Thoughts on the COD: WW2 Beta

‘Let’s go backwards to move forwards’- Someone at Activision sometime during development

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Over the past two weekends, the Call Of Duty: WW2 (Just incase you were unsure when the game was set) multiplayer beta has been available to those who pre-ordered the game on PS4 and Xbox One (one weekend only on Xbox). I was fortunate enough to obtain a code through a friend and put a good few hours into the game. Here are my thoughts.

The Maps

We were treated to five (I didn’t play the fifth because it was for the War mode only) maps in the beta. These were Pointe Du Hoc, a series of trenches and buildings set in France; Ardennes Forest, a winter forest map in France (who’d of thought it) ; Gibraltar, a military base in, you guessed it, Gibraltar and Aachen, a bombed German town. These maps varied in quality. For instance, Gibraltar spawns were rather one-sided and hardly switched. So, if you spawned there to begin with, it created an immediate disadvantage. Aachen’s lines of sight are another issue, the range on some of them created some of the slowest games since ghosts for me personally (although Sledgehammer Games have said they are looking at that map specifically). Lots of cover spots on all maps where only the head was visible (the kids call them head-glitches), so perhaps think about removing a few. Generally, the maps force you into tight spaces for close quarters combat so SMGs are the dominant guns to use on three of the four maps (SMGs are good on Aachen, but I’d use a rifle for those longer ranges). Most maps are three lanes with lots of flanking routes so the game does encourage you to move a lot.

The Guns

The guns, all things considered, were actually somewhat balanced. Sniping could be tweaked a smidge by perhaps making it a bit harder to hit Quick Scopes but that’s a minor issue that we can all deal with I think. I predominantly used the SMGs for most of my playtime but the rifles like the STG 44 and the M1 Garand are both useful and the shotguns are incredible at close range. The LMG’s are as you would expect, great at long distance and used by a specific type of player (*suppresses anger*) but due to the nature of both the speed of the game and the map layouts, LMG’s aren’t really viable.

The Scorestreaks

The scorestreaks available in the beta were all very good and usable except the mortar strike which was incredibly poor. The best available was the Glide Bomb (basically the predator missile from the Modern Warfare series) for me, due to its somewhat low score and lethal ability. The Molotov cocktails were, for the lowest streak on the game, surprisingly good if you were accurate with them. I feel the fighter pilot could either have a time boost or a damage boost as at times it felt a little weak to use. The other scorestreaks which included Paratroopers, AI controlled soldiers that were shit week 1 and pretty good week 2; Artillery which was an upgraded version the mortar strike; A Flamethrower; The Recon Plane (UAV) and Care Package.

Divisions and Create-A-Class

Divisions is the new specialist type system within the game. The player selects a ‘division’ from the five choices which are Infantry, Airborne, Mountain, Expeditionary and Armored. Each give you special rewards as you level each division up. For instance, Infantry level 2 allows you to take a third attachment for your weapons and Expeditionary level 2 allows you to take a piece of tactical and lethal equipment. Each division has 5 levels with each having a unique weapon unlocked at level 5 (the level cap was 4 in the beta for each division). The Create-a-Class system has regressed back to an older system. However, perks have changed completely. Instead of being able to select three perks for you character, COD WW2 has the ‘Ordinance’ system. This allows the player to choose one advantage such as being able to shoot while sprinting or reducing the score required for scorestreaks. Weapons are set to a maximum of 2 attachments unless you use the Infantry division as mentioned above. Players may only carry either a lethal or a tactical grenade unless you use the Expeditionary division. I personally don’t have issue with this class system but the ability to pick two types of ordinance would be a good balance for everyone.

Game Modes

The standard game modes like Team Deathmatch and Domination were in the beta, along with Hardpoint, a mosh pit game mode which was the previous three and eventually kill confirmed, and a brand new game mode called War. The premise of war is simple, complete a series of objectives to win the game. These range from pushing the enemy back by capturing a house to building a bridge for the tank to cross, to planting a bomb to destroy the ammo supply, to finally escorting a tank to destroy some anti-aircraft weapons, all while another team is attempting to stop you at each interval. War is a timed game mode and you both attack and defend.  From what I saw this mode was fairly balanced, but I didn’t play it myself.

Connection and Hit Registration

The connection, for me personally, was never an issue. However, that can not be said for everyone with some players claiming to have serious lag issues and bad dedicated server placement (i.e. the player is from the US and are being placed on a European server) . In terms of hit registration, the beta was a little hit and miss (I’m here all week). There were times that every shot went where it should and other times I might as well be shooting marshmallows at the enemy team.

