"Call of Duty: Black Ops 2" - League Play Is Broken!
My Take on Call of Duty
I have been playing video games for a long time, but on consoles, my foray into the world of First Person Shooters is fairly new. When I picked up my Xbox 360, I got into shooters almost exclusively because a friend of mine recommended it.
Now, I am not a particularly rich man, so I pick a game and I tend to stick with it for a while. I have played the Call of Duty series, so after completing the story of Modern Warfare 3, I was excited to hear about the new features that were coming up in Black Ops 2. Instead of getting into games with outrageously amazing players all of the time, I would have the option of going into League Play which would put me into matches with people of equal skill!
Since I am not that good, as yet, this seemed like a way to make my gaming experience fun again. I'd had fun getting into matches with my buds, but as they grew tired of the game and started playing other things, I tended to get into public matches where I was again destroyed by those who had been playing much longer and were much better.
The Goal of Black Ops 2 League Play
The actual goal of League Play as it relates to the company who created the game was more likely to fully enrich the Major League Gaming experience and ensure that this game could garner a following that could be monetized. The more people who played and were working towards getting into professional gaming, the more the game would get focus, and the more units they would sell.
Of course, the selling point wasn't so much about pro gaming as it was about getting players to play on equal footing. That was what drew me to the League Play options in Black Ops 2. Finally, I could figure out what my skill level was purported to be, and then play against people of my own level so that games could be fun, exciting and thrilling to play!
In my first season of play, that was pretty much what happened, that I could see. Most matches were equal affairs, and I had great fun, regardless of the fact that I was in the second-lowest tier that exists in League Play. I was in matches that mattered towards my ladder ranking, and although I only got to Rank 30 in the Bronze division, I was quite proud of that achievement, seeing as I had only learned to use a controller (over the mouse and keyboard I'd been using the previous 15+ years) to play an FPS just under a year previous.
So Why Is Black Ops 2 League Play Broken?
It's actually quite simple. After that first season, I started to pay more attention to some of the numbers I was seeing. I also started to take my ranking a little more seriously and tried a little harder. I don't play Champions as I am not very good at those game types yet, but I play Team Deathmatch almost exclusively on both Public and League Play. I had been making great strides at improving my game by watching others' gameplays, and then trying different weapon and tactics combinations in order to become a better overall player. I was pretty sure this would also translate into my League Play games.
It did not!
I started to see that, not only would I end up in games with much higher ranked players (who would then lay the smackdown on me and my team of random players - I was playing Solo), I would also end up in games where many of my team would simply leave the game. Instead of leaving with them and saving myself the embarrassment of such a horrid defeat (sometimes being overwhelmed by a difference in score of more than 40—which is significant in a game that only goes to 75) I would stay in the game to the bitter end. It ends with the same result whether you stay or leave, but I was not going to abandon those who were in the game with me as these others had done.
That was when I started really thinking about it: what did I gain by staying in? In Public matches, you get a bonus 250 XP for staying to the end of the match. But in League Play, you don't get new scorestreaks, you don't get badges, you don't get any different amount of XP (it's a set 10,000 for a win, and 7,500 for a loss towards your public ranking), and you get no reward for staying to the end. So why did I do it? There were so many games where I had been left in a 3v6 or 4v6 match where we were destroyed. And staying did nothing but make me angrier that I was going to lose ladder points in spite of my well-played match!
So, I could have been the absolute best player between both teams with a 3.00 Kill-Death-Ratio, but I would gain no favour for it. I would get no bonuses for my great play! I would get not even recognition of a match played well.
Instead, I lose ladder points, end up with a lower ranking, and all because people left the match and left the team I was on in a losing position. It didn't seem fair that this could be, but the more I looked at it, and the more I examined things, I realized, this was the case! League Play was broken, and what I had thought would make me love to play First Person Shooters again, made me angry and not want to play anymore
What Can Be Done to Fix It?
Right now, the professional gaming community is only really concerned with the Champions League which focuses on objective play as opposed to team deathmatch style play. If you play Solo in the Champions League, you are, of course, still subject to the same problems—I tried it and found it was even more frustrating to try to play a game of 2 on 4 Domination on Hijacked where the other team just spawn camps you at one end of the boat for the whole game. So I see no hope and no way to fix the gameplay as it is.
However, some things that might work would be:
- Set it up more like the Public matches so that people can jump in and out at will and the teams can remain full to keep things even (not the best option);
- Don't allow people to jump out of the game unless something big like a power outage happens (hard to really police that);
- Make penalties for leaving multiple matches in League Play, like you can't rejoin League Play for 48 hours, or until the next season begins (there are some penalties, but at this time they are basically pointless);
- Create some sort of reward system for playing based on your gameplay, as opposed to simply your team's performance.
Any or all of these could certainly change the League gameplay in such a way as to make it more viable and more interesting to the gaming public at large. Right now, broken as it is, it is no wonder that there are barely any people playing it, and until it is fixed, I don't foresee a change.
Do you have anything to say about Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's League Play? I'd love to hear it!