Dissecting Black Ops Multiplayer: Understanding Custom Classes (Complete) - eyros2k Blog - www.GameInformer.com
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Dissecting Black Ops Multiplayer: Understanding Custom Classes (Complete)

Are you content with the variety of roles available to you in your custom made classes when playing Call of Duty? This morning a friend approached me with some questions on the topic of building classes in Black Ops. I was a bit taken aback by questions of this nature coming from a guy who has been playing the series just as long as me, albeit not as regularly on a week to week basis... but as he went into the details of his current class setups I was shocked. If a series veteran was hamstringing themselves with class builds that just don't work well, it got me wondering how many novice and intermediate players are doing the same.

One thing that always bothers me is the idea of a gamer being pushed away from any given title due to a steep learning curve or some other entry barrier of that nature, so today I want to share with everyone my own custom class templates, each accompanied by a few words explaining the role of such a setup, for-instance ways of using it effectively, and - when applicable - how it could be tweaked in one area or another to suit your play-style.

Having just reached my target of 9th prestige a few weeks back I have access to all 10 custom class slots, so even if you only have the base 5 to work with - just try picking out one or two role descriptions that make sense to you and try fitting them into your own loadout!

For the uninitiated, each of the examples below is in the format below, with all pertinent info...

Class slot # - Class name (Role summary)

Primary Weapon / Attachment

Sidearm / Attachment

Lethal / Tactical / Equipment

Tier 1 perk in blue

Tier 2 perk in orange

Tier 3 perk in green

Archetype details


Lastly, on perks, all mentioned will be of the pro variety, but the class archetypes will work as intended without any of these perks needing to be pro - it just helps, sometimes a lot. So try and get those perk pro challenges done on your favorites!

Check out my youtube channel for some first look exclusive videos of the new maps, Kowloon, Stadium, Berlin Wall and Discovery.

1 - Rapid Response (Extreme mobility, valuing versatility over a pure concentrated firepower)

MPL / Dual Mag

CZ75 / Full Automatic

Semtex / Concussion / Motion Sensor

Lightweight Pro

Sleight of Hand Pro

Marathon Pro

If you favor an aggressive play-style, equipping this class from the start of a match allows you the opportunity to forge the crucial opening minute(s) of the round regardless of game mode. I use my Rapid Response class to assert control the mid-field as early as possible. Getting First Blood with any given rushing class is the easy part, how you continue to succeed from there is where this tweaked version of a staple build shines.

Pick a section around the middle of the map you wish to hold down, and deploy your Motion Sensor as early as you can without leaving things to chance - toss a concussion grenade toward the general direction of enemy advance if you are not certain it is clear, making sure you are safe as you plant your equipment. The setting has been made.

As your team pushes up behind you to take to common defensive points, get yourself off to the far side of the map as quickly as possible - use your mobility to take the enemy by surprise and hit from an angle most players haven't even had time to reach yet, or simply push toward an objective.

The choice of weapon and attachment here, as well as the choice of Sleight of Hand for perk 2, augment my style of play when assuming this role. The MPL has very manageable recoil, making it effective at long range - but it also has a high rate of fire, making it potentially more deadly during split-second close range encounters with the much more common AK74u. Dual mags not only give me ammo to work with, but a faster reload time coupled with Sleight of Hand keeps me locked and loaded at all times (having it Pro means quicker aiming down the sight as well, a huge bonus)

The pure mobility loadout is an essential component to any players stable of classes. Combining a SMG or Shotgun with Lightweight and Marathon is an elementary choice, but the key to using such a class effectively relies heavily upon map knowledge, and a high level of situational awareness. If you're still learning the maps, don't worry, jump ahead to class 3.

Try using this class in: Free-for-all, Team Deathmatch or Capture the Flag

Try using with these killstreaks: Spy Plane, Counter-Spy Plane, Attack Helicopter

2 - Breach Team (CQC powerhouse, In lieu of shotgun class)

MP5K / Rapid Fire

CZ75 / Dual Wield

Semtex / Concussion / Jammer

Scavenger Pro

Steady Aim Pro

Tactical Mask Pro

Class slot #2 is by default occupied by the shotgun class; unmatched short range stopping power, but absolutely no versatility. After being bested by someone just out of effective range for a shotgun, I got to thinking about the idea of a different kind of close quarters class.

