An exhaustive (but not complete) analysis of multiplayer games and the multiplayer aspects in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) and Warzone games.
- Multiplayer vs Solo Games
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- Team Deathmatch
- Search and Destroy
- Cyber Attack
- Drop Zone
- Capture the Flag
- Free for All
- Kill Confirmed
- Gun Game
- One in the Chamber
- Team Defender
- Game Mode Summary
- A Mode I Created: Toe the Line
- Call of Duty: Warzone
Multiplayer vs Solo Games
Why do we make multiplayer games? So multiple people can play it! So we can play games with others! So everyone can bow down to our great gun mastery!
Okay, well…sure. Perhaps the question is too general. Why is making multiplayer games still a viable option in the games industry? With the sudden boom of games being played when the covid epidemic hit, the world is much more aware of video games and how profitable (and how fun) they can be. Besides people buying and playing more games they are also getting more consoles. What’s more interesting is the theory behind consoles: they’re made for the individual player. Yeah, I know, that’s a hard take, but think about it, would Playstation and Xbox really want you to share your consoles if they were trying to get their products off the shelves? The Nintendo Switch promotes a multiplayer console with removable controllers to give to people, but the system also functions as a single player hand-held option. Nintendo even released a Switch Lite, which only functions in hand-held mode, and their newest edition just hit store shelves: Nintendo Switch OLED Edition. This console encourages the player to play solo, because the player might possibly get the best experience in hand-held mode with its new high-resolution screen. All the focus on selling games has become an individual owning a console (sometimes multiple) for themselves. So I guess I never answered my original question; Why are multiplayer games still popular?
The interaction between players and themselves
When playing a solo game, a player is playing against the all-knowing computer. Let’s not hype games up from more than what they actually are. Solo games are just the player playing against a predetermined set of defined rules. No matter the kind of game, players have limitations put upon themselves and are given the opportunity to react to their current conditions, whether physically (moving, interacting with the space), or emotionally while watching an event unfold. In a single player game it is just one player that manages a world specifically made for them. Game worlds are not like real life. While some things in real life may not have an actual purpose, whatever that is created in a game was there for some reason, even if it was some placeholder material on the underside of a rock. This is starting to get existential. Just so it’s simple to wrap heads around, instead of thinking of a single player versus a large open world, think of the computer game Solitaire. The card game has a set of rules built into it, with the computer program enforcing this ruleset. The player doesn’t have to worry about dealing with the various functions that goes into determining if they did a correct move or not. In a solo game it is just the player and the computer program. In multiplayer games, there’s a third element; another player (or players).
When designing solo games, it can be easier (not necessarily, games are complicated systems) to focus on one unknown variable (the player), rather than multiple variables. When designing multiplayer games, there needs to be awareness of both how players interact with the game and how they interact with each other. The game is what offers these interactions. While consideration should be taken in what the player can do, it needs to be recognized how the opposing player also reacts upon the initial player’s interactions, and how that reaction is considered by the player on both sides. There could be a weapon that benefits a player heavily, say a Gravity Gun for example. The gun lifts people into the air and kills them after a second. For the player wielding the weapon it could be cool seeing other players rise into the air, the problem on the receiving side, however, is that the raised player can’t attack and loses control of their environment. There are games that deal with these kinds of moves, but the developers found balance by making the receiving players still able to attack, the player sending out the move is locked into the attack, and the move doesn’t last that long.
The interaction between players is what motivates them to keep returning to multiplayer games. When playing multiplayer games, how the computer affects the player isn’t the first thing on a player’s mind, it’s how their opponents and teammates affect them and their game. With individual players per system, but playing with many people online, there becomes this strange interaction where the player is removed from the physical space of interacting with others. Playing an online game, or really doing anything online, gives people a sense that they can do and say more than what they could in real life. A reason behind these actions is because the user is directly interacting with technology, not a physical person. They are talking/typing/using a physical, electronic system that receives their inputs and passes along this information to another user. Performing social interactions through a digital context enhances the emotions that we can have; it removes the reservations we have in physical social situations. Multiplayer games work off of these unreserved actions. Oh that player is trying to eliminate you in the game? Here — take this weapon and fire right back at them.
