As a long time CoD player (since CoD2), there are many things that have come and gone from the series that I, and I assume many other, miss and would like to see again, and there are things that we have now that I'd like to see go away, for personal or balance reasons. Let's get started.
First, let's talk campaign. While I personally haven't put time into it, BO3's campaign has some very solid ideas with the leveling system and customization options, and I loved BO2's campaign for the replayability and customization of loadouts. We should definitely keep the co-op campaign and the ability to customize your character and loadouts. I'd also like to see some unique campaign challenges like there were in MW2 and BO1 (like using akimbo weapons for a certain amount of kills in the Favela and Kowloon levels of MW2 and BO1, respectively). As far as the actual storyline goes, I don't really care if it's Ghosts 2 or MW4 or something new; whatever it is, just make it interesting. Ghosts had a very dry, cookie cutter campaign, and AW's campaign, while fun and having some great levels, was also very by-the-formula and could have used some more interesting characters and set pieces. I also don't care about the time period of the next CoD game, but I like the idea of IW, SHG, and 3arc all making different styles of titles, and would prefer IW stick to the present, or at least a very near future.
Moving on to co-op modes, Extinction, Zombies, Survival, Chaos mode, whatever we have, just focus on making it fun and not some awful, dragged out experience where you have to dedicated 45 minutes to just getting everything you want ready before you can just play the damn mode (Shadows of Evil, man, I love ya, but Jesus Christ, let me just have a version of the map to play for fun with the Pack-a-Punch already open and the swords as box weapons). Co-op survival modes should be either a fun distraction, or a large breather mode from what should be the main focus for most, which is multiplayer. I don't play a lot of the survival modes, but I like certain aspects of each of them, and while I think that Zombies is the most polished and refined of them, I do enjoy things about Survival, Extinction, and Chaos mode.
Finally, the real reason I'm making this post and the reason many of you are reading it, the multiplayer. BO3's multiplayer is fun, as was AW's for me personally. The TTK feels alright most of the time (though at extremely close range some things are annoyingly melty to deal with). I'd prefer to keep this kind of TTK, or maybe just a smidge faster at longer ranges. Movement wise, I don't care, but as I said, I'd prefer IW stick to a modern or very near future style and not have too much in the way of special movements.
Let's talk maps. Three lane maps are all fine and dandy, but I want variety, as do many other players. AW was a lot of three lane maps. BO3 is a lot of three lane maps. Ghosts was a clusterfuck of horribly designed maps. Let's find a nice balance. Some three laners, some five laners, some with lots of intersecting lanes, some with very few intersections, some with no regard for lanes and just an open field with cover. I'd rather have four or five great maps with some average maps mixed in that fifteen maps that are all functionally identical with different skins and cover. I think BO1 had the best map design, which is why so many maps from it have been readapted into other BO games. Maps like Firing Range, Nuketown, and Summit are still regarded as some of the best maps in CoD by many, and though they all fit the three or five lane design, they have depth and different ways to maneuver the map through intersections and different stories on the map. I'd love to see a mix of this style of map with the style of maps like Wasteland/Array (large open map with central battle ground), Crash/Stadium (tight clustered map with a central focal point and lots of flank routes), and Afghan (large maps with many power positions and a large overlook). As long are there some competitive maps of varying sizes and some interesting and dynamic maps of varying sizes, I'm good.
Moving on to weapons, I want to see, as I've said, a more modern style to the IW games. I'd like to hold real guns in my hands again as I play CoD, and now that rate of fire isn't tied to FPS thanks to Treyarch, I'd like to see more accurate representations of modern firearms. Let's have a SCAR-H that fires at 625 RPM, and M4A1 that fires at 800 RPM, an M60 that fires at 540 ROM; let's just try and get more diversity in rate of fire and damage profiles, but let's attempt keeping a balance of this with game balance so we don't get too far off the rails. As far as actual weaponry goes, I obviously want a return to the more iconic firearms of CoD. The M16, the M4, the SCAR, the P90, the F2000, the M14, stuff like that. Balance wise, there should be fifteen basic archetypes of weapon, in my opinion:
- High fully automatic rate of fire, low damage. Simple and easy to use with somewhat high recoil, and range determined by weapon class.
- Medium fully automatic rate of fire, medium damage. Easy use and effective, more comfortable for many players, and range slightly higher than that of the higher RPM weapons in their class.
- Slow fully automatic rate of fire, high damage. Higher range than the other two categories, and harder to use with either more recoil or higher TTK.
- High semi-automatic rate of fire, medium damage. Harder to balance, but making a three to five shot kill semi automatic that fires around 600-700 RPM with low recoil makes a high skill gap weapon, and one that players with either love or hate. Hard to use, with good range and likely a smaller magazine.
- Slow semi-automatic rate of fire, highest damage. Two to three shots to kill at 300-450 RPM, I'd say. Again, difficult to use with the highest range of the archetypes, but slow and weak up close with any missed shots.
- High three round burst rate of fire, low damage. These are more accurate than fully automatic weapons, but are more difficult to grasp. Generally poor at range, but better than full auto competitors.
