An open letter from the Call of Duty Wiki to the Call of Duty Developers.
This blog is serving as an open letter to the three main developers of Call of Duty; Infinity Ward, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games. This is an open letter that comes from our hearts as a member of the Call of Duty community.
The Call of Duty Wiki was created back on June 6, 2007. Since then we’ve made over 7,000 pages. Had at least 9,000 users make an edit at some point. And get on average 1 Million views a week, nearly 150,000 views a day. We are, in effect, one of the most active Call of Duty communities out there, likely on par with another Call of Duty community site, “CharlieIntel”. In this time, we’ve had users come and go, yet we also have some users that have been with us since the very beginning. These users show a great level of dedication to both us, and the Call of Duty community. And even the efforts of off-wiki users, such as Marvel4 have aided us greatly, even if we’re not always on the best of terms. It is though the work of these users, and their efforts we have managed to gain a wiki as well written and well informed as ours. It has superb writing, excellent images and outstanding presentation. However, it seems much of this has gone ignored by the companies I have mentioned.
To start with, Infinity Ward. Infinity Ward, when we first began, you were actually fairly on our side. While we had a slight discrepancy with a Modern Warfare 2 mission being posted early, and caused us to make COD:LEAK to prevent it happening again, you still seemed there. There were even some times that Robert Bowling himself would reference us, and I’ve even had some good success of contacting him myself. He was likely one of the best community managers of the entire franchise, and I do hope he sees this. However, since then standards dropped. For one, I have no idea whom the Community manager actually is for Infinity Ward, it’s either Tina or Candice, but frankly neither seems to fill that role. And when there’s a lack of management, things really do just crumble. First, there was Call of Duty: ELITE. Where you hired XboxAhoy to not only make videos, but also write up all the weapon descriptions for the game. Now, I will admit XboxAhoy made very good and consistent videos, and I can understand the decision to contact him. However, the upset comes from the fact we were not asked to help in any way. As I have stated, we have some excellent users willing and able to write up a brilliant page of content, and we could of helped in that role. And then came Call of Duty: Ghosts, and this is what really aggravates me. Back in 2009 we had that issue I mentioned in regards to Modern Warfare 2 being leaked, and you sent your legal team to have us delete it. Yet some time before the official release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, the YouTuber user “Drift0r” got hold of basically all the information about Ghosts, posted it to his channel, and had no repercussions. Now, it’s the bias nature of your company that allows certain people to get away with things that really annoys me. After this was posted I sent multiple emails to both yourselves and Activision legal department asking if we still even needed COD:LEAK that you made us impose! Doing so was incredibly hard since your site lacks any form of “Contact Us” page, so for all I know I was sending my emails to an unused mailbox. In the end, after several months of trying with no reply, and many more videos being uploaded that we couldn’t post because we were shackled by COD:LEAK we retired the policy. So, over the course of Modern Warfare 2 to Ghosts, you managed to go from being one of our favourite companies to work with, to being one of the companies that we were unable to work with. It makes me very sad that happened, because we made our Wiki back when you were in your stride, and everyone called Call of Duty your baby. Now however, you’ve become an estranged parent. We wanted our relationship to last, but your choices ruined that, and when it came to games made by yourselves, we were very much left in the dark, and our users had to get all their information off of YouTube videos. You have the most time to turn this around though. Following the cycle, there’s still a year for your game, and you can still chose to include us somehow. We have many users that would be happy to be involved in the process. And having any information from yourselves is always a great benefit not only to us, but all of our viewers that visit us every day.