An SMG with Rapid Fire is a force to be reckoned with on it's own, but when coupled with Steady Aim, the spray pattern is exceptionally tight... a cone similar to that of a shotgun blast, only without the paltry maximum range. One major problem with this though, is your ammo consumption. Scavenger is a must if you intend on living past a 3 killstreak - and will keep you stocked not only with ammo but additional grenades, exactly what the doctor ordered when you know you are pinned down by someone at medium/long range.

Tactical Mask Pro when coupled with Scavenger Pro is a very powerful thing. If an enemy is effected by one of your concussion grenades, a yellow direction indicator lets you know which side of the room they're in, even if they are using Ghost! Then remember every resupply you pick up will refill both a single tactical and lethal grenade... and you're stocked for every encounter. Consider switching out Steady Aim for Warlord to really focus on a grenade heavy build. Stick with an SMG and go with an Extended Mags / Red Dot setup on your preferred weapon, then try and keep engagements a bit more distances than you would with the Steady Aim approach.

Most equipment can be used effectively with this class, switching out to Motion Sensor or Claymore allow you to focus more of your attention in one direction. One may also try using this setup with Marathon Pro, it boosts the mobility of any class exponentially, just be careful not to overstep your ability - too much sprinting about can be a bad thing, and again, using high mobility classes effectively requires a strong map knowledge.

Try using this class in: Free-for-all, Team Deathmatch or Headquarters

Try using with these killstreaks: Spy Plane, Napalm Strike, Sentry Gun

3 - Fireteam Alpha (Go-to all-purpose assault rifle class)

FAMAS / Red Dot

Python / Speed Reloader

Frag / Concussion / Claymore

Scavenger Pro

Sleight of Hand Pro

Hacker Pro

Assault rifles are designed to be "all-purpose". Supreme handling with the ability to do work at any distance and never "too" anything. That's how I like to think of them anyway. My Fireteam Alpha class is something I know I can always fall back to and get some kills.

Your assault class should be built around your weapon of choice. The FAMAS is an exceptional weapon, a high fire rate coupled with a predictable and controllable recoil (much like the MPL) is a winning combination. It can be used effectively with any attachment, but I feel most confident with a Red Dot when making medium-long range shots, which is the ideal engaging distance for assault.  Now that we have our favorite rifle, let's talk favorite perks.

(At the end of this guide I have some general info on perks that you may find useful)

The idea is to be comfortable with your rifleman class, so find out what perks really speak to your style. This archetype can also be used effectively Flak Jacket, but with my selection of Hacker for a tier 3 perk it would not be used for it's maximum potential (surviving claymores is a big one), so I much prefer the several benefits of having Scavenger as my tier 1 perk. The tier 2 perk for this class is a lot more versitile, Hardened, Warlord and Sleight of Hand all make viable choices - but the firefight advantage Sleight of Hand Pro gives is one I have grown very attached to. And finally for perk 3 I use Hacker not only to keep myself safer while advancing, but to see when an enemy posts up in a remote location - there's nothing like spotting a sniper that would have otherwise been invisible for a time because of the claymore or motion sensor he puts down.

Now with perks chosen we can pick a secondary, Python with speed reloader is always a good choice, and my favorite. Favorite tactical would be concussion due to it's fast throw time, and unique ability to slow someone down from a full sprint - a must have for objective games, and very effective when setting up flanking opportunities. I prefer frag to semtex for it's larger blast radius and ability to bounce or roll when needed. And for equipment, the old claymore is almost always worth a kill, and if not... it's still worth it being notified of when someone destroys it.

