I agree with most of the self-proclaimed veteran-mature posting here but there's something else not being said.
COD developers know how the game is running, they can see and hear the community - if they want to. It's an automatic assumption for me that a prestigious self-respecting game developer will want to get the best possible product to the people, as is the case for any conscientious professional. The whistles and bells that many people speak of should not necessarily be assumed will (or should) hinder the absolute #1 important issue with COD - matchmaking/lag.
This IS the most important issue. A game series should show progress in as many areas as possible without deteriorating in any areas (although it is common that the first or second in an installment is the most classic). What happened with COD is bemusing to me, Black Ops stepped up in every single way except one, and it was THE one. Such a crucial one that turned the COD gaming experience [games of satisfaction but desire for less bells (MW2), joy but desire for an update (WAW), amazement but desire for more (MW)] into frustration to even play. It effects everything, solo gameplay, teamwork, online friends contact/social life and for many people cuts off one of their favourite "wastes of time", a release that for me at least, is essential in everyday life.
But if the devs do not provide us with a foolproof (or at least vastly improved) system for matchmaking and lag (as has been the case on Black Ops and even more universally felt on MW3), doesn't that mean they are unable too, or did not put enough effort and resource into? Were they contricted by time (1-2 year cycle), head office priorities, policies or instructions?
Should all this have not been priority #1 from MW1 and worked upon as a working process in crucial technological advancements for the playability and longevity for a global top-selling series?
I think so - that this should have been priority #1 and I'm boosting your thread here and validating it, if I may, by saying that the COD community is not stupid. Perhaps there is ignorance shown (let's face it the COD community is reflective of Facebook because both are reflective of the communities they are supported by (global and tending towards youthful), and not every COD player has been around since the mind-blowing days of MW. I have, and I fear for the #1 issue we speak of not being resolved to a satisfactory level, and that it is nothing to do with the bells and whistles, the candy of COD. People should be able to express their hopes, hates and ideas about COD with an assumed "NO LAG PLEASE" reminder at the top of the post, for me it goes hand in hand with "CAN I CONTROL MY SOLDIER PLEASE" (instead of watching a video of COD).
So in my opinion the order of priority should be:
1. Game plays well for everyone (lag/matchmaking system)
2. Game balance (balance to guns, perks, streaks, etc.)
3. Variety (of maps, viable gameplay styles, modes, etc.)
4. Glitches, issues resolved fast (patches, etc.)
5. Community requested options to be in place (things you can toggle on/off such as autoswap empty gun)
6. Communication from devs
If stating numbers 2-7 detracts from #1 then people don't understand priorities or numeracy.
I state that the eye candy that many ask for would hinder the games performance online due to my conversations with Developers of CoD. It has been said that the more that is added, the more strain is put upon the host which trickles down to clients, which in turn impacts the host more, which then is felt by everyone even more.
Which is my point. Black Ops showed as did MW3. The more crap that is added, and the netcode, or matchmaking system isn't optimized to the + side, negatively impacts the host, which cause frame rate drops, hist disconnections, dashboards, or whatever it can be called.
Well, we seem to spreading points of view from different angles onto different things but I think the aim is the same. Make the game good - and connection is priority. BO and MW3 should have imprinted that in everybody's mind.
I don't want in-game candy, I want Player Card candy and smart adjustments or options that enhance the gameplay (and effectiveness of the engine, not the other way around). Basically, smart but efficient use of all that happens in COD to be presented sweetly.
If the connection is going to be as irratic as the last 2 games, then the game is not a classic and deserves that lower status.
For me at least, matchmaking is less important than having a stable, feature-complete core game that isn't riddled with various defiencies which I have detailed frequently in the past.
If the core game is solid and not a poorly ported piece of crap, then at least there is a foundation to build from.
I agree with you and I would amend my OP to add your points, but I am on my phone and it will not let me.
I will state however, that matchmaking that doesn't work very well and puts inferior connections with others that are stable and that are of a certain decent quality, will make certain core mechanics not work properly. Yet you are correct overall. Lazy programming and development of all these key aspects are really brought out into the "light" once the matchmaking is involved. Hence the poor hosting frame rate, the late "we're losing B" when it has been took or no one is even on it anymore, and so on, and so on.