Multiplayer games are platforms for personalities. Because of the digital divide, players can obscur themselves and recreate a new life for themselves within games. Multiplayer games need to give players these opportunities to express themselves for them to keep coming back and playing the game. If we just observe the various kinds of clothing packs, skins, and other customization options there are in games, we can determine how much of a community will be behind the game. An important aspect of multiplayer games (not so much solo games anymore), is how the game displays who has won. If the ending screen for a game of Team Deathmatch on Call of Duty just displayed a text box that said “New Game?” Without any other info of who won and what the final tallied scores were, then the game in its entirety would feel mediocre and fall on its head when dealing with the emotions of a close battle between two teams. By flashing which team won in big text, and what did each player do in terms of kills, even highlighting what was predetermined as the best kill, all give meaning to the game. This information and display encourages emotion within the player, whether it’s excitement about winning the game, or frustration about losing. Presenting the data that supports the declaration of winning/losing helps in the player’s understanding of the outcome. Perhaps the player isn’t as good as they thought, or maybe another player on their team wasn’t actually doing anything. During gameplay, these feedback systems are still important. If an opponent died but there was no acknowledgement, they just disappeared, then gameplay wouldn’t feel as satisfying. By having feedback systems, players have a more engaging gameplay experience, which is true to say for single player games as well, but for multiplayer it is doubly important because it helps the player know what they are doing and what is happening to the other players around them.
The physical versus the digital
I play a lot of board games. Perhaps too many (but definitely not enough). When I say I enjoy a certain game, it’s typically because I enjoy one of the mechanics built into the game. Deck building and dice building games are some of my favorites because I enjoy the feeling of building something and overpowering my opponents with crazy combos. One of my all-time favorite games is Dune, which is not a deck-building game, but an area control game (or what some like to call “dudes on a map”). I think what’s great about Dune is how it allows players to build alliances, which can further benefit the players as they acquire the abilities of other factions that they teamed up with. Can the interactions between multiplayer board games be linked to multiplayer online games? What if I said they were actually very similar? The biggest difference between the physical and digital is the space between the players. Video games allow players to connect online all throughout the globe, which means someone could join a game online and expect to have a group ready to play in a few minutes. With physical board games the situation is different. I can’t call my friend right at this moment and say “Let’s go play Twilight Imperium (a gigantic, 12hr negotiation space epic),” that’s how I lose friends. Multiplayer online games give me the immediacy of satisfying my need to play with others and experience the ways playing with them makes each game unique. The problem with board games can also be seen in local multiplayer games. Most people can’t get others to join them in a specific location and play games for a while. Sometimes people are busy with other things and can’t make it, or they live halfway around the world. This is what makes multiplayer online games so attractive to players; it gives us connectivity without actually being near anyone.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
The Call of Duty series has been one of the most popular and longest running series in the video game industry, with each new installment producing another hit. In this analysis I’ll be going over the multiplayer parts to the game, which includes dissecting a little bit of each of the multiplayer game modes, and offering a game mode that I concocted.
“Use teamwork to eliminate players on the opposing team. The first team to reach the score limit wins.”
This is one of the most common modes in multiplayer fighting/FPS games. Two teams are pitted against each other to kill each other to rack up points. Whoever reaches a point cap, or whichever team that has the most points at the end of the time limit wins.
For a team to win the game, that team needs 75 kills, but ties can happen if the time limit is reached. This can be considered a “basic” game mode as there isn’t a complex set of rules for the game. Killing enemies is the root mechanic of FPS, so a mode where players have to do just that is pretty simple. Within the match players can earn upgrades to hurt other players more, find them, or hurt a range of players. Having the battling being on teams adds cooperation between teammates and encourages motivation to fight for a common goal. Having multiple people on one team allows others’ strengths to fill in each other’s weaknesses. If a player is new to the game and its mechanics, other players can help them out, teaching others and learning from what they taught.
Search and Destroy
“Teams take turns defending and destroying an objective. No respawning.”
