Yet more on Modern Warfare 2

Posted by Alex Jordan on

I'm back home in Rhode Island, having escaped from DC prior to the Snowpocalypse. I've been working diligently on Around The World, although not enough cosmetic changes have been made thus far to warrant another Development Diary. I hope to rectify that in the next few days.

I also brought my Xbox 360 with me, and have been indulging in Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer. I was surprised to find that I was still addicted to the damn thing, so much so that I haven't touched Assassin's Creed 2 in about 3 weeks. I was also surprised because I spend so much time being infuriated at MW2. Right now, it's about 2/3 enjoyment, 1/3 fury. That's a pretty high ratio. So why do I keep playing?

I've decided it's because MW2's multiplayer represents the pinnacle of self-absorbed gaming. The way the killstreaks are set up inspires a player to completely abandon cooperation and teamwork in favor of racking up kills. Furthermore, the rewards for said killstreaks almost always favor the player first and their team a distant second. Sure, an AC-130 will shut down much of a map and allow the player's team to mop up, but mopping up isn't nearly as gratifying as calling that AC-130. Which is why everyone else is trying to do the same thing. And the few killstreak rewards with socialized benefits - like, say, the UAV - are abandoned in favor of the more self-absorbed ones that build even higher killstreaks.

It's patently ridiculous, and the game's "Me me me me ME!" atmosphere leaves almost no room for teamwork. In fact, the selfishness of killstreaks is so overpowering that objective gametypes - Search and Destroy, Domination, Headquarters, and what have you - can actually be ended with the Tac Nuke killstreak! Teamwork, cooperation, and fulfilling the gametype's objectives can be completely nullified by a killstreak achieved by a hot shot who hasn't even attempted to complete the objectives! It's often maddening.

But, of course, that same self-absorption is immensely rewarding when you are the player racking up all those kills. And you always hope to be that player, even when you've died five times in a row to an AC-130 you could barely even see. And so I keep playing, knowing how fun it is to get those killstreaks.

But I also play to complete the objectives that the gametype gives me. At some point, I wonder if that will be considered to be some form of protest in MW2's community.

Tags: games, opinion