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Modern Warfare Needs Another Look At Weapon Balance (long post, sorry!)
After about 400 hours in Modern Warfare and getting gold for most the guns, I feel that I’ve gathered enough of an opinion on the weapon balance in Modern Warfare to share some of my thoughts. I’ve previously provided analysis on Battlefield V’s weapon balance (and subsequently, analysis to how the developer butchered the weapon balance) that was well received, but Call of Duty is the game I’ve been playing my whole life, and Modern Warfare 2019 is the first one since Black Ops 2 that’s really garnered my full time attention.
Call of Duty weapon balance at its best has always been… iffy, but I feel that Modern Warfare 2019 actually does better than most Call of Duty titles here. Most of the guns actually have a good reason to be used, but it could obviously be better. I've played a healthy amount of every mode in MW, but I've had the most time in normal 6v6, so that's where most of my opinions come from.
I think some tweaks to a few of the guns and attachments would be a huge improvement. I’d rather have guns buffed and new attachments added than have the "meta" guns nerfed. I don't want to feel like I have to use certain attachment combinations on a gun for it to be competitive, nor do I want to have to avoid certain combinations.
Without datamining (which to my understanding is incredibly tedious, and would be near-impossible due to the sheer number of guns and attachments and the frequency of updates on IW's part), I don’t have 100% perfect gun stats on hand to give the best feedback possible. Thanks to u/drift0r u/thexclusiveace, since without them, I wouldn't have enough background info to even form a good opinion on this.
As a last note about weapon stats, I want to see more accurate and detailed patch notes from IW. Although I'd love this, they don't need to be massive code dumps for each gun. But having major stealth changes without notifying anyone in the patch notes is just unacceptable. I don't want meaningless and arbitrary bars in the game UI to tell me how good a gun is, I want to see that the M4A1 can ADS in a certain number of milliseconds, and that the stippled grip tape lowers this to a certain number of milliseconds. Additional obscurity helps nobody.
Submachine Guns:AUG: Personally, this gun is my baby; the AUG is my most used gun, and what I pull out in a sweaty lobby. In its 5.56x45mm conversion, I liken it to the BO2 Peacekeeper - not the best SMG up close, but better than the ARs up close, while being one of the best SMGs at range, but not quite as amazing as the ARs - a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none. Personally, I really like this, and I’d like to keep the AUG where it is.
Small buffs to mobility would be welcome, since the AUG is slightly on the slower side for SMGs, and can’t take short barrel or no stock attachments to increase movement speed. A slight ~10% buff to hipfire would be welcome, especially for the 9mm AUG, and a slight movement speed and/or ADS time (perhaps 33ms) buff would be welcome as well.
A reload time buff and/or making 32 round mags default for the 9mm AUG would be nice as well. I’m past the attachment grind, but the default 25 round mags make the AUG a pain to use for new players when they have to go against 60 round MP7s and M4s.
A bit of an unrealistic wish, but I wish the AUG 5.56mm had its authentic 42 round magazines. I don’t think the 60 round drums are very competitive in multiplayer, since the mobility penalty kills the entire point of using the AUG, and the 60 round drums make the AUG a bit too good in Warzone, since you have some of the best CQB damage output in the game along with a big enough magazine to wipe 3 players easily.
MP5: Everyone’s favorite meta SMG. When it comes time to drip sweat all over your controller or keyboard, this is everyone’s go-to because of its CQB TTK. It’s received some deserved nerfs over the past few months that have done a lot, but it’s still very clearly a bit too strong.
I wouldn’t want to kill the MP5 or knock it away from its intended role as the best CQB SMG. I think increasing the 9mm MP5's recoil to 10mm levels, and perhaps a ~10% increase to 10mm MP5 recoil would be fine. This keeps the MP5 as the close-quarters king, but gives space for the other SMGs to shine a bit more. A tiny ~10% increase to hipfire spread may also be warranted.
MP7: Despite being another really popular SMG, I actually think the MP7 could be a bit better. It handles well and its a versatile gun, but its TTK is actually some of the slowest in the SMG category without headshots.
