How Modern Warfare 3 Changes The Call Of Duty Multiplayer Game Yet Again

How Modern Warfare 3 Changes The Call Of Duty Multiplayer Game Yet Again

Year after year, how can Call of Duty‘s massive online shooter remain fresh? With Modern Warfare 3, the game’s developers have focused on what works — player progression, extensive customisation, tons of maps and game modes — and are blowing it out.

Activision offered a first look at Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 the night before Call of Duty XP officially kicks off. I liked what I saw, even if I’m not the kind of Call of Duty player capable of a 15 kill-long killstreak.

It’s still the same hyperfast, 60 frames per second kill or be killed war game at its core: lots of guns, plenty of carnage, tons of explosive action. But developers Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer games are experimenting with a few new gameplay innovations that are designed to both deepen the experience and make playing multiplayer a little bit easier on the casual Call of Duty fan.

Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling promised “more changes to the core experience than we ever have before” and “the most balanced multiplayer experience we’ve ever done” at a preview of the game at Call of Duty XP. He and Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey blazed through a long list of new additions and tweaks to the very successful multiplayer formula of Call of Duty.

They even dove deeply into the waters of Call of Duty Elite, which you can read about right here. On the multiplayer side, here’s what’s new in Modern Warfare 3.

Modern Warfare 3’s New Strike Packages and Pointstreaks

Before I get into the meat of what Strike Packages mean for Modern Warfare 3, say goodbye to the killstreak. And say hello to pointstreaks, all 28 of them. No longer will player kills be the only way to build up streaks. Sure, kills still count, but in MW3, completing objectives in gametypes like Capture the Flag and Seek and Destroy will reward players with points they can cash in to call in recon drones, attack helicopters, sentries and other power-ups. Kill assists count toward pointstreak numbers too, letting supporting players, not just the dominant virtual marksman have all the fun.


Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling explained the change at Call of Duty XP, saying “the killstreak system was optimised for one game type: Team Deathmatch.” Now, players will be rewarded more handsomely for actually completing each gametype’s objectives.

Modern Warfare 3‘s pointstreaks come in three groups, dubbed Strike Packages. Players can customise their classes with one of three Strike Packages, adding a new layer of personalisation to COD multiplayer. The three types are Assault, Support and Specialist. Each has its own list of ‘streaks. Here they are.

If you like “big body counts, the Assault package is for you. With Assault, you can call in UAVs and care package drops, naturally, but this is also where the big guns live: assault helicopters, AC130, Predator missiles, mortar strikes, Juggernaut suits. Assault brings the pain. Your streak count will reset every time you die, if you go for the Assault Strike Package.

Support is about “helping the team win,” not just stacking your body count. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? For the less aggressive team player, Support deals in ‘streaks that lean more defensive. This includes the option to drop a remote gun turret, call in a hacked airdrop, deploy ballistic vests to your team, drop an EMP or, ultimately, call in an Osprey gunship that also delivers five airdrop packages (one of them hacked). With Support, your streak count will not reset upon death.

Finally, Specialist is all about perks. Become a super soldier with Specialist, which lets players stack on additional perks. You’ll get up to six perks — including Sleight of Hand, Hardline, Recon, et al — as the ‘streaks pile up. After your eighth kill, however, you get every perk available to you. You become a monster.

Here are a few of the new perks coming in Modern Warfare 3.

  • Recon — Explosive damage paints the target on the mini map
  • Blind Eye — Undetectable by air support/sentries
  • Assassin — Undetectable by UAV, portable radar, thermal, heartbeat
  • Quickdraw — Faster aim down sight
  • Stalker — Move faster while aiming
  • Marksman — Identify targets at longer range

Some perks you wont see return in MW3. “No One Man Army, no Nuke, no Commando and no Last Stand,” Infinity Ward promises.

New Progression

Another big change to Modern Warfare multiplayer is Weapon Proficiencies, a new levelling system for firearms. Basically, the more often you use a weapon in MW3, whether it’s an assault rifle, handgun, shotgun or sniper rifle, the better that weapon gets. In real terms, this means players can reduce gun sway, decrease recoil and add more attachments over time — among other things.

Oh, and if you really just adore player progression and experience points, know that the levelling up of Modern Warfare‘s multiplayer has been adapted for the Modern Warfare 3‘s version of Spec-Ops mode. You can read more about that mode right here.

Modern Warfare 3’s New Gameplay Modes

Competitive multiplayer in Modern Warfare 3 will be expanded with at least two new prominent gameplay modes, Kill Confirmed and Team Defender.

You may have seen a snippet of Kill Confirmed in the leaked-early multiplayer trailer. That’s the one with the big glowing dog tags that drop from corpses. Those dog tags are how players confirm kills in this Team Deathmatch variant. Kills don’t count as a point for your team until you or one of you allies grabs a dead man’s dropped dog tags. That adds an intriguing layer of strategy to Team Deathmatch, as opposing players can grab the dog tags of their fallen teammates before you do. And if they see one of their comrades lying dead, dog tags floating above their body, they’ll know where your headed if you want to score.


Team Defender, which I didn’t get to preview, is a Capture The Flag variant, just without the flag return. Hold onto an enemy flag for as long as possible, sticking together as a team to survive.

There will also be new Private Match game types added to MW3, each of which has been “significantly enhanced to allow players to create new, customisable game modes” that they can share with friends. “Through [Call of Duty Elite] , subscribers can vote on favourite new modes and those modes could make their way into public playlists,” Activision says. Here are those new Private Match modes.

