Activision is changing the way it does Call of Duty DLC with Modern Warfare. In a blog post today, it detailed the game-changing overhaul that upcoming shooter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare has undergone to make the game and its economy more equitable and fair.
New maps and game modes introduced after the launch of Modern Warfare will be free for all players, Activision said, and go live simultaneously on all platforms. That way, content that significantly impacts the game isn’t totally reserved for the players who shell out lots of extra money, and Xbox owners won’t have to wait for timed exclusives to be up. The game will also feature cross-play between platforms.
There will be no loot boxes in Modern Warfare, Activision said. Instead, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will have a battle pass system, much like those of Fortnite, Apex Legends, Rocket League, etc. Players can unlock weapons, attachments, and other content that can affect game balance as part of either a free or premium content stream—and that’s all just through playing. As the post says, the streams “will feature a variety of cosmetic content that does not impact game balance.”
“The new Battle Pass system will allow players to see the content that they are earning or buying,” Activision wrote. “Battle Passes will launch timed to new, post-launch live seasons, so you can unlock cool new Modern Warfare-themed content that matches each season.”
Call of Duty’s microtransactions in Black Ops 4 were pretty unpopular. Expensive skins or emblems received big discounts shortly after lots of players purchased them; a reticle—yes, a red dot—was being sold for $1, which isn’t a lot, but still felt money-grabby to regular players. Its pricey and inconsistent loot box system irked people, too. In fact, developers told Kotaku that they weren’t fans of the microtransaction system, either, in our investigation of Black Ops 4’s development.
Unfortunately—maybe even predictably—the battle pass system won’t launch on October 25 alongside Modern Warfare. Activision said that’s so players have “the chance to work their way through the new game and unlock all the rewards that are waiting for you.” It will go live “later this year.”
Call of Duty: Mobile is an addictive multiplayer game that even the most casual mobile player can enjoy, but also one that even hardcore console players like myself might find to be surprisingly compelling.
Developed by Tencent’s TiMi Studios, Call of Duty: Mobile launched worldwide on October 1 as a free-to-play game for Android and iOS devices. Personally, I was skeptical of the replay value. How much would I really play a mobile Call of Duty when I already spend so much time on the console versions?
I admit I’ve never really had much interest in mobile gaming. Most of my attempts at gaming on the go have ended after only a few matches. I’ve downloaded and uninstalled the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds twice after only a match or two. Friends recommend mobile games to me, and I almost never make it through the tutorials. None of the games were bad, I just never really cared to play anything on my phone.
However, I’m a sucker for good fanservice, and I found myself enjoying the first few matches of Call of Duty: Mobile. The game contains a mashup of fan-favorite maps, modes, and characters from the older Dutys. There are classic maps like “Crash” and “Killhouse” from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and “Nuketown” from the Black Ops series. There’s even a battle royale mode to compete with PUBGMobile. It’s completely different from Black Ops 4’s Blackout map, but also boasts a mix of new and classic Call of Duty locations.
The iconic maps also look great on mobile. I played on my Samsung Galaxy S9, and it definitely beats the graphics of PUBG Mobile, but I expected Call of Duty to take that win. Sorry, PUBG.
In addition to the warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia, the controls are surprisingly good for a mobile experience. I expected to be really clumsy-thumbsy with my movement, but there’s a decent tutorial and several options to tweak your controls. Of course, you can be fancier than me and play Call of Duty: Mobile on a PC with the help of an emulator. A keyboard and mouse will probably make your experience even better than mine.
Mobile Call of Duty feels pretty padded with bots in the early levels, making this an easy game to pick up for really casual players or mobile noobs like myself. Once I gained more confidence aiming with the touchscreen, I moved from standard multiplayer to a ranked playlist, which seems to pair me up with more human players than bots.
Call of Duty is known for being an arcade-style shooter that is easier to pick up and play than most others in the genre, so it seems smart that the mobile version also caters to a wide range of skills. Call of Duty: Mobile even gives you the option to play solely against bots, and since you can select the “simple” hip-firing aim, even your cool, non-gaming grandma might be able to reach some major killstreaks.