With Merc Foregrip + 5mW, it’s a decent hipfire gun, but I think the Uzi is better at this. With the FSS Recon Barrel, it’s a decent midrange laser, but there are better SMGs for this. The option of 60 round magazines is a leg up on the P90. I doesn’t do anything poorly, but it’s not quite competitive enough. For the sake of uniqueness, I think giving it a rate of fire bump up to ~1080 RPM with a recoil increase would be good to give it its own niche. Let the P90 shine more as a midrange SMG, while the MP7 is its CQB counterpart.
PP-19 Bizon: Probably the least fun I had while going for platinum SMGs. On paper, it’s not bad. The CQB TTK should be competitive with the AUG 5.56mm, the recoil is really low, and the magazine is huge, but I found the limb multipliers along with the middling rate of fire really irritating to use.
Unlike the other SMGs, you can’t take a foregrip really max out hifpire or ranged capabilities. Unlike the Uzi, MP5, and AUG, you can’t take a caliber swap to increase its ranged damage, and the +25% range increase with the 8.7” Steel barrel isn’t amazing for an SMG barrel attachment.
I think a slight hipfire buff and recoil buff would be welcome. I would also like to see a new magazine attachment that could really bring the Bizon in line with the other SMGs - a 53 round 9mm Parabellum drum with the Russian overpressure rounds (9mm+P+). This could act similarly to how the 10mm conversion acts for the MP5, providing a healthy extension to the gun's 4BTK range, along with a recoil and velocity increase.
P90: Like the MP7, I found this gun to be quite hit-or-miss, due to the dumpy damage model but the amazing headshot multiplier.
Balance-wise, I think it suffers from the same issues as the AUG and PP-19 Bizon. Like the AUG, you can’t take great mobility attachments (since you can’t chop the stock off a bullpup, lol), and like the Bizon, you can’t take hipfire attachments other than a 5mW Laser.
I think a slight ADS time buff, down to match the Uzi’s 167ms, would be appreciated, especially as the FORGE TAC Retribution barrel comes with a fairly solid ADS time penalty. I think the default P90’s 5BTK range needs to be extended to match that of the P90 with the Retribution barrel, at around ~26m, with the Retribution barrel providing a further +35% boost out to 30+m. This is a pretty substantial range increase, but this is far from enough to make the P90 an assault rifle-esque killing machine.
Keep in mind that with their damage models, the P90 and MP7 are some of the slower-killing SMGs in the game, especially up close. I think their niche as M13-like guns that really reward you for headshots is really fun, but they could use a bit of love.
Striker .45: Like everyone else, I was excited for the return of the MW2 UMP, but the rational part of me knew that this gun wouldn’t be as good. I honestly think of this gun as a “bad Uzi”. There’s really nothing this gun does better than the Uzi at all.
The two-round burst hollow point rounds are cool, but with a 12 round capacity, I can’t consider it to be any better than “meme-tier”. Upping this to 20 or 24 rounds would be fine. I think the default .45 ACP rounds would be more competitive if it weren’t impacted by limb multipliers in close range, at up to say, 12 meters.
I want to cement the Striker’s status as a “long range” SMG, but I’d be scared to up its 3BTK range further, since it would start to make the assault rifles less relevant. I think upping its damage within its 4BTK range from 25 to 28 would be really good. This would allow it to three hit kill with one headshot and two bodyshots, as opposed to two headshots and one bodyshot, like the other SMGs.
Uzi: I adore this gun almost as much as the AUG. To everyone who called this the “worst gun/SMG in Modern Warfare”, I call fake news. Yes, it’s on the slow side of the TTK range for SMGs, but at ~600RPM with a 3BTK minimum, it has similar CQB TTK to the MP7 and P90, which aren’t bad at all. It also has by far the best hipfire of any gun in the game. The .41 AE rounds are unbelievably good, and I think they turn the Uzi into one of the absolute best guns in the game, with a massive 3BTK range (especially when paired with the FSS barrel).
Uzi praise aside, I would like to see it receive a little bit of love. I think the gun needs very minor tweaks to push it closer to the MP5 realm. A nice hipfire buff to even further solidify the Uzi as the best hipfire gun would be fantastic (around a ~15-25% buff). I think adding Skeleton Stock as a stock option would also be fantastic, to really emphasize the Uzi’s mobility advantage to compensate for its relative DPS disadvantage.
