Thursday, 16 August 2012

Black Ops 2 - Multiplayer Details - My thoughts

A lot of information has been released now for Black Ops 2 Multiplayer, and there's a lot of changes made this time around.  I'm going to try to condense it all down here for you since I felt that there's a few things that each individual source has missed or did not go into detail as much on what I wanted to know.

The Sources:

This is the main article I will refer to in this blog, as well as the TmarTn and Woody's Gamertag youtube channels.  Those two guys are pretty much the top two youtube sources for anything Call of Duty (in my opinion).  So with this in mind.. here goes.

55 Levels, 10 prestiges...

So it has been stated in many videos and articles, that this time around, there's going to be only 55 levels for each prestige, and only 10 prestiges.  What is gone is the previous games COD points system, and its now moved back to unlocking items via leveling up.  They also mention that some unlockables are only available after you prestige, and from what I've seen and read, this system is similar to whats currently in MW3, where once you prestige, you get 1 unlock to use.  Also, in one of the videos, they mention that when you level up within the prestige, you get to pick what you unlock from a set list.  But no other details about that are out yet.  Details such as, does the list of unlock change depending on what level you are on?  What happens when you rank up more than once in a match?  Is it still 7?  Can you bank these unlocks?

Another concern I have wth having certain items only available through prestiging is how it effects the gameplay between players of different prestiges.  Sure you sacrifice your loadout by having extra perks, but a good player can really take advantage of having extra perks.   Also, do I need to prestige all the way to get everything?  Or is it only up to a certain point?  (people who know me, know that I usually stop a prestige or two before max.) 

Create A Class Details - Pick 10 System

So one of the many changes to the multiplayer system is how create a class works now.  Instead of picking 1 thing from a set & somewhat rigid category, you get quite a bit more flexibility in Black Ops 2.  There are still categories which perks fall into, and sections for weapons and equipment, but you now have the option to leave it empty.

So in Black Ops 2, each class has 10 points for you to fill up with perks, weapons, attachments and equipment.  Each item is worth a single point in this system.  There are still perk tiers, so you can't stack 3 perks from the same tier in the same class.  But now you have the option to not use up a point and have no perk 3.  Likewise, you can save a point by not picking any secondary weapon to start with.

At first, you are still limited to a maximum of each perk tier in each class, at least until you start using the wild cards.  Wild cards allow you some extra flexibility within this system.  Here's the list of the available wild cards in Black Ops 2.  (list taken from
  • Primary Gunfighter — Allows a 3rd attachment for the primary weapon.
  • Secondary Gunfighter — Allows a 2nd attachment for the secondary weapon.
  • Overkill — Take a primary weapon as your secondary weapon.
  • Danger Close — Take a second Lethal.
  • Perk 1 Greed — Take a second Perk 1.
  • Perk 2 Greed — Take a second Perk 2.
  • Perk 3 Greed — Take a second Perk 3.
  • Tactician — Take a Tactical grenade in place of your lethal Grenade.
Each of these wild cards costs 1 point in the pick 10, and you can have a maximum of 3 wild cards in a single class (I don't think mathematically any more would work anyways), so if you want to run a second Perk 1, it'll eat up 3 points total.  So now, when you re-watch the multiplayer trailer, and pause it whenever they have that loadout overlay, you can see how this all works. 

This allows for some interesting combinations, and there's a lot of risk/reward potential here.  I would probably give up on starting with a secondary weapon on most of my classes, and hope to pick one up along the way, in order to free up a point for an extra perk.  As always, one should always have a class designated for anti-air duties.

One thing I want to know that I haven't seen mentioned or talked about is how many create-a-class slots will be available?  and how far in the prestiges will I need to go to get more slots since traditionally, you start with 5, and eventually end up with 10 custom class slots.  With the new pick 10 system, I would like to have more options, even more than 10 slots to customize, but maybe that's just me.


So with every new Call of Duty games, we get minor tweaks and such to the perk system.  Here's the list of the perks, divided into their tiers.

Perk 1
• Flak Jacket — Take less explosive damage.
• Ghost — Cannot be detected by enemy UAVs while moving.
• Blind Eye — Unaffected by AI-controlled perks.
• Hardline — Receive bonus score points.
• Lightweight — Move faster, take no damage from falling.

