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November 16th

One hit one match at a time.

That’s right, Modern Warfare 2 is a drug. Not only because it’s awesome, but I believe IW has perfected the formula for getting gamers to keep playing and playing until they lose their jobs or get kicked out of school, then they will proceed playing some more. I, having gone cold turkey on all FPS for two months, almost killed an entire weekend on this game, and is only writing about because I’m at the office right now. Here’s how they did it.

Unlockables galore!
Now that there are at least ten attachments to every primary weapon and half a dozen for secondary weapons, there’s a lot of grinding to be done if you, say, want a heartbeat monitor for your favorite gun. Even perks have unlockables, as each perk contain a pro version. Some can be unlocked pretty quickly, like sleight of hand, others will take awhile, like marathon. The intention is to encourage players to mix up their builds, which translates to a lot more playing.

15 minutes a hit. This is the FPS version of “just one more turn”. Why rely on dedicated servers when IW has built the perfectly proportioned match? It used to be that I could enter a server, spend a few minutes wrapping up the match, and then decide whether to keep playing or do something else. Thanks to the new matchmaking system, 90% of the time I’m entering a brand new match that is expected to last 10-15 minutes, shames me into not leaving a 6-6 match early, and gives me sufficient time to tweak my classes before the next match. Seriously, even now at the office every time I exit Modern Warfare 2 I feel sense of lack of accomplishment which drives me back to the game. I believe in drug terms that’s called a “withdrawal”.

Put the popular weapons from COD4 as a high level unlockable I just unlocked the M16 at a mid-40 level. The AK-47, my favorite weapon in COD4, is a level 70 unlock. So yeah, I’m going there. Hard.

Attract the Counter-strike crowd. FAMAS? UMP? Aug? TMP? These are just the new weapons from MW2 that were in Counter-strike along with the Desert Eagle, AK-47, M4A1, MP5, P90, Uzi etc. from the first game. Even I noticed that MW2 plays a lot like CS more than ever. What was the point of adding the akimbo attachment to every pistol, machine pistol, and sub-machine gun other than that is was cool but underpowered in CS?

Lightning fast start-up time. As I pointed out before, the matching making system in MW2 is even faster than COD4. Makes entering a game as easy as popping a pill, or ten.

The only shocking thing is that IW didn’t decide to charge a monthly fee to its PC port. So unlike, WoW, there’s a chance that there will be an end-game for most players and they can go back to their families and jobs and education once again. Until MW3.

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