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Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Multiplayer overview

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A quick snipe in Call of Duty Modern Warfare.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare is the latest entry into the historic FPS franchise. After years of fan complaints due to the franchise going in multiple playstyle directions and making unfavored decisions, they’ve returned to their roots with the game that truly put them on the map. But it’s not exactly the same game, instead choosing to completely rethink and reboot the franchise. The naming history is pretty awful, as this game is called Modern Warefare, not to be confused with Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare or Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered. Yup, this is just plain ole’ Modern Warfare.

This year, story mode enthusiasts will be excited to hear that the Campaign has once again returned to grace us with its presence. There’s also co-op, which allows players to join forces in several different PVE game modes. If you played Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, you’ll remember this mode fondly. And last, but certainly not least, the unrelenting fragfest that is almost a proper noun at this point, Multiplayer.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare multiplayer

This overview is going to focus on the multiplayer aspect of the game which is sure to see the majority of players’ time spent. So, without further ado, let’s get into.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare game modes

New modes were added over the weekend including 20-player variants of Team Deathmatch and Domination.

There are several different game modes to choose from this year. Standard expected fare such as Team Deathmatch and Domination make exceptional returns this year. Coming fresh after an update, though, we’re also treated to new 20-player variants. These modes are some of the easiest game modes for new players and veterans alike to hop into a smack out a quick match or two.

The objective for Team Deathmatch is simple: kill all of the enemy opponents. There’s no other sort of objective, this is what most people think of as classic multiplayer.

Domination demands players manage multiple control points on the map, designated by letters, to establish dominance on the battlefield. For each point that your team controls, you’ll gain one point every five seconds. Holding more points allows for quicker score builds, but also risks flipping spawns and jeopardizing map position.

Headquarters also makes a valiant return, as well as the pro-circuit-friendly game mode of Search and Destroy. Headquarters randomly picks a spot on the map to capture and defend for a set amount of time. Once your team headquarters goes online, your team is unable to respawn should they become deceased. The team attacking the headquarters can freely respawn and must capture the point location in order to win that particular round.

Search and Destroy, cited by some as the most competitive game mode in most Call of Duty games, returns just as we remember it. Competing teams rotate attacking and defending an objective with no respawns enabled.

A new multiplayer mode appears

Planting in the new Modern Warfare Cyber Attack mode.

A new mode, Cyber Attack, debuts with Modern Warfare this year. In this mode, each team has a ‘data center’ at their respective spawns and must pick up an EMP and plant it on the other team’s data center. You can now revive fallen teammates. Make sure to not only revive your teammates if possible but also watch for reviving enemies as well. A 4v2 and quickly turn ugly if the opposing team is able to bring back downed players.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s new 2v2 Gunfight mode is fast-paced and unforgiving.

Then, we have some new game modes, like the highly-anticipated Gunfight, a furiously quick 2v2 elimination match played on smaller maps. After playing this mode, this is what I predict will end up being one of the most sweaty competitive modes—there will be some players who ‘no life’ Gunfight. Petty internet debates about who’s the better player can be squashed in this gun-wielding gladiator-style race to six wins.

No HUD in Modern Warfare’s Realism mode.

Like Battlefield? Try Ground War

Ground War makes its debut this year as well—this is stellar news for all of you Battlefield fans. Ground War allows up to 64 players to battle on two different large-scale maps. You can ride in vehicles, tanks, light-armored anti-infantry vehicles, and helicopters. The action is intense and incredibly chaotic. I’m having mixed feelings about this mode. It’s definitely fun, but with such a huge map, and teams of 32v32, you’d think you’d want to play the objective.

This is where Call of Duty culture rears its disgusting little head. Communication is non-existent except for a brief moment during the level load where people are usually trolling the in-game voice chat. Most people who are squadded up are using Team Speak or Discord, so don’t expect to communicate like a real massive battle. I’ve found that this problem is also prevalent in the last few Battlefield games. And just like Battlefield, people are constantly hogging the tanks, and damn are they strong. It’s not unlikely that during a game of Ground War you’ll spawn in front of a tank at least once. Don’t punch your keyboard, I warned you ahead of time.

If this ends up being too much for you, hop on out and fight solo in Free-for-All. This is my personal favorite as it’s every man or woman for themselves. Check the video below for approximately seven minutes of pure ass-kicking action from yours truly.

Here’s a video of me absolutely dominating in Free-for-All.

Finally, we arrive at Realism mode. This mode does away with the HUD completely while also eliminating kill feeds and on-screen reticles. When I played this mode, the most satisfying thing for me was getting hip-fire kills. This mode plays a bit slower because (I think) people just aren’t used not having an on-screen reticle.

