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It wouldn’t be a year in gaming without the annual Call of Duty release blessing the fall launch schedule. The last title we got was a non-Black Ops game, which means we’re due for another from the talented team over at Treyarch.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is poised to build on the previous game by implementing changes inspired by fan feedback and introducing some interesting new game modes that’ll change your expectation of what a Call of Duty experience is supposed to be. Here’s everything you need to know.
October 4, 2018 — Treyarch announces tweaks to Blackout’s loot pickup mechanic
One of the most frustrating mechanics in the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout beta was loot pickup. It was a bit awkward as you would have to hold the Square button (X on Xbox One) to confirm pickups, something tha tmade the process slower. Treyarch favored this approach as it saves the quick tap for the reload mechanic, a much more important thing to make sure you can do at a moment’s notice.
But many fans complained about the mechanic, and so an option was born. You can now switch between tap or hold to loot, and you also get the option of looting everything in your immediate area with one button instead of having to go to each item and pick them up individually.
Sir David Young and team have created this peace offering. It still needs to go through the normal quality assurance and integration steps. But, ASAP. I promise. Just don’t yell at me when you turn this on but can’t reload after a hot drop! pic.twitter.com/hw2BB4ouMQ
— Lord Vonderhaar (@DavidVonderhaar) October 3, 2018
The developer still hasn’t addressed other looting concerns, such as the difficulties experienced when opening a downed players bag and trying to cycle through their inventory. It works, but it just isn’t always intuitive. The jury is still out on whether this is intentional, with many believing Treyarch wanted there to be real risk involved in looting downed enemies during the heat of battle.
More than the changes themselves, today’s news is nice reassurance that Treyarch are not only willing to address player pain points with updates, but also be transparent about them. That should bode well for the game mode come Black Ops 4’s launch, which happens October on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
September 26, 2018 — PS4 gets content a week early
Sony has revealed new details about their timed content exclusivity deal for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. New content — which you get as part of owning the Black Ops Pass — will arrive 7 days early on PlayStation 4. Such a deal isn’t new for Sony and Activision, though it does mark the first time since this marketing partnership began that the gap has been narrowed from 30 days to 7.
We also have a bit better of an idea regarding the timeline of the first content drops. Here’s what’s planned:
- Nuketown: This fan-favorite map returns in November in an all-new take.
- Specialists: The first of several new characters will debut in December.
- Blackout: Launch day is only the start; Blackout will continue to evolve after launch with regular map updates, expansions and new Blackout modes.
- Events: Seasonal, weekly, and time-limited events bringing new game modes and content to players.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 launches October 12th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
September 4, 2018 — New Blackout beta details arrive
Waiting for the Blackout beta for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4? The wait isn’t long now, with PlayStation 4 gamers finally able to check the new Battle Royale game mode out on September 10th, while friends on other platforms will get a chance to play starting on September 14th. No matter which camp you fall in, you’ll have until September 17th to see what it’s all about.
The official Call of Duty Twitter is getting folks hype about its arrival by sharing our first look at the Blackout map, which is naturally the largest in franchise history. The map shows several classic names, including Nuketown Island, Hyro Dam, and Firing Range. You’ll note that these are based on maps from older Call of Duty games, except they’ll all exist on the same seamless map in Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode.
Where are you dropping first?
This is Blackout, featuring the largest map in Call of Duty history. Pre-order #BlackOps4 and get access to the Blackout Beta, playable September 10 on PS4: https://t.co/XFvGMDwF3M pic.twitter.com/RAxzzDxjPO
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) September 5, 2018
We count just 14 unique locations named throughout the map, which is a little on the light side compared to Battle Royale games like Fortnite and PUBG. But the areas should be highly detailed, and there are lots of other smaller settlements and compounds which don’t have names littered throughout the map. It’ll be just a few days before we can see how all of this looks inside the actual game world, so get ready.
July 20, 2018 — Mystery Box Collector’s Edition is now up for pre-order
There’s a new pre-order option for those who eat, sleep and breath Black Ops. It’s the “Mystery Box Edition” and it’ll launch October 12, 2018.
The biggest thing that comes with the Mystery Box is, well, the box itself. If you aren’t in the know, these boxes are scattered throughout Zombies maps, and allows the player to get a random weapon, item, or perk upon opening it. It looks like Black Ops 4’s box is more ominous than ever, with skeleton heads whose eyes light up in blue. It looks really cool.
