Excellent original post, which I completely agree with. By completely ignoring the sound of players moving around the map, Treyarch have ditched an important part of the game. I don't know why they would do that (perhaps Turtle Beach didn't stump up a bung),
The game is now a rusher's wet dream that's too chaotic to play strategically.
One other point, why do your own footfall noises always sound like you're running across wooden boards, even if you're in the middle of a desert, or on a steel plate? It's just cheap neglect of sound utilisation.
Personally I'm boycotting this game until they fix the footsteps. I loved Black Ops 1, I thought its balance was just right. In this game I feel like it is impossible to RUSH people and get high killing sprees. In BO1 I was ranked in the top 100 all time in Hard Core TDM, and may still be in it(haven't checked for a while) and I got there by rushing. My strategy in BO1 was to first learn 99% of the strategies everyone uses then go through the maps taking the paths of "Most Resistance", where I was likely to find the most amount of people and cancel out all the campers strategies, while taking note of where people should be running through given where my teammates are at. I then used the sound of enemy footsteps to alert me of people approaching me in directions I wasn't counting on them to approach me. No matter how good of a player you are you will never be able to fully count for the unexpected, and I believe that footsteps should be in the game to prevent you from getting back stabbed by other runners as you are rushing into the enemies territory. Otherwise it is near impossible to consistently get things like blackbirds while rushing. Also as a side note I am very disappointed in this games leader board system. If I have one of the highest score per minutes in the game shouldn't I be towards the very top of the leader board? As it stands the no lives are at the top and the people that play the game off and on are at the bottom/middle.....
I am also dissapointed by the lack of footstep sounds. Awareness doesn't seem to work period. I've had people walk right up behind me and shoot/knife me while using it. I understand there needs to be some balance to the game but I feel like it was dumbed down way too much when an enemy can walk right up behind you while using it.