Xfire Debate Club 14th Meeting: The Future of Call of Duty
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Xfire Debate Club 14th Meeting: The Future of Call of Duty
March 18th, 2009 (Main Floor Transcript)

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): Hello Everyone and Welcome to the 14 meeting of the Xfire Debte Club!

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): We have a huge and amazing panel, full of the best people in the gaming media and the COD competitive scene here to debate the Future of Call of Duty!

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): We did invite Infinity Ward and Treyarch to come talk at this debate but unfortunately Activision declined.

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): That's alright because we still have an awesome crew of people who I'll let introduce themselves right now!

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): And then Dan Hsu, our kick-ass moderator from BitMob, will start things off.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): hey everyone

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Hello, my name is Joseph Amorosa, and I represent Team Pandemic.

CAL|Sean (calsean): My name is Sean Henderson. I'm the Call of Duty Series Operations Manager for CAL

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I'm Anthony Burch, features editor for Destructoid.com.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Hey guys, Im Matt Gomez, I rep MoB Gaming Family

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): I'm Evan Lahti, previews editor at PC Gamer magazine.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): my name's Dan Hsu...most people call me Shoe. I used to work at EGM and 1UP.com. Now working on a new website called Bitmob.com.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Hey all, I'm Andy Salisbury, formerly of PC Gamer and representing Maximum PC.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Is that everyone? Let's get started then

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): First question for this panel:

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): In the old days, it used to be about Medal of Honor. Now, it's all COD. What is it about the Call of Duty series helped it topple MOH as king of the WW2 shooters?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Presentation, different protagonist perspectives, and no goddamn Snipertown level.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Can you be more specific on "presentation"? I agree, too, but what do you mean by it exactly?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Wow, I really wish I knew more about Medal of Honor. I've really only ever been a Call of Duty boy. My only memories of MOH are of my brother playing it on original PlayStation.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): And don't be shy, the rest of you. Jump on in.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): I think CoD introduced a unique gameplay that combined speed and ironsights, something games before it did not showcase.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Andy: How come MOH never caught your attention?

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Ironsights were definitely the biggest difference from what I remember playing the games.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Well, in something like the first Medal of Honor, there was only one scene that really felt immersive and "warlike," I guess, in a sort of cinematic way and that was Normandy beach. Just think of damn near any Call of Duty game and almost every mission is structured around those cinematic sorts of moments, sometimes to the point of ripoffery (the Stalingrad "try to pretend you didn't see this exact thing in Enemy at the Gates" level comes to mind).

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Truthfully, I feel that it gave a better single player experience. At the time, I didn't have any wireless internet in my PC, so I couldn't play with all my friends. Having seen MOH played, I was less than impressed. Call of Duty immersed me.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Yeah, I mean. MOH almost broke that ground for a lot of modern war games in general, crescendo moments, vehicle interludes--maybe some of the value in COD is that is sidestepped some of those cliches a little.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Do you guys attribute a lot of this (COD's success) to former MOH developers moving over to work on COD?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Absolutely, as per what Evan just said. MOH sort of broke the ground where immersion and such was concerned, and COD built off that.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): It'd be difficult to deny a link, but I'm not sure if I'd place all that success on their shoulders.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Experience is key when making a good game. Also some new blood in development added new things that we see now in video games.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Alright, next question.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Yeah, I agree a lot ChimPae

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Is Call of Duty turnning into the next Madden? A new release each year...how long can they sustain this?

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): IW is a really dedicated team with low-turnover, and I'd think that's a bit of a contributor, I think. I read a piece in...GameDeveloper magazine, I think, that mentioned that of the 27 devs on Allied Assault, 27 were still working on COD4.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): *Erm, 20 on COD4, sorry.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I think finding out exactly how much WWII their audience is willing to take may screw up that regular release schedule, sooner or later.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): I think a lot of CoD's success can be attributed to the lessons they learned over time. Improvements over each title in my eyes had the biggest impact on the series.

CAL|Sean (calsean): In terms of sustaining the series while pumping out a new game every year I think they'll be able to since the majority of their consumers are on consoles. Unfortunately its terrible from a competition stand point.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): I was asked to repeat the question: Is Call of Duty turnning into the next Madden? A new release each year...how long can they sustain this?

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Call of Duty won't be able to sustain a yearly release. It may be great for the non-competitive community because of new maps and storylines, but for the compeittive community I dont think its as much of a benefit.

