Modern Warfare 2 guide to help you get a head start online

Modern Warfare 2 guide
(Image credit: Activision)

Now that Modern Warfare 2 is fully up and running, you may be looking for some guidance to get ahead and speed up your progress. That might involve finding out how to get your content from the Vault Edition, tracking down the safe combinations to access some handy weapon caches in the single player campaign, building the best loadout to take into multiplayer, or just some advice for how to rack up XP quickly. Whatever you want to know more about, it should be covered here in our Modern Warfare 2 guide, so keep scrolling for the key information you need to thrive while you get the grips with the latest instalment.

The Battle Pass launches November 16

Modern Warfare 2 battle pass

(Image credit: Activision)

The Modern Warfare 2 Battle Pass hasn't launched alongside the game, but Season One is set to drop shortly on November 16. It'll be launching alongside Warzone 2, with progression shared between the MW2 multiplayer, the new battle royale, and the upcoming Warzone Mobile game that's launching in 2023. Once live, you'll have the option to use Modern Warfare 2 prestige when you reach the appropriate rank.

Get the best M4 loadout

Modern Warfare 2 M4 best loadout

(Image credit: Activision)

If you're looking to make an impact, you'll want to get your hands on the best M4 loadout in Modern Warfare 2. The assault rifle has already been positioned as a key weapon in MW2, mainly as every player has access to it, and the wide range of attachments available for it. The M4 is powerful and versatile, so we've made a multi-purpose aggressive and more long-range option that can help you stay competitive in the 6v6 multiplayer and larger Ground War configurations.

If you'd like to try out some different options beyond the M4, we've also got suggested loadouts for the following guns:

Unlock all of the guns

All Modern Warfare 2 guns

(Image credit: Activision)

One thing you'll soon realise when you start adjusting your loadouts is that there are a huge number of weapons on the list of Modern Warfare 2 guns, and many of them have level requirements and prerequisites before you can unlock them. We've got all of the details on how to add them to your arsenal, as well as how to build the best Modern Warfare 2 loadouts from the weapons you have available.

Earn the Mastery Camos

MW2 gold camo

(Image credit: Activision)

There are a huge number of camos available to unlock for your weapons, then beyond that you also have four tiers of Modern Warfare 2 Mastery Camos to get your hands on – Gold, Platinum, Polyatomic, and Orion. Each of these has different requirements which also vary between weapons, so we've got the lowdown on the entire camo system.

Tune your weapons

Modern Warfare 2 weapon tuning

(Image credit: Activision)

A new feature for this instalment, Modern Warfare 2 weapon tuning allows you to fine-tune all of the attachments for your gun to your exact preferences, once you've reached the maximum mastery level for that weapon. This feature was recently disabled for a short period due to various crashing issues, though they should now be fixed and it has been reenabled.

Earn XP quicker

Modern Warfare 2 XP

(Image credit: Activision)

Earning XP is the key to ranking up, so you can increase your level quicker to unlock fresh weapons, killstreaks, perks, and more. We've got some tips and tricks for how to earn more XP fast in Modern Warfare 2, and you should keep an eye out for upcoming Modern Warfare 2 double XP events while using your bonus tokens wisely to maximize your progress.

Check out the different maps

Modern Warfare 2 maps

(Image credit: Activision)

There are currently 13 different Modern Warfare 2 maps to duke it out on, though some are exclusive to the traditional 6v6 modes while others can only be visited in the larger 32v32 Ground Wars. There's talk that a new map could also be on the way soon, so keep an eye on our guide for the latest information.

Find the latest patch notes

Modern Warfare 2 patch notes

(Image credit: Activision)

As we're still close to the official launch, there are going to be plenty of changes made online to balance gameplay, fix issues, and introduce new content. You can keep track of these by following the Modern Warfare 2 patch notes, which are regularly updated with the latest information released by Infinity Ward.

