This summer, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 added a new way to play online for smaller groups and individuals: Face-Off. This new mode adds in three different ways to play: 1V1, 2V2, or 3V3. You're not limited to simply Team Deathmatch in these lobbies either; Kill Confirmed is built into the playlist online, Search and Destroy was tested in it, and Domination will appear sometime in the future.
To compensate for the smaller play numbers, Infinity Ward has released a total of seven maps specific to this game mode, however, all seven are currently only available on the Xbox 360 Elite members; PS3 players have four maps, and PC players only have the two free maps.
These new maps may be a little bit smaller than the normal maps, but there's still plenty going on in them to allow for a number of different playstyles. I'll be sure to point out a few of the important parts throughout the course of this guide.
Face-Off strips Call of Duty down to the bare essentials. It's just you and a teammate or two versus the enemy. Killstreaks are still in play, but with a smaller source of kills, getting the higher streaks becomes unlikely. Build your classes around short fights; it's likely you will die relatively quick. Snipers and LMG's aren't as super effective as the Assault Rifles and Sub Machine Guns will be in these situations.
Assassin is a key perk for the second slot to protect you from UAV's and Counter UAV's. Build your streaks around quickness and keep them short. UAV, Counter, Care Package, and Sentry will be your best bets in the perk department.
If you're playing with your friends, keep talking the whole time. The one rub to that is the playlist doesn't let you stay in Xbox Live parties, which means you're stuck in Game Chat. But keeping tabs on the enemy is paramount, especially with the size of the maps, meaning you're always on the move. The other big tip would be to try to move with another teammate near you, just for some extra firepower.
Lookout: Try to control the top of the large hill. You'll have a good view of the map, including a few of the spawn points. The very center intersection is a really dangerous place. It sees a ton of traffic, and as such, a billion bullets.
Getaway: Even though they showed off the deep end of the pool in the preview video, try not to hang out there. You'll be an easy target, plus you have limited view and no cover. Instead, control the beach house. There are about four total approaches, so you'll probably be continually moving to keep it all covered, but you also have the best sight lines on the map. One thing to remember: you can't shoot through the large plate of glass in and around the pool.
Erosion: The corner tower is your best bet. You can keep quick access to the central tower, plus have good sight lines to the most traveled paths. Just be aware of the lower level, and keep an eye out for Assassin users.
Aground: This is the one map where I can see choosing the sniper as being a valid tactic. Both ends of the boat offer some degree of cover for longer range shooting. But SMG and Assault classes will benefit most from staying near the coast. Remember to keep running between both ends of the boat and underneath it.
Vortex: Ultimately, combat will center around the main farm house, as well as the chicken coop. You have a few longer sight lines, but there's not really a good place to snipe from. The one place you’ll want to hold is the chicken coop. Players can shoot from inside the coop, but those on the outside won’t be able to shoot you, even with Impact on. A Trophy system can help extend your life in there.
U-Turn: The ton of cars and debris on the road of this really small, really tight map will complicate your sight lines. The best thing with a team is to keep a set lap going for each member. Solo, it's all on you to keep your eyes peeled and check around every corner.
Intersection: This map is a big plus sign with a building in each corner that provides different ways to take the intersection. The diner is the only building with a second floor, so be aware of shooters from above. Assault rifles will be really nice, with longer sight lines, but a good SMG/Assassin class can really run interference well. It's frantic, but a lot of fun.