Unsurprisingly, Call of Duty: Mobile is an absolute grind, a free-to-play game packed full of seriously outlandish microtransactions. There are several camos just for grenades, and I’m not totally sure why anyone would want camos for grenades or tactical equipment. You only see the equipment in your hand for a mere second or two before you throw it. Thankfully, you don’t need to pay anything to enjoy the game. You can just dodge all the offers to buy additional cosmetics or level progression with COD Points, Call of Duty’s digital currency.
Slow progression might make the battle royale fanatics antsy, as you have to reach level 7 before unlocking that mode. It also takes forever to just to reach level 33 and unlock a third weapon loadout for multiplayer. Call of Duty: Mobile wants you to become impatient, open your wallet, and speed things up by buying COD Points in bulk just to progress faster.
The weapon variants in Call of Duty: Mobile are mostly just pretty cosmetics. I do have some that offer a perk for slightly faster sprint or reload times, but I haven’t witnessed any guns with unreal stats like unlimited range or a huge fire rate increase. Stat-based weapon variants of that caliber would make the playing field extremely unbalanced, and would kill my desire to play this game.
For me, it seems to be nostalgia paired with the slow and steady grind that keeps me playing. I complete challenges and level up the same way I’ve enjoyed the progression in Black Ops 4, without spending anything extra to level up. It’s been a full week since launch, and I’m still playing the multiplayer and battle royale modes on a daily basis. This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with a mobile game.
I’m definitely not the only one jumping on the mobile hype. Reuters has already reported that the mobile version of Call of Duty has pulled in 100 million downloads in just the first week. This early success greatly overshadows the numbers of the competition, as the mobile version of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds brought in just over 26 million in week one, and Fortnite only earned 22.5 million downloads in its first week on mobile.
Call of Duty: Mobile is a battery-draining juggernaut that is making a splash in the world of mobile shooters, especially in the battle royale realm. The game is definitely worth the download, especially for fans feeling the burnout from a year of Black Ops 4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare releases on October 25, at which time my focus will likely shift back to console multiplayer, but I think it’ll still offer a good fix for my battle royale cravings.
For all the game’s explosive bombast, some of Modern Warfare’s most enduring moments come from its quietest level, the stealth stage All Ghillied Up that’s set in the decaying city of Pripyat, scene of the Chernobyl disaster.
From the inspiration behind it (games like the classic Airborn Ranger) to the way it was worked into the story to the immense amount of scripting required to get things feeling so tense, this is a fascinating look behind the scenes at one of modern gaming’s greatest experiences.
Call Of Duty: Mobile was released worldwide earlier this week for Android and iOS devices. It’s a strange mix of different maps, guns, and mechanics from various Call Of Duty games from the past. It also is developed by a company that is owned by Tencent. So I decided to load up CoD: Mobile on Tencent’s official Android emulator on PC and gave the game a spin with mouse and keyboard.
If you don’t know, back in July, Tencent launched GameLoop which is an official emulator on PC that allows players to download and play a select number of mobile games on their computer using a mouse and keyboard controls. It launched with support for mobile PUBG and has continued to get updated, with new games being added to the service as they launch.
Because Tencent is involved in the development and release of Call Of Duty: Mobile I decided to see if GameLoop would support COD: Mobile. I had played a few matches on my phone and enjoyed it, but it felt like I would have more fun with better controls. (Although the touch controls are surprisingly good, some of the best I’ve come across in a mobile shooter.) So I downloaded GameLoop and discovered that, yes, COD: Mobile does indeed support the emulator.
Playing COD: Mobile on a PC is a very strange experience. Visually it doesn’t look as good as previous games in the franchise. Which makes sense. This was developed for phones. But it looks a lot better than I expected and it ran at 60fps. (Most of the time.) The mix of maps from different games also made the experience of playing COD: Mobile on PC feel strange. Like I was playing some weird combination of multiple Call Of Duty games rebuilt in Unity.
