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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: Multiplayer 3.0

Company: Activision

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who wouldn't admit Call of Duty's multiplayer hasn't changed much over the years. As influential as the modes have been on other online shooters (and other online games in general), there's been very little shift over the last few editions. Sure, we've seen new Perks, maps, modes and weapons, but the core dynamics haven't changed much at all.

Apparently, Infinity Ward thought the same thing when it came time to work on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer. According to Infinity Ward head Robert Browning during Call of Duty XP's opening keynote, the dynamic was fun, but only supported one play style - Deathmatch. After a few years of complaining about the same issue, I'd have to agree.

As much as I like Call of Duty multiplayer, I wouldn't say I'm very good at it. I've yet to earn "Prestige" status and am usually happy when my "Kill" count is higher than my "Death" count in my K/D Ratio. When it comes to hunting down other players and shooting them, I'm behind the curve. The one thing I am good at, however, is running support options. Once again, Infinity Ward seems to think the same.


The biggest change to MW3's multiplayer is the Killstreak system. It's still there, but has received a massive overhaul. It's not even called Killstreak anymore, replaced with the more apt Pointstreak. The idea behind the system is still the same; you're still rewarded with points for successful kills and earn ticks towards helpful rewards. However, now you can gain points for completing other in-game tasks, like assists or helping to secure objectives in objective-based game modes.

The changes lay the foundation for the new Strike Packages system, which effectively replaces the Killstreak bonuses. Once again, the system is exactly the same as before, though rewards are now doled out based on which of the three Strike Packages you choose to use in games.

The first bundle, Assault, works almost exactly like the current system. You're still awarded points for killing opponents, earning offensive-minded weapons like Predator Drones and Assault Choppers. This setup is completely different from the Support Package, which is based around helping your teammates during matches. Here you'll earn rewards like ballistic armor and an Osprey that drops (and protects) five Care Packages. The cool thing about the Support bundle is your streaks aren't reset when you die.

The final, Specialist, is meant for lone wolf players. With Specialist equipped, you'll gain six Perks and, once you hit 8 kills in a match, unlock every Perk currently available to you. However, you won't receive other rewards and everything resets on death.

Perks, Rewards and Proficiencies

According to Browning, the team has been listening to its playerbase and is making sure to remove, or adjust, game-ruining Perks and 'streak rewards. For instance, the Nuke reward is gone, as have Commando, One Man Army and Last Stand. Based on the enthusiastically loud response from fans to the announcement, it looks like Infinity Ward is headed in the right direction with the changes.

MW3 will also introduce a few new Perks in both "Normal" and "Pro" variations. These include:

  • Recon - Marks targets on the mini-map
  • Stalker - Move faster while aiming down the sights
  • Quickdraw - Aim down sight faster
  • Assassin - Undetectable by electronic means (UAV, thermal...
  • Marksman - ID targets at long range

Another change is unlockable weapon proficiencies, basically "Perks" for your guns. Although you're still gaining experience through games, you'll also earn experience on weapons. In other words, the more you use a particular gun, the better it gets. Bonuses for leveling your weapon include reduced sway and recoil as well as new attachments. Once you master a gun, you'll unlock its "Gold" version.

New Match Types

In addition to a new play dynamic, MW3 will also introduce two new match types for online play. The first, Team Defender, is similar to Capture the Flag, only without the need to return the flag to a base. Instead, the object is to capture and hold on to the enemy's flag for as long as possible. The mode places a lot of emphasis on teamwork and should work well with the new Strike Packages.

Another, even more exciting, match type is Kill Confirmed. According to developers, the idea for the mode actually grew out of a dynamic that started showing up in Team Defender matches, where players would use the flag to bait other players.

Kill Confirmed, dubbed "Dog Tags" by some fans on the show floor, is similar to Team Deathmatch, but revises the scoring system. Whenever you down an opponent, they drop a set of dog tags on the ground. You still gain the XP fro the kill, but in order to gain points for your team (and win the match), you need to snag the tags. However, if you pick up a fallen teammate's tags before your opponent, you'll "deny" the kill, keeping them from earning the points.

I immediately fell in love with this mode, and am certain I'll spend a lot of time with it after launch. The mode introduces a real "team" dynamic that, frankly, has been missing from the mode for years. It will take some adjustment from the playerbase (some were pissed that other people could snag their points), but that's the nature of team play. Besides, you still get the XP for the kill.

MW3 also introduces a number of Private Match types, including the option to define your own match type and share it with others via CoD: Elite. Players will even get to vote on whether or not they like the match and, it was suggested, high vote getters may show up as game modes in the public lists.

While by no means a complete list (Infinity Ward is, apparently, still keeping a few other changes under wraps), the announced changes so far seem like a significant change to how matches play out.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 ships November 8.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Related Links:

Multiplatform Call of Duty: Elite Multiplatform Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

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