One of the most important aspects of Call of Duty is map design. While the guns and killstreaks are important, the maps control the flow and pace of the game. Call of Duty games that are widely considered to be “good” often have stellar maps that a majority of players like to play on. Titles that don’t have these kinds of maps get stale and fall to the bottom of the Call of Duty tier list.
During the Modern Warfare multiplayer premiere, we got to see five maps that will come with the game at launch. However, these maps are different than anything we have seen before. Because of this drastic shift, many are asking, specifically in the competitive community: How will these maps play?
From the five maps we saw in the multiplayer reveal, only three were designed for standard 6v6 play. The other two are only for big team modes like 20v20 Domination.
If we want to go further, at least two of the three standard maps also have a night version. The night maps utilize night vision and an entirely different gameplay system. To go along with this, the maps are no longer in a three-lane layout anymore. For the past several years, COD developers have designed most of their maps with three lanes in mind. These lanes are where most of the action on the map has taken place until now.
In brief, the maps in Modern Warfare are completely different than maps in years past.
While this might be a refreshing change of pace for public matches, competitive play is a whole other monster.
If polled, most professional players would say that map design is the most important element in competitive. The maps affect everything — spawns, choke points, gunplay, and much more.
With Modern Warfare ditching the three-lane design, competitive players will have to learn to adapt. The game becomes more about knowing pre-aim spots and less about predicting which lane the enemy will take.
So does this bode positively or negatively for competitive play? Traditionally, maps with no distinct lanes play more chaotically than ones with clear routes. Figuring out where the enemy is becomes more difficult and therefore makes things unpredictable, which isn’t something that competitive players enjoy.
We’ll have to wait and see the other maps that release with the game before any rash opinions are made. However, from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like a very different year for competitive is starting to unfold.
What’s your opinion on this year’s map design? Let us know in the comments below. Stay tuned to Daily Esports for all Modern Warfare coverage.
Joey Carr is a University of North Georgia Journalism graduate. He has 5+ years of experience covering esports and traditional sporting events, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.