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Destroy, the Objective? on Game and Player

Destroy, the Objective?

Michael Ubaldi  //  October 22, 2010

A taxonomy of Modern Warfare 2 players.


've been taxed lately. Time has been gobbled by a serendipitous and enjoyable if nebulous interview, a local political fracas, and the ever-looming World of Warcraft expansion. The Supreme Court's decision on Leland Yee's excursion into playing surrogate guardian is a ways off, and nothing else has caught my fancy, so I will resort to a populist list of caricatures. Brace yourself.

As admitted before, on tape no less, I enjoy surfing lobbies in Modern Warfare 2's zero-respawn, plant-the-bomb multiplayer game-type, Search & Destroy. Beyond the obvious, it's distinct from Deathmatch sessions, in which everybody cleaves to his or her penchant for riddling the other team with projectiles before falling and rising again. Perhaps due to repetition — one team defends two bomb targets, the other carries the detonator attaché, team elimination ends the round if the bomb isn't planted, always — archetypes emerge and stand in pretty sharp relief. And I mean apart from the game's flourishing demographic of racist, foul-mouthed sociopaths possibly playing while in juvenile detention.


Diligently working to expand the popular definition of insanity to include stupidity as well, Boneheads — to teammates' chagrin and opponents' delight — start each round after the first doing exactly what it was that got their soldier promptly killed before. Lollygag down a map's sniper alley? Wouldn't miss it. Bring the bomb to the target so heavily defended by the other team that the last round took all of 30 seconds? Maybe they'll abandon tactics that worked!

Incapable of thinking, let alone under pressure, Boneheads freeze up or act wildly — behaving as Certifiables — when all their comrades have fallen and the clock for defusing the bomb has begun to tick. Will players who planted a bomb on the other side of the map stroll past the out-of-the-way corner a Bonehead's crouching against? Did the enemy leave the bomb unguarded? Will the bomb's timer miraculously stop if every enemy's dead? No, no, and no. But Boneheads don't get it.

Jim Bowie

Who was Jim Bowie? He was a 19th-century American frontiersman. How did he live? Richly, as a farmer, speculator, militia fighter, bayou man and Texan revolutionary. How did he die? In combat, at the Battle of the Alamo — he was bedridden with sickness, but refused to leave.

How do these players die? They rush to grab the bomb first and then barricade themselves inside a building and refuse to leave, apparently convinced that players on the other team will rush the position in plain sight, single-file. Sometimes their assumption bears out: Boneheads will, in fact, miss the point of playing defense and take the bait. One-by-one, or sometimes in whole groups, they'll add to the casualty list, ensuring Jim Bowie will inspire another to try.

If the other team shows some intelligence, however, there isn't much question as to where Jim Bowie is, or where he's going.


These players have got to be a) on drugs, b) younger than fifteen years old, c) mentally impaired, or d) a tragic combination of the first three. What's that sound? It's a Certifiable emptying three clips of his weapon into the ground, giving away your position if he wasn't worried about using a silencer, either. Can a special operations soldier survive a 20-foot fall? Of course not, but it's hardly a disincentive. What about explosives? That's what small enclosures are for! Will a shot fired straight up into the air defy statistics and land on an enemy? Certifiable's going to give it the college try.

Smart Aleck

Smart Alecks aren't clever so much as they are skilled imitators of the original joker who discovered the happy medium between effective and damned irritating. They're the ones tossing C4 like beanbags; using One Man Army to lob an incessant barrage of grenades, or fill a hallway with claymores; pecking away at flammable tanks; or abusing the game's simulated physics by lying in the same space as the soldier planting the bomb, then calmly defusing as the enemy dashes away to find an assailant who isn't there. Smart aleck.

Quickshot and His Backup Band

Quickshot doesn't just like to play Modern Warfare 2; he likes to win. He also enjoys recording kills. That means finding the lowest chance of being beaten to the draw. What's the most practical means to this end? In a zero-respawn game, combining the Sleight-of-Hand perk with a sniper rifle, resulting in an instantly fired slug that's almost guaranteed to drop a target in a single shot, even at impossibly short ranges.

Almost — but uncertainty hardly deters the original Quickshot or his growing ranks of epigones, and they rarely switch to a prudent close-quarters weapon, instead carrying out sniper-duels at five paces. Or three. Or — in the unforgettable exploits of the dregs of the fan club — point-blank, missing, and losing the round to the guy who wisely packed a shotgun.

You and Me

We play for fun. We enjoy teamwork as much as a winning round. Sometimes, we're surrounded by our own kind; often, it's one or more of these characters. Thank you, Infinity Ward, for "Mute" and "Leave Game." We'll just take along the memories.

Masakuni // October 23, 2010 // 9:19 PM

That's why I usually only play with friends. Some games people aren't so bad, but understandably mw2 is noticeably worse. The game play pretty much promotes that type of play(where cod4 wasnt nearly as bad), which is why I went back to halo3 after a short time playing it.

DM Osbon // October 24, 2010 // 12:30 PM

Almost as much as I hate the 3-D trend, multiplayer death match gaming really gets my goat nowadays.

To enjoy playing you have to commit so much of your time that everything else suffers. Is it really worth the effort?

Michael Ubaldi // October 24, 2010 // 7:44 PM

The best part? I love this game, in spite of it.

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