Perceptibly one of the more difficult game modes, players must travel through the map to destroy an objective on the opposing team’s side. The teams take turns either defending the points from getting destroyed or attacking. Because the round also completes when one team is fully eliminated, the rounds are very quick.
What if teammates respawned in this game mode? Well technically we’d get the Demolition game mode, but there are some differences. Search and Destroy’s game mode requires more skill in avoidance and swarm tactics. For the defending team it may seem like the task to stop the attacking team will be easier because they know where the opposing team is heading. The problem, however, is that the defending team could be considered “sitting ducks,” if they only watched one point. The attacking team is naturally going to traverse the area, but the defending team aren’t nearly as inclined, so they may not be aware of the hidden corners that give away their cover. While the pressure is placed more on the attackers in Search and Destroy because they have to do more steps, and are worried about unpredictable opponents and getting the bomb sites working, the pressure changes to the defending team in Demolition.
“Teams alternate in attacking and defending two bomb sites, both of which must be destroyed by the attacking team equipped with bombs.”
Because respawning is activated, and each attacker is already equipped with a bomb they can strap into the bomb site, the pressure is on the defending team keeping the attacking team at bay. The attacking still have some pressure with the 2.5 minute time limit, the worry of dying swiftly is eliminated, and they may be more inclined to take more risks. An attacking teammate could theoretically run ahead, causing havoc and focusing the defending team’s attention on a single player, while the rest of the attacking team sneak in.
“Retrieve the EMP device and plant it near the enemy’s Data Center.”
This mode is also very similar to Search and Destroy, but instead of having the gameplay asymmetrical (one team is attacking while one is defending), the teams are both trying to achieve the same goal simultaneously. Since a team is performing both attacking and defending at once, some consideration needs to be made in planning which teammates do what. The whole team cannot pursue the EMP and set it off because they would be leaving their own site open for the opposing team to perform the same task. What makes this game possibly less interesting (or less frequently played) is because most of the modes besides the ones based on Search and Destroy have players juggle an attacking and defending tactic. In Search and Destroy and Demolition players only need to focus on doing one or the other per round so their play style is solidified. With other modes, players have to quickly change gears from attacking to defending (clearly seen in “king of the hill” modes), losing focus and time when they learn they need to change their play style. Seasoned players can flip the switch on a dime, but beginners may take a long time to realize that their play style needs to change.
“Capture and hold the headquarters to earn points for your team. The team that holds the HQ doesn’t respawn.”
This mode is based on the King of the Hill type of gameplay, where there is a location and one team tries to defend from the other. At first this may seem like this mode is like Search and Destroy, but the difference is the attacking team respawns, and the team that is defending is determined by who is in the protected area. This game mode offers some balancing by having the team who is in control of the headquarters don’t respawn until another team controls it or no one controls it. If respawning was allowed to those that have control of the HQ, then they may have an easier opportunity to pull ahead in points. If one of the team members died then returned, upon their return they could eliminate any attackers, and the amount of people within the HQ would go back up, making the attack team’s effort lost.
“Capture and defend the designated positions to gain points.”
Very similar to Headquarters, this mode requires the team to be more spread around the map. While it may work to have multiple members of the team go for one position to acquire it and defend it quicker, this could also lead to another one of the positions unaccounted for for the opposing team to take over. Would it be better to stay and defend a point or constantly be moving between points? If players were to stay and defend points, they wouldn’t technically be earning any more positions, giving up the opportunity to acquire more points. The version of this mode in Modern Warfare realizes that players could just camp at a point, so if a new point isn’t captured, then the game ends. This forces the player to take risks. It harps on the old adage: The player will always choose the easiest way to win. If it means to just stay at a point and harvest points, then a player will do it, even though it’s the most boring option.
“Capture and hold the zone to earn points for your team.”
The description almost feels the same as Domination and Headquarters, but there are a few differences. Players only earn points if they stay within the zone that they acquired. The zone also moves around to different locations, forcing players to change their attacking and defending strategies as they adapt to the new environment. While allowing players that own a zone to respawn seems unfair, the movement of the point balances this as both teams will lose the point after a while.
