Let’s face it, everyone always complains about the newest Call of Duty when it first releases. Then, as time goes on people come to accept it. I’ve given Call of Duty: Ghosts several months to grow on me, and I still claim it is the worst Call of Duty multiplayer I have ever played—and yes I’ve played all of them. The main reason why is simple: the maps. The maps are poorly created and made in such a way they enforce camping, which is the one thing everyone hates in Call of Duty. Yet Ghosts has made it entirely acceptable, in fact, camping is practically encouraged in the latest title. Ghosts’ combination of map design and gear that specifically supports campers has made it the most frustrating multiplayer yet.
Let me start off right away saying this is not going to be some angry COD gamer rant. There are enough of those kicking around the internet. I am not the biggest COD player of all time, in fact, I prefer Battlefield over Call of Duty. I also won’t pretend that I’m amazing at it. I’m really weird in the fact that I play COD for fun, and I don’t care about my KDR, patches, or anything like that. However, I firmly believe this is the worst Call of Duty multiplayer yet, and I’ll explain why soon. Before that, let me defend myself a little more by saying I am decent as far as COD gamers go. I have good games and bad games, and for those that care my KDR currently is 0.948. I’m saying this for one reason. I’m trying to establish some credit before I complain about Ghosts, because the first think everyone always thinks is, “well you just suck.” That very well may be the case, and I will admit, Ghosts is my worst Call of Duty by far. But that made me wonder why I’m so bad at it.
I’m not going to complain about the typical things COD gamers hate. Things like: shotgunners, riot shields, no-scopers, quick-scopers, jump-shooting, drop-shooting, aim-assist, throwing C4, hit detection, or any of the other hundred things people whine about when it comes to COD. I won’t attack specific play styles apart from one, and that’s camping. Now, there’s a difference between someone sitting in a window overlooking the map – which may be annoying but fair – verses someone lying down in a corner staring at one doorway the entire time or looking down one hallway the whole match. You know the people I’m talking about. The kind who sit in one spot, get an I.M.S, then get a Sentry Gun after that, and refuse to move the entire match. People camp, it happens, especially when they are close to getting a killstreak. So I understand why it happens, but never before has a Call of Duty game supported campers so blatantly with gear and features.
I’ll start with the ability to lean. I know leaning doesn’t sound like that big a deal, and the point was to have a realistic way to look around corners. The problem is it gives people an even better way to stay in one place and look down a hallway the entire game. Stay hidden, then pop out, then go back to hiding. I’ve seen countless people never move the entire game and continue to lean around the same corner through all of it. If they die, then they run right back to that same corner. Without leaning, the person had to at least expose most of their body to poke out around a corner, now they can protect themselves even more.
Protecting them from another entrance is the I.E.D. These insanely unfair devices have a big blast radius that can detect people in any direction. There have always been mines in a Call of Duty game, but not like I.E.D’s. Claymores only fire in one direction and you can see the red lines. You can sneak around Claymores, and more importantly, you can’t throw them! This is the same with Bouncing Betty’s. You couldn’t throw them like a football across the map, and if you had fast enough reflexes to duck, you could avoid the explosion. There is usually a counter and balance system in place, but I.E.D’s are powerful explosions that can detonate from any direction. To be fair, there is a beep that gives you some warning, but you have to be really quick about it. Luckily, there was a very recent patch that nerfed the power of I.E.D’s by making your whereabouts to their location more precise. Jumping over an I.E.D on the ground or ducking when one is over your head should reduce the damage you take. I think it has made a difference, but I’m still calling them an overpowered camping weapon.
I know my complaint against thermal scopes may sound a little harsh, and I am happy there is a perk that prevents you from being highlighted in a scope, but they are still too good. Above I’ve put a picture of a thermal scope from Modern Warfare 2. You can see how people are highlighted in white, but the person is blurry and the lens is grainy. This is some counter balance to being able to highlight enemies. Now, below the next paragraph I have a picture of the thermal scope in Ghosts. There is almost no real disadvantage to using this scope. The enemies are still highlighted, but they aren’t blurry, and using the site doesn’t lower the vision clarity in any way. They are too good and a little too efficient. So naturally everyone uses them.
Now if you combine leaning, I.E.D’s, and thermal scopes, you have one grade ‘A’ camper. They will sit in room, toss out an I.E.D or two to protect their flank, lean around a window, door, or corner, and then use their perfectly clear thermal scope to shoot whoever they see. That’s not even including the people who lie down in a corner and stare at one doorway. This puts everyone else at a huge disadvantage who wants to run-and-gun, use shotguns, tactical knifes, or basically wants to move around the map. Not to mention that regular grenade damage has been reduced in comparison to I.E.D’s and C4, and tactical grenades are practically useless making it almost impossible to get those rats out of their holes. Ghost has tipped the favor so heavily towards camping that it is becoming the accepted norm in the game.
