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Modern Warfare 2 beta tips - New perks, changes, and mechanics the game won’t teach you

Modern Warfare 2 is very much a Call of Duty game, except for several new unexpected changes you may not immediately realise or intuitively understand.

With the Modern Warfare 2 beta just minutes away as of this writing (for PlayStation owners, at least), we wanted to put together this guide to condense all the newly-announced mechanics, changes to movement, new perk system in one place - and remind you of everything else that remains the same from Modern Warfare 2019.

This is going to be helpful for veteran players, as well as newcomers, particularly those who typically take certain aspects of Call of Duty for granted. Developer Infinity Ward has a habit of doing that, and its bold vision for this game isn't afraid to play around with series staples.

The Modern Warfare 2 beta will be our first real chance to experience all of these tweaks ourselves, big and small, and see where each of us lands on every one of them. So, without further ado, let's run down what's changing and what's staying the same.

The minimap still doesn't show unsuppressed weapon fire

Arguably one of the most controversial design decisions in the 2019 Modern Warfare was altering how the minimap works. Previously, players firing unsuppressed weapons would automatically show up as a red dot on the minimap. But Modern Warfare 2019 changed it so they only show up on the newly-added compass at the top of the screen.

Modern Warfare 2 takes after its predecessor in that area, meaning players won't show up on the minimap when firing their weapons by default. To get around this, you'll need to equip the Bird's-Eye perk, which is an Ultimate Perk in Modern Warfare 2 (more on that below).

Bird's-Eye effectively switches the minimap to its classic behaviour, so you should consider equipping that if you want to have the classic-style minimap.

The new perk system is unlike anything you've seen before in COD

Okay, so every Call of Duty has had perks, but each studio has its own take on the number, style, and effectiveness of each of them. Infinity Ward's big perk change in Modern Warfare 2 is a major reinvention of the wheel that will take time to adjust to.

In Modern Warfare 2, you do not start the match with all of your chosen perks. Each player can equip four perks, but not all of them will be active at the start of a match. Instead, perks are now split into three tiers: Base, Bonus, and Ultimate.

Base perks are the "free" perks (two) that immediately activate at the start of the match. Your Bonus perk (one), and Ultimate perk (one) are instead earned during the match. The Bonus is earned roughly four minutes into a match, while the Ultimate unlocks about eight minutes in.

You can speed up the process by earning score through kills, assists, captures and anything you typically do in a Call of Duty match. Right now, every ten points take one second off that timer, and your progress doesn't reset upon death.

There are different perk packages to play with in the beta, and you can create your own. However, there's currently no way to return perks to the classic style.

You can freely pick between killstreaks or scorestreaks

Modern Warfare 2 lets you pick your poison when it comes to killstreaks and scorestreaks, side-stepping that entire debate. In the streaks menu, there's a simple toggle that turns the required number of kills for each one into score.

You can play with the toggle to see which system works better for you, but you obviously can't change that mid-match - only in the lobby between matches. The streaks themselves, and their effectiveness, remain the same across both options, so you're not losing/gaining anything.

Generally speaking, scorestreaks work better for players who like to play the objective, and are typically more friendly to casual players and newcomers.

The squad is back in town.

Bunny hopping is the new slide cancelling

It can't be a Call of Duty game without a questionable movement mechanic players will use and abuse, and Modern Warfare 2 has two! First, there's bunny hopping, which is the act of jumping around corners, mid-firefight, over cover etc.

This isn't a new tactic, of course, and was actually utilised quite a bit by aggressive players in Modern Warfare 2019 to throw off the aim of camping players. It's about as effective in the new game, with seemingly minimal loss to accuracy during the jump, and no cooldown on jump height or jump frequency.

The much-dreaded slide-cancelling has been removed, so expect enemies to come out flying through doorways and around corners.

But there is one other movement mechanic you're also going to see a lot of...

Dolphin diving is a thing now

Modern Warfare 2 borrows a little bit from classic Treyarch games by implementing a dolphin dive, which is a movement mechanic that causes your character to quickly hit the deck and get into a prone position from a sprint.

Tapping the crouch button as you sprint performs a standard slide, whereas holding it triggers the dolphin dive. The benefit of a dive is obvious, particularly if you do it to quickly get behind cover.

You should know, however, that it will take a second for your gun to come back up at the end of the dive animation, meaning its use as an offensive mechanic is limited.

Swimming and water combat are big new additions

Infinity Ward's Call of Duty games typically shy away from swimming and water combat in general. But this changes in Modern Warfare 2, thanks to a multitude of new systems, tools and movement abilities designed to help you navigate - and fight in/around - water.

Players can now jump into any body of water deep enough to submerge them, to swim or dive. Doing so makes you harder to detect by people on the shore, which is useful if you want to approach someone stealthily. You can shoot other players swimming, and shoot out of the water at people standing on dryland.

You can, of course, also be shot at by anyone who spots you. The only caveat here is that bullets lose some of their damage and momentum when they hit the water, so don't be surprised when it takes longer for you to down a target.

All that said, don't expect to see swimming in the small 6v6 maps. The mechanic was mainly introduced for Ground War, and eventually Warzone 2.0. We don't have access to latter in this beta, but the former is playable in the beta so you can try it out yourself.

You can't cancel weapon reloads

This is one of those features that will inevitably divide players. Infinity Ward implemented staged reloads in Modern Warfare 2. This means you'll never have to start a reload from the beginning if you interrupt it.

The upside is that if you switch weapons or decide to move etc., your reload animation will pick up roughly from where it left off. The downside is that you cannot cancel a weapon reload once it's been initiated. The only thing you can do is pause it.

Even if you have rounds left in the magazine/chamber, you can't start firing again when you suddenly get surprised by an enemy. You also can't cancel a reload by switching weapons - commonly known as Y/Y cancel. If you do get caught mid-reload, you should probably switch to your sidearm.

Dead Silence is a Field Upgrade again

Infinity Ward appears to be fairly set in its ways with regards to sound-dampening perks, which is to say: there isn't one in Modern Warfare 2. Players who like to rush will be disappointed to learn this, particularly taking into account their experience in the 2019 Modern Warfare.

As it stands, the only way to muffle your footstep sounds is to use Dead Silence, which is a Field Upgrade that charges over time, and can only be used for a limited window - unlike perks, which are passive abilities that always say on.

Third-person is back and you can try it in the beta

Long-time Call of Duty players will have fond memories of playing the original Modern Warfare 2 in third-person. This was nothing more than a novelty, as it simply changed the perspective of the camera - leaving everything else intact.

Infinity Ward decided to bring back third-person for the new Modern Warfare 2, only it's been upgraded to look and feel better. First, the camera has been adjusted to better detect walls and follow the momentum of the character. Aiming down sights automatically changes the perspective to first-person, similar to Ghost Recon games.

Third-person is a modifier that can be turned on or off, including in Warzone 2.0, so expect it to show up in playlists randomly over the life of the game. If you're eager to try it out yourself, you'll be happy to know that third-person mode has been confirmed for the beta.

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