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Modern Warfare season 1 and Battle Pass are live

The reimagined military shooter is out now.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is back. 

Activision/Infinity Ward

This year appears to be the return of video game classics, with the release of the Resident Evil 2 remakeWoW Classic and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. With the latter, Activision and developer Infinity Ward are bringing back the revolutionary military FPS game, giving it some new paint and new toys for players. 

Tuesday marks the start of the first season for Modern Warfare. The first season includes the new maps Cargo and Atrium for the Gunfight mode and the Port map for Ground War.  Vacant, Shipment and a Cras are revamped Call of Duty 4 maps available for standard multiplayer matches. 

The new season will also have new modes. Reinforce has players control three flags on the battlefield, but they only have one life so being tactical is vital for winning. Infected is a take on the popular zombie mode where players have to survive against other infected opponents. On-Site Procurement (O.S.P.) is for Gunfighter players where teams of two start with only their fists and have to acquire their equipment throughout the match. 

Bomb Squad, Grounded, Pitch Black, Strongbox and Just Rewards are additional Spec Ops campaigns that target Roman Barkov's forces and operations. 

Another big announcement for Modern Warfare players is the release of the season's Battle Pass. As in other games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends, players pay for a Battle Pass to unlock additional in-game cosmetics such as outfits, weapon skins and so on. The Modern Warfare Battle Pass costs 1,000 COD Points, or approximately $10. 

The season Battle Pass will have 100 tiers of content, but 20 of those tiers will be made free to all players. Players reach the next tier by playing games and earning points. Some of the locked content includes weapons, character skins and other accessories for players to customize their characters and guns. Players can also get more COD points via the Battle Pass that could be used for the next season.  

What is the release date for Modern Warfare?

Modern Warfare is out for the PS4, Xbox One and PC with a Battle.net account.  

On Oct. 24, the Modern Warfare servers were up, but players had a tough time trying to play the game early. The sheer number of people trying to log on to the game across the multiple platforms made it almost impossible for anyone to play. Activision and Infinity Ward addressed multiple issues, from Xbox Ones crashing to players simply unable to connect to the game

After a few hours of fixing and several threads on the Modern Warfare subreddit mocking the rocky start, Modern Warfare is up and running across all platforms. 

Infinity Ward released the PC requirements for the Modern Warfare beta in mid-September. One important requirement is a graphics card compatible with DirectX 12. Here's the rest needed to run the game:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-Bit (SP1) or Windows 10 64-Bit (1709 or later).
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 2500k or AMD equivalent.
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 670 2GB / GTX 1650 4GB or AMD Radeon HD 7950.
  • RAM: 8GB RAM.
  • HDD: 45GB HD space.

And here are the recommended specs for the beta:

  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit (latest Service Pack).
  • CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k or AMD equivalent.
  • Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 4GB / GTX 1660 6GB or AMD Radeon R9 390 / AMD RX 580.
  • RAM: 16GB RAM.
  • HDD: 45GB HD space.

Call of Duty fans in Russia, however, will have some trouble obtaining the game. A tweet from the Call of Duty Russia account on Oct. 22 says the game will not be available digitally on the PlayStation 4. 

"SIE decided not to sell the game in the Russian PS Store," the translated tweet says. "We look forward to the release of the game digitally for PC and Xbox on October 25."

This appears to only affect the digital version of the game that would've been available in the Russian PlayStation Store. The physical version of the game should still be available. 

A modern retelling

Infinity Ward officially revealed the details of Modern Warfare's campaign at the end of September. The first trailer showed snippets that will be familiar to fans of the series, including the appearance of SAS Capt. John Price, who is a central character in the Modern Warfare games.  

The official description for the game says: "Players will engage in breathtaking covert operations alongside a diverse cast of international special forces throughout iconic European cities and volatile expanses of the Middle East."

