With Call of Duty: WWII, Activision is making some significant changes to the series' multiplayer mode, including new social features and a complete overhaul of the perks and class systems.
During livestreams and panel discussions at E3 last week, developers from Sledgehammer Games went into detail about the changes that the studio has made for the latest Call of Duty, which like the series' first instalments is set during World War II. Sledgehammer will take Call of Duty out of the future and back to its gameplay roots: no more wall running, jetpack boosting, or energy weapons. That's the obvious one. But here's what else is happening:
A fun new way to wait
You can expect new ways to interact with other players in Call of Duty: WWII. During the E3 Coliseum panel discussions, multiplayer designer, Greg Reisdorf explained Call of Duty's new social experience, called Headquarters. You can test weapons and your aim with the Firing Range, challenge players to 1v1 duels in a pit, and more.
Headquarters will host up to 48 players at a time, and this new social space is where you'll be hanging out while waiting for a match to start.
The multiplayer footage shown at E3 was largely set in the game's new asymmetric, objective-based mode, called War. This new mode offers tanks and teamwork on a grander scale than ever before seen in Call of Duty. You'll start as either the Allies or Axis forces to complete a series of different objectives, as either the attacker or the defender. After playing as one faction, you'll switch sides and experience the mode from the other side of the battlefield.
The Create-A-Class option for weapon loadouts has been swapped out for Divisions. After you load into Headquarters when you select the Multiplayer mode, you'll "enlist" in one of the five Divisions, each of which has its own weaponry:
- Infantry: Assault rifle
- Airborne: Submachine gun
- Armoured: Light machine gun
- Mountain: Sniper rifle
- Expeditionary: Shotgun
Sledgehammer has confirmed you'll still be able to customise your weapon classes to fit your play style, despite the removal of Create-A-Class.
Perks aren't called perks anymore
Perks have been around since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's multiplayer, but Call of Duty: WWII is replacing the perk system with Basic Training and the new Divisions. This sounds confusing, but Basic Training is essentially just a revamped perk system which is tied into the five Divisions. Progression with Basic Training will unlock abilities, which can be used in any Division you choose. [Update, 6:10 pm: This paragraph, when originally published, incorrectly stated when Perks were added to Call of Duty, and has been updated.]
In addition to Basic Training abilities, each Division will have its own unique skill sets which can be upgraded with challenges and progression in Division Training. For example, if you're enlisted in the Mountain Division, the unique abilities you upgrade will only be available to use within that Division. If you want to know more, YouTuber DooM Clan has a thorough breakdown of Divisions and Training.
Play of the game
The iconic KillCam has been around since its introduction in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, but my observation of E3 footage shows Sledgehammer is replacing the replay of the final kill from the winning team with a highlighted moment from the match. The change to the KillCam was confirmed by Charlie Intel during a hands-on experience at E3.
If the upcoming changes to the franchise intrigue you, Call of Duty: WWII will have a private multiplayer beta from August 25-28 on PS4. A second beta will launch on September 1-4 for PS4 and Xbox One. The beta is a preorder incentive, however.