Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is an expensive game. For the price, you get a six-hour campaign (that does have its decent moments), and online multiplayer with several game modes and a variety of weapons. It’s Call of Duty through-and-through, and if you’ve liked the games in the past, you’re probably going to have a fine time with it. It’s what you don’t get that’s the glaring issue. Barracks and Leaderboards have not been confirmed at all by the developer, and Hardcore won’t go live until later in November.
That’s without even mentioning the post-launch bugs. Parties on PC have been broken since the game went live, with loads of crashes. Even on Xbox Series X, it occasionally crashes to the dashboard with no error message at all. Performance is largely fine moment-to-moment, but there are still graphical stutters, buggy lobbies, and frozen screens that happen every 20-30 minutes. But that’s another matter. We’re talking about the game’s missing features now.
Not having Hardcore live at the launch of multiplayer has put a lot of players off. Having to wait two or three weeks for your favourite mode to go live is a bit of a slap in the face. I can’t really think why this would be a problem unless there’s something wrong with it—the very low TTK in standard matches as it stands makes me think that they had to try and do some balancing for Hardcore post-launch. There’s a pistol that kills people in two shots anyway, so how do they make it work in Hardcore?
The lack of a Barracks to track your progress, achievements, and kill/death ratio is even more egregious though. There’s no excuse for this one. It’s another sign that Call of Duty is steering even further away from personal achievement, just like the very poorly-received lack of a K/D in games in 2019. At least that has been somewhat fixed in Modern Warfare 2, but still, not every mode tells you this very basic information or gives you the ability to look at the scoreboard after the game is finished.
The Barracks was always interesting to look at because stats are fun. Plain and simple. What is your most-used gun? Who knows. How many kills have you got with Semtex grenades? No clue. What mode do you perform best in? Haha, not telling. They must be processing these numbers constantly, even if just for SBMM purposes, so not showing it to us is a deliberate choice. Why? What’s the purpose? I just want to see how I’m doing in the game. That’s not a difficult concept.
Likewise, the lack of a Leaderboard is a real let-down. This was an aspect of the game that was always fun to compete for, and it used to be very satisfying to see where you fit into the grand scheme of things. Are you really any good at Domination, or has skill-based matchmaking taken the wheel? Sure, some stats used to be hacked/padded, but not having a Leaderboard at all is a sad indication of Call of Duty trying to appeal to the most casual of players and throwing the sweatier ones to the wayside.
I firmly believe that not including the Barracks and a Leaderboard is all about player retention. If a casual player checks their kill/death ratio and sees that they’ve dropped a lovely 0.4, they’re less likely to keep playing. The same stands for the Leaderboard: you’re 250,000 in the world for Headquarters? Why bother anymore? It’s demoralising, I get it. But the lack of these two key features should receive the same negative attention as SBMM. I don’t know why this is surprising anymore, but Call of Duty feels like a well-honed, money-making machine, and hardcore players are suffering because of these design choices.
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