We sat down with Robert Bowling, Creative Strategist at Infinity Ward and Michael Condrey, Co-Founder at Sledgehammer Games to answer a few questions from the community on Strike Packages:
To start with the basic premise, Strike Packages are tailored to how you want to play. The classic style of unlocking killstreaks in Modern Warfare 2 returns in the new Assault Strike Package, but now you have additional options on how they unlock and what type of pointstreaks are rewarded. The Support Strike Package is more team oriented and driven toward the player who wants to push the team forward first toward victory. The Specialist Strike Package is really driven around the player’s advancement through additional perks, in turn becoming the most competitive player possible.
Strike Packages change the multiplayer experience because they give you control over that experience. You can really customize and specialize to your playstyle. More than ever before, you can be incentivized and rewarded for playing the game anyway you want to play.
If you are that assault player, playing in TDM, focusing on that very good kill/death ratio, you have the Assault Strike Package that allows you to play better the way you choose to play.
See, not everyone’s like that. There’s guy’s like me who play the objectives, play Domination and Search and Destroy. I’m not focused on getting kills as much as I am completing objectives, on getting that Dom point or capturing that flag. So I want something that’s going to allow me and my team to be better together, because that’s what we’re playing, a team game.
Now, with Strike Packages, I can customize my rewards that are available to me by choosing the Support package. That gives me things at my disposal that allow my team more situational awareness, like Advanced UAV, or throwing out the Recon Drone so I can tag enemies so they show up on the minimap; things that will allow my team to play better, together, rather than just getting kills.
So the great thing about Strike Packages is the fact that they impact your playstyle so greatly in how you approach each game mode. It’s unique because you will customize and find yourself changing out which Strike Packages you’re using based on the different game modes that you jump into.
For me, when I’m playing Team Deathmatch, I’m focused on assault. Getting kills is the name of the game. So that’s when I want something that is going to be chaining my kills together, that’s going to be getting me things like the Osprey Gunner that’s going to give me air support and get me more kills. That’s what’s going to win the game.
When I switch over to objective game types like Domination – I’m a huge Domination player – when I get to that point, I want something that is going to benefit the strategy I’m going to be using. I’m the type of player who’s going to be running in and getting the Dom point, so I’m expecting a lot of ballistics to be coming down range to me when I jump on that point.
I’m looking at things like, what’s going to help me do that better, what’s going to help my team do that better. That’s why I use the Support Package, because I can do things like call in some Ballistic Vests, hand them out to my teammates who are running into the Dom point, because they’re the guys who are getting the most rounds focused on them.
The guys who are hanging back playing defense, the ones who want to cover the Dom point, who don’t want to run in there, that’s when you’re looking at getting the later waves. Once you capture the Dom point by using Ballistic Vests, you’ve got a few more kills, you’ve captured the Dom point for another point for your pointstreak reward, and now you’re calling in something that gives you situational awareness like the Advanced UAV or calling in an airdrop for your team.
With Support, you actually have an Escort Airdrop; a helicopter will fly in, drop of some care packages and then cover them so you and your teammates actually have time to get to it.
Echoing what Robert said, in a game like Team Deathmatch, it’s about the Assault Strike Package for me. In my playstyle, I’m a run and gun action guy, I die a lot. Getting consecutive chained kills before I die…I don’t see the 15, 18 pointstreaks very often. I set up an Assault in Team Deathmatch with a 4-5-7, a Care Package with a Predator Missile and Attack Helicopter. If I go into Kill Confirmed, which has objective based gameplay and things that allow the team to move forward, I know I can head in and grab some dog tags, then die, so I’m going in with the Support Strike Package.
I know I’m going to get those higher end rewards. I might go with an 8-12-18 pointstreak, using a Remote Sentry at 12, or an Escort Airdrop at 18. I won’t ever get 18 on Assault because it’s just not my playstyle, but I can get those high-end pointstreaks on Support and help the team move forward and collect those dog tags. With team objective based modes, like Kill Confirmed which is so much fun, I really enjoy the Support Strike Package.
Fitting a Strike Package to my loadout is really important to me. I’ll go back to the Support Strike Package. I think about the new mode again, Kill Confirmed, and I really focus on confirming kills and denying kills. I’m like a dog on the hunt for those tags, so I’m looking to get in and get points for my team. I’m not worried about staying alive. I’m not worried about chain kills, but going after tags.
That means I generally find myself in the midst of pretty chaotic firefights, so I’ll throw up the Support Strike Package and dive into the action with something like an SMG using the Attachments proficiency with Rapid Fire and Extended Mags. It’s a short-range weapon, and in the heat of battle it’s up fast and lays down a ton of lead. I’m going to die, but my pointstreak doesn’t reset, so I’m right back into it and I’m right back after those tags.
When choosing my Strike Package, it really depends on the game type, what the objectives are. When it comes to Support, I’m looking at spacing them out in a way that makes sense for the strategy I’m using. Where it’s for Search and Destroy, where I know I’m not going to be getting a lot of kills, I’m moving up my pointstreak slowly, or if it’s domination where I know I’m going to be getting pointstreaks all the time – you’re constantly capping Dom points and constantly getting kills that are adding to it.
So when I’m playing Domination, I’m looking at the high end pointstreaks on Support. I’m looking at things like Escort Airdrop and Juggernaut Recon, because I’m much more likely to get them and get them quicker than I am in Search and Destroy. See, I’ll do my lower ones first. I’ll do Ballistic Vests at five kills, and then I’m looking at using my later ones, like the 14 pointstreak Stealth Bomber, leading up to the Escort Airdrop which pulls in and drops a lot of gear that my team can use.
