Is Call of Duty’s Prestige System Outdated?

Should Call of Duty Ditch the Prestiege System?

Call of Duty… by just saying this title out loud Activision will have made 60 dollars.  How many dollar signs does a company need to help change a game and push it to new heights.  Activision has taken the “if it’s not broke don’t fix it route”, and just like the titles before it (Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero) eventually it will break down.  Activision is treating its properties and those working on the game like a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic, trying to see how many miles it can get out of them without taking the car in for maintenance.

In 2007 when Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare came out no one saw a multiplayer game quite like the class based shooter and Prestige system.  It was a brand new element for the online component in multiplayer gaming.  The idea of taking some elements of a RPG and throwing them into a FPS was brilliant.

Prestige Emblems

On top of that once players achieved the level cap, they were able to reset the system and start all over again.  This expanded the players interest in the game and thus the Prestige system was born.  You were able to Prestige a total of 10 different times in the original Modern Warfare.  Those who did manage to tackle all 10 prestige levels bear the Golden Cross and got to show it off to the lobby.

Modern Warfare 3 and Black Ops 2 has come and gone with no real revolution for the  franchise.  Including the original Modern Warfare title, the Prestige system has been recycled 6 times.  In total, if you were to prestige in all COD 6 games your prestige total would be 86, this is counting both the expanded prestiges in MW3 and the master prestige in Black Ops 2.  Should Call of Duty break 100 on the next go around?  How many times do gamers need to prestige in order to see this is the same as the last time?


The prestige system is in fact pointless to some gamers.  Other than unlocking class slots, a couple of emblems and titles for your call sign going to the next prestige level is well redundant.  In fact, the only real enjoyment out of the system is that it takes all of the guns you unlocked away.  Which instead of taking a step forward, it takes you all the way back to level one with a tiny logo that doesn’t do jack for you except show everyone in the lobby you play this game too much.  Perhaps if the system challenged you and gave you more of an incentive to play this might be a better evolution for the game.  For instance, if you were to prestige and the game gave you the option to play with a gun you never used to level up faster.  This might be a way to fix the system.

Yet the fact that the developers have just let it be is rather concerning to the franchise and to hardcore gamers alike, it should be something the entire gaming industry puts a microscope under.  Because in the last 4 years, Call of Duty was the biggest entertainment launch in history.  How many gamers need to play the same game every year in a row?  Even though some of the Single Player stories are a blast to play through, everyone that pops the disc in almost immediately jumps onto multiplayer to become a 10th Prestige.  Is Call of Duty some sort of drug for gamers, is it Crack or something worse?

COD vs Battlefield

The fact that the next-gen consoles are getting ready to shoot out the pipeline by the end of the year should give Activision some incentive to tell its dev teams to change the game up.  In fact, Battlefield has taken quite a few gamers away from the COD franchise, myself included.  Even games that took some thunder from both titles are getting ready to gear up as well, including Homefront 2 and Rainbow Six: Patriots(not this year).  Seriously if these games don’t have an E3 showing forget about them.

Call of Duty was one of the reasons, that brought me back into gaming and to see it become what it is, well its like raising a child to become a meth addict. If anything, Activision’s  vision has been to get a great game and totally run it into the ground with the repetitive titles that don’t age very well.  Well at least Activision it isn’t driving a 2002 Ford Focus like the one THQ drove, too soon?

6 Comments on Is Call of Duty’s Prestige System Outdated?

  1. PsychoticDust // February 14, 2013 at 5:24 am // Reply

    “In fact, the only real enjoyment out of the system is that it takes all of the guns you unlocked away.” Not quite, in BO1, you had to be 14th Prestige to be able to purchase gold camo and in BO2, you have to be Prestige Master to unlock everything and it doesn’t take long to rank up at all in BO2. My friends and I got there in 4-5 days and yes we have lifes, partners, homes, jobs and a social life beyond computers and the internet. So much for showing that you play too much. That’s a bias and shallow thing to say.

    “Perhaps if the system challenged you and gave you more of an incentive to play this might be a better evolution for the game. For instance, if you were to prestige and the game gave you the option to play with a gun you never used to level up faster.” That does happen in BO2, you can only complete weapon challenges three times per weapon (once per weapon prestige), as well as attachment, perk and equipment challenges once over the entire ten prestiges. If you want to rank up quickly, you have to use a variety of everything.

    • someone defending the 360 dollars they spent on the same game… NOOOO!

      • PsychoticDust // February 15, 2013 at 7:05 am // Reply

        I was replying objectively and highlighting facts that you missed. I hope you’re not a journalist because you should always know all of the facts before you type anything and be able to type objectively. If you reply, why not actually reply to the points I’ve made? I’ve clearly poked a few holes in your article, why not prove me wrong or agree rather than reply with something that only shows that you’re just bias and not willing to hear both sides of the story.

        For the record I play a variety of games, from a variety of genres. For example, I love Fallout 3, Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Street Fighter, Final Fantasy (4-10 are my favourites).

        • The fact that I was stating in the article was that COD is getting old. Yet people are buying a game every year that has the same formula, with out caring about MAJOR game mechanics. I am not saying the formula was bad, it is just outdated after playing several years of a similar title. And for the record I am not a journalist, I am a gamer sharing my experiences. I too enjoy all sorts of games as I own all the current consoles. I find it sad that major companies like Activision rather than REDEFINE the COD engine, class based system, etc. And no not by making it easier to unlock everything in the game. But to give us a new experience, isn’t that what we all want something new and exciting that is similar to the last game but totally new?

          I wouldn’t mind seeing more new and less old, this goes for the current take on Mario titles… Why not a true Mario game for the Wii U, Why isn’t there a true MMO for Xbox 360? This all can be done in our great industry… so why hasn’t it? I’m getting off topic now but I shouldn’t have to pay for a 60 dollar game that makes minor changes like the Madden series, then expects me to pay another 35 for maps that add nothing but a new locale to the game and does nothing for the gameplay aspect of it. COD is getting old, if it weren’t released every year to make better quality sequels, I might say other wise.

          • For the record I have prestiged a total of 56 times in the COD franchise, I had 2 accounts on COD4 that were Gold Crosses. After 5 years it got old.


  2. people kill me complaining about cod all the damn time…..activision gives NO FUCKS about innovating and changing…idiots will continue to buy and play the same terrible game year in and year out so why would activision spend one penny trying to change anything?…either accept that the game is built for casual players, with little to no skill, who dont care about the details like people who actually care about the quality of the games theyre playing and go elsewhere with your time and money…or play cod and quit whining about the exact same issues every single year like clockwork as if the billionaires who control it are ever going to care about your opinion after youve already given them your money

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