Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Just Sayin' -- New Maps in January

I'm hearing rumbles of new maps in January... but...

... is this really one of the map names?


Wow. Partly shake my head stupid, partly funny.

If it's true... who knows.

Just Sayin'.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A COD White Paper -- Taking it to the next level

I love Treyarch and how they "unofficially" seek feedback. Since they are seeking it for COD 2012, why not give them my whole enchilada? I took a stab over a year ago but my thoughts about a number of things on that post have evolved.

This is what I want from a COD game.

In General

This will be expanded on but at its core:

  • It should be fluid and fast -- fast engagements not run all over the place. 
  • Focus on gun encounters versus explosives and tubes. 
  • No perk should be infinite -- sprint, fall damage. 
  • Situational awareness is the emphasis versus reliance on the mini-map. 
  • Perks need counters and balance within themselves. 
  • Tailor risk reward to the playlist (differ it between TDM, SnD, etc.). 
  • Make all playlists available as Hardcore. 
  • Fundamentally change weapon unlock system and what it means to prestige.
  • Streamline point streaks.
  • Make a true weapon enhancement system.
  • Personal customization is a must.
  • Selective Rate of Fire (ROF).

There should a wide variety of weapons in each class of SMG, AR, LMG, Sniper, Shotgun, Pistol. Selective ROF should be available for SMGs and ARs as they would be with their real life counterparts.

Weapons will no longer be unlocked at certain ranks. Instead, a weapon unlock will be available at certain ranks to be used on any weapon a player chooses.

Similar to weapons, all attachments should be available to be chosen when an unlock is available. Multiple attachments are always available but limited to a sight and one other attachment. Also, you cannot suppress a weapon with an undermounted attachment. The options below are examples and may not be available to all weapons:
  • Grenade Launcher
  • Smoke Launcher
  • Master Key
  • RDS
  • Holographic
  • ACOG
  • Variable Scope
  • Hybrid Scope
  • Suppresor
  • Grip
Weapons should be balanced within themselves and not against other weapons. One with a high ROF may have lower damage or significant kick. A weapon with great range accuracy might have wide bullet spread when hip fired.

Enable user created camos for the weapon. Layers and patterns would be available as players prestige. You must prestige at least once to enable this option.

Allow players to improve the weapon through how it is used. This is not through an attachment or proficiency rather a incremental increase in performance in specific aspects over time. It is specific to a given weapon.
  • CQC encounters might reduce bullet spread
  • Kills at range might improve distance accuracy or decrease weapon sway.
  • Enhancements should take prestiges to make significant changes.
  • It does not reset upon prestige.

All perks are available right away. They are not unlocked. Break up the perks into three areas of focus -- weapon, person, awareness. Perks should have an opposite perk to counter it. Example, you can stay off the radar but someone might hear you move/reload. No perk should be infinite

The following are examples but they show how to structure perks with counters for a true risk/reward system.

  1. FMJ -- Increased bullet penetration.
    • PRO: Tracer rounds.
  2. Gunner -- 2x fire rate.
    • PRO: Increased magazine capacity (does not increase number of rounds).
  3. Fast Swap -- quick reload.
    • PRO: quicker weapon swap.
  4. Scavenger -- Replenish primary ammo from any weapon.
    • PRO: Replenish equipment ammo.
  5. Technician -- quick equipment plants and throws
    • PRO: Recover faster from equipment plants and throws.
  1. Extreme Conditioning -- extended sprint.
    • PRO: quicker recovery from sprint and injury (red screen only, does not increase health).
  2. Ranger -- faster movement while ADS.
    • PRO: Quicker ADS.
  3. Camouflage -- hidden from the "radar" and support (except briefly when firing a non-silenced weapon).
    • PRO: No red name visible to enemy.
  4. Climber -- climb obstacles faster.
    • PRO: Get in/out of prone faster.
  5. Deep Breath-- Able to hold breath longer while ADS.
    • PRO: Recover from holding breath faster.
  1. Ninja -- silent footfalls.
    • PRO: cross chatter discipline, hidden from rabbit ears.
  2. Saboteur -- identify enemy explosives and rewire to friendly.
    • PRO: booby trap dropped weapons to explode when picked up by an enemy.
  3. Rabbit Ears -- all enemy movement is louder.
    • PRO: enemies briefly appear as red dots on map when close if they make sounds (fire, reload, move, etc.).
  4. Sherpa -- able to track recent enemy movement.
    • PRO: able to hide your movement.
Point Streaks

