Friday, November 13, 2009

Dear Infinity Ward: I Figured Out Where You Went Wrong

Modern Warfare 2, the sequel to the incomparably popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, dropped this week. If you know that this happened, I assume you own the game and have played it through at least once. It's a hell of a game. If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen my mini review.

I have just finished Modern Warfare 2. I cannot even cope with how fucking amazing this game is.

Infinity Ward has not only revolutionized gameplay, but has more effectively humanized war than any film I've seen in recent memory.

Fast paced episodic storytelling, an epic and intricate plot, emotional punches you weren't expecting, and examination of the morality of...

...war as well as the psychology of war mongers make this game a step forward even beyond that of COD4.

I love this game. The storyline, gameplay, characters, sound, graphics, voice acting- top to bottom, the game is astounding. It is riveting and exciting. Love it. Infinity Ward deserves their accolades. And then you get to the online play, the thing that made COD4 one of the best selling, most replayed, and least discounted games of ever. They have also improved upon this, now with seemingly endless unlockable titles; emblems; customizable perks; your own accolades at the end of every round; and the ingenious host-forwarding, so when your game goes wonky, it pauses and resumes it for you on a most stable host. Brilliant.

But they eliminated party chat from all small team games.

At first, I was merely disappointed, and only slightly. So, if I wanted to play with friends in regular team deathmatch or domination, we'd have to endure the endless, reedy cries of "I'm gonna rape you, you fag" from the occasional hyper-active twelve year old, or withstand the awful crackly droning from the guy who's playing hip hop way too loudly in the background. I could manage these. You can mute individual microphones, so, fine. No party chat. I don't even use my mic unless I'm playing with pals, anyway.

And then I actually started to play. PATRIOT15, fellow NYU alum and faithful COD buddy, accompanied me into a realm I had not visited for eight months or more- that of the Game Chat. And at first, it was fine. The occasional, "Dude, you know you sound like a girl" which is easily enough replied to with "Actually, I am one," followed by the "Oh, cool", and then that's the end of it. Some then feel to need to make extremely juvenile, mostly-giggled out sexist comments and ask offensive questions, but it peters out fairly quickly.

Until this douche bag rolled on up into our lobby. About two seconds into the game, when I commented to Drew that I loved the 'Companion Crate' id tag, since it's a play on another one of my very favorite games, Portal. It goes unremarked upon. A little later into the game, douchebag (who sounds about 15), makes a comment about shooting a 'n--ger', to which the black guy in the room does not take kindly. Douchey replies he can say whatever the hell he wants. I say "Maybe so, but that's really unnecessary."

Well, forget the blacks, because now he has a vagina to lash out at. He's probably had more contact with black people in whatever whitebread farming community he lives in than he has female genitalia. I know this, because he immediately questions me:

"Are you a dyke? Do you like to lick things?" And persisted with (watered down for our sensitive reading audience): "I bet you're all loose down there. Except you don't take dick so you're probably not," and "Women shouldn't be allowed to vote. [Five second pause] Women shouldn't be allowed to vote. Women shouldn't be allowed to buy Xbox games. Women shouldn't allowed to vote. I'm just saying the truth."

Stupidly, I fired back a few good insults of my own. I say this was stupid because he did not understand any of them. My subtle returns and rebuttals, which are usually highly effective in undermining and shutting up the sophomoric idiots on Xbox Live who can at least appreciate a girl who can talk as much trash as they can, and can sometimes even respect that I am a hell of a lot smarter than them, were wasted on this particular piece of juvenile, misogynistic, rapist-in-training trash. I reported him in the middle of the game for sexual harassment and abusive language- please understand that this went on for a good seven or ten minutes, and I have written only the most bland and vanilla of it here, and that it was non stop, barely a pause for breath, once he realized there was a girl in the room- as did PATRIOT15. I told Patriot, not having realized he was busy doing the same thing I was, that I just "Reported my first complaint! That's so exciting!"