But COD: Mobile played with a mouse feels sooooo much better than with touch controls. That seems obvious, but Tencent has done a great job making it feel great on mouse and keyboard. It doesn’t feel like I’m playing some weird hacked together port of a mobile game. Instead, I often forgot I was playing what is really a free-to-play Android game. Well, that is until it asked me a dozen times to buy credits and battle pass XP. Then it became clear that this was indeed a big, free-to-play shooter.
And to be clear, this is totally allowed. I’m not breaking any rules or cheating. This is an official way to play COD: Mobile on PC. It sometimes feels like cheating, however. You see, a mouse and keyboard are very accurate ways to control a game compared to a small touchscreen. So I would often dominate matches. Yes, the game has a lot of bots in its matches, but even when real players showed up I felt like I was doing much better than I usually do in Call Of Duty.
The biggest advantage the mouse gives me over mobile players is the ability to turn around fast when I hear a gunshot or take damage from behind. Being able to whip around, line up a target and fire in a second makes it hard for mobile players to get the drop on me. I also found I could win long-distance fights better, possibly due to the mouse but also a larger screen with a higher resolution probably helped too.
Another nice thing is that my progress between mobile and PC is shared. So if you are playing or planning on playing COD: Mobile and you have a decent PC, you might want to grab the GameLoop emulator and play with a good mouse and keyboard. You’ll feel like a pro player and you can still play on mobile when you are away from your PC.
Just remember, even though COD: Mobile is better on a PC, it is still filled with tons of microtransactions, loot crates, battle passes, and other annoying monetization options. Some of it feels unfair, like letting players unlock new attachments for guns with real money. And sadly, playing with a mouse won’t get rid of these parts of Call Of Duty: Mobile. They’ll just make it easier to close them when they pop-up.
After being in rigorous beta testing across multiple countries since July, Activision and Tencent’s Call of Duty: Mobile is go for iOS and Android devices everywhere but mainland China, Vietnam, and Belgium. Battle across recognizable maps, fight as iconic heroes like Ghost and Soap, and participate in a battle royale the likes of which you’ve probably seen before.
It’s free to play; it’s mobile; it’s what a console Call of Duty might look like if people weren’t so down on microtransactions and loot boxes. They really should have subtitled it “Mobile Warfare.” Beneath the icon in the iTunes search results it says “Visceral Multiplayer!” which sounds like a thing Call of Duty players are keen on.
The game runs in landscape mode instead of portrait (wide instead of tall), which was a great decision, Mario Kart Tour. The gameplay isn’t too shabby. It looks nice on my iPhone XR. It’s all aiming and auto-firing, but it works well on a small touchscreen
The focus is on progression, with new gear unlocked as players climb the ranks and access new loadout slots. Weapons have experience levels as well, with better mods and attachments unlocked at higher levels. There’s a store filled with cosmetic stuff to purchase and play with, daily login bonuses, special events—basically plenty of things to clutter up its nice-looking home screen.
Players can purchase in-game currency with real cash to help them make their soldier and weapons look all pretty. There’s a “Cash Back” event going on right now that involves getting bonuses for purchasing currency and makes me feel like I am trying to finance a car every time I load up the game. This is Activision and Tencent, so expect plenty of ridiculous things to buy and ways to buy them.
As for the Battle Royale, it supports up to 100 players, pulls together map locations from across many different Call of Duty games, and isn’t unlocked until level 7, which might take me a while. You’ll probably get there first. Let me know how it is.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s recent cross-play beta brought platforms together for large-scale, 64-player multiplayer matches. While it feels quite different from Battlefield, the new style of gameplay worked quite well.
The “Ground War” mode itself is not new, but in previous Call of Duty games it just meant a slightly increased player count of 12 to 18 players on standard multiplayer maps. Modern Warfare goes much bigger in this new 32v32 mode with a five-flag Domination objective, featuring the chaos of tanks, helicopters, and ATVs.
Karst River Quarry was the only Ground War map available for the beta, but it really showed that Infinity Ward has put a lot of thought into map design. I’ve made some complaints about the maps encouraging players to camp too much, and how Modern Warfare maps have a shit-ton of doors, but I do appreciate that each map is designed for specific modes.
