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Spectator Mode is a feature in the Call of Duty series that allows players to view a game in progress, allowing them to view an entire map freely, or follow other players.
Spectator Mode can be utilized in private matches or public multiplayer game modes where there is a delayed respawn, like Search and Destroy, if one has no respawns, if the player physically chooses to spectate at the start of the game, or if one joins a game that is already underway.
If the player spectates in a public match for too long, the player will get kicked for inactivity.
In public games, it will show friendly players only, and they can be viewed through their view (usually first person, unless in 3rd Person Gamemodes), or in 3rd person (the player can toggle between views). Killstreaks can also be scrolled through with first or third person views.
In private matches, players can set the game up so that spectating is free view mode, allowing players to view any part of the map with a personal camera. It can also cycle through ALL players of the game in this way (friend or foe). However, it can also be set so that only friendly players are allowed to be cycled through.
In Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and Call of Duty: World at War, players being spectated did not have their perks, or grenades, shown. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 however, players' perks, achieved killstreaks, equipment and special grenades are shown, as well as their current weapon and its attachment. However, this is not present in Hardcore game modes.
Spectator Mode is commonly used to explore a map, to find secrets or recon advantageous sites. Many players use it and set it to free view mode so they can go outside the maps and explore. A lot of Easter eggs, sniping points, elevated positions and more have been placed outside of maps and are only viewable if a player goes in spectator mode or somehow gets outside the map.
In Zombies in Call of Duty: World at War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the player goes into Spectator Mode upon death. However, the player can only spectate other players who are alive.
In Call of Duty: Black Ops, the player can only spectate a certain distance outside the map until being stopped by an invisible barrier.
On the Wii, the player is restricted to following players, and cannot 'free spectate'. This is because of the Wii's technical limitations.