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What happened to Titanfall (aka “the CoD Killer”)?

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…The Titan fell is what happened.

The amount of buzz and hype behind Titanfall (dubbed “The COD Killer”) prior to launch was off the charts. Critics everywhere were saying it was a game changer and game of the year, and initially we agreed with them. We fell for the hype and were big fans of the game and even started TitanfallBlog.com. We were present for the reveal at the Microsoft press conference last year, saw a demo at E3 and even went hands on with it at Gamescom, Eurogamer and at community events. Titanfall made a GREAT first impression, and it still does.

It wasn’t until about a week after launch did we realize it might not have enough steam to keep the hypetrain going, and we’re starting to think we were right. It’s been nearly 2 months now since launch and judging by fan feedback on Twitter and through the web site, we’re hearing a lot of the same complaints which is what we think is the reason behind it’s downfall and coincidently, the reason behind Call of Duty’s success…

1) Guns and unlocks
This is by far the biggest complaint we have for Titanfall and the most common one we read about. 1 sniper rifle and 1 shotgun is unacceptable in this day and age when games like Call of Duty and Battlefield have 5+ to select from for each class. That feeling of “gotta reach level 40 to unlock that new sniper rifle” or “1 more kill for that new camo” are gone. Why should I keep grinding?

2) No Traditional Campaign
Titanfall’s MP campaign was a huge gamble that unfortunately didn’t pay off. Gone are the “Oh shit” moments, instead you can beat the campaign by camping and just waiting for the match to end. Respawn even admitted in “Final Hours of Titanfall” that the MP Campaign design was chosen so they wouldn’t delay the game.

3) AI Bots
We know they were added with inexperienced players in mind, in addition to the maps needing to be large enough for Titans so you would need more things to shoot at, but I think we can all agree that the AI minions in Titanfall might as well be paper targets. Im not even sure how anyone could market them as “AI” seeing as how stupid they are. Theres no fun (and honor) in shooting something that doesn’t know how to shoot back at you.

4) Auto-Titan enabled because Titans are no fun
The game, marketing, and story all revolve around Titans… yet no one wants to play as a Titan which is evident when every Titan in a match is set to auto-Titan. They looked cool and fun in the trailer but all they do is manage to prevent you from your next wall run (which is the coolest part of the game).

These are in no particular order either. All 4 points were major in our opinion that contributed to Titanfall’s fall from grace. Don’t get me wrong, we still play Titanfall from time to time but it clearly didn’t turn out to be the game we thought it would be… Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Activision issuing “hardware bans” to thwart Warzone cheaters

Activision have confirmed that they are handing out “hardware bans” to banned cheaters who keep making fresh accounts.

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Call of Duty Warzone gameplay

Cheaters and hackers have plagued Call of Duty: Warzone since its launch, but on top of account bans, Activision has confirmed that they are issuing hardware bans to thwart repeat offenders.

Cheaters have been a thorn in both players’ and developers’ sides since Warzone launched in 2020. It has been common to run into players blatantly wall-hacking and aim-botting, ruining the game for casual players and pros alike.

Raven Software has been providing regular updates on how many cheaters have been banned, and Activision recently confirmed that 475,000 permabans have been issued since Warzone’s launch. The likely reason why this number is so high is that Warzone is free-to-play. It’s widely believed that even if a cheater’s account gets banned, they can simply create a new one and carry on as if nothing happened.

Activision is aware of this issue and player’s concerns and released an in-depth update on their anti-cheat progress on April 12.

Because so many players have been concerned that account bans are ineffective, Call of Duty staff responded to this, saying that “Removing cheaters and taking away their ability to move to alternate accounts is a key focus for the security teams.”

They confirmed that if you’re cheating, not only could you be unknowingly downloading malware to your system, you could also receive a hardware ban.

To make sure players don’t keep creating fresh accounts to cheat with, Activision said, “We do issue hardware bans against repeat, or serial, cheaters. This is an important part of our effort to combat repeat offenders.”

This means that players who receive a hardware ban will be permanently locked out and won’t be able to simply create a new, free account and go back to their cheating ways.

Helicopters flying to Warzone's Verdansk Stadium

Activision also confirmed that not only are they targeting individual accounts with cheats installed, but also “the commercial market of cheat providers and resellers.” They revealed that they have recently banned “45,000 fraudulent, black market accounts used by repeat offenders.”

Cheaters will likely still make their way into your Warzone sessions, but Activision is making sure it’s continuously more risky and difficult to do.

In the meantime, you can check out our guide on how to spot cheaters in Warzone so you can assist Activision by reporting these players.

Image Credit: Activision

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Report: Activision Blizzard HQ & Treyarch offices set to relocate

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A new report states Activision Blizzard will no longer lease its office space in Santa Monica and are actively searching for a new HQ location.

DoTEsports reports that Activision Blizzard and Treyarch have ended their lease at their Santa Monica HQ offices. The company has had the office under their lease for more than a decade.

Per the new report, the teams that work in those spaces will work from home until further notice.

The company is reportedly in search of a new space. An internal memo, which was sent to staff and obtained by DoTEsports, states the company is actively looking for a new office space in the Santa Monica area.

We have narrowed down the search for our next office location to several properties in the Santa Monica area and we hope to finalize our plans in the coming weeks,” the internal company communication said.

Activision employees have been working from home since March 2020. As of now, the company says they’re on track to return to office by September 1, 2021. The timeline remains unchanged.

Activision’s main headquarters was located in the Santa Monica office on Ocean Blvd in California. Treyarch’s studio space was located right next door to Activision Blizzard HQ in Santa Monica on the first floor of an office building. The two used those buildings for over 10 years now, and are now up for rental and purchase.

Activision has not commented on this information as of now.

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Investment group calls out Activision for CEO payout

Activision Blizzard’s CEO continues to rake in bonus after bonus, and now investment firms are questioning the decisions.

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An investment firm, CtW, issued a statement report directed at Activision for upcoming bonus pay for their CEO, Bobby Kotick, which is valued at a remarkable $200 million.

The report states that an SEC filing and agreement between Activision Blizzard CEO and the board of directors of the company will allow the CEO to receive a bonus pay of $200 million at the end of this year.

Per the investment group, as released to GameSpot, a loophole created within Bobby Kotick’s employee agreement allows him to claim full bonus payout for previous years regardless of the company’s performance. This loophole is described in the “Shareholder Value Creation Incentive” provision in Kotick’s employment agreement. He can receive a full performance equity payout from previous years – 2017 and on. That is valued at almost $200 million, which is set to be paid out in cash upon the end date of the incentive provision.

Investment group CtW issued a scathing statement over this, as the company just this week laid off less than 2% of its workforce, which is less than 190 people for “restructuring” purposes. The lay offs impacted Activision Blizzard esports department, alongside the company’s King division.

While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” director of executive compensation research, Michael Varner, said. “There are many factors that may contribute to a rise in this particular company’s stock price that may not be directly attributable to Robert Kotick’s leadership. The use of video games as one of the few entertainment options available amid the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, has been a boon to many companies in the gaming industry irrespective of executive talent or strategic decisions.

Bobby Kotick already makes $30 million a year from Activision thanks to his base salary and bonus yearly pay. He’s one of gaming’s highest paid executives. Activision continues to report record profits with 2020 being the company’s biggest year yet.

Activision has not commented on the latest developments on this payout.

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