Other Criticisms

The user interface was very clunky and difficult to navigate, having to move screens to see if my friends and I were in a party was an unnecessary inconvenience for. The end game cut-scenes were slow and tedious, also didn’t leave me any time to alter classes. Also, there was no clear way to view challenges which I thought was odd.

Final Word

The COD WW2 Beta was an all round solid showing, despite some teething problems which are easily fixed between now and November 3rd. There is a solid base for a great game and perhaps a ‘revival’ for the Call Of Duty series, which has been on the decline as of late.

Final score 3.8/5

 

 

The Call of Duty Conundrum

COD’s not dead

Ah, Call of Duty, that totally non-divisive franchise that everyone loves and agrees on how it should progress as the games go on. Activision’s smash hit series, which is one of the biggest selling franchises of all time has had troubled times as of late. Or, at least troubled times for one of the biggest game series of all time. With Activision having to ship Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered with latest game Infinite Warfare to even persuade players to buy the game, its clear that there are problems that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Here are some of the problems I think the series has and how I think they can be fixed.

The first problem with Call of Duty has been temporarily solved at least, and that’s the setting. While not seeming that big of a deal to an outsider looking in, the recent time period settings for the past few games have been a serious issue for the community. Most fans seem to think that the future setting has been a step away from what made the game great in the first place and I’m inclined to agree (although my issues go a little deeper).

Solution: Well, with the next one being set in WW2, this isn’t as big a problem as it was. However, modern or previous combat settings for the foreseeable future please.

Classic maps will forever be remembered by long time fans. Whether it is Crash, Terminal, Nuketown, Firing Range or even Dome, there’s a reason these maps get remastered every few years. And if I’m honest, none of the maps on the last few games have been anywhere near as memorable as these ones. Activision is pushing that the next game goes back to the roots of what made COD great, so having maps that are both classic in feel and function is vital for the series going forward.

Solution: Look at what made those maps fundamentally great and place that in your chosen setting. Also, the COD community has to simmer its expectations, every COD has awful maps (Stonehaven we’re looking at you). You could just cheat and re-skin the classic maps, the community would complain but at least the maps would be good.

Gunplay is vital to the success any Call of Duty. If the guns don’t feel satisfying to use and have some impact, then payers tend to be less interested in the game. Then there’s the issue of weapon balance, and it usually goes one of two ways. They either patch or hotfix too often, or not at all. Every COD game has a weapon that’s overused to death, and when that’s patched another one comes along.

Solution: Developers need to find a middle ground to keep the game interesting, and preferably make other guns better instead of making the better guns worse, as the game doesn’t lose any of its fun factor.

Micro-transactions are a funny one, because they’re awful, anti-consumerist nonsense that we as a community seem to be letting Activision get away with. But, on the other hand, they make Activision incredible amounts of money, so they’d be stupid not to continually put them in each release. After all, games might be a medium of entertainment for us, but it’s also a business for Activision.

Solution: EA are approaching DLC in AAA shooter, Star Wars: Battlefront 2, in the way I feel is going to be the best compromise for both players and publishers. While the game will contain micro-transactions, all extra Maps, guns, vehicles etc. will be free. Also, the paid map pack method splits and fractures the player base. So, I think as a goodwill gesture to customers more than anything, Activision should copy EA’s method. In an ideal world, both games wouldn’t have micro-transactions but they are unfortunately here to stay.

YouTube is a wonderful thing. It has united communities in a way nobody thought to be possible. The COD community is no exception, even having its own Sub-communities. However, the feeling of finding that new gun and telling your mates about was part of the fun back in the day. Admittedly, this is an entirely personal gripe, but a gripe nonetheless. So, guys, cool it with the best class setups in the game videos please? (I am aware I can avoid these videos and this problem is solved, but I’m privileged and have an obligation to complain about stuff that is entirely avoidable).

Solution: Stop watching these videos.

Play styles are a big thing in COD, and while I can’t tell you how to play. If you get your kicks out of finding a dark corner and not moving, power to you. But, I will call you obscene names you probably aren’t in the heat of the moment and discuss imaginary encounters with your mother.

Solution: Camping will always be in COD, it always has, it’s about making the game in the favour of more mobile players. Campers already have an advantage and at its core, Call of Duty is an arcade shooter, so start moving you fools!

Considering everything, Call of Duty isn’t in a terrible state, but things could be a lot better and if changes aren’t made soon, the series could follow Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to the Activision graveyard.