Modern Warfare 2 is finally getting ranked play – here's how it works

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is finally, seriously, for real this time adding a ranked mode. 

Primary developer Treyarch outlined the long-awaited release of ranked play on the heels of a new trailer ringing in Season 2 of Warzone 2 and Modern Warfare 2. Season 2 arrives on Wednesday, February 15 with reworked rules styled after the Call of Duty League. 

Modern Warfare 2 ranked play will be split into eight divisions. In ascending prestige, those are: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, crimsons, iridescent, and finally the top 250 bracket. Each division has its own skill rating band, and the ranks below iridescent have three tiers within them to help segment players. 

Unlike many modern competitive shooters, Modern Warfare 2 ranked won't start with placement matches. Instead, everyone will start out in bronze, but if you play well enough, you'll apparently be able to rank "in only a few matches." Treyarch reckons "this nets out to a simpler overall experience with the removal of Ladders and Ladder Points, allowing you to just focus on winning and getting that SR up."

There's some fine print to be aware of with ranked play. For starters, there are party limitations on some ranks. Anyone below platinum rank can play together without restrictions, but diamond and crimson players can only party (and play against) players within two skill divisions of themselves. Iridescent players and the top 250 will be limited to a one division difference. 

Your rank will also be updated at the end of each play season, with everyone at crimson or below going down one division. The good news is you'll have demotion protection for your first three matches of the new season. Iridescent players and the previous season's top 250 will start at Diamond in tier one "with demotion protection enabled for several matches." Demotion protection is also applied for your first three matches following a rank up, and if you do lose enough points to get demoted, you'll also have to lose two matches in a row to get knocked out. 

Ranked play can also preserve your rank through quitter protection. If someone leaves or disconnects after teams are matched together but before the match actually starts, the match will disband with no penalty for anyone. If someone drops mid-match, anyone who wasn't in the leaver's party won't lose any rank. "If that 4v4 becomes a 3v4 due to a teammate quitting, SR can still be earned if you manage to overcome the disadvantage and win the match, but losing while shorthanded won’t deduct any SR," Treyarch explains. Naturally, repeatedly quitting, disconnecting, idling, or straight-up trolling in ranked will lead to penalties.

Activision is still calling Call of Duty 2023 a "full premium release" as if that means anything. 

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.