You didn’t think Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games had been twiddling their thumbsticks in the two years since Modern Warfare 2, did you? Modern Warfare 3 has seen some significant changes to its multiplayer to ensure it’s the most balanced Call of Duty yet. Here’s everything you need to know…
Modern Warfare 3 will ship with 16 maps on-disc
That’s the same amount that shipped with Modern Warfare 2 and two more than Call of Duty: Black Ops. Five have been revealed so far – Resistance, an urban battlefield set in Paris that sees players wage war amongst coffee shops and courtyards; Dome, a tight, desert map you’ll have seen in the Spec Ops Survival reveal trailer; Village, location currently unknown, but appears to be a third-world shanty town; and Underground, our favourite map so far, set in a fictional ‘Middleton’ London Underground station that has players battling amongst the carcasses of destroyed tube trains and throughout the station. There’s also a map called Arkaden floating around the show floor, but we’ve yet to find it.
Killstreaks have been replaced by Pointstreaks
Wave goodbye to Killstreaks. In Modern Warfare 3, players are rewarded with Pointstreak bonuses for racking up kills and earning points via objectives. Pointstreak bonuses are separated into three different categories called Strike Packages – Assault, Support and Specialist – with a total of 28 different rewards, the majority of which you’ll recognize from MW2′s killstreak bonuses. Deathstreaks do still exist, however. You can see the full list of Modern Warfare 3′s Pointstreaks here.
Pointstreaks stack/reset depending on which Strike Package you select
This is the one that we found took the most getting used to. Pointstreaks now stack/reset depending on which Strike Package you choose. Pointstreaks within the Assault Strike Package chain but reset upon death. Pointstreaks within the Support Strike Package do not chain but do not reset. The Specialist Strike Package meanwhile does not offer Pointstreaks, but offers rewards in the forms of additional perks offered for every two consecutive kills up to a maximum of three. Those bonus perks will last until death. Take a look at the full list of perks here.
You can control drones
Like in Homefront, certain Strike Packages let players take control of drones, including a minigun-equipped ground-based support drone and a helicopter recon drone, each controllable via a third-person camera. Unfortunately, at the time of writing we hadn’t yet had the chance to try them out.
Weapons level up
Weapons now level up in exactly the same way as players do, with further bonuses, rewards and attachments unlocking for each weapon the more you use it. Called ‘Weapon Proficiency’, examples of unlockable bonuses include ‘Kick’ which reduces recoil, and ‘Impact’ which gives bullets more damage. Customisable dots and laser sights will also unlock as you rank up your weapon.
Pointstreaks take slightly longer to activate than killstreaks
The animation that triggers when players activate Pointstreaks takes about a second longer to complete than it did to activate Killstreaks in previous Call of Duty games, which can take a little getting used to. You’ll have to think about when to activate your Strike Packages a lot more carefully in Modern Warfare 3 to ensure not being caught without a weapon.
You can use the d-pad to activate specific Pointstreak rewards
Rather than only being able to activate the latest Pointstreak reward, you’re now able to select which one to activate by pushing up and down on the d-pad. Icons on the lower right-hand side of the screen tell you which Strike Packages you have available and which is currently selected.
COD Points and Wager Matches have been removed
Yup, Black Ops’ prime ‘innovations’ have both been removed in favour of a more traditional Call of Duty experience. As mentioned earlier, new unlocks are unlocked through a combination of player and weapon experience.
No Achievements/Trophies in multiplayer component
Just as in previous Call of Duty titles, there will be no Achievements/Trophies to earn in Modern Warfare 3′s multiplayer. Infinity Ward suggested that adding Achievements/Trophies into multiplayer would promote foul play.
There is a new Prestige Shop
The new Prestige Shop lets players select a specific upgrade whenever they prestige. There look to be around 10-15 upgrades in total, and include options to add extra custom classes, add more attachments onto your weapons, double your XP, or reset your stats. One thing’s for sure: Modern Warfare 3 will keep you occupied for a long time.
The new Kill Confirmed game mode is similar to Halo: Reach’s Headhunter
Kill Confirmed has players picking up the dog tags of downed enemies in order to score points, with the match ending when the team retrieves a certain number of dog tags. Unlike Headhunter, however, dead opponents will only drop one pair of dog tags regardless of how many people they’ve killed. You can also deny the enemy a point by retrieving a dead teammate’s dog tags before the enemy retrieves them.
There will be 20 pieces of DLC in the first year of launch
And it won’t all just be multiplayer maps; Spec Ops missions, new game modes and ‘more’ have been confirmed to be on the way as DLC. Activision reckons the first year’s worth of DLC will retail at $60, but you’ll get it all for no additional cost if you sign up to Call of Duty Elite’s premium service.
Premium Call of Duty Elite members will be given access to DLC first
Probably the most controversial of all the news to come out of Call of Duty XP, premium Call of Duty Elite subscribers will be given access to individual maps and content on a monthly basis, while non-subscribers will have to wait for a full DLC pack every three months. A premium Call of Duty Elite subscription will cost $49.99 per year, although a UK price is yet to be announced. As in previous Call of Duty games, the content will also be available on Xbox 360 before PlayStation 3 and PC.
Facebook integration lets you keep tabs on friends
You’ll now be able to see exactly what your Facebook friends are up to in Modern Warfare 3 by linking your Facebook account to the game.
MW2′s game-ending Nuke has been removed
Need we say more?
We’ll have much more on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3′s multiplayer and Call of Duty XP tonight and throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 launches on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and PC on November 8th.
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