Perk 2
• Hard-wired — Immune to counter-UAV and enemy EMPs.
• Scavenger — Replenish ammo and grenades from fallen enemies.
• Cold-blooded — Resistance to targeting systems including Dual Band, Target Finder, Sensor Grenades and player-controlled aircraft.
• Toughness — Flinch less when shot.
• Fast Hands — Swap grenades faster, use grenades and equipment faster, and safely throw back frag grenades.

Perk 3
• Engineer — Show enemy equipment in the world, delay explosives and re-roll and booby trap care packages.
• Dead Silence — Move silently.
• Extreme Conditioning — Sprint for a longer duration.
• Tactical Mask — Reduce the effect of flash, concussion and shock charges.
• Awareness — Enemy movements are easier to hear.
• Dexterity — Climb ladders and mantle over objects faster, recover from melee faster and aim faster after sprinting.

Now, a few things to note that is pointed out by Treyarch.  Perks now only effect the player behaviors and do not effect the way a gun feels or acts.  So you see there is no more sleight of hand for faster reloads, or Steady Aim for better hip fire accuracy.  In order to change the way a gun feels, you have to do it all through the attachments (more on those later). 

Also, the biggest changes to individual perks were done to the perks that some people felt were overpowered, such as ghost in particular.  So the ability to stay hidden from UAVs with Ghost now only works if you are moving.  I am not sure if there's a delay if you are sprinting then pause for a second, or is it instantly back on (whenever the UAV sweeps)?  In Black Ops 1, Ghost would also hide you from killstreaks, which are now called scorestreaks in Black Ops 2 (more on that later).  Now they divided that ability and put in Cold Blooded and Blind Eye.  So Ghost, only works to block UAVs, Cold Blooded and Blind Eye is work against the various scorestreaks.  Cold Blooded works to counter the various scopes in the game, and Player controlled air support.  Where blind-eye protects you from the AI controlled streaks, like the chopper.  So now, to really protect yourself from scorestreaks, you need to have two perks to cover everything. 

Also, you will notice that there are no more Pro perks.  Which is kind of sad, since that removes a level of depth in the game, But at the same time, it streamlines things for competitive play, which this time around is the main focus of Treyarch with Black Ops 2.


So, with MW3, we had strike packages and the introduction of objectives adding to your rewards.  This was a nice addition to the series and it was the first step in making the game more objective based, especially with the support strike package.  There were also flaws that showed up with this system later on.  This system worked well for the players that had a hard time slaying, but could do support things (hence the support strike package).   But this did not do enough to push people to improve, which I feel should be the goal of most gamers.  Also, some people, including myself did not agree with having the Stealth bomber as a support streak.

In Black Ops 2, they took away the various strike packages, but kept the idea of objectives adding to your streak.  Hence, the term is now Scorestreaks.  So, now dying will reset your streak, but playing the objective (i.e. playing the game properly) rewards you more than just plain kills.  Also, a question that most people had (including myself) is do points from scorestreaks stack to help you with higher streaks, and the answer is Yes.  They do help you get to the next scorestreak, but the kills from the scorestreak will count as less points than a regular kill.  Also, when you call in a UAV for your team, you will get assist points when your team kills an enemy, and this will also add (although very little) to your score streak. 

Here's the list of the different scorestreaks and the required score to earn them.

• RCC — 325 points — A remote-controlled car packed with explosives.
• UAV — 375 points — Shows enemies on the mini-map.
• Hunter Killer — 400 points — Airborne drone that seeks out and destroys a nearby target. - thrown like a paper airplane from the player's position.
• Care Package — 450 points — Air drop a random Scorestreak.
• Counter-UAV — 475 points — Temporarily disables enemy radar.
• Guardian — 500 points — Projects microwave field which stuns and impairs enemies.
• Hellstorm Missile — 525 points — An air-to-surface missile which can be scattered into a cluster bomb whilefalling.
• Lightning Strike — 550 points — Launch a coordinated lightning strike on three locations.
• Death Machine — 600 points — Your own personal handheld mini-gun.
• Sentry Gun — 650 points — An automatic sentry gun which can be remote-controlled.
• War Machine — 700 points — Grenade launcher with rapid, semi-automatic firing.
• Dragonfire — 725 points — Remote-controlled quad-rotor with lightweight machine gun.
• AGR — 800 points — Air drop an autonomous ground robot that searches for and destroys enemies and can be remote controlled.
• Stealth Chopper — 850 points — Call in a stealth helicopter which does not appear on the enemy’s mini-map.
• Orbital VSAT — 900 points — Shows both enemy position and direction on the mini-map, cannot be shot down.
• Escort Drone — 1000 points — Get personal air support from an escort drone.
• Warthog — 1025 points — Jet aircraft that provides close air support with several strafe runs.
• EMP Systems — 1050 points — Temporarily disables enemy electronics.
• Lodestar — 1150 points — Lase missile targets remotely from the Lodestar.
• VTOL Warship — 1200 points — Be the gunner of a powerful VTOL Warship.
• Canine Unit — 1275 points — Attack dogs that hunt down the enemy.
• Swarm — 1400 points — Call in a swarm of lethal Hunter Killer drones that search and destroy enemies.
The only thing that was not mentioned was how these are unlocked, and are there any restrictions as to which combination you can use?  Also, will you be able to have different scorestreaks for each class? or is it just a single setup like in the previous Black Ops game?  That is one thing I liked about MW3 is you can swap to a different class that has a different strike package mid-game depending on what is needed.  So you aren't stuck with an air strike on a map that's mostly indoors.  Also, it is not clear right now if scorestreaks cycle through once you earn the last streak in your list.  Like in MW3, you do not have to die to reset the killstreak counter, will it be the same in Black Ops 2?   I remember having to kill myself in Black Ops 1 to restart my killstreaks once I earned the three I picked.  Hopefully that gets revealed soon.