Just like how its smaller maps are tailored specifically for the 2v2 Gunfight mode, Karst River Quarry was designed for large-scale multiplayer, with every play style in mind. There are steep cliffs where snipers can prey on the players rushing between objectives, clusters of buildings that provide close-quarters gunfights, plenty of places to mount a light machine gun and defend, and just enough road to be a nuisance in the tanks.
I’m not saying the map design is perfect. Karst River Quarry is a large map by Call of Duty standards, but it doesn’t quite compare in size to Battlefield’s, so the Domination points are much more condensed. The quarry’s five capture points are also fairly linear, and the buildings at B,C, & D points got really congested. I’d love to see other Ground War maps have more staggered objective points to make better use of the full layout.
Much like Battlefield, Ground War also gives players the option of where they want to spawn. You can choose to spawn in a friendly tank, on a squad mate, a capture point that’s occupied by your team, and more. There were some spawning issues uncovered during the beta. Some players spawned under the map, while others awkwardly spawned in the air and fell to their deaths. I didn’t personally experience these extreme issues with the spawns, although the game would occasionally ignore my spawn point of choosing and send me back to the home base, away from the action and often an inconvenient place to spawn.
Spawning on your squad can also be an awful experience, especially if you’re risky enough to spawn on a random squad mate. Ground War will not hesitate to spawn you in a room surrounded by the opposition or even in the line of gunfire. This feels worse than the spawning in Battlefield, but the condensed layout of Karst River Quarry probably factors into that. I quickly learned to ask my friends if they were safe before choosing to spawn on them.
Despite all the comparisons, Ground War still feels like you’re playing Call of Duty, and this opens up options for people who want more action than the standard multiplayer can provide. The buildings aren’t destructible here, but you can go for those massive Call of Duty killstreaks. Facing a 32-player opposition allowed many players to earn the game’s highest killstreak, “Tactical Nuke,” which is earned by accumulating 30 standard kills in a single life.
I played the beta on a PlayStation 4 Pro, and the performance was generally pretty solid for me. There were occasional hiccups where my gun would freeze up in the reload animation, or times where I would be running through high-traffic areas and experience a significant frame drop. These issues were minimal and didn’t impact my enjoyment of large-scale Call of Duty. However, some players reported blue screen errors and crashes across all platforms. Hopefully Infinity Ward can make some positive tweaks to the spawns and improve performance before Modern Warfare launches on October 25.
The practice of platform holders securing console exclusives took a new and weird turn yesterday, when Sony and Activision announced that Modern Warfare’s Survival Mode—a mode within a mode, as it’s part of Spec Ops—is appearing exclusively on the PS4 until October 1, 2020.
Spec Ops, first introduced in the original Modern Warfare 2, is a series of short scripted missions that can either be played solo or co-op. They’ve been missing from the last few Call of Duty games, so their return here has been seen as a welcome move by longtime series fans.
That excitement from PC and Xbox users will be a little tempered by yesterday’s announcement, though. While the core Spec Ops experience will appear on all platforms, Survival Mode—basically a Horde mode for Call of Duty, available as an option within Spec Ops—won’t be turning up outside the PS4 until October 2020, which conveniently is right around the time the next Call of Duty game will be due.
This isn’t the first time Sony has secured an exclusivity deal for Call of Duty content, but those have previously been for a matter of days. To lock something down for almost an entire year (the game is due out on October 25) is a little more drastic.
You can see the exclusive announced twice in the video below, once at the beginning in small print, and again near the end.
Night vision goggles in first-person shooters often felt like a gimmick, so I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying them in the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare beta over the weekend. The PlayStation 4 beta featured two maps, “Azhir Cave” and “Hackney Yard,” in a nighttime setting with night vision goggles that you toggle on and off with a quick press of the Triangle button. I really enjoyed my time with the “NVG playlist,” even though I probably died more than I should have. Shout out to my teammates for picking up my slack, because I walked around a lot during my first few matches, toggling the goggles on and off all around the maps.
