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What Is Tier 1 in Modern Warfare 2?

If you’re wondering what Tier 1 is in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2, you’re not alone. Here’s a full breakdown of everything you need to know:

Tier 1 appears to be a brand-new game mode in MW2 but it’s actually a returning playlist that fans know and love.

The game mode wasn’t actually present at launch in Modern Warfare 2, instead coming as a new addition in Season 1.

Now that it’s here, Tier 1 is the source of a great deal of confusion. Here’s what you might be missing:

What Is Tier 1 in MW2?

Tier 1 is a new playlist type that resembles the iconic Hardcore mode in Modern Warfare 2. It arrived at the start of Season 1 on Wednesday, November 16.

In this game mode, players have no hit markers, no kill confirmation, and very little UI. Although it’s being described as Hardcore mode, it’s closer to Realism mode in Campaign.

Tier 1 was originally set to go live at launch, although Infinity Ward had to delay the mode at the last minute, pushing back the release until the game’s first major update.

MW2 Tier 1 Screenshot
There’s No UI in Tier 1 Mode

Is Tier 1 Hardcore Mode?

Although Tier 1 is being described as Hardcore mode by Infinity Ward, it’s not quite the mode that Call of Duty fans will remember.

Instead, with little-to-no UI, it’s more similar to Campaign’s Realism mode, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the gameplay.

However, fans of Hardcore COD aren’t all happy with the changes.

“No kill confirmation, no hitmarker indicator, no ally kill indicator… this is realism mode, not hardcore and I kinda dislike it” a popular post on the MW2 subreddit reads. “I don’t get why they completely removed Hardcore when it had its fanbase since forever.”

It’s clear that a great number of Call of Duty fans were hoping for Hardcore to make a return in all its glory. However, it seems that we might not be getting the popular playlist at all this time around.

All Tier 1 Modes in MW2

At the beginning of MW2 Season 1, here are all the Tier 1 modes currently available to play:

  • Team Deathmatch
  • Domination
  • Search & Destroy
  • Hardpoint
  • Headquarters
  • Kill Confirmed
  • Free For All
  • Control

You can filter your search to specific game modes in the Tier 1 playlist by pressing Square, X, or R when the Tier 1 Playlight is highlighted on the menu.

All Tier 1 Game Modes in MW2
All Tier 1 Game Modes in MW2

You can find a detailed breakdown of all the MW2 multiplayer modes here.

What Does the White Dot Mean in Tier 1?

A white circle on the right-hand of your screen means you have a Field Upgrade ready to use in Tier 1. Alternatively, a tiny white square shape means you’ve got a Killstreak to call in.

Since UI is turned off in Tier 1 mode, players still need some indication that they’ve got equipment to use.

However, it’s very confusing to those just learning the mode.

White Dots in Tier 1 MW2
Small White Marks Indicate Equipment and Killstreaks Are Ready to Use

How to Get a Minimap in Tier 1

Since Minimaps are turned off along with the rest of the UI in Tier 1 modes, the only way to get a map is by using a UAV.

It also makes the Killstreak one of the best to turn on in the mode, as it gives you a huge advantage over other players while active.

How to Get a Minimap in Tier 1 MW2
UAVs Will Bring Back the Minimap in Tier 1

On the other hand, Counter UAVs are far less effective, though they can be used to shut down enemies that are doing well in the match!

Check out the best loadouts to use in MW2’s Tier 1 here, and stay ahead of the competition.

And did you know there’s a new crazy weapon XP glitch in Spec Ops that will have you ranking up guns in no time?

Share your thoughts, or ask a question:
Comments 54


Saturday 29th of October 2022

This may be the last time i purchase a COD game. Other franchising seem to care much more about players. I have own every one since it first came out. Very disappointed in whoever made this asinine decision.


Saturday 29th of October 2022

No Hardcore aka Tier 1 is complete BS. The campaign is designed around a hardcore mentality. If anything the game should have debuted with no core mode!!!!


Friday 28th of October 2022

Schonmal Dran gedacht was ihr der hc community antut??? Es gibt im esport Bereich viele hc clans die sich null vorbereiten können und da sehr viel Zeit und Geld investieren.ob desbl oder ebattles. Sowas geht garnicht


Friday 28th of October 2022

I got cheated and want my money back. I've never played non hardcore modes (they are unplayable to me, as they are insanely unrealistic) and only bought this game for the hardcore mode as usually. There was no mentioning in the description that this year's edition is a non-hardcore only! I request my money back (and have already deleted the downloaded game from my PS4). Any idea how you can request a refund?


Saturday 29th of October 2022

@Oliver, AMEN!!!


Friday 28th of October 2022

I pay for the game to play hardcore I shouldn’t have to wait days or even hours for it to be available. The whole game should be available at the same time.