Posts Tagged ‘ bo2 ’

Almost Everything We Know About Black Ops 2: Single player

The next title in the Call of Duty mega-franchise is barely a week away. In preparation for the launch, I thought I’d bring together all the important bits of information about the game into three blogs to cover the three major aspects of Black Ops 2: Single player, Multi-player, and Zombies.



I’m not really going to go over the story much. Most of the game takes place in 2025 with about a third taking place in the 1980s. There’s a bad guy who takes control of America’s drone armies in an effort to turn a cold war (between China and America over Rare Earth Elements) hot. There are lots of explosions, at least one building will fall down, and you’ll fly (and fall out of) a jet. ‘Nuff said.

I want to talk more about what Treyarch is doing differently within the single player, not just what new, globe-trotting adventure you’ll take part in.



For the first time in the CoD franchise (you’ll hear this phrase a lot), players will be able to select their loadout prior to entering a mission. Not only do players now have a choice in what they bring along with them in their missions, but they can also complete challenges within each mission just like in multi-player. Certain challenges can only be completed using certain weapons or equipment, and completing challenges further unlocks more weapons, attachments, and equipment for you to play with. So not only do you now have more control over how you play out a level, but you’re given more reasons to revisit the campaign for more than achievement hunting.



Strike Force is another first in the series and aims to help diminish the sense of linearity of the series. After every few missions in the campaign you’ll be given a Strike Force mission to complete. You’re dropped into a semi-open/sandbox world and given a number of objectives to complete. You’re given a number of troops, drones, and other assets to complete your objectives, which you can use one of two ways. You can assume a sort of “commander” top-down mode where you can command your units similar to an RTS-style game. You can also choose to jump into any of your units and control them like you normally do during the campaign. If the unit you inhabit gets killed then you can choose to jump back into another unit or resume the commander role. If you do not complete every objective before your assets run out (a.k.a. everyone got killed) then the mission is failed. Rather than take you to a “load checkpoint” screen the game carries on and the campaign is in some way shape or form affected by your failure. Which brings me to…



Call of Duty is chock-full of moments where you’re manning a turret, sniping from a building, or assaulting a beach, but what if you didn’t have to do that? At several points throughout your adventures you’ll be given a choice as to how you want to approach a certain objective. The most commonly used example is choosing to stay up on a freeway overpass and conduct over-watch via a shoot-through-walls sniper rifle, or you can rappel down to the streets to “locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, and to repel the enemies assault with fire and close combat”…for all my 03’s out there.

You will also be making choices throughout the campaign that will contribute to your ending. Both your success (and failure) in Strike Force missions and other choices made during the campaign will determine which ending you get. That’s right, you now have multiple endings. I would bet that you’ll probably have a choice at the end to side with the bad guy.


So those are the big changes we have to look forward to in Black Ops 2’s single player. What are you excited for most about the upcoming blockbuster?







Almost Everything We Know About Black Ops 2: Multiplayer

The next title in the Call of Duty mega-franchise is barely a week away. In preparation for the launch, I thought I’d bring together all the important bits of information about the game into three blogs to cover the three major aspects of Black Ops 2: Single player, Multi-player, and Zombies.

I’ve already talked about the bulk of changes coming to Black Ops 2 multiplayer and gave my thoughts on them, but since then we’ve gotten more information about what we can expect on November 12.


When you now Prestige your weapons will no longer reset themselves. Any progress you’ve made with each weapon (challenges and attachments) will hold over whenever you prestige and reset your progress. Instead, weapons will have their own Prestige system, allowing you to manually reset you weapon’s progress. This means that you can reset your weapons multiple times without going Prestige with your character, and you can also go several Prestige levels without once resetting your weapon’s progress. While Treyarch did not say so, you can bet that certain weapon skins or other customizable options will be locked behind each weapon’s individual prestige level; such as the infamous Gold paint job. One reason why weapons now have their own ranking system is because…


…pressing the Prestige button no longer resets your progress! That is…you still return to level one, but you don’t have to lose your challenge and weapon progress just because you press a button. Prestige-ing now gives you several options on how you want to continue your play. Every Prestige level will give you a token you can use to permanently unlock weapons, perks, and equipment so that you can access them no matter what level you are. In addition to those tokens, you’re also given one of three choices: unlock another Create-A-Class custom slot, reset all of the Prestige tokens you’ve spent (so you can re-spend them on other items), or classically reset all of your progress like usual (except weapon progress). At Prestige level 10, everything will be unlocked for the player, which is a big deal since you can’t unlock every weapon, perk, and equipment in a normal playthrough.