Assault Rifles:AK-47: While the tricky recoil keeps it from being M4-levels of meta, I think it’s an extremely competitive gun with better potential than the M4 if used correctly. I don’t really have any issues with how it is, especially with how good the 5.45x39mm conversion is.
As noted below, I think the AK-47 and SCAR 17 need to have their damage models swapped.
FAL: I have one issue with this gun. The limb multipliers. With the Oden, which is also 2-3 BTK and easier to use, a limbshot + a bodyshot will kill someone. A limbshot + a bodyshot with the FAL does not kill someone. It can be endlessly frustrating.
Since the FAL is more geared towards closer ranges than the Oden, with its worse damage range-extending attachments, higher rate of fire, and better mobility, I think tweaking the damage model to match this niche would be great. Within ~12m, it should be a two-shot kill, regardless of where you hit. Up to ~30m, it should be more similar to the Oden, where a limbshot + bodyshot will kill. Past that, I find the FAL’s performance to be fine.
FR 5.56: Like all burst fire guns in Call of Duty history, the FR 5.56’s (I’m going to call it the FAMAS, since that’s what it is) effectiveness just depends on how crisp your connection is. I think it’s in a good place where it is, but I think a slight recoil and handling buff would be nice. Right now, I think it’s a bit overly necessary to invest heavily into ADS time and recoil attachments compared to other guns.
Grau 5.56: I think this gun is fine as-is. Perhaps a slightly easier recoil pattern makes it more competitive with the M4, but it’s already a solid weapon as-is. I think adding the 7.62x39mm conversion (SG 553 R) would be cool, but not necessary.
As for attachments, I want to break the mold of every 5.56x45mm gun having the same 50 round and 60 round mags a bit. Give the Grau (SG 550) its real life jungle mags, to make every other reload significantly faster. Would this break the 50/60 round meta? Who knows, but it would be cool.
Kilo-141: Simply put, I don't think the Kilo is anything more than a bad M4. It has easy recoil, solid damage, and solid range, but the M4 does all these things as well. All I think is necessary are a slight buff to its recoil pattern to make the recoil noticeably easier to use than the M4’s, and some attachment buffs.
Reduce the mobility penalty for the 100 round drum mags. It’s currently the only thing that makes it unique compared to the other 5.56mm assault rifles, but it makes the Kilo so unusably slow that it’s not very worthwhile at all. I would also add Skeleton Stock to the Kilo to give it a noticeable mobility advantage over the M4 if desired. Skeleton Stock is genuinely one of the best attachments in the game, and adding it to some of the lesser guns would be a great way to buff them.
M4A1: The 5.56mm M4A1 needs no work. It’s a meta gun, but I don’t want to see it nerfed, because it’s admittedly fun as hell to use, but it certainly doesn’t need buffs. I think this is the bar that other guns should be balanced around. A slight recoil increase would be acceptable, but unnecessary in my opinion.
The 9mm M4A1 is a bit of a meme, being a slightly faster-killing MP7 with worse handling and capacity. Giving it a similar damage model to the 9mm SMGs might be overkill, since it would become the fastest killing automatic in the game. If you buffed the damage and dropped the rate of fire to match the 5.56mm M4A1's, it would just be an MP5 with worse handling. I honestly don't know what the 9mm M4A1 needs to be worthwhile.
The .458 SOCOM rounds are theoretically really good and feel great to use, but they’re honestly not worthwhile. Modern Warfare just does not lend itself to the hit-and-run playstyle that the SOCOM rounds suggest, and taking the SOCOM rounds essentially mandates Fully Loaded, so you’re already wasting two attachment slots. I think buffing the SOCOM rounds to have an Oden-esque damage model with an appropriate recoil increase is the most interesting option. Lower the rate of fire down to ~500RPM and potentially add a 14 round SOCOM option, and you have a really interesting gun that handles better and shoots faster than the Oden, but at a lower rate of fire and capacity.
M13: Despite being at the bottom of the barrel for assault rifle DPS, I found the M13 really fun while going for platinum. Its recoil is so hideously low that beaming headshots was surprisingly viable (the M13 has the highest headshot kill ratio of any automatic weapon for me, at ~30%), so I don’t really have much of an issue with the damage model.
