As my Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 habit worsens, I’m spending as much time tinkering with its loadout and gun tuning systems as I am actually playing matches. It reminds me of MechWarrior in that way: The real game is in the customization menus, and matches are just how you test bench your creations. It’s not just about coming up with the most effective combo of guns, attachments, and gadgets, either. A principled build has a theme, and has to be a little stupid and a little bad, and therefore cool. That’s how I discovered canted laser aiming, which rules.
Lasers are one of Modern Warfare 2’s gun attachment categories, and they typically improve accuracy from the hip or aim down sight speed and stability, with the biggest downside being that enemies can see the laser beam. One radiant green beam called the Canted Vibro-Dot 7, however, has a special effect. When using the Canted Vibro-Dot—a great name that doesn’t sound at all like a sex toy—you can no longer aim down your gun’s sights. Instead, holding the right mouse button tilts your gun on its side and centers the green laser dot. You get the same aim-down-sights accuracy as with a regular red dot or holographic sight without the narrow field-of-view. The downside is that you have to use a tiny green dot in the distance to aim, and it’s visible to everyone.
Based on the number of other players I see using canted laser aiming—zero so far—it is probably not very good. The truth is that if you want to put together a Modern Warfare build that will maximize your K/D ratio, you’re best off marching around with a minimally-customized assault rifle. But as I said, the true challenge of MW2 is to load yourself down with as many stupid gadgets as you can while still being effective. I’m sure I’m not alone in playing that way. Even if they don’t go so far as to choose canted aiming, everyone sacrifices efficiency here and there for whimsical or egotistical reasons. Even pro athletes go for style points in competitions that aren’t judged with style points, dunking when a sensible layup would do.
Also in that vein, do I have more success when I put suppressors on my guns? Unlikely. Do I use suppressors anyway because they’re cool? Of course I do. I especially like to use them on guns that seem like the least sensible candidates for stealthiness. Recently, I took a shotgun, loaded it with slugs, and put a big suppressor on it to make the crappiest sniper rifle ever. And you know I put a 7MW Canted Laser on it (the Vibro-Dot equivalent for certain guns).
Modern Warfare 2 possesses the best kind of “balance”: an abundance of imbalance. You can’t really simplify it to rock-paper-scissors. Methodical players are sometimes countered by jackasses who sprint around with annoying-ass shotgun and riot shield builds (I am sometimes one of those jackasses), but a well-positioned sniper can humiliate riot shield sprinters, too, as can a good mid-range engager.
Sometimes I play the patient sniping game myself, but of course I don’t use a simple, clear, easy-to-read 8X scope: I call in smoke bombs and try to snipe people through the clouds using a hard-to-read infrared heat vision scope. I don’t do it because it works well, but because it’s more fun to make a needlessly complicated plan work than to repeatedly succeed with sensible gear.
I’ve heard second-hand complaints that Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 have lowered the CoD skill ceiling, allowing crappy players like me to have success. I’m not sure that’s true, but if it is, I ain’t complaining. This is the most fun I’ve had in a CoD since the original Modern Warfare 2. And is it any wonder that rah rah military-Mountain Dew-industrial complex echo bravo double XP killstreak Call of Duty welcomes the lowest common denominator? Does Top Gun: Maverick lack intellectual heft?
So long as Call of Duty exists, I say it should let us all succeed with stupid aiming employed only by TV gangsters. Modern Warfare 2, bless its heart, goes even further: There’s a second way to do canted aiming. Certain hybrid scopes have red dot sights sticking out of their sides, so that switching aiming modes causes your soldier to tilt their gun 45 degrees to look through the side-sight. The hybrid sights are even worse than canted laser aiming as far as I can tell, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that stop me from trying to make them work. It’s a moral imperative.