CAL|Sean (calsean): The problem with that is the majority of players aren't playing competition.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I agree, a yearly release is really a lofty goal, eveuntally people will stop buying last year's game.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): From a business perspective, you've gotta strike when the iron's hot. Activision is risk-averse as a general rule, and it's in their interest to pump out regular sequels for a franchise that's critically and commercially successful.

CAL|Sean (calsean): So maybe its the competition aspect that will die, not the game series.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Do they need to alternate between Modern Warfare and WW2? Stick primarily to one era? Explore others? If you were the creative director, where would you take this series if you had to pump one out each year?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Modern, absolutely. WW2 has been done, redone, and then done a few more times.

CAL|Sean (calsean): I think from a business perspective they have it right by alternating. I know a lot of people that far prefer WW2 over MW, and vice versa.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Player reaction to World at War has been lukewarm enough that after spending such a great time with COD4, I can't imagine the majority of the fanbase really itching to step back like that.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): The sad truth is, they can succeed financially by throwing out a new title each year. Does this mean the quality of the products will deminish due to lack of post-release support? Yes. Just by doing a little research you can tell that the makers of Call of Duty lack the attention on community input after releasing their games, which overall hurts the brand.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Notably, Modern is common, there's some room for plausible imagination. Any stepping outside of the box with a WW2 setting is likely to be lackluster (note; any game with "Secret Weapons" in the title from the WW2 era)

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I mean, if anything, the whole zombie thing in WaW was sort of an abdication that the WWII setting was getting stale but, hey, here are some zombies and Kiefer Sutherland to liven it up.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): I think carrying characters, or a timeline through to a COD sequel seems like a good way of bridging content--if Modern Warfare 2 had Captain Price in it, even as a minor cameo, that'd help it feel a bit more congruent, maybe.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): I believe that change is key to keeping the gamer's attention. I believe that the true next step after this modern warfare part 2, is going to be either going to another war int he world's history or going into futuristic warfare

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Moving into Modern Warfare as a series standard presents its own set of, I guess you could say, moral or artistic problems that the series has never had to face before, though.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): what kind of moral/artistic problems?

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): are they really "problems"?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): True, and the next logical step (as ChimPae says) is future warfare, which I never feel does well. (Note, BF2 vs. BF2142)

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Future warfare...uh. That's such a linear way of progressing the series. IW is more creative than that.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Well, COD 1-3 work because we all look at WWII as a morally clean-cut war; Hitler was bad, Allies were good. COD4, if it's representing modern warfare as we know it, would have had to muddle that morality in order to be honest.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): What other wars are viable then? You guys are the creative directors for the series...how do you keep it interesting?

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): But yeah, it's tough for the developers involved in the franchise because when something is so successful, you create so many expectations about what the next iteration could be--more/better of the same, or something "innovative" that advances that.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Grenada.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Or Iran-Contra.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): @Evan: I'd sure hope so, but if they're to release a game a year, and they have really only two theaters to go through (Modern and WW2) they're going to have to take a step there at some point. I mean, they could do Vietnam... right?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): SO instead they put it in a Fictional Middle Eastern Country where all the brown people actually have WMD's , which is dishonest and irrelevant at best.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): @Anthony Yeah, I mean. That's becoming so passé now, right? Fictional -istans and whatnot.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I honestly don't think COD could survive and maintain that sort of arcade-y gameplay and still be honest about war situations, so setting doesn't really become an issue where their gameplay (and thus profits) are concerned.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): I think the next step is to make their own war! =D Something futuristic would pretty much be the natural progression of the CoD series, and create and interesting twist.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): You keep things interesting by being different or being really lucky. I honestly think the next step for a good FPS COD series game will have to be either Vietnam (time period) or futuristic.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I sort of worry that they'll just keep going with Modern Warfare but totally refuse to acknowledge that maybe real life isn't like an extended episode of 24.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): So what about Vietnam? Would that be an acceptable theater? It seems like one that the CoD series hasn't touched on yet.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): I wouldn't mind seeing the series focus on a specific type of warfare, not to imitate Ubisoft's military approach, but...playing as a tactial squad, etc. Focusing on a more specific experience.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Isn't Vietnam also cliched? Like five years ago...we were getting a flood of them?

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Yeah, having Jack Bauer in COD5 didn't really inspire confidence, did it.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I remember Shellshock, but what else?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Vietnam brings up the same relevance problems as a Modern series, I think.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Vietcong?

