MW2: The Starting of Something New
Posted on behalf of the author, Grimberror.
With the new edition Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, spawned from our trusty old favorite COD4, I caught up with Vice-Captain (DVC) Sp!at and asked him a few questions about the new division (div).
1. How do you feel about running the New Div?
I'm very happy with the way the MW2 division has launched. There is a good vibe with everyone and the community spirit is growing rapidly - and this is a real bonus following the disappointment expressed by many in the lead up to the launch of the game. I was anticipating a much harder road, to be honest.
2. Was there much anticipation with the members?
The anticipation from gamers was unbelievable. The expectations were sky high in the lead-up to the launch of MW2. CoD5 (World at War) was largely a disappointment to the CoD4 community and all hope was that Infinity Ward would deliver the goods with MW2. Infinity Ward had developed CoD4, but Trearch was the developer for CoD:WaW. So the anticipation levels have been high for well over 12 months. And when Infinity Ward explained the changes they were going to make, a vast number of gamers then felt massive disappointment.
3. What process did you go through as a DVC to get the div in this early stage?
There is not a lot that can be established ahead of time when setting up a division for a game that hasn't been launched. We had anticipated MW2 to be a stronger sequel to CoD4 and our initial paradigm was to use the CoD4 division as a model.
We tried to list all the likely scenarios and to try and develop strategies for these pre-launch.
Based on CoD4, we had anticipated a strong competitive slant to the game and this is where we had expected to be spending quite a lot of the initial time - organising interested division members into competitive squads and managing the competitive ladders we thought would be springing up.
The social side of the division was also pre-planned to a degree, also initially based around the CoD4 model where we would have dedicated servers running mods and game modes. But when we learned that the game was essentially going to play like its console counterparts and wouldn't have dedicated servers we realised that the CoD4 model no longer held water.
The competitive side was going to be much weaker at the start and we really hadn't anticipated any of the ladders embracing the game in the early stages. Also, without the dedicated servers, it was going to be harder to control social evenings to the same degree you can with dedicated servers. Our strategy then changed to 'wait and see', and then respond to where the 'water flowed', so to speak, rather than trying to control things too much in the early stages.
4. I see you formed a CG (trial) squad....Is this normal?
To a large degree, divisions are at the beck and call of the competitive ladders when a game is launched. Without dedicated servers we didn't think we would have any of the ladders embracing the game initially. But CyberGamers have started a trial ladder to essentially test the game and see if competitive play is viable. Geng jumped at the opportunity to get a team entered and did most of the organising for it in the initial days. Geng also implemented the Steam contact group at around the same time.
There were many CoD4 players looking forward to the competitive side of MW2 so many of the initial squad came from that division. But we are now also getting a lot of non-CoD4 players joining the squad - which is great. We are very mindful that MW2 not be just an extension of CoD4 so mixing up the players is top of mind.
5. There has been many comments about no dedicated servers,so has this limited the players who enjoy the game within the new Div?
This is a complicated question. The game is an awesome game on many levels and for most the benefits of the game outweigh any short-comings. A large number of players want the dedicated servers so we can control the game within our division. So for a few of these players this has limited their enjoyment of the game. On the other hand there are a number of players happy to use the peer to peer gaming system and don't have a problem. Personally, I am part of the former group and hope that eventually we will have dedicated servers - but the pluses outweigh the minuses in my opinion.
6. We can see that you and Sj (DC) have placed some members from COD4 into some key roles...so was this strategically done?,or did it just work out that way?
In the initial stages we needed to build a team where we knew what to expect from each leader. This was for expediency and stability while the division is being established.
Now we are starting to get to know many of the non-CoD4 players and we are hoping to get more equality with the selection of new leaders in future. From this point forward the leadership roles will be by application.
If a player is interested in a leadership role they should let us know so we can keep an eye on them.
7. Being a new Div will there be more calls for Squad Leaders?
Absolutely. If the ladders end up embracing the game we will most likely need a number of competitive squads, each with their own leadership groups. We also now have the internal social ladder starting up and that also has required leadership roles for each squad.
8. Would you say that (even though it is still early stages for the Div) you have had a good response from our TOG members?
I'm very happy with the response. We have players joining from everywhere and have a few new TOG members signing up in the division. It is great to see the melding of the different personalities and the strong camaraderie already building.
9. How does one join the Div's steam group and how dit it come about?
We had originally anticipated xFire would be the prime method of communicating between members in-game, but Steam really is the best method. Steam allows members to join each others game from within the game so it really stream-lines communication.
Joining is quite simple. You need to leave your name in the sticky in the forum and then you will be invited into the group.[Ed - TOG's COD:MW2 Steam group LINK]
10. I can see our new TOGGLe ladder has been introduced into MW2 also; What was the motivation behind this?
Running an internal ladder will create a real sense of belonging within the division. We are already seeing this starting to develop with the healthy rivalry between the three squads competing in the ladder - and no-one has played a game yet! So socially this will give us a massive boost.
11. There is a Co-op aspect to this game also, do you think the members will play this often enough to think about a squad being formed?
This will be up to the individual squad members. Basically, if it is used and supported by the players, we will respond positively and support this as much as we can.
12. How long do you think it would take before the div will be self sustaining?
I think we are already at that point as far as numbers and participation are concerned. The forums are active and TeamSpeak is very active of an evening. We are still in the early stages and we anticipate more new players joining after Christmas.
13. What theme have you gone with in this Div?
We ran a poll of a number of suggestions and 'Snakes' will be the theme for the division. All new squads will pick a snake name. There will be some limitiations as we head down the road as we won't be able to have two squads starting with the same letter, eg. Tiger and Taipan, because we use the first letter to differentiate between the squads.
14. What future initiatives do you think you can put in place to help with morale and creating fun?
At this stage our role will be predominantly reactionary. If players like something then we can explore ways to run further with it. We also have a social leadership team to monitor this aspect and try to boost the natural flow. It is still early days yet and we are all learning from each other.
Thanks Sp!at for your time doing this interview,And a even bigger thanks goes out to Salvationjane777 (aka SJ), Sp!at, SgtMech, MD, Geng, and Lowmount for your hard work up-to-date with this still new Division. Well done guys!