Streak rewards are based on points earned and not just kills. Points are earned from kills, assists, objectives, and enemy equipment/streak destruction.
  • Streaks are tailored to different playlists.
    • What it takes to get 3 point streak in TDM may be 5 points in Domination.
  • Kills by streaks do not count as team kills in Hardcore modes.
  • They are stackable and selectable.
  • They do not chain.
  • Do not carry over between rounds in round based modes.
  • Take multiple hits from a launcher to be destroyed
They are broken out into two distinct types and are not tied to classes. Once a match starts, they are what they are and cannot be changed.
  • Support
    • Does not reset on death.
    • Can achieve final streak once per life.
    • Team support streaks only (they cannot generate kills).
  • Assault
    • Reset on death.
    • Can be cycled through multiple times per life.
    • Only generate kills (does not include a UAV) and includes streaks that can take out other streaks.
Class Loadouts

Focus needs to be on gunplay with the ability to take down streaks when the enemy calls them in. Sidearms are limited to pistols (no more machine pistols). Also, the more a player focuses on explosives, the more they have to sacrifice. As such, each class will have:
  • Primary Weapon
    • AR
    • SMG
    • LMG
    • Sniper
    • Shotgun
  • Sidearm
    • Pistol
  • Launcher
    • Single round, streak lock-on only
  • Equipment
    • Explosive
      • Grenade Launcher (if attached)
      • Grenades (variety to choose from)
      • Placed explosives (variety to choose from)
      • RPG
    • Tactical
      • Smoke
      • Flash
      • Stun
      • Tear

Currently, it is a disincentive to prestige in COD. By changing how weapons and perks are accessible as you progress through ranks, it makes it less of grind or risk to do it. However, an incentive is still needed. While still not an indication of skill in game, it is something for dedicated players to show to others.
  • Enable custom camo creation only after first prestige.
  • Add layers some prestige ranks.
  • Add color options at certain prestige ranks.
  • Do not reset weapon totals or enhancements.
  • Offer different stylized attachments at higher prestiges.
  • Allow different character skins at higher prestiges.
This would make prestige about cosmetic things versus bragging rights. It might even be time to call it something else like "Veteran". Prestige has developed too nasty a reputation. 


All playlists need to be in hardcore. There is no reason for them not to be. Also, how teamkillers are punished both in game and and post game needs to be addressed.

In game punishment
  • Multiple TK's in the first 30 seconds of a game results in an instant kick of the offender and the match to be restarted.
  • Three friendly fire kills gives you a 30 second time out.
  • 5 friendly fire kills gives you a 2 minute time out.
Post game punishment
  • Automatic 24 hour ban for offenders who are kicked out of three games in a one hour period.
  • Automatic 72 hour ban for offenders who receive three 24 hour bans.
  • Possible permanent ban for offenders who receive three 72 hour bans.
This is it... how much we'll see is an open question.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Night Before Christmas - A MW3 Joint

This is my second time taking the classic Clement Moore poem, The Night Before Christmas, and putting a Modern Warfare slant to it.

It's an homage to a poem that always makes me smile with true joy at the innocence of spirit Christmas brings to my life once a year.


Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the net
All the gamers were resting, especially the vet.
But come the next morning that would surely change
With a myriad of close kills and some at long range.

The kiddies they slept with multi-kill dreams
Not knowing how easily they soon would be creamed.
While the vets laid down peacefully, with nary a fit
Just hoping the greenies all wouldn't rage quit.