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): That was 5 years ago... time has passed alot of people that gamed back then, dont game anymore and at the same time people that didn't game back then do now.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): I can't remember them all, but I remember having to play a bunch for work. Gah. At least 4 in recent membory.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Maybe we just need more wars to make games about.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Fair enough

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Good points.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): But still, for the CoD series it seems like something new -- and recycled concept or not, WW2 has been done how many times?

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): 325.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): And counting!

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Well they've painted themsleves into a corner by skipping straight to modern times -- how many gamers would legitimately like to go backward after the intensity that COD4 offered?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Well, they went from COD4 to COD:WAW

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): There are different ways to do it, I think. People write off the entire context as a buzzword, but like. What about playing WWII as the equivalent of a Rainbow Six strike team?

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Not really Andy.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Yeah, and a lot of gamers seem to have responded with ambivalence to it.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Professional players at least didn't

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Well, Evan, wouldn't that not be COD, then?

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): In terms of the title backtrack yes, but it was not embraced as a good game.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): While professional players are important, there are a lot of people that buy the game to pug and play the single player, casuals and whatnot.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): True

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Maybe a spin-off is a worthwhile approach, moreso than COD7 being like COD5.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Ubisoft has sort of parallel franchises within the same context that fit into different experiences.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): They seem to like this zombie stuff, maybe we'll see a left 4 dead CoD game haha

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Ghost Recon, Rainbows, HAWX, and now EndWar. Anyway.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Haha Left 4 Duty

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): You guys touched upon this a bit earlier. If they keep coming out with a new game each year, does it make it hard for a competitive community to grow and flourish from it? Is this why Counter-Strike is still going on strong while COD never caught on in the same way?

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): CS can't be compared to COD. COD has alot of potential but with valve supporting CS so strongly and activision not doing the same for COD it simply can't be compared.

CAL|Sean (calsean): Its a huge reason. They're now so focussed on making money, and the money is in consoles. Instead of developing games for PC competition they're developing them for consoles- PC competition is an afterthought at best.

CAL|Sean (calsean): Nowhere is that better displayed than CoD World at War which didn't even include a record feature.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): ChimPae: Well, I think you just answered the question right there.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I really think so. Counter-Strike has been around for ages, like other games that have been around (say, Football) you know that after all the practicing that game will still be there for you to be good at. With Call of Duty, it hardly seems like there's much of a chance for it to catch on on a large scale.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Are map-packs and other monetized DLC part of that equation, Sean/Chim?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Maybe that's part of it, but -- and I can only speak for myself -- COD multiplayer stopped being interesting for me when it became apparent that it wouldn't have this constant publisher backing like what Valve does, I guess (everyone on the planet still bitches about Martyr perks but they're still there, right?). And the individual multiplayer modes just haven't been as satisfying as something like CS.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): I could definitely see people (competitive ones especially) paying money to update cod every while.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Yeah. Obviously works for TF2.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Well, except for the paying extra cash thing.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Activision likes to use the word "exploit" when it refers to remaking/sequeling its franchises, and Valve reveres them, understands their value as icons, and is more patient.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): See, you think that people aren't willing to pay money to play a game, but look at the situation with COD atm. You are looking at $60 a year to stay updated and compete in the latest version of the game.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Yes and no. I think the quality of the game and the overall support it gets from its developers holds alot of value to that equation. Take a game like DoTA as an example. DoTA is heavily patched and there is a bunch of attention focused on the game. If CoD had such support, it would easily rival the CS community. Instead, the makers of CoD opt to create a new title instead of supporting each one they make.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): And that sort of "exploitation" attitude doesn't lend itself to the user-driven communities that Valve has cultivated for so long.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Right, I mean. COD makes a bundle of money, but does it inspire the kind of culture that CS does?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I think Nabore said it very well, right there

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): If activision would be smarter, they could simply charge a fee every 4-6 months for updates (maps, bug fixes, etc) maybe for $10-20 or such and still make the money they would if they released games yearly. Instead of releasing games every year, maybe do it every other year?

CAL|Sean (calsean): To be perfectly honest if Activision was serious about making a competitive game they would have taken CoD1 or CoD2 (both huge competitive hits), fixed the gameplay bugs and improved the graphics and we'd be in a far better situation.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): But there's no cash in it, so to hell with that.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): The professional community has already proved to the world that just because the company developed another game, it doesn't mean we have to switch.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Goodness, Call of Duty 2 is still played immensely today

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): That being CoD:WAW

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): You guys are creative directors again for the COD series. It's now your responsibility to make your game "the next Counter Strike" (in terms of a competitive multiplayer game). What does the COD series need to win over the pro/competitive gamers moving forward?