For the 5.56x45mm M13, all I think is necessary is a solid damage range boost, bumping the 5BTK range up to ~40m, which covers almost all the ranges necessary for 6v6 maps without the need for a barrel attachment.
.300 Blackout is a different beast. It provides a very marginal range extension compared to 5.56x45mm, and it’s really not useful outside of stealth memes (no skulls, no tracers), which in itself isn’t that practical. Furthermore, you give up the incredibly useful 50/60 round mags and you don’t pick up more ammo frequently. Everyone and their mother runs a 5.56mm gun, but without Scavenger, you’re pretty much out of luck with the .300 Blackout. Since .300 Blackout is a similar size to the AK-47’s 7.62x39mm round, I’d like to see it get a solid damage buff. Give it a similar damage model to the RAM-7, and nerf velocity and recoil appropriately.
Oden: I think the Oden is awesome as-is. Its mobility can make it tricky, but it’s incredibly satisfying to use and very powerful.
RAM-7: Despite killing faster than the M4, I still got “bad M4” impressions from the RAM. Despite having a faster default ADS time, its inability to take No Stock was a bit of a damper, since No Stock is such a fantastic mobility boost. Its rate of fire isn’t so much faster than the M4 as to make it significantly better in CQB either, in my opinion.
I would increase its rate of fire to 900 RPM, so that it has an appreciable CQB advantage over the M4, and increase its recoil appropriately, so it doesn’t become the next all-range laserbeam.
SCAR 17: I found this to be the most unpleasant assault rifle to use on my way to platinum. It kicks hard for a gun in Modern Warfare, but I’ve played plenty of high recoil games, and that didn’t bother me. I honestly find the SCAR in this game to be nothing more than a “bad AK”, and that’s endlessly disappointing to me as a huge SCAR fan. I adored it in previous games, especially Black Ops 2, and loved firing one in real life.
I’m not a huge sucker for excessive realism in video games, but I think the SCAR could receive some buffs that keep it in the spirit of its realistic counterpart. The recoil is fine - the SCAR 17 in real life is known to kick hard enough to damage optics over time - and it could even use more recoil if it could get my suggested buffs. The default 20 round magazines are painful to work with in the meta of 60 round M4 LMG analogues, but they’re authentic and very usable. What’s not fine are the damage model and handling.
The SCAR 17 in real life is very light for a 7.62x51mm battle rifle, so why is it the second slowest handling assault rifle in the game? The SCAR barely weighs more than an M4 in real life. Compared to the AK-47, the SCAR has a worse damage model, handles just as slowly, and has smaller magazines, in exchange for a marginally better rate of fire. The SCAR should have its damage model with the AK swapped, since it fires the more powerful round, and it should have handling on par with the M4, Kilo-141, etc. This way, it would be a hard hitting and decent handling rifle balanced by a low capacity and tough recoil. I think this would also help with Warzone balance as well, to break up how effective the RPK Barrel AK is.
As for attachment balance, I find the 25 round magazines fairly useless. I’d rather run the default 20 round magazines and save myself the attachment point, or go all the way for 30 round mags. I’d like to see a 50 round drum added for some real variety.
LMGs:Holger-26: Despite being very usable, I think this is probably the worst LMG in the game. What is its niche? Even though it has a 100 round drum by default, that’s not considerably more useful than the 50 or 60 round magazines you can slap on half the assault rifles in the game. It doesn’t kill any faster than the best assault rifles in the game either.
Giving it a damage model like the AUG 5.56mm with a close range 3BTK, balanced out with a recoil increase. In its current state, the Holger isn't competing with the M91 and PKM well at midrange, so I think it would be far more interesting to see this as a more CQB-focused LMG. This would also likely make it a new favorite Warzone pick as well.
A change to the damage model to have a 3BTK would create a really interesting balance between the 5.56mm AUG, the 5.45mm AK, and the Holger. The AUG would be the best handling option, the AK is relatively middle-ground, with the best damage model, and the Holger would be the worst handling, but highest capacity and highest rate of fire option.