Now when it comes to things like Kill Confirmed and Team Deathmatch, where I focus on assaulting and getting a lot of kills, I’m looking at spacing it out in a way that’s going to chain to my next pointstreak reward. I’m looking at things like calling in a Predator Missile or using a Sentry Gun early on, and that gets me up to an Attack Helicopter which gets me kills so I can get to the later ones. I always like to max it out. I like to go for the later ones so I have that goal. That’s why I’m looking at either Juggernaut armor or the Osprey Gunner.
Every player will find different combinations that work for their playstyle. Compared to Robert, I play differently. My playstyle is one where I’m pretty active, meaning I run straight into the firefight. In the Assault Strike Package, I generally target early pointstreaks and I’m ok with that. I love the Care Package at four, it drops you all kinds of interesting things. There’s nothing better than getting a Pave Low dropped from a Care Package. The Predator Strike and Precision Airstrike are great early options. There’s some great player driven, assault pointstreaks that you can access in the 5-6 kill range, and chain from there. Chain up to the higher ones like the Reaper at nine and call in multiple Reaper missiles. Of course at seventeen, there’s the Osprey Gunner, the big boy, but with my playstyle, I rarely hope to ever see that.
I love Support too, like I mentioned before. The Remote Turret is a ton of fun. Throw it up next to an objective and catch a lot of people off guard. It’s a pretty heavy assault style pointstreak in the Support package. The Recon Drone is a great way to support the team. You fly a Recon Drone targeting enemies for your allies. There’s nothing better than being a Juggernaut. Juggernaut Recon comes in at eighteen, which is also a lot of fun.
I’m also really digging Specialist. There are a number of interesting configurations in the way you can advance yourself as an individual. An extra player with all of the pro perks available is pretty interesting. You don’t have the big assault or support pointstreaks, but you get to play with some of the perks you wouldn’t normally choose while using other Strike Packages.
We get a lot of questions about the Specialist Strike Package, which really offers a totally different experience compared to Assault and Support. Specialist is all about that expert player. It’s the one that really has the most strategy. For one, it’s the Strike Package that unlocks the latest, which is typically for things we want to introduce last.
It really comes in handy when you’re playing things like Capture the Flag, because Capture the Flag is another game mode where you have very detailed strategies. That’s what the Specialist Strike Package is all about. Having a very specific strategy for the game type, and Specialist works great for Capture the Flag.
You can do things like heavier default loadouts, with things that you’re always getting a benefit from, like SitRep to detect enemy explosives. When you’re going to that flag you know where the enemy has Claymores, you know where they have Bouncing Betties, and what their defenses are when you’re running in there.
As you’re getting kills at 2, 4 and 6 kills, you’re unlocking additional perks that activate when you need them. When I’m getting to the flag, I’m focused on things that are going to make me fast. When I’m trying to get into their area, I’m looking at things like Stalker that’s going to make me move faster while aiming, and have that unlock first after two kills. After two kills, you’re at the heart of their base; you’re taking out other players. Once you get that flag, you get another point for grabbing the objective, which unlocks the next perk, something like Extreme Conditioning because now I need to run. Now that I have that flag, I need to get back to my base. Hopefully I have Extreme Conditioning Pro to climb faster and get out of there more quickly.
Once I get out of there and get on my way, I can unlock something else to help me like Assassin. That way I’m undetectable by UAV and the enemy doesn’t have situational awareness on me when I’m trying to get back to my base.
To Robert’s point, I think the great thing about Specialist, at least for me, is that with only three perk slots, there are really only a handful of perks that I like exclusively, and there are some that I never get to experience. The way I play, I’ll never be in a position where I run Scavenger, but Specialist allows me to have it. It really opens up an innovative, new way to game when you’re stacking perks that you normally don’t play with.
There’s been some confusion over whether the Specialist package is implicitly for the ‘hardcore’ player. I don’t know if I’d call it hardcore. It’s definitely for the expert player, but hardcore implies that it’s only for one specific playstyle. It benefits the newer players just as much as it benefits the hardcore elite guys. Just in different ways.
It’ll be really interesting to see where players split between each Strike Package. At the end of the day, Assault is probably going to be the bread and butter for a lot of people, because Team Deathmatch really has always been the most popular game mode, and Assault really works well for that game type. I think what we’re going to see is that gradually as people get used to the availability of the Strike Packages, we’re going to see a very close split between Assault and Support across the majority of game types.
With Specialist really being for a whole other level of player. It requires a lot of fine-tuning and strategy behind it. I think you’ll see a lot of players on Assault, followed closely by Support, and then a fringe element working with Specialist.
That’s pure speculation – out of the gate, I’d say try them all. You’ll see how they change your playstyle and tactics in a way you never thought they would.
Like we said at CoD XP, this is really about making the game more strategic for the experienced player and offering exciting opportunities for the newcomer. There’s something for everyone, including the Assault Strike Package, which is a fan favorite, the Specialist as a new addition that will excite the experienced players, and Support for the new player to get in and really have a great experience with pointstreaks as they grow as a player.
Absolutely – don’t be afraid to experiment, because there’s so much more new equipment and new weapons with proficiencies and all the new stuff we’ve added, all these new features really compliment each other. You might find with these new options that you’re a completely different style of player than you were before.