“Capture points to revive fallen teammates. Taking all the points will win the round.”
I hope it’s starting to become obvious now the different kinds of modes that are created within the game. There is a base mode (Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Headquarters), and modes that tweak part of the rules and/or adds some more. For Reinforce, players are revived when teammates are controlling points. As it would be unfair to stay at one zone and earn points until the limit is reached, the team has to capture all the points in order to win the game (or whoever has the most zones controlled at the end of the time limit). Because being at a point revives players, these other players could be located at other points in the map, eliminating the need to backtrack too much and giving the team a chance to regain a point, though the enemy team could keep track of where the opposing team will respawn.
“Hold the Drop Zone to earn points and Care Packages.”
This mode is similar to Reinforce in the sense that while players are earning points for their team when taking control of a point, they are also earning other rewards to help their progress. The Care Package aspect changes up the gameplay, as they could provide different loadouts and weapons for the player to change their playstyle, which could both hinder them, or surprise the opponent.
Capture the Flag
“Get the enemy flag and return it to your base.”
This mode can be similar to Search and Destroy (or closer to Cyber Attack), but instead of players moving into an opponent’s location and staying there or moving to a new location to escort an objective, the players bring the object back to their own base. Capture the Flag requires some communication within the team because the whole team can’t swarm the opponent’s flag because they leave their own flag vulnerable to a flanking opponent. When attempting to capture a flag, players would be in a more attacking stance, but once they receive the opponent’s flag, they must transition to defense tactics. The physical actions could be described as hiding and scouting when attacking, to get familiar with the opposing area and to take down defending opponents on the flag. Then running and gunning when defending, going back through the same hidden path taken, or traversing another path that was scouted out beforehand. When holding an opponent’s flag, the playing team must perform double the amount of defense; defense on a stationary target (their own flag), and defense on a moving position (the opponent’s flag they’re bringing in).
Free for All
“Kill everyone. The first player to reach the score limit ends the game. The top 3 players win.”
The rules are pretty basic, kill everyone, no one is reliable. What’s interesting is the win status. Why have multiple people be considered the winner when only one player ends the game? The reason may be situational: if the top three people are in a firefight with each other, then there could technically only be one winner, but those other to that lost have worked as hard as the winning player, so acknowledgement should be accounted for. This mode is reflective of what people know as battle royales, where there is a large group of people fighting to prove themselves as the top dog. The difference between a battle royale and free for all is how players progress through the game. For a Free for All, there isn’t much progression; players start with a loadout that they prefer and attack other players. They also respawn when they die, continuing their game until there is a final winner. For Battle Royales, players can start with nothing and have to scavenge for equipment, shields to protect themselves, and other items, while slowly being pushed towards each other to a final climactic battle. For most Battle Royales (we’ll go over the specifics of how Warzone handles these rules later), once the player dies, their game is over, with no chance to redeem themselves until the next game. For Free to Play, a player can learn quickly their best strategy after having multiple deaths, instead of waiting whole games to constantly compete in.
“Small team, multi-round cage matches. First team to reach the round win limit wins.”
This mode is similar to Team Deathmatch, but in a congested form. Instead of behaving more strategically and holding back, players must be active and constantly moving to keep the pace of their enemies. This mode is enjoyable because of how hectic it can be, with enemies pouring in from all sides and very little area to hide. What if it were a Free for All? Games would take a bit longer, as each player would have to reach a limit, and players would be eliminated constantly. The constant elimination would prove to be frustrating to an individual player, as it gives them no time to progress their kill count themselves.
“Recover dog tags to score for our team and deny enemy scores.”
This mode poses a curious question: What if there were multiple steps in order to register a kill? In other game modes, a player’s death is registered as soon as they die, but with the introduction of dog tags, these deaths don’t officially count until the tags have been picked up by the opposing players. Having these tags make players move from their given location to receive the kills. This means that defensive players can’t stay in one place and pick people off (known as camping), without having to pick up the tags. Opposing players can deny the team of kills by picking up their teammates’ tags, adding urgency to the act of picking up an opponent’s tags. While killing a player may not be a risky maneuver, players must put themselves in a risky situation to pursue enemy tags.
