As one of the best-selling FPS series of all time, Call of Duty began in 2003 by glorifying the time-honored American tradition of fighting Nazis. Since then, numerous iterations have explored modern, advanced, and futuristic warfare. The game has even gone back to what it does best: World War II.
Most of the time, the Call of Duty series is a thrilling, immersive first-person frenzy, coordinated by the series’ iconic scripted events and ambitious set-pieces. That said, every Call of Duty game has glitchy moments. This list looks back on the craziest AI annoyances, game-breaking bugs, and exploits in the series.
This list isn’t intended to bash the hard work that went into designing these games. Game software quality assurance is an insanely difficult task, made exponentially harder by the enormous scale and grueling schedules of AAA game design.
Still, to the untrained eye, many of these errors and anomalies seem like they’d be hard to miss.
Here are the 15 Most Insane Call Of Duty Glitches You Never Knew About.
15. No Gun Glitch in Modern Warfare 3
At the top of the list is the No Gun Glitch, which is little more than a nuisance in the grand scheme of things. Compared to the rest of the glitches on this list, the No Gun Glitch is quite harmless.
You’re changing weapons when suddenly your gun disappears. You click to shoot and nothing happens. That’s the glitch. Sure, it isn’t a huge deal. To fix it, all you need to do is press the button to change weapons, but if it happens in a firefight then that’s a waste of a potentially crucial split-second.
Once upon a time, this glitch could be found in several Call of Duty games, including Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. Therefore, the fact that this bothersome old ghost showed up at all in Modern Warfare 3 is just more evidence of that game’s alleged lack of imagination.
14. Javelin Glitch in Modern Warfare 2
The Javelin Glitch is anything but harmless. The FGM-148 Javelin is a rocket launcher in the Modern Warfare series. Being a rocket launcher, the FGM-148 Javelin inflicts major explosive damage and requires significant time to reload.
Frankly, it isn’t all that useful outside of certain situations. Between the Javelin and, say, the Scar-H Assault Rifle, there’s virtually no contest unless you’re looking to cheat via the Javelin Glitch.
Back in 2009, cheaters exploited the Javelin Glitch as a crude but effective way of getting the Payback bonus the easy way in Modern Warfare 2. Here’s how the glitch worked: you’d equip the FGM-148 Javelin and change weapons while holding down the grenade button. Then you’d run into the killzone, virtually asking to be shot. If done correctly, you’d be– for all intents and purposes– a suicide bomber.
This glitch caused a stir. Gamers refused to play the game until the exploit was patched out. For players with a sense of honor, this exploit transformed Modern Warfare 2‘s critically acclaimed multiplayer into a reason to ragequit. Luckily for them, the Javelin Glitch in Modern Warfare 2 was patched out long ago.
13. Third-Person Glitches
Third-person glitches have been found in several Call of Duty titles, including Black Ops and World At War. These digital out-of-body experiences can be quite jarring for any unsuspecting players.
With the exception of Modern Warfare 2‘s novelty third-person mode, Call of Duty isn’t designed to be played from the third-person perspective at all, which makes this glitch all the more jarring and spontaneous.
This means no aiming reticle at all. Imagine having to quit a ranked match because you’re stuck in third-person without a crosshair. If you care about stuff like online rankings, then that’s a maddening scenario to face, as your score will immediately drop since you’re left completely vulnerable. Luckily, glitches of this kind are typically few and far between.
12. Glitch Points in Modern Warfare
Maybe this has happened to you. You’re playing Modern Warfare online and you get picked off by an unseen sniper. On the killcam, the shot appears to come from inside a rock formation far beyond the playable part of the map– not in between the rocks but inside the terrain itself.
There are two possible explanations for this phenomenon. Either the terrain is sentient and hates you, or else somebody on the opposing team is exploiting glitch points to gain access to restricted areas of the map.
How it’s done varies from map to map but it usually involves using grenades to boost your jumps and carefully walking on tightrope-thin accidental surfaces such as the tops of fences. Glitch points appear in virtually every Call of Duty, to a certain extent, but Modern Warfare‘s tremendously popular multiplayer mode brought the practice out from the shadows.
