Yesterday, I ran you through the basics of the new multiplayer features in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. We're back today with another look at the online shooty-shooty action. The focus is still on what's new, but the idea today is to better acquaint you with some of the new systems and modes that are in place, so you can make the most of the tools that you have to work with. There's no surefire recipe for success in a game like Call of Duty, but knowledge is, as ever, power. Keep reading to add to your own.
TDM With A Twist
Modern Warfare 3 introduces two new multiplayer game types, Kill Confirmed and Team Defender. Both deliver a twist on your standard Team Deathmatch with rules designed to keep players always moving and always fighting. In Kill Confirmed, each player drops a set of easy-to-spot dogtags when they're downed. Yellow tags represent the opposing team; grab one of these to add to your team's total "confirmed kills." Red tags belong to your fallen teammates; grab those to deny the opposing team the point. The match ends when one team's score hits 65; each confirmed kill adds one to the score.
The result is a much faster pace than your average TDM faceoff. Sniper rifle-loving players are at a disdvantage here, since you generally want to be as close as possible to your kills. Having a sniper handy to provide overwatch isn't a bad thing, but it requires careful coordination and teamwork. The sniper gets the raw deal even then though, since collecting tags of either color nets you 50 points (250 if you collect your own tags after a re-spawn).
The best Kill Confirmed teams move together in a group and communicate often. Since victory in this mode depends entirely on collecting dropped dogtags, the more quickly you can cover your comrades and collect nearby red tags, the more points you'll rob from the opposing team. Team play is a big advantage in Kill Confirmed, perhaps just as important as it is in Search & Destroy.
Team Defender works a little bit differently. The scoring is back to TDM rules, with your team's overall score growing as players on the opposing squad are downed. The twist is that there's a single flag on the map that either team can take posession of. The flag carrier's team earns double points for as long as the flag is carried. It's important to note as well that the location of the flag is also visible at all times.
Like Kill Confirmed, Team Defender is another TDM-style game mode built around getting teams to work more closely together. You'll want to stick together in a group whenever your team has the flag. Knowledge of the maps helps here, as a flag-carrying team that works together to button up a defensible location can be pretty unstoppable.
Flag carriers should stay out of the fray as much as possible. Take any shots you can, but let the rest of the team worry about earning points while you're watching the battlefield for flanking maneuvers. Also note: if you get an opportunity to grab the flag, keep in mind that you'll need to stand there for a few seconds while an on-screen meter fills up (think Domination capture points, but much quicker).
You Got Perks And Perks And Perks And Perks
Next I'm going to go into a little more detail on the Specialist Strike Package. Unlike the killstreak rewards you get with Assault and Support, Specialist killstreaks unlock perks that stack on top of whatever your custom class is already using. There are a few things you should understand about this Strike Package if you hope to use it effectively.
First, you can only assign and potentially be awarded perks that you've already unlocked. So even though this Strike Package first becomes available at level 20, you'll only have a limited selection available to you at first. More importantly, the perks you can assign for two-, four- and six-streak kills break down into the same categories the Create-A-Class mode's three perk groups break into.
In other words, your two-kill reward can only be Recon, Sleight of Hand, Blind Eye, Extreme Conditioning or Scavenger. Four-kill rewards can only be Quickdraw, Blast Shield, Hardline or Assassin. And finally, six-kill streaks only offer Marksman, Stalker, Sitrep, Steady Aim or Dead Silence. The trick is to reach that magic eight-kill streak, which activates every unlocked perk until you're downed.
Careful planning is the key to successfully making the Specialist Package work for you. Here's an example of a good stealth "build":
A sneaky player will probably be using Blind Eye (undetectable by air support), Assassin (undetectable by UAV and the like) and either Dead Silence (speaks for itself) or Sitrep (reveals locations of enemy traps, sentry turrets, etc.) as their core "class" perks. Extreme Conditioning is a good two-kill reward option from here, as the added sprinting time it gives you will be good for hoofing it away from enemy lines after you compromise your position to nab your first couple kills.
Blast Shield might be a sensible pick for your four-kill reward, since it never hurts to have a little more protection from grenades the enemy might throw to flush you out. Hardline is also a tempting option, since it cuts down the final two rewards to five- and seven-kill streaks. Your final slot can go to Sitrep or Dead Silence, whichever one you're not using as your class perk.
Figuring out the right order of perk reward unlocks that fits with your play style is the key to using the Specialist Package successfully. And being able to score enough consecutive kills to take advantage, of course.
Combat Training Lives On In Private Matches And Spec Ops
Offline play in Modern Warfare 3 is a good news/bad news situation for fans of the Combat Training mode in Black Ops. On the plus side, you no longer have any need to earn levels here. All of the Create-A-Class options available in the multiplayer mode are unlocked and available for you to play around with from the outset. The unfortunate catch is that you can no longer fill your private matches with bots, meaning that this is a less valuable place for newcomers to get their feet wet with the game's multiplayer.
That's where Spec Ops' new Survival mode comes in. The one (or two) vs. the world scenario isn't QUITE the same as it is in the team-based multiplayer modes, but Survival uses the same 16 maps that multiplayer does. They're divided into four difficulty groups that unlock as you earn levels in the Spec Ops progression, so you'll need to work to open them all up (the last group unlocks at level 20).
Once you have them though, there's no better "combat training" for Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer than Spec Ops Survival. You'll be forced to learn those maps as the enemy AI constantly moves in on your position from all sides. As more tools unlock for you to use at the higher Spec Ops levels, you'll naturally start to work through some of the game's more advanced concepts, such as proper turret placement. There's also no snap-to aiming in Survival, meaning you'll have to line up your shots before taking them.
If Call of Duty's multiplayer is too daunting, give Spec Ops Survival a whirl. Master that and you'll be well-prepared for the rapid pace of your average multiplayer match.