OPINION: Should Modern Warfare Remastered be the esports title for 2017?

For the last several weeks, leading up to Infinite Warfare’s launch, there was always something I kept thinking: will Infinity Ward learn from their mistakes they made during Call of Duty: Ghosts and will this year reflect that? A week after launch, it seems the answer is no.

Modern Warfare Remastered, while it is an old game, still has that same traits that made it fun to watch and fun to play. The pro players seem to be enjoying it too, and the game itself is not over-run with bugs. And one of the most important things: boots on the ground.

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One of the biggest reasons that hurts IW is Infinite Warfare is not fun to watch as a spectator. Advanced movement, crazy abilities with rig system, and the strategy of Call of Duty is out the window in this. This game just does not have that appeal to turn to it and watch. It’s clear that many players also feel this way, but the fact that its not even fun to watch hurts the competitive scene more. Yes, players will have to play the game Activision ends up putting forward, but without viewers, there’s nothing really to it.

And there’s a lot wrong with the game itself: Hardpoint spawns are a mess; map exploits; overdrive lets players run outside of the map in certain maps to score an uplink, and more importantly the maps are not that good. It’s the same issue with Ghosts; majority of the maps in IW are not designed for, well, competitive experience. And some of the maps do not even play that well with the movement system.

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One of the biggest things that really made Ghosts a bad esports title was the overall lack of support in-game. There was just a Clan v Clan playlist and the overall broadcaster mode had way too many issues. I get the idea behind Clan v Clan. It was something that a part of the community wanted, where players had to play in their own Call of Duty clan in 4v4 style. After some feedback, they changed it around to try and make it an esports playlist to match Black Ops 2’s league, but that still failed.

Now, you would think Infinity Ward would have learned from Clan v Clan and try and implement a good esports league based playlist, like Arena or League Play, in Infinite Warfare. But instead Infinite Warfare has this “Competition” tab. Did it really take them 3 years to come up with that?! The playlist locks items based upon rank, does not even have its own ranking system where players can experience being put into matches based upon skill, and more importantly, it has no rewards. There’s no point in playing it. What’s truly shocking here is that Sledgehammer Games, on their very first solo Call of Duty title with Advanced Warfare, were able to implement a fully-fledged Ranked Play playlist that was well thought out and worked. Yes, Ranked Play had its faults, but still it was a league system. And so, how can Infinity Ward not do the same?

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Modern Warfare Remastered does not have a league system in-game, as the original game did not have it, but it does not seem far-fetched for Raven to implement. Raven Software seems to be listening to fans, and interacting more so than Infinity Ward, and its not out of the question a esports playlist could come down the line.

Modern Warfare Remastered also needs a CODCaster mode. The game, otherwise, is how players want it: fun, boots on the ground, and not half broken like Infinite Warfare. It’s also where many viewers are.

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But the issue that arises from Modern Warfare Remastered is that Search and Destroy is probably the one of the only game modes that many will enjoy watching. Many players who were around during COD4 will probably like to watch the other modes, but to newer viewers, it might be difficult. It’s hard to tell those newer viewers that Sabotage and Domination are esports mode, when recent games have not had it. But, Raven could introduce Hardpoint into Modern Warfare Remastered, and that would work. Hardpoint does not need any advanced movement system, as it was introduced in Black Ops 2. And CTF could make a return.

Another big reason why Raven Software is more successful right now than Infinity Ward is communication: Raven’s Amos Hodge has been very interactive on Twitter and has actually been responding to what they are working on. Communication is key in any community, and Raven seems to understand that. And especially for esports, players need to know what’s coming up, what might change, and how the game will be effected.

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Infinity Ward, on the other hand, is not being communicative about many issues. They have yet to acknowledge a lot of the flaws with Infinite Warfare or provide an accurate time table for a fix. There’s two events happening next month, and we still do not know if Hardpoint spawns will be fixed; if some map exploits will be removed, etc. This game has more bugs at launch than any recent Call of Duty games before.

For Call of Duty esports to grow, both the players and viewers have to be able to enjoy the game they are playing. Currently, it seems players and viewers are not that excited or looking forward to the Infinite Warfare esports season, and that is a problem. While we get that players will end up playing whatever game Activision says, there needs to be a good number of viewers to keep the growth and have a scene. Without it, it’s nothing.

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Gears of War, Halo, and more are taking over in their own respective rights, but Call of Duty seems to be stuck in place.

Maybe it’s time for Activision to listen to fan demand to help grow this scene.

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