With the 2018 Call of Duty World League Championship wrapping up this past week and Elevate placing top eight, hype for Treyarch’s next installment in the Black Ops series (BO4) is at a peak that only continues to grow. Everybody who’s been playing CoD for a while can’t help but feel excited when a new game is announced. This excitement grows a little bit when “Black Ops” is present in the title. The BO4 beta has been going out for about a week now. Let’s talk about what it’s shown us and what this means for eSports.
For starters, gameplay is returning to that of an original Call of Duty game. Much to the relief of many players, BO4 has come back to majority boots on the ground gameplay style. You won’t find any jetpacking or wall running this go-round. There is, however, a specialist (Ruin) who has a grappling gun that can be used to move to elevated parts of the map. This is the closest thing that resembles the novelties of past games. Competitively, this means gameplay will look more like WWII than Infinite Warfare.
Another aspect of BO4 beta gameplay that’s being talked about a lot is the “Time to Kill” or TTK. From what we’ve seen from the beta, BO4 is taking on a long time to kill than past Black Ops titles. On top of this, an enemies use of body armor will eat up even more of your bullets. This ultimately means you’ll be spending more time shooting and less time respawning. Concerns arise when you think of the implications this will have in a competitive setting. A higher time to kill will shrink the skill gap. It gives players who lack situational awareness and positioning an advantage to those who are on top of rotations. As of now, BO4 is rewarding a guns blazing play style over one of strategy.
In addition to an increase in the time to kill, a new health system will be implemented in BO4. Instead of an automated gradual regen, the game will feature a manual healing action that appears to be an adrenaline shot. This will momentarily remove players from the action as they heal themselves. This is another thing for pro players to add to the list of things they’ll always need to keep in mind while competing. I don’t think the impact of this new mechanic will be drastic but I do believe it will take some time for veterans and newcomers alike to adjust and develop this new addition to their muscle memory.
Outside of the competitive scene, the game looks to make waves as well. For the first time in a Call of Duty game, there will not be a single player campaign mode. In its place, players will be receiving Blackout, the all-new battle royale mode. It will be interesting to see how Activision will incorporate the things we know and love about Call of Duty into a battle royale mode. We can presume simply by our preconceived knowledge about CoD games that Blackout will attempt to innovate on the battle royale scene in some way. This is further supported by the fact the EA has added a battle royale mode to Battlefield V as well. There will need to be something that differentiates Blackout and Battlefield V’s mode.
Fans of Call of Duty from all walks of involvement are now anxiously awaiting the next chapter of the Black Ops series. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will leave its mark on the legacy of the Call of Duty franchise, for better or for worse.