By Adam Martin
Let’s just start this off by saying: if you were a fan of BLACK OPS 2, chances are you will be pretty happy with the BLACK OPS 3 multiplayer reveal. This game looks very similar to BLACK OPS 2 with colours textures and sound, however, Treyarch have added some big gameplay changes that I believe are the best additions to the game since its eSport debut.
Now when we join Arena (the new league play), we go into a lobby and start, however the map doesn’t load. First we head to the Bans and Protects screen.
What this new feature allows us to do is, for ourselves to either get rid of or protect any piece of weaponry, any perk, scorestreak or specialist (I’ll get to those in a minute). Each player takes it in turns to either ban or protect 1 item each. As you can see in the picture, the teams chose to ban the thermal sight the UAV the shock charge but then the M8A7 is protected! (Formerly the M8A1 from BLACK OPS 2. Yes! the same gun!). This will add an entirely new meta to CALL OF DUTY eSports. This will change what can and can’t be used, game by game, week by week and patch by patch. After bans and protects passes we move into The Specialist draft, another new feature of CoD eSports.
Specialists is something we did see at E3 and it is something in which we have seen in gameplays released by some big CoD YouTubers. For those of you that haven’t seen this feature, it is essentially every character has either a special ability or weapon that they can use. In the terms of this picture above, and in particular for Hardpoint, it’s very likely protect of ban will be for Seraph’s Annihilator; a gun that periodically comes available for use that is a one shot kill. The player only has 7 bullets and once killed, the ability will go on cooldown. There is a number of these character abilities/weapons in the game, but each team can only have one of the abilities or weapon (not both) per side. So, sadly we can not run a 4 man Annihilator composition and go and wreck people.
After the Specialist draft, we move into edit your load out in Create a Class and then onto editing score streaks (yes, they are back for competitive and Arena play), as they may need to be tweaked according to what has been banned or protected.
Some other noteworthy observations I made while watching the reveal is, that it seems like BLACK OPS 2 style spawn system is back with anchoring spawns seems to work quite well during the gameplay. CoD Caster mode is back in an amazing way; a lot of the same features are available as previous CALL OF DUTY games with some slight tweaks and extra tools for the casters to use for us as spectators to benefit from.
It also seems like the competitive game types will be Hardpoint, Search and Destroy and Uplink. David Vonderhaar also told us that in game we will have the ability to stream live eSport event straight to our consoles, meaning we can watch MLG events on our consoles instead of having to go to the PC to watch.
Lastly and perhaps the biggest news we can speculate on out of the reveal is: all of the games and the casts were all done on PS4. This does probably mean (again speculation, this is not fact but my thoughts from what I saw) that CALL OF DUTY will probably be played competitively on PS4 over the Xbox system for the first time since the original BLACK OPS game. It’s good to see Sony making the effort to really use the exclusivity of the game to the best of their ability. This will probably mean MLG, UMG and CALL OF DUTY World Championships will all be played on and sponsored by Sony and the PlayStation 4.
I will keep you up to date on any further news about BLACK OPS 3 in the following weeks and months as we get closer to the release date of November 6th 2015.