Modern Warfare Doesn’t Come With a Mini-Map
Activision unveiled the multiplayer mode for the rebooted Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. 2019’s Duty is releasing the iconic mini-map to add more “realism” to multiplayer, and it’s the design that’s caused the most consternation in the Call of Duty community so far. Call of Duty’s mini-map has been a feature of the multiplayer HUD since the original Modern Warfare released in 2007.
The mini-map doesn’t show players everything. Enemy players temporarily show up as a red dot on the mini-map when they shoot a gun that isn’t provided with a silencer attachment. Opponents are also pinged as red dots when there is a UAV movement, assuming they aren’t using any type of perk or gadget that is used to counter the UAV. Teammate bearings are generally shown as a blue or green dot.
Some might see the mini-map as simply a crutch and not care about the feature’s removal, but many players value the data collected from reading the map. It’s much more educational than just seeing a red dot ping and then suddenly changing direction to chase it. Making proper use of the mini-map means you can read your teammates’ positioning as well as the opposing team’s. Understanding how player positioning changes the spawn points is essential for controlling the map. And you’ll have a really great idea when the spawns are about to flip sides, meaning you need to immediately turn around and watch your flipside.
While the mini-map does provide players with added information, the elimination of the feature in 2019’s Modern Warfare won’t shatter the game. Call of Duty’s longstanding “hardcore” mode features a more tactical action, with the total removal of the HUD and lack of health regeneration, and this works fine for experienced players.
However, this could very likely change the speed of the standard “core” multiplayer. Without being able to use information from a mini-map, players could be less enticed to run around the map, making for some overly careful and campy matches. You can see the change in the flow of the game just by switching from core to hardcore in any other Call of Duty game. The speed slows down, and players are much more likely to be seen lurking around corners. This isn’t just because of the lack of health regeneration but mainly caused by the lack of a mini-map.
The iconic mini-map isn’t totally dead. Earning a killstreak of 3 will now earn a player a Personal Radar, which functions as a brief mini-map to ping enemies. A streak of 4 will earn the whole team a UAV to find enemies, but otherwise, there’s no permanent mini-map.
Modern Warfare is Game Informer magazine’s cover story for the month, and footage has been experienced from a newer build of the game than what was previously shown at the official reveal on August 1. This new footage shows a white outline around teammates, which could help players keep track of their own team’s positioning. But these only highlight friendlies when they move inside a building or behind objects.
In addition to ditching the mini-map, Infinity Ward has also stacked a few other new mechanics to further push “realism” in Call of Duty. Maps will have doors that open and close, and some will allow players to forcefully burst through them. Mounting a gun and leaning will be available on surfaces such as ledges and door frames.
Modern Warfare is also offering a “realism” mode, with pitch-black night modifications of the maps, forcing players to make use of night vision goggles to ensure the win. Not only does the mode lack a mini-map, but there are no hitmakers to show that a player’s bullets have really hit anyone. It makes sense leaving a mini-map in a separate mode that works alike to the rules of hardcore, but it feels odd to drop the radar from the standard “core” multiplayer, moving away from Call of Duty’s arcade shooter feel.
2017’s Call of Duty: WWII already showed that pushing for too much of an authentic experience can be ill-received. The game felt so much better after Sledgehammer completely overhauled the restrictive Division classes, and they started having fun with events like the zombie invasion of “Attack of the Undead.”
There’s still lots of time for changes before the game’s October 25 release. When asked on Twitter if the mini-map would still be judged based off feedback, Infinity Ward’s art director Joel Emslie responded: “The most productive way to go about this is to let everyone play the game/beta and think for themselves. There has been enough feedback given on first impressions of viewing. It’s important that feedback is based on experience and not second hand.”