Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Preview

The juggernaut just got more deadly.

When Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was released, we were introduced to perks, killstreaks, prestige, customization, and challenges in a fast-paced setting where the action never stopped, and players loved it. Modern Warfare 2 carried over everything from its predecessor but greatly extended the featureswho didn't enjoy earning a 25 killstreak and being granted with a nuke to end a match? Well, the noobs didn't.

Maps too, were built differently, which focused on verticality. Players not only had to look left and right, but up and down as well. There were many routes, corners, and dark spots to check. In between seeking out the campers, dodging bullet fire from rooftops and trying to kill foes to earn a killstreak, MW2 was basically an overwhelming version of CoD4.

So what is going to happen in Modern Warfare 3? I really don't know until it releases, but I can give you an idea. More killstreaks? Perhaps a zombie horde attack upon the opponent as a reward for earning a 30 killstreak? More perks? Even more overwhelming… uh… ness?

In short: Yes, no, yes, and no.

The developers kept the same feel from previous titles, but simplified the gameplay for MW3, while still adding new features. Their focus was to provide a well-balanced experience in mulitplayer. No, really, they couldn't emphasize this enough at the Call of Duty XP event in LA. Even I feel well-balanced now.

Things like the Commando perk, Last Stand, and secondary shotguns are MIA in MW3. The nuke is also absent. (Noobs, rejoice!) Instead there is a new killsteak system called Strike Packages. Before, killstreaks were designed for Team Deathmatch; now, players are given a choice and can choose three different categories: Assault, Support, and Specialist. Each category contains a list of different killstreak rewards. You can still choose which one to earn, but choosing a package depends on your play style.

If you're consistent in racking up the body count, the Assault package is for you, where rewards like assault drones and airstrikes are called in based on your killstreak. The Support package, on the other hand, is aimed in assisting your team. Your killstreak does not reset when you die. Rewards include UAV, SAM turrets, and a recon juggernaut, which is a ball of fun. A juggernaut hides behind a riot shield and goes after the opposition. Like in Spec Ops, they are tough to kill. For the team that uses it, however, it's a great way to have an edge over the opponent when playing objective-based game types, since you can stay behind him for cover while it leads the way.

Specialist is simple, but mastering the concept may be suited for the more skilled. For every two kills, you are granted an additional perk. Achieve two more kills, and you earn another perk, and it continues this way until you reach eight kills, where you get every available perk. For instance, you always have Scavenger equipped in MW2, since you're able to stay alive long enough to use its ability. With the Specialist package, though, you may want to assign the Scavenger perk to your fourth or higher killstreak instead, which allows room to use perks early on that you otherwise wouldn't use. Of course, if you die, the killstreak resets. It is complex in that depending on your style, you have to select the perks in the best order that suits you.

MW3 now has a killstreak system that makes you think. Perhaps players will finally strive to meet objectives, instead of camping for kills in objective game modes. You know who you all are.

Of course, you have to test these strike packages with new game types, right? One in particular is Kill Confirm, which is a mix of both objective-based and kill-driven gameplay. You kill for experience points, but collect dog tags to win the match. After you kill an opponent, you earn 50 exp, and a gold dogtag appears right over their body. You must obtain it to score 1 point for your team. Your teammate can also collect it, and you both earn 50 exp, so there isn't any point stealing in this game type. If your teammate dies, their dogtag will show up in red and you can collect it to deny the opponent of their kill, which also prevents them from scoring a point for their team. It's a chaotic and different game type that will force players to change their strategy. It plays as team deathmatch, but objectively, it is just as important to confirm the kill as it is to achieve the kill.

With all of the exp being earned, you rank up and eventually may want to "prestige". In Prestige Shop, you choose your reward for prestiging, but it's more than that. Like the shop system in Black Ops, you can buy different items or more class slots. While earning currency by achieving things like completing single player and Spec Ops, you can use it to buy and unlock weapons for example. If your favorite weapon isn't unlocked until rank 40, you can buy it in the Prestige Shop and use it at level 4.

Separately, you can further enhance your weapon with Weapon Proficiencies. If you want to reduce sway, like for your sniper rifle, choose the Stability Proficiency. If you want two attachments, choose the Attachment Proficiency. The Prestige Shop and Weapon Proficiencies are both part of the immense character building in MW3 as you level up. Developers are making sure to give more choices to the player, so whether you're the casual or hardcore gamer, you have a vast selection to choose from to suit your playstyle.

The Modern Warfare franchise has always been player-driven. It is clearly designed for players who desire more control on how they play the game, how they can adjust their weapon, and how they can use the environment to their advantage. MW3 seems to emphasize that while providing perfect balance across the board with a sane system that players can easily grasp the concept of.

Like I said, I don't know what will happen when MW3 releases on November 8th, 2011, but do expect a Recon Juggernaut after you and me following closely behind it.