Middle-Aged Gamer: The Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Decision
More nonsense from the first world problems of the middle-aged gamer with a dilemma.
Every year we are treated to the “next” version of our favorite franchises. A typical favorite among my peer group is Activision’s Call of Duty; a series we’ve been playing together for well over a decade. If you’ve read my other article Plights of the Middle-Aged Gamer you know that not every version of the series works — and sometimes the platform we play on diversifies which makes it even harder to continue playing as a party.
This leads us with a new problem (first world, plight of the gamer problem).
What do we do about Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?
To better understand the question, let me give you some background.
Console or PC?
There are two issues with Call of Duty games (just COD from now on); Controls and participation.
COD is, after all, a first person shooter (FPS) which demands a mouse+keyboard to play effectively (and competitively) on a PC. We the controller proud have a lot of issues being highly successful on that platform.
On the other hand, there are millions of console players playing COD — and with no mouse and keyboard available (yet), the playing field is fully level. Sounds like the dedicated gaming box is a better choice for the controller player.
But for those of us with high-end PCs? Let’s be honest — the console versions look like crap. The PC versions are better looking, smoother and often perform considerably better.
Unfortunately, COD has some notorious issues on PC.
First, there are cheaters everywhere using aimbots or other nonsense to gain an advantage — and while Activision seems to be on top of cheaters early in the games’ life, the older it gets the less they attempt to stop rampant unfairness.
Second, PC gamers are fickle. They will play a game for almost a year — until the next version comes out — then they head for the hills; abandoning the game almost completely leaving no one around left to play.
Meanwhile, 10 year old FPS games on consoles still have large, active audiences, making it very easy to find a match and due to the nature of consoles you’re less likely to see cheaters.
Sounds like the console is the way to go, right? Longer lifespan, less cheating, level playing field with controls.
Of course you do have to pay an online fee to play on consoles — and if your PC is good enough, the versions look and play better on the computer counterparts.
So this is an age-old issue; console vs PC. Peasant vs nobleman. But that isn’t where it stops.
Multiplayer vs Zombies
You’ve heard the old arguments. Now let’s explore an even bigger issue which relates directly to COD as a franchise; especially the last few iterations.
Zombies joined COD as a sort of novelty mini-game but exploded into arguably an equal part of the experience with multiplayer and campaign modes.
COD’s Infinite Warfare brought a new style of zombies to the foray — bringing the 1980’s vibe (complete with David Hasselhoff) to the franchise. We loved it. Totally re-invigorated zombies for us. Zombies in Spaceland along with Rave in the Redwoods and Shaolin Shuffle zombie experiences chewed up a lot of my crew’s free time.
The undead are so important to the franchise now that Black Ops 4 (BO4) has ditched the single player campaign in favor of reallocating development resources to the Zombie experience. With BO4, we will get the biggest zombie experience out of the box that COD has ever seen.
Most of all, zombies are important to me. I have logged hundreds of hours on the above mentioned Infinite Warfare edition, dozens
Which Is The Right Platform?
Being in my late 40s offers some advantages — namely disposable income. But even so, with $60-$100 (standard vs deluxe) on the line plus a Google Hangouts list filled with my friends and family? I have to make the right decision in which platform I support. PC or Console?
If I want to play multiplayer with my friends — and have any sort of a user base to continue playing the game after 8 months? I must pick console. If I want to avoid cheaters and have a level controller playing field. I must pick console. If I want to actually physically OWN the game I pay for? I must pick console.
If I want the very best zombie experience which utilizes my investment in computer hardware? I must pick PC. If I want silky smooth 90+fps with no tearing or watery looking graphics no matter what map I’m on? I must pick PC.
That seems like an easy choice. But the insane hours I’ll spend on zombies makes the decision a tough one.
What about a Season Pass? The pass will offer both multiplayer and zombie additions that I want — and that my friends will most likely get as well. If I only buy one Season Pass? What platform do I choose?
The Answer Will Cost Me $200
Since I can’t cure cancer or world hunger — I came up with a solution to my #firstworldproblem issue.
Purchase both platforms with Season Passes.
Before you close this article in disgust (without clapping) let me run down my logic here.
The last two COD games, Infinite Warfare and WWII on the PC alone, have accumulated over 525 HOURS of play time on my Steam account. I’d look up my play time on the Xbox One S but I really don’t need to.
Bear with my simple math here. 525 hours divided by $200 is …
Thirty-eight cents per hour.
Does $200 seem outrageous when you’re effectively getting entertainment at the rate of $.38/hour? A film at matinee prices will set you back $5.95 for two hours (if you’re lucky) of entertainment — that’s almost $3/hour.
If you prefer the monthly breakdown, that’s $16/month for entertainment. Still cheaper or on par with other forms of entertainment billed monthly.
So, I pulled the trigger. I sold my soul (again; the Devil didn’t come through with BeeGees tickets the first time, so I’m golden).
On a good note, buying on PC means #neverPayingRetail — I never have paid full price for a PC game, nor will I start with BO4. Thanks to a pricing error at CDKeys.com? I have secured a copy of the game with season pass for $60 — so I just saved $40 (if they honor it).
I also managed to get $10 off the Xbox version on Amazon using Prime before the good deals went away.
I’m money ahead at this point — if everything pans out.
As I patiently wait for October 12, 2018 to roll around — it is time to find a cheap key for Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey … wish me luck.