While there are a ton of different events, activities, and game opportunities available during this weekend’s Call of Duty XP, none will be getting as much attention as Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer. Making its debut — in the form of two trailers — during the Call of Duty XP keynote, most of the secrecy has been lifted off Modern Warfare’s most popular mode – except how it plays.

Thankfully Game Rant was on hand at Call of Duty XP and put in considerable time with the multiplayer — in the modes ‘Kill Confirmed,’ ‘Domination,’ and ‘Team Deathmatch’ — and we can confirm Call of Duty fans will be happy. There is plenty of new content thrown into Modern Warfare 3, but the core experience remains unchanged.

Yes, as expected, Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer feels very familiar. It’s essentially a “souped-up” version of the MW2 multiplayer with a few of the Black Ops bells and whistles thrown in for good measure. Some of gamers’ favorite perks have returned, while others have been tweaked/renamed, and others have been done away with completely (good bye Commando and One Man Army).

The addition of the strike package — a gamer preference load out that determines your killstreaks — makes for some tough decisions from the outset, but typically players will stick with the traditional assault, which nets you very similar killstreaks to what has been seen before. The support strike package is more about helping your team — giving the player special UAV’s, drones, and care packages — but it’s also counter-productive to the very kill-oriented nature of the Call of Duty experience. Not to mention the specialist strike package, which is sure to cause the biggest controversy — allowing players to stack not three, not four, not five, but six perks on top of each other. Scary isn’t it?

Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Impressions - Kill Confirmed Mode

“Kill Confirmed,” the new mode that requires players to collect dog tags after a kill, is a new riff on the old formula and allows for matches that are more team-oriented and less “camp heavy.” But, of course, when presented with the option of Kill Confirmed or Team Deathmatch, the selection would be a no brainer, but having a new venue for gamers to avoid modes they might not like is always welcome.

So yes, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games have thrown enough new features into Modern Warfare 3 for it to not feel exactly like a retread, but, at its heart, this is the experience gamers either hate or love. All of the new additions help fine tune that experience — accentuating its positives — but they don’t take away any of the qualities gamers might have had problems with.

If you’re a fan of Modern Warfare you will absolutely love Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer no matter how you experience it. Gamers who were hoping for a big change, like the jump from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 to Battlefield 3, are going to be let down, but those that return again and again to Call of Duty are going to be mighty satisfied. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke…”

Now having seen and heard about Modern Warfare 3’s multiplayer what are your first impressions? Do you think the mode does enough to bring back old fans and entice new ones?

Modern Warfare 3 releases November 8, 2011 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.