Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2: Best beginner's tips for multiplayer combat

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Campaign Reveal
(Image credit: Activision)

This year's Call of Duty game is bigger than ever, so if you're a newcomer to the fray, there's no need to feel intimidated.

With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, there's some changes to the tried-and-true Call of Duty formula. It seems to be paying off, as the game is busting records and crossed $1 billion in launch sales in its first 10 days. Here's some beginner's tips and tricks to help you succeed as you learn the multiplayer.

Get used to the new movement system

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 eschews multiple exploits that some previous games featured when it came to movement, including a more frenetic, twitchy gameplay style. Specifically, reload canceling is a thing of the past. This used to mean that if a player had to reload a gun that had a lengthy animation (like some of the LMGs) it was possible to quickly switch to another weapon and "cancel" the animation, reloading faster. That's not a thing anymore. 

Instead, guns now use a system called "Reload Checkpoints" meaning that if a reload is only partially complete, you'll pick up reloading the gun at the last "Checkpoint" of the animation, such as pulling back a bolt or inserting a magazine. 

Slide canceling, an advanced movement exploit that requires sprinting, crouching and jumping precisely, is technically still in the game, but is much harder to pull off than in past titles, and doesn't provide the same benefits. This means that you shouldn't bother trying to learn how to do it; focus on strafing and learning to peek around walls efficiently.

Outside of keeping this system in mind, we also highly recommend that you enable Automatic Tactical Sprint in your settings. This will mean your character just automatically sprints when moving forward, so you don't have to worry about manually handling this part of movement while you are still learning how to play.

A wall is just an object

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Other Call of Duty games have featured "wall bangs," a system that refers to how some guns can shoot through different surfaces and deal reduced damage to enemies that think they are well hidden. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 fully embraces this feature, allowing you to deal heavy damage through a wall with the right gun. So if you see someone duck for cover, keep on firing! You might still be able to injure or kill them.

You need to communicate...and listen

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If you've got one of the best Xbox headsets, you need to use it. Having a headset will let you listen for enemy footsteps and give you better audio feedback. It'll also let you communicate with your teammates and coordinate a plan in team-based game modes. Now, we wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to talk to random people. But if you plan on playing with friends, or trying to make new ones, you'll need a headset.

Outside of the headset, the developers have also also included a "pinging" system. Pinging was popularized by Respawn Entertainment's 2019 battle royale title Apex Legends, allowing players to press a particular button or key and ping something on the screen. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 supports pinging, and players on console will need to press up on the D-Pad, while PC users can ping by pressing the Z key.

Use Scorestreaks, not Killstreaks

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While some of the prior entries in the long-running Call of Duty franchise have gone back and forth between Scorestreak and Killstreak rewards, that's not the case in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Here, players can opt to receive care packages, air support, and more by hitting the right kill threshold in one go or by scoring the right number of points in a single life. If you're just starting out, we highly recommend opting for Scorestreaks.

Using Scorestreaks means that if you're playing an objective mode, the points you earn for playing properly — staying on the HQ or Hardpoint, disabling a bomb, and so on — will rack up, allowing you to earn some early rewards very quickly. This is recommended even after you've got the basics down, as unless you're playing Team Deathmatch, it will always be the faster option.

Go easy on the weapon attachments

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Like in countless other shooters and Call of Duty titles, leveling up different weapons means unlock various attachments to apply. While these can offer useful secondary fire or bonuses — such as an underbarrel grenade launcher or scope for an assault rifle — please take care and don't just apply weapon attachments because you happen to unlock them. 

Many attachments benefit one or two aspects of your gun, but will also carry small penalties to movement speed, damage distance, or other "standard" aspects of a gun, and these can quickly add up if you're not careful. Test attachments one or two at a time, and get a feel for how they're helping or hindering your particular playing style. 

Hang in there

Regardless of if you've played Call of Duty games in the past or this is actually the first time playing one, you can definitely find success just like anyone who hasn't missed an entry in the series. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is one of the best Xbox games for multiplayer fans, and based on reports so far, it'll be the game players are still enjoying in 2023.

If you run into bugs and issues, be sure to consult our list of bugs and launch issues in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where we're tracking the latest information from lead developer Infinity Ward.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is currently available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, PC, PS5, and PS4, with full cross-play support.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (2022)

When you jump into the latest big Call of Duty game, there's no reason to be concerned. Keep our basic tips and tricks in mind, and you'll be finding success in no time. With no new game reportedly coming in 2023, this is the game to spend time in.

Available from:  Xbox (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)| Steam (opens in new tab) | Amazon (opens in new tab)

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.