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.