M91: A real joy to use during my platinum LMG grind, but I couldn’t help but think that there was no reason to use this over the PKM. The rate of fire is a lot lower at ~600 RPM, and while it does have lower recoil than the PKM, it’s not so much lower as to be that useful in my opinion, since all the LMGs have really low recoil.
I guess further accuracy buffs would be nice, but perhaps the M91 could also receive a larger default belt size, of 120 (matching its real-life counterpart, the MG5), and having the maximum belt size go up to 200 instead of 150. Or maybe a hipfire attachment like the CoD: Ghosts Chain SAW? With the M249 coming in for Season 3, maybe that could be the hipfire LMG.
MG34: Despite having a very solid rate of fire advantage over the PKM, I found the MG34 to be considerably less usable. The PKM already kills extremely fast, with a solid 3BTK at ~750(?) RPM, and the additional RPM of the MG34 creates diminishing returns. The default 50 round belt and very long reload time too heavily outweighs whatever benefits you get from the RPM bump.
Increasing reload speed is tough work, especially as it's tied to an animation, but that’s honestly what the MG34 needs. Giving it its 75 round saddle drum for a quick reload would be a really nice attachment.
PKM: Genuinely one of the best guns in the game. I’d even give it a slight recoil nerf. In its current state, I see no reason not to pick it over the M91 or MG34.
SA87: After the damage buffs, I think it’s one of the better guns in the game, and it’s a genuine joy to use. Nothing I’d change here. It’s like a slower handling SCAR or AK with really easy recoil.
Shotguns:Model 680: I think the 680 is in a perfect place right now. It’s a bit slow and clunky, but rewarding, with the best OHK ability in the class.
Origin 12: Thanks to Shipment, this was actually the first gun I ever golded. Unfortunately, it’s not very good on maps not named Shipment (though I can make it work on Rammaza, Shoot House, etc.). On maps where you can’t consistently barrel stuff people, it’s a bit underwhelming, especially with how slow the ADS time is.
I think the ADS time is just excessively long, and a reduction there alone would be fine. This wouldn't make the Origin 12 overpowered in what it's already excellent at (getting 10-man feeds in Shipment), but it would make it a lot more usable on maps where it's not a god gun. Also please add Dragon’s Breath, since it would be hilarious.
R9-0: I’ve seen people do well with it, and the gun has its moments, but I found it to be really inconsistent compared to the other shotguns. The two shotgun shots aren’t as consistent as I’d like, and it’s tricky to get one kill with each barrel before rechambering. At that point, I end up asking myself why I wouldn't just use the 680, which also consistently gets one kill per pump. It wasn’t frustrating to use, but often underwhelming.
I think the pump speed needs to be increased. It needs to be fast enough to give the gun a reason to exist over the 680, but slow enough to not make the Origin 12 worthless. In terms of attachments, I’d like to see maybe a flechette ammo conversion for the R9-0, to make it a very consistent two or three-shot kill with decent range, but incapable of getting a one-shot kill. I think that would make the R9-0 a very appealing and flexible shotgun for maps not named Shipment or Shoot House.
VLK Rogue: This is the only primary weapon in the game where I found the attachment grind to be painful. Flatly put, this thing is just bad. You’re combining 680 rate of fire with R9-0 damage, and the only gain is mobility, which is questionably useful. If you want a super speedy and mobile shotgun, why not the 725? With Slight of Hand, it pretty much does everything you want the VLK Rogue to do.
This thing needs a rate of fire buff, badly. I don’t mind the short OHK range when the 2HK range is very solid and fairly consistent, the rate of fire is just incredibly underwhelming when you’re generally having to 2HK. Bumping this up to ~100 RPM would be fine.
725: The most controversial gun in the game. After a myriad of nerfs, some doing nothing, and some actually fixing the gun, I’d say it’s in a largely decent place. This was still by far the fastest gun in the game to get gold with, and I didn't start until after all the nerfs. I still take some issue with how good the Sawn-Off Barrel is though. It’s just too easy to get OHKs up close without even having your hipfire reticle close to an enemy’s center mass. I think another nerf to hipfire is warranted, but I’m fine with the gun otherwise. It’ll always be irritating to die to, but I don’t find the gun overpowered anymore.