“Take control of a powerful Juggernaut and push to the enemy’s base to win.”
This mode is like Cyber Attack, where players need to find an object (for this mode being multiple objects), and need to destroy an enemy’s zone. This could also be considered a miniature Payload kind of game, while only one player can be a Juggernaut (a slow player with a lot of bullet resistance and firepower), the other team members must protect the player so they reach the other side. In Payload games (which we’ll dissect in Warzone), one team has to lead a vehicle to a location or push it back. With Onslaught, the path the theoretical payload can take is determined by the player controlling the Juggernaut. “Which player should be the Juggernaut?” You may ask yourself. Most players may be inclined to want to use the overpowered weapons because it’s fun to lay waste to enemies, but not everyone can become the Juggernaut. Players that are a little less skilled in maneuvering and hitting targets should think about becoming the Juggernaut. The Juggernaut has faster firepower, therefore the player doesn’t need to worry as much about aiming, more focusing on sweeping an area, while the more skilled players who can hide and flank should cover the approaching enemies and scout the area.
“Recover dog tags and take them to the objective marker to score for your team.”
Much like Kill Confirmed, Grind adds a Capture the Flag aspect to it, where players turn into their own individual “flags” when they die for players to capture or retrieve and place back to one of their designated locations. While the risk is given to make players go and pick up their kills, more risks are presented to the player as the game asks “How many tags are you willing to hold on to before securing them into a location?” For some players, this answer may be only one tag, but the problem with this choice is that they may be wasting time as they try to weave their way to the checkpoint, so all their effort could be wasted on one tag.
“Eliminated Survivors become infected. Infect everyone, or survive the game to win.”
In a way, this mode is like Team Deathmatch, where there are two sides, the normal and the infected, that are battling against each other. While “normal” players are trying to keep the infected at bay and ultimately survive the match without dying, the infected are trying to grow their team. Players can find themselves switching teams out of their own control, where they wouldn’t be presented with this scenario in Team Deathmatch. One team, the infected, will slowly grow throughout the match, while the normal players will slowly diminish, having a harder chance in surviving, creating an exponential growth/shrink scenario.
“Be the first player to score a kill with each one of the provided weapons.”
This mode complicates the Free to Play mode, where players must try to get kills with a changing set of weapons.This challenges the player to quickly change battle tactics, as killing an opponent with a knife is different than eliminating them with a rocket launcher. This mode could be considered a more of an “arcade-y” kind of game because of the lack of an obvious strategy to win. An opponent may be at a higher or lower weapon in terms of range and ease to kill, so it’s a mixed bag as to what the player will be up against.
One in the Chamber
“Gain Ammo by eliminating enemies. Highest score wins.”
This mode is another one of the “arcade-y” play styles like Gun Game, where there is a lack of knowledge of what the opponent possesses. Each bullet fired is a risk, so the power to evade works well for players that can handle it. The player can’t merely hide, however, because they need their opponent to expend their bullets to leave them vulnerable to oncoming attack.
“Capture the flag and hold it to earn extra points on kills for your team.”
This mode is a variant on Capture the Flag, where the flag itself is more of a passive objective, in which I mean that it is not necessary to hold it to win the game. This mode turns Capture the Flag into more of a Team Deathmatch, where the flag is merely an accessory to have the team pull ahead. Some care should be taken into account. For ownership of the flag, the player that is perceptibly the best on the team should be in control so they can kill the most enemies and rack up the team’s points faster. If a player that isn’t as well versed in the game should be wary of controlling the flag, as it takes away the opportunity from slightly more adept players to help, and it puts a target on that player’s head.
Game Mode Summary
Through analysis of the various game modes, we start to find similarities between them, and how there are some “base” modes (Team Deathmatch, Headquarters, Search and Destroy, Capture the Flag) while others provide variants of those, to offer a change of pace to the player to fit the kind of game that they desir, or to challenge the player. If we observe the diagram below, we can see where the game modes fit in each category. Notice how some modes have more variants than others, which could be a strong indicator of how good the base mode is.
