Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare's Giant, Chaotic Maps Are Frustrating

Image: Activision

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launched on October 25, bringing changes to the multiplayer that the community once only dreamed about, like free maps for all. But the design of those maps isn’t playing out very well.

For the first time ever, this year’s Call of Duty features cross-play functionality to bring players together across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Modern Warfare is also ditching the DLC season pass in favour of free maps for everyone, continuing this year’s theme to keep everyone playing together. Unsavoury loot boxes have even been scrapped for a Fortnite-style battle pass reward system, which is scheduled as post-launch content, returning the Call of Duty community to a time before guns and camos were all a big gamble.

Unfortunately, I have to keep reminding myself of the positive aspects as I slog through multiplayer matches. The design of Modern Warfare’s maps is a little too ambitious. My estimation might be slightly exaggerated, but there are roughly one million doors, windows, sneaky corners, and flanking routes packed into these new maps.

This Call of Duty allows you to open and close doors, which can be a great feature when you want to just crack a door open for a quick peek or to toss a stun grenade, but some of the maps present far too many options.

In previous Call of Duty games, I could easily pick a path to flank opponents with a quick rush, but Modern Warfare forces me to downshift my playstyle. I’m still learning which doors are just décor and which might cause my flanking route to backfire.

The community is often split when it comes to opinions on map design. Some players, myself included, love the classic three-lane-style maps present in many of Treyarch’s Black Ops games and Sledgehammer’s Call of Duty: WWII, but others feel they’re predictable and boring.

Modern Warfare almost completely veers away from Call of Duty’s recent design trends, with the map “Gun Runner” being one of the few that still have a traditional feel. Most maps have a chaotic layout of buildings with an overly generous number of doors and windows. It’s very easy to play cautiously but still get shot in the back.

Screenshot: Aniyah Palace

There’s also the issue of map size. Modern Warfare’s beta definitely showcased the stronger designs within the pool of launch maps, especially making everything feel tailored to fit each individual mode. The 2-v-2 Gunfight mode has small maps perfect for keeping the action close, and 32-v-32 Ground War maps accommodate the large-scale warfare. But not all of the standard multiplayer maps have a fitting size.

“Aniyah Palace” is a giant map that feels ill-suited for the 10-v-10 matches, especially if you’re playing Headquarters. The map was most likely designed for the larger 20-v-20 modes, but its sheer size doesn’t work well for smaller matches. Headquarters is a King of the Hill-style respawn mode that requires teams capture a rotation of “headquarters” locations for points, but if you die before a Headquarters location is revealed, you’ll never make it out of the spawn in time to help your team capture. There’s one ATV near the spawn for teammates to fight over, leaving the rest of the pack to face a gruelling sprint towards the objective points.

The palace could be a less frustrating map simply if some of the outer portions could be trimmed away. My best advice for you if you’re playing on Aniyah Palace is to make use of the tactical insertion field upgrade to spawn closer to the action.

Also, map size can easily be adjusted for smaller 6-v-6 and 10-v-10 modes by scaling down the playable area of the larger maps, which is something Battlefield has done in the past when hosting a smaller Team Deathmatch on maps initially designed for warfare on a massive scale.

Modern Warfare’s maps aren’t horrible, but they’re not all ideal for Call of Duty, and have frustrating learning curves. Map design plays a huge role in replayability of a game like Call of Duty, where players can quickly get bored or frustrated if the maps aren’t fun to play. I hope Infinity Ward takes community feedback in consideration for the upcoming DLC maps. Even if the designs are chaotic clusters of buildings, maybe they’ll still scale back on the number of windows, doors, and campy nooks.


Comments

    Yeh the maps are rough. This is the fastest I've fallen off a Call of Duty release. I feel like they've tried to go too 'Battlefield' on it but with the TTK so low and so many angles to get shot from, its just a frustrating mess. I appreciate the slower pace to the maps in theory so maybe it's just a case of raising the TTK and closing up some windows?

      Me and my son are playing and we both agree that TTK is very fast. But I thought that was a trademark of COD?

      We're both still having a blast tbh tho. This is the most fun I've had with FPS multi for a long time. It's usually not my thing but I really like the quick matches. 20min hit and then do something else, looking forward to playing later? That's perfect for me.

    Hmm, yeah I have been having a blast during beta and launch weekend. I ditched BLOPS4 immediately as I couldn't get anywhere with it. Here I'm finding it much easier to get in on the action and have fun. Don't get me wrong, I die a lot - but get enough success to be worth it. I've topped the match table a few times, something I never managed on other CoDs. However, last night I finally had a round where I felt just like fighting an up-hill battle, being sniped and hit from nowhere constantly, including spawning areas, and it was just not fun. I hope that was a blip from an overall out-matched team - and not that my fun only lasted until everyone else learned to master the maps...

    Its really easy to sum up what the problem is with Modern Warfare, its a game with the objective of being the best at killing the other players. It's also a game that severely punishes you for actively looking for other players to kill. Right now its a matter of the most passive players that can sit still the longest win. I said years ago K/D was a terrible stat to track this is the culmination of that. K/D really means nothing about skill but its been mistaken to mean everything and over the years it turned camping for being a reviled hated and ridiculed way of playing to being "A legit strategy".

    I like the more open and less predictable maps. Though I am likely in the minority because to me Nuketown in CoD and Operation Metro in BF are amongst the worst designed maps in FPS history.

      Amen to this. Unfortunately it's always the mindless simple maps that become the most popular in these games.

    The game is much much better off IMHO with the maps in this game. There needs to be enough options to force the player to think uniquely about their approach to each area of the map, each time they get there.

    Otherwise it’s just a game for those who play nothing else.

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