In the original CoD 4, the leader of a coup in the Middle East is secretly being supported by Russian ultranationalists who want to take the country back to the Cold War era. Players control American and British operatives who are trying to stop nuclear destruction in missions set across the globe. As this is a reimagining of the game, Modern Warfare may offer an alternate timeline to the events that happened in the original game.  

Modern multiplayer madness

Multiplayer is the bread and butter of the Call of Duty series. In Modern Warfare, the game will make some additions, big and small. 

On the small side, Infinity Ward developed a new 2vs2 multiplayer called Gunfight. Duos will face off in a small arena and everyone will have the same main weapon, sidearm, lethal grenade and tactical grenade. Players' equipment will change every two rounds, and the first team to win six rounds wins the match. Matches can last a few minutes to a few seconds depending on the team. 

Modern Warfare will then go big with Ground War, a mode that supports more than 100 players. Early impressions show players will have a big map to play on, with vehicles to drive and killstreaks going off left and right. 

There will also be the traditional smaller teams of four versus four, six versus six and so on. 

Modern Warfare players who already played in the beta appeared to have come across an option for loot boxes. One Twitter user tweeted a screenshot Sept. 12 showing a loot box listed as "common supply drop." It's unclear what's in the box. 

Beta players also noticed that the nuke killstreak is in the game's multiplayer. This was confirmed by a Sept. 12 tweet from Ashton Williams, senior communications manager for Infinity Ward.

In 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, players could call down a nuclear strike after racking up 25 kills in a row. Using a nuke would automatically end the match, and the team with the player who used the killstreak would win the match. 

Modern Warfare

Get up close and personal in Modern Warfare. 

Activision/Infinity Ward

Infinity Ward will also add an extensive number of changes to the game's physics to bring another layer of realism. Higher-caliber weapons will penetrate structures better than other weapons, guns can be mounted against surfaces to help reduce recoil and doors can now be breached with grenades. There will also be new finishing moves available for players who get in close to do a knife kill and want to show off a little. 

Infinity Ward held a livestream on Sept. 17 to talk about the new Ground War mode that became available in the upcoming crossplay beta starting Sept. 19. Karst River Quarry is a large map that will have two teams of 32 players battle each other. One of the developers said spawn points are important for the development team because on a map so big they don't want players having to run long distances after respawning. In a Ground War match, players will be able to respawn near a teammate, in a vehicle driven by a teammate or at critical points on the map where all the other teammates should be.

Players who participated in the weekend beta and reached level 10 received a 725-shotgun blueprint. Blueprints can be customized in various ways such as changing the barrel or color by the players when they go to the gunsmith. 

That beta would also have been the first time a Call of Duty game had cross-platform play. Players needed to make a CoD account and create a display name that will appear across all platforms. People could form parties with friends on any platform and speak with each other via in-game voice chat. Each player was to have an icon signifying if they're playing on the PS4, Xbox One or PC. 

As this is cross-platform play, Infinity Ward also implemented parameters in its matchmaking system to put players with a mouse and keyboard with others using the same. This means those with controllers are likely to play against each other, too. In FPS games, a mouse-and-keyboard is considered to be a superior control option compared with a traditional gamepad, so keeping players separate will help reduce some frustration. However, there may be instances where the two control schemes will play in the same match, for example, if there are a limited number of players available at the time or if players' skill levels are on par with each other. 

Infinity Ward also confirmed that most post-launch content will appear on all three platforms at the same time. In previous years, one console would receive content days if not weeks before the others depending on what partnership there was with publisher Activision. 

Players in the crossplay beta noticed that there is cross-progression, which means players on one platform can start playing on another and carry over their stats. Infinity Ward has yet to confirm this feature for the game.

A clip showed up on Reddit on Sept. 23 featuring the full Modern Warfare campaign video. In the trailer, Capt. John Price is seen talking about tracking down the terrorists behind some attacks. There are also a few scenes with John "Soap" MacTavish, who was the character that players used during the game. 

