Friday, December 18, 2009

A Bleak Future for Competitive COD

After Infinity Ward effectively blind-sided the Call of Duty 4 competitive community with its No Dedicated Servers bombshell, we as a community were left in utter shock and turmoil. Call of Duty 4 was by far the most successful game of the series in terms of drawing in a large amount of players, sponsors, teams, tournaments, and LANs, and much of the community expected the same results with Modern Warfare 2 but on a much grander scale. We knew Modern Warfare 2 was going to be huge but it soon became abundantly clear that Modern Warfare 2 would meet no such expectations. Instead the community was left in limbo with an unplayable game directly in front of us, a stale 2 year old game behind us, and World at War in a far away corner where many of us didn't even want to look. Thus the question was raised. "What now?"

Many players advocated Modern Warfare 2 regardless stating that IWnet was indeed playable and all we had to do was simply wait for a patch to allow for the recording of demos, which is an absolute must for any competitive game. Others put forth World at War as a solution offering small positives such as a fresh game and how Treyarch had fixed many of the bugs and grievances we initially had with the game. Even more absurd was the movement to return to the "glory days" of Call of Duty 2. In short, the community was a madhouse until the CEVO|Tannehill announced the NZXT Holiday Tournament for Call of Duty 4 with a prize pot of $1500.

However this is nothing more than a small band-aid on a big wound. The NZXT Tournament only received 48 teams which pales in comparison to the previous season of CEVO which saw more than a hundred teams and a combined prize pot of $5000 between the amateur and professional division. Even right now community figureheads are attempting to keep the game alive by hosting another LAN in February 2010 for CoD4 called NERV 3 yet the team turnout is expected to be no more than 16.

Thus the future of the Call of Duty Competitive community is bleak at best. As teams become eliminated from the NZXT tournament what reason will they have to continue to play? There is an extremely small number of teams committed to NERV 3 but what comes after early February? There are other highly anticipated games which WILL offer dedicated servers and fresh gameplay which will definitely draw players towards it. One such game is Bad Company 2 which is slated for release in March of 2010. It is my belief that the Call of Duty 4 community will continue to be whittled away until there is simply nothing left. Players will continue to disappear in obscurity until there is nobody left to proclaim themselves as part of the Call of Duty community.

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