- Medium three round burst rate of fire, high damage. Longer burst delay and faster TTK but not forgiving at all. Better range than the full auto counterparts, but not as good as semi automatics.
- Medium semi-automatic rate of fire snipers. Most likely not a one shot the the body, but a double tap or single headshot will kill.
- Slow semi-automatic rate of fire snipers. One shot to the chest and up, same as a bolt action but with slower handling.
- High bolt action rate of fire snipers. One shot to the chest and up, with good handling traits.
- Slow bolt action rate of fire snipers. One shot from the waist up, with decent handling.
- High semi automatic rate of fire shotguns. Low damage and range, with large magazines.
- Slow semi automatic rate of fire shotguns. Medium damage and range, standard magazines and faster reloads.
- Medium fully automatic rate of fire shotguns. Low damage and medium range, standard magazines and moderate reloads.
- Slow pump action rate of fire shotguns. High damage and range, with small magazines and slow reloads.
With these outlines, you can create weapons that are diverse and feel different from each other, and still have a large selection of weapons to choose from. You can have two of each style of weapon available within their given weapon classes, and all of a sudden we have 42 different weapons to play with, if we leave out semi automatic and burst SMGs and LMGs. They can all have different upsides and downsides, and we have a mostly balanced selection of diverse weaponry. This is effectively what MW3 did, and if balanced just took one step forward, we'd have a good selection of weapons to use that would be viable and fun.
Moving to general Create-a-Class, I do not want pick 10 anymore, at least not for IW games. I would prefer a loadout of everything separated, with my lethals and tacticals, perks, weapons and attachments, and killstreaks all being available at my discretion as a basic function of the game; in other words, I want old school CAC. While diversity does take a hit, it does lead to a more developed class, and since everyone will be on more or less the same playing field, you'll never feel like someone beat you out in a gunfight simply because he had these attachments or this perk. However, I don't want to go completely back to MW2/MW3 class setups. I actually have an idea to create further diversity: all weapons can have two attachments by default, and there will be four types of perks available to you, each with a unique archetype over their tier. Here's an overview:
- Handling Perks. These affect weapon handling and generally help to counter a weapon's major downside. I'd say Sleight of Hand (reload and use equipment faster), Steady Aim, Quickdraw, Bling (allows a third attachment) and Dexterity (faster sprint out time). These only affect weapon performance, and would be available to every weapon you pick up off the ground with the exception of Bling.
- Field Performance Perks. These affect character performance and how they can maneuver the maps. These would be Scavenger (resupply ammo and tactical grenades from dead foes and start with one extra magazine for all weapons), Lightweight (faster movement and no fall damage, infinite sprint), Stalker (faster movement while ADS), Blast Shield (reduced explosive damage and tactical grenade effects), and Fast Hands (melee and switch weapons faster, mantle faster). These affect how you can take to moving around the maps, and how you can stay alive in the field.
- Perception Perks. These give your character the edge they need to counter a given style of play. These would be SitRep/Engineer (show equipment and killstreaks through walls), Awareness (louder enemy footsteps and callouts), Recon (enemies hit by explosives or tactical grenades appear on the minimap for the duration of their damage/tactical effect), Sixth Sense (detecting enemies near you in a small radius on the minimap for you alone), and Marksman (enemies will show names when aimed down the sight at a longer range within a small radius of your crosshairs, if your view is completely unobstructed). These are so that everyone has some kind of advantage to battlefield control, but can be countered fairly easily.
- Finally, Stealth Perks. Yes, an entire category dedicated to stealth, but you can only have one, but you always have one. These would be Cold Blooded (immune to thermal targeting and Sixth Sense), Ghost (immune to UAVs while moving, and immune to Marksman), Hard Wired (immune to CUAVs, EMPs, and Recon), Blind Eye (immune to killstreaks, air or ground, and enemy equipment), and Dead Silence (move silently, and no audible callouts; Awareness users can still hear you, but at significantly reduced volume). This means you have one counter to one piece of equipment, killstreaks, or style of play at all times.
Why make this change to four perks? Most people playing BO3 will run at least four as it stands, or run three and an extra attachment. I feel this will incentivize players to make a lot of unique classes to use at a given time, and it gives them the ability have a fully developed class without feeling like they've had to sacrifice anything for weapon efficiency as you do in BO3. By reverting back to the old system of perks affecting weapon handling, as well, we removed the necessity of running several attachments on a weapon, making the two attachment limit not as grand a deficit.
