Call of Duty WWII releases on November 3 for all platforms. For the first time, I will not be making my yearly pilgrimage to purchase Call of Duty. Let me start off by telling you, I used to be a disciple of Call of Duty. I’ve lined up for midnight releases. I’ve given days of my life to the franchise. My love of the series started with the very first Call of Duty. Later, I remember Call of Duty: Modern Warfare changing my life. Then I survived the fragfest of World at War and its addictive Nazi Zombie game mode. But a little after this glorious time, something happened to the franchise.
Firstly, I stopped enjoying my time in multiplayer. I used to happily give up days of my life. Now I have trouble reaching one day of playtime. I stopped insta-buying the newest installment and began putting in more research before my purchase. Perhaps I was getting older. Maybe I had less time to give away. I know money became a concern and the price tag began to look too big. However, I still made my yearly purchase like a good little disciple. But my faith in the series was wavering. Now with the release of WWII, the series is moving away from its futuristic tomfoolery and going back to its roots. Rejoice! COD: WWII is the savior we have been waiting for! … I think not.
Call of Duty has suffered from its yearly installments. What used to be major changes to the series have become minor updates. Modern Warfare brought new change to the backdrop from the familiar WWII setting of Call of Duty 1 though 3. The perk system was a welcomed addition. The multiplayer maps had heart and personality. But with each new iteration, something more was missing. The environments were forgettable. The perks were no longer interesting. The multiplayer maps felt mechanical, developed by an algorithm which would maximize the map’s fengshui. This year, I will sin. I have decided to stop giving my money to the franchise.
I was actually pretty excited about WWII at its announcement. The series lost my interest long ago, but I hadn’t given up hope that this newest addition bring back the series’ vigor. So, I watched the Youtubers and Twitch streamers play the Beta. The yearning for a better Call of Duty experience quickly turned to disappointment. Call of Duty is dead and WWII has driven the stake through its heart. Here are my main reasons for not purchasing WWII.
This mode is similar to Battlefield’s Operations where one team pushes objectives and the other defends. It’s a welcome addition and allows variety from just playing Team Deathmatch. I love this game mode in Battlefield, it gives a teamwork aspect to multiplayer that Team Deathmatch doesn’t always provide. The objectives require a somewhat cohesive strategy. Now, I know Call of Duty isn’t Battlefield, and I shouldn’t compare the two, but when a game copies another, it invites comparisons. From what I observed, I don’t know if war mode is executed as well as Battlefield’s Operations.
First of all, Call of Duty’s pace is too fast for this game mode. War mode has you pushing a single objective in a single lane or area. Instead of running and gunning, war mode forces you to fight and slow down your movement and take objectives. This doesn’t seem to fit the Call of Duty identity.
Next, the name is a little misleading. I would expect war mode to have as many people as the game can handle on a single map. War mode is 6 vs. 6. Yes, six people per team in a “war.” This doesn’t excite me. Six people doesn’t sound like a war, it sounds like a skirmish. When I hear war, I want at least 24 players or more. I don’t know if the number will stay at 6 vs. 6 for the final version, but twelve players in this game mode doesn’t make me want to buy WWII.
New Multiplayer Maps
Maps can make or break a multiplayer experience. It’s the Goldilocks conundrum; the maps can’t be too large nor too small, they should be just right. That’s a hard line to balance. I haven’t been a fan of Call of Duty’s maps since World at War, which were some of the best maps of the series. Since then, smaller maps with a somewhat open layout have been the trend. This makes sense for the series’ run and gun style of gameplay. But this also makes Call of Duty multiplayer a one trick pony. If you don’t like to run and gun, then you’re out of luck. Some of us like a little variety in our multiplayer experience.
