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MW3 modes list: All game modes and playlists in Modern Warfare 3

Here are all the game modes and playlists available in Modern Warfare 3

Multiple Operators defend against gunfire using a riot shield in Modern Warfare 3.
Image credit: Activision

Want a list of all game modes in Modern Warfare 3? As can be expected of any Call Of Duty instalment, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has a selection of gameplay modes and playlists on offer to cater to most players. Although you may find yourself returning to old staples like Team Deathmatch, Modern Warfare 3 has dropped new modes and limited-time seasonal events to spice things up for players.

In this guide, we'll look at all MW3's game modes, as well as popular playlist modes to explain how they work. While the seven core modes will always be available in MW3, playlists come and go. So if you have a favourite, you may have to wait a while before you get a chance to jump back in. For now, let's jump into every game mode to see what it brings to the table in Modern Warfare 3.

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All MW3 game modes explained

There were 7 game modes at launch: Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, Domination, Search and Destroy, Kill Confirmed, Hardpoint and Control. Since then, MW3 has released more core and limited timed modes via the Season One patch. Listed below, are all the core modes and what each one entails.

Team Deathmatch

A very popular multiplayer choice in Call Of Duty, Team Deathmatch is simple. To win, you need to kill all the players on the enemy team, and the first team to reach the 100 score limit wins. If both sides are slow to rack up kills, the winner will automatically be decided based on the higher score once 10 minutes of match time passes. With party sizes ranging between 1-6 players, you'll most likely find yourself in a 6v6 match.


Unlike Team Deathmatch, you don't have a team here. You're all alone and your mission is to kill everyone, hence the title Free-For-All. While killing every single enemy you come across on the map sounds like fun, you do have an objective: reach the 30 score limit to win the game, or reach 10 minutes. After that, the top three players of Free-For-All win.


The key to Domination is to, well, dominate. You have three objectives that you need to capture, hold, and defend to earn points. It's an unlimited time match, but you're aiming for a 200 score limit, which comes around fast, especially on smaller or cramped maps. First team to hit the score limit wins.

Search and Destroy

In Search and Destroy, the objective alternates between rounds of you and your team either detonating a bomb on a specific point, or defusing a bomb that the other team's planted. There are no respawns, so if you get wiped out of this mode, you'll have to sit back and spectate while waiting for the next round to start. Each round plays for two minutes, there's six rounds in total, and your party size can hold one to six players.

Kill Confirmed

There's a double objective in Kill Confirmed. First, you must kill players on the enemy team. Then, you must collect the dog tags they drop to score extra points for your team. You can also pick up dog tags of fallen allies to deny the enemy their score. The winner is decided by the first team to reach 75 points, or the team with the highest score after 10 minutes.

Hardpoint mode in Modern Warfare 3
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision


In Hardpoint, there's a specific area that you'll be tasked with holding down and defending against attack. Both teams need to rush the area and secure it, and points are generated every second that a teammate stands on the objective area. The first team to reach the 250 score limit wins, with matches lasting five minutes.


In Control, you must capture two objectives on the map. In a fun twist, you've got 30 lives to use across your team, so you'll need to be strategic. Once you capture two objectives, your team gains a point. Your team will be tasked with either defending or attacking, and this role will swap until one team earns three points. Each round is 1.5 minutes long.


As per the Season One content drop, Gunfight has returned to MW3. In Gunfight, two teams face off against one another in 40-second rounds. During that time, you must eliminate the other team. The crux is, that your assigned loadout is randomised and changes every two rounds. This mode is all about adaptability and securing quick wins. If both teams are intact after the 40-second round, they are given an additional 10 seconds of overtime. During this time a flag will spawn for each team and you'll have to capture the enemies' flag or finish off the remaining enemy team members to win. The first team to secure 6 wins will ultimately win the match.

All Or Nothing

In All Or Nothing, you deploy with only throwing knives, no ammo. To progress you must earn an elimination to grant the Scavenger Perk, after which you will be able to pick up ammo for your weapon. The winner is whoever can secure 20 eliminations first.

