Saturday, March 16, 2013

Thoughts on Black Ops 2's Micro-DLC (Bacon weapon camo)

I wrote a comment on reddit in response to what seemed like a general backlash over the introduction of mini-dlc packs into CoD's universe:
Some people are willing to spend quite a bit more money on Call of Duty than others and this is a way to for ATVI to find out who they are and actually get more from them in exchange for pretty insignificant in-game extras.
No one is getting ripped off. We're talking about voluntary exchange here. When you purchased the season pass you knew you were getting four map packs and you decided it was worth it. No one promised you extra camos and you're not getting extra camos for that price. Now they're offering extra camos as a separate DLC pack and everyone can evaluate whether or not this new DLC is worth it.

But then I watched PKA and Woody ranted about it:
I'm a season pass holder, I've been a pass holder since they invented the season pass...I'm a founder, I jumped right on board with that stuff.  And when I buy a season pass I expect to get all the DLC they come out with that year....Season pass means season pass, you get the DLC for that year.  Stop raping your best customers for more money....At some point you're just treating your best customers badly. At some point you're just chasing away the people who support you the most...What they've done is they've spent my good will.  I hope it was worth four bucks.

 My initial reaction isn't wrong, they did advertise the season pass as being only for the map packs, and no one is being forced to spend more money on the game.  But, it's that part about good will, about treating your best customers in a way that will let them know they are appreciated.  Invest in the long term viability of your product, especially when you have something like Call of Duty.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Modern Warfare 3's 8 Best Survival Maps

I guess it's 7 survival maps plus 1 Chaos mode map:

Seatown is probably the easiest survival map of them all, a result of it being a Tier 2 map and also having great cover and lots of close quarters around the market.  There's always a fun element to easy-mode.

My best solo - Wave 32 - 15,600 on the leaderboards, which is the top 1.05%
My best co-op - Wave 45 - 17,700 on leaderboards, which is the top 0.46%

I consider Fallen to be one of the best looking maps in MW3, a combination of the style they chose, good lighting, and pretty good color.  It has enough cover to make it enjoyable without making it too easy.

My best solo - Wave 25 - 3,000 on the leaderboad, the top 0.32%
My best co-op - Wave 25 - 60,700 on the leaderboard, the top 2.4%

I like Bakaara mostly because of the memories.  I played this map dozens of times split-screen with a good friend, just having fun.  It's a real challenge.

Best solo - Wave 25 - 9,800 on the leaderboard, the top 0.99%
Best co-op - Wave 28 - 26,900 on the leaderboard, the top 1.09%

Piazza's many levels and verticality work really well, more so than Carbon which has a similar hillside design. I really enjoyed Piazza in a lot of game modes including survival.  Plus it's just a great looking map.

Best solo - Wave 39 - 222 on leaderboard, the top 0.092%
Best co-op - Wave 27 - 35,400 on leaderboard, the top 8.86%

I bet you can guess part of the reason I like this map, it looks great.  Bright, lots of color, but also it has an interesting layout that makes for good strategy.

Best solo - Wave 32 - 401 on the leaderboard, the top 0.32%
Best co-op - Wave 38 - 1,200 on the leaderboard, the top 0.56%

Off Shore would have gotten a spot on the basis of it's singular wave progression, but it actually has a great setup with lots of levels, stairs and hallways.  All of it together makes for interesting and fun gameplay.

Best solo - Wave 24 - 1,014 on the leaderboard, the top 1.04%
Best co-op - Wave 25 - 2,700 on the leaderboard, the top 1.64%

Parish is small and frantic, just like in multiplayer.  It would look better if they took out some of the cloudiness though.

Best solo - Wave 29 - 136 on the leaderboard, the top 0.31%
Best co-op - Wave 19 - 10,800 on the leaderboard, the top 19.64%

Chaos mode is technically a sub-segment of survival mode and Dome is the most fun of the maps included in that mode.  I still think they should have made Chaos mode for the Face Off maps, but oh well.

Best solo - 18.32 million - 328 combo - 4,400 on the leaderboard, the top 1.93%
No co-op score.

CoD4 and MW2 maps that I think would be a lot of fun in survival mode:














Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Modern Warfare's 10 Best Spec Ops Missions

Call of Duty 4:

This is the only mission in CoD4, but it definitely deserves a spot on the top list.  It's fast paced and one of the most difficult things to accomplish in any Call of Duty game ever on Veteran.  It set a great precedent for future missions.
"We're going deep, and we're going hard."
"Surely you can't be serious."
"I'm serious.  And don't call me Shirley."

Modern Warfare 2:

 I really enjoyed the simplicity of this mission, that you have the area of a small multiplayer map and you have to kill 30-50 enemies.  I could do it solo on Veteran if I really focused, and even on Regular I could challenge myself by seeing how quickly I could complete it.

In the CoD4 campaign you experience the AC130's support briefly at the end of Hunted, and then you man the craft in Death From Above.  The MW2 mission Overwatch recreates both of those even better by putting two players together and forcing both to communicate effectively their respective view of the situation and how to best deal with it.

Essentially the CoD4 campaign mission All Ghillied Up, except solo or with both roles filled by players.  High replayability factor in my opinion, and really captured the magic of the CoD4 level.

Exceptionally difficult on veteran because of the timer and limited equipment, this one took me dozens of run throughs to finally beat with a partner, but was incredibly satisfying once it was done.  Breaching is always fun and the pace once you get inside is tremendous.

Similar to O Cristo Redentor in its simplicity, except with a very large map, and more difficult enemies that have all already spawned on the map (except the juggernauts).  Defensive play is rewarded in a way that I imagine is true to life, and clearing the house then defending it is pretty cool.  I also enjoyed the map itself, a lush mountainous area in western Asia.

Modern Warfare 3

Part of the appeal of Milehigh Jack is that it brings back the feeling of Mile High Club, and the other part is that it complements the campaign mission Turbulence by showing it from the enemy's perspective.

I contemplated wether to include Smack Town or Hit and Run since they both take place on the same map which I consider to be one of the most interesting.  The rusted ship remains, the docks, it's just a cool environment.  But Smack Town has a bit more variety to the gameplay with the first portion being on the helicopter so I think it gets the nod.

Starting off as a captive and rushing through each stage to save the other hostages is very engaging.  Completing it solo on Veteran is very doable, but it does take some concentration to save the hostages in a timely manner which makes it rewarding.  Also playing co-op and seeing your executioner murder other hostages while moving toward you is exciting.

This mission is one of three that are maps that were not part of the campaign, Arctic Recon and Special Delivery being the other two.  It's not a difficult mission even on veteran but something about the variety appeals to me more than the average mission.  There's sniping, sneaking around at night, an EMP, a great looking fiery bridge, and the reaper gameplay mechanic is very satisfying.


In CoD4 there are 20 achievement points you can earn in Mile High Club.
In MW2 there are 340 achievement points you can earn only in the Spec Ops missions.
In MW3 there are 720 achievement points you can earn only in the Spec Ops missions (110 in the standard missions and 610 in the DLC missions).