Call of Duty Players Are Really Mad About Red Dots

·3-min read
A soldier in Call of Duty looks into the distance.
A soldier in Call of Duty looks into the distance.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, out October 28, will stand by controversial design decisions even after its strained beta weekend, developer Infinity Ward says. The long-standing ability to slide-cancel—which allowed players to manipulate sliding into a super-fast run—is gone, and, in a move that has replaced some players’ eyes with infernal flames, Infinity Ward decided that mini-maps will no longer display red dots when players shoot their weapons.

“Currently in the MW2 Beta, we only show enemy player dots when [an unmanned aerial vehicle] is active,” Infinity Ward wrote in a recent community update blog. “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.”

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Call of Duty games have indicated where actively shooting players were on the mini-map for the past 16 years or so. Silencer or Suppressor weapon attachments and subsonic rounds would stealthily remove this red dot for a price (you’d have to be closer to do meaningful damage, bullets would fly more lethargically, etc.).

But the latest Modern Warfare 2 makes these features obsolete. The dots are gone, and Infinity Ward seems uninterested in bringing them back, though it maintains in its blog post that it is continuing “to gather feedback on how the game is playing in regards to this topic.”

Players are more than happy to supply their collective feedback, but not everyone seems to agree on what that is.

Call of Duty professional Damon “Karma” Barlow wrote on Twitter that removing red dots “turns COD into hide and go seek and not a fun arena shooter.” An observation made, I think, even more accurate by the fact that Modern Warfare 2 features distinct and loud player footsteps.

More contentiously, Call of Duty news site CharlieIntel turned to Twitter to surmise that Infinity Ward was trying to appeal to newbie players, people who might be awkward with their weapons.

“It is clear that there’s a higher catering to casual players with Infinity Ward’s games,” the site wrote, “and also clear that they believe casual players enjoying the game is more important than the hardcore player experience.”

Conversely, some players are saying only a casual would need a red dot to tell them where to go. PC Gamer wrote, for example, that “if I’m going to get shot in the back, I’d much rather it be the result of them hunting me down with sound than following a red dot on a map.”

But overall, no one seems to know exactly what they want from the dots other than Infinity Ward. And Infinity Ward does not want the dots. If you yourself are not sure, soon everyone will have the chance to decide—Modern Warfare 2’s open beta will occur across all platforms from September 24 to September 26. Those who have pre-ordered the game can play a bit earlier, from September 22 to 23.