Try using this class in: Team Deathmatch, Domination or Free-for-all

Try using with these killstreaks: Spy Plane, Blackbird, Attack Dogs

4 - Support Gunner (Stationary defense LMG class)

Stoner 63 / Extended Mags


Frag / Nova Gas / Motion Sensor

Scavenger Pro

Hardened Pro

Tactical Mask Pro

This class is built around the "heavy" concept. An LMG with no mobility enhancing perks, all about defense and support. But we have to talk about LMGs in general for a minute (just scroll down to the red text if you want to skip past this in-depth look)... this weapon class is a strange breed in Black Ops, quite different from what most FPS players have come to expect. The usual distinguishing feature of a machine gun is it's ammo capacity, but out of the four available in this title, two (HK21 and Stoner 63) have a standard clip size of 30 while another (RPK) has 40 - and all of these three do indeed use clips rather than belt-fed ammunition. The fourth (M60) functions as most people have come to expect an LMG to with a 100 round belt-fed ammo system, and if I had to guess is probably the most frequently used. It's a very good gun, don't get me wrong, you could go ahead and use that with a Grip attachment and call it a day, but I'm going to talk about the others here.

The magazine fed LMGs are more like assault rifles, only with a slower movement speed, a longer reload, and less attachments. They do have a few advantages however, the foremost being the ability to maintain damage without a range drop off; all three do 40 damage per shot at any range. They also gain greater benefit from one of the few attachments they do have; Extended Mags will multiply your standard clip size by by 2 rather than the usual 1.5 - a trait unique to LMGs and Sniper rifles (excluding the Dragunov)

Now... the HK21 and RPK both have the standard fire rate of a theoretical 750 rounds per minute at 40 damage each, making them statically identical to the heavy damage assault rifles (GALIL, AK47, Commando) as far as damage output... the Stoner however, fires much quicker with a theoretical 938 rounds per minute at that mean non-diminishing 40 damage - this fire rate is the same as the low damage assault rifles (AUG, FAMAS) but with an additional 5 damage per shot

"Alright" you say, "but either way that's 3 shots to kill right?" True, both a 35 and a 40 damage weapon are capable of a 3 shot kill or 2 headshot kill at effective range (An important fact to remember, this is why the higher fire rate/lower damage rifles are often used to greater effect), but where a 40 damage weapon shines, is during scenarios where bullet penetration is a factor.

All this has been a long lead-up to a rather simple explanation of this class. When shooting through multiple enemies, wood, thin metal or concrete, this class has unsurpassed ability. The superior stats of the Stoner make it a formidable weapon by any standard, but the cumbersome nature of it means you will do best when engaging on your own terms. Play defensively, don't move around too much and leave yourself exposed from multiple angles. Push up and focus on a single angle of attack, ideally from a medium or long range. As the opposition grows tired of getting turned into hamburger when trying to get past your area of defense, they will likely attempt to defend themselves by taking refuge behind cover... Between the effect of using Hardened and the non-range-diminishing damage of your LMG, you're almost just as potent when firing through most light and medium cover (nowhere to hide) and you're much more likely to kill over a long distance than a rifleman dealing with damage drop or an M60 (which by the way, does suffer a 10 damage drop, down from 50 - but more on that another time perhaps) with its unwieldy long-range recoil and almost half the fire rate.

As usual, frag grenades make the best lethal choice for their versatility and effective range. Nova gas is my preferred tactical for this class, as it's can be used in a number of ways that compliment the style. If enemies are holed up, flush them out. And if enemies are rushing your position, toss one at the point of entry to slow them down at their critical moment of breaching. Running Scavenger for your tier one perk keeps you stocked on these vital tools, and of course keeps you from running dry on your primary. For tier 3, I find Tactical Mask to most obvious choice, so you can use your Nova Gas to full effect, moving through it when necessary. Also being almost immune to both flash and concussion grenades is very good as well. Tie it all together, and you're flinching less from bullet and explosive damage, as well as brushing off any tactical grenades used against you... you're able to put the mighty offensive power of the Stoner 63 to use without fear.

Try using this class in: Ground War, Demolition or Headquarters

Try using with these killstreaks: SAM Turret, Care Package, Chopper Gunner

5 - Hyperion (Generic sniper class)

L96A / Variable Zoom

M1911 / Upgraded Iron Sights

Tomahawk / Concussion / Claymore

Ghost Pro

Scout Pro

Marathon Pro

As far as sniper classes go, I do not stray from the conventional. Sniper rifles are a hot and frankly stupid topic when it comes to Call of Duty, and most console FPS these days. Forget the nonsense you see and hear about close range and/or offensive roles with a sniper rifle. The whole idea of using this weapon class in that manner, is nothing more than some silly niche hobby that for whatever reason took off with the undesirables of the CoD community. So write that off...

