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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.
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.
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.