Okay, I won’t go so far as to say that people shouldn’t ever use the tools that are given to them. I may be extra hateful towards this because I am a run-and-gun type of guy. Give me a submachine gun and I’m good to go. I have never had a problem with using this setup until Ghosts. The problem isn’t just all the snipers and campers that are littered through the map. The real problems are the maps themselves and how they encourage camping exclusively.
Yes, I said it, we have gotten to the real issue at hand here. I will definitively claim, without hesitation, that these are the worst maps in Call of Duty history. So what’s the problem with them? They are a complete mess. First off, they are enormous most of the time and far bigger than they ever need to be. Call of Duty is all about fast-paced action that moves incredibly quickly. I lost count how many times I run around maps and can’t find anyone. Siege is one of the biggest maps with all sorts of corners, corridors, bushes, and other places to search through. In Team Deathmatch I have only experienced a handful of games where a team was able to get 75 kills before the time runs out. The map is simply too big and covered with too many obstacles to traverse through.
Big maps aren’t automatically bad. Having a big map is fine, but you need some sort of focal point so everyone runs there to fight. Generally in the past, maps were made with a focal point in the center that people could always find each other. Then there were also paths all around that point so people could flank. In Ghosts, most of the time there is no focal point in the center; actually, it is usually an open space so running into it will end your life. I think they were trying to have the two sides fight back and forth over that open territory. What they got, was chaos with people running around not finding each other, except for the campers who don’t move and wait. It’s hard to blame them when the maps make that the best way to play.
Usually, maps are made in a linear rectangular fashion, even if the technical playing area is a box, the important locations are all in a line, making the playing field feel more like a rectangle. There is usually one main path up the center, then two side paths that go around the left and the right. This is best seen in the Domination mode. One team controls A, the other controls C, then everyone fights over B, because it is between the two bases. Playing Domination in Ghosts is all over the map, because there is no order to it. The maps are all one big box and there are no real lines or paths. You use to be able to figure out the battle-lines where the two teams are coming together, but that’s almost in possible in this game. It feels like chaos half the time where you never know if you are on your teammates side or behind enemy lines.
That brings me to the other biggest issue: the terrible spawns. The game spawns you out of the immediate line-of-site from the enemy team, but there could be an enemy about to turn the corner, so it doesn’t do much good. I discovered that if I could survive long enough – not even killing people, just not dying – then I would be more likely to be in a better position to fight. When I die, the game spawns me in a horrible position that I can – and have – fallen into a perpetual cycle of death. Spawn, die, spawn, run, die, spawn, die, spawn, shoot, die. The game has some of the worst spawning I’ve seen in a long time. I have watched people on the other team spawn directly in front of me, and I know when people spawn directly behind me. I think the point was to try and prevent spawn-camping, since you never spawn in a corner of the map where your team could get stuck, but in doing so, you spawn in random places throughout the map—making for easy targets. This is on big maps or small maps, it doesn’t matter. The spawning system is broken.
Not every map is horrible, of course. The small maps like Strikezone and Warhawk are good ones. Whiteout is probably the best big map, because there is a main center point that people can focus on. A big map is fine if there is a focus in the center for people to run to. No one likes running around trying to find people for the entire game. Slowly people are realizing what maps are best, and I can tell based on which ones are voted for in the lobby. That makes me wonder, because you think that the developers had enough statistics to know that people love maps like Nuketown, Summit, Hijacked, or any other small one. Yet, they went ahead and made giant maps. I don’t want to just throw all the blame at Raven Software, because it certainly can’t be their fault entirely, but a new development team could explain why this multiplayer is so different from previous ones—in a bad way.
Ghosts’ multiplayer has been overhauled to support campers almost entirely, with I.E.D’s, leaning, thermal scopes, and even some other stuff I didn’t mention. The maps only make it worse by being enormous, which makes guns with longer range better, so once again, Marksman class or snipers have an advantaged. Then the sheer unorganized maps littered with crap, or designed with no focal point lead people all over the place looking for each other, instead of directing everyone to one another. Which I also believe causes more people to hide in corners and wait, instead of traversing the map to find people. Having said all that, I still find Ghosts really fun, I enjoy it a lot, and I already have two days of game time online. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and since I own a PS4, I haven’t been able to play the DLC yet, so maybe those maps are a lot better. At the very least I hope to be able to run down a hallway without seeing someone lean around a corner and aiming a sniper at me—with a thermal scope attached of course.