Players who have logged in to Call of Duty Modern Warfare since the most recent patch version 1.09 may have noticed something different about the game. What was missing was the signature crack of the 725 Shotgun's twin barrels firing off at all corners of every map. Until recently, the 725 Shotgun was a ubiquitous sight in Modern Warfare's online scene, second only to the M4A1 in popularity. However, after the most recent patch, anyone who logs in for a quick match will likely no longer see the prolific use of what was once the most broken weapon in Modern Warfare. As if by some silent decree, it seems that nearly every player has suddenly removed the once-vaunted weapon from their loadouts, and now shotgun mains have branched out into such fare as the Model 680 or even the MK2 Carbine.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare has released several updates nerfing the 725, but none of them could slow down the shotgun's reign of terror until the most recent patch. Since the game's launch, the 725 has struck terror into the hearts of many with its absurd range and ability to kill players in a single shot at distances that could even embarrass assault rifles. Previous updates did away with the ability to use slug shotgun shells to compete with snipers, but the most recent update also tackled the effective damage range of the gun in its base form.
This one weapon, more than any other, has plagued the Call of Duty Modern Warfare online community since release. This gun has been a part of some of the most toxic loadouts in Modern Warfare, and even after several nerfs was still one of the most powerful weapons available.
With the correct attachments, a 725 Shotgun could at one time compete with sniper rifles. Even after its effective range was reduced, its tight pellet spread and long effective hipfire range gave it nearly double the utility of any other shotgun in the game. Its ability to stop players dead in their tracks with a single blast gave it a faster time to kill than any automatic weapon. For a game in which encounters with enemies are usually brief one-on-one contests of reaction time and DPS, the 725 was king.
Multiple updates attempted to nerf the 725, but could not slow it down. One nerf made the 725 stronger, in fact, much the chagrin of the player base.
Now, its effective range has been significantly reduced. Not only will the 725 have a much shorter range at which it deals damage, but it also has a much reduced effective range for 1-shot kills. However, this still leaves the question of how it competes with other shotguns, and whether the 725 nerf will be enough in the long-term.
Is The 725 Shotgun Finally Balanced?
In a word, yes. However, with a little testing, the true extent of the nerf can be made clear. Previous patches had reduced the power of the 725, but it was still viable. In the pre- 1.09 patch version of the game, the 725 Shotgun could dish out damage even at ranges out to 40 meters, which is about as far as a normal gunfight between automatic rifles or SMGs might take place.
At that time, the 725 could one-shot a player at full health from 20 meters when the shooter was aiming down sights, and when hip firing could still provide one-shot kills at 16 meters. In many of Modern Warfare's smaller maps, these distances were sufficient for almost any confrontation with another player. This easily made the 725 one of the best shotguns in CoD, if not one of the best weapons.
After patch 1.09, the distances that the 725 can reach are much shorter. No longer can this shotgun reach 40 meters to deal damage. Its damage drops of to nothing after about 20-25 meters with no attachments. This is still much longer than most of the shotguns in the game and adding attachments can improve its performance, but its limited ammunition capacity now may outweigh the range and damage benefits. It will no longer be a part of any overpowered CoD loadout.
Now, one-shot kills are only achievable at very short ranges. 12 meters is sufficient for a one-shot while aiming down sights, while the longest range for a hipfire one-shot kill is now a paltry 8 meters. Suffice it to say that the 725 has not only lost its status as an overpowered weapon, but it is also no longer among even the high-tier weapons in Modern Warfare.
With the correct attachments, the 725 Shotgun can still hold its own at a considerable range. However, it used to have such high damage and excessive range that players would easily forgive its two-shot capacity and slow breach-loading reloads. Now, players are better off with other shotguns like the Model 680 or R9-O shotguns because of their much higher capacity and comparable range.
Other players have opted for the MK2 Carbine to replace their beloved 725 Shotguns, because it has a similarly high damage capability. It fires relatively quickly and can one-shot an enemy player with a single well-placed shot to the body at considerable range. However, it requires far more accuracy than the 725 once did, making it useful only in the hands of relatively skilled players. The 725 had a pellet spread just wide enough to forgive panicked snap-aiming, but narrow enough to deal damage at long ranges. This crutch can be relied on no more.
As more weapons are added to Call of Duty, there will likely be other issues that need to be balanced. Certainly some guns and weapons continue to be far more viable than others in online play. For example, the M4A1 may be due for a nerf, and the ballistic shield most certainly is. At least, however, the Modern Warfare players can be mollified for some time by the successful nerf of one of the most bothersome weapons in the game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.