The Debate Goes Ever Onward
These are extreme versions of the way fans of each game characterize those who support the other, but they do illustrate some key differences between the two games. Yes, the settings, weapons, and objectives of the two games are simliar, but when you examine them closely, Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 are entirely different games, and they appeal to different types of people.
I’ve seen dozens of articles singing the praises of one game over the other and treating the competition between the franchises like the Super Bowl of online shooter supremacy.
The truth is, these games are like Elvis and The Beatles: while it’s possible to enjoy both, you’re always going to prefer one over the other. They aren’t as similar as they might seem. They can’t compete in a Super Bowl of shooters because they aren’t even the same sport.
As crazy as the above characterizations are, they do contain some nuggets of truth regarding the differing natures of the two games.
Call of Duty is an action game, catering to fans of twitch-based shooters like Quake and Halo. Fast reflexes and individual skill make all the difference. It’s a more visceral experience, and that has an effect on the types of gamers who are drawn to it.
Battlefield has always been a team-based shooter. Teamwork and tactics influence overall success more than individual skill. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have a gifted sniper on your team, but it’s not often that one talented player can completely turn the tide of a battle. He needs a solid squad behind him.
Yes, both games feature modern military action; yes, both feature team-based online modes; but that’s where the similarities end. At their core each game has its own unique appeal, and the debate between them is really a debate between two differing schools of thought regarding gaming. Both equally valid, but worlds apart.
The reason the debate rages so strongly and each side is so willing to grossly stereotype the other is because of this fundamental difference. Of course perceptions of each group are going to be disproportionately skewed, you’re talking about two groups of people who don’t understand one another to begin with.