The morning came quickly with anticipation and hope
And the greenies felt certain it was going to be dope.
For Santa had nestled, just under the tree
A brand new copy of  Modern Warfare 3.

He ripped off the wrapping and rushed to the tray
His fingers all twitching, so anxious to play.
What was IW thinking, I'm not a noob,
They gave me a  default class with a toob.

Stuffed from Doritos with double XP galore
He was certain in an hour he'd be rank 44.
And be armed to the teeth with so many guns
Killing all the "vets" was going to be fun.

"Now UMP! now, Semtex! now, SMAW and Scar!
Just watch out punks when I get my ACR!
From that rooftop window or the top of the hill!
I'll mow you all down with my elite freaking skill!"

As the game finished loading, he jumped in a room
A team with 4 rooks and a girl named Boom-boom.
All itching to play the new Team Defender
While plotting the kill he was going to render.

Once in the game he sprints up a street.
To be greeted as quickly by a grenade at his feet.
His body now flying 20 feet in the sky
Annoyed to have been the first one to die.

Two seconds later with toob ready to fire
Unaware how thing's are suddenly dire.
A vet snuck behind him and with only a knife
One slice takes away his short second life.

"It's just not fair, I can't even move!
Just give me a second and I'll get into a groove!"
But everywhere he goes, he dies in a flash
Oh and thirteen later, he decides to dash.

Back at the menu, he simply shakes his head
Frustrated as hell to have always been dead.
"Screw Team Defender, I'll rock some KC
At the top of the board, that's where I'll be."

Yet game after game and map after map
The vets beat him down with slap after slap.
By gun or by air, it just doesn't matter
They all end his life in a bloody splatter.

Alone in his chair and too stunned think
Appalled at how low his KD can sink.
He came to realize one thing is true
He'd picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Now laughing aloud, he decides to have fun.
Then launches the game and chooses his gun.
And quickly discovers a brand new thrill
There's more to the game than getting a kill.

Support streaks start flying, and tags disappear
And he finally experiences some holiday cheer.
When the game is finished he can't believe what he gets
A kind, simple message from one of the vets.

A twinkle in his eye, to the vet it felt good
Finding a greenie who plays like you should.
And he thought to himself as he turned out the light
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Monday, November 7, 2011

1 For the Home

If you are like me, the release of a new Call of Duty is like an early Christmas present. Once you have it, you'll play for hours at a time and ignore pretty much everything else. With the imminent Midnight launch of Modern Warfare 3, that time is here again but I ask you...

... what was the one thing you did to make your gaming time yours?

"Huh?" you ask. Well... the one thing you did for the person who really controls your time -- your wife, your girlfriend, or maybe even your Mom (sorry Dads, that ain't you and we both know it). That thing that will give them pause when they want to get on your case for spending too much time with MW3. That one thing you did without them really knowing why you did it but makes them think you've earned game time. I know I did...

... I put in a wood floor.

[PICS Forthcoming]

That's right, RAN's set.

Now, you don't have time to put in floors but it's not too late to do at least one thing for the home. Make a special dinner for your wife. Send flowers to your girlfriend's job (score points and make the other women's men look like chumps). Clean your room, kid (let's face it, if you have to worry about Mom, that's the best your gonna do at this point).

You've got options. But you need to do it or suffer the inevitable, "Get off the game and do !" Over... and over... and over.

I did my 1 for the home... did you?

Next, the conclusion: 0

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2 cents about Black Ops

I'll admit it... I was geeked up for Black Ops... really geeked up. Was it perfect....? No.

But it is the second best Call of Duty to date.