The original Black Ops introduced Combat Training, a feature that allowed players to play multiplayer game modes, but substitute real players for AI-run bots. Absent in Modern Warfare 3, Combat Training returns with a few extra features. Combat Training can now contribute to you multiplayer progression, allowing new or less talented players to safely build up their character to level 10 and start multiplayer with custom classes, challenges, and Scorestreaks unlocked from the start. Combat Training that contributes to your progression is split into three major parts: Bootcamp, Objective, and Bot Stomp. Bootcamp is a 6v6 team Deathmatch mode that pairs three human players with three bot players on each team. Objective is unlocked after playing Bootcamp and follows the same human/bot split but includes Domination, Demolition, and Capture the Flag game modes. However Objective will only give the player half of the normally accrued. The last mode is Bot Stomp and it trades the human/bot split in favor of six humans versus six bots. However, Bot Stomp does not reward multiplayer XP and is designed more for practicing gameplay tactics with friends.


There are two major aspects of how you will connect to other players in Black Ops 2: skill level and ping/latency levels. Firstly, your skill as a player will determine the type of players you will be consistently matched against. As you win and lose matches and your K/D slides around, you will be bumped up or down tiers of players with similar skill. So hopefully that should reduce the number of times you will get matched into a group of players who are ridiculously more talented then you, and also preventing you trolls out there from continuously jumping into groups of less talented individuals and lording your K/D over them.

Secondly, you will now be connected to players based on their connection, not by your region. Now, you’ve always been connected to hosts the game thinks you will fit best in, but it has always been restricted to hosts within your reason. This will most likely not be that noticeable to most of us American players, but those in Europe, Asia, and Australia will benefit more because of their more diverse region coding no longer restricting who they connect to.

However, if Treyarch does not fix whatever happened with the lag compensation of MW3 then I doubt these features will really help. The lag compensation was one of the biggest reasons why esports players turned from Call of Duty…


…and esports is a big target of Treyarch. Included in Black Ops 2 is a shoutcast feature for multiplayer. You can enter a multiplayer game as a spectator and will be given a whole host of options on how to view the game. You can juggle between first- and third-person views of each player, view an overhead map showing the teams, view player scores, or a number of combinations of each. You can also listen in on a team’s conversation and add your own voice commentary as well. You will then be able to stream your view of the match over the interwebs without the use of video capture hardware or software. All of it is built into the game. There is no official word about how it will be done, you can bet a partnership with or is in the works. I would also say that the same shoutcast features will be included in the revamped Theater (which allows you to combine multiple edited clips together and new camera options to create insanely long or complex productions), though I was unable to find a direct statement or reveal saying so.


So those are the big changes we have to look forward to in Black Ops 2’s multiplayer. What are you excited for most about the upcoming blockbuster?


Single Player


Almost Everything We Know About Black Ops 2: Zombies

The next title in the Call of Duty mega-franchise is barely a week away. In preparation for the launch, I thought I’d bring together all the important bits of information about the game into three blogs to cover the three major aspects of Black Ops 2: Single player, Multi-player, and Zombies.

Zombies is a staple of the Treyarch versions of Call of Duty. Introduced as a bonus game mode at the end of World at War, Zombies has grown into a full fledged game mode alongside the story campaign and multiplayer. Treyarch has expanded the game mode into three separate (but hopefully equally) fun modes.


As far as Treyarch has said (or at least as far as what I call research turned up), nothing has really changed about the classic mode. There will be new zombies and new weapons. If there’s anything else, Treyarch has either not said so or I haven’t found it. Basically, all of the new stuff is built around the new modes.


