Ghosts has been out for about 4ish months now and while I started out playing it non-stop I've found myself dwindling my gaming time down to rare occasions with friends. It's not that I don't like Ghosts but it's just no different enough anymore. I have few friends who play Call of Duty anymore, maybe 10% of what I had last year and 1% of what I had back during Black Ops.
Dark Souls though never seems to get old. I've been playing it for about 3 years now which is about the same amount of time that I started playing CoD hardcore (I've played since Modern Warfare but not nearly as much as I have in recent years). I find myself growing more and more attached to the series.
The reason why I think I'm playing more Dark Souls than Call of Duty is quite obvious. CoD isn't challenging. I don't say this because I've mastered all there is to master in Call of Duty; I say this because CoD is the same every year. The only challenge is going up against another opponent. What happens when that challenge gets old? What do you have to work towards? Hitting the highest prestige?
Dark Souls offers PvP play, it has countless challenges that are all different, and even after investing thousands of hours over it's life you're still going to encounter something new (this is not an exaggeration).
Though Dark Souls has a fatal flaw. It's a game that is very niche. There's a faint chance that the FPS crowd would be able to harness the game. After all, Dark Souls key is patience and as many know, the CoD community has very, very little patience.
My fear is that Call of Duty cannot embrace what the Dark Souls series offers and use it their advantage. Reason being is that this community simply won't allow it. See, Call of Duty's largest audience has self-defeating ideals for their game. They want a game that's easy, simple to grasp, with instant gratification. It doesn't take a genius to realize this. However, human nature leaves one longing for something more. It's a fact, can't be argued.
CoD is reaching the end of it's life and is only surviving by using it's popularity to real in new gamers. Old gamers who are veterans to the franchise seem to only cling on by playing with friends. An element that in itself adds a whole new dynamic to the game. Others who have still stuck around find alternatives to what the game offers, outside reasons to play such as YouTube, MLG, or new competitive elements that have been added.
But how long will this last?
Fact is, CoD itself is not challenging enough to retain it's senior citizens and once the community losses their senior citizens who's left to push the game's limits? Newbies? As we've seen newcomers to the franchise have a very flawed way of thinking. If anything it's the Vet's desire for this game to live on that's kept it alive. The Vets fight hard every year to let their voices or reason out preach those who wants to nerf the game to an even easier level than what it already is.
What makes Dark Souls so different is that community constantly wants the game to get more difficult. If anything they want the game to be unbeatable! My absence from this forum over the last few weeks was do to my focus on Dark Souls. I spent a good bit of time on forums regarding Dark Souls 2 in hopes of learning the game. I played well of 1500 hours of the first Dark Souls and when I came to Dark Souls 2 I found that I had so much more to learn. I've spent the last two weeks drenching myself in pages of threads figuring out weapon and armor stats, boss strategies, and various others bits of info and I've yet to beat the game on the first NG.
How long did it take you to learn Ghosts? I had the maps fairly well figured out in a day. By the end of the first week I was beating opponents with my superior knowledge and after a month I found myself on an even playing field with most players as we had all learned everything we needed to know. From there on out my only obstacle was myself and not letting my opponent beat me. That was it. I ran out of challenges, I ran out of growth.
Sure Call of Duty offers new maps every few months but after a while you become able to learn a map in just a few playthroughs. I spent 15+ hours in one area of Dark Souls and I just found out from a friend that I missed something. Tell me, how much of the game did you learn in 15 hours?
Dark Souls 2 also offers something Call of Duty doesn't. Each time you play through the game you enter a new NG and with each NG not only does the game get more difficult but you also unlock new weapons and armor. You learn more about the story. Each NG would be the equivalent of a prestige. So imagine with each prestige you unlock 2 or 3 new weapons, 5 new perks, and a new map.
That would certainly motivate me to play through prestiges with a bit more urgency. But CoD couldn't function on that formula. The community would erupt in rage. Fact is, for having such a hardcore community the game favors casuals. A casual game is easy to learn, easy to figure out, and easy to fully explore.
As a gamer evolves and steps outside of their comfort zone and away from casual gaming they realize the amount of satisfaction that exists in a challenge. In beating something that new, and defeating greater foes and overcoming greater odds. Instant gratification will never have the amount of satisfaction that something you've worked and slaved for has.