As this thread has evolved the last few days, I think the original design question at hand has run out of places to go in this community. Good. Now, we have been just discussing overall questions about the design direction of this game, which is good, and what I want. Now, I think this is a great thread for anyone who thinks of ideas (that they think are good to share, but not SO good they keep them in a vault haha), just to see off hand how they would take in a future COD game. Look, discussion of this may be futile, but I disagree on some levels. If someone saw something here that they thought was solid gold, you never know. This a thread for people that want to be creative and want to hear a response from other people enthusiastic about this game, the franchise, and/or games in general. Sure disagreements will come, but as the OP I will keep a very close eye of anything that I feel crosses the line and am not afraid to do what's necessary to keep the thread clean, it has already gotten to DEFCON 1 (lower is worse right? lol) before.
This thread was always "supposed" to lead to game innovation discussion, audio was the original basis, but really anything is welcome - currently discussing minimap and how it pertains to the real world vs. game world - anything is welcome as long as it "adds" to the discussion (we all know what that means! lol). I updated the OP again, to further clarify and smooth out this thread's purpose as well as to smooth out some stances I have for people that enter the conversation now (2/4/13)
Readjusted OP (the third version)
my thread's true origin was really more about (and I made some mistakes along the way which I gladly own up to) the current title, which is just how sound in general is often considered a "competitive advantage" by players who don't take said advantage of what's available in the game. This, combined with the symbiotic relationship of players of a massive player base speaking out for what they want in a game combined with an equally massive company needing to worry about their bottom line, leads to much compromise on both ends, which is great in some ways, but long term innovation isn't one of them for something they need to keep familiar with players. Thus why madden 05 is not that much different than madden 11, or campbell's chicken noodle soup is similar whether from 1985 or 2008.
I get that amplify needed to be nerfed within this game system. But when Activision hears zounds of people saying that they don't like sound being too powerful in general or it works too well (even when nerfed), Activision is not going to take that lightly, mainly because it pseudo requires an EXTRA peripheral that goes beyond the base Xbox system. Meaning, this is one of those instances where going a certain direction could be a deal breaker for some customers. The reason why I separate Dead Silence in this argument is because it's easy to program silence (relative to adding), and players can feel that advantage easier *overall* without better sound equipment as well. It's like comparing silence vs. a symphony, which one gets the better benefit going from a Game Boy speaker to a Surround Sound system? The symphony, yea.
So, this ALL tied in to just the thought that the obstacle of sound equipment being the origin of much of the criticism of sound as an advantage (amplify being the only perk to affect in an additive way), will probably lead the developers to avoid making sound too much more influential than it currently is. Because, if there were an entire section of theoretical audio perks, that would also probably mean there was a ton more to listen to, and that would probably make many customers go away. BUT, I was just trying to point out that the counter balance to pleasing some with familiarity is at the expense of innovation and growth (and I'm not saying it's necessarily positive growth on this particular subject)
The only reason why I would venture that it COULD make the game better and be a valuable asset to make more sound related enhancements is, the audio from most COD (IW moreso) games are it's best pound for pound feature from a critical standpoint. Meaning, they have talent there and maybe if they had some creative freedom with the game they could add more to the aural system and surprise us one day, much like how they surprised the world with COD4 multiplayer.
And then the final part to all this was just, it doesn't take a 70 dollar headset to get the significant jump in sound quality you need to get on equal footing audio wise, normal headphones also work remarkably well in this regard. I also get that maybe your TV doesn't have the port, or you don't own the red/white audio converter cord, etc. But, if you have no excuse not to use headphones, you should try. I even just wear the microphone over the earbuds if communicating on headset, because you can still hear both.
Yes, this is a long winded response, but yea, this thread wasn't about dead silence vs. amplify in of itself. I'll gladly talk about it though.
Second version (also obsolete but still here for technicality purposes)
The thread has more or less served it's purpose.
I wrote it without the intention of it becoming a troll magnet and having to keep the thread from dying by people making pointless and off topic accusations without actually addressing what really mattered.
All I was saying was, because of the general shitstorm Amplify causes by people who whine that sound is OP, anyone who cares about sound and/or game design, should not expect this game to ever trend towards having more useful inclusions of sound beyond the 5 basics they have stuck to already for the last 7 games.
Firing off warning shots
In my opinion, a game of this caliber should be pushing all areas of innovation and try to add new and exciting game mechanics, something that they haven't even quite done yet with leaning, sliding, or leaping to prone, but because sound will always be stuck in the small supplementary spot that it's in, which is both the direct fault of Activision wanting to keep the player base as high as possible, and also the indirect poll that many players equate using better audio equipment, which is as simple as $5 earbuds, as being a competitive advantage. People care about this game in a variety of ways and one of them is to do better in the game, a very easy and equally accessible way to do better in this game is to up the ante in audio equipment. Much like how a better TV will correlate to better performance in this game or many games, better audio devices will do the same. The only issue I have with this is, to "up the ante" of audio equipment is as simple as plugging in the headphones YOU ALREADY OWN. Anyone who owns xboxes and controllers and HDTVS and super internet all either own headphones or have the facilities to do so, it's just the old, "adapt" thing. This game is at a point where people that want to play at a certain level make adjustments that you just have to deal with at a certain point or get stuck at the .8 KD and possibly a negative W/L even if you "try-hard."