The maps I saw while observing the beta looked like more of the same. Small, lifeless, calculated arenas of death. I was glad to hear they are bringing back some old maps for the nostalgia element. But why not give us some new maps which have the tone and heart of the classics? This may be too much to ask. Building a map takes a lot of energy and resources. Building small, cookie cutter maps is just cheaper and easier. In the end, it’s all about the bottom line, right? The human element is just too expensive. Or maybe I’m just crazy and the fans love these lifeless, corporate America maps which have absolutely no character.
The New Class System
I was unaware the Call of Duty fan base was begging for Sledgehammer Games to “fundamentally redefine” its multiplayer experience, but those rascals went ahead and did it anyway. The loadout system has always been a defining feature of the Call of Duty franchise. Custom loadouts could give a player the edge on the other team. Past games in the series have allowed a wide array of loadouts to be built and utilized. Everyone had their favorite custom loadout that they were sure was the best. WWII has a new feature which is eerily similar to Battlefield’s classes called divisions.
Sledgehammer Games has “fundamentally redefined” the multiplayer experience by adding a new division class system. Now you choose from five different divisions with specific skills and weapons. Infantry has a bayonet charge! That sounds nifty and similar to Battlefield… Airborne has a suppression skill… neat. Armored has a Bipod which is pretty useless in a run and gun experience. Mountain has a sharpshooter skill, making sniping easier in a game where no scoping has been the recent norm. Expeditionary has incendiary rounds for shotguns which sounds OP AF. I firmly believe the meta will quickly turn into shotgun matches until Sledgehammer Games nerfs the shotgun damage. Then again, they may get it right and it won’t be an issue. But that sounds about as likely as world peace.
I hate to compare Battlefield and Call of Duty once again, but they keep on copying Battlefield features. WWII has its own added twist to its classes. They all seem to be offense oriented. Whereas in Battlefield, the classes were a combination of offense and defense. It remains to be seen how Call of Duty’s class system will affect gameplay, but I don’t think they will do it as well as Battlefield has.
The WWII setting
This issue has been a difficult one for me. I keep flip-flopping between loving and hating the series’ return to World War II. On the one hand, this was where the series got its start. It’s where I fell in love with the series. World War II was and is the perfect setting. Everyone can agree that we have some idea what occurred, we hate Nazis, and that we wouldn’t mind a little tromp down memory lane. And let’s face it, the future was getting a little over the top with its jet packs and wall running.
But then I get a little worried. I have fond memories of WWII and discovering the original games. I was in my developmental years and COD took me under its wing. We had some great times. I’m afraid the nostalgia of those memories will be ruined by the new WWII. This won’t be the same. It’s like Sledgehammer games is trying to replace old WWII with new and improved Step-WWII. But we remember. The old WWII had less tricks to it. It was a simpler time. New WWII is all glitz and glam.
The return to WWII is an attempt to please the series OG’s and the newcomers. My fear is that it will leave all of us with a sour taste in our mouths.
The closest metaphor I can think of for Call of Duty WWII is it’s like a girlfriend/boyfriend whom you’re thinking about dumping. Everything was going great in the beginning. You loved each other for the first few months or years. You grew together and had some great experiences. You thought things would never change. But at some point, they stopped caring about themselves, they gained 50 pounds, they constantly want money from you and they don’t seem to want to improve. But they keep promising to be better month after month, year after year. Its been several years and you don’t see the improvements. Now they seem to have lost the extra 50 pounds and gotten a makeover. They resemble what you fell in love with and deep down you want that to be true. But you know it’s not and will never be true.
There are some of us who may love the idea of rekindling that old Call of Duty flame. There are some of us who were too young to know what it was like. Then there are those us that don’t want to even let Call of Duty to have that chance because we know they will only let us down once again.
Written by Michael Trosper
Micheal resides in a small town in eastern Montana. As an attorney, he has an interest in the intellectual property issues facing the gaming industry. He’s been a gamer since the age of 6, when his dad gifted him a Sega Genesis and Sonic the Hedgehog for his birthday. Gaming has been his passion ever since. His favorite game is Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, which he has completed an unreasonable amount of times.