Announced in a lead-up to a full multiplayer premiere this Thursday, killstreaks are officially back in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

. I, for one, relish their return. It’s a controversial topic, one with supporters on either side defending the validity of playing an objective versus rewarding raw shooter skill. But killstreaks inherently speak to the spirit of the Call of Duty series: a fast-paced arena where personal performance is the primary metric to judge a player’s success.

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Scorestreaks, introduced in Black Ops II, rewarded players for completing objectives, destroying enemy equipment, and resupplying allies. Killstreaks, as the name would suggest, only rewarded you for getting kills. Playing the objective may be the law of the land in Battlefield but Call of Duty, to me, has always felt more like a vain expression of my own shooter skill than it has a game about teamwork… and that’s totally fine.

In addition to its thematic relevance, killstreaks are a brutally honest indicator of just how much someone is kicking ass. In Black Ops 4, there were many paths to the highest scorestreak reward (a gunship) and as a result, I saw and called in quite a few. In Modern Warfare 2, however, a game-ending tactical nuke inherently meant that someone was on a monstrous 25-kill streak (or 24 with the hardline perk). That killstreak reward was momentous and memorable, whereas scorestreaks were more forgiving and therefore less special.

While the upper echelon of killstreak rewards in Modern Warfare will probably be appropriately less common than their scorestreak counterparts, the frequency of lower-tier call-ins like UAVs shouldn’t be impacted by the return of the classic rewarding structure because getting three kills without dying frankly isn’t that hard. Scorestreaks arguably have another less-than-desirable effect on matches that the killstreak system may dodge – one team snowballing out of control.

Obviously going up against an enemy in Modern Warfare who just called in a 15-kill reward won’t be the easiest of obstacles. But at least the entire enemy team isn’t earning streak progress simultaneously like they do with scorestreaks. Since rewards are only earned for kills in Modern Warfare the logic would follow that only one player can benefit from each enemy death. In Black Ops 4, you earn streak progress for assists, meaning that matches often devolve into a one-sided streak-fueled stomp with multiple members of the same team calling in rewards.

Killstreak rewards can be momentous and memorable, whereas scorestreaks are more forgiving and therefore inherently less special.

The three killstreak rewards announced so far for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare are the Juggernaut assault gear, Infantry Assault Vehicle, and White Phosphorus. Each raises some interesting unknowns. The Juggernaut assault gear is pretty straightforward but a minigun can be seen in an adjacent locker. Will it be usable? I’m all for channeling my inner Blain Cooper from Predator but carrying around a minigun and the realistic, tactical tone that Modern Warfare is gunning for seem mutually exclusive to me.

The Infantry Assault Vehicle is described as “manned.” Does this mean that players will be able to pile in and drive the vehicle or only man the .50 cal turret? Either way, it’s exciting, as land-based player-occupied vehicles have been few and far between in the COD series. Finally, you may remember the horrific and excellent white phosphorus scene in Spec Ops: The Line, but in Modern Warfare its effect seems to be one of disorientation rather than incineration. “Cover the battlefield with white smoke flare canisters that will disorient the enemy, and burn any that wander too close,” reads its description online. I assume that this map-wide effect wouldn’t affect your team and might synergize with some perks.

Of course, there are plenty of valid arguments against the removal of scorestreaks. For instance, it’s reasonable to assume that camping will be a more prevalent strategy in Modern Warfare for those looking for the path of least resistance to a killstreak reward. Other mechanics could deter camping but I can’t argue with the logic here. Furthermore, some fans like IGN user “A good username ?” think that a compromise is in order. “Why don’t they do kill streaks for TDM and free for all and scorestreaks for objective modes?” A valid question!

In any case, we’ll learn more about Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s multiplayer premiere on Thursday so be sure to check back to IGN for all things Call of Duty!

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