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Quickscoping On Rust In Modern Warfare 2 Was The Pinnacle Of Online Shooters

You’re in a game of Domination and you’re one kill away from a Chopper Gunner. The same infuriated idiot keeps rushing back to the exact same spot in an attempt to get revenge on you, despite already having drilled it into their head that no, they can’t get the jump on you. As expected, they sprint in, P90 spraying like a startled skunk, before you clock them in the head with a Spas-12 – dzh! What a beautiful sound. Just as you leg it around the corner and go prone to safely call in your Apache, you’re hit with a message:

“1v1 me on Rust”

Alright, now we’re talking. You spawnkill the other team with your Chopper and call in a tactical nuke, just as a flex. You get your private match all set up – Rust, no killstreaks, health set to miniscule, first one to 1,500 points wins but the last kill needs to be a trickshot. Throwing knives are allowed but all other equipment is banned. You’re rocking Red Tiger on your Intervention because Fall looks like dinosaur puke, and you’re feeling like a million dollars as the clock winds down from ten. “Free for all!” the announcer shouts as you sprint towards the middle of the map, knowing all four of the spots your opponent can potentially spawn in like the back of your hand.

It’s all a bit nostalgic, thinking about the exact way in which 1v1s on Rust used to transpire, but I don’t think it’s just me. I know people three years younger than me and ten years older who all have the same memories – Modern Warfare 2 isn’t just a Call of Duty game that clicked with whatever age group turned 15 the year it came out. This was prestige (get it?) Call of Duty, a modern multiplayer shooter like no other. It’s still my favourite one to this day, with titans like the original Modern Warfare and Halo 3 not far behind. It was just so simple and yet so refined – I actually wrote a whole piece about why it’s the best multiplayer shooter ever last week.

That’s the thing: I can’t believe I’m saying this in 2021, but I’ve been playing Modern Warfare 2 on my Xbox Series X all week. I was a bit rusty at the start – as in bad, not good at Rust – and pulled some scores I’m not proud of, but now I’m winning Free-For-Alls and having exhilarating quickscope matches with some of my mates as if it’s nobody’s business. Oddly enough, it’s the latter that’s really struck a chord with me. At first I thought it was nostalgia playing on my heart strings, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the wicked crackbang of the Intervention, and the retraction of the scope post-shot that just feels so intuitive. These are shotgun sniper rifles, a work of pure magic considering that the kickback from a single blast of one of these bad boys should put your shoulder out for a month. It makes no sense, really, but that’s the beauty of Modern Warfare 2, a game where snipers are as portable as handguns and UMP45s don’t have their damage stunted by silencers – they’re actually better with them, for some reason. But it’s the quickscopes that are the most special, because they don’t really exist anywhere else – you can do them in other shooters, sure, but the Sleight of Hand pro, Stopping Power pro, Steady Aim/Ninja pro, and Intervention FMJ class is something that is completely unique to and singularly preserved by this game.

This is what I mean when I say that quickscoping on Rust in Modern Warfare 2 was the pinnacle of online shooters. It’s like Forge in Halo 3 or Zombies in World at War – it’s this single moment that’s been unanimously preserved in our collective cultural memory. And if you log into the original Xbox 360 servers now, you’ll see that it’s still going strong 12 years later. I played a match of Ground War on Terminal the other day and despite the fact none of the 18 players in the game had mics, it was universally known that everybody needed to use a sniper rifle, like some unspoken but inherently permanent rule. If we got Scrapyard the noob tubes came out in force, but for maps like Terminal, Highrise, and the rest of the A-list playlist, it was quickscope or be quickscoped, with nothing else in between.

My favourite moment from the last week of replaying this remarkable game was on Rust. I was having a private match with a couple of mates and some random lad called Duncan joined our game. Duncan knew we were sniping, but he was a hardscoper, AKA a right wanker. Instead of rushing around and only bringing the scope up for a brief second, he parked at the top of the metal structure on Rust and put down a Tactical Insertion to control his respawn point. He hovered over people for about 17 years before taking a shot, as opposed to having a laugh with 360 no-scopes and throwing knives. Do you know what the best bit is? Everyone thought it was hilarious, and at the end of the day he still lost, somehow. Modern Warfare 2 is the GOAT, and quickscopes were and still are its best feature.

Next: Remembering Dragon Age 2’s Arishok: The Silliest Video Game Battle Ever

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  • Xbox 360

Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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