At first, I was sure my opponent was aimbotting. We were in a close game of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s team deathmatch and I was ever so slowly crawling along a wall. The slower, the more quiet, I thought. Something suddenly rustled just ahead. I peeked around the corner and was instantly downed by a ready-to-go headshot.
In the replay, I was stunned to see my opponents’ crosshairs trained on the exact spot where my head would poke out from behind safety. Then I heard my footsteps. Holy shit! I’m coming in like a freight train!
Round after round of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, a pattern has emerged: I move and somebody shoots me. I’m aware it’s not a special pattern. But upon further inspection and a lot of reading /r/ModernWarfare, I’ve realized that I die in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare a lot of the time because my soldier sounds like a mastodon getting down to a 2012 Skrillex bass drop.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s maps are full of nooks, doors, windows, corners and flaking pathways, which, players say, is promoting a more “campy” playstyle. There are a lot of angles to get shot at from, so often, the safest bet is crouching in a corner with your crosshairs at ear height. The person silently waiting in the shadows for someone to enter their death trap tends to do well.
What exacerbates players’ reluctance to really put themselves out there and go for the enemy zones is the fact that, as player after player has pointed out on /r/ModernWarfare, the footsteps are too loud:
Or for those who aren’t wearing headphones:
At least in my games, a more passive playstyle wins out more often than not. It’s great for that to be an option, and it’s definitely tactical, but things are tough out there for those of us who like to play more aggressively. Our sneak attacks aren’t very sneaky and our flanking attacks are a little more obvious because of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s sound design.
There is an upgrade called Dead Silence, which lowers the volume on players’ footsteps by around two-thirds. It’s not totally silent, and as a developer said on Twitter last week, “a fix is in the works.” It’s also a Field Upgrade, which means you can get it in-game and it works on a cooldown. Some players, including several pros, believe it should be a perk or a setting.
In the meantime, when I’m playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I’m either going to upgrade my headset or spend my games scoping out the real estate for a nice, relaxing apartment window to squat in.