I couldn’t help it; it’s just impressive to see how far we’ve come since 2007’s Modern Warfare. That game had gimmicky night vision goggles that just plastered your screen with a green-tinted view. Also, none of those old maps ever sent you off into gunfights in complete darkness, so the goggles were completely unnecessary in 2007 and just as unnecessary in 2016’s Modern Warfare Remastered.
In 2019, you need night vision goggles to survive in the dark. Some areas on the nighttime maps do have minimal outdoor lighting and low visibility, so you can navigate them with or without the assistance of goggles. But most interior locations are pitch black and require the use of NVG. You can technically leave the goggles off and wander into the dark void, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Here’s a brief video showing the difference in view with and without the goggles active:
Beyond just providing functionality, activating the NVG impacts your guns as well. With goggles off, you can aim down your sights as normal. Having the goggles on means that you can’t fully aim down sights, and must rely on a laser sight. The laser is only active and visible with the goggles on and while aiming down sights. So, if there are enemies lurking in the dark with you, they’ll see your laser and vice versa if goggles are equipped while aiming down sights. So another option is to hip-fire your weapon while NVG is active to fight through the dark portions of the map, sacrificing your accuracy for stealth.
NVG in Call of Duty might still feel like a gimmick to some players. These night maps won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll welcome the variety if they’re added into rotation of the standard multiplayer and realism playlists.
The beta only gave access to NVG night maps as part of the standard multiplayer experience, but we also got a taste of the game’s new “realism mode” on the day versions of the maps. Realism mode is much more unforgiving than traditional Call of Duty multiplayer, and I think it will pair nicely with the NVG maps for those who desire a slower pace and more tactical approach.
Realism mode adds deeper immersion by completely removing the HUD. This is not to be mistaken for Call of Duty’s hardcore mode, which gives you half health and limited HUD. Players do have full health in Realism mode, but the screen is completely lacking a HUD. You won’t even see any hit marker indicators when you get hits on an enemy.
For me, it was an awkward transition. Realism mode doesn’t tell you if you hit or killed anyone. If I took shots at someone rushing behind cover or camping in a distant window, I was never certain if I earned the kill, and had to constantly worry that the player had survived and was just skulking behind cover. I gained a certain level of paranoia when navigating the maps in realism mode.
I eventually warmed up to the changes, and I’m now intrigued to try the combo of “realism” paired with NVG. Sweeping through the tunnels of Azhir Cave with night vision can feel eerie in standard multiplayer, so I can imagine it’s quite an experience without any HUD.
I enjoy the fast-paced action from Call of Duty’s traditional modes, but I also have days where I prefer to slow things down and play more strategically. I still wish the current pace of Modern Warfare’s standard multiplayer felt a little faster, but maybe things will change as Infinity Ward continues to test out options for a mini-map during the beta and as players learn the maps post-launch. Regardless, I’ll be playing and enjoying the option to choose from either a traditional or a more tactical multiplayer.
Modern Warfare’s beta is now live for everyone on PlayStation 4, as well as for Xbox One and PC players who pre-ordered for early access. The open beta for all platforms runs from September 21 to 23. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will be released on October 25.
This weekend, Call of Duty players on PlayStation 4 are getting hands-on with this fall’s Modern Warfare. Activision has launched an early alpha of the new 2v2 “Gunfight” mode, and so far it’s mostly good vibes and fast-paced gameplay for Infinity Ward’s rebooted Duty.
Modern Warfare’s alpha was originally scheduled to hit the PlayStation store today, August 23, but was released ahead of schedule on Thursday. The PS4-exclusive alpha is available until August 25, no PS Plus subscription required.
Gunfight is a round-based, 2-versus-2 multiplayer mode where the objective is simply to eliminate the opposing duo. If a team isn’t eliminated before the end of the brief 40-second round, a flag will spawn at mid-map to initiate a 10-second overtime. A team must either capture the flag or eliminate their opponents to win the round in overtime. The first team to win six rounds wins the match.