You’ll find an interesting assortment of collectibles inside the box. There are FigPins, a pop socket, the first edition of a new Dark Horse-made Zombies comic, 10 specialist patches, 3 lithographs, as well as the game itself inside a nice steelbook case. On the digital side, you’ll be getting the Black Ops pass, which grants you access to all the new zombies and multiplayer content that’ll be released in Black Ops 4’s life cycle.
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Mystery Box Edition will run you a whopping $199.99, but considering all it comes with it just may be worth the money. Head to Amazon to pre-order yours today.
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What is Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?
This is the latest game in the Call of Duty series, and, specifically, the fifth such game made by Treyarch, the studio which got its start with Call of Duty: World at War and exclusively made Black Ops games ever since.
Black Ops games have never followed traditional Call of Duty standards in terms of story. They’re set in a dystopian-like universe that explores alternate realities. One of the games even straddled the line of supernatural, with Black Ops 3’s events all taking place inside someone’s head.
While the original Black Ops game was set in a period during the Cold War, subsequent titles have gone for a more futuristic setting so as to introduce interesting new gameplay mechanics.
Is there a story mode?
Earlier Black Ops games featured original stories, but Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not. In fact, this will be the first ever Call of Duty game that doesn’t have a single-player campaign.
It was originally rumored that Treyarch had started on a campaign for the game, but scrapped it during development as it wouldn’t be finished in time. We later learned that this wasn’t the case, and it was instead a conscious decision by the team to focus their time on multiplayer as a majority of players don’t finish the single-player campaigns in Call of Duty games.
If you love a good single-player campaign and nothing more, it’s wise to skip this one. But Treyarch has mentioned that this isn’t necessarily the start of a trend and that single-player campaigns can and will return to future Call of Duty titles.
With multiplayer being the sole way to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, Treyarch wants to ensure they make the deepest shooter possible, and also looked to address some of the more unpopular things they tried in Black Ops 3. Jetpacks and wall-running have been completely removed from the game.
The fan cry for “boots on the ground” has been quite loud, which is why many were ecstatic for Call of Duty: World War 2’s launch. Treyarch’s removal of the feature is a testament to their ability to listen to feedback and not only understand what their fans want, but take action on it.
A lot of the good stuff is returning, though, including the game’s use of Specialist characters. These characters are unique and feature special traits, abilities, and finishing moves. We’re getting four new characters with this launch for a grand total of 10:
- Torque: This is the builder of your team. You can make barricades to control firing lanes in the game, as well as more advanced deployment of barbed wire. Torque’s barricades have heat and distortion fields built-in, so anyone looking to challenge the area you’re denying will have a tough time.
- Ajax: When you need someone to push into an enemy zone, Ajax is the pick. He has a shield, and the shield has a hole in it, so whoever uses him can still be a deadly force. Ajax also has a flashbang that can be cooked, and the longer you cook it, the more flashes it will set off.
- Recon: A new fog of war mechanic means enemies won’t always show up on your radar whenever they shoot, so Recon’s goal is to reveal them.
- Crash: Medic fans will love Crash. He can not only heal allies, but he can also buff them in certain ways. And if you’re wondering why he has to heal anyone, it’s because Black Ops 4 will not have regenerative health.
All of these specialists share much of the same weapon and equipment pool, but there will be some mods and attachments specific to each character. And not all attachments will be made equally, with tier 2 versions of mods offering greater benefits than their standard ones.
Speaking of which, gunplay is getting a big upgrade in Black Ops 4. Treyarch has implemented predictive recoil patterns for each gun, which means you’ll have a rough idea of how your gun will react whenever you shoot it. The recoil mechanic in previous games was based on RNG, something Treyarch felt was important to eliminate as they wanted all of the game systems in Black Ops 4 to be learnable.
Scorestreaks are back. This staple Call of Duty feature nets you game-changing perks and bonuses as you rack up kills. Treyarch hasn’t yet revealed any new scorestreaks or changes to existing ones.
Players will do battle on a number of maps, five of which are fan favorites from previous Black Ops games that have been remade. Those include Jungle, Slums, Summit, Firing Range, and, of course, Nuketown. The former four will be available at launch, though Nuketown will arrive a bit later.
When you want to take a break from multiplayer, you can play Solo Missions, a collection of missions that’ll let you test your skill with any of the specialists. These missions will contain light backstories for each specialist if you’re interested in learning more about them.
It’s clear Treyarch wants more for Call of Duty than its roots as a simple twitch shooter. The continued focus on unique character abilities and an upgraded ballistics system puts it in league with the likes of Rainbow Six: Siege, and should help position it well to become a fun game to follow and play for eSports.