I'll miss playing it. Granted, I'm not selling it... I just tend to move forward rather than linger on the past. It introduced a number of things I really liked. Things that aren't in Modern Warfare 3 that could have been... and one that will be around COD again (I hope).
  1. Buying any attachment I want.
    • This was awesome. Some people think unlocking things shows "accomplishment". People who play a lot know it's a grind.
  2. David Vonderhaar
    • The best, most interactive dev in the business. Period. I made a somewhat snarky post (but sincere) over a year ago... he just calmly explained how it was. Since then, I came to know a man who had real passion for COD and a commitment to the community... a straight up cool guy. Some folks have called me a Vahn "fan boy" (that's some funny crap) but I just respect him. I've gotten a chance to game with him. 402 needs to speak to him and learn.
Not what everyone else will miss about Black Ops. Just what I will. One of the two could have been in MW3. Vahn will be there for COD 2012... I hope.

My 2 cents.

Next... 1 for the home.

3 is the pits

I've been an avid Call of Duty player since 2007 and COD4 but unlike 80% of the players, I prefer to play Hardcore. However, since COD4, the playlist rift between Core and Hardcore continues to grow.

MW3 may take the cake.

For some reason, COD development teams have this preconceived and ill-conceived notion that Hardcore is a "niche" as  referred to it. Sorry, but 15-25% of your players aren't a "niche". Let's take a look at some numbers from Black Ops yesterday:

  • Totals Players in MP: 703,062
  • Total in Core: 565,954
  • Total in HC: 111, 392 (16%)

In Core, 38% of the players play TDM (30% of all players), 36% play HQ, SnD, and Dom combined. The point? 75% of all Core players play 4 game types yet they are afforded more than 16 options. For HC, players spread out over 4 main options, TDM, SnD, CTF, and HQ. Two of which weren't even in the game at launch.

Two of which aren't in MW3.

Black Ops added new wager match modes but not in Hardcore, of course. Lots of new options for the Core player in MW3, too. Kill Confirmed and Team Defender. Sounds cool... oh, wait...

Hardcore doesn't get Team Defender.
... or Headquarters.
... or CTF.

Treyarch got the hint to a certain extent... too bad IW didn't get the hint form the start.

Instead, we're stuck with the 3 pits at launch.

Next... 2 misses.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

For those getting MW3 truly legit...

... your wait just increased by an hour.

Happy daylight savings time.

Just sayin'

Friday, November 4, 2011

4 is the Pinnacle

I had planned to write something profound for t-4 days but then... what hasn't been said about this title already?

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
It's the pinnacle.

'Nuff said.

Next... 3 is the pits.

Play Early... Get Banned... Just Sayin'

This is funny to me... just sayin'.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sad State of Hardcore in MW3

Yep... HC gets the shaft... again. Thanks to @charlieINTEL.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 on 4 hours of Modern Warfare 3

As we hit 5 days away from the launch of Modern Warfare 3, my excitement for what this title could be is starting to build.

And the 4 hour IGN livestream has really ignited it to a new level.

Truth be told... I watched all the MP time (which was about 2 hours worth) and 5 things jumped out at me.

  1. You level up fast. Every other second you seem to get points for something and they come fast and furious. You'll breeze through lower ranks. Now they've said the curve won't be so bad at higher ranks like MW2 but that remains to be seen. Lower level guns are great and on the surface seems balanced.
  2. Maps have great flow. A lot of ingress and egress points with a nice mix of of CQC and range engagements. I was surprised at the limited use of verticality but we have yet to see all the maps
  3. Support Package is not an issue... but it will change how the game is played. The rewards that can kill aren't extremely powerful but when you combine them with a teammate using Assault it will make for a nice combo. We'll see Recon Jugg a lot in the beginning but I'm sure that will morph to the Escort Airdrop. It won't be hard at all for skilled players to accumulate 18 points.
  4. Weapons have kick. You need to control the weapons or they will kick you off target a lot more than MW2 ever did. I can see people dying a lot when they first get into HC as the guns look to be quite accurate on their first bullets until the kick kicks in. The Kick proficiency will be use a lot for sure.
  5. The new game modes look great. Team Defender and Kill Confirmed, in particular, look like they will be welcome additions to the COD franchise. A lot of points, movement, and strategy come into play. Hopefully they won't be locked at the start. Let's be real IW... it's the 8th game. I think people get the gist if how to play.
5 days until launch... and I'm finally getting a little geeked up for it. Hardened edition, here I come.