11. Elemental Knife in Black Ops II
Ever felt that certain games were better back when they were glitchier, before the developers pushed the latest updates? This is known as the “I Liked It Better When It Sucked” trope, and it applies to the now defunct Elemental Knife Glitch.
The glitch was part of the Lost Little Girl Easter egg found in Origin, a Zombies map from the Apocalypse DLC pack. In 2014, YouTuber Glitching Queen posted a detailed 18-step list of instructions for getting this glitch to happen. (In case you’re wondering, the glitch is no longer a thing.)
Effectively, the Elemental Knife Glitch attached the attributes of the Elemental Fists to your knife. The glitch also removed the question of ammo from the equation. In some gamers’ opinions, the Elemental Knife Glitch was a “Good Bad Bug“– a glitch so fun it felt like a feature.
10. Exo Suit Upgrade Glitch in Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare stars mo-capped Kevin Spacey and his weird, unmoving eyebrows as an evil dictatorial leader of a terroristic army without a country. Spacey’s equally impressive co-star is the upgradable Exo Suit that you get to wear as you hunt him down and bring him to justice.
So now imagine that you’ve spent hours upgrading your super-sweet Exo Suit when your upgrades inexplicably disappear. You went through a lot to get those upgrades, and now they’ve gone AWOL with no explanation.
“What is this, Dark Souls?” you might wonder. No, it’s the Exo Suit Upgrade Glitch. The glitch itself seems minor until you realize that the only way to correct it is to start all over with a brand new save game. Now, that’s nuts.
9. Airborne Glitch in Modern Warfare
If you’re an achievement hunter, you’re not going to like the Airborne Glitch in Modern Warfare. Airborne is a super-difficult achievement to get. You need to jump and get two kills before you land.
It’s a daunting endeavor… unless you’re willing to cheat. The Airborne glitch essentially makes you float in mid-air, removing the challenge completely.
To make the glitch happen, you’d start a match in the map Crash, go up to the second floor of a certain building, jump towards a specific barrel and then immediately lie prone.
If you do it right, you freeze in mid-air. Do the glitch, cap two baddies at your leisure, and voila! You are now the owner of a brand new Airborne achievement, and to think, all you had to trade for it was your integrity…
8. Endless Reviving Glitch in Black Ops III Zombies
For all its enjoyable moments, Black Ops III is lousy with glitches, the Endless Reviving Glitch, AKA the Revive Bug, being one of the more egregious ones. The glitch was triggered by a series of frantic button presses. Just hope it doesn’t happen to you or one of your teammates.
Here’s what the glitch looks like in action: When you attempt to revive a downed teammate, the reviving animation loops. Then terrible things occur. First, your teammate stays dead. Second, you’re rendered defenseless, since you can’t break the animation loop to draw a weapon. So you’re standing there helping nobody, unable to defend yourself against the horde. If you’ve ever wondered how a staunch pacifist would fare in a zombie apocalypse, now you know.
7. Faster Than Light-Jump Glitch in Infinite Warfare
Infinite Warfare defied expectations for better and for worse. Critics loved it, while gamers’ responses varied. Whatever you may or may not feel about the skyward adventures of Nick Reyes, Nora Salter, and their robot-warrior pal ETHAN, there’s no denying the appeal of their sci-fi toys, gadgets, weapons, and abilities.
The Faster Than Light (FTL)-jump– stolen from Dishonored— could be pretty awesome, especially when you got good enough to pull off FTL-jump kills and get that bonus XP in multiplayer.
Then somebody realized that they could get the same bonus XP with a fraction of the risk. By simply forcing an FTL-jump to fail right before getting a normal kill, they’d get the same bonus XP. It wasn’t flashy but it did the trick. The frowned-upon practice helped cheaters prestige quickly and artificially.
6. Cutscene Glitches in Black Ops III Zombies
Completing the Black Ops III Zombies campaign on harder difficulty settings takes serious skill, dedication, and effort. After all, it’s a cooperative game. All it takes is one weak link on your team and you’re essentially zombie food.
So just imagine if all of your teammates were fighting successfully through the horde, only to suddenly be killed in a cutscene and no longer able to progress. Mind you, this isn’t a death screen or a killcam.
