Modern Warfare 2 players are already taking sides in the battle over aim assist

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 screen
(Image credit: Activision)
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Voodoo PC founder Rahul Sood once claimed, many years ago, that Microsoft had hastily abandoned early experimentation with crossplay because PC players, armed with the precision and speed of mouse and keyboard, routinely "destroyed (opens in new tab)" controller-equipped console players. Things have changed a great deal since then thanks to the advent of aim assist, and now we're at a point where some Modern Warfare 2 players on PC are complaining that their console counterparts are simply too dominating.

A number of threads have appeared recently in the Modern Warfare 2 subreddit, many accompanied by videos to prove their point, purporting to show that aim assist is grossly overpowered—to the point of being outright broken, in the opinions of some. There are even complaints that aim assist tracks targets through smoke and fire, when enemy targets are partially obscured.

"Aim assist as it is now is just so easy for people who understand it to exploit," redditor eaeb4 (opens in new tab) wrote. "They need to dial it back to how it’s supposed to work (slowdown etc. when tracking enemies) so it still helps controller users, but get rid of this automated tracking shit."

"Back in MW2019 in gunfight if it was pistols and the other team were console players we knew we’d probably lose," foxlance (opens in new tab) replied. "Aim assist makes pistols so easy compared to mouse and keyboard."

"On PC we'd normally have to abandon our ethics, pay a monthly subscription, and hope to dodge the anti cheat to get an aimbot like this," OsmeOxys (opens in new tab) wrote.

Of course, not everyone feels that way about it: Plenty of other folks are popping up to say the claims about aim assist are being dramatically overstated.

"It's not bugged at all and is nowhere near what some people like to claim," bockscar888 (opens in new tab) said in a different thread. "It's some KBM players who are overly invested in the game's copium.... that's really all it is at this point. Not every KBM player is overly invested and they are just in it for fun like 90% of people that play... but that loud minority sure is loud."

Some console players are also having a little bit of fun with the way the tables have turned against the mouse and keyboard:

(Image credit: moneyball32 (Reddit))

Of course others reject the claims that aim assist isn't actually overpowered by saying that people who don't experience OP aim assist just don't know how to set it up properly. Aim assist in Modern Warfare 2 is not a simple toggle: As you can see in the screen below, there are four different types of aim assist (default, precision, focusing, and Black Ops) and further adjustment options like aim response curve type and ADS (aim down sights) sensitivity transition timing.

(Image credit: Activision)

We tapped staff writer and CoD player Morgan Park for his take on all this: 

"As a KBM player, I go back and forth on the power of aim assist. In some scenarios it does seem overpowered, like in extreme close-quarter fights when a PC player's mouse reflexes are truly tested, but aim-assisted players seem to have most of the work done for them. Other times it feels less severe. I definitely haven't experienced the magical long-range tracking I'm seeing in some of these Reddit clips when I've played with a controller, but I also haven't tried tuning the aim assist sliders. All I know is, ultimately, I feel very competitive with a mouse. Aim assist may be unfair on paper, but the proof is on the scoreboard: mouse users top the charts right next to controllers."

What makes the Modern Warfare 2 situation particularly interesting, regardless of where you come down on it, is the way it contrasts with Activision's other big shooter, Overwatch 2. It came to light in October (although it had been announced previously) that aim assist on controllers in Overwatch 2 is automatically switched off (opens in new tab) when playing against PC gamers—something that can only happen when console players specifically join a PC lobby. 

Modern Warfare 2 players on PC and Xbox, on the other hand, cannot disable crossplay (opens in new tab), meaning that it's effectively impossible for them to avoid facing off against controller-equipped (and aim assisted) players. It's a completely opposite approach to that taken by Blizzard. (Making things even stranger and more frustrating, PlayStation 5 owners can disable crossplay. Actvision has not yet commented on the disparity.)

Some Modern Warfare 2 players say the solution is to implement input-based crossplay that matches players based on their control setup: Mouse against mouse, controller against controller. Halo Infinite (opens in new tab) offers limited input-based matchmaking support, but only in Ranked Solo/Duos; interestingly, the original Modern Warfare reboot was reportedly meant to support it, but ultimately did not. It's possible that Infinity Ward could add input-based matchmaking to Modern Warfare 2 at some point in the future, but at this point there's no sign that it's in the works.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.