What’s a Black Ops game without a zombie mode? Zombies in Black Ops 4 will have the most launch content we’ve seen yet. This coop mode lets you and up to three other friends take on a horde of zombie enemies across several big maps, with each wave being interspersed with time-sensitive objectives.
Black Ops 4 will feature three such maps at launch, two of which are entirely new and one that has been remade from a previous game. The new maps – Voyage of Despair and IX – have a short storyline of their own to follow, and will feature all-new original characters Scarlett, Shaw, Diego, and Bruno.
The remake is Blood of the Dead, which is based on the Mob of the Dead map from Black Ops 2. Its story will feature the original Primis gang, including Nikolai, Takeo, Richtofen, and Dempsey. A fourth map made for the Primis characters named Classified is also on the way, but will only be available for Black Ops Pass owners and anyone buying the Special Edition versions of the game.
You’ll get more customization than ever before, as players can now customize their starting loadouts before each game. And the game at large can be played to your exact liking with over 100 variable “mutations” that can be applied. These mutations can alter things like zombie speed, health, damage, and overall difficulty.
And to give players a reason to keep coming back, Treyarch will run events called Callings. These limited time events may offer rewards or introduce new gameplay twists to help keep things fresh.
Peg Call of Duty as another game jumping on the Battle Royale bandwagon. Black Ops 4 will have its own royale mode called Blackout, and it’ll feature the single largest map we’ve ever seen in a Call of Duty game. It’s said the original test map for Blackout mode was 144 square miles wide. We don’t know how much it’s been shrunken or enlarged since then, but it sounds massive either way. The map will have iconic locations from previous Black Ops games, and it can be traversed by land, sea, or air.
Treyarch doesn’t seem to be touting any crazy twists on the genre. The teaser trailer for the mode suggests players will parachute down into the play area to find their starting loot before the game eventually shepherds players into tighter areas. Their whole selling point, then, is that this is a Battle Royale game with the tried and true gunplay, smooth controls, and fast-paced action that Call of Duty is known for. They’re also taking care to ensure each game feels different through the mode’s core mechanics, something they hope will keep players hungry for more.
In the mode, you’ll be able to play as series favorites Alex Mason, Raul Menendez, and all of the original Primis crew, among other characters. Treyarch didn’t have much to say regarding how, exactly, the mode will operate, but we do know the company is looking to incorporate bullet drop, a first for a Call of Duty game.
Black Ops Pass
Treyarch is trying a different monetization model with Black Ops 4. Instead of offering up new maps in flat-rate map packs, you will now have to buy a Black Ops Pass. The pass will offer up access to new content as soon as it becomes available.
Pricing information for the Black Ops Pass hasn’t yet been revealed, but we do know that the pass will eventually offer up 12 additional multiplayer maps, four exclusive characters to use in Blackout mode, and four Zombies maps throughout 2019, as well as the Classified Zombies map at launch.
Activision has also confirmed that you will need to buy special editions of the game starting at $100 if you want the Black Ops Pass at launch. They have plans to make the pass available separately, but not until a later date.
Yes, there’s a private beta, and you’ll be able to play it by doing one simple thing: pre-order the game. Treyarch hasn’t ruled out other ways to access the beta, but this is your safest best to try it out early if you don’t mind committing your money to a pre-order.
A beta launch date has yet to be set, but previous rumors suggest we’ll see it at some point in August. An open beta is also still a possibility leading up to the game’s launch.
There are lots of good things to be had for pre-ordering Call of Duty: Black Ops 4. All standard edition pre-orders will be in line for a Black Ops 3 map pack that will feature Jungle Summit, Slums, and Firing Range. You’ll also get access to the private beta in August.
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Get the Digital Deluxe Edition for $100 and you’ll get 2,400 Call of Duty Points and the Black Ops Pass to go along with it.
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The Digital Deluxe Enhanced Edition is the same as the Digital Deluxe Edition, but comes with 8,500 Call of Duty Points. It’ll run you $130.
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Finally, there’s a $120 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Pro Edition that adds in a steelbook, a pop socket, 10 specialist patches, three Zombies-inspired collectible art cards, 1,100 Call of Duty Points, and a Call of Duty Endowment (C.O.D.E.) calling card. This version of the game is available exclusively at GameStop.
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When can you play it?
The boots hit the ground for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on October 12th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Let us know if you’ll be joining in on the fun.
Updated October 2018: Treyarch announced a key change to Black Ops 4’s looting mechanic. All the details for you right here.
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