  • Infection — The infected kills enemies to recruit them for the infected team.
  • Drop Zone — Hold the Drop Zone for Team Points and Care Packages.
  • Team Juggernaut — With the support of a juggernaut, kill players on the opposing team. The first team to reach the score limit wins.
  • Juggernaut — Kill the Juggernaut to become the new Juggernaut.
  • Gun Game — Be the first to dominate with every gun.
  • One in the Chamber — Gain ammo by eliminating enemies. Be the last to survive.

We’ll have hands-on time with Modern Warfare 3 (and much more) from the Call of Duty XP convention this weekend.


  • Wow, do I spy halo game modes? Juggernaut? Infection? Oddball with a different name? Honestly, none of this excites me. It will still be the same experience for the casual player. Spawn on your side of the map, map is so small you can get picked off in seconds by people 1000 times better than you….ragequit

  • i like the sound of ditched the killstreaks im sick of kids with kill streaks think they good.

    But still not getting this going to wait for my friends to tell whether its a broken piece of shit like last 2 games

  • “Sure, kills still count, but in MW3, completing objectives in gametypes like Capture the Flag and Seek and Destroy will reward players with points they can cash in to call in recon drones, attack helicopters, sentries and other power-ups.”

    So, Call of Duty is Homefront.

  • so i stopped reading at pointstreaks.

    IMO Killstreaks were awesome in Cod 4 because they were balanced.

    From MW2 since they have been crap, Combined with the broken spawn system.

    The fact that the kill streak’s highlight giant Red diamonds around any target whether they are inside or not moving. You’ve been given a super powerful weapon why do you need aim assist.

    and then thing’s like you can’t call in this KS because the other team currently has it deployed. How is that balanced. If i call in a Helicopter when they do they should cancel each other out.(Or at least fight each other so that if the players help their heli destroy the opponent’s they get rewarded by getting to keep theirs

    • Yeah COD4 was brilliant because of the clean, simple, elegant balance of it. It was like they then came to make MW2 and said “ok, we had 3 killstreaks last time, so we have to have 5 times that many this time. 1 weapon attachment? Let’s have 2.” The approach just seemed to be “more is better”, and in the process they destroyed what made COD4 great.

  • I’ve played COD Black Cops at a friend’s house quite a bit and it was ok but the maps needed to be bigger. That paris one looks cool though.
    Battlefield 3 looks like it might take a big chunk of the FPS market share away from COD, as long as it is innovative, and not just ‘doing the same, only better’.

  • I’m even more excited now-I’m glad they are attempting to remove the uneven playingfield that exists at the moment. They are trying to make the game more accessible to all, which benefits everyone in the long term.

    • I don’t think this will remove the uneven playing field. I consider myself very good at black ups, consistently being MVP for team deathmatch. I can’t see that changing if after 8 kills I now have a whopping six perks. Shit would just die. 8 kills is easily attainable- this will not help the less talented- it will make it harder for them to get kills. Throw in support pointstreaks (which you don’t lose when you die) and the good players are going to get another healthy boost. It won’t change a thing.

      In other news, that system sounds similar to medal of honors- which is to say, very fun.

  • Why do they keep adding new gameplay modes?

    Everyone knows that 90% of servers will be 24/7 TDM on Nuketown (or this game’s equivalent)

    I could not be more over call of duty. After black ops, which had builds that were actually broken and they never bothered fixing (the infamous ‘knife build’, which was a holdover from MW2 they never fixed…) the multiplayer has become a joke. It hasn’t been even remotley balanced since CoD4.

    • This is why I preferred the matchmaking MP of MW2. With this kind of game you can’t have dedicated servers because most servers will run TDM 24/7 on the smallest map.

      With the matchmaking system it forced diversity which in the case of the online experience one gets with a military shooter like this is a good thing.

      • You preferred matchmaking. Enough said.

        CoD4 was not 95% 24/7 shipment. The problem is twofold, its the community now and its the way the game is balanced now.

    • Multiplayer was SO MUCH better in Black Ops than it was in MW2–I always laugh when people claim the opposite. It’s staggering how incorrect they are.

  • So wait, you players get better at using certain weapons the more the use them in MP? So much for popping into a random server to play a match. If you’re not a 24/7 CoD MP fanboy you really won’t be able to enjoy the odd fair match between playing other games after a couple of months.

    • I don’t think the difference will be as dramatic as it sounds. The only people who will suffer are those who just aren’t good in an FPS game who will be crap regardless of how long they play. If you’re a decent player you’ll be fine.

      • I think it does matter.

        in fact the entire point to a competitive and balanced FPS which CoD claims to be.

        Is that everyone has equal opportunity the only thing that should dictate 2 people duking it out with mp5’s is skill. Not the fact that this was day 1 with an MP5 for player A so his recoil and accuracy with the gun are worse than player B who has 10 hours with the gun

  • Bring it on. Let’s banish the awful CODBLOPS from memory. Also thinking I might need to ditch the PS3 and get an XBOX. This game has so clearly been first written for the XBOX it’s not even a joke anymore, it’s all the evidence you need that Sony being walked all over by Microsoft.

    • I have to laugh every time people put down Black Ops. It was light years better than that trashfest Modern Warfare 2–from the single player campaign to the additions to multiplayer… the entire package put MW2 to shame.

  • Perhaps I missing something, but why is this post grouped under “Nintendo” at the top of the page? Is COD3 getting a 3ds release or what?

    • Because only the games YOU play are the ones everyone else should be playing, right? We’ll make a note of it. Nite.

  • i had a look at the link alinos posted, looks like the levels go beyond 70 (highest i saw was a 77 unlock for a portable radar).

    After 4 WW2 games, people complained and got sick of them, this would be the 3rd in the MW series annd i can tell you im getting sick of it

  • My thought about all the things people are complaining about, have a sad, you don’t like it? Don’t buy it and go and develop your own game which will be better

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