Riot Shield
Image via Activision.

Riot Shields Are Ruining Public Matches in MW2

Stop getting this man a shield!

Public matches have always been a mess to a degree in any Call of Duty, but the Riot Shield in Modern Warfare 2 may be the worst addition we’ve seen in a long time. These primary melee weapons are present in nearly every public match possible and it’s becoming a plague.

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Yes, the Riot Shield has been present in many Call of Duty games, including the most recent title, Vanguard. Even in previous games, the melee shield was annoying, but it was never as prevalent as it is now. Players use it for the defense like they did in Vanguard and for the ability to troll as they did in the original Modern Warfare 2. Let’s take a deep dive into why this primary melee is ruining public matches and needs to be fixed yesterday.

Why are Riot Shields Ruining Matches in Modern Warfare 2?

In the current state of MW2, it’s almost impossible to play a public match without running into an enemy who has a Riot Shield, throwing knives, stun grenades, and some dual-wield pistols. Why is this a problem? Well, it changes the entire pace of the game, especially in modes like Search & Destroy. Without a dedicated team, which is most public matches, these players can change the entire flow just by existing.

Before you know it, some of the enemies join their teammate in using a Riot Shield. Next thing you know, there are three players hiding in corners with throwing knives and shields. Sounds like fun right? Of course, the other team will follow suit, and all of a sudden, the game is full of shields.

There is only one counter to the Riot Shield if the enemy player is of average skill level, and that is to use a throwable lethal like a Semtex or Thermite. If you manage to hit a shielder directly, the lethal will kill them. However, their throwing knives can be thrown much faster than your equipment. If they see you even lift your arm an inch to throw, chances are you’re dead already. Now you essentially need to reserve all equipment and watch the routes of a single player. Don’t forget, there are five more enemies either joining this person or running a shield of their own.

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This might sound like I’m just whining, and I absolutely am! We all know it’s not fun to play against Riot Shields to this degree and even the players using them are only in it for the trolling. To no one’s surprise, most Modern Warfare 2 players get sick of the shields after a couple of minutes or a few rounds in Search & Destroy. People start leaving the match because they don’t want to deal with it.

To make matters even worse, these shields are used to simply protect the backs of players in respawn modes. Not only is it much harder to hit them just because they have Captain America’s shield on their back, but there are even issues with hit registration sometimes. Shields can absorb damage they aren’t supposed to when facing you. Let’s not forget about the god mode bug these melee weapons could provide at launch as well. There has never been a fun match with the shields in Modern Warfare 2.

How Can the Riot Shield be Fixed in Modern Warfare 2?

The problem with the shield isn’t that players can hide like scared turtles, but more so that there are too many supporting features to ruin the flow of a public match and get kills. With that in mind, there are things that can be changed around the Riot Shield to make it fit its true purpose.

First and foremost, simply make throwing knives much slower when holding a shield. If players want to hold a giant fortress in front of them, that’s fine, but they shouldn’t be able to throw a knife like the flash, then. When these players can counter the only lethal shield counter with their own knife counter, frustration spawns. Shielders would have to use the weapon for its intended use.

I can already hear “skill issue” as I write this, but this isn’t a problem when you have a skilled team or in competitive matches. The problem only exists in public matches where it’s everyone for themselves, and that’s the majority of matches in Modern Warfare 2. And let’s be honest, most players despise the Riot Shields as much as I do. We would all rather have a lobby of Kastov-74u players than one clueless shield player. Why? Because we want to play Call of Duty, not Dead by Daylight where all the survivors have to watch out for the shield killer.

Until there’s a change, I guess I’ll be filling my pockets with Thermite and praying to the servers that I don’t see another melee fortress in my public match. Otherwise, players are going to have some truly fast quitter fingers.

And that’s all. For more on the upcoming Call of Duty title, head over to our dedicated Modern Warfare 2 section full of guides, news, updates, and more.

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Image of Daniel Wenerowicz
Daniel Wenerowicz
Dan has been writing gaming guides, news, and features for three years after graduating with a BA in writing . You can find him covering Call of Duty for eternity, action-adventure games, and nearly any other major release.