Monday, October 19, 2009

Boycotts, forum raids, and people getting really mad in general

It seems that with its recent decisions regarding Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer arrangements, Infinity Ward has caused a stir to rival that of Valve's first announcement that there would be a new Left 4 Dead game, purchased separately from the original.

Of course, there will always be those who suffer uncontainable kneejerk reactions to even the slightest change to their favourite series. However, the L4D2 boycott, the Healers Against Halos episode, and now the spreading idea of a MW2 boycott have all flared up within such a short timespan that it's nigh impossible to speak to a fellow gamer without them suspiciously questioning your stance with regards to Valve and Infinity Ward. Naturally, being blessed with a short temper and irrepressible need to try and rationalise everything that happens around me, I've wasted no time telling my friends (any anyone else who will listen) my thoughts. I'll tell you, too, and I hope you do take note - rather than argue for any given party, I speak for myself.

I've always bought story-driven games for the story first, and the multiplayer (usually a very distant) second - with the obvious exception of those games intended primarily for online play, such as L4D. In my book, the fact IW are adding new features to the franchise to keep it interesting after so many years and so many games more than offsets the removal of superfluous features. Matchmaking doesn't really bother me, and nor does it instill horrific images of the PC being pushed aside by the console in my mind; it by no means prevents me playing with friends, and it saves me trawling through the myriad of servers looking for one which is actually worth playing on. There are concerns that it will affect competitive play, but I've never been one for that; I have a general distrust and plain dislike for competitive gamers born of many leaving me with distinctly bad impressions. In any case, matchmaking-based games have often had better competitive features, and this has been the case for years. Why MW2 would be any different is beyond me.

Yet despite all this, self-professed IW worshippers are stopping short of no extreme to tell the world just how wrong this is. Because a few relatively pointless online features were docked (how many of you actually browse for servers in L4D? I sure don't), they're cancelling their pre-orders, geting angsty over how much they spent on their Modern Warfare 2 computer, and generally making a mess of IW's forums. This kind of behaviour might be marginally more understandable if the game was primarily intended for multiplayer, but it wasn't; none of the 'true' Call of Duty games were, either, nor Halo for that matter. Initially, multiplayer was simply something added on so you could take the gameplay style and content you enjoy online. It seems that these days, however, it's the story which takes the back seat.

If there's one positive outcome of this absolute first-order shitstorm, though, it's that I'll have a lot less whiners to deal with when I do decide to hit the online mode - provided, that is, that they don't make a policy backflip and become just as rabid for the game upon release as they were a few short weeks ago.

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