While each game mode offers different ways to play, the map in high the mode is played on also affects the game. I won’t go into depth on how these modes are enhanced by the maps (because that will make this document way longer than it already is), but it’s important to note all the factors that go into creating an enjoyable multiplayer gaming experience. Grind’s gameplay is made more hectic when presented in the claustrophobic “Shipment” area, compared to the same mode in the large “Tavorsk District.”
A Mode I Created: Toe the Line
“Rush to secure the best weapons to kill enemies to gain points for your team.”
For this mode, players are split into two teams, much like the scenario for Team Deathmatch. What makes this game a variant is that each player starts with only a set of 3 throwing knives, with each team starting in an opposing location. In the center of the map lay a line of Care Packages (or weapon chests), that randomly grant a player a weapon when selected (hold Square to equip for PlayStation controls). When the start timer runs out, each team can rush to the center to attack one another and secure better equipment. Whenever a player dies, they drop the weapons that they hold (unless they are only holding throwing knives). Players respawn at their team zone with only 3 throwing knives equipped. Once a team reaches 75 kills, that team has won and the game ends.
Why could this game mode be considered fun?
The idea sparked from other games that we know. In the game dodgeball, the balls start at the center line of the court, with each team running to grab the balls to start the game. This presents a high risk/ high reward scenario, where running up to the center could leave you vulnerable to enemy attacks, but taking this risk can given you weaponry to take advantage over the enemy (as well as secure the other weapons that lay around). If a whole team plays a defensively, then they could miss out on powerful weapons (or in dodgeball’s case, dodgeballs). Another game comparison is the cornucopia bloodbath in the second Hunger Games novel, where there is a storage of great equipment in the center, but players encounter each other directly and in a large amount.
Players are equipped with throwing knives because wielding only fists would make the match too lopsided once another team gets firepower. Fists have no range, which the player could feel as having no chance when pitted against an enemy who took the risk to grab another weapon. The throwing knives are mainly for the more defensive players. If the defensive stay back, they could still hide and do a sneaky takedown to get an opponent’s weapon, allowing them to obtain weapons without risking going into the center out in the open. The problem with everyone having a throwing knife is that they can still be used by players traveling to the center. This could present a stalemate where attacking players will be boxing themselves out. If they were to each survive each others’ attacks, though, then they would run out of throwing knives, thus forcing them to run to the center (or just run and punch others).
Congested equipment. Because the more powerful equipment is located within one area and it is dropped when a player dies, that equipment may only stay in the general location. There’ll be a tendency where as soon as a player gets a weapon they’ll want to attack an opponent with it, causing the opponent to drop their weapon they just received. Players in the center will be bombarded more heavily with throwing knives as well, causing a more congested amount of deaths. A small remedy for this problem is the speed in which players pick up weapons. Perhaps the weapons are given to the player instantly randomly from a chest, or they are just sitting in a pile on the ground.
Another problem is domination over an area. Once a player has acquired a powerful weapon, they could try to protect the other weapons for their teammates, pushing the opposing team out of the equipment zone.
The originally stated game mode is not perfect. It has some situational problems that need to be addressed so there is a more balanced game (at least perceptibly).
Time Constraints: When a player gets a weapon, perhaps they need to reload or can only use their new weapon after a few seconds. This forces the player to use their throwing knives more and doesn’t create a bloodbath in the center, for if someone tried to stay in one place and protect the other weapons in the center, then they could make themselves easy to eliminate. The only problem is that having a time constraint could prove awkward/frustrating to the player, as it forces them to not do something.
No Man’s Land/No Hit Zone: The area around the Care Packages or important weapons could be a place where players can hurt their own teammates. This would require players to be more accurate in their weapons or encourage them more to wait until they leave the area to fire their weapon. The zone could also not register hits, so there isn’t a bloodbath and weapons are more distributed. The problem with having a no hit zone is that is a more forceful rule than a no man’s land. When players are forced to not do something, they feel more restricted of their choices. If there is a no man’s zone, then the player still has the chance to kill enemies, it’s just their attacks can also harm their own team, not restricting what they can do, but making them consider their choices.