You’ve won, and yet the screen continues to go red and then starts to darken. Finally, the scoreboard and Game Over sign appear on your screen, confirming the bitter truth. Meanwhile, the cutscene plays on, mocking you. Nobody wants to experience this horrific glitch.
5. Rejack Glitches in Black Ops III
Black Ops III marked the debut of the seven specialists, elite characters with special abilities. Rejack is an ability exclusive to the specialist Nomad. It lets Nomad respawn in the same spot immediately after being killed.
It seems like a cool gimmick– get killed, immediately respawn, and get your revenge. In practice, however, it goes more like “get killed, immediately respawn, then get killed again.” Many gamers use Rejack– if they use it at all– just long enough to get the achievements associated with it.
However, because Rejack effectively moves your respawn point, it has become a favorite of the dishonorable and the cheaters. If somebody uses Rejack while standing at a glitch point, they’ll respawn out of bounds, under the map’s geometry.
4. Pathfinding Glitches in World At War
Before we get to the Bad Leader Glitch, let’s talk about the first Call of Duty. Released in 2003, Call of Duty invented the now-standard industry practice of aiming down the gun’s sight for a more accurate shot. More importantly, it took risks with epic set-pieces, online modes, and, most importantly, a campaign driven by scripted events.
Call of Duty originated as Activision’s non-player character (NPC)-packed answer to the super-powered lone wolf vibe of EA’s Medal of Honor (1999). You were no longer a one-man army.
Rather, you were one ordinary soldier in a massive military engagement. It’s this feeling of being a part of a larger effort that distinguished Call of Duty from the insularity of Medal of Honor, and it’s why the pathfinding glitches in 2008’s World At War are so frustrating.
In multiple locations in the very first mission, you can end up stuck behind your squad mates in narrow passageways. In a later mission, when you’re told to regroup, it’s possible for your Russian comrade to fail to trigger a critical event. In both these instances, a restart is required.
3. AI Teammates Who Step Into Your Line of Fire
The Non-Player Characters are rarely as smart as they look. In contrast to what Activision would have you believe, it would seem that staggeringly stupid AI is a defining characteristic of the NPC comrades in Call of Duty. Sometimes it works out for the best, like this epically silly fixed prize fight-turned-ruthless execution. Other times, not so much.
For instance, your idiotic NPC comrades have a troublesome habit of stepping directly into your line of fire. These AI-related mishaps occur with varying frequency through the series. Do they have a death wish? Do they know something the player doesn’t?
The problem with such pathfinding glitches is that they feel unrealistic. Why would anybody step in front of you while you’re shooting? It breaks the dream, so to speak.
However, if you look at virtually every battle since the invention of guns, friendly fire incidents are heartbreakingly common in real-life modern warfare. So, it’s unrealistic in one sense and too realistic in another.
2. Freefall-Related Exploits in Ghosts
Ghosts was not the series’ finest hour. (Nor, for that matter, was Finest Hour.) Ghosts‘ Freefall map might be the worst map in arguably the worst game of the franchise. Why is it awful? Freefall’s layout is so terrible that its primary effect is to incentivize cheating.
Here’s how it works. Basically, there’s one part of the map– the place with all of the windows– which is fortified. Get there first by any means necessary and your team will probably win the match.
The level is so poorly designed that it really doesn’t matter which game mode you choose. The layout turns virtually any game mode into a race to see who can get there the fastest. It’s like the devs were saying, “Can’t find and exploit the glitch points before the other team does? Then choose a different map.”
1. This Daikatana-Like Nonsense
Number one on this list is a specific clip of Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012) that somehow encapsulates every technical problem in the series: weirdly looping animations, inept pathfinding, all-too-obvious invisible walls, and immersion-destroying glitches. NPCs getting stuck, animations looping awkwardly– these are glitches that have no place in Call of Duty.
You’d expect to see glitches like these in a game like Ion Storm’s Daikatana, a game that failed miserably due to bad glitches. According to some people who worked on Ion Storm’s ill-fated experiment in hubris, Daikatana‘s failure may be one of the reasons why formulaic franchises like Call of Duty became the industry standard.
In this light, the Call of Duty formula reflects an industrywide reluctance to change, for fear of putting out another glitchy, disappointing product. Now that’s some irony.
Can you think of any other insane Call of Duty glitches? Let us know in the comments!
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