The mode definitely delivers on the promise of fast-paced matches. I played Gunfight until the wee hours of the morning, and the matches were rarely campy or pushed into overtime. However, if both teams hold back in overtime and the flag isn’t captured, the team with the highest combined health wins. The round will end in a draw if both teams camp out and have the same health count, which sounds like an awfully boring way to play Gunfight.
It’s common to see players move slower and play more conservatively in modes like this that only provide one life per round, but playing the safe and campy route isn’t always going to play out beneficially in Gunfight. Overtime generally forces players into action, and 10 seconds isn’t much time to clutch the round, especially as the flag itself takes three seconds to capture.
One of the things I like the most about Gunfight is that every player has the exact same loadout, which is selected at random and changes every two rounds. Customized loadouts are normally great, but I actually like that everyone is on the exact same playing field for this mode. And there aren’t any silly or gimmicky loadouts, so it’s not like there are rounds where players only have a rocket launcher or riot shield. Occasionally, a loadout will offer a launcher as a secondary weapon, but I didn’t encounter many players that even used it.
Gunfight also presents a great opportunity to get a feel for the guns. The selection was limited, and we couldn’t choose our preferred attachments, but most of the guns gave me old-school Modern Warfare vibes with perhaps a touch more recoil.
The three maps available are all small ones specifically tailored for Gunfight. “Speedball” is a firing range map with stacks of tires and low walls that looks like it would be a fun place to play paintball. “King” is a warehouse that gives me pretty strong vibes of the Killhouse map from 2007’s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. My least favorite of the three is definitely “Pine,” as the forest locale is the map most likely to get campy.
As previously reported, the longstanding mini-map has been removed from this new Modern Warfare, but it’s hard to judge how much this will impact the overall pace of standard “core” multiplayer until we go hands-on with the larger-scale modes. In my opinion, no mini-map is fine for 2v2 modes, but I still worry that the pace of traditional 6v6 multiplayer will be affected.
This new Call of Duty now gives the option to mount your gun on certain surfaces. I tested this out briefly, but I think this new feature will be better served in standard multiplayer or the large-scale matches. The Gunfight rounds are short and often aggressive, so it doesn’t really make sense to waste time mounting the gun and posting up.
My biggest complaint about the Gunfight alpha is that footstep audio is almost nonexistent. This really can present a problem on such small maps. Even with a really good headset, an opponent can flank and literally run up right behind you without any audio indication. I can sometimes hear enemies running up the stairs on King if I’m in a quiet 1v1 situation, but most of the time, the footsteps are inaudible. Thankfully, this issue is already being addressed. A tweet from Infinity Ward’s senior communications manager says that the audio will be adjusted, and the changes will be reflected in the upcoming beta.
Gunfight will probably also need some penalties in place for bad teammates who rage-quit matches, and there needs to be a timer to kick out inactive players. I was lucky to have duo partners all night, but there were a handful of opponents put in unfortunate 1v2 situations because their teammate was MIA for the entirety of the match.
A much smaller complaint is the dramatic visuals when you take damage. Blood splatters over your view, which is a common damage indicator in Call of Duty games, but now your screen also goes black and white. This obviously isn’t anything that ruins the game for me, but it just seems like a really odd effect to add on top of the already bloody vision. It’s just an unnecessary distraction.
I’ve heard some complaints of Modern Warfare having an extreme motion blur effect, but I wouldn’t know because I turned that setting off before even playing my first match. There are two motion blur settings that are active by default, so if you’re like me and get motion sick fairly easy, you might want to turn those off before playing.
Modern Warfare’s early alpha gives me more positive vibes than negative ones for how multiplayer will feel this fall. I didn’t experience any technical issues, and the gameplay was fast-paced and addictive. I can’t say how much I’ll be sticking with Gunfight once the full game drops on October 25, but this is a nice tease for what’s to come.
Next up is Modern Warfare’s early access beta for standard multiplayer, which arrives on PlayStation 4 starting September 12. A crossplay early access beta will become available across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 19.
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