How Not To Play COD Online

I’m not new to gaming.  I was a regular at our local deli and fish and chip shop, usually on the way home from school, playing Space Invaders and Pacman.  Then Atari hit the stores and we were able to continue our quest for the most outrageous highest score on such mind boggling games as Asteroids and Defender.

I remember playing Blagger and a Formula One Racing game (I can’t remember the name) on the Amstrad 64 home computer (I had to be different and have an Amstrad and not one of the more popular Commodore 64s).

Then the trouble really started when Doom was released on early model home PC’s.  The first, first person shooter genre game that really started the ball rolling in regards to PC games.  The gameplay was totally different to anything experienced previously and led to other immensely popular titles like Half-Life.

There were quite few years there when PC games were the undisputed rulers of the gaming scene.  Consoles such as Sega and Playstation attempted to steal the title from the PC, but it just didn’t happen.  However, when Microsoft introduced the Xbox and Sony released the Playstation 2, console gaming started to take over.

Now, the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 are the undisputed kings of the gaming world.  There are still are few gamers who stand by the PC and its superior graphics and there is no doubt, RTS games are much better played on a PC but, overall, the consoles have taken the number one spot.

This is due to several factors I think, but the two major benefits are playability and the multiplayer set up of both the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360, particularly the Xbox with the Xbox Live system.

If, like me, you started playing first person shooters on a PC, you will be quite comfortable using the keyboard to negotiate your character through the game, changing weapons and other options.  If you played your first game on a console however, it is not so easy to convert to the keyboard.  In fact, it seems ridiculous to console gamers to have to use the keyboard when they can “steer” their character with a joystick and swap and change everything with a few buttons, all within easy reach.

My son has tried the PC and, although he enjoys it, he looks very awkward when playing.  Put him in front of a console though, and he presses buttons and manoeuvres the joystick without even thinking about it. 

So I can understand this issue gamers have with the PC and I would have to agree.

The second, and this is by far the most influential difference between the two formats, is the multiplayer option capabilities of the Xbox and Playstation systems. 

Multiplayer is huge on both, and many gamers will now purchase a game simply to play online.  They will not even play through the single player campaign.  I think Halo, itself a brilliant game, really kicked off the multiplayer thing on Xbox.  Now though, the Call of Duty games would have to be the most popular online experience.

Call of Duty Black Ops is the current title.  I’m not allowed to call it that though.  It’s simply COD Black Ops, or just COD.  Just COD because everyone apparently knows it will be Black Ops, as it’s the latest version.

COD is a multi player phenomenon; there is no other way to describe it.  When the latest COD is released, people queue up outside stores to get the first copies; kids take days off of school; older kids take days off of work; it’s mad really.

Most will sign in to their Xbox Live accounts and jump straight into a multiplayer game of ‘capture the flag’ or ‘team death match’ or whatever other game types there are.

I enjoy playing the odd game on the Xbox, although it has now been largely taken over by my son, but I admit to becoming slightly bored with these COD games and in fact, any first person shooter games.  I enjoyed the Halo series and the FEAR games, but COD was the same all over again.

Then I was introduced to Xbox Live and COD multiplayer.  I had seen my son playing and, at first glance it looked just like the single player version, so it didn’t spark much interest.  I was then asked to play as a guest and I was thrown into COD Black Ops online. 

I very quickly became aware that I was somewhat lacking in the skills department.  I saw all the other players on my team go running off at full tilt and I thought, “Ha, amateurs, I’ll find a nice hiding spot and pick the enemy off”.  That didn’t work out too well.  As my son pointed out, most of these players know all the maps inside out, so they know all the hiding places.  I was knifed three times without firing a shot before I abandoned the hiding idea.

Next came capture the flag.  I decided on the opposite approach, so I barrelled in and grabbed the oppositions team flag, all set to run it back to our flag, when I was gunned down; and I mean gunned down.  I must have suffered at least 60 bullet wounds.  Three of their team were defending their flag, just out of sight, waiting for an idiot like me to waltz in and take it.

Next, I tried to defend our flag.  I had a little more success here, but not much.  I would shoot one opposition player, then wait in anticipation for the next victim.  Inevitably, the opposition were on to me and I was quickly despatched, either stabbed, shot or blown up.  I was then advised that using your gun makes you visible to the opposition on their radar, so they know where you are.

I then tried the high speed approach, sprinting all over the place, but this proved disastrous; you show on the opposition’s radar when you sprint too.

Now I was really struggling.  Then, COD help me, I realised the enemy could call in helicopters (I couldn’t work out how I was being torn to bits by heavy calibre machine gun rounds when I couldn’t see any machine gunners), small remote control cars (bombs) that detonate when near you, and claymores that explode when you walk past or over them.  I was being annihilated.  I would end a multiplayer game with 3 or 4 lousy kills.

I was becoming extremely frustrated  but I was determined to do better.

I have now logged an impressive(?) 4 hours in total on COD online and I still suck at it.  I am a level 14 player, which is very, very low.  Once you reach level 50, you have the option of moving onto the Prestige Levels, but you lose all your acquired weapons accumulated over those 50 levels.  There are 15 Prestige Levels.  I have seen numerous players at the top level – that’s 800 levels they have played through, and you do not progress a level after every game; so imagine the hours these guys have logged on this game.

COD Black Ops Multiplayer  – a phenomenon indeed.  Now let’s see if I can reach level 15……..