This past weekend, Activision held the first ever Call of Duty XP Event. Sparing no expense over the course of two days, attendees participated in painful rounds of multiplayer set in a life-sized recreation of MW3 map, Scrapyard; engaged in multiple tournaments encompassing the last four Call of Duty titles with a million dollars up for grabs; and even got to plummet down a military-style zipline, hopefully with a soft landing.
But the big news to emerge from the event was the unveiling of Modern Warfare 3's new multiplayer mode. The game's been doing the rounds for months now, but all we've been privy to thus far has been the explosive, rip-roaring campaign. However, with November fast approaching, Activision is well-aware they must re-introduce their millions-strong online fanbase to their new-look surroundings. MW3 presents the biggest overhaul to Call of Duty's multiplayer since the original Modern Warfare cracked it, but is Activision risking an upset?
We all love Call of Duty's killstreaks system - who doesn't enjoy calling in a pack of ravenous mutts or piloting an aerial death-machine - but let's face it, they're a little overpowered and inelegant. Especially in Modern Warfare 2. Infinity Ward is well-aware that their last game sacrificed the fine-tuned gun-on-gun play of the original Modern Warfare for an aerially-dominated affair in the sequel. Even when hackers weren't calling in unlimited care-packages, a wily player can dominate a game with a few harriers or helicopters, lapping up the points from afar.
It's all been changed for Modern Warfare 3, however. Killstreaks don't actually exist - in name, at least - replaced by what Infinity Ward have dubbed 'Pointstreaks'. Designed to tailor to specific play-styles, Pointstreaks have been designed to cater not just for players looking to rack up kills, but selfless folk who capture points and flags, too, in much-overlooked objective games. It all comes down to 'Strike Packages', a unique list of pointstreaks you can employ depending on how you choose to play.
It's still too early to tell, but already the Pointstreak system sounds a lot more balanced and enjoyable than killstreaks. Yes, splitting them up into 'Strike Packages' limits your options from the offset, but in reality it's all about how you play. MW3 is being designed to cater to all its players, not just the ruthless lot who rack up kills at the expense of their team score. And it's not like Infinity Ward is skimping on the pointstreak rewards. You can unlock and pilot a mini-chopper, scouring the map for targets and to fire at from its little cannon!
Perks & Proficiencies
Next up, 'Proficiencies'. Think of them as gun-centric perks, except you can only choose one, not three. 'Kick', for instance, reduces recoil; whereas with 'Impact', your bullets penetrate walls and other solid surfaces with ease. Again, it's yet another example of Infinity Ward tailoring MW3 to cater to all different forms of play. Furthermore, it removes weapon-centric perks from the list, retrofitting them as Proficiencies and allowing Infinity Ward to free up the passive perk selection to further bolster your choices.
Proficiencies also tie into MW3's new weapon XP system. Say, for instance, you're a fan of the M4A1, and you spend a considerable amount of time racking up kills and challenges with it. You'll then earn XP exclusive to that rifle, which can be spent on attachments, camo or Proficiencies. It's similar to Black Ops' COD Points system, yet instead of an all-encompassing currency that can be spent on anything and is increased by everything, MW3's weapons earn unique XP that can only be spent on that particular gun, engendering a sense of attachment and ensuring that when you stumble on beefed-up assault rifle or shotgun on the ground, you know it belongs to a skilled player.
Proficiencies, despite sounding like yet another marketing bullet-point to stamp on the back of the box, could prove to be a very interesting addition to MW3's multiplayer. It was always a headache juggling passive ability perks such as Sleight of Hand or Marathon with weapon-centric counterparts like Stopping Power or Iron Lungs. By removing the latter, it separates the passive abilities from those that enhance weapons, ensuring players can craft a specific class loadout with little to no compromise.
Kill Not Confirmed
As it stands, it remains to be seen how the vast majority of Call of Duty players accept the changes made in Modern Warfare 3. Even if the result isn't spectacular, I doubt it would prompt a mass exodus. Fans will simply make peace and adapt, or return to previous CoD games they prefer. Black Ops, for instance, irked the diehard CoD faithful with changes to perk loadout, weapon proficiency and especially the hamstrung sniping features. But that didn't stop Treyarch's shooter shattering sales records and shifting twenty million units worldwide.
In the end, CoD fans want more CoD, and thus, MW3 will deliver. Personally, I feel the changes Infinity Ward have made represent a return to the original ideals patented by the original Modern Warfare, with an emphasis on finely tuned gunplay and a carefully selected loadout of
But we can't make this decision all by ourselves! We need your help, Dealspwners. What do you think about the changes being made for Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer? Do they excite you, or put you off? Sign off below.