, and just general bastardry. We all know it, because we've all done it. But Battlefield is different. It's streamlining into the classes is such an interesting choice, and an initially unnerving one. After so much customisation and load-out choices in COD, to be given this stripped-down system, based on a measly four classes at first seems a step backwards. But that's all it needs.
It's like a giant game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Except there's four, so it's more like Rock, Paper, Scissors, RPG. All four classes have their weakness, and a team only wins if everyone is playing a wide base of specialisations. A team full of snipers is going at it is going to get absolutely smashed, and aren't going to get anywhere. The game encourages you to play together, by pushing the competitive element into teamwork. Assists to your squad get you almost as much points as an actual kill, and medic heals and revives often gain you much more points than actually killing. People are generally selfish. Introduce a levelling scheme, and everyone turns into a poor man on the Titanic, stamping on children to get to the prize. But DICE have cracked it, offering an experience that makes teamwork FUN. YAY! Kids should play this shit at school.
Everything is harder in Battlefield 2, also. None of this quick-scoping, pirouetting sniper bullshit, because Battlefield offers enough challenge in actually killing somebody. Real bullet drop for Marksmen and bolt-action killing rifles mean that when you get a headshot from a distance, you've really earnt it. Same with every other class, and nothing feels quite so good as sneaking up on somebody and resuscitating them to death with the Defribulator. Magic.
So, one of COD's biggest fans, and I have a completely nonchalant view of the new map pack, but am actually looking forward to what DICE can offer us to expand the Bad Company multiplayer experience. Funny that.