The exploding vehicle map in Modern Warfare 2 is a fan favorite, but not everyone is a fan, especially the pros

Those who play Modern Warfare 2 are having a “blast” on Santa Sea Border Crossing, a new level focused on high-intensity close-quarters combat near the border between the United States and Mexico. Santa Sea has been embraced by many players due to its basic layout and tense gimmick, while some professional gamers are baffled by a map where everyone gets obliterated by explosives in the very first minute.

Santa Sea deviates from the standard 3-lane structure of Call of Duty maps by directing players through a labyrinth of wrecked cars and semis. Due to the high volume of traffic, a seemingly endless line of exploding cars has been parked in a row, with each one leaving a trail of wreckage waist-high in height.

Santa Seaa rapidly deteriorates from a minivan minefield into a vicious, bumper-to-bumper shootout as a result of the constant exploding of vehicles, which not only kills anybody in its path but also obscures the area with a cloud of dust and smoke.

TheGhostofHope, another renowned COD Twitter account, ranked the map last on day one (opens in new tab). Pro gamer Muddawg said on Twitter(opens in new tab), “I refuse to believe a level designer built this by choice,” because the map does not give players exciting options of where to go. The worst multiplayer map ever released in any game, according to one dedicated meteorologist (opens in new tab).

In response to this critique, players pointed that that fan favorites from the series including Nuketown, Shipment, and Rust didn’t adhere to the standard 3-lane layout. A user named CredDefensePost911 on Reddit recently wrote, “I’m having a blast on this map. User MurfMan11 then went on to remark that Santa Sea was “100% my favorite map that I played last night” because “the cars are a pretty entertaining concept, and in respawn modes they’re all blown up within a minute.”

Other posts that rose to the top of the Reddit thread about Modern Warfare 2:

  • “I think this map is hilarious not every map needs to be serious. It’s very convenient for launcher challenges too lol” —rj2448
  • “The map is actually really fun, i don’t really see the problem with the cars either since they’re all done exploding after the first minute.” —antoza
  • “I love this map, so hectic and all weapons are viable here. Snipers can go on top, shotty cab be used cqb etc. Everything has a place in this map” —fatedninjabunny
  • “I like it because it has completely different gameplay. Not every map has to be small and 3 lane. One map that has completely wacky gameplay is fine.” —danyaylol
  • “Especially if you get the Javelin, thing is hilarious to randomly fire off at the start of a one life mode and see how many people you can kill.” —Mazzanti

The debate about Santa Sea reveals a chasm between the expectations of casual and dedicated players with respect to map design, with many casual players applauding the dynamic and unpredictable mayhem of explosive car-to-car combat. Early PC gamers seem to really like Santa Sea. Morgan Park (opens in new tab) of our team observed that Santa Sea has a different pace than the other launch maps, requiring players to take things more slowly and have drawn-out firefights. The rapid pace of the early salvos gives way to a more methodical one when flanking options are reduced and cover can be destroyed more easily.

Santa Sea ultimately seems to have connected with players who have been clamoring for more creative and engaging maps in the Modern Warfare 2 roster. Also fitting this description are a couple of the 10 6v6 maps available at launch, such as Crown Raceway, a square arena in the middle of a live Formula One race, and Zarqwa Hydroelectric, an urban battlefield with a complex system of underwater tunnels.