If asked five years ago, I would have happily revealed that I was a Call of Duty fan through-and-through. At the time of CoD4, the community flourished and was prosperous for all. Yet when you fast-forward to present day, admitting you’re a hardcore Call of Duty fan is somewhat of an embarrassment.
This isn’t due to the franchise ‘selling out’, or the quality of the games dipping, it’s due to the fact that the Call of Duty community is a volatile one. Granted, there are a lot of people out there like you or me; gamers who love to simply play the game and appreciate it for all it’s worth. But for every one of us, there’s one hundred imbecilic morons blinded by unequivocal rage.
The latest fiasco that has yet again given the Call of Duty community a bad name, was yesterdays patch updated that addressed various issues – with the DSR downgrade being the source of this pool of hate.
The sniping community inside Call of Duty has always been publicly known to house a sea of immature players; most of which are under CoD’s 18+age limit. In the past we’ve seen them lash out at Treyarch for making sniping a little bit harder in the original Black Ops, with many of them hounding the studio on Twitter for the duration of the games cycle. The past two days’ events are on a whole other level though, with Treyarch’s lead designer, David Vonderhaar, receiving a barrage of hate for a menial update that in reality didn’t change much.
The update tweaked a few small ergonomic factors for the DSR. The fire time was increased from 0.2 seconds to 0.4, the rechamber time was changed to 1.1 seconds from 1, and the sprint time was increased by a further 0.05 seconds. When you look at these figures, you can’t help but think: Who would care about this? Without Vonderhaar telling us, all of these changes would have been barely noticeable. Yet people are still managing to complain, simply because it’s a change that effects something that’s been proven to be overpowered.
What followed this update is simply staggering, and a shining example of the infancy of the Call of Duty community from an exterior viewing point. The aforementioned tweaks have lead to outrage within the sniping community, with responses ranging from petitions to death threats! Yes, that’s right. Death threats.
Such behaviour is shameful, and embarrassing to fans like you and me who keep out of all the commotion. Above all else, it harms those who love franchise; including these ‘haters’ who’d never admit it. We’ve seen the community attempt to grow in many respects, with tournaments such as The Call of Duty Championships leading the way into making the franchise a formidable eSport, capable of competing with the likes of League of Legends. However event such as this only harm the franchises' progression and image. We're already viewed as a childish community, and while that may seem unfair, it is true in most respects.
The problem is that the vast majority of Call of Duty fans simply don't know how to channel their quarrels and transform them into something constructive. For example, I was irritated at League Play's ranking system. Instead of telling David Vonderhaar to go die, I decided to write an article laying out my issues, while presenting a viable solution. Such examples will drive developers to find a better resolve, death threats will only estrange them from the community.
One of Sword's latest blog offered particularly interesting insight into the situation, where Dan spoke out agains the latest backlash.
Vahn [aka Vonderhaar] often gets told he should die in a fire or kill himself or is a horrible person. If anybody thinks for a second that this is okay, it is not. But if the loudest voices in the Call of Duty 'community' act like an angry mob instead, guess how the entire world views Call of Duty?
"Now consider that these Internet Tough Guy rants and demands are not unique to COD, but exist everywhere, in many gaming communities. This is why the world often does not take gaming seriously; this is why gamers are assumed to be immature, whiny assholes. Because the immature, whiny assholes are louder.
We've seen the like of Treyarch's former community manager, JD2020, struggle with such threats and eventually leave the company. Such hate has to stop before Vonderhaar is driven to the same resolve!
What are your views on the latest fiasco? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to watch the comical video below!