The E Sports Influence

With Black Ops 2, there is a huge component of the multiplayer geared towards competitive play.  There will be a separate playlist for team play which will also use a ranking system to separate teams into various leagues.  So it will always match you up against another team of a similar level.  This is a great idea and wonder why it wasn't added before.  There will still be a regular public playlist, similar to what is currently being used which will not have this ranking system, so don't feel forced to take part in the league play.  But for those players who get bored of public play, can dive in and after what I assume will be a few matches, the game will somehow rate your team and then you will be placed into a league of similar skilled teams to play against.  Not sure how often or what criteria will be used to measure skill, or how many games it takes before it moves you up or down the ladder.  But this should keep things more interesting, and hopefully cut down on people backing out of matches after a they realize they are outmatched, which I feel is a huge problem right now for the more interesting playlists in MW3 and previous COD games.

The potential, and I hope it actually happens, is you can have separate online tournaments/competitions for each league, so in theory, everyone has a decent chance, and you won't have to worry about being completely outmatched.  This should drive some people to want to improve their game and move up, and its a good way for people to see how they measure against other players.

I do still have some questions about this, and how it'll be implemented.  Like, what size teams will be used? and what about substitute players?  Will there be some modes that allow for smaller teams to pick up random team mates? or will it be strict on the team size and members?  Either way, I look forward to taking part in this with my team.

"COD casting" & Live streaming..

Parallel to league play, Treyarch has also added the ability to spectate matches.  This will be limited to theatre mode, and league play only (so it won't work with pub matches).  Added to this feature, players will have the ability to be a commentator as the match is happening (with a slight delay to prevent cheating).  There's a 1 hour long video that was streamed live from Gamescom 2012 that showcases this feature.  The commentator has the freedom to follow any player, and have a split screen view to quickly see who's on a hot streak, or who's actually on the objective.  They can also customize what is being shown, so you can remove parts of the HUD, or add more information to the HUD as desired.

Live streaming is also added to this, so the idea is any league play match can be set to broadcast over the internet for public viewing.  This feature unfortunately won't be available on day 1, but it is something that will be added as soon as possible.  I imagine that Treyarch wants to test server loads first before launching this feature.  They also mention that players have to meet a certain requirement before they get the ability to live stream, but the explanation is a bit confusing and contradicting itself in terms of what their requirements will be.  So my blackmagic capture card will still be used.

New game modes

In preview videos and streams, they showed two new game modes.  First is a twist on an existing mode, multi-team deathmatch.  Its a lobby of up to 18 players divided up to 6 teams of 3, all teams have their own scores.  This should break up the regular matches of getting a small lead, and then camping harder to preserve the lead.  The other "new" game mode shown was Hardpoint , as my teammate Teked Out points out, its like drop zone in MW3, but without the supply drops.  So you have to hold a point on the map in order to score points, and that point moves around the map at set intervals.  The more players in the zone, the more points the team gets.  Its very similar to Headquarters in previous games, but you don't need to capture the point, you just need to be in the designated area.

Final thoughts..

Although a lot has been revealed, there's still some important information (at least important to me) that has yet to be released.  And what about zombies?  Hopefully more information comes out sooner rather than later.

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