September 24, 2022

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s first beta weekend is done and dusted, and developer Infinity Ward is updated players about the changes they can expect to see when it returns.

The highlight here is Infinity Ward’s explanation for the Modern Warfare 2 split mini-map, which has come under fire from some players for not providing enough information about enemy players.

Unlike some previous Call of Duty games, Modern Warfare 2’s mini-map only displays enemy points when the UAV is active. This means it doesn’t show red dots when enemy players are running or firing weapons.

The open beta was exclusive to PlayStation during its first weekend – the following weekend the doors open, and PC and Xbox players joined the fray.

In a blog post, Infinity Ward explained the design decision surrounding Modern Warfare 2’s mini-map:

“The design reason for this is that we don’t want to penalize players for firing their weapons. We also want players to actively search for the origin of the shot versus just traveling directly to where the dot is on the mini-map. We’re continuing to gather feedback on how game plays on this topic.”

Infinity Ward’s commentary here has certainly set the cat among the pigeons within the core Call of Duty community, with subreddits and social media lit up with opinion on the merits and demerits of this approach.

Part of the negativity surrounding the Modern Warfare 2 mini-map has to do with the feeling that its design helps so-called casual Call of Duty players have a better time in multiplayer. As Infinity Ward alludes to in their commentary, players can no longer kill the red dot on the mini-map. This potentially gives casual players more breathing room while moving and shooting.

Here’s a clip of the reaction:

As with most of Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer features, the mini-map shouldn’t be viewed in isolation. Many factors affect the pace and feel of the shooter, including, for example, the loud sound of footsteps, which Infinity Ward said will be toned down a bit:

“Footstep sound in the first week of the MP Beta was very loud, giving players information on enemies about the direction of movement at a distance. For weekend two, we have some changes coming. We are reducing the range of the footstep sound for the different movement states of the player (jog, sprint and tactical sprint) . This will help alleviate the cost of moving around the map. Another change is that enemy and friendly steps are now different. This should help players better understand what’s going on as things move on the battlefield. More details to follow.”

Elsewhere, Infinity Ward discussed Modern Warfare 2’s controversial new perk system. Under the new system, more powerful perks can only be used in a match after a certain amount of time.

“We’ve seen mixed feedback about the Perk Package system,” Infinity Ward said.

“Some players love it, and others feel it’s an unnecessary departure from the original system. We think it’s a good change to how perks work and overall game progression. We’ve also balanced ultimate perks to be more powerful as you earn them later in the match. We’ll continue testing during Beta Weekend Two, including drastically speeding up the earn rate to see how players respond. Our goal remains to improve the flow of all perks before launch.”

Along with the new perk system is a significant change to Dead Silence: what was popular in previous Call of Duty games is now the Field Upgrade that works on cooldowns in Modern Warfare 2.

Again, Infinity Ward is sticking to its guns here:

“Dead Silence is another hot topic as many players have expressed that they would like to see it as a perk instead of a field upgrade. We believe it is important to the health of the game that raiders cannot move at high speed without consequence. Dead Silence as a field upgrade creates balance between freedom of movement and predictability of combat.”

While Infinity Ward won’t budge on some aspects of Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer, it has confirmed some welcome changes in response to player feedback.

The developer said it will improve target tracking by reducing muzzle smoke opacity and increasing muzzle flash visibility, and is also looking into more ways to visually distinguish between enemies and friends beyond the standard nameplates above opposing players’ heads (something previous Call of Duty games had).

And about the beta’s confusing user interface, Infinity Ward said improvements are coming ahead of launch.

Martin and I have been messing around with the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 beta, if you’re wondering what we think about it.

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