Misc: Slugs are still awful after the recent buff. They’re still far too inaccurate to warrant any use outside of pure memes. They need buffs, otherwise there's no reason to not just use the Mk2 Carbine instead.
Sniper Rifles:AX-50: Everyone’s favorite. I think the gun is really fine as-is. It can be specced flexibly for quickscoping or Warzone degenerate thermal hardscoping, and it’s a lot of fun either way.
Dragunov: Tricky to use, but also very fun. I think the recoil could be toned down a bit, but I largely think it’s fine as-is.
HDR: My personal favorite. The only attachment change I’d really make is buffing the 17” Bull Barrel. It really has no reason to exist, and the shorter barrel should improve ADS time instead of lengthening it.
Marksman Rifles:Crossbow: The main issue with the Crossbow alludes to a point I'll make about attachment balance at the bottom of this post. I get that the Crossbow is a bit of a meme weapon. In a game with modern assault rifles and machine guns, you're using a Crossbow, and it's supposed to be embarrassing to die to. However, the Crossbow is still unnecessarily miserable to use.
My first issue is the reload time, which is also effectively your rate of fire. Without Sleight of Hand, it's almost 4 seconds long. With Sleight of Hand, it's almost 3 seconds long. I'm not asking it to be an assault rifle that can reload 60 rounds in a shade over a second, but the Sleight of Hand reload needs to be the default reload, because the Crossbow is borderline unusable without it.
My next issue is how the necessary attachments also heavily impact the Crossbow's usability in some crucial way. With most guns, you can take a well-rounded attachment combination that pretty much improves the gun in every aspect. With the Crossbow, you're compromising between velocity and ADS speed far too much. Making either of these aspects of the Crossbow good makes the other aspect awful. The attachment downsides for the Crossbow are egregiously bad.
The fact that crossbow bolts also have base spread is ridiculous too. On a meme weapon where you only have one shot to kill someone, the fact that you can aim perfectly and miss is ridiculous. Honestly, the Crossbow should just have its ammo capacity reduced and be turned into a launcher, since its best use (outside of cheesing people in Warzone with explosive bolts) is against streaks anyways.
EBR-14: I personally adore this gun, but with the release of the SKS, the EBR doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. I think a recoil reduction and a velocity increase would make the gun stronger in its niche, which is longer range (in comparison to the SKS).
Kar98k: I know a lot of people love using this gun and do really well with it, but I despise using this gun. To me, it feels like a worse AX-50, and the slightly better ADS speed doesn’t justify the additional hitmarkers.
My rational side says the gun is fine as-is though. I’d like to maybe see the Hollow Stock Mod get a bit of a buff so it can strafe decently faster. I think that alone could sway me to use the gun.
Mk2 Carbine: Like the Kar98k, I despise using this gun, but I know a ton of people do well with it, and the gun is fine as-is.
SKS: An absolute joy to use. I adore this gun, and it’s probably the best DLC primary added to the game. The handling is perfect; I don’t feel at an disadvantage when facing the hordes of M4 sweats out there, but I don’t think it’s unfairly quick either. I think this should be one of the standards to balance around.
Pistols:General: Pistols in this game are awful for a Call of Duty game, barring akimbo, the burst fire Renetti, the snake shot .357, and the Desert Eagle (kinda). Compared to previous games, getting pistol kills more than ever just rely on your enemy being bad or unaware.
There’s absolutely no reason to run anything but Lightweight Trigger, since the pistols (for the most part) are just unusable without it. The Lightweight Trigger should simply be the default; in a game of relatively weak pistols, the option to make your rate of fire worse just makes no sense.
However, I don't think that giving pistols insane rates of fire like previous Call of Duty games is necessary or desirable, since they just turn into instant death cannons with an autoclick macro or rapid-fire controller, neither of which can be banned.
