(Note: I have no experience in any CoD games before Modern Warfare, and little experience with World at War. Please excuse any errors in I may make in the midst of this analysis as a result of those factors, and feel free to contact and inform me of mistakes as you see them.)
Black Ops is on the minds of many Call of Duty fans at the moment. With the vast amount of erroneous moves that Infinity Ward made in creating and patching the latest game in the Call of Duty franchise, Modern Warfare 2, along with the lawsuits that occurred (unrelated to the game’s ultimate bittersweet success), fans of the series are looking to Treyarch to produce a solid game that will at the very least be a placeholder for their attention until the next big hit emerges. However, I have one major point that is indicative of a similar release to that of Modern Warfare 2 (unnoticed by the majority of fans that have already been swallowed in the pre-game hype); it’s unclear whether this game will even qualify within the simple goals put before it. Here’s why.
This game has none.
Up until the release of CoD: WaW, all games to make marks on the Xbox Live community from the Call of Duty franchise have released some sort of public beta. Treyarch as officially stated that this game will not have a beta open to the public, and that all testing and other dealings with the games development prior to the public release date will stay within Treyarch’s developers/inner circle, save for a few lucky souls.
So why is this concerning?
Modern Warfare 2 was the first of the series (to my knowledge) to not release a public beta in such a manner. The obvious logic is to assume that this is some sort of sign I’m deducing here, that because there’s one thing similar with MW2 that I’m predicting doom for this game. Well, not so much.
After thinking about it for a while, there’s a much simpler explanation as to why I’d even include this fact. From what I figure, Modern Warfare 2 didn’t release a public beta for a number of reasons; maybe the timetable for actually releasing the game was getting too close for feedback, maybe they were too far in developing the project and decided it was good enough as it was. Personally, I think it comes down to money. Modern Warfare 2 was speculated to be somewhere from the 3rd to 4th best selling game of all time. And no, this still isn’t the motivation. I’m getting there.
Now, based on my experience with the World at War beta (which ended up convincing me, and various other people I know, not to buy the WaW game), I’m inclined to think that Treyarch might just be following in IW’s footsteps, as far as the money making goes. Quick step back. Modern Warfare 2 released no public beta, and got a lot of people to BUY the game. The pre-release hype was there, especially because Call of Duty 4 was such a hit. Because of that hype, and no one (besides a select few known in the competitive scene of CoD4 and the IW developers) knew how the game would play, everyone and their mother bought Modern Warfare 2. Step forward. Modern Warfare 2’s reputation is down the drain for anyone who doesn’t care to be spammed with the ridiculous perk combinations, in-game exploits, and other various glitches that to this day are being made as ‘infections’ (modifications to the game where the creator goes into a game, and everyone in the lobby ‘catches’ the mod or glitch that was made, passes it on to others).
Now, had this game been tested, the hackers and modders (along with the abusers of perk combinations, glitches, etc.) would have gone to work to break the game, just as is usual with a beta. Because there wasn’t one, all of these problems were created after the game was released, and there’s only so much Infinity Ward could (or wanted to) do with the game to fix it. The game generally fell apart. The makers of the game were fighting amongst each other over a lawsuit for not being paid enough from this game’s huge sales. The game fell into ruins because of some standard steps that had previously been taken in game development.
Thus, the importance of the beta.
Now maybe you’re following along, and if you’re not, re-read what I’ve just written for you. For those of you who get it, think of the similarity of Black Ops. Again, no public beta. Treyarch doesn’t have the same kind of circumstances, sure. Treyarch has shown much more interest in the desires of the community in developing this game, sure. But right off the bat, unless Treyarch has secretly hired some of the guys from Se7enSins, or a site similar with people who made their names hacking lobbies in Modern Warfare 2, this game is already behind in the hacking/modification/infection piece of this game. As for the perk, glitch, and exploiting section of the community who provided more ruin in Modern Warfare 2, Treyarch again is guessing at which perks will be combined to unbalance the game, when they have no real idea of how the players will manipulate the perk system that’s been established.
Ultimately, as a reader you should see my concern in how this game is being delivered. Some who read this article will almost immediately throw up their defenses and discount the idea that Treyarch would let the game topple in the same way that MW2 did. Some will say that this is some kind of psychoanalysis B.S. that I’m making too much out of. Some will say I just hate Treyarch.
On that note, just because I didn’t buy WaW, doesn’t mean I hate Treyarch, nor is it why I’ve written this article. I look forward to this game becoming a new CoD4 like the rest of us as gamers all do, something that grabs our attention and holds it for years to come. I do, however, find it very ill strategized to even consider not releasing a public beta for this game that so many people are depending on to continue following the Call of Duty series. This game has a lot of pressure being applied to it as far as expectations, and if this game isn’t at the very least solid, people will be looking for a new series, most likely along with myself and quite a few of my friends. The inability to release some sort of beta version of the game is simply a slap in the face to gamers who follow the series, and teeters on the edge of being a marketing move, as previously explained. At this point, it’s way too late for Treyarch to consider releasing the beta. The game’s coming out a month from now.
Let’s hope they make the right calls.
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