Next... 4 is the pinnacle.

6 is the Enigma


Modern Warfare 2, the sixth title in the Call of Duty series, smashed entertainment records when gamers finally got their hands on the most anticipated game in history. A commercial success, it changed the face of COD permanently for both the good and the bad.

You see, every good thing it brought had a darker twin lurking in the shadows.

For the first time, you could control killstreaks. Everyone who played COD4 wished they could be the gunner in the chopper, mowing down folks with reckless abandon (unless you were in HC, that's another story). MW2 let you be the gunner but control missiles and even the weapons of an AC-130.

In addition to actively using killstreaks, you also had the ability to choose which streaks you unlocked and used and they went all the way up to 25 kills in row when you could call in a nuke and win the game for your team no matter the score. Players had control over things like they never had before in a COD title.

Perks made a return as well but with the added bonus of making them "Pro". Unlocking the pro features of perks was a fun and challenging new component and helped keep the game fresh for people as they progressed through prestige ranks.

Playable and customizable streaks... pro perks... cool new features to an already great franchise.

But they came at a price.

As never before, killstreaks became the focus of gameplay. Gone was winning at all costs and in place was "I gotta get my AC-130." Nuke boosting in FFA became so common it made the playlist unplayable. Fewer people prestiged because they didn't want to lose their pro perks. Those that did, were always at a disadvantage in ways they hadn't been in previous titles.

That's not even mentioning...
... the balance issues with One Man Army and Commando perks.
... the slow and almost inept support.
... the hacking. Oh, the hacking.

All of this could be related to the issue with the IW founders... could be circumstance... I doubt we'll ever know. What we do know is MW2 could have been the benchmark for COD titles. Instead, COD4, a game made in 2007, remains the peak for the franchise to many even today. Yet, there's no denying MW2 changed the face of COD forever... good and bad.

That's the enigma of 6.

Next... 5 on 4.

Monday, October 31, 2011

7 Ways COD Changed the Face Of Shooters... And Gaming

I've been playing shooters for years, and without a doubt, they have become my favorite genre in gaming to play.

This is mostly due to Call of Duty.

Since it's arrival on the gaming scene, the COD series has become to gaming what Die Hard is to action films. The pinnacle... what everyone else is striving to achieve. You could describe a movie as, "Die Hard in space..." and people would get it. That now applies to COD.

But how did COD arrive at this point? What makes it different and makes others try to emulate and consistently fall short?

I'll give you seven things (seven days to MW3, after all):

  1. Killstreaks -- The simple addition of adding rewards for getting several (in latter games, many) kills in a row added an addicting and game changing dynamic to matches. You never lose the excitement of calling in your chopper... and knowing the other team is in a panic to have to deal with it. As COD has evolved over the years, so have the streaks, and MW3 has a lot of options. Sorry... saving that for another blog.
  2. Hardcore -- Introduced in COD4, you can see how central to COD it has become in one way... every new shooter has it as a mode, too. That's not say HC is perfect in COD (it's not, #MOARhardcore, please) but when your competition follows suit... you're doing something right.
  3. Perks -- Allowing you to focus your kits to how you like to play or to be able to counter what the opponent is doing makes it more accessible and fun. Want to stay invisible? There's a perk for that. Having trouble finding enemy explosives? Perk for that, too. With so many options to mix and match, players have to be on their toes.
  4. Prestige -- What do you do when you've reached the highest level in game? For some, the appeal of the game is lost without the thrill of unlocking weapons or completing challenges. Solution -- prestige. You reset your challenges, lose all your guns and perks, and start from scratch. Genius. MW3 is taking it to a whole new level... but I'm not going there just yet.
  5. Custom Classes -- By not restricting equipment and weapons to roles or teams, COD opened the game up to players to use what they liked and not feel restrained by the game. By having a variety of kits ready for use during a game, players didn't have to scramble to change their "Assault" class during the heat of combat or have to forgo a key piece of equipment because they want to use a certain weapon. A simple and effective idea that has yet to be fully embraced by other shooters (see Battlefield 3).
  6. It's About Moments -- The campaigns of COD feel like immersive movies. They have those "it moments" (sometimes whole levels "Ghillies In the Mist", anyone) with cut-scenes so large in scale or actions so touching with emotion they become larger than the game. MW2 was full of them from the nuke in the USA to the final moments of the game; COD campaigns never fail to deliver... even when controversial (not a fan of "No Russian").
  7. Annual Games -- With a new COD being released every year, the game never gets stale. You know you'll have a new campaign, new weapons, retooled or brand new perks to get your shooter on just around the corner. It has it's negatives, too. The hype never seems to die down and the games can feel like retreads... but it keeps COD in your gaming thoughts for 12 months a year.
Love it or hate it... COD has transcended gaming into a phenomenon all its own.