The trailer made its official debut during Sony's State of Play event on Sept. 24. 

On the PlayStation YouTube channel, the same trailer was available to watch, but it ended with a message saying "Special Ops Survival Mode. Play first on PS4." According to the fine print on the trailer, this is a timed exclusive until Oct. 1, 2020. 

Modern Warfare Spec Ops

Spec Ops Survival Mode will be a PS4 timed exclusive. 

Sony

Spec Ops is the cooperative multiplayer for Modern Warfare, and Survival Mode is where players team up to fend off wave after wave of enemies. Fans of the series immediately took to social media to denounce the mode's exclusivity. A Reddit user posted a thread on the Modern Warfare subreddit on Sept. 23 about canceling their preorder for the game. Others also said they would do the same. PS4 owners also expressed their solidarity with Xbox One owners over this move by Infinity Ward and Activision. 

Taylor Kurosaki, studio narrative director at Infinity Ward, took to Twitter on Sept. 24 to clear up confusion about the mode's exclusivity. He says Survival Mode is only a "sliver" of the entire Spec Ops and that all players would receive the same content after the launch of the game. 

Other users replied to Kurosaki saying they were disappointed with the decision and one stated he would cancel his preorder. 

Another controversy grew following the trailer revealed during Sony's State of Play. YouTuber The Gaming Revolution tweeted that in-game cosmetics, weapons and other content would be available only in supply drops, which are the loot boxes for the game. 

According to him, his tweet was copied and pasted from a source with knowledge of the upcoming microtransactions. 

Joel Emslie, studio art director for Infinity Ward, responded to the outrage on Reddit on Sept. 26. In a thread, he wanted to let the Modern Warfare community know that the studio is listening to its concerns about microtransactions and the PS4 exclusive Survival Mode. He also hoped that those mad at the studio will also take it easy on the developers. 

"Get it out of your system but remember there's a team of human beings here at IW and we have crappy days just like you," he said. "Our interest is entirely in the game itself. My ask of all of you is to focus on information that is actually fact and not get thrown off by ill-informed people that want to make a name for themselves by spreading half baked inflammatory rumors."

On Oct. 8, Infinity Ward revealed the Spec Ops Operations mode for all platforms. Four players team up for a campaign across several areas with a goal of infiltrating and stopping the plans of the Al-Qatala army.

Missions is another co-op mode available that lets players replay parts of the campaign and grades players on their performance. 

Worries about possible microtransactions continue to thrive in the Modern Warfare community. Joel Emslie, studio art director for Infinity Ward, took to Reddit on Oct. 14 to talk about the concerns some players are having. 

"There continues to be misinformed and incorrect info being pushed about Modern Warfare," he said. "What I can say right now is that we are definitely NOT working on any kind of supply drop or loot box system. Also, functional stuff is unlocked through GAMEPLAY." 

Since the game's launch on Oct. 25, two pieces of equipment are causing the most headaches for players: the 725 shotgun and claymores. The 725 is a long-range shotgun that is incredibly accurate and can take down players in one hit. Claymores are explosives planted in the ground that'll detonate when players come within a certain proximity and angle, but some are finding out that they'll explode at varying distances from all angles. Not only that, since they're easily obtainable, players are in matches where seemingly every corner has a claymore waiting. 

Ashton Williams, senior communications for Infinity Wards, tweeted on Nov. 6 about an update rolling out to deal with the 725, claymores and other issues. 

Williams also tweeted Nov. 7 there would be two more multiplayer maps added to the game: Shoot House and Krovnik Farmland.

The new update went live on Nov. 8, fixing a lot of issues players had with the game as well as adding the two new maps. 

Activision also gave a timeframe for the Modern Warfare Battle Pass during the company's earnings call on Nov. 7. The pass will be available sometime in December, though the specific day and how much it would cost was still not disclosed. 

Originally published Sept. 9 and updated as new information is revealed. 

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