Surly and somber, douchey began proclaiming, "I can make complaints too, dyke. That you're tampering with the game. Cheating dyke." etc, and so on. I encouraged him to do so, seeing as there was absolutely no evidence I had tampered with or cheated during the round, and in fact had been killed twice as many times as I myself had scored since I'd stood still in the middle of an active game like a fish in a barrel while I'd posted my report.

I then muted him, and his guffawing lackey who would snicker and repeat "dyke" like a drunk and mentally challenged parrot, and continued on in the game. But this instance opened my eyes to what is, officially for me, now, a problem.

So now, an open letter.

Dear Infinity Ward:

Please release a patch or fix that will allow users to utilize party chat in all modes of online gameplay, if only for the sake of your female fans. We shelled out the money for the game, we stayed up all night and missed half a day of work playing it, we write and read reviews and buy MW2 caps for our avatars on the XBox Live marketplace.

Out of respect for us, since, sadly, the majority of the people who play your game online have none, give us back party chat so we can enjoy the wonderful evolution of the online play without being told how unwelcome, ugly, stupid, and useless for anything other than degrading sexual acts we are. Please give us back party chat so we can have tactical conversation with the friends we're playing with, without having to hear how we have no right to be there, no right to play; so we don't have to hear, out of the mouths of sexist, bitter virgins who have clocked months worth of their lives in game time that we are socially defunct and sexually wrong, somehow, for playing.

I would really appreciate it.



P.S. To all the gentlemen bloggers who use words like 'cunt' and 'whore' when taking shots at women in business or the media, there is a reason we don't respond well to that and chastise you for it. It's because, frequently, we know you're not limpdick misogynistic trash. But when you resort to those words for female targets, it makes you sound like you are.


Elliott said...

I just can't wrap my brain around the idea that someone can take a communal activity like game-playing, something designed to foster co-operation and community, and turn it into a hate-mongering flame fest. Gamers like PATRIOT15 make me sick to my stomach and give other male gamers a bad rep. The sad part is that the douche doesn't see anything wrong with his behavior and has a support system around him that encourages it.

EruditeChick said...

No no no!! PATRIO15 is my buddy who ALSO reported the guy! Only love for Patriot!!

It's Douchebag McIDon'tHaveHisGamerTag that's the problem. But yeah, it is ragemaking. And mind boggling.

Elliott said...

OOPS! My apologies. I needed a gamer tag to vilify and fixated on the wrong one. Thanks for the correction.

EruditeChick said...

Oh man, believe me. If I find it, I will post that info EEEVERYWHAAAAR.

maggie said...

You are righteous and awesome and this post has garnered you a new fan (and twitter follow)... and I'm not even a gamer, just a nerdy girl :)

LoquaciousMuse said...

I'm gonna get raked over the god damn coals when I try playing MW2 online. God damnit. They are gonna say "Why are you such a bad player?" And I'll be like "Because I'm not very good" And they'll be like "Cause you're a girl hahaha" and then i'd say "it's just cause i'm not very good at it" but really, i won't have any argument. damnit.

Elliott said...

Your open letter has been posted to my blog:

Peace out.

Nick the Rat said...

cant you just hit mute and be done with it? if you can write an entire article on it, im sure you can hit pause/mute.

than again, i dont know if you could, im not buying this POS game

Glach said...

While I will say I do have my cursing, I have NEVER and will NEVER say anything along anything close to that line about women for, really, 2 short reason.

(1) My mother has raised 4 children by herself for the last 18 years (widow). 3 have graduated college, while the 4th (20yr old) is in college. She has proven beyond a doubt, and will NEVER consider otherwise, that women can do whatever a dude can.

(2) There are girl games that I have become friends with (via other friends and through the Xbox MVP program [former member, myself]) that prove beyond a doubt that they can dominate or hold their own against any single person on live. Simple.

Now, I have figured out a little work around (many others probably have too) to this issue. In your Xbox live preferences (can also be accessed via : ), turn the voice/text setting to friend only.

It is a workaround, and I agree IW needs to add the feature back, but it works. I can go into rooms and ONLY hear my friends. It is worth a shot as it prevents those idiots from having a word heard.