I would personally rework them to something like this:
Default rates of fire:
- GS .50 - 200 RPM
- M19 - 400 RPM
- Renetti - 400 RPM
- X16 - 360 RPM
- 1911 - 400 RPM
- .357 - 163 RPM
- Lightweight Trigger: slight rate of fire increase, no downside
- M19 - 450 RPM
- Renetti - 450 RPM
- X16 - 400 RPM
- 1911 - 450 RPM
- .357 - 180 RPM
- Match Grade Trigger: largest aim stability increase, no downside
- Heavy Duty Trigger: aim stability increase and hipfire buff
GS .50: The Desert Eagle is honestly the only sidearm I don’t run Lightweight Trigger on, and that’s because the Match Grade Trigger’s rate of fire increase is almost as good, and actually increases aim stability, so I can actually go for one-tap headshots.
Even though it's already one of the better pistols, I think a rate of fire increase would be fair. Also adding a "Hair Trigger" attachment to increase the rate of fire to ~300 RPM at the cost of worse recoil and/or aim stability, would be really interesting too. Would this make the GS .50 extremely good? Yes. But I think this would only put it on par with Akimbo pistols / Snake Shot / burst fire Renetti.
M19: My favorite pistol before the Renetti came along. I think it’s in a decent place right now, but the rate of fire without Lightweight Trigger needs to be higher.
Renetti: The burst fire Renetti is fantastic and feels like a reliable sidearm, even without Akimbo.
But because it’s so insane in Akimbo, I think the only sensible thing to do is make it so that Akimbo cannot be taken with a trigger attachment, or reduce the effects of Lightweight Trigger on Akimbo burst fire. I wouldn’t want to remove the burst barrel with akimbo because it’s insanely fun, but the gun does need a slight nerf because it’s honestly like having a pocket shotgun at the moment. Making trigger attachments incompatible with akimbo would also be fine.
X16: With a rate of fire buff, the X16 would be a pretty solid sidearm.
.357: Remove the trigger delay. It simply makes the .357 unusable without snake shot because you can’t reliably go for precision shots on people who aren’t unaware and standing still anyways. Even without a trigger delay,, the .357 would still have a lower rate of fire and worse capacity than the .50 GS. To fix this, the .357 should also get a faster ADS time, less idle sway, and a strong hipfire buff to make it more similar to the smaller-caliber pistols.
While the .50 GS would still be the generally superior pistol, the .357 would be the better pistol to whip out and quickly get a one tap when needed. The better damage model compared to the .50 GS alone is meaningless when the .50's damage model is fantastic.
1911: Sorry to offend the hordes of 1911 fanboys out there, but flatly put, this thing sucks in Modern Warfare.Every other sidearm has a very redeeming feature, but there’s just no reason to use this thing. The X16 is flat-out better.
I think increasing the base rate of fire to be slightly higher than the X16 would be fair, along with a hipfire and recoil buff. A new magazine attachment like a .38 Super conversion would be pretty cool too, functioning like a higher rate of fire/lower recoil .50 GS with worse damage range and/or worse limb multipliers.
Attachment Balance:The attachment balance in this game is nonsense. Not only are a lot of the downsides obscure (how much does the SKS Wood Stock decrease my aim walking movement speed by?), they’re often hidden (see: short barrels decreasing your damage range, but not saying so). This is incredibly inaccessible new and experienced players.
This is the first CoD game where you can actually make your gun bad, and this adds nothing to the game. Why should a player be allowed to "upgrade" their gun with five attachments and potentially make a gun worse than it would be with none? Don't believe me? Try, an M4A1 with Commando Barrel, M16 Stock, Variable Zoom Scope, Flash Hider, and Mo' Money and compare it to a naked M4A1. The AX-50 with the 17" Factory Barrel, Thermal Dual Power Scope, Compensator, Rubberized Foregrip, and Presence of Mind might be even more nonsensical.
Ultimately, the problem lies in the attachment downsides. Attachments in this game either need their downsides removed or reduced. Most of the downsides are really negligible (see: most attachments decreasing aiming stability, which doesn’t do much), and attachments already have a downside in opportunity cost. If you pick a Commando Foregrip, the main downside is that you can no longer buff your recoil control and hipfire with Merc Foregrip. When attachments have strong downsides, you're effectively using an upgrade slot to pick a sidegrade. Aside from some of the very strong attachments, e.g. 60 round magazines, the longest barrels, No Stock, etc. nothing really needs a downside.
