Modern Warfare could go down as one of the worst competitive Call of Duty's ever, here's why...
The release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare back in October 2019 was a return to form for the popular first-person shooter franchise from the perspective of the casual players. New maps, a fresh new engine, solid gunplay and the addition of cross-platform play has united the community in ways that have never been seen before.
Despite all the successes that have come from the Modern Warfare reboot, the successes have yet to be seen from a competitive standpoint, with glaringly obvious issues still present in the game with just six weeks of the season remaining.
Throughout the season, several Call of Duty League players have spoken out on the issues yet Modern Warfare developers Infinity Ward still hasn’t provided any form of support for a league where developer support is integral.
Here are just a few reasons as to why Modern Warfare could well be the worst competitive Call of Duty title to date.
Like the vast majority of competitive elements in Modern Warfare, the weapon metagame has reached a plateau, with the MP5 sub-machine gun and the M4A1 Assault Rifle still being the weapons of choice for competitive play.
In previous seasons, Treyarch and Sledgehammer Games introduced buffs and nerfs to the weapons that were commonly used in order to encourage some form of weapon variety. Black Ops 2 is the best example of a constant variety of weapons being used in competition. The early stages of the game saw the PDW SMG used and once it was nerfed, the MP7, MSMC and the Skorpion Evo all had their places in the meta.
Modern Warfare is the polar opposite. With no form of weapon tuning in sight for competitive play and despite the new additions of the Fennec and the CR-56 AMAX in the Season 4 update, the MP5/M4A1 metagame doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
- Read More - Can the Fennec Break into the Competitive Meta?
Ever since teams began to practice for competitions, the spawn system in Modern Warfare has almost always been a hotbed for conversation. Rather than a more traditional system where standing in a particular area of the map would manipulate the spawns to their advantage but thanks to the introduction of “squad spawns”, they are almost impossible to control and predict.
Spawns in a public match don’t particularly matter but when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line and players are unable to pre-empt where the opposition is coming from despite hundreds of hours of practice, the integrity of the game itself comes into question.
Players have called on Infinity Ward to address the issue of the spawns on countless occasions throughout the season but nothing has been, or will ever, be done to rectify the issue, leaving teams to hope they’ve read the situation correctly before an opponent spawns unexpectedly behind them, sending the game into chaos.
It became clear in the early stages of the season that none of the maps in Modern Warfare had been designed with any form of competition in mind. Rather than siding with a traditional three-lane layout, the maps have been designed to cater for the casual players, with several corners to hide in as opposed to clear lines of sight to encourage engagements to control particular areas of the map.
With a lack of competitively viable maps combined with unpredictable spawns, a competitive game of Modern Warfare often descends into pandemonium with flurries of kills taking place all over the map but with no lasting impact coming from securing the kills.
Perhaps Infinity Ward should’ve taken some inspiration from its popular Gunfight mode and utilise the more traditional map design that features in the game. Better maps would certainly be an improvement for competitive Modern Warfare from a spectator’s point of view but with all the other issues, better maps would likely have a minimal impact when it comes to improving the title.
Since its addition to the competitive game in Call of Duty: Ghosts, Domination hasn’t featured in any other title since Modern Warfare and with good reason. In comparison to Control from Black Ops 4 and Uplink from the jetpack era, Domination is slow and tedious to watch despite the few times where a game goes down to the wire. Other than that, the mode doesn’t suit competitive CoD in the slightest. There is nothing more boring than watching a team comfortably win a Domination game and once it becomes mathematically impossible for one team to win, there is no option to concede the game, meaning there are at least a few minutes of irrelevant gameplay rather than going straight into the fourth game of a best-of-five series.
Control would have been a perfect addition to Modern Warfare as the third game mode for competitive Modern Warfare. With one or two fixed spawn points for a team, it would eliminate the possibility of an enemy spawning in a random location and would enable teams to execute strategies to take control of the points rather than just sending everyone to the opposite side of the map in a feeble attempt to flip the spawns.
The topic of servers in Modern Warfare has been one with a resounding consensus from the competitive scene. Public matches run on 60Hz servers, enabling a smooth gameplay experience for all but for the vast majority of the competitive season, both amateur and professional players have had to practice on servers that are not fit for purpose. In other competitive titles such as CS:GO and VALORANT, servers run at 128Hz, providing a smooth experience for all players.
Recently the servers were upgraded to 60Hz for CDL competition, certainly an improvement but still nowhere near where it should be for optimal performance. With the CDL recently switching to online competition due to the current global situation, solid servers to provide a fair and competitive environment is paramount but issues have still arisen with players disconnecting in the middle of game for seemingly changing their respective loadout.
Too Little, Too Late
As the Modern Warfare season nears its conclusion, the game will go down as perhaps the worst Call of Duty in the history of franchise for a variety of reasons. Infinity Ward providing little to no support for a section of Call of Duty that has just entered a new era. If this season is anything to go by, it highlights the importance of developers in CoD esports and what must be done to ensure a solid competitive title in years to come.
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Images via Activision