Thump, thump, thump… this is the sound of the majestic 40mm grenade launcher, infamous with its ease of use and nearly perfect guarantee of a kill upon hit. In most modern first person shooters, this has become the weapon of choice for many gamers. Also referenced as the “noob-tube” due to the lack of skill required to use the weapon, the 40mm has become overused. Prompting a cheap kill from across the map with a potentially random shot, this promotes the use of cheap tactics that require no skill. Do not mistake this for a rant upon the use of said tactics, but instead a concern for the direction online FPS’s are taking. The first person shooter community has taken a massive hit to player skill within the past few years. The question at hand is not how this happened, but why it happened. Why is it cheap, skill less tactics are so widely promoted over conventional tactics?
The answer to this can be found by taking a few steps backwards within the online gaming community. The Call of Duty franchise has become widely known for its huge fan base and has become unanimous with gaming, however, the success of this giant may be the cause of this substantial drop in player skill. In retrospect, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was not only revolutionary for its online multiplayer game play, but also gave rise to a new breed of FPS. Initially, COD4 promoted skill, those who camped, used cheap tactics, or “noob-tubed” were widely denounced as bad players. This ideology was steady, even after the game’s community grew far beyond expected. However, as time went on, the community of skilled players began to degenerate, giving way to the tactics of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Unlike its predecessor, COD: MW2 was an entirely new game which promoted easy kills and cheap tactics.
Sniping gave way to “quick-scoping”, and 40mm’s reigned supreme. This dramatic drop in skill forced many players to either assimilate or suffer with the overall drop in enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately, the majority of gamers chose the easier choice, giving way to the dominance of skill less players that we see today. With the newest introduction of Call of Duty: Black Ops, the community of skilled players may have a chance to undo what COD: MW2 lacked in sight, however, is the damage too great for repair?
Although, skill within the Call of Duty community is no longer a priority, within other games such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Medal of Honor and the recently released Killzone 3, the ideologies of COD4 have been preserved. Skilled players are encouraged whereas cheap tactics tend to have unfavorable results for the player. Although the community of players is substantially smaller than that of the Call of Duty franchise, the quality of game play far succeeds that of COD: MW2, giving skill the prowess it deserves. This leaves gamers choosing either a larger community for poor game play or a small community with exceptionally rewarding and fun game play.