Warzone: Verdansk -1984

Season 3 has dropped in Warzone and there are a lot of mixed feelings that have come along with the latest update. Granting the fact that Warzone is free to play, there a lot of people out there that will say no one should complain because it’s a free game, but let’s be honest here, many of us that do play CoD titles, sink a little bit (or a lot) of cash on microtransactions and the season pass every couple of months. As a paring consumer and video game journalist, I am more than qualified and entitled to complain. So let’s get down to it!    Verdansk: 1984 is the same map with some changes. It’s springtime and the map is a lot brighter and more colorful. So much so, that when you aim down sites, it can seem like the sun glaring a bit too much in your lens and distorts the picture a little bit. Soldiers seem easier to spit out of buildings and that’s kind of nice. Of course when a player is using that good ol ‘Rose skin and hiding in a shady dark corner, it can be really difficult to see them, but that’s not anything new, just been noticing it a little more often lately.    Some of the buildings we are used to seeing and even taking cover in, are under development such as the stadium. Stadium looks to be much smaller of an area than it once was and that’s not because it’s missing the dome cover. It’s missing almost everything. Not to mention the damn is completely gone and has been replaced with Summit. We’re assuming we’ll be getting a back story as to what happened to Summit and why the damn would replace its existence sometime beyond 1984, but maybe they’ll save that one for season 4?    The quarry has become the salt mines and there’s definitely some things I’m missing here, but you get the picture and you’ve probably already played and seen the changes to the map, but there isn’t much more to add to the subject. So, if you felt like the Call of Duty franchise has a nasty habit of recycling maps, this one takes the cake for you. Honestly, it takes the cake for me, but I have my reasons, so hear me out.    The idea that we got the same map with a paint job is irritating to me. It’s been an entire year and while they have done things to try and keep the map fresh, Verdansk: 1984 feels lazy and unoriginal. I know the pandemic hit a lot of developers hard and they have had to work from home and that separation can really put a damper on things, but we’re talking a new map after a year, not a whole new game. I don’t even really hold the developers accountable. I hold Activision’s execs accountable because these are the same people that drove Vince Zampella away from Infinity Ward … Read More

My Call of Duty account was stolen and here’s how I got it back!

Hackers and thieves are a growing problem around the world and coming as no surprise, it’s a growing problem in the game industry. It has been a problem for some time now, but we have definitely reached a point that should push companies to further protect consumers… I’m looking at you Activision.   Well, as the headline states, my CoD/Activision account was hacked and stolen from me. Fortunately, it was restored to me a day before the Season 3 in Warzone/Cold War begins, but not without a lot of hassle. Here is my story. I’m getting ready to leave the house and run some errands when my phone starts alerting me of email notifications. I don’t tend to jump when my phone notifies, but I got 4 emails in a row from Activision, so of course I checked it.    The first email informed me that my password was changed successfully. The second email informed me that my account was successfully unlinked from my PSN and Xbox accounts (wait, what?). The third email was to let me know my email address changed successfully and the 4th email, well, the 4th took the cake. The 4th email was to inform me of suspicious activity on my account. Thanks Activision! Instead of locking my profile in the first place, you allowed suspicious activity and informed me when it was all over. That is frustrating to me, but it’s Activision, so there’s that.    Anyway, I try to log into my account and of course, I cannot, but there is a little banner floating above the page that asks if I need to report suspicious activity and regain my account. Wow! That’s exactly what I need! This should be simple! It was simple, but at the same time, it was quite the empty experience.    Last week I published an article about the lack of customer support from Activision and having my account stolen is what actually sparked the theme. I did click on the account recover banner and filled in my information as it required. When I finished, I was informed by the website and email that it would take about 10 business days to finish my inquiry. Well, that took around 14 days and I did get my account back and I immediately updated my security info after the fact, including second step verification.    If you’re anything like me, 10 days sounded like a long time to wait and I really just wanted to speak to a customer representative to give me some type of reassurance and possible speed things up a little. My account was obviously stolen and I have all the info I need to prove it, as well as the hackers details as the CoD app kept me logged in and I could see their info. Sadly, there was no one to speak to. Activision ended social media support, most of chat support and the company phone number will just direct you to go back to the website … Read More