A twist on the Survival mode, Grief pits two teams of four-player survivors against each other. Now don’t get excited and start shooting the other team when you see them, you’ll just waste ammo. Only Zombies can kill player characters, so the whole point of the mode is to outlive the other team. While simply outlasting another group of players would be fun, Treyarch named this mode Grief for a reason. While I could not find any specific act of griefing mentioned, you will be given a number of ways to make the other team miserable. You can imagine things like zombie-bait grenades to lure the masses to the other team, or beating the team to a certain point and kicking out a ladder or shutting a door to force the other team to take a longer, more dangerous route. Maybe you can even mess with the other team’s power supply and deactivate their traps and upgrade machines. I don’t know for certain, so please don’t take those examples as gospel. You get the idea; make the lives of other players miserable and outlive them. Shouldn’t be difficult a concept to grasp for many veteran CoD players.


Tranzit is the story mode for Zombies. Players will be given a bus and an “expansive” world to travel around in and explore. The bus provides transportation and some protection, but it’s pretty tight inside, and if you want to explore the world, you’ll have to get out of it. Exploring the unknown is a must to replenish you supplies, gain new equipment, and remove obstacles out of the way of the bus so you can carry on. Tranzit will also feature “Buildables”, items that you can craft from things you find in the world for offensive or defensive uses. You can still be attacked when you’re in the bus, so if you have any desire to actually survive, you’ll have to leave what relative safety it provides and go out into the hoard.

Tranzit also has connections to the last Zombies DLC in the original Black Ops, Moon. Decisions you made in that map will have some sort of affect on how you world will play out.


Treyarch has talked much about them building the new Zombies mode using the multiplayer engine and that it allows them to do a number of things that could not be done using the single player engine. The inclusion of the multiplayer engine means that you can now record and edit your Zombie experiences using the Theater feature. Everything that you can do with the Theater for multiplayer video can also be done to Zombies. Hopefully that means that the shoutcasting feature will also appear in Zombies mode, allowing players to magically stream their progress without the need for expensive video capture hardware or software.

The change in engines also allows for continuous stat-tracking, leaderboards, better matchmaking, and custom game modes. Don’t want magic guns? Turn them off. Want only headshots to count? It’s your funeral. Just because you’ve already beaten these modes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go back.

So those are the big changes we have to look forward to in Black Ops 2’s Zombies, at least what we know about. While Treyarch has been pretty open about mechanics and features in the single player and multiplayer modes, they’ve decided to hold back several bits of information for players to discover on release day. What are you excited for most about the upcoming blockbuster?


Single Player


What We Know About BO2 Multiplayer (so far) And How I Feel About It (Pt 2)


Perks And Weapon Attachments

What It Is:

Yet another staple system since CoD4, Perks and Attachments are ways for players to customize their style of play. As a player ranks up in levels they unlock Perks they can apply to their character to alter their characteristics, such as reducing their hipfire spread, reloading weapons faster, or hiding the player from the enemy’s UAVs. Since MW2, Perks have also included an unlockable Pro version of the perk. By completing certain challenges for each Perk, the player was able to unlock more abilities within that perk to further its specialization. As a player used their weapons they unlock attachments for said weapon. Attachments have ranged from simply replacing the gun’s iron sights with a red dot to increasing the magazine size and attaching a grenade launcher. While perks and attachments have varied and increased with each iteration of the game, the basic principles of the systems have largely remained the same.

In BO2, the Perks and Attachments will become more independent from one another. Perks will no longer affect the capabilities of the player’s weapon, only attachments will. So instead of picking the Hipfire Perk to reduce your hipfire bullet spread, the player will slap on a laser sight instead. Slight of Hand, the Perk that reduced the reload time of your weapons, will instead be replaced with Fast Mags.