New and upcoming modes

Infectious Holiday mode in Modern Warfare 3
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

With 'Codmas' upon us, Modern Warfare 3 has dropped a bunch of seasonal-themed modes, available until January 3. If you feel like celebrating the occasion with a bunch of zombie Santa's, here is a list of all limited-time modes in Modern Warfare 3 as well as all upcoming ones.

Infectious Holiday

The Infectious Holiday mode essentially turns a bunch of Operators into the Zombie Santa skin. Eliminated players become infected and must spread the infection to win.


Snowfight is a reskin of the Gunfight mode. In a holiday twist, fight with snowballs instead and look out for the Golden Snowball, capable of a one-shot kill. It only spawns once per round, however, so be on the lookout within the centre of the map.


Vortex is a free-for-all mode in which one player will deploy with the one-shot Ray Gun. Whoever then eliminates this player will take ownership of the weapon and so forth. Think of this mode as a game of tag. Vortex is scheduled as a mid-season drop, so we can expect it to follow sometime after the Codmas event, in the new year.


Infected will be another mid-season release. In Infected, one player is chosen as the infected and must spread the virus to other players. This is essentially the precursor to the Infectious Holiday mode.


Headquarters is a mid-season release. During this mode, you must fight to secure a base and then protect your position there. The headquarters will rotate around the map as the match progresses so you'll need to move to keep your place.

Team Gunfight

Team Gunfight is a 6v6 version of the classic Gunfight mode mentioned above.

All Playlists in Modern Warfare 3

  • Hardcore Quick Play - This lets you choose a variety of other modes such as Free-For-All and Hardpoint, but with modifiers such as a limited HUD, friendly fire enabled, and lower health.
  • Rustment 24/7 - A mash-up of Mosh Pit with 6v6 on the Rust and Shipment maps only, with game modes including Kill Confirmed, Domination, Hardpoint and Team Deathmatch.
  • Highrise 24/7 - A 6v6 Mosh Pit on the Highrise map. Game modes include Kill Confirmed, Domination, Hardpoint, and Team Deathmatch.
  • Gun Game - Here, you need to be the first player to score a kill with each of the provided weapons. With a specific objective at hand, your kills, deaths, and win/loss score will not be affected.
  • Experimental - This new playlist mode allows players to experience gameplay updates before they're released so they can provide feedback.
  • 10v10 Mosh Pit - A high-octane Mosh Pit respawn mode bringing 10v10 players for more intense matches across a multitude of maps.
  • Rust 24/7 - A small scale Mosh Pit of 6v6 based purely on the Rust map, with modes including Kill Confirmed, Domination, Hardpoint, and Team Deathmatch.
  • Terminal 24/7 - Another small scale Mosh Pit of 6v6 based purely on the Terminal map, and includes Kill Confirmed, Domination, Hardpoint and Team Deathmatch modes.
  • Modern Warfare II Mosh Pit - A special playlist dedicated to a curated selection of maps from, you guessed it, Modern Warfare II.
  • War Mode - On the Operation Spearhead map, teams of up to six players progress through linear objectives to push to the battle line and win.
  • Cutthroat - Three teams go against each other and the first team to reach the round win limit wins.
  • Ground War - With squads of up to four players, a max of 54 players can take part in this large-scale conflict with vehicles, capturing and holding objectives to score, with any captured objectives opening forward locations for you and your allies.
  • Invasion - It's Team Deathmatch, but on a large-scale squad-based map with 20 Operators per team, and max players set at 40.

That's all the game modes and playlists available in Modern Warfare 3. If you're keen to get sucked into multiplayer but want to know more, we've got guides in abundance, including a best tips and tricks guide for multiplayer beginners. Be sure to check out our in-depth rundowns of the best guns in MW3, the best loadouts, and all the details on the MW3 maps to get the most out of your gunfights.

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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (2023)

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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About the Author
Grace Dean avatar

Grace Dean


Grace has been freelancing for RPS since September 2023, starting out on all things Starfield and Modern Warfare 3. She’s a huge fan of FPS games, as well as adventure and sims to mix up the pace. Studying journalism at university and then running a gaming YouTube channel before making short-form content for television, she left the world of TV to pursue her love of writing and find a beautiful balance between her busy work and family life. If she’s not playing Fortnite or COD, you’ll find her snuggled up somewhere warm playing The Sims 4 or Stardew Valley.