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CoD: Black Ops - Cold War's default SMG is outclassing sniper rifles and ARs

cod cold war mp5
(Image credit: Activision)
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Update: That didn't take long: The MP5 has been nerfed. RIP to a legend.

Original story: There is nowhere to hide from Call of Duty: Black Ops - Cold War's MP5 (opens in new tab). After only a few days in Cold War's multiplayer, it's clear this standard SMG unlocked at Level 1 is the only gun I need for any situation. And if the weapon's proliferation in every match I've played since launch is any indication, I'm thinking the MP5 is just a bit overpowered.

The MP5 has already become a frequent topic on the Cold War subreddit with titles like Nerf the MP5 already 2.0 (opens in new tab), the mp5 is single-handedly destroying the game for me (opens in new tab), and my personal favorite, MP5s......MP5s....everywhere (opens in new tab).

They are seriously everywhere. Short, mid, or long-range is just no problem for this flexible German 9mm. In standard multiplayer modes like Team Deathmatch or Domination, you won't find an angle that's too far for it to handle. It's got low recoil and a 30-round mag that can quickly expand to 40.

Crucially, it also has one of the highest fire rates of any weapon in the game at 857 RPM. Fire rate is an important weapon stat in any shooter, but especially powerful in games where headshots deal increased damage. The more bullets you're spitting out, the better chances that a few of them are headshots. You can see the advantage of the MP5's exceptional fire rate below, where it wins a fight against Cold War's best sniper rifle by generally lobbing bullets in the sniper's direction.

Source: icelz on Reddit (opens in new tab)

Of course, the Pellington sniper rifle that player is holding is more than capable of dropping an MP5-user with a single shot (that rifle is its own can of worms). The issue is that every standard multiplayer map is small enough that the downsides of an SMG can't can't really be felt. You'd have to fire up one of the two Dirty Bomb maps to find sightlines the MP5 can't reach (but who wants to do that).

Paired with a respectable damage of 32 (the upper-middle range of Cold War SMGs), the MP5 boasts a very quick time-to-kill with few downsides. And since everybody already has the gun from the get-go, that's a lot of what I'm seeing in multiplayer. I can hardly blame them—it's super fun to use. I especially like to pair it with the Gun-Ho perk and a laser sight so I can sprint around hipfiring like a madman.

If this whole situation is giving you a vague sense of deja vu, it's because we've been here before. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's MP5 is still among the best weapons in that game, too, at least when it comes to standard 6v6 multiplayer. Check out any given Call of Duty League match (opens in new tab) to see it in action. Infinity Ward did eventually nerf the gun slightly in an unannounced change (opens in new tab), but it did little to lower its popularity. 

Treyarch is in a similar situation with Cold War. The MP5 is certainly deserving of a nerf to its damage or fire rate, but that won't change the fact that Cold War's maps are practically designed for SMGs—small, flat, and full of cover. If Treyarch wants to give assault rifles or LMGs more of a reason to exist, Cold War will need bigger maps with modes people actually want to play on them.

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Treyarch lead designer Tony Flame recently reaffirmed (opens in new tab) to fans on Twitter that balancing patches are, of course, on the way once the team has had more time to examine the data and player feedback. He hasn't clarified exactly which weapons are in the crosshairs for a nerf, but I bet one of them rhymes with "empty jive."

PS: Enjoy this reimaging of Cold War's PS5 box art from TemperVoiD on Reddit (opens in new tab).

cold war box art mp5

Morgan Park
Morgan Park

Morgan has been writing for PC Gamer since 2018, first as a freelancer and currently as a staff writer. He has also appeared on Polygon, Kotaku, Fanbyte, and PCGamesN. Before freelancing, he spent most of high school and all of college writing at small gaming sites that didn't pay him. He's very happy to have a real job now. Morgan is a beat writer following the latest and greatest shooters and the communities that play them. He also writes general news, reviews, features, the occasional guide, and bad jokes in Slack. Twist his arm, and he'll even write about a boring strategy game. Please don't, though.