Modern Warfare 3 is nearly here and with so much of the game’s pre-release hype being focused on Multiplayer upgrades, the hype is hitting fever-pitch levels. It’s no secret we’re in for a blast from the past with the return of Modern Warfare 2’s beloved maps.
While many of them – such as Terminal, Scrapyard, and Highrise – have been featured in more recent titles (or as Warzone POIs), more than a few have faded into the scenery of Call of Duty’s illustrious tapestry.
Longtime fans may remember them all off the top of their head, but if you’re in need of a refresher, here’s every map you’ll be touching down on in November.
All Modern Warfare 3 Launch Maps
Modern Warfare 2’s map pool was thoughtfully blended for one of the most dynamic experiences in all of multiplayer gaming. There’s a little something for everyone here.
All of the maps have received light touch-ups to make them more comfortable for the current industry standards in map design. You’ll find that the dimensions don’t lineup exactly the same, but the identity of all these maps seems to have been preserved with careful attention.
Perhaps Modern Warfare 2’s most popular map, Highrise, brought the action to a confusing workplace setting. It was a beautiful mix of verticality, symmetrical design, and secret jump spots perfect for nuke hunting and trick-shotting.
If Highrise is the most oft-remembered map in MW2, Terminal’s probably a close second. Zakhaev International Airport was a perfect fit for chaotic combat, especially since its initial introduction was in the highly controversial “No Russian” Campaign scene (which is also making a comeback of sorts in MW3.)
Scrapyard is a quintessential Call of Duty map. It strikes a beautiful harmony between size, pace, and creativity. This smattering of open warehouse buildings bombed-out airplane shells and strikes a perfect harmony of chaos and control.
It was also home to one of the most unbelievable spawn traps in Call of Duty history, as players would post up on the short white wall outside of A-Building and collect kills en masse, no matter the game mode.
Quarry is exactly what it sounds like – hot, dry, and full of rocks. The premise may not come off as very attractive, but the elevation battles here are like no other map in Call of Duty. Every part of the map has sneaky angles to pick up long-range kills.
Most matches here get spent fighting for control of the center building, as climbing the big ladder at its heart and taking control of the highest point on the map was an easy way to dominate entire lobbies.
Estate is pure woodland fun. Whether running around the titular manor at the top of the hill with a UMP, hiding in the greenhouse outback with a SPAS-12, or holding down the logging area on the other side with an ACR or SCAR, there were very few limits on how you could play this map.
We might not have all those same guns back in our hands, but their spirit will live on as we find new weapons to frustrate our opponents.
Favela was clearly a favorite pick with the Modern Warfare 2 developers. Not only was it chosen for the initial Multiplayer reveal trailer back in 2009, but it was constantly featured in promotional material for the game. Frankly, there’s a good reason for that.
Not only was Favela one of the most colorful maps in MW2, but it was also a delightful mix of tall buildings, narrow alleyways, and lines of sight that were a country mile long. Of course, the fans loved it too, and that’s why it came back in Call of Duty: Ghosts before getting reimagined for this game.
Karachi has flown under the radar from day one. It has similar strengths to Favela but never received the same love from the player base. Still, it’s a well-designed map rife with sneaky jumping and climbing opportunities to get the upper hand on unsuspecting enemies.
It’s a jam-packed city block with office buildings, beautiful architecture, and an entire chicken coup that you can hide behind in Search & Destroy if you’re trying to outsmart your opponents. It may not be as flashy as Highrise, but it’s still a ton of fun.
Rundown was a run-of-the-mill map in Modern Warfare 2, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. It’s a bit bland, but picking up a sniper rifle and hanging out in the overgrown weeds at the back of the map was always thrilling.
There was a level of verticality here, too, with two large buildings flanking the sides of the map, but it’s quite conservative compared to so many others in the game. The meat of the action typically went down at the two bridges in the center, and that will likely hold true in Modern Warfare 3 as well.
