New MW3 Vortex mode brings deadly Zombies flair to free-for-all

Call of Duty's huge Season 1 update is coming to Modern Warfare 3 soon and the new MW3 Vortex mode already sounds like a great addition.

MW3 Vortex: an image of a player with a Ray Gun

Whatever you think about the current state of Call of Duty, it’s safe to say that the next major Modern Warfare 3 update is a very important one; it’s the first major content drop since MW3 itself came out and an update that’s going to set expectations for months to come. While the Season 1 update sees new multiplayer maps, additional operators, and everything else you would expect to see from a seasonal Call of Duty update arrive, it also sees something new in Vortex. If you’re wondering what the new MW3 Vortex mode is all about, it really could be an absolute game-changer.

Call of Duty’s Modern Warfare 3 is easily one of the best FPS games out there right now and a fantastic place to spend your spare time among the other brilliant new PS5 games and new Xbox games coming out in recent months and throughout the holidays. However, Call of Duty as a franchise is almost always at risk of getting stale – how many iterations of Shipment have we seen in the last decade?

Thankfully, though, it looks like Sledgehammer Games is experimenting a little with Modern Warfare 3 and it’s leaning on MW3 Zombies with it’s latest limited-time mode Vortex – which will be introduced in a mid-season update and not available on December 6 when the MW3 Season 1 release date arrives. As this Call of Duty Blog post briefly explains, Vortex is a “free-for-all mode” where one player spawns into the match with a one-shot Ray Gun – which Zombies fans will feel very familiar with.

From what we can tell with the limited information we have available right now, normal FFA (free-for-all) rules apply in this mode – in which we mean it’s every operator for themselves in a deathmatch scenario where the first player to hit the score limit of 30 eliminations wins. However, and here’s the big twist that makes Vortex very exciting, if you eliminate the player with the Ray Gun, you actually get the Ray Gun yourself. It’s a game mode with a Golden Gun, of sorts, but that Golden Gun is actually a cosmically-charged radioactive Ray Gun built for blasting zombies. This game mode will take place exclusively on three remixed maps: Satan’s Quarry, Sporeyard, and Tetanus.

This is the first time, at least in recent memory, a Call of Duty multiplayer mode has featured a Wonder Weapon from a Call of Duty Zombies mode and it’s definitely the first time we’ve seen a Modern Warfare sub-series title feature anything from the undead-focused experience.

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Call of Duty is yet to comment on what this means going forward, and there’s no telling just how long Vortex will even be available for when it arrives as an LTM mid-season (although, we would hedge our bets on it being available for two weeks at first). However, this really could be a huge step in the right direction when it comes to experimenting and exploring new ways to diversify the line-up of multiplayer modes available beyond staples like TDM and Domination. We’ve seen how popular these ‘party’ modes (things like Prop Hunt, Gun Game, One In The Chamber, and Infected) are in recent years, but they’re often always sporadically available and then only for a limited time.

We know Vortex is also currently only available for a limited time, but with Infected becoming a permanent addition mid-season alongside it and the festive Santa’s Slayground “CODMAS” mode available as an LTM this holiday season, this could mean these experiences are available more regularly moving forward – and that’s fantastic news.

If, however, you want to prepare for the Season 1 grind and you’re not too bothered about these playful twists on core game modes, you can find out more about the emerging MW3 meta here and our picks for the best MW3 guns going into the next update. We don’t know what the weapon balancing changes will look like just yet, but this will give you a good sense of what you should be checking out going into this first full season of Modern Warfare 3 content.