Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Preview - What's New, What's Changed, and What's Gone

Here are some of the biggest updates to the latest Call of Duty.

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Call of Duty XP is opening up to the public today in Los Angeles, and despite the dizzying number of events and attractions, the real star of the show is the chance for fans to get their hands on Modern Warfare 3's competitive multiplayer mode. If you're not in town for the festivities, though, fear not: We already have a thorough video demo courtesy of executive producer Mark Rubin, and we have the chance to play the game for ourselves. So take a look at the video below, and read on for some news on what's new, what has changed, and what's gone in Modern Warfare 3 multiplayer.

What's New

Perhaps the biggest addition to multiplayer in Modern Warfare 3 is an all-new game mode called Kill Confirmed. This mode uses Team Deathmatch as a template and alters the scoring system in a few clever ways. Basically, if you get killed, you drop a set of dog tags. If you pick up the dog tags from a recently killed enemy player, your team gets points, and if you pick up the dog tags from a fallen teammate, you deny the other team the chance to get the points for that kill. So while you get all the usual XP for killing someone, the act of taking someone down doesn't have any influence over the outcome of the match: it's all about confirming that kill by picking up dog tags.

Get yourself some dog tags in Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer modes.
Get yourself some dog tags in Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer modes.

The scoring system in Kill Confirmed winds up creating some interesting new potential for strategy you wouldn't otherwise see in a standard game of Team Deathmatch. You can create specialized roles, like someone focused purely on killing enemies from afar, complemented by others whose job it is to rush into combat zones and try to snag as many dog tags as they can before falling victim to a flurry of bullets. Or you can just try to grief the other team and only go after the dog tags of your teammates. For a variation on Team Deathmatch, there are a lot of different approaches you can take.

Another new feature is weapon-specific levels that lead to unlockable proficiencies (or perks, basically). Yep, now you're not leveling up just yourself, but your firearm as well. These proficiencies include things like reducing the amount of recoil your gun has, increasing its firing range, and being able to take a deep breath while sniping to steady your aim. Think of it as a benefit of finding one gun you like and sticking with it--a counter to the act of unlocking a weapon attachment that you can just slap onto any old weapon in the game.

What Has Changed

One of the biggest changes in Modern Warfare 3 is the kill streak system. In fact, they're no longer called kill streaks at all. Now they're called points streaks, because in addition to killing enemies, you build up your streak by doing a variety of things to help your team. This includes getting assists, as well as securing objectives in objective-based game modes. So if you're in a game of Domination and you throw a grenade that takes out two enemies and then rush and capture a flag, suddenly you're at a streak of three and ready to call in a UAV.

The other big change is your choice of streaks. You can still pick and choose your preferred trio of streak rewards from a big list, but now there are completely different lists to choose from. These bundles are called strike packages, and they're the developer's attempt to appeal to players who might have different styles as well as different skill levels. For the offensive-minded player, there's the assault strike package, which is like the traditional set of kill streaks in Modern Warfare games of yore. Here you get items like predator strikes, assault choppers, and turret gun placements.

But for the player who might not be as skilled, there's the support strike package. This selection of streak rewards is all about helping out your team, giving you access to things like recon drones and a pile of ballistic vests for any of your buddies to come by and pick up. The kicker with the support strike package is that your streak doesn't reset upon death--you keep building them up and up as the match goes on. And lastly, there's the specialist strike package. This is designed for the lone-wolf player. Basically, you're unlocking new perks from the standard create-a-class screen, but only for yourself. Like with the assault strike package, these reset upon death.

What's Gone

While Infinity Ward certainly hasn't been shy about ramping up the number of unlockable goodies in Modern Warfare's giant bonanza of multiplayer rewards, you can't say the developer hasn't been listening to fans who have cried foul when the features hurt the overall balance. So, yes, the game-ending nuclear bomb kill streak reward has been axed. So has the ability to carry a shotgun as a secondary weapon, which means akimbo shotguns are a thing of the past. A few other things that have been left out of Modern Warfare 3 are perks such as commando and last stand.

In MW3 you can create custom match types and then share them with people on Elite.
In MW3 you can create custom match types and then share them with people on Elite.

And that's the quick rundown of some of the updates to Modern Warfare 3's multiplayer offerings. This is by no means a comprehensive list, because there are plenty of things to cover that we've yet to scratch the surface of. But this should at least give you a good idea of some of the bigger features. For even more information, be sure to watch our Now Playing video demo featuring executive producer Mark Rubin for all the things we didn't cover here.

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