I'm not sure when and where I said this, but not too long ago I mentioned after I had a year's worth of blogs I was going to start up a new reoccurring blog series. Well, that day has come. I'm over 365+ blogs.

The premise behind the series is this...

I've written a ton of blogs. So many in fact that sometimes I have a hard time remembering what I've written about. I've also written some that I think are pretty good but never got much recognition because it was early in my blogging days. I also think I've come a long way in the blogging department. I look at some of my older ones - some I'm still pleased with and some I'm shocked I ever posted such rubbish. Then there are the ones where I discussed future events or speculated about certain events. I think it's neat and that there is value in looking back and reviewing old blogs. Please bear with me.

So, quite simply, the premise behind this blog series is to re-examine some of my older blogs that I pick along the way and provide some comments on what I think about it now.

Don't worry...I'm not going to do this every day. I'm only planning on doing it once a week and I'll always lead the title off with REPLAY so if you're not interested in this little venture, at least you'll know which ones to avoid. Also, I'm not going to simply link or update the time of post to update. I'm resubmitting the blog and injecting my comments into the middle of it.

Please note I'm doing this not because I'm having a lack of ideas, rather, I think it will be interesting and hopefully somewhat entertaining going back and revisiting some of my earlier posts. I'm recycling blog ideas in the sense that the bulk of the story will remain the same. But the majority of the topics will be older than a year, so I doubt most will remember them anyway. Besides, our society teaches us that recycling is good for the environment, so yeah...just consider this a recycling of blog ideas.

Also please note my new comments will be provided boldly and in parentheses.

The original story is posted here.

Normally I wouldn't have picked this one to "replay" but decided since it is my first blog posted at Game  Informer, it deserved it for that fact alone. It's interesting to note at the time I pulled the data it only had 195 views, 2 comments (Beardtongue and TOGNick) and 0 stars. I'm sure at the time, 195 views seemed like the jackpot!

Anyway...here goes. Remember the comments in parenthesis and bolded are new comments.

REPLAY: February 04, 2010 (Underachievers Forced into a Life of Farming...)

I want to play Modern Warfare 2. Really I do. And I suppose I could. In fact, in reality I could play it on either the Xbox 360 or PC. But the truth is, the game frustrates me and I don't want to play it. It's a shame because it really is a good game. (Still very true! -Saint)

Before I voice my concerns over the game, let me just say the first COD: Modern Warfare, while not my favorite game of all time, is a perfect game. Some might argue that claim, and perhaps justifiably, but the folks at Infinity Ward truly delivered an outstanding product. The first COD: Modern Warfare contained every component a "Game of the Year" contender should have: stunning audio and visuals; a solid single player story; innovative elements new to the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre; addictive multiplayer action; well designed and balanced maps; and even some follow on downloadable content. (To this day, the original Modern Warfare for PC is one of the few games that I classify as "perfect". It's not my favorite game, but based on the total playing experience I think it is about as perfect as a video game can get. Maybe not quite a perfect 10, but definitely a 9.9. -Saint)

Infinity Ward polished off the game with a great weapon selection, the introduction of a novel new "perk" system and for those interested in achievements, a challenging yet entertaining series of accomplishments to tackle in conjunction with playing the game. Whether you cried foul or in triumphant, there's no denying the Martyrdom perk was a creative addition to the game, no matter how much it was abused. For those who prefer the PC flavor for their platform of choice, the game included snappy load times, mod tools, and, yes, dedicated servers.

The problem with setting the bar so high, it's harder to get over it the next time around.

Even before Modern Warfare 2 hit the shelves, there were some who were critical of the game. The PC crowd practically staged an all out boycott bordering on a full scale riot once it was revealed the game would not include dedicated server support, console commands and multiplayer caps on the number of player slots. The "leaked" footage of the airport scene definitely turned some heads and caused many to question whether Infinity Ward crossed the line with objectionable content. (Amazing how quick we forgot about this "controversial" scene. Thinking about it now, doesn't seem like it was all that big of a deal. -Saint)

To make matters worse, the game has been out roughly 3 months and has been plagued with a number of hacks, cheats or exploits, (including the javelin hack, the unlimited ammo hack, the tactical insertion hack) that have resulted in some gamers rage quitting and moving on to the next newly released title. (The game never really recovered from all of the hacks. Honestly, I quit playing the multiplayer in a matter of weeks I was so frustrated with the game. -Saint)

My frustration with the game has nothing to do with any of the above issues.

