Earlier this year, Sledgehammer Games promised to change the way we play Call of Duty and today at Gamescom, they delivered upon that pledge with the debut of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer. With brand new mobility mechanics, new modes, expanded character customization, the new Pick 13 loadout system, supply drop loot, and more, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare introduces some of the most significant and sweeping changes in the franchise's history.
At the center of it all is the exoskeleton, which allows players to boost jump to new tactical positions, quickly dash around enemies and behind cover, use an accelerated slide, and deal a crushing melee blow from above with the boost slam. On paper, it may sound like a simple change in movement, but in practice, it creates a frenetic new style of combat and map traversal.
The controls are fluid and intuitive. Need a quick change in altitude? Double tap the jump button to leap to a nearby rooftop. Want to blast forward, midair? Push forward and in on the left joystick. Coming under heavy fire and need to reach cover quickly? Push in on the left joystick to either side. It's simple enough that anyone can take advantage of the new movements, but true to Call of Duty's roots, time, practice, and skill will make the exoskeleton an even more effective and deadly tool.
To complement the verticality and swift movement offered by the exoskeleton, Sledgehammer Games has brought a fresh approach to map design. Four new maps were unveiled today — Biolab, Riot, Ascend, and Defender — and each preserves the tight, strategic gameplay that Call of Duty is known for, but adds new elevated vantages and pathways, like rooftops and other structures. There's plenty of room to let the exoskeleton loose, but the layout keeps players in the thick of the action and the pace high.
However, the exoskeleton affords more than just mobility; it unlocks an entirely new class of combat abilities, like temporary cloaking, a rapidly deployable mobile shield, an integrated trophy system for disabling incoming grenades and rockets, and even the capacity to hover in mid-air.
It's all anchored by Advanced Warfare's new loadout system, Pick 13. Building upon the Pick 10 system introduced in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Pick 13 lets players personalize their armaments from top to bottom through the careful allocation of 13 loadout points, which can be applied to weapons, attachments, lethals, perks, wildcards, and now, for the first time, scorestreaks.
It's all about versatility and fine-tuning a loadout to match any play style. Players can deck out their primary with attachments or they can take only a knife and invest heavily in perks and scorestreaks, which for the first time, can be customized with new abilities. For instance, a remote turret can be upgraded to a rocket turret with the option to rip the head off and carry it around as a heavy weapon. Upgrading a scorestreak doesn't count towards your Pick 13, but it will increase the in-match score required to earn it. There are also new co-op scorestreaks, where two players can work together using a single scorestreak. For instance, if one player calls in a Warbird airship, any other member of their team can jump in and tag targets for the gunner.
In addition to the countless configurations offered by Pick 13, Advanced Warfare introduces a new loot system, known as Supply Drops. With three rarity levels — Enlisted, Professional, and Elite — players can earn rewards as they progress and complete challenges. Included are weapons with a distinctive look and unique attributes, uncommon character gear, and one-time use items, like scorestreaks and perks. By acquiring rare equipment and weapons, players will stand out in the new Virtual Lobby, which presents each player as their fully rendered character for all to see. The look of your character can also be enhanced by a large selection of personalization items, like helmets, shirts, vests, gloves, pants, knee guards, eyewear, and more as part of Advanced Warfare's Create an Operator system. What's more, any newly acquired weapon or attachment can be tested out between matches from the new Virtual Firing Range. Now, instead of taking an unfamiliar weapon into battle, players can get a feel for a weapon's performance right from the menu.
At launch, there will be 12 modes in multiplayer, and Sledgehammer Games has confirmed series staples like Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Hardpoint, Domination, and Search & Destroy will return in Advanced Warfare. However, there will also be new gametypes, like Uplink and Momentum. Uplink pits two teams against each other for control of a satellite drone, which must be carried by a player to the opposing team's uplink portal. The carrier is left vulnerable without their weapon and teams must work together to keep their carrier safe and the drone out of enemy hands. Momentum, on the other hand, is based upon War introduced in Call of Duty: World at War, which tasks teams with controlling five consecutive capture points to win. As teams rack up kills and gain control of each contested point, the capture speed picks up, resulting in an epic tug-of-war.
For competitive play, Advanced Warfare will support a variety of eSports features, like ranked playlists, LAN lobbies, enhanced broadcaster, and more.
But this is just a sampling of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer and eSports offering. There's tons more to dig into and Sledgehammer Games will reveal more closer to the game's release in November.