Sub-Base is downright delectable. One of only two snowy maps in the launch options is chock-full of chokepoints. Both sides of the map are fairly even, with one being a little taller than the other.
You’ll spend all of your time fighting for control of the two big structures that essentially form walls on either side of the Middle. It’s easy to impact the map whether you have elevation, but taking control of the big windows on the dock side is the easiest way to get your kill streak rolling.
With two huge parking lots, three big buildings to fight over, and some of the most glorious grenade spots in all franchise history, Skidrow is everything fans loved about MW2. It lacks glitz and glamour but makes up for that by being reliable and fundamentally sound.
If you’ve ever taken control of the tunnel stairwell and had to fight off enemies as if they were a horde of undead, then you know what kind of adrenaline rush this map is intended to give us.
The other snowy offering that will be available in Modern Warfare 3, Derail is a sniper’s paradise.
Whether you’re hanging out in the foothills that adorn the sides of the map, braving either of the middle complexes for a more protected vantage point, or quick scoping stragglers over by the train tracks, there’s a lot of creativity on the table here.
What’s most notable about Derail is its sheer size. Call of Duty has had some big maps over the years, but this is more akin to a Warzone POI than a traditional 6v6 Multiplayer map. There’s no confirmation on the War mode maps yet, but seeing this one end up in that playlist wouldn’t be surprising.
In the halcyon days of 2009, Wasteland was known for sniper rifles and grenade launchers. If you’ve never seen the clips of people firing their ‘noob tubes’ into the air and wiping out entire teams at the start of the game, you should do yourself a favor and check them out.
Looking past that, the underground bunker at the heart of the map makes Wasteland special. Everyone gets down and dirty in there, and no matter what gun you’re using, there’s a way to contribute to the fight.
Invasion is another wonderfully designed map, which is why it was at the heart of the Call of Duty pro scene’s map list during the 2009 season.
The bombs were placed perfectly in Search and Destroy, long lines of sight from both spawns gave Assault Rifle players a unique opportunity to help their SMG and Shotgun players take space in the middle of the map, and various vehicles (and dumpsters) made for a great blend of cover even at the heart of the fight.
Few maps have ever nailed the controlled chaos feel that Invasion has, and it stands the test of time as one of CoD’s hidden gems.
If you’ve jumped into Al Mazrah post Season 2, you’re likely already familiar with Afghan. It’s a network of bunkers scattered across a Middle Eastern cliffside environment. The downed plane in the middle and the mountainous pinnacle above it are iconic pieces of Call of Duty history.
A cursory search of YouTube will come back with thousands of people attempting to land unbelievably difficult no-scopes from that spot, and you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be happening again in this game.
Underpass is gloomy and morose, and trying to spot enemies through the rainfall was a bit of a headache back in the day, especially for anyone still playing on outdated TVs. We’re out of that era, though, so the skill ceiling for this place will undoubtedly soar from where it ended in 2009.
Like Rundown, you’ll spend most of your time fighting for control of the center bridge area. The opposite side of the map opens things up for some nice long-distance angles, and attempting to sneak your way through and not get picked off is a challenge all of its own.
Smoke Grenades are more popular now though, so the gameplay may be more dynamic than it was in days gone by.
The 1v1 environment to end all others, Rust is where players go to settle their in-game grievances. There’s not much to this map, a small oil rig in the middle of the desert. It’s small, action-packed, and has been memed into history for the number of grudges settled on those fabled grounds.
Infinity Ward was aiming to replicate the same vibe as Shipment from Call of Duty 4 here, and they may have even surpassed it. 6v6 playlists were pure carnage here, and Modern Warfare 3 is rumored to play much faster than most other CoD titles. Don’t be surprised if matches are over before you even know that they’ve started.
That’s all of the maps in Modern Warfare 3’s launch, though there are 12 more scheduled to arrive throughout the game’s lifespan.
If you’re itching to get into the action, follow our beta guide to test out five of these classic entries on October 6.
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