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Less Martyrdom.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Listen to the players way, way more. Give constant updates. Focus on professional players as an audience less than the casual shooter fans who pick up every COD game, and for the love of GOD less martyrdom.

CAL|Sean (calsean): Yes Nabore, but when the competitive community decided not to make a switch (we couldn't due to no record feature) it nearly halved the size of the community. 2 seasons ago CAL (the largest league) had over 600 teams, now there are 280.

CAL|Sean (calsean): That number will continue to decline until a new game is released that is viable for competition.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): First of all, stop with the one a year formula. It's going to kill of players (as was discussed earlier). I think sticking with one game, and making sure that it's balanced and playable by a wide audience (CS:S is a game that looks great, low requirements) is a must. That, and sticking with it, backing it like Valve does (as discussed earlier).

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Only way that COD will rival CS is if Activision is willing to listen to the community of gamers that play the game and if the community itself supports its 100%

CAL|Sean (calsean): Exactly, bug fixes and competitive improvements before pumping out another game.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I mean, it's fun to pick on Martyrdom, but it's really an example of this tainted attitude toward multiplayer -- if you're actually caring about team balance in order to keep pro players treating your game like a sport, you're not going to introduce random grenade kills that only entertain the most casual and/or douchebaggy of players. That's evident in lots of places in the design.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Do you guys think the perk system runs counter to "professional" play?

CAL|Sean (calsean): The perk system is for pub players on consoles, so yes.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Everytime I think of the word "professional" the phrase "final destination no items" just comes to mind, and they seem at odds.

CAL|Sean (calsean): For competition you need to remove perks, which leads to huge balancing issues as the game was designed to play with them.

CAL|Sean (calsean): Look at how many different modifications we've gone through in an attempt to make CoD4 competition worthy.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I think that the game, when played professionally, should be done without perks, personally. It's a test of skill, not unlocks.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): A game that is unique, either in gametype or presentation. I think something futuristic is the way to go. I would probably aim at combining the best features from all the series, and not try too hard on things like perks. Overall the game would have to be fun to play and be a complete piece, without any glitches like no recording.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): See the perk system is something I really dont dislike. It adds a new element that most games dont have. For a 'professional' gamer in call of duty, it is definitely kinda fun to play it once in a while, but the possibility of being able to mod it to take it off and make it a more 'competitive' style would be great if supported by activision.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Competitive gameplay has to be perk free, but if you want to just fool around and have a good time with friends perks could be a good things.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Well the problem with perks is that they didn't balance them correctly

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Correct.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): So we were forced to modify them

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I agree with ChimPae. I find perks really fun, but if there were some sort of option to turn them off in the same way Soulcalibur IV treats player skills and magic, that would open things up to a more professionally competitive audience.

CAL|Sean (calsean): What about releasing a game that offers a specific competition mode? If it was produced by the developers then we wouldn't have to struggle so much with mods that don't end up ever feeling quite right.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): yeah, I agree. It is a fun pub dynamic, but if there's going to be a professional culture it has to be cut out from that aspect.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Perks can be seen a sort of "cheat mode" where if you want an added element you can have it, if not then have fun without them.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): OK, we talked about what's wrong with competitive COD...what are the games doing right for competitive play? Any thoughts on that?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Team Fortress 2. Left 4 Dead.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): If they made this perfect system that was competition worthy, it woulda been a sick twist to the game for sure. I in fact voted to alter the perk system at the start of CEVO to balance it, however it deviated too far from the stock gameplay.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Left 4 Dead - a great example of team play in a game

Team Fortress 2 - an example of a good pub sorts of game, but at the same time great for competitive play

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): And, the World of Warcraft PvP tournament should be noted too. There's incredible player support, tools, and competition. Blizzard provies the tournament realms for players looking for the extra challenge, as well as the live tournaments. It really is a solid professional envrioment, in my experience.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Valve's latest multiplayer games do a fantastic job of balancing out casual enjoyment with competitive play without even having to resort to the sort of modding and options that we've been suggesting as an alternative for COD perks.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): CounterStrike - a game built for competition and supported by its creators to stay that way

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): I'm sorry, to clarify, what are COD games doing right for competitive play?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Oh. whoopsies.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Ah

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): haha

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Nah, I see how you guys read that. :)

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I dig the realism server option in COD4, that that's supported.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Providing options for players to play the game they want to play it is never bad.

