Modern Warfare 2 will feature upgradable perks, no vehicles

In a recent interview, Infinity Ward’s community manager Robert Bowling offered a few meaty morsels of Modern Warfare 2 mulitplayer goodness to fans. For starters, the weapons will be more plentiful and customizable than ever before. A new array of attachments are available to allow players tweak a gun to their liking, and the addition of a controllable AC-130 gunship to multiplayer has forced the team to add a number of explosive weapons that are capable of stopping it.

A gunship, you ask? Instead of rewarding your success with an AI controlled helicopter this time around, the team has added what they are calling “customizable killstreaks.” These allow you to pick which killstreak bounty you will receive, instead of being stuck with the stock UAVs, gunships and helicopters of old. In the AC-130’s case, you can control one of the three weapons mounted to the aircraft as it flies around the map, while the peons below try to blow you out of the sky before too much damage is done. As for other vehicles (like Call of Duty: World At War‘s controllable tanks), Bowling says that Infinity Ward “never puts vehicle(s) in multiplayer,” as their focus “is on fast-paced infantry combat.”

As for the perks system, which was arguably Call of Duty 4‘s most well received and innovative feature, many changes have been made. You can choose to forgo minor killstreak rewards (like UAVs) to save up for bigger and better bonuses. Another major addition to Modern Warfare 2 is perk upgrading, which allows you to level-up your base perk to a “pro” version with additional features. This lets you to customize your character’s perks to fit each gametype appropriately, adding speed for objective matches and toughness to deathmatch for example. When asked about a level cap, Bowling deflected by saying that players will “constantly be receiving new rewards” as they level-up and that hard numbers for caps, perks and weapons would be kept under wraps.

The only thing that worries me about perk upgrading is how it might upset the multiplayer balance. While the hardcore, everyday players will appreciate this complexity, occasional fans might be overwhelmed by all of the new choices offered in MW2. Also, perk upgrading creates an even bigger gap between lower-level players and higher-level ones, rewarding the dedicated with an unfair advantage and making it harder for everyone to be on an even playing field. While I do believe that Infinity Ward will do their best to balance this title, I won’t entirely be sold on all of these additions until I get my eager hands on a copy in 75 days (yes, I have been counting).

Modern Warfare 2 will report for duty on November 10th for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.