NVG (night vision goggles) mode

Although I believe it’ll be a randomly integrated mode, NVG mode is fantastic. You battle it out in a green-hued nightscape, adding an extra dimension of immersion and a new challenge. It’s dark, and while using your NVG will help you to see, it’ll also limit your ability to engage in fights as normal. I didn’t get to play this but once through the custom match option, but we had an absolute blast.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare’s multiplayer is what you expect, but different enough

Now that we’ve got the overview of game modes out of the way, let’s talk about the actual gameplay. It’s still Call of Duty. If you’ve played any of the previous Modern Warfare entries, you’ll feel right at some with some slight caveats. The gameplay has been slowed down just a bit. This makes the game’s pacing feel a bit riskier as you can no longer move in the same ways as previous titles.

Killstreaks are back and more brutal than ever. From manually controlled turrets and the usual UAVs to the ‘Wheelson’—an R/C mini-tank, which I like to call the “Brutal Roomba”—and the VTOL Jet, you’ve got a lot to gain by playing well.

How to get the Nuke in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Want to completely and totally flex on everyone in the lobby with the coveted Nuke? This time around, you’ll have to earn it as it’s no longer a selectable killstreak. However, I’ve got the scoop! All you have to do is:

  • Play well. How well?
  • You must get 30 kills in a row
  • All 30 kills must be with weapons—get out that tank, bruh!

Grenades and stuns have been revamped and are ab-so-lute-ly brutal. When you’re hit with a stun grenade, you’re no longer just experiencing a visual blur—you’re almost paralyzed. Turning is damn near impossible, and enemies have a legitimate advantage over you. Also, frag grenades have a bigger area of effect. If you’re in the vicinity of the impact point but don’t die, your character will still sustain a pretty jarring effect inhibiting your movement and aiming ability.

When taking damage, your screen desaturates, meaning loses some of its colorings, indicating you’re close to death. The TTK (time-to-kill) in Modern Warfare is extremely high. Headshots are still the fastest way to incapacitate a tango, so make sure you’re always aiming at head level.

Dang, you’re purdy

The graphics of the game are as beautiful as always, Infinity Ward has always—in my humble, all-knowing opinion—had the best graphics of any of the Call of Duty development teams. Guns are immaculately reproduced and the sound effects are not out of this world in the sense of realism. They are, in fact, some of the most accurate gun sound effects you’ll probably hear in any game released to date from any developer.

Recoil patterns seem faithfully reproduced, with bullet travel and gun mechanics and handling lovingly recreated with realism in mind.

ADS is slower but more realistic. There’s a really cool video of a YouTuber T.Rex Arms showing just how accurate Modern Warfare’s gameplay movement is.

The movement you’re about to see on your screen was performed by a real actor, so you can no longer say, “That’s not possible,” or “That’s not realistic.” The developers over at Infinity Ward have gone to great lengths to contribute to the immersion of the game and it really shows. From multiplayer to the campaign, you’ve got to hand it to them—they absolutely nailed it.

YouTuber T.Rex Arms shows how to Gunfight IRL.

Bring your S’Mores, camping is still alive and well

I’m not sure if camping was invented in Call of Duty, but with the amount of sneaky little players crouched in corners, it sure feels like it sometimes. If you browse the interwebz, I’d say the majority of people are attributing this to the new volume level of footsteps in the game. Oh yes, you’ll know a player is coming as you can hear them through the wall, around a corner, or if they’re above and below you. I don’t really mind as I use Astro A40’s with a custom sound mix, but they’re noticeably louder this season.

And while it’s awesome that I can hear them coming from a mile away, they can also hear me. This is where the ‘Dead Silence’ Field Upgrade is your friend. A lot of people are complaining that there needs to be a standard equipable perk, but I think that having Dead Silence as a field upgrade prevents the feature from becoming too overpowered. Old games of Search and Destroy, for example, had a lot of players crutch this perk entirely too much. Now you’ll have to rely more on aim, instinct, and cunning maneuvers than ever before. And in my opinion, that’s how it should be.

Call of Duty: Modern M4

Did you preorder the game? Good for you! If you did, you’ll be rewarded with the blueprint of the M4A1 XRK blueprint located in your Armory menu. This is a fully-kitted tango-taker-downer, and boy-oh-boy is it annoying. M4’s are fantastic guns, I personally own one myself. This year, however, the M4 is the number one utilized weapon. It’s literally got everything; recoil control, range, stability, and attachments out the wazoo. I personally prefer playing with SMGs, but I was constantly getting outgunned. I’m not one to suggest nerfs, so I will instead suggest almost every other gun in the SMG category getting slight damage and range buffs to combat the M4 onslaught.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare multiplayer summary

If you’ve ever been a fan of Call of Duty, this is a no-brainer. The satisfying gunplay combined with realistic movement and gun mechanics should satiate lamenting fans once and for all. There are a ton of game modes, the gameplay is the best its ever been, and a lot of free content is on the horizon including maps, weapons, and new game modes.

It’s official: The king of FPS is back.

Estevan Zamora
An entrepreneur, photographer, and writer. He likes capturing beautiful images, scrubbing it up in various competitive FPS games, and browsing reddit like it's about to shut down.

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