One of the most interesting parts of today's CoD Next livestream was the announcement of raids as part of Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer. According to an official blog post, raids will be "a three-player cooperative engagement requiring teamwork and strategic, puzzle-solving thinking in-between bouts of intense combat."
Raids are coming when Modern Warfare 2 Season 1 arrives on November 16 and will apparently be episodic missions that are each a few hours long. The post is otherwise light on details, but I think there's a lot we can infer from what's been said and the environment MW2 will release in. The gold standard for MMO-style raids in FPSes has to be Bungie's Destiny. The former Halo developer's 6-person endgame PvE activity has an almost legendary place in the community, with teams competing around the clock to achieve a coveted world's first completion whenever a new one goes live.
We don't expect Modern Warfare to have deep RPG progression systems or power levels like Destiny, but at its best, CoD raids could offer something similar for its community, maybe even leverage the juggernaut's multiplayer brand in a new direction similar to how Warzone broke into the battle royale space. Warzone's already demonstrated how the confederation of CoD studios' excellent multiplayer map design can translate to something big and open-ended, and I'm hopeful these new raids can do the same.
A huge way Infinity Ward could innovate over Bungie is with how it facilitates queueing and grouping up for raids. Bungie has no matchmaking for any of its endgame content, you have to go in with a premade. While these modes require serious communication that could leave a gaggle of randos slinging gamer words at each other, the lack of amenities for the solo player feels bad when all your Destiny friends quit the game for Final Fantasy 14.
If Infinity Ward offers up some killer, complex raids and easy access to them without a premade group, this could be a slam dunk. I make a lot of assumptions here based on the company's use of the word "raid"—it has connotations of a certain level of complexity, difficulty, and quality for those familiar with MMOs and other live service games, and I hope Infinity Ward's version lives up to that.
Read more about Infinity Ward's plans for the Modern Warfare 2 beta, which goes live tomorrow on PlayStation before arriving on PC a week later on Sept 22.