Perks will only apply to the player’s character and will be far less “absolute” than in previous. The example they gave is that the Ghost perk, which has traditionally kept the player invisible to enemy UAVs and other spotting equipment will now only keep the player hidden when they are moving. If they are sitting in one spot, the perk will not be active. The Ghost perk has also been split across three different perks now. Ghost keeps the player hidden from UAVs, Blind Eye is necessary to keep AI controlled Killstreaks from targeting them. The third perk, Cold-Blooded, rounds out the old perk by providing the player a resistance to enemy lock-on equipment, but does not make them immune to lock-ons. Treyarch is hoping that by splitting up these Perks into multiple abilities across different tiers will help balance the game more and prevent the use of traditional “Power Perk” setups.

What I Think:

I can’t say that I’m particularly thrilled about these changes, but I’m not really opposed to them either. I think that this will be one of those things that I’ll get more comfortable with as I play the game. Looking over the list of Perks and Attachments Treyarch is including, I do worry that it may be more difficult to fill out a class to fit a particular role. Maybe that’s Treyarch’s intention, but I’m not seeing a great “anti-Killstreaks” setup I can put together. I’m just going to have to reserve my judgment until I can get my hands on the game and put some time into it.

Progression and Unlockables

What It Is:

The progression system introduced in CoD4 is viewed by some to be CoD’s biggest draw outside of solid gameplay controls. As players racked up kills, defused bombs, and killed other players with their own explosives, they earned experience points. When the player reached a certain number of experience points they earned a level. Every couple of level the player unlocks a weapon, a perk, or a piece of equipment. The original Black Ops is the only title in the series to change up this mechanic. Players unlocked weapons and perks at various levels, but they could not use them until the player bought them with the in-game currency Treyarch added. Treyarch still wants to stick with the idea of purchasing items you’ve unlocked, but have ditched the currency system. Instead, each level the player gains gives them a point (up to 55 max) which they can then use to unlock perks, weapons, and equipment. There are more than 55 items for the player to unlock, so they will have to pick and choose what they want to have available to them in their arsenal. Players will need to Prestige in order to reset their points to unlock other items.

What I Think:

At first I was pretty upset about this. CoD has always been about being able to change up your playstyle whenever you feel the need. After thinking about it though, I cannot list any CoD game where I’ve used 55 different weapons and equipment at any given time. Heck, aside from World At War, I ignore the sniper rifles almost completely. I also tend to stick with one or two styles of play with each Prestige and don’t change it up until I Prestige and start over. So ultimately I think this will have little effect on my play, and probably that of most other gamers out there. And if Treyarch really want to stick with this unlock-then-purchase type of system, I’d have to say that this is a much better implementation than the CoD Cash from the first BO (which was horribly imbalanced and became useless way too soon). Here is a complete list of all the unlockables Treyarch has said will be in the game.

So that sums up all the major changes Treyarch announced for the upcoming BO2 game. They did also go into some detail on the shoutcasting and streaming integration into the game, but, as it doesn’t apply to the gameplay of BO2, I’ll talk more about that separately. So what do you think? Is Treyarch doing enough to keep the series fresh? Are they changing too much? Will this bring back any of you that have left the series or avoided it so far?

What We Know About BO2 Multiplayer (so far) And How I Feel About It (Pt 1)

This week marked the passing of Gamescom. Where E3 is the largest industry event in video games (and pretty much kicks off the upcoming gaming season), Gamescom is the largest gaming event, period. Over 270,000 gamers flooded the streets of Colon, Germany to get their hands on the working models of games announced at E3 and anything else that wasn’t covered at the event. Gamescom also marked the first time the public would see the all the upcoming changes (and similarities) that gaming studio, Treyarch, has made to the Call of Duty series in the upcoming Black Ops 2. After 4 days of events to show off what the next CoD title will bring to the multiplayer space, we can look forward to some of these changes and updates:


What It Is:

First introduced to the CoD legacy in CoD4, the Create-A-Class system has largely been untouched. The system in BO2 hasn’t changed much in its form and function, but it will be introducing a brand new way for players to truly customize a class that fits their playstyle. Instead of requiring a player to always have a side-arm weapon or 3 perks to their loadout, BO2 will instead give the player 10 points that they can use to pick and choose what they want to run with and leave out what they don’t need. The new 10-Point system gives each weapon, perk, and equipment a 1 point value, letting the play mix and match what they want. Don’t want a side-arm? Use that point to give yourself a second attachment for your main weapon. The 10-Point system will also carry a list of “Wild-Cards” the player can use (at 1 point a piece) to really get nit-picky with their loadout. Grab the card that allows a third attachment for your gun, or get two Tier-1 perks. Heck, run around with nothing but a pistol and 6 perks! Developers from Treyarch said they got the idea from an old card game.