Opinion: Activision has the worst customer support in the game industry and here’s why

Activision is one of the richest third party video game developers/publishers in the industry and that says a lot. Cha-Changing in with a net worth of around 30 billion US dollars and the money this company makes off gamers would make you think they would be a more customer friendly with services offered, but not only does activision have extremely poor customer service, they seem to have gone above and beyond what I consider bad service, they’ve removed all but email support and ambassador chat support and I’m not even sure the ambassador chat works anymore, let alone well.    Last week Activision’s support handles on Facebook and Twitter announced that they would no longer offer support to customers. Instead those social media pages will pretty much just have announcements like “servers are down, but the team is working on it’ and “servers are back up, go team!” The posts go on to explain that customer support can be reached at the activision website. How useful…   Furthermore, live chat support from the website has been removed. There was once a link you could click and get support. Be it live chat or a support phone number to call, but alas, it is gone. Even calling the company is useless. After going through the prompts of getting to the department you need to reach, you will be met with a recording that will instruct you to head to the website and get help there. Not to mention they have made it fairly difficult to even find the phone number. There is no more “contact us” button to click from what I could find. I had to google the number separately and it seems like a company would have a number plainly listed on a website.    So, after searching for every possible way to reach support, the only options I could find available were to either use the community forums (which is alright, but not when you need an actual employee of the company to help out), or send an email. A friggin email. I can’t imagine how many emails they must be getting and how much of it is getting lost in translation.    Not that Activision has been known for having great customer service, but this is about as bad as it gets. It can typically take up to 10 days for them to respond to your email and I have read reports from customers that have had to wait much longer than that and some have reached the point of just giving up on even trying to get some help from the company. It’s not just disheartening, it’s plain wrong.    When you have a franchise that sells more than any other game every friggin year, but you have terrible customer service, that right there is something we as consumers should be complaining about. Games will have issues and that something we accept, but lack of customer support, I just can’t get over it. While we will … Read More

The Gamepocalypse: Are Single-Player Games Dying?

I’d like to start this article by being honest with you readers. The truth, is that I don’t like multiplayer. I started playing games when I was a kid and I continue to play games to this day for one simple reason: to immerse myself in a story and a world that isn’t my own. For me, the only way to do that is in a game with an amazing story and a well-crafted world. I know I’m not the only one either, but my friends, our beloved single-player is in danger. Which brings me to the question of the day: are single-player games dying?. It’s a scary thought, but one that has been brought up more times than I’d care to count. Today we face the beast head on and find out once and for all if our beloved way of gaming is dying. Echoes in Time: Industry Expert Predictions From Recent Years Industry experts have already tackled this subject in the past, and the trend wasn’t good. Back in 2011 during the Game Developer’s Conference, Mark Cerny Gave journalists a heart attack when he said “the traditional single-player experience will be gone in three years. Right now you sit in your living room and you’re playing a game by yourself. We call it the sp mission, or the single-player campaign. In a world with Facebook, I just don’t think that’s going to last.” This comment came during a time where games that had no business having multiplayer (Bioshock, God of War, etc) were receiving shoehorned multiplayer modes that ultimately detracted from the single-player experience. Meanwhile, the opposite seemed to be true of games like Call of Duty and Battlefield. These games were 90% multiplayer and 10% single-player in the form of a blockbuster campaign that lasted an average of 4 hours. Not even a day after Mark Cerny’s comment, a contractor for Activision by the name of Keith Fuller said in an interview with CNN that “90 percent of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube.” Now that opens an entirely different discussion on Let’s plays, but we’ll cover that another time. Also I would like to point out that Activision would blame the gamers for a problem they helped create. As more and more developers felt the pressure to put multiplayer in their games, that responsibility fell to the single-player team. Instead of devoting 100% effort into the story of the game, now teams were split and the overall quality suffered as a result. To try and combat that, sometimes the multiplayer was developed by an entirely different team which caused even worse differences between the single-player and multiplayer quality. Speaking of corporate giants who like to make sweeping decisions, if you look at EA, they have the same mindset, albeit a little less “multiplayer only.” They, like Ubisoft are more interested in “connected experiences” where you’re always online in some way, shape or form. … Read More