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Modern Warfare 3 beta: Start times, pre-load, download size, content and everything you need to know

The Modern Warfare 3 beta's second go is not far off, and we have all the information you need to get started.

Image credit: Activision

It's that time of year again, folks: Call of Duty beta time! This is the year of Modern Warfare 3, and we're going to be getting another chance at some hands-on time soon. There are a few interesting changes to mechanics this year, and the MW3 beta will provide the perfect opportunity to sample them ahead of launch.

The classic minimap returns, map voting is a thing again, movement is faster and more aligned with Modern Warfare 2019 - just to name a few. Then there are the maps. Modern Warfare 3's map line-up at launch is made up entirely of map remakes from the original Modern Warfare 2 (2009), which is yet another thing we're going to see for ourselves in the beta.

In this story, we're going to cover every piece of information related to the beta. When you'll be able to play, what content you can expect, how big the download is, when you can pre-load and much more. This story will be updated as more details are revealed.

Modern Warfare 3 beta - Everything you need to know

If you're a long-time Call of Duty fan, the structure and setup of the Modern Warfare 3 beta will be very familiar to you. Microsoft acquisition or not, PlayStation still gets first dibs on the beta - though maybe that arrangement won't return next year.

To kick things off, let's start with the confirmed dates and times for when players on each platform will be able to access the beta.

Modern Warfare 3 beta start time - Weekend two schedule (PC, Xbox, PlayStation cross-play)

PC and Xbox early access begins this weekend, and just like last weekend, this one is also split into two sessions. PlayStation players can access both sessions without the need for a pre-order, however.

  • Early access: Thursday, October 12 to Friday, October 13.
  • Open beta: Saturday, October 14 to Monday, October 16.

Like the first weekend, servers also go live at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST / 7pm CEST. This is also when the beta goes offline permanently.

And here's the Modern Warfare 3 beta schedule.

How to access the Modern Warfare 3 beta

As explained, the Modern Warfare 3 beta is split into two sessions. The first session of the weekend is available only to players who pre-ordered the full game on PC, and Xbox - and for everyone on PlayStation. Later that same weekend, the beta opens up to anyone on every platform.

The only guaranteed way to play the Modern Warfare 3 beta as soon as possible is to pre-order the game. If you'd rather wait, you can join the free portion of the weekend a couple of days later. PlayStation players get two free sessions, so that's something to keep in mind.

Beyond that, expect content creators, media, and even official Call of Duty social channels to distribute beta codes and host giveaways over the course of the beta, so it's worth keeping an eye out for those.

Modern Warfare 3 PlayStation Plus, Xbox Live Gold (Game Pass Core)

Playing the beta does not require having an active PlayStation Plus membership, or an Xbox Live Gold (Game Pass Core) membership. The only exception to this is Germany, where players will need a PlayStation Plus membership to play on PS4 and PS5.

How to redeem your Modern Warfare 3 beta code

Regardless of how you got your hands on a beta code, the way to redeem it is the same for everyone. If you pre-ordered a physical version at a retailer, you'll be emailed an access code. This is the same code that you could win in giveaways etc. Look out for a 13-character early access beta code.

People who pre-ordered the game digitally, however - such as on the PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, Steam, or Battle.net - will not need to do anything to play. The beta will simply become available to download once the pre-load goes live.

If you do have a beta code, you'll need to head over to the beta key redemption website. Log in, and enter the code you've been sent. The next step will ask you which platform you're going to play the beta on, and you only get one - so choose carefully.

After you do that, you'll receive an email from Activision with your actual beta code - the one you're going to redeem on your platform of choice. Usually, that email arrives within a few minutes, but delays have been known to happen.

You do not need a code if you intend to jump in during the open beta portion.

Modern Warfare 3 beta pre-load

The Modern Warfare 3 beta is available to download right now on all platforms. The beta files are simply DLC add-ons for Call of Duty HQ, which is the recently-renamed hub for all things Call of Duty. If you have Warzone or Modern Warfare 2 installed, simply check the extra content/DLC and you'll see one or two add-ons (depending on your platform) with the MW3 name - these are the ones you need to download.

The Modern Warfare 3 beta offers our first hands-on time with multiplayer. | Image credit: Activision

Modern Warfare 3 beta download size

The Modern Warfare 3 beta is a 29-35GB download, depending on your platform. Do note that this size could grow as more content gets added to the beta.

Modern Warfare 3 beta content

Last weekend, the Modern Warfare 3 beta ended with five game modes and five maps. Anyone who had access then enjoyed Favela, Estate, Skidrow, and Rust for 6v6, as well as Popov Power Plant for Ground War. In terms of modes, there was Team Deathmatch, Domination, Hardpoint, and Kill Confirmed.

The first (PlayStation) weekend had a level cap of 20, but that's going up to 30 this weekend. Custom loadouts can be created from level 4.

This weekend will also introduce Highrise as another 6v6 map, and Orlov Military Base as the second Ground War map. Search & Destroy joins the roster of modes, alongside MW3's new Cutthroat mode.

Modern Warfare 3 beta player progression

Your player progression - that's weapon XP, character XP, and unlocks will not carry over to the full version of the game launching in November. That progress will, however, carry over from one weekend to another.

Modern Warfare 3 supports cross-play, and cross-progression for multiplayer, so you can start on PS5 the first weekend, then jump in on Xbox or PC the next - provided you have access to the beta on those platforms.

Carry forward content - that's content you unlocked in Modern Warfare 2/Warzone - will not be available during the Modern Warfare 3 beta.

Modern Warfare 3 beta rewards

Like most Call of Duty betas, Modern Warfare 3 offers players who play the beta some rewards in the full game. There are eight rewards to had, simply tied to character levels, so they're easy to achieve.

  1. Level 2: Appetite Whet animated emblem.
  2. Level 7: Operation Beta weapon charm.
  3. Level 9: Beta Tester calling card.
  4. Level 11: MW3 Beta weapon sticker.
  5. Level 16: Did the Beta large decal.
  6. Level 20: Beta Ripper weapon blueprint fro the Striker SMG.
  7. Level 25: Beta Proof weapon sticker.
  8. Level 30: Tester character skin for Jabber.
What you can unlock by playing the beta. | Image credit: Activision

Modern Warfare 3 beta PC specs

The Modern Warfare 3 PC requirements are fairly modest, and comparable to last year's Modern Warfare 2. We've included both sets below.

-Modern Warfare 3 beta minimum PC specs-

  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit (latest update).
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600.
  • RAM: 12GB.
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / GeForce GTX 1650 or AMD Radeon RX 480.
  • VRAM: 3GB.
  • Storage: SSD with 65 GB available space (25 GB with COD HQ downloaded).

-Modern Warfare 3 beta recommended PC specs-

  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit (latest update) or Windows 11 64 Bit (latest update).
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-6600 or AMD Ryzen 5 1600.
  • RAM: 16GB.
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 / GeForce RTX 3050 or AMD Radeon RX Vega.
  • VRAM: 6GB.
  • Storage: SSD with 65 GB available space (25 GB with COD HQ downloaded).

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