And it's not changing anytime soon.

Tomorrow... the enigma of 6.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

8 is the magic number for 3

Sometimes you notice things that make you go, "Hmmm?"

In 8 days.
The 8th game.

See where I'm going?

It just might be the magic number for 3... Modern Warfare 3.

Over the next eight days, we'll take a look at the history of the Call of Duty series... what it's meant to gaming... from my own eclectic point of view.

After all, where else are you reading 8 is the magic number of 3?

I know... weird, huh?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Looks like level 80 is the max... just sayin'.

In the new Strike Package video... every player in the clip is level 80... so they can have access to everything in the game...

Guess this confirms 80 is the max.

Support Strike Package will be abused by vets... just sayin'.

Take a look at this... notice the 4 streaks... people will be like the Energizer Bunny...

... they'll keep going...
... and going....
... and going...

More than 2 GL rounds... just sayin'.

Interesting that you can have more than 2 GL rounds...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just sayin'.

Looking forward to the hybrid sight... just sayin'.

And will miss the reticule customization of Black Ops... just sayin'.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Battlefield 3 beta and the ups and downs... and downs... and downs...

Shooters…. I love them.

Every November is like an early Christmas when Call of Duty drops but 2011 has been hyped as the year of three… Gears of War 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Battlefield 3. One has lived up to the hype. One we’ll find out in November.

And for me, one has fallen well short.

I was excited to get my game on in the Battlefield 3 open beta yesterday. I knew I would struggle with control differences and the game might have issues (it’s a beta for Pete’s sake) but entered the fray with an open mind. You see, I’m not a DICE fan for multi-player. They delivered great campaigns in Bad Company 1-2 but their MP… well… it sucked. I disliked it so much I passed on Medal of Honor completely because it looked like a reskinned Bad Company MP experience.

Battlefield 3 has been hyped to be so much more.

At E3 2011 it had a wow factor… but I kept reminding anyone who would listen, “This is on a top-of-the line PC… show me what it looks like on a console.” Since that spectacular debut, EA has hyped Frostbite 2.0, dedicated servers, and game play that will blow other shooters away… and emphasizing they will have a beta (all snide digs at the king of the shooter hill, COD).

They might have done a better job tempering expectations.

Yes, it’s a beta but there are so many issues… some very central to the experience. The graphics at 30fps are subpar… I’m not talking about glitches… but the look. It’s just not what I was expecting and almost looks worse than BC2, especially with the way, overhyped Frostbite 2.0 engine. It sure doesn’t play as terribly destructible. The servers are dedicated… dedicated to having issues. Animations are hit and miss… grenade toss is terrible but the knife animation is cool. The sound is no different from Bad Company 1… solid but nothing new. Class systems are no fun… and while I knew this was the case… one side’s weapons are good and the other not. It’s a struggle to know visually when you are hit. And on, and on, and on…