What I Think:

I like that this is an attempt to give the player more control over their class. I’m definitely excited to see how well this is implemented. However, I can definitely see this as a limiting factor on how you set up your loadout. Being such a drastic change from the traditional system may require some getting used to, and it may even force some players to change how they play as they may not be able to rely on having so many tools and gadgets on their body at one time. Overall I think this is good, but I’m definitely reserved when I say it.


What It Is:

Also introduced in CoD4 was the Killstreaks system. After a certain number of kills, without dying, the player was awarded Killstreaks bonus. Originally capped at three Killstreaks (UAV at 3 kills, Air Strike at 5 kills, and Attack Helicopter at 7 kills) the system has exploded with options for players to choose what awards they receive in their streak. The system got somewhat of an overhaul in Modern Warfare 3, which divided Killstreaks into two categories: Assault (awards were all offensively based and reset after players death), and Support (awards were more aimed at helping your fellow teammates but did not reset after the player’s death). They also added a third streak system that allowed the player to unlock extra perks after every two kills and eventually unlocked every perk for the player. MW3 also added the ability to earn points toward your Killstreaks by destroying enemy Killstreaks equipment and completing objectives.

BO2 will be taking notes from MW3 by making its Killstreaks system aimed at objective based play, but ultimately goes back to the series original systems.

Like previous iterations of the Killstreaks system, the Killstreaks in BO2 will reset themselves upon the player’s death. But like how MW3’s system was designed to encourage players to do more than kill, the player is awarded points towards their streak by completing objectives, defending objectives, and destroying enemy Killstreaks. Players can even earn additional points by getting double kills and even get points for enemies that are killed during the life of the player’s UAV. However, BO2 does not appear to be keeping the “class” streak systems. So to counteract the player’s score resetting upon death, points awarded by non-killing means are often two to three times worth the points awarded by killing. The streaks are still customizable with a large list for the player to choose from.

Deathstreaks, awards players gained from dying a certain number of times in row without getting a kill, will not be making a return in BO2.

What I Think:

I love the idea of awarding players more points for doing objective-based actions like planting/disarming bombs or destroying an enemy helicopter, but I am a little concerned about going back to the reset-score-on-death mechanic for streaks. MW3’s take on the system and allowing players who are more team-oriented to help despite a low K/D was a refreshing experience. While it did contribute to me having the lowest K/D in any CoD title to date, it opened up my options for play. Domination and Demolition modes are finally enjoyable for me to play. These objective-based modes have always classically played by two different types of gamers: those who play to win the mode, and those who play to camp the objectives to rake in high Killstreaks rewards. The modes basically encouraged players to not play the objective because all that would end you up with was a low K/D and feeding the enemy players free experience points and Killstreaks rewards. The Support Pointstreak system introduced in MW3 helped mitigate that problem by awarding players with points towards their own Killstreaks awards but did not reset them upon the player’s death. While the Support Killstreaks aren’t as damaging as the traditional Killstreaks awards, they allowed players who captured points or planted bombs to actually contribute to the fight by giving them UAV Jammers and EMP Blast awards to mess with the enemy team’s effectiveness. For once players could actually help their team despite their lack of Rambo skills.

With the Treyarch apparently dropping the Support Pointstreak awards, objective-based modes sound a lot like they did in the previous four iterations of CoD: pointless without much fun to be had. I understand Treyarch is trying to solve the loss of Support by making objectives worth more than kills, but what good does it get you getting three points for capturing an objective if you die from the enemy’s grenade as soon as you earn them? I appreciate Treyarch for trying to change things up, but this is one decision I wish they would rethink. As it is I’ll probably once again be relegated to Team Deathmatch modes only.


NEXT: Perks and Progression