Following the first weekend of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II multiplayer beta, Activision has outlined what to expect going forward. The company addressed a number of concerns, including the controversial minimap system, which disallows red dots from appearing when firing an unsuppressed weapon. Though, don’t expect to see any changes with regards to the minimap, as Activision has doubled down on its stance. The beta’s most glaring issue has to do with its sluggish and inconsistent pacing, and its minimap is a major contributing factor. But what exactly are players upset about and why is the game’s minimap so problematic?
Modern Warfare II minimap change explained
In previous Call of Duty games, firing an unsuppressed weapon would cause you to appear as a red dot on the enemy’s minimap. However, this changed with 2019’s Modern Warfare, and instead, this only revealed your location as a red dot on the compass, which is far less precise. This, in turn, changed the pacing of a match, requiring players to spend time searching for opponents rather than running directly to their general location.
This system will return in Modern Warfare II, and it is once again a major issue.
Following the beta’s first weekend, Activision and Infinity Ward received lots of feedback about this minimap mechanic, so much so that the companies addressed it as part of a blog post:
Currently, in the MW2 Beta, we only show enemy player dots when a UAV is active. The design reason for this is that we do not want to punish players for firing their weapons. We also want players to actively search out the origin of a gunshot versus just traveling directly to where the dot is on the mini-map. We continue to gather feedback on how the game is playing in regards to this topic.
This explanation didn’t sit well with the community.
Modern Warfare II minimap system needs to change ASAP
The company explains that it doesn’t want to punish players for firing their weapons, which completely undermines the usage of a suppressor. This attachment is meant to keep you from appearing on the minimap when firing, but given the game’s current state, there’s no reason to use a suppressor — especially since they actually penalize your weapon’s performance (often hurting damage range and aim down sights speed).
Aside from suppressors losing their effectivity, the lack of red dots on the minimap severely changes the pacing of a match. Previously, chasing red dots would keep the action flowing, encouraging players to consistently stay on the move. You’d always have a general idea of your foes’ locations, with fewer instances of enemy players taking you out from behind.
Now, in Modern Warfare II, it’s common to wander around in search of opponents, with far more downtime in between engagements. Sure, having the red dots on the compass gives you a loose idea of where to go, but it’s nowhere near as precise as using the minimap. Since the spawn system was wonky in the beta, you’d often get attacked unexpectedly, especially since the minimap is practically useless in the current version.
The only way to see enemies as red dots on the minimap is during a UAV killstreak. This makes UAVs invaluable, practically requiring you to use them. This, once again, undermines the other low-tier killstreaks, and makes them less valuable. It’s also a shame because the UAV reveals all (un-Ghosted) player locations, regardless of whether they’ve fired their weapon.
Modern Warfare II features a Perk called Bird’s Eye, that actually reverts to the old classic style minimap system. However, Bird’s Eye falls into the tier 3 Perk category, which has to charge up over the course of a match to trigger, meaning you can’t use it right away. This makes the Bird’s Eye Perk essential, discouraging players from picking any other options from the tier 3 category — even despite having to wait to use it.
It’s also puzzling since the classic minimap system is present in Call of Duty: Warzone, which is one of Activision’s most successful titles to date. Why do players get “penalized” for firing an unsuppressed weapon in that game, but not in Modern Warfare II? It’s a contradictory stance that feels patronizing, especially to longtime fans.
Ultimately, it’s unlikely Activision will change how the minimap works. There’s likely data supporting that having no red dots on the minimap is better for casual players, making the game more approachable to all. But given Activision’s explanation, it doesn’t seem like the publisher is being as transparent as it thinks.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II launches on October 28, 2022.