Following on from Infinity Ward, is Treyarch. Now Treyarch, for a while you were sort of on the fence. Likely because you were one of the newcomers to the series, after all you only have four main games released at the time of this being written. For the most part, you weren’t as bad as Infinity Ward about who got your information. But that all changed recently. With the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops III you really showed your true colours. Firstly, it started with your video regarding “Community opinion”, yet watching this video shows only popular YouTuber users were used. As I mentioned above with Infinity Ward and ELITE, many of our users would have loved to have been able to attend E3. And many of them would likely have loved the game. But instead, your invitations and interviews went to those that host YouTube channels, and inevitably make money off of Call of Duty. Then came the E3 Q&A you hosted with Wikia. Now the fact you did this should have made me think you did notice us, but from what I saw I still have my doubts. Every question presented was not given a proper answer. Each one seemed to go off topic, or reiterate something already known, almost as if you were using this as a chance to promote certain features of the game again. This was not what we wanted. We wanted clear and concise answers to not only sate our personal queries, but also to help our overall content. One such question was if new weapon classes were being added. The response to this was something regarding the new multiplayer classes. This was repeated information, and we did not gain any information on weapon classes that we could have used for a new page. Furthermore, as stated before, we used to be chained down to COD:LEAK. But in the time around, and following, E3 many YouTube users have had the ability to play, record and publish gameplay of Black Ops III. Thankfully as we no longer have COD:LEAK, we can use these videos to make our pages. But if we still had that policy, then we’d have to spend the next few months deleting good content because you allow these users to post it. And again, you have let these users have early access to this game, while we have had to sit back and watch it and get 2nd hand images and we suffer for that. And I honestly feel the main part that really hurts me, is that you’re giving Black Ops III an in-game wiki, and you didn’t involve us at all. We work so hard on our Wiki, even while working with little support from you big three, and yet you’re making this in-game wiki without including us in any way. I understand it’s just meant to be a gameplay mechanic to tell players how their actions impacted the game. But the fact you’re doing this though the use of a Wiki and not dossiers, or news reports or anything like this greatly upsets me. I mean, it would have even been nice if had got a PR pack to give us boost for the release of Black Ops III. Instead, yet again, it feels like we’ve been left out in favour of these YouTube users. Furthermore, I have in the past tried to contact yourselves in order to get Lore questions, such as the year Die Rise takes place, and the status of Europe during Black Ops II. Funnily enough, I actually used the information from one of Drift0r’s videos regarding how to contact Devs, and I didn’t get a reply. I mean, I wasn’t asking anything difficult, yet I was completely blanked. I don’t understand why you are choosing to only talk to and respond to these YouTube users and not us. Similar to Infinity Ward you’ve just left at arms distance and it’s not helped either of us. The main difference between yourselves and Infinity Ward is that at least Infinity Ward acknowledged us at one point. You have seemingly ignored us since your creation. Since we were made in 2007, after Call of Duty 3, and only 1 year before World at War, I can understand not talking to us about them. But with all your Black Ops games we had become an established site, and I can see no reason why you would choose to ignore us for those games. But really, it’s how you’ve handled your community interaction with Black Ops III that really upsets me, and I really do hope from now, we can finally get some information and recognition that can help us out.
And finally, on to Sledgehammer Games. Now Sledgehammer, you I truly have the biggest issue with. Because you’re new, too new to actively be ignoring us. Treyarch can slightly get away with it as I stated only 2 of their games came out after we were established, and Infinity Ward frankly doesn’t seem to have the staffing for it any longer. However, you’re a new company, which appeared on the scene when we were already established, and you’ve been ignoring us. And I know from simply looking at Twitter that you do respond to certain people. Just today, I saw you reply to a tweet about loot trading with TmarTn. And from that image we can see he’s been given many Supply Drops, of rare quality and you’ve chose to reply to him. Meanwhile, an email I sent in asking if it could be possible to get these same weapons so we can use them for images has been ignored. Furthermore, whilst this is more on a personal level than a Wiki level, I sent one email in regarding a stat reset that was not my fault, and asked if it would be possible for some double XP to mitigate my loss. This email did get one reply, however it did not address the compensation, and actually strengthened my case for getting some, as at the time I believe a bluescreen on my end was the cause but the email claimed it was not. When I replied to this email asking if I could receive any compensation it became ignored, after that I had to begin a 4 month long debate with Activision Support to get some double XP. So it took me 4 months to do what you give a YouTube user in 4 minutes; A reply. Luckily for yourselves, you’re so new I both can and can’t lay in to you as hard as the last two companies. Since while you have actively ignored us, with frankly no good enough reason, you are also new, so this could change in future instalments. So I’m asking that you please start treating us, the Wiki, as part of this elite crowd that you chose to reply to and give out items to. Because much like Black Ops III and their early access, you have been seen giving out map packs and weapon drops out to these users early, and these are things we could desperately use for our pages. And since you’ve not released the Advanced Supply Drop downloadable content to PC, it makes it so hard to get images of these variants. Which is why I’ve tried contacting you for help, but you simply haven’t responded.
Anyway, I hope my points are coming across to all three of you loud and clear. We are an established Wiki. And we are an established part of this community. And continuing to alienate us, and talk to only a certain set of people simply isn’t helping you out. It feels like you’re all trying to nudge out people like us, and bring in this certain audience. And it greatly upsets us, because we’ve made this wiki, this content, this tight-knit community from your game. And you’re just not acknowledging our work. None of us here do what we do for money, unlike many of the people you have chosen to work with. We do it because we enjoy the franchise, and because we’re avid members of the Call of Duty community. If not for this Wiki I would never have met many of my now close friends. But as time goes on, and I see you excluding us, and ignoring us, I wonder why I keep up this effort. Why it is we keep this Wiki going, when you yourselves fail to even involve us. We want to be involved in the community, and we want you to notice us, and treat us like you do so many other users. Which is why I really do ask from the bottom of my heart, and I hope others can share this with me by posting it in the comments below. Please, let us stand up and be noticed.
If any of those in any of those companies took some time to read this, I truly thank you.
Also a note form myself. Thanks everyone for replying and supporting this letter. I am truly hoping that this will have an effect for us. But frankly, it won't be me writing it that makes it successful. It's all of you and your support that will make this successful. So really, a massive thank you from myself for all the turn out. (even if you're not posting the quote I wanted you all to post :P) 18:22, July 29, 2015 (UTC)