CAL|Sean (calsean): I don't think they're focussing very much, if at all, on competition. I sincerely believe they're interested in appealing to the majority of their consumers- which are pub players and console players.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Map design is a strong point. I know the spawn scripting in MP has its issues, but it feels like a more dynamic environment that players don't emerge from the same spawn box.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Boy, I wish I knew. I see that Call of Duty 2 is still extremely popular on Xfire, but that's probably public players.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Call of Duty has solid maps, except for maybe CoD WaW. Also as stated before the ironsite capability adds an element that CS and L4D dont have.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): I think games now are better for their online experience. It seems each title has improved in that aspect and that to me is important.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Also the possibility of sprinting although something that I didn't like at the start, has begun to grow on me and adds an element of faster gameplay

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): When talking about a competitive game with support, it has to be spectator friendly.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): The competitive guys know this a little better than I do, but I feel like COD4's pace is pretty high. Not Quake 3-fast, but there's room for competitive players to utilize twitch.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Uh oh...my text has turned black. Can you guys see this?

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Yes.

CAL|Sean (calsean): Yes

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Having the ability to run by someone and out react them with your shot is something that I believe will bring alot of interest.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): And broken keyboards for slower players like myself.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): hehe

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): OK, we have about 7 more minutes before we bring on audience q's. Next question from me/Xfire: What is your favorite Call of Duty game and why?

CAL|Sean (calsean): Call of Duty 2- it had a great pace, was a ton of fun to pub/scrim, and was still excellent for competition. If it had a few bug fixes it would have been perfect.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): 4. I'll try and say something different--IW did a great job of getting its engine running cleanly in multiplayer and looking just as good as single-player.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): The first, because it introduced me to the pacing and immersive touches that the rest of the COD games would later implement, without making me feel morally squidgy like COD4 did. I also loved the Russian missions.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): My favorite Call of duty game has to be call of duty 2. Although it was probably one of the slower versions of the game it was a game where graphics were solid, maps were probably the best, and the community overall enjoyed the game tremendously. You could pub, scrim, match, or do whatever you felt like doing and knew you'd have a great time.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Looks to me like the general concensus is CoD4! And I have to agree. For some reason, after playing original Call of Duty I measure the game on how the guns shoot, and CoD4 always did that spot on. I know, that's a silly thing to pick out of the single player experience, multi-player competition, but for me, that makes the game extremely playable.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Call of Duty 2. I think it had the best balance of gameplay and the best maps. There was no gun in that game that anyone deemed overpowered and pretty much the netcode was stellar. It was relatively a glitch free game out of the box and the graphics to this day still suprise me.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): COD5's guns did feel super fun and typerwriter-like, though, yeah.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): CoD5 did do that well, yeah. I really liked the "feel" of the bolt-action and semi-automatic rifles.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): The M1A1 is a winner in my heart!

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): COD5 had potential, but with the maps that it had and the bugs / no demo recording capability it showed just like every other COD series game that although it has potential this one just had too many problems.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): COD4's pistol deserves a game unto itself considering how satisfying it was to use in the game's final moments.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): If anything, that's what COD6 needs to be. Your guy, and a pistol. And that's it. And maybe Gary Oldman again.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): What was your most favorite single moment in any COD game? Single player, multiplayer, opening the box, whatever.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Yeah, straight-up gold-plated Deagle madness.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Multi-player in COD4, had to be beating the other MoBgaming team at the NERV LAN in Pennsylvania. Proving to everyone that in gaming even the underrated can beat the "favorites".

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): It's a three-way tie between COD1's Stalingrad mission where you don't have a gun, the scripted death sequences in COD4, and that final climax to COD4. That's a total cheat answer, but I'm sticking with it.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Sorry mine was a LAN gaming moment for cod :P

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Burch: cheater!

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I have to say, eye-opening experiences always sit well with me. Just the experience of the first Call of Duty stuck with me. "Eat that Fritz!" (possibly a misquote, but from the tank mission)

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): That's how I ROLL, Shoe.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Playing CoD4 in a tournament in Belgium over the summer. Pretty much turned the game into an international battlefield with us coming out on top in the end.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): You guys keep going, but just to let everyone know...invites to the question room are going out now.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): It's hard to describe, but there are moments in COD4 MP when you get on a run, rack up 7 kills, sprint around a corner as you're calling in a chopper, throw a grenade over a wall and get a blind kill--just those moments of emergent comboing, basically.

