The map Airfield for Call of Duty: World at War is a member of the larger set of maps that can accommodate a server population over 40 without overcrowding. Alongside Roundhouse, Downfall, and (in some game modes) Outskirts, these maps have a regular order to their arrangement, with larger fields of fire in the center, and more covered lanes on either side of the map fostering close-quarters combat.
Aesthetics and General themes
Airfield takes place on the blasted-out remains of a U.S. airfield, presumably during the early stages of the war, on Wake Island or in the Philipines. The color scheme is primarily a Gray-White, with a tan ground and little foliage. The Japanese side enjoys a slight camouflage advantage against this palette, though this only affects acquisition times and never makes a player invisible. Rather than the right-angle structures of many other maps, linear blast walls, aircraft remains, and hastily-built wooden fortifications break up line of sight but still enable long-range fire. Overall, the cover has an 'islandlike' feel when in the open, with fire lanes generally not obeying a predictable order.
This section will assume that the game is being played in Capture the Flag mode for purposes of describing each area. The orientations of 'right' and 'left' are based on the Marine's base, and should be inverted if reading from the Japanese side.
The two bases face each other across a comparatively coverless field strewn with occasional aircraft wreckage. The majority of the exits from the Japanese base are exposed to fire across this space, even if attackers are bound for the right and left flanks; however, each long-range fire lane available to take advantage of this is limited in its field of view, save one: a single window in the upstairs of the Marines' base. An adept sniper can control most of the center arena from this spot, but it is equally vulnerable to fire from all points around the arena. Further, the window is known to most players as the source of their death from sniper rounds, and players will often be practiced at throwing 'pot shots' trough the window. Overall, as the knowledge of the metagame has matured among the playerbase, the Center Arena has become a balanced region of the map, despite the advantage of vertical superiority enjoyed by the Marines' team.
The Japanese side also enjoys a number of clear vertical observation points across the arena, as well as several enfilade points among the aircraft wreckage on the area's right side. Overall, the ability for long range fire to control the center arena means that decisive combat rarely takes place across it.
The map's right flank is often its most decisive zone, as control of it grants access to both the 'rear' entrance of the marine's base, as well as to 'the tunnel,' an underground conduit between the Marine's rear area and the Japanase rear area. While most combat takes place on the left flank, the Marines' team typically effects successful captures through this area, and when the japanse side controls the right flank, their spawns adjust, enabling them to sweep the Marine's rear area and create a significant 'penalty advantage' in servers with a significant (5+ seconds) respawn timer.
The area conforms to an 'L' shape, with the long leg communicating between the Marine Base's rear entrance and the wrecked remains of a bomber. Spawns and cover typically allow the Japanese to effect long-range control of this area, but a trench and the 'L's other leg allow the Marine's to effect a shock attack against the covered positions of the Japanese. The numerous blind zones created by the three-dimensional depth of this region make effective use of satchel charges and grenades very helpful in winning control.
The short leg of the 'L' provides a shielded area from which the Marines may counterattack against a Japanese surge into their rear area. From here, enfilade fire can paralyze the Japanese advance unless the Japanese effect a tactical gambit or have an advantage in player skill.