Modern Warfare 3 Open Combat Missions (OCMs) explained

 Captain Price kneels in a grassy field, holding a sniper rifle. Mountains can be seen in the background.
Captain Price kneels in a grassy field, holding a sniper rifle. Mountains can be seen in the background.

Open Combat Missions (OCMs) are a new edition to the Call of Duty series and are featured in 2023's Modern Warfare 3. They come as part of the main Campaign Mode, alongside more traditional missions. These OCMs allow players to take on objectives in a variety of ways, favoring freedom over the more linear missions found in previous titles.

You'll steadily unlock Open Combat Missions as you progress through Modern Warfare 3's Campaign, which you can actually play a week early via Modern Warfare 3 Early Access. For now, we've yet to see an OCM in action, but thanks to some blog posts revealed by Activision, we've got plenty of details on what's in store. These new mission types, as well as the return of some classic maps easily make Modern Warfare 3 one of the most highly anticipated upcoming games left this year.

Here's what you need to know about Modern Warfare 3 Open Combat Missions, including a look at how they work, and how they'll be included in the Campaign.

Modern Warfare 3 Open Combat Missions (OCMs) explained

Open Combat Missions are new to Modern Warfare 3, and are described as a break from the traditional mission structure you'll likely be used to. OCMs take place on a much more open map, with multiple ways of approaching objectives. In a recent blog, OCMs were described as follows:

"Whether embracing the shadows with a stealthy approach or unleashing an all-out assault, the gameplay mechanics flexibly accommodate a spectrum of choices, enabling players to forge their own paths towards success."

In addition, there are 10 different strategies that can be employed while taking on OCMs, according to the developer:

  • Stealth: Just like in “Operation 627,” remaining off the radar in Open Combat Missions is often a viable strategy.

  • Guns a-Blazing: Full-on, all-out assaults are common in Call of Duty’s history, and you can pull them off in Open Combat Missions, too.

  • Using Your Loadout: Not only do you typically have a Primary and Secondary Weapon, Equipment (Lethals and Tacticals), and on-Operator gear like binoculars or NVGs, but another part of your Loadout – and new to this Campaign – is additional equipment

  • Picking up Enemy Ordnance: Just like the more familiar Campaign missions, your Open Combat Mission Operator can use all kinds of armaments, including those dropped by enemies.

  • Scavenging for More: New to Call of Duty Campaign missions, it’s possible to find loose loadout items, item boxes, or even the ability to swap to another loadout mid-mission via a special loadout crate.

  • On Foot: Most Call of Duty Campaign missions involve boots-on-the-ground combat, so if you rather go the traditional route in Open Combat Missions, very little is stopping you from standard Operator movements.

  • Parachuting, Parkour, and More: Whether it's jumping off the Gora Dam or mantling onto balconies, Open Combat Missions offer plenty of verticality and unconventional movement options.

  • In Water: If there is a body of water in an Open Combat Mission, you are free to dive into it and swim.

  • Vehicles: Open Combat Missions often contain drivable vehicles, whether it is the armored SUV of the hostiles you just eliminated or an idle four-wheeler with the keys already in the ignition.

  • Killstreaks and Interactable Items: It could be as simple as a throwable flammable gas canister, or as complex as calling for an air-to-ground missile – there is plenty more than personal armaments and vehicles to use for some serious firepower.

It's worth noting that while these 10 strategies have been offered up as recommended tactics, you can switch between them or try other approaches that you come up with while playing. OCMs are meant to be open and varied, allowing for player experimentation.

Modern Warfare 3 confirmed OCMs so far

Modern Warfare 3
Modern Warfare 3

So far we've only seen one OCM. There's a Call of Duty NEXT event coming next month (October), that is teased to be revealing more OCMs, so we'll be sure to update the list below after the show. For now, here are all of the confirmed Modern Warfare 3 OCMs:

  • Gora Dam - Unlike the Gora Dam that players may remember from 2019, the Gora River’s waters run deep in 2023. From atop the Dam, Simon “Ghost” Riley – who players control as part of this mission – must defuse several bomb sites in the vicinity of the dam, one of which is on a moving truck.

That's everything we know about Modern Warfare 3's OCMs so far. For more, be sure to check out our look at the best FPS games you can play right now.