Modern Warfare 2 is coming, and lots of information about the next CoD has already been officially revealed or otherwise leaked, but we don't know much of anything about killstreaks. Nonetheless, killstreaks are a big part of any Call of Duty, so it's important Infinity Ward gets killstreaks right. Unfortunately, killstreaks haven't worked perfectly in the last couple of CoD games, so I'm going to explain why I think killstreaks need to change in Modern Warfare 2.
The Killstreak System Needs to Change in Modern Warfare 2
In Modern Warfare (2019), the TTK, the maps, and the game's core systems folded together to make it really hard for anyone, even high-skill players, to go on long killstreaks, rack up kills, and outpace the competition. In a lot of ways, the game was trying, by Infinity Ward's own admission, to make the CoD experience more approachable to casual gamers.
Accordingly, it was pretty tough to earn high killstreaks consistently for the vast majority of the CoD population. But beyond that, some killstreaks were insanely overtuned, like White Phosphorus. This streak radically changed the map, ruining visibility, and it often kicked off a series of players on both teams quitting, too.
Black Ops Cold War had the opposite problem. Streaks were easy to get, regardless of skill, and rock-solid consistent, even getting earned at approximately the same times in a match across games. However, they weren't particularly overtuned.
What Modern Warfare 2 needs is a happy middle between the two. Killstreaks should be a bit more approachable and easy to get, like Cold War, but not as uninterestingly consistent as Cold War. It's a hard needle to thread, but I think it can be done.
First, streaks should be a simple system with earning kills increasing your killstreak. Your streaks should repeat once you've used them all in a single life. However, a scorestreak system of some kind that offered up a kill on your streak for, say, capping a point in Domination or holding a Hardpoint would be nice additions that could help incentivize objective play.
Streaks, of course, shouldn't contribute to streaks, but like Black Ops Cold War, killstreaks that come in the form of powerful weapons you wield yourself should count towards a killstreak, as it creates a nice risk-reward mechanic that won't be too powerful as it'll be dependent on player skill.
We Need Nukes in Modern Warfare 2
Nukes are a totally iconic feature of Call of Duty games, making appearances in many games since their original introduction in the original Modern Warfare 2 back in 2009. Back then, though, all kills, even from killstreaks, counted towards a nuke, and you had to select a nuke as one of your killstreaks.
So, you'd run Harriers, Chopper Gunner, and Nuke. once you got 7 kills for your Harriers, you were basically guaranteed the nuke if you played carefully, quickly getting the 25 kills necessary to nuke the map and instantly end the game.
In modern times, nukes generally aren't a selectable killstreak but rather are earnable by all players at any time, while killstreaks don't contribute to a nuke. A modern development is also that nukes tend to kill everybody in a lobby but not end the actual game.
We need a similar nuke system in Modern Warfare 2, which will be a fun goal to pursue if killstreaks repeat after you've cycled through them and the only killstreaks that contribute to other killstreaks are weapons you wield yourself.
However, nukes in modern CoD usually take 30 kills to unlock, which is oftentimes too punishing. Nukes in Modern Warfare (2019), for example, were so rare that you may not have ever seen someone get one, let alone get one yourself. Accordingly, especially with a shorter-TTK CoD, dropping this requirement down to 25 kills only makes sense.
Killstreaks Need Careful Balancing
Killstreaks need counterplay. Killstreak spam has been a serious issue in the past, with many time gamers remembering spawning into an explosion-riddled hellscape that doesn't seem to stop until the match ends.
Cold War had some good ideas when it came to this. Field Upgrades like SAM turrets could target killstreaks, while some streaks, like Air Patrol, would directly combat other aerial streaks. A suite of these mechanics that allow players, when prepared, to take down streaks is important, but it's also important these counters aren't so strong as to render streaks useless.
Streaks that do a lot of damage or get more than a couple kills shouldn't just be generally hard to earn in that they require more kills, there should be an element of skill or luck (or perhaps both), too. Anything that's so powerful as guarantee loads of kills in a totally uncounterable way is not healthly for a competitive shooter.