Whether it is competitive, co-op Zombies or Battle Royale Blackout, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, which is out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC, is all about multiplayer this year. With no cinematic campaign to dive into to practice your military gun-slinging, it is more important than ever to learn all the tips and tricks you can on the multiplayer battlefield.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is the series most customisable yet, with importance placed on selecting your loadout and ‘Specialist’ character with their own specific skills. With all this in mind, we thought we would get our Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 tips straight from the developers themselves. We spoke to Dan Bunting, co-studio head at Treyarch, about how to get the edge in competitive multiplayer.
How Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 changes up the CoD gunplay
Following the success of the oft-repeated ‘boots on the ground’ mantra of Call of Duty: WWII, Treyarch has decided to bring some of that more grounded experience to Black Ops 4.
“I think it will be both familiar and new,” says Bunting, with Black Ops 4 still being lightning fast without the over-the-top pace of Black Ops 3. “There is a new level of tactical gameplay to the mode where we want to slow the pace down a bit without slowing the player down. We want the player to still feel powerful and that they can move through the world more fluidly. But the pace is a little slower.”
Treyarch’s goal in multiplayer is to bring teamwork more into the fold, keeping the freneticism of Black Ops but reducing some of the clutter that could define matches.
“5v5 is our standard format, though we do do 6v6. This reduces the player count down by two players per match,” says Bunting. “That alone gives you a more tighter knit feeling of teamwork.”
The main tips Bunting wants to give players about the general gameplay of Black Ops 4 is to take your time, learn the maps and specialist skills as much as you can and engage in teamwork.
”Don’t be afraid to take it slow,” he says. “Get to know the content as much as you can and stick with your team. Teams that play together are going to be able to win more often.”
Which is the best specialist to choose in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?
While Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 featured specialists, each with their own unique equipment, but are now a more fundamental part of Black Ops 4. Specialist selection isn’t quite as essential as in Overwatch, say, but it isn’t far off.
“The core experience of gunplay and movement is the majority of what you are going to focus on but the specialists are going to give a new layer to the tactics and strategies you can use in gameplay,” says Bunting. “Whether you are an aggressive player that wants to confront the enemy in a fast rapid way head-on, or whether you are a slower more tactical player that wants to hang out behind and support your team. We want to make sure there is something for everybody.”
So as with any game with defined classes, learning which one suits your playstyle best is key to success. However, Bunting does have some guidance or where to head.
“Some players might prefer to play with someone like Battery because she is technically an ‘easier’ character to play,” he says. “She has the cluster grenade, which is her piece of equipment. She can throw it and it explodes and a cluster of smaller explosions in a larger radius. And you have her War Machine which is big bouncy grenades, super easy! The kind of character that’s easy to pick up and very rewarding to use.”
Battery, then, is a good place for newbies to head as they begin their Black Ops 4 training. But what about for experienced players?
“On the more technical side, a character like Crash is one that plays a team support role. He can buff his teammates, giving them more than maximum health and replenish their ammo,” says Bunting. “But the ammo he uses we call the golden magazines, they give you more score and power towards your scorestreak. You often see a character like that being played by some of our more skilled players as they are trying to rack up those scorestreaks.”
As a support character, Crash offers the chance to engage heavily with the more teamwork-focussed side of Black Ops 4. However, don’t go thinking that by picking someone like Crash, you have to be an entirely benevolent soul.
”Crash kind of represents a lot of the philosophy that went into the design of the characters,” says Bunting. “We wanted to feel like there is teamwork that is going to happen whether you are actively pursuing it or whether it is happening passively. We approached it from the standpoint of ‘what’s in it for me’. So it has to feel good for each player whether they want to lone wolf or play with a team. Every character has that design thought that you are always going to be helping your team no matter what.”
Taking control in Control
While you can dip into more recognisable casual modes such as Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed to sharpen your skills, Bunting feels that new mode Control is the best place to adapt to Black Ops 4’s new systems.
“It’s our signature mode for this game because it’s the first mode that we built and we built a lot of the systems around Control,” he says. “It brings out the best of everything that we have designed in this game. It brings out the best in specialist roles. It brings out the best in teamwork.”
“And you don’t even have to try for teamwork, it’s going to feel like it is happening around you as you tend to feel a connection to the players you are playing alongside. It gets very intense, you are trying to capture two objectives as an attacker and they tend to be around heavy chokepoints so you’re really pushing hard to push the enemy out and capture the objective.”
The other new mode coming to Black Ops 4, that proved a hit in the beta, is Heist. This is a round-based game mode in which you must find and collect a bag of cash, before extracting it via helicopter. Each round you earn money to spend on weapons and gear for the next round.
“Heist completely flips the script on the rules, you don’t bring any class into the game or pick specialists other than for cosmetics,” says Bunting. “You are getting more powerful over the course of each match. It’s a really fun mode and a completely different take that fits more into our party mode vein of games that we have done in the past.”
The choice of whether to spend or save your gains will depend on round-to-round, but Bunting says the choice is easier if you have more cash to spend by performing well. Like many of the other modes in Black Ops 4, teamwork is the key to success.
“I think the challenge comes in over whether you are going to save your money or spend your money,” says Bunting. “The best advice I can give is stick together with your team. The more you stick together the more you stick together the more you are going to be a force to be reckoned with and the more you can support one another.”
“If you go down you only get one life per round but you can be revived, so the closer you are to your teammates the better the chance they can get in a revive you and protect you against the enemy. The better you survive, the more money you are going to earn.”
- Call of Duty Black Ops 4 is released for PS4, Xbox One and PC on 12 October