Weapon downsides also contributed to the stagnant weapon meta today. For example, everyone runs No Stock + Grenadier or Corvus Barrel for their M4. No Stock cancels out the ADS time and movement speed penalty for the barrel, and the barrel more than cancels out No Stock’s recoil penalty, and you’re just left with a gun with better damage and recoil with no downsides anyways. But what if you could just run the weakeless popular 11.5” Commando Barrel + Singuard Arms Invader stock instead, suffer no downsides, and have a gun that both ADSes and strafes faster?
There are a lot of redundant/underwhelming attachments that need buffs. Removing downsides from these would help, but their effects are still underwhelming. Who actually picks the aim stability stock attachments (e.g. M16 Stock, RPK Stock, SKS Wood Stock, etc.)? Aim stability isn’t that important, especially compared to mobility, and when you have mobility downsides to these attachments, who would want to take them?
- Aim stability stocks also need recoil control/stability benefits. Aside from No Stock, stocks should not have downsides.
- Ranger, Merc, and Commando Foregrips are the only relevant foregrips right now, especially the latter two. No foregrip should have a downside.
- Operator Foregrip should be buffed to provide recoil control, recoil stability, and aim stability, as a jack-of-all trades foregrip, Tactical Foregrip should provide recoil stability and hipfire, as a counterpart to the Merc Foregrip.
- The middle of the ground magazine attachments (50 round mags, M91 120 round belt, SCAR 17 25 round mag, etc.) should have no downsides, reserve downsides only for the largest capacity.
- Likewise, the middle of the ground barrel attachments need no downside or heavily reduced downside. The Spetznaz Barrel for the AK-47 isn’t a very appealing pick when the RPK barrels have huge control benefits, or when not taking a barrel at all lets you spend your points more wisely if you don’t need the RPK barrels’ massive recoil and range benefits.
- Stippled Grip Tape is by far the most useful and popular grip attachment at the moment; Rubberized Grip Tape needs stronger recoil benefits, and Granulated Grip Tape needs stronger aim stability benefits and provide better aim stability while walking. No grip attachment needs downsides either.
- For the most part, optics really don’t need any downside, since their opportunity cost is plenty (can’t take an attachment that actually increases gun performance). Thermal and higher-power optics do deserve to be slower, but I even think that the ADS time penalty for these could be a bit lower. Realistically, an optic would only make pulling up your rifle and acquiring your target faster.
- Suppressors are fine as-is, even though the Tactical Suppressor is somewhat worthless.
- Short barrel attachments really don't need downsides.
A Final Note About Ammo Count:Why is the default ammo pool in Modern Warfare so low? Spawning with one magazine in your gun and two in reserve is ridiculous. I think a huge part of the M4 popularity is because of how common 5.56mm ammo is, and you can constantly pick up more ammo off the ground. This is why I run the AUG 5.56mm as my most used SMG - I can actually get more ammo with it. The "meta" guns aren't just good because they perform well - they're also good because you essentially get free Scavenger along with them.
There are so many guns I love, like the Uzi .41 AE, AK 5.45mm, and the P90, but I often don't want to run them because I know that I usually won't find more ammo on the ground, and I don't want to feel forced to run Scavenger, Specialist streaks, or the Ammo Box (often with Tune Up), especially when I would help my team more if I ran other things, like EOD to help step on the objective, or a Trophy System to defend the objective. I don't think any of these guns with uncommon calibers are good enough to justify having to take certain loadouts to accommodate for them.
I usually fix this problem by running Fully Loaded, but now I'm effectively running a gun with four attachments. Guns like the Uzi .41 AE and the AK-74 honestly could be on the same tier as the MP5 or M4A1 if you didn't have to either run them with (essentially) four attachments or give up an essential Perk 1 if you're planning on going on a streak.
The small ammo pool in Modern Warfare does nothing but punish players who are good enough to go on longer streaks or want to use something off-meta. It really pigeonholes you into running certain loadouts just to make your primary work properly, while the "meta" guns don't suffer from this. Worse players generally don't live long enough to run out of ammo, and a small or large ammo pool doesn't concern them. This mechanic really benefits no one.
Make ammo pickups work more like they do in Warzone, grouping them by ALMG, SMG/pistol, shotgun, and sniper.