Sniper classes obviously lack the ability to fend off multiple attackers effectively, so keeping your distance (putting the weapon class' primary strength to work) and staying off radar should be a priority when considering your positioning. The standard sniper loadout consists of a perks Ghost and Scout at all times. Ghost does the obvious, keeping you off spy plane sweeps and making you generally less visible between your ghillie suit, lack of thermal signature and no name display. Scout allows for more time to hold your breath and pop off long shots, and the pro variant allows for quicker switching between actions. This includes your swap time between weapons, even if you replace your secondary with scavenged assault rifle, as well as hastening your downtime when calling in killstreaks, or placing equipment. The tier 3 perk choice is left to personal preference, but I prefer Marathon. A key element to success when sniping is staying out of sight, so after getting kills from one location it may be best to quickly move along to another - or be prepared to defend yourself against revenge kills.

Weapons of choice are also left primarily to personal preference. If you can put that first shot where you want it, absolutely use the L96 - as it is the only sniper rifle to still result in a one shot kill when you hit the lower torso. If you prefer a semi-automatic, I would suggest the Dragunov for it's superior clip size and predictable jump-up after each shot. If you most often find yourself killing with two shots while sniping, try using a suppressor - you will still kill in two shots, while keeping your profile much lower.

Try using this class in: Team Deathmatch, Demolition or Sabotage

Try using with these killstreaks: SAM Turret, Care Package, Chopper Gunner

So now that we've covered the core slayer-tuned classes, let's talk support and objective classes..

The links above will bring you to a relative from a machinima series on gameplay styles. Although they related to Halo specifically, the idea pertains to most any FPS.

6 - Wraith (Anti-aircraft and flanking)

Commando / Suppressor


Semtex / Concussion / Claymore

Ghost Pro

Sleight of Hand Pro

Marathon Pro

Always the first custom class I make after unlocking that 6th slot, the Ghost/Launcher anti-aircraft loadout... with my own personal twist. Most of the time you will see this obligatory class used along with an LMG and Hardened as the tier 2 perk with the idea that if you're supposed to be an anti-aircraft class, you'll want to remain able to do so even after you use both your rockets right? The problem with this idea is small arms fire just doesn't do enough to be worth while. While you're there staring up into the air firing off shots into the sky, broadcasting to the opposition the location of a free kill - and more than likely the whereabouts of your teammates - you could be putting your Ghost perk to better use.

I like to use a suppressed assault rifle and marathon, and take on the role of flanking offense after expending my launcher ammo. Using Sleight of Hand in tier 2 allows you to not only reload your launcher quicker for that second shot on a dangerous helicopter, it keeps you from remaining defenseless for too long as you wreak havoc on your enemies flank. And remember, your secondary should already be out of ammo by the time you go on the offensive - if you see a gun you can put to use, make sure you pick it up in place of your empty Strela.

The other selections I have listed compliment the style I implement with this class, let me explain. As you move forward, before making your flanking maneuver, try placing a claymore in a thoroughfare rather than your standard defensive location. Claymores in smart locations will net you an easy kill to get you on your way toward a streak, and are likely to provide at least distraction for the opposition as you make a big sweeping flank. Once you reach that vantage from beside or behind a group of enemies, start your stealthy assault with a quick concussion and semtex before you open fire. Now they know you're there... time to move. As the enemy respawn Marathon will help you escape into a new area and hopefully you can execute the same tactics again.