Despite the mixed reactions to the single player story, I actually enjoyed it and was perhaps one of the few who did. I can overlook the hacks and exploits as that is unfortunately a part of the community we play in. Thankfully, Infinity Ward identifies and addresses these problems and issues patches to fix them rather quickly. I've grown accustomed to the smaller party size and really, the whole lack of dedicated servers is only a minor nuisance. As far as the airport scene, it indeed crossed the line, but all is fair in war. I was impressed with the brazenness approach Infinity Ward took with presenting the story.

So, what is it that could prevent me from wanting to play the game?

I am one of "those" gamers who strive for obtaining all the achievements a game has to offer. I think there are less of us than there are those who could care less about achievements.  I suppose it's my inner perfectionist. Or maybe I want bragging rights. I'm not quite sure why I care so much, but I do. If a game has achievements, I want to achieve it. But I don't want to just achieve it, I want to achieve it the way I'm sure the developers intended; in the normal progression of playing the game. I don't think they intended the achievements to be farmed out and I certainly don't think they intended players to get so frustrated with the achievement process that they would walk away from the game. (Thankfully, Black Ops did not continue down this same road or continue with this same trend. All of the above issues I mention about MW2 don't seem to be near as big of a problem in Black Ops. -Saint)

But that's exactly what's happened and is happening in COD: Modern Warfare 2.

In order to surpass the standard set by COD: Modern Warfare, Modern Warfare 2 expanded the achievement system into a complex and elaborate process that is so ridiculously difficult and practically unrealistic that it has resulted in such widespread farming the game has lost its appeal. Infinity Ward has relabeled the achievement system to Challenges and Accolades, which is really a fancy name for achievements.

For the sake of this blog, I am not going to debate whether farming is cheating. I think most gamers would agree that at the very least, it is annoying.

Farming (in this particular context): Working with a player on the opposing team to meet the requirements of various achievements, especially when your own ability is insufficient to obtain the goal legitimately. I added that last part in there.

The achievement farming is ruining COD: Modern Warfare 2.

From individual weapons challenges requiring 1,000 kills and 500 headshots per weapon (multiply that by how many weapons?) to getting a game winning Killcam by dropping a crate on the enemy, the challenges are beyond difficult.

Two headshots with one shot. What are the chances? (Okay...this one is apparently not as "impossible" as I originally suggested. I've seen some YouTube videos where gamers randomly pull this off. I still think achievements like this tempt people to farm, but I do concede it is also quite possible to get it legitimately thru random events and/or with a little luck. -Saint)

I take that back. They are beyond difficult in normal game play, but they're actually fairly easy to get by farming, especially if you have enough friends or fellow players willing to contribute.

And that's what's happening.

If you want to get the achievements, perks, weapons unlocks, and titles legitimately, then you better have patience, a bit of luck and you better pack a lunch, or at least a Snickers bar, because you won't be going anywhere for awhile. Especially when you consider that you can Prestige and do it all over again. And again. And again. Or you can take the easy way out and farm it with a friend, which apparently seems to be the most popular and socially acceptable way of doing it now; a very bad precedent to set.

One of the most frustrating aspects of achievement farming in MW2 is the tactical nuke kill streak perk. It's a shame too, because Infinity Ward once again delivers a fresh and new idea, but unfortunately there are those exploiting it for their own personal satisfaction. How they get satisfaction from farming a kill streak perk that destroys everybody and really just ticks everyone off, I'll never know. But it happens. And it happens far too often.

The focus of the round should not be playing search and destroy in an effort to locate the 2 players farming the tactical nuke. Perhaps Modern Warfare 3 can have this as a new game play mode. (The whole team searching for two players who are farming a tactical nuke and if you can disrupt the kill streak then you might just survive the round but if you don't find them in time then you are nuked.) (I still agree with this whole perspective. There are still players who do this. I continue to think the way some achievements are implemented promotes farming. Some people are okay with this. -Saint)

So, with a twinge of frustration and a sigh of exasperation, I revert back to my tried and true game of Team Fortress 2 while I wait for the release of Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Team Fortress 2, now there's a game that knows how to do achievements. I'm still holding out hope that one day I'll get the "Got a light" achievement - the only Pyro achievement I have left to get.

Anyone need a light? (OMG, I'm STILL playing TF2 after all this time. Actually, my time on this game has been cut back significantly as I play other games. But I still love me some TF2. -Saint)

(SUMMARY: Okay, so like I mentioned...I only went with this blog because it was my first. In the future I most likely will not replay blogs that aren't as trendy or worth repeating, which may wind up being quite a few. Overall, I liked this blog. I was pleased with it. I stand behind some of the points I made and while they may not be as prevalent with some of the follow on games like Black Ops, I think there is still some validity to it. -Saint)

As a reminder, tomorrow's blog is also part of a new series I started about my quest to learn video game development. At least I hope that's what I blog about.

Have a great weekend. Happy Blogging and GG!