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): Feel free to ask your questions for the Future of COD4 panelists in the Question Room!

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Chimp: LAN gaming moments are just as cool, no worires!

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): @Burch: Agreed, the Stalingrad mission was a blast. Being put in a situation like that did force me to think in a different way.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I'm surprised more FPS games haven't capitalized on the sheer fun of NOT having a gun considering how great that mission showed it could be.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): As for the game itself, I think my favorite part was the sniper missions in CoD4.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Yeah, that sniper mission was such a nice contrast in pace...to those moments in the SP where you hadn't tripped the "stop sending enemy reinforcements" script in the environment.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Here's a specific question from canudie: Which community manager is better Infinity Ward's or Treyeach's

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): IW by far

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): IW

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Fourtwozero's a great guy, yeah.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): IW

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Robert Bowling (@fourzerotwo) really does a good job at making sure that the community is an active part of the development process

CAL|Sean (calsean): IW's games have been much better from all perspectives.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Treyarch has yet imo to pull out with a "competitive cod series" game

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): CheeseCookie (timbob17): Nazi Zombies, Good or Bad? Did you think it helped the game? if so do you think there should be more?

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): thats because they have no one on their staff talking to the community or anything

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): It was a gimmick that made me sad.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Although I must mention that each developer does not implement community supported changes.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): I think it was a distraction, honestly. Just a bullet point to put on the box that I didn't really enjoy.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): It was alright, I suppose. But, when I have Left 4 Dead to play, I can't bother to spend time on the Nazi Zombies.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): In addition to having the bad luck of coming out at the same time as an infinitely better zombie-based FPS, it just smacked of trying to bribe me into playing what I knew was going to be Yet Another WWII Game.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Wasn't something that I personally put alot of attnetion to.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Like when banks give you a toaster for opening an account.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Yes, except those zombies can't heat my hot pocket.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I've truthfully played it only a few times. I do hear that there are custom maps being made for it, but that's not something that would bring me back to it.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): fx1000 (mediamob): Which do you think is better, IW or treyarch and do you think that Activision should drop one or keep both?

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Hmm...I suspect I know which one you guys will pick....

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Oh no, not this question.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): *baS.ix?! (basixxx): [Question] What do you prefer: More complex Maps with lots of camping places? or less complex maps whit more action and less camping.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Dunno if they really need to drop either, considering they sort of exist in their own realms.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Keep IW, and hope that treyarch's next production is good. If it isn't maybe they just weren't meant to make cod series games :/

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Loaded question. :)

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Thats a tough question baS

CAL|Sean (calsean): I'd say Activision is better off keeping IW and having them pay better attention to the competitive community.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Has Treyarch really had many opportunities to prove themselves? Haven't they only done CoD5 or am I completely wrong? Correct me if I am.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Less camping the better, in my whine-whenever-I-get-killed opinion.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): I really don't like it when people compare the two developers. It makes me uncomfortable when they say "Treyarch sucks" or anything along those lines--they're different studios with different talent, resources and timeilnes.

CAL|Sean (calsean): They did CoD 3 as well.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Ah

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): I think I'm going to have to go with Evan on this one.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Simple maps have a greater chance of succeeeding rather then complex maps. Although once in a while you do get lucky ;)

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): One is the parent of the franchise, and one is a studio that's expected to equal the other one's effort with less budget and a shorter cycle.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Let's reask Nabore/Basixxx's question, cause it kinda got lost in there:

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): *baS.ix?! (basixxx): [Question] What do you prefer: More complex Maps with lots of camping places? or less complex maps whit more action and less camping.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Simple is better, e.g.: de_dust2

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): From my experience in maps, I would say that the best maps appear to be revolved around a center point. Maps like Crash and Dawnville are good examples of tis.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): What is it about a center point that makes play that much more fun?