… but…

… DICE got ROF selection right. The problem is you can’t use it. The single shot setting with the AR is useless because of how many hits it takes to get a kill. This segues nicely to…

… the way people play it. Snipers galore... spawn camping (love getting knifed as I wink into being)… hell, the spawn system in general is horrid. I love having an option to either spawn and run 500 miles to the action or spawn right in the middle of it and die… happy medium maybe? Players lone wolfing it everywhere in a team based game, has anyone ever heard of a mic? Funny thing… these are all complaints folks have about COD. It doesn’t really bug me here but for a game that portends to not be COD… sure feels like it.

There are good things beyond ROF… ribbons are cool… I like the XP system but I’m mixed on the weapon leveling mechanic.  I can’t tell what I have to do to unlock an attachment… and I can’t choose what to unlock. It seems like every good thing has 5 negatives, though.

And we haven’t even seen vehicles yet.

Not a fan of vehicles… not because they are overpowering… but because of how they aren’t used in the game (that and I suck at using them). Players just screw around with them too much… to the detriment of the experience. Besides, I’m playing a “shooter”… I’ll play Forza if I want to drive (which I don’t, I love shooters remember).

Battlefield 3 may turn out to be many things…

… Call of Duty killer will not be one of them.

Modern Warfare 3, it’s your turn to not disappoint.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Price of Progression...

All companies seek to grow their brand, to bring in new blood, while offering their existing base something new, a reason to come back. Video games are no different -- especially Call of Duty.

But at what price progression?

Sherman set the wayback machine to 2006 (sadly, some will not get this reference, so, click here and learn) where I found myself just getting on XBOX live for the first time. I had COD 2 but the title I most looked forward to playing was Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. I dug it. It had a nice mix of tactics and cool guns. Although I tried to get the hang of COD 2 MP... I kept getting owned (I really hate the word pwned... writer's prerogative). Later that November came Rainbow Six Vegas. Wow. I loved it and reached the max level. I was hooked playing MP shooters but I didn't bother with COD 3.

Little did I know, the love would grow.

For a second time, we return to the wayback machine (I know you get this now) where Sherman has it set for August 2007. A few of my friends were in a beta for a new shooter they thought was really good... better than GRAW good. That shooter was COD 4. I got into the beta and was blown away. The pace... the guns... the killstreaks... ranking up. It was awesome.

I snapped up the game once it was released and played it for more than 40 days. There was a learning curve... especially in hardcore modes. You were punished for errors... choppers were not easy to take out... the guns all behaved differently and made you adapt to them. If you were new... it showed. You earned XP by kills and assists. That's it.

I was now a COD addict.

This addiction followed into World At War, Modern Warfare 2, and the current Black Ops where my game time now stands upwards of 100 days (damn). Each of those games to varying degrees was not n00b friendly (another word I hate but I'll go with it here) and gave vets what they craved yet still managed to grow the player base to staggering levels. Additions were made to let the casual or new player have a chance at higher killstreaks in Care Packages (I'm going to assume you are familiar with it, if not Google it) or Death Streaks for dying too much.

That brings us to the pending Modern Warfare 3 (no more need for the wayback machine). Like it's predecessors, MW3 looks to grow the player base even further but I ask again...

... at what price progression?

You now get XP for seemingly logging in... there is also a way to get "killstreaks" without getting a killstreak. You just have to get kills. I can't forget to mention the myriad new ways for you to show up as a little red dot for all the Pac-man starved greenies (that don't even get the Pac-man reference... silly kids) because, heaven forbid, they can't function without knowing exactly where to sprint 100% of the time. Four years ago there were 3 killstreaks... now there are more than 20 options... so much for "gun on gun gameplay".

I'm looking forward to MW3... more for having a new COD to play versus the game itself. It should still be fun.... and I'll still be better at it than the greenie (I would hope 100 days played gives me some insight into how to play) but MW3 is trying it's damnedest to level the playing field.

That's the price of progression.