Players to Enact Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 Blackout Day on April 20th to Protest State of the Game
A movement is beginning to gain some small momentum in the Call of Duty community and has come to our attention. That is MW3 Blackout (#MW3BlackOut and @MW3BlackOut on Twitter), a movement to darken theMW3BlackOut april 20, 2012 servers of Modern Warfare 3 by refusing to play the game on April 20th, 2012.
Some Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 community members feel that it is the only way to get Activision and Infinity Ward to sit up and take notice of their grievances with what they perceive as an incomplete game and a non-caring developer and publisher.
Will it work? It’s hard to say, but if there is a large single day drop in online play of Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, it could be enough for someone to notice. But it could take far more than that for action to be taken on the part of the companies.
Here’s a video created by the organizers.
The video states that it is a call to action for the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 community to not play April 20th, 2012.
The crux of the problem is that some players see the lack of post-release fixes in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 for some major issues, as Infinity Ward and Activision simply not caring about the gamers.
Fixes that the organizers want to see implemented include:
Matchmaking options which include the ability to enable, disable local search and base search off the party leader when playing with friends.
Changes to the broken [sic] spawn system
Full-featured theater mode including volume controls in options
Tac insert removed from kill confirmed
More hardcore game modes
Better Elite playlist options
Objective stats on in-game scoreboards
Akimbo machine pistol nerf
Removal of any assault killstreaks from the support package
Removal of deathstreaks
Fix LAN settings for competitive events
It’s a pretty long list of fixes to say the least. Others in the Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 community agree that the list is long, and yet believe that lag compensation would be a good place to start.
Others completely disagree that not playing the game for a single day will have an impact. they state that the best way to show displeasure is to not buy the game.
However, there are other options, for example, a class-action lawsuit citing breach of contract in that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 is not in a totally playable state and does not live up to what the pre-release advertising stated it would be. That would be a drastic step, and an extremely long road. Boycotting any further content releases for the game as well as future games in the series is definitely another option and with amazing free to play games and indie game available it would be easy enough to find something else to play.
Simply put, players bought into the Activision hype knowing full well that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 would probably have issues, as the previous titles have. Many of the previous Call of Duty titles have been met with similar frustration and yet, millions of gamers, almost zombie-like, shelled out their hard-earned cash for yet another iteration of the game, and it’s broken, and now they’re angry about it. To really show Activision that displeasure from the previous games, they should have not purchased in the first place.
However, there does seem to be a good deal of merit for the displeasure with Infinity Ward. In the official Modern Warfare 3 forums there is a question that was posted on December 2nd, 2011 that has yet to receive an answer:
When can we expect the patch for the lag compensation? I shouldn’t be penalized for having a fast Internet connection.
There’s another from even earlier that is still not answered completely, however, one of the Call of Duty Elite, the online service and DLC subscription did reply with:
Lag Compensation: This is something that is being adjusted by the developers in increments. It’s definitely something they are looking into and working on. However, these adjustments take time to make and implement.
Lag compensation attempts to slow down the game for those who have a faster connection speed and better data throughput so that they are on the same footing as those with a lower data connection. Many players complain that they pay for higher speed broadband specifically to be able to play Modern Warfare 3 better. It does seem that being able to pay more for a faster connection does create an uneven playing field in the game. However the Lag compensation system seems to not be an ideal solution because many seem to think that it is negatively impacting their game performance and enjoyment level. Effectively, the game is penalizing those with faster speed connections.
Perhaps what Infinity Ward should have done in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 was made matchmaking more based on ping times and broadband speeds than anything else. They could do a quick speed test to determine the bandwidth available to the player each time they connect to the servers and then group players for auto-matchmaking that be using ranges of upload/download speeds and ping times to servers.
They could also allow players to make the decision by giving them a set of options allowing them to choose min/max values for players they want to be matched up against as wellas being able to turn the settings on and off at will. The current lag compensation system does not sound like it is functioning exactly as they had hoped and by giving the gamers the ability to choose a range, within a certain distance from their speeds (for example +/- 1Mbps or 5Mbps centered on their download speed) they might overcome a lot of community pushback. The ability to turn if off as well as connection speeds could easily be shown in the lobby so that players on slower connections would be able to see those things and choose to play or not. It could even implement an auto-warning when entering a lobby stating that X number of players in the lobby are/are not using lag compensation or that they are outside the player chosen range of speeds, etc.
Instead of simply assuming they know what the gamers want this would give gamers the ability to pick and choose their games and get into games without lag compensation but with players that are not too far above or below in terms of speed. If the dozens of forum posts on the official forums is any indication, and it should be, there are plenty of players who are extremely displeased with what Infinity Ward has done and failed to undo. Considering that some posts date back to November and people still believe lag compensation to be broken, it seems only prudent to remove it altogether until they can implement a system that would function correctly and return the power to the players. After all, the players are the ones that pay to keep the lights on and if you anger enough of them, they might simply not buy your next game. At a million players boycotting the next game, it’s a loss of $60 million in sales, which trickles down to probably just $3-5 million for the publisher, Activision, and $1 Million for the developer, Infinity Ward. According to VGChartz, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 sold some 13.72 million units. a 20% drop would require about 2.75 million players to forgo purchasing the next iteration of the franchise.
Perhaps the MW3BlackOut will work, perhaps not. Perhaps it will require a week of blackout, or a month. Maybe it will take a concerted effort and campaign to keep people from buying the next game in the Call of Duty franchise. Either way, it’s going to be a lot of work getting the companies to stop and listen. If the drive continues and does result in a 20% loss of unit sales when the next Call of Duty is released (later this year allegedly Black Ops 2) that might finally be enough to get them to come to the table and talk about how to fix things.
In a perfect world, a single day of black out would bring Infinity Ward into the forums and begin an open and earnest discussion about lag compensation and some other possibilities. But it’s far from a perfect world.