-Matt G (Mastaglach820)

EruditeChick said...

@Elliott Thanks so much for your interest and response. It's reeaaally nice to see (and not just know, because I DO know, honest) that guys are just as offended by this kind of crap. I've come up against it before, but this one was just too much, and would never have happened if Infinity Ward hadn't disabled party chat.

@LeBitch Thanks! Sadly, this sort of thing isn't totally limited to the video game community as I'm sure you know (being a geek). But hey, yay, thanks!

@The Rat I was actually just discussing this with Muse. Why should I have to hear one word of this kid of shit from the mouths of anyone, ever, let alone come to expect it when I go online to play a game? It's harassment every time, and it's wrong that I should have to go in with my fingers crossed, and wait for someone to start spouting hatred at me before I CAN mute them. I can't mute the bad ones until they say something bad, at which point the experience has already been soured, I've already been attacked. I call shenanigans. Party chat eliminates that process and allows me to bypass this problem so that I don't have anything to write an article about.

EruditeChick said...

@Matt, you cheeky little thing, that's brilliant! And kudos to your mom. I notice a lot of dudes being like "who RAISED this guy?" which speaks volumes about the value of moms. She sounds amazing.

Karen said...

Not cool! I haven't had a chance to play MW2 yet but I loathe rude gamers like that.

It's the ends of the time said...

Choices when offended by an online player's comments:

1. Hit the mute button. (The easiest)
2. Bomb back. (Moderately easy and a lot of fun.)
3. Get mad. (A waste of time.)

Party chat opens the door for all variety of cheating, which I find considerably more problamatic than getting called a nigger by an anonymous child (I'm black so I assume this is comparable to being insulted for being a female.)

It takes less than half a second to mute someone, but the real solution is to keep having fun when someone is trying to ruin your fun, otherwise they've won.

EruditeChick said...

@Time I did mute him, but I maintain my position that I shouldn't have to wait to be abused so I can determine who gets muted. Also, cheaters are going to cheat, campers are going to camp, spawn killers are going to find a way. Guys are going to be ducks, yeah, but there's nothing you can do about the cheating. There's something you can do to throw your players a bone and help them to avoid being harassed.

Also, putting thoughts into writing isn't something I view as a waste of time. This is hardly the first time I've been attacked on XBL, but party chat had enabled me to avoid it for almost a year. The fact that this one thing has changed and suddenly my experience sucks is, to me, as an avid player who shelled out the same money everyone else did for the game, a major problem.

Kevin said...

It's tales such as these that make me remember why I haven't embraced online gaming and why I am hesitant to encourage my 16-year-old daughter in her pursuit of it.

But on second thought, I've never been disappointed in how she handles assholes to this point in her life. I should just leave her to figure this crap out for herself.

But thanks, Amanda, as a dad of a girl gamer. I'm sending her a link to your blog now. :)


P.S.: It's with no small sense of irony that I note the word verification I am to type in the field below is "vulgure."

EruditeChick said...

@Kevin If you, as her dad, think that highly of her skills in dealing with jerks, then I'm sure she is. She also has the benefit of amazing groups like Gamerchix, which she can join on xbox live, and a plethora of girl-run gamer blogs to read and discuss things on. Truthfully, I spend most of my time discussing and playing games with my guy friends, but it's so so important to know that us girls are out there.

You are clearly an awesome dad, by the by.

Unknown said...

All I can say is Kudos on your blog. One of my best friends is a female gamer and I love to play with her daily. It disappointed me when I logged onto online only to find out party was killed off and the first game chat I was in was deplorable. I agree with you wholeheartedly that I should not have to sit and mute everyone just to play, and I really do not want to have to hear it, because not only will I file a complaint, I will also team kill this person.
So good luck on your gaming and have a nice day.

Luna said...

The problem in MW2 is that most of the parties you end up in are full of brats like those what kinda sickens me and all the other people I'm playing with.Even tho there is an Kick button it doesn't work and if IW doesn't do something about it then we have to accept them and play with them. :(