Try using this class in: Ground War, Demolition or Search and Destroy

Try using with these killstreaks: Spy Plane, Napalm Strike, Rolling Thunder

7 - Subsistence (Ultra low profile defensive rifleman, S&D)

AUG / Suppressor and Dual Mags

CZ75 / Extended Mags

Frag / Concussion / Motion Sensor

Ghost Pro

Warlord Pro

Ninja Pro

The full stealth covert ops class. Simply start with a perk selection of Ghost and Ninja Pro along with a suppressed assault rifle. My favorite game mode to impliment the full stealth approach in is Search and Destroy, where a low profile is much more important than mobility... with that in mind I choose Warlord for my tier 2 perk. Using Warlord for Search and Destroy gameplay is not uncommon; as you do not respawn, players are more concerned with staying alive - and feeling confident with your primary weapon is a big part of that. When considering what other attachment to use along with the suppressor, the choice is simple for me. Only one attachment truly give two benefits, dual mags not only makes every other reload twice as quick but you also begin with additional ammo reserves. Many players use extended mags or a sight in conjunction with a suppressor... all are viable choices, just pick whatever you feel you may be lacking. Find yourself running dry just before finishing off an enemy, go with extended mags. Struggle to acquire targets during hectic situations, go with a red dot sight.

I stick with a fast firing rifle like the AUG to bring down single enemies with greater speed, and leave my sidearm without a suppressor incase I would ever care to attempt to lay a trap or diversion - fire a few shots from your pistol, reload and relocate. Again I find Frag to be the most advantageous lethal, as it's superior blast radius and ability to bounce or roll when being tossed around an objective are invaluable. Concussion is obviously my personal favorite, and with this class is used for pursuing enemies I might not otherwise be able to catch, slow em down, finish em off. Equipment can be swapped to fit your preference - if you are able to effectively use the camera spike, that could prove a better choice than the motion sensor - but I prefer the latter because it requires no action to toggle the mini-map.

Try using this class in: Search and Destroy, Demolition or Sabotage

Try using with these killstreaks: Spy Plane, Napalm Strike, Sentry Gun

8 - Wildcard (When you just wanna be different - always changing: Example below - Blade)

PM63 / Rapid Fire

Ballistic Knife

Tomahawk / Flashbang / C4

Lightweight Pro

Steady Aim Pro

Marathon Pro

I leave this class slot open to fool around with, and often create some very... unconventional loadouts. The example I decided to enter however is an easy one to implement successfully... it's the ol' lightweight/marathon knife class!

Step 1: Sprint

Step 2: Knife

Step 3: Repeat

Anyone have a custom class they would like to see me try and run with, be it completely silly or one you just enjoy using yourself? Post a comment below with the details of your loadout then stay tuned to my youtube channel! Expect to see a shout-out/gameplay/commentary in the near future <3

Try using this class in: Free-for-all, Private games

Try using with these killstreaks: Spy Plane, Counter-Spy Plane, Blackbird

9 - Mission Command (Stalemate breaker and demolitionist)

GALIL / Grenade Launcher

China Lake

Frag / Wiley Pete / C4

Flak Jacket Pro

Sleight of Hand Pro

Marathon Pro

Have you ever been in an objective game, where your team just seems to keep banging their head against the wall trying to break through an enemy position. You know how it goes, Demolition, on offense, one objective remaining. You can try to flank, but they have enough guys to cover every angle. You can try to snipe, but you just can't thin them out fast enough. Break the stalemate with smoke grenades, Flak Jacket and Marathon!

When your team is making that final push towards the bomb site, and you start planting... *hold your breath* only to die at the last moment due to a sloppily thrown grenade. Keep the enemies vision obscured with smoke, and keep the push on them with Marathon and explosives! Two underbarrel grenades, two secondary grenades, two frag grenades, two C4 - and don't worry... it's not a jerk move to go all out on explosives in Black Ops as it was in Modern Warfare 2! If you manage to get Flak Jacket Pro, call in that Napalm Strike right ontop of your own head - plant in complete safety!

