Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Call of Duty: Social Network

Everyone has played Call of Duty.  Yes, even you hardcore Battlefield fans know you have played it at least once.  If not, you certainly can't hate on it.  The Call of Duty series is arguably the most well-known first-person shooter out there.  With millions of individual hours clocked in on a weekly basis, people wonder what draws everyone into the Call of Duty experience.  We have an idea:  Call of Duty is a Social Network.
Begginers:  For those of you not well-versed in the Call of Duty lingo, prestigin' is the act of going up levels of Prestige in the Multiplayer experience, which is an entire game in itself.  In order to prestige, one needs to get up to level 80 (in Modern Warfare 3) and then trade everything they've worked for in just to rank up again in the hopes of becoming Prestige level 10.  It's almost like working at a job long enough to be the CEO.  Well, not really, but almost.

That's a pretty solid way of retaining replay value if I ever saw it.  People continually come back to Call of Duty and "rank up" in hopes of becoming the best.  You can even buy membership to Call of Duty Elite to help out more and even earn real-life prizes.  You can talk to others and share your achievements and experiences with people you probably don't know.  Isn't this a bit like a social network?

The Xbox 360 has achievements, the Playstation 3 has trophies, and inside Call of Duty there are challenges to complete and upgrades to earn.  If you've ever played multiplayer, you remember the feeling when you kill someone online and pick up their golden gun.  I remember wondering just how in the hell they even got something like that and then declared that I was going to get one for myself.  This is no easy task, however.

Mastering every single little aspect of a tiny part of a game is no easy task, but when you do it you can show off.  That's where the key part of the Call of Duty social network comes in:  you want to show off.  That's not a bad thing, though.  Everyone wants to show that they have something better.  Something inside of us yells out at everyone, "LOOK WHAT I GOT!!"  In this case, it could be a gold SCAR-L that you're blasting away with.  Then, when they die by that golden gun, they can see your Title and Emblem, showing off your achievements even more and thrusting it in their face.

It's the same way as Facebook. If you get a new girlfriend or boyfriend, you know you'll change your Facebook status.  Got a new job?  Changing employment status.  In a way, you could assign each of these a prestige medal and see just why people continually strive to be the best.  They want to show it off.

Prestigin' is in and of itself an entire new way of proving you're the best.  This doesn't happen just in Call of Duty, the in-game medals you receive for prestigin' up a level go with the real-life medals that soldiers get for different achievements, such as helping liberate Kuwait.  I bet any soldier with that medal talks about it non-stop.  It's different to earn them in real life for reasons I assume don't need to be pointed out, but achievements in-game boost a players morale and ego.

What do you think: is Call of Duty a social network or just another game?

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