Amplify being the lightning rod it is is not just because the perk is OP, you can see in each and every thread that it's really just people don't like sound being too important at all, but the problem is, sound is such a great realm to explore further in a FPS that is beyond the world of simple visuals like if you played DOOM online or Quake online or Goldeneye. Sound also just so happens to be on a grading system the best part of most COD games, whether it's the sound design in general, the clear care they have for quality voice acting, you can tell that sound is something the DEVs care about, but the people speak year in and year out about how sound is OP, so why would the DEVs commit career suicide and ever push the envelope on make sound better in this game at the expense of having people say it's OP as their headphones are still stuck in their smartphones or iPods instead.
As this game slowly goes down it's path of being Just a Game instead of the "phenomenon" status it had from say Cod4 up to the early release of BLOPS2. BLOPS2 was bad enough in a number of ways that I don't think the player base is quite as rabid as it will ever be afterwards, mostly because of just horrible horrible connections. Kids at the age of 12 now aren't as into this game as kids at 12 were at COD4 because they see the perception of this game by friends and websites and the games don't quite speak for themselves anymore. It's now more of a word of mouth thing, which has a ton of power, but most people I would assume would want to AVOID this game at this point knowing how good players are at it, and the learning curve it requires, and the mediocre scores it gets.
So, this whole thread is really showing that just like how Rome fell over a long period of time due to thousands factors, I was merely trying to point out that this is essentially one of those things that people don't realize is going to bring the same game down that they play. Cutting off an entire region of possible development of a game that grows stale each and every year in the eyes of the public is only going to exacerbate the situation. I don't know if more interactive sound would ACTUALLY make the game better, but I do know that they aren't going to hurt it's younger rabid fanbase that are vocal about what they think is OP and not OP, because they are the ones they can bank on spending at least $110 each year for the next 5 years.
And anyone that thinks innovation getting lost in the shuffle is NOT going to hurt this game, well, look at most sequels of movies, look at most sequels of games. Take the final fantasy series, or take the terminator movies, or take the Jurassic Park movies, take Star Wars, take Myspace, take U2, take anything that's long term and see how one of the major aspects of these entities losing it's overall reverence in society and see that innovation as time goes on misses the mark and makes them lose it's luster.
I never said the game was folding in 3 years, I said audio is probably not going to get more involved than it is currently, and that will just as a small sliver like anything else become a reason on a long list why this game will not be universally "loved" the way it was and could be if the games were generally pushing the envelope instead of playing it safe. Just like how I haven't purchased a sports game since Madden 07 because of chain games essentially sticking to what the "majority" want once they are big enough, there are players that leave the COD franchise every day and create a sink not just for the current game, but each and every game that comes out thereafter that the player is no longer purchasing.
So, really, this is a thread against Activision, but it's also a plea that for people complaining about the audio being too OP for people with better audio equipment to try it themselves and see that the game is better for it and to possibly see how the game could become much better by doing even more with it than they are doing now, because they basics they have in this game function just fine, but you can totally see how when you get more immersed in your environment how even more could be done with it in a fluid and intuitive fashion.
So, like a PSA for people to wash their hands after going to the bathroom, this is a PSA for people to plug in their headphones and see that this game could be better, just like many other ways, by hearing the sound the way it's actually meant to be heard and used. So don't cut off audio as being OP when it's very easy to get on equal footing with everyone else just by plugging in the headphones you already own, at the expense of hindering long term development and focus of things that Activision sees are worthy of focusing on.
Half the people that complained about amplify go on to say they just don't like the audio at all being useful so their true colors come out, so people saying that this is a simple "amplify needed to be fixed, you're overreacting" post are missing the point and truly just not reading the 10 paragraphs I just wrote. So, I will respond or not respond to those people accordingly.
Amplify, and the sound design in this game, WAS spectacular, much like MW2. It was beautifully crafted and actually correlated very similarly to real life. Almost as real as anything in this game. To hear footsteps and then hear that "clearing" from muffled sound inside a doorway into the outdoors, it's great stuff. Far more real than how combat works in this game obviously, how reloading a weapon retains the ammo still in a discarded clip, far more real than having a sentry gun mysteriously teleport on to your person once you killed 6 people (lol)... but no, enough whining people that are PAYING PATRONS to Activision voiced their displeasure enough to remove a fantastic piece of game design.
It's one thing to complain about fixing connections, because that is a fault of Activision/IW. It's another thing to complain about something that works properly. Boosting Dead Silence was all that was necessary.
Here's the problem, we ALL know that these decisions are made for the bottom line. Activision realizes that making a perk that endorses a peripheral (any 10 dollar set of headphones on up work just as well surround sound wise) that THEY don't profit from directly or indirectly goes against the long term interests of keeping their game population up because they know from their research and studies that this is a potential bad business decision.
It's not like amplify matters to me, I only started using it a couple days ago actually in anticipation of what was coming. I'll just put back on sleight of hand or something else that I hated not having anyway. But as a piece of game design, amplify was beautifully cultivated and now it's been not nerfed, its been destroyed.
So, not only do players that are afraid to adapt and realize that headsets are needed to be competitive in a game that is meant to get closer and closer to visceral combat win here, but Activision makes a decision that is obviously meant for their bottom line because they can't afford to lose the young players who are committed to the 90+ dollars a year for probably 5-6-7 years at least, however far they projected.
So good, COD can keep getting bad reviews for not pushing the envelope and being the same year in and year out because innovation that MIGHT require enhanced equipment is no longer allowed.
I know your daddy spent his 2 grand on your HDTV you're playing on, but you didn't do enough chores to get your allowance to get your headsets because you were playing COD instead, so now the game gets to be worse for it.
And then, Activision's true colors come through again, and it's not the only game they've destroyed recently.
I seriously think COD players need the equivalent of a union rep, and that should be me.