Let's actually talk attachments now. So, if we switch back to the old perk system, what do we do about attachments? Well, we go back to the old attachment system, obviously, but with some tweaks. Our attachments are: Suppressor, Extended Mags, Dual Mags (ARs and SMGs only), Red Dot Sight, Holographic Sight, ACOG Sight, FMJ, Long Barrel, Thermal Sight, Underbarrel Shotgun, Underbarrel Grenade Launcher (takes both attachment slots), Foregrip, Bipod (for snipers and LMGs only), Dual Wield (pistols only, maybe one SMG for fun), Tactical Knife (pistols only), Heartbeat Sensor (snipers and LMGs only; cannot detect players using Cold Blooded), Variable Zoom Scope, and maybe more depending on if there are any other good ideas floating around I have forgotten or didn't cover. This means that your weapon attachments are there to affect your weapon, and not your character. If you're confident with your weapons, run Dual Mags and Extended Mags. Gonna camp with an LMG? Heartbeat Sensor and FMJ. Gonna snipe from far away? Thermal and Variable Zoom. Wanna be stealthy? Run Suppressor and Foregrip. While there aren't limitless combinations here, you have a diversity of attachments to choose from, and many to change to fit your style of play.
Moving on, let's talk customization. I'd like character customization up to par with or exceeding AW's. I loved the amount of customization in AW, and I'd love to see a return to that. I like the diversity and the ability to change each part of my character to suit what I think looks good or whacky or effective or whatever. It's really that simple.
Now let's talk killstreaks. I want killstreaks to be powerful again, and to reintroduce some of the more prolific streaks from CoD's past. I also want to bring back Specialist and Support streaks, but in a vastly different manner. Support and Specialist streaks are now interchangeable with standard assault streaks, meaning you can run a support UAV, a perk, and a Pavelow all at the same time of that's what you want. Do you feel your class needs another perk? Add a Specialist streak as one of your rewards. Each tier of perk will be assigned a point value (all perks starting at 4 kills to obtain, and moving upward from there, with stealth perks being the highest value), and there will be no Specialist Bonus. For Support, all streaks will be non-lethal, and will be something that helps the team rather than assists in kills. My ideas are things like support UAVs (requires 5 kills and lasts less time than normal), SATCOMs (not stackable, requires three kills and lasts 20 seconds), micro-EMPs (short term EMP, lasts 30 seconds and requires 20 kills), Recon Drones (12 kills, lasts 45 seconds, and tags enemies on the minimap for teammates for six seconds), Support Care Package (which can only drop other support streaks and decoys, and requires 8 kills), Ammo Crates (requires 10 kills, and resupplies the ammo of any friendly who walks near it), Ballistic Vests (reduces explosive damage only for one use per activation per teammate, requires 8 kills), and so on and so forth. For Assualt killstreaks, pretty much just copy MW3's and make them a little stronger, and add in things like the Mothership (just a standard multi-person streak, not the actual Mothership) and Talon (AI controlled player-assisting streak that can also be controlled), remove care package drops from the Osprey Gunner, buff the Juggernaut's health and give them a decent weapon, and make the Assault Drone AI controllable as well as player controllable, and we've got a decent selection of streaks.
Finally, let's talk about the most important and the most controversial topic: fun factor. Should balance and realism take precedence over fun? No. Should balance and realism even be a factor? Yes. However, fun should always be priority one in my opinion. More than addictiveness, more than competitiveness, more than realistic, the game should be fun. It should look fun, with decent color and entertaining animations. BO3 does a good job of instilling this fun atmosphere, but may be taking it a little too close to the balanced and competitive side. But comparing to Ghosts, where the fun factor was distinctly missing from multiplayer until the DLC maps added some nifty streaks and Easter eggs, BO3 is the perfect spot between fun and balanced. Goofy stuff should be allowed, like cross map noobtubes at the start of the round of SnD (BO1 style, not the MW2 style; no detonation), akimbo SMGs that are wildly useless but stupid fun, knifing that works and feels good to do because people get mad, and most importantly, forced game chat for select modes (notably, SnD). I know not everyone likes the idea, but forcing game chat helps people meet others, it helps people win rounds with good communication, and it opens up a lot of content creators the ability to make the oh-so-beloved trolling videos (I personally am not a fan of them, but a lot of the community does enjoy them), as well as standard comedy videos like the old Vanoss and IamWildcat BO2 videos, where people just went into lobbies and screwed around to get some laughs.
In summation, I feel CoD needs to make a transition back to basics with FUN being the priority, at least with IW behind the helm. I'm all for the BO3 system, the game is a lot of fun and has a nice competitive side, but I, like many others, would like to have a simpler CoD game this time around, as a bit of a palate cleanser from what we've dealt with so far with the disappointments of Ghosts and AW (which I liked, but most hated). CoD has three distinct developers working now, and I think they should each have their own distinct development style: 3arc can have jump packs and specialists, SHG can have Exo suits and customizable killstreaks, and IW can have fun boots-on-the-ground games.
TL;DR: Read the damn thing, this took a while to write. Basically, fun over balance, but balance is important; BO1/CoD4 style maps, mixing laned and open maps; strong steaks that can be a mixture of non-lethal support, lethal assault, and Specialist without the Specialist Bonus; the ability to do goofy stuff; old school perk, attachment, and movement systems but with four perk tiers; heavy customization of weapons and appearance, in campaign and multiplayer.
Hope you guys enjoyed the read. Let me know in the comments how you feel about these ideas, and of there's anything you feel strongly about, good or bad. Thanks for reading, and have a good day!