Treyarch community manager: don’t hate, innovate
By this point most members of the hardcore COD fanbase have already said their goodbyes to loved ones and are busily trading headshots following yesterday’s release of the First Strike DLC for Black Ops.
For those of us who have not downloaded the new map pack, NOWGamer.com reporter Dave Cook offers an interesting conversation with Treyarch’s Community Manager Josh Olin, the man responsible for tracking the franchise’s extremely vocal followers and making tweaks to keep the online community running smoothly.
Olin plugs the DLC quite a bit, highlighting the four new multiplayer maps, hinting that snipers who felt burned by the close-quarters offerings will finally have their “urban level with lots of very long view distances” upon which they can belt out death like a scoped version of Whack-a-Mole for hours on end.
Treyarch came under (apparently accurate) fire from the one-shot-one-kill crowd when Black Ops was released for tweaking gameplay to limit the effect of “quick scoping,” a tactic that in Modern Warfare 2 allowed snipers to pick off targets hundreds of meters away at a moment’s notice and it seems the shift to open levels is the development team’s attempt to find a happy middle ground.
The most notable takeaway from the interview is a closing comment on how Olin would like to change the growing community of “contrarian” gamers who flame design decisions online simply to stir controversey.
“It’s a creative industry – the most creative form of entertainment in existence,” Olin tells Cook. “Too many developers who try new things are getting burned by ‘pundits’ and angry entitled fans who look to be contrarian, sometimes simply for the sake of being contrarian.”
While I empathize with Olin to a degree, the flame wars on sites like gamefaqs.com forums must be a bummer when you are looking for constructive criticism. Whether Black Ops simply attracts more negativity than most titles due to the generally younger crowd you find playing online or because the Black Ops community is a particularly voracious group of players (online leaderboards indicate players have fragged nine times the world’s population since the game’s November release,) Olin’s interview makes two important points:
1- Game companies actually do pay attention to forums and are willing to make gameplay changes to cater to demand.
2- With that in mind, flaming companies trying to innovate on popular styles of games will do nothing but scare investors away from what could be groundbreaking innovations.
On a brighter note: Am I the only one who is really interested in seeing how Treyarch has tweaked attack dogs to account for the verticality in maps like Kowloon?