Battlefield 3 vs. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3: A Multiplayer Comparison
2. Team Focus
In Modern Warfare 3, Infinity Ward is making strides to make Call of Duty a little more accessible to the kinds of players who aren’t grabbing sniper rifles or dual shotguns and tearing the other team apart all by their lonesome. The new Strike Package system encourages support players as well as lone-wolf hotshots, but even with a greater emphasis on team play, MW3 can still be very much an army of one kind of game.
Infinity Ward is working on that issue, though, with greater emphasis on social aspects through Call of Duty: Elite. When MW3 rolls around, it will likely be a more talkative and more friendly place than the games have been in the past. But will it be a more team-oriented game than the current culture allows? It’s hard to say.
Meanwhile, Battlefield can play like MW3 with its lone-wolf style as well, but in the end, it’s a much more team-oriented game than its Activision counterpart. In the beta, DICE allowed gave us access to two maps and two different, very team-oriented game types: Rush and Conquest. Both are about taking objectives, with Rush having two rolling objectives that need to be destroyed using explosive charges. One team attacks, the other defends. Conquest is basically a Territories-type match, in which groups of players occupy different areas of the map and score points for controlling them. Both are basically unwinnable without serious team work.
There’s also the underlying framework of team-based gameplay at work in Battlefield: the squad system. From the outset, players are placed into squads, which allow them to spawn on different players when they’re killed, and to see their squadmates on the HUD wherever they are. Basically, the game gives you a small team among the larger group right from the outset. If you really want to get the most out of Battlefield, making the most of the squad system is key. There’s also the class system that causes players to depend on one another for revives, health, ammo and other benefits. It’s just not a good idea not to cooperate.
Bottom line: Both games are becoming more team-oriented, but Battlefield has a much heavier emphasis. If you want to work together, Battlefield’s the way. If you want a more solitary experience, Modern Warfare 3 might be for you.
3. Scope and Size
This might be the place that Battlefield 3 appears to be a clear winner. Even with just two maps revealed, the multiplayer aspect of the game looks huge. Operation Metro, the Rush map that most players got to look at, spans a park, a huge subway system, and an outdoor street with buildings that can be entered; all of this unlocked in stages. It’s also a much more camping-oriented game, and run-and-gun players used to a higher degree of forward motion and action can find frustration around every corner, as they run into players lying in wait, prone in a corner.
Insanely large maps encourage a lot of sniping, a lot of hiding, and a lot of getting taken out without ever seeing your assailant. So far, DICE has also instituted a seriously terrible killcam system in which players see the face of their killers without much reference as to what they did or from where they might have been ambushed. There are a great many deaths that get dished out to fresh players in Battlefield 3, and only a few are lessons you can learn from.
In Modern Warfare 3, every death is an education thanks to the killcam system, so it’s easy to become better just by watching yourself screw up through the eyes of the enemy. Maps are also a great deal smaller, with more interior areas that will encourage more close-range battles. Even the largest of MW3 maps are not half as open or expansive as BF3 maps, and none contain vehicles.
The BF3 beta’s Caspian Border map is so expansive, each team spawns with numerous vehicles, like jeeps, tanks, helicopters and even jets. You can also play as a soldier on foot, but the map is so big that getting around is pretty prohibitive without the help of some wheels, wings or rotors. That means you’ll need to learn how to drive them effectively — you might want to Google piloting the aerial vehicles right now. It’s not easy or immediately apparent how it works. There will undoubtedly be a lot of flaming wreckage on Oct. 25, and a lot of players who never jump into the cockpit after a few failures. That’ll be a shame.
Bottom line: Modern Warfare 3 is smaller, tighter, simpler in a way and totally lacking in vehicle combat. Battlefield 3 will be massive and include jets that you can fly.