Keepsake: Players keep their weapons that they pick up. If the player takes the risk to journey to the center, they are rewarded with a weapon they get to keep. This would remove the problem of having the important weapons stuck in the center. One question with this variant is should the kille player drop a copy of their weapon or not? If they don’t drop their weapon, meaning the only way for them to get rid of it would to be to obtain another weapon, then defensive players that are waiting for opponents to leave the congested area would not succeed and would have to take a risk at the center if they want to get something other than throwing knives. If players drop a copy of their weapon, then more of those weapons would be produced throughout the playing field, making any player with a better weapon be considered a random weapon chest to another player when the player with the new weapon dies. This could remove the high risk/reward factor that the game mode presents, and could create more defenders than attackers, and not much variety to the weapons that are in the arena.
Moveable Center: What if the location that produced better weapons moved? This would make the game feel like the Drop Zone mode, where teams would hold a part of the map to obtain Care Packages. The difference being that players would start with less, and equipment would be given to the zones no matter who was in them, so players can leave the zone and still benefit. The problem with bloodbath and congested weapon areas would still persist, but they would be at various locations, providing defensive players to pick through the aftermath.
Fists of Fury: Players only start with fists. This would require all defensive players to take a risk at the center, or pursue enemies that already acquired a weapon. Basically this variant would turn all players into attackers. This would cause less of a bloodbath in the center because there would be no throwing knives to dodge, but it would create a dominance for who can get a weapon first, as fists have minimal chance to battle against a distance weapon.
Weapon-limited Movement: Perhaps the weapons the players can get are only light machine guns, which could easily mow down opponents, but slows their movement rapidly. This would cause a greater divide between the more attacking players who like to take risks and the more strategic players who sneak around and flank enemies. It would cause players to only be comfortable with the throwing knives, as they don’t want to limit their ability to escape. This variant would also remove some of the “arcade-y” feel to the game mode, as players know what weapon they are going to receive in the center, and they can prepare themselves for it.
There are of course many variants that could change the way the game is perceived, but it all boils down to playtesting. With the originally suggested game mode and its variants, the perceived problems may not come about with certain players, and the maps can further change player’s minds. What’s important when coming up with just a game mode is to recognize and create something that can adapt to different scenarios, and leave room for possible variations.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Warzone is a free game that is used to connect the Call of Duty games. First released to go along with Modern Warfare, this free game holds a lot of similarities to the serial game. Because the game is free, player motivation and multiplayer interaction needs to change slightly. A lot of monetary success for the game is customization. There are various kinds of skins and special weapons that players can buy to show off, much like buying new clothes in real life. The feeling of status is seen in games, shown through the purchasing of flashy equipment. Players feel that they outrank others (or just simply enjoy how their player looks) when they possess this equipment.
Properties in Warzone
Besides the more monetary encouragement in Warzone, the game also offers a series of rotating modes to keep gameplay fresh and players to come back to experience new kinds of games.
Shields – A standard difference in Warzone modes compared to Modern Warfare are shields, which can be bought and picked up by players. This stops players from dying too quickly, and is used to encourage players to scavenge the world more to better protect themselves.
Load outs – Enhance the game with unique perks, but only if you decide to actually create a load out. This gives the player reason to explore more of the game and give them an advantage over players who don’t bother getting technical.
Parachuting in and out – Appears as if you’re getting to a location faster, and technically you are because you’re free-falling. There’s a slight boost of momentum in the direction that you’re facing when leaving the parachute. This could be because when you land you want to boost yourself off on the ground an steadily maneuver to a location, but this boost can e manipulated in the air to give you a slight edge.
Loot – Evenly distributed in terms of location and tiers. This would make sense as having hot spots would cause players to focus more on certain areas and the whole map should become utilized. Also in terms of load outs, players get more loot from doing better, much like the standard CoD.