Try using this class in: Ground War, Demolition or Domination

Try using with these killstreaks: Care Napalm Strike, Blackbird, Chopper Gunner

10 - Hardliner (Acquiring low streaks quickly and in abundance / changing care packages)

M16 / ACOG

Python / Speed Reloader

Frag / Decoy / Tactical Insertion

Hardline Pro

Sleight of Hand Pro

Second Chance Pro

As far as tier 1 perks go, I think Hardline is a joke. One less kill for a streak, compared to the near invisibility of Ghost, the constant supply of grenades from Scavenger, fall damage immunity of Lightweight or explosive and fire resistance of Flak Jacket? Pffft... But you know, there is a time and place for everything. Sometimes, a game just goes stalemate and nothing but a high killstreak can change that - but no one seems able to get up to 8+ kills! Enter Hardline Pro; change that Ammo into a Gunship. Sure it's unlikely, but not nearly as unlikely as you may think. Besides doubling your chance for a game changing streak, you can also see to it that your 3 and 4 streaks (now just 2 and 3) are constantly active. Endless streams of Spy Planes to keep eyes on the enemy, and SAM turret to keep their eyes out of the sky? Don't mind if I do! You may even derive some sick pleasure from getting an RC-XD every 2 kills... but you didn't hear that idea from me.

As you are obviously playing defensively, or at least cautiously with this build, the M16 with ACOG is an ideal tool. With the slight magnification of this scope, the M16 handles much like a designated marksman weapon, meaning one well aimed burst is all it takes to earn each of those 4 measly kills you're hoping for. The rest of the build actually focuses on just protecting your assets. Before you call in your Care Package, be sure to lay your Tactical Insertion somewhere nearby but not plainly visible. If you get killed before you can claim your prize, now you're in a place to quickly take that would-be hijacker out. And even if you get gunner down again, Second Chance gives you that last ditch effort to keep it safe.

This class can also be modified slightly to instead of focusing on the care package, just focus on a steady stream of Napalm Strike. Swap out your Tactical Insertion for a Claymore to help get to 4 that much quicker - and perhaps switch to Warlord for an extra grenade to toss for another danger-free kill.

Try using this class in: Team Deathmatch, Demolition, Sabotage

Try using these killstreaks: Either 3, either 4, either 5.

On Perks

Expanding upon some of the points made above, I wanted to separate these comments that I had started entering into specific class sections, as they are relative to any class - general info.

  • Tier one (blue) perks are a big deal in Black Ops, more so than any previous CoD, and everyone seems to have their favorite that most of their classes end up using - most commonly Ghost. I personally have fallen in love with Scavenger Pro. The ability to resupply grenades is invaluable, as is having ammo. After taking the time to build your classes, you tend to mold your play-style around particular weapons characteristics, and sadly without either dual mags or scavenger, you're very likely to run dry before you can rack up a sizable killstreak. Just bear in mind when the enemy has a spy plane active, and adjust your tactics accordingly.
  • Tier two (orange) perks have the greatest effect on ones offensive abilities. Sleight of Hand Pro has to be my personal favorite, if I had to pick one. The increased speed in aiming down the sight may seem minuscule to the untrained eye, but it's this split second advantage that had made the difference in countless firefights - and decreased reload speeds make sure you are much less likely to be caught with your pants down, so to speak. Hardened Pro and Warlord Pro also make good choices: If you find yourself often trying to fire through partial cover at your enemies, or notice you are losing firefights due to flinch (the effect of your aim being offset due to taking damage) then Hardened Pro is your friend. Warlord Pro allows you to equip two attachments to your primary weapon as well as hold both an additional tactical (up to 3 from 2) and lethal (up to 2 from 1), something you can put to great effect with those resupplies from Scavenger - also making sure your precious two-attachment weapon doesn't empty out on you.
  • Tier three (green) perks are the most situational. While Marathon is the most common, the massive boost to mobility it provides can actually spell out more deaths for many players. If you are a more defensive player, Hacker provides a much better idea of your enemies actions around you - seeing a claymore or two inside that building that appears empty, should give away the fact that there is probably an enemy with Ghost on in there. Second Chance Pro allows you to be revived, always good for keeping a potential killstreak going, or staying alive in modes with respawn timers. Ninja used to be combined with a mobility class in previous games, but now that isn't possible, Ninja is really only used effectively with a full stealth loadout or in a hardcore game type.
  • Perk selection should be made before you select a secondary weapon. It is factors like, if you have Steady Aim rather than Sleight of Hand that allow you to more efficiently choose a sidearm - going with dual wield rather than extended mags in that case. Or using a Strela-3 with your Ghost setup to make your anti-aircraft attacks that much less dangerous.