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): I liked Evan's response

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Less complex maps are always the ones that have the most longevity--Wake Island, de_dust as Andy mentioned, 2fort, yeah.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Maps have to have a limited number of entry points into areas, and have to be split up where there are rotations by players and the possibility of slow play or quick rushes.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): But they must exibit a combination of long range and short range battles, with good bomb site placement

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Maps that have all those elements like Nabore said are successful. Some key examples in the COD series that those have are crash, strike, toujane, dawnville, carentan, burgundy

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): COD4's maps did a good job of creating natural choke points.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Anthony I think the idea is that the map has character, that is isn't this randomly generated idea. It also seems that these maps are the most popular among players.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Forward-porting maps is always a good idea, too. Carentan/Chinatown, etc.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I can dig it.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): I like this question:

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Master Kim (n00bie51): Seeing as the competitive scene is a microcosm in the greater community of pubbers, is it possible for the developer to sufficiently satisfy and accommodate both types of gamers without one group suffering from the benefits of another (i.e., perks are fun for pubs, not good for competitive play)?

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Hardcore mode is one answer to that question.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): As we were talking about earlier, providing different play options like turning perks on or off or what have you would seem like a reasonable way to serve both masters.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Yeah, that's the beauty of playing a game on the PC: having a list of servers, and choosing which one you'd have the most fun in

CAL|Sean (calsean): Like I said earlier I would love to see a 'competition mode' built right into the game. I think this would both A) make it much easier for leagues/tournaments/lans to get the game off the ground and B) would attract many more gamers to competitive gaming.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): I truely dont believe that you can fully satisfy both competitive and pubbing types of players. You can keep them "content" but never fully satisfied... something will always be a problem.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Touchy. I think the term competitive play gets thrown around as a way to water down a game, but in reality, all it means is that the game is viable to play in its stock form. If perks in CoD4 were balanced, then comptitive play wouldn't remove them. There is less of a relationship with the communities and more of a relationship with the games features.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Glad to have your perspective on hand, Sean, Chim, and Nabore.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Take TF2, they pretty much play stock competitively.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): CS is stock also.

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Call of Duty 2 was very close to stock

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): same as call of duty 1

CAL|Sean (calsean): Exactly Nabore, and I think that attracts many more players to play competitively. When you have to dramatically alter your playstyle to play competitively, pubbers don't really want to get involved.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Right, which was a huge debate with CoD4.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Do we deviate from perks or not.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): My favorite sort of competitive play comes out of you naturally when you don't actually mean to start being compettiive. I see that a lot with Left 4 Dead players.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Not having BS perks probably helps with that.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): We're almost out of time now, so this will be the last question:

CAL|Sean (calsean): Exactly, you didn't exactly want the deciding round at a LAN to be determined by martyrdom or last stand.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): (sgtjcoleman): Question: Would you ever like another developer to make another cod title?

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): And I'm adding on to that:

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): If so, which developers?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Blizzard?

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Joking!

CAL|Sean (calsean): haha

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): haha

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Yes, I believe different ideas into games would be great. If a particular developer is being successful then why change it? In this case cod has had great 'potential' but hasn't had the chance to flourish like cs / valve

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): I'd love to see someone like Clint Hocking head up Call of Duty 6. Far Cry 2 did a pretty interesting (if flawed) job of melding legitimately fun gunplay with ambiguous morality, and I'd love to see that sort of sensibility applied to a Modern Warfare-esque scenario.

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): I know that if another company made CoD, it wouldn't have the same feeling that the IW made titles have. But if this company can replicate this "feel," I'd have to give it to valve. Their post-release support is top notch and they come out with updates on a weekly basis. This is important for the games lifespan and it's the only thing that CoD currently lacks atm.

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): Alright Guys, It's time for the Debate to end! :( Thank you to all of our guests and special Thank You to Dan "Shoe" Hsu for being an amazing Moderator and the rest of the panel for giving us lots to talk about!

MoB ChimPae (chimpae): Thanks, was a very fun time. Great to be here.

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Cheers guys, this was fun, thank you.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Thanks for having me! Glad to be here.

[Destructoid]AnthonyBurch (reverendanthony): Thanks for inviting me.

Bitmob Shoe (egmshoe): Yes, thanks guys.

CAL|Sean (calsean): Thanks for the invite guys, it was great.

[Xfire-TTHS] Debateox (debateox): Thanks Everyone for coming to the 14h Debate Club, We're glad you came, and we WILL be back!

Pandemic - Nabore (nabore): Thanks for inviting me, and I wish you all well.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Everbody say "HEEEEEEEYYYY, HOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

[PC Gamer] Evan (elahti): Go back to your WoW, Andy.

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): Oh my, it is raid time!

[MaximumPC] AndySalisbury (skaarj314): To everyone that said "HEEEEYYY HOOOOO" -- you made my day.