Error codes explained

Modern Warfare 2 error codes

(Image credit: Activision)

Given the huge number of you that are trying to get into Modern Warfare 2 right now around the world, it's no surprise that the servers may be struggling. That's why we're tracking whether the all important question: are the Modern Warfare 2 servers down? Additionally, we're also investigating the Modern Warfare 2 error codes and we've got details on how to resolve them. For example, here's a guide on how to fix the Modern Warfare 2 status installing glitch that originally surfaced during the pre-load period.

Set up crossplay and splitscreen

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

If you're looking to play and communicate with friends on different platforms, you'll want to get Modern Warfare 2 crossplay set up. It's really easy to do this year, however what's a little tougher is the ability to disable the functionality – while PlayStation users can tweak this, altering the pool of players they are encountering online, Xbox and PC owners may be disappointed to learn that crossplay is mandatory. If you'd rather team up locally then Modern Warfare 2 splitscreen is available, though there are only specific multiplayer modes you can use it for.

How to Access Vault Edition content

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

The Modern Warfare 2 Vault Edition release included the Season One Battle Pass, 50 tier skips, as well as unique weapon skins and operators. However, some players are finding that they can't access any of the content. If that has happened to you, don't panic – there's an easy fix! Here's how you can access the Modern Warfare 2 Vault Edition content if it isn't showing up. 

Where is the Hardcore mode?

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 soldiers and vehicles

(Image credit: Activision)

The Modern Warfare 2 Hardcore mode hasn't arrived just yet, but it is on the way. Hardcore, now known as Tier 1, is arriving at the same time as the Battle Pass on November 16. You can technically try the mode with friends by creating a private match, however it won't be available in the general matchmaking pool until we get to that release date.

Find the Safe codes

Modern Warfare 2 safe code Alone 2

(Image credit: Activision)

Looking for help opening up those three mysterious safes in the new Call of Duty campaign? Our guide will not only help you find the Modern Warfare 2 safe codes locations and combinations in the Alone and El Sin Nombre missions, but we've even got the solutions to hand if you just want a quick reward / Trophy. 

What is ADS?

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

If you're looking to complete some of the weapon mastery challenges, you may be wondering: what is ADS in Modern Warfare 2? This is an acronym used in many shooters, and a potentially confusing bit of shorthand found all throughout the menus if you're new to the genre! It means you'll want to 'Aim Down Sight', rather than fire from the hip. 

Where is your KD ratio

Modern Warfare 2 KD

(Image credit: Activision)

If you want to see how you're performing in multiplayer, then one of the most widely used measures is to check your Modern Warfare 2 KD. Unfortunately, it seems that the only read you can currently get on this is via the scoreboard at the end of a match, and there's no way at present to see your lifetime KD ratio.

Modern Warfare 2 raids are coming soon

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Infinity Ward is introducing raids to Modern Warfare 2. These will be a part of the co-operative Spec Ops game mode, and are set to push us through multi-hour challenging encounters which will progress the core MW2 storyline and give unique rewards. We don't know much else beyond that, although IW says that the first Modern Warfare 2 raids will begin in December

Modern Warfare 2 review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 campaign screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 review of the new campaign is now live, it is a blast. From its impressive opening act to its explosive finale, the MW2 campaign celebrates the series' past and gives us some sense of where it's going – with the new gameplay mechanics and systems helping to inform the Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer and the upcoming Warzone 2. Don't miss out on this campaign, it looks stunning, and plays fantastically. 

Warzone 2 is coming soon

Modern Warfare 2 screenshot

(Image credit: Activision)

Modern Warfare 2 is essentially a preview of what's to come in Warzone 2. The battle royale is built on the same foundation – bringing MW2's movement mechanics and weapons systems into a brand new, sprawling desert map. It's exciting stuff, so you may want to learn everything there is to know about Warzone 2 ahead of its release on November 16, 2022.

Josh West
UK Managing Editor, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the UK Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. He has over 10 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.