Modes in Warzone
This mode is very similar to Modern Warfare’s Free for All, but can be segmented into singles, duos, triples, and quad teams. These variations provide variety to standard battle royales, and allow players to feel more comfortable and collaborative when working with a team. Besides gathering equipment to create a strong fighting force against opponents when ready to face them, players also have to juggle with an encroaching poison fog that tightens the battlefield, bringing enemies closer together on the map. Players can also find supply chests that can grant them benefits such as powerful attacks, shields, and revive players back into the game. If each teammate accesses one of these chests, members can find where other players are on the map. This intelligence gives them great benefit, but they are also left vulnerable because they are not focused on the battlefield. Air strikes are available to purchase from these chests. These encourage players to call out others for those who are camping on high rooftops, putting the work of balancing a game onto the players themselves rather than having the game directly cause this. Players have more choices in how they want to regain superiority.
Gulags are where the player goes if they are killed in the Battle Royale mode. This small arena helps players feel like they have more of a fighting chance. Instead of being instantly eliminated like other games (Fortnite, Realm Royale), players have a chance to redeem themselves. Giving players this chance can make the game feel more “fair” (not that it wasn’t,) but it solidifies their understanding that they need to work a bit harder.
Besides directly scavenging and pursuing enemies, there are systems in place (called Contracts), that encourage players to different play styles.
Here are 3 of the multiple types of contracts:
Scavenger – Locates 3 random crates separately. This is helpful to players that need to find more loot without having them to just randomly explore and come up with nothing. It also forces players to travel around the map, getting them possibly out in the open so they’re not just hiding and not progressing the game.
Recon – One crate, but can know the next circle area that comes up. Instead of providing the player with things to own, they get intangible help: information. Since they know where the next circle is headed, if they’re working with a team, they can relay this information to other players.
Bounty – Locate and find a different player to take out. This progresses the game faster than waiting for the circle to get smaller and smaller. It also removes some guessing as to where other people are. If the mode is quads or duos (or some other combination), then it can be assumed that there are other team members nearby. This option is for the riskier players, however, because even though they get the best piece of information which is knowing where someone is, they still have to attempt to kill that opponent, which could backfire.
In this game mode, there are various paths of vehicles where players can either attack or defend. Defenders of the vehicles try to keep the vehicles moving forward by staying in close proximity to them so they can reach an endpoint. Attackers try to eliminate the defenders so they can get near the vehicles and cause them to move backwards. If the vehicles reach the end the defenders win, but if the vehicles don’t reach the end by the end of the time limit, then the attackers win (the way I reference “attackers” and “defenders” are reversed in the actual game, where the defenders are the ones stopping the others from reaching the points). The vehicles offer a turret gun, which can stop attackers, but it also leaves them vulnerable to a single location. Players may try to flank each other by sniping oncoming attackers/defenders. The only problem with having too many flanks is that the vehicles won’t move unless someone is near it. This could cause a stalemate, which is fine for attackers of the vehicles because it means the vehicle can’t reach its destination.
To offer a game mode available to a lot of players in a single lobby, there are two teams of attackers and defenders. This also gives players an option of location and variety, where they can change their mind if one side isn’t working out. It also allows a balancing mechanic, where if one of the sides are completed, then everyone transitions to the other point for a climactic ending.
This kind of mode is more of a feature, as it is tacked onto other game modes. Here the longer players survive, the more the team revives. Scoring kills also revives players. This kind of feature encourages a mix of both defensive and attacking play styles. The team can feel confident when they are all present, making them more into an attacking play style, while if there is a member on, they are more on the defensive side. To keep the attacking play style, kills can also revive players.
There are of course many variations and modes that come about Warzone, so this short list does not cover all the possibilities that the game offers. For a free game, it offers players with a lot of gameplay and options to have a good time. A lot of the modes are reflective of Modern Warfare modes, as Warzone is a culmination of many Call of Duty games. It introduces the kinds of modes players can expect if they buy a CoD series game, and players of the series games are familiar with the modes, weapons, and play styles that Warzone has while offering a slight twist on gameplay.