CoD: Black Ops 4

Half-Measures Are What Killed BO4 Design

black ops 4 6 - Half-Measures Are What Killed BO4 Design

Everyone's got their least favorite thing about BO4, whether it's specialists, equipment, high streaks, the high TTK, or what have you. What unifies all of the frustrating aspects of BO4 is that they're all half-measures for a much more team-oriented experience. It's well-known by now that this game was planned to be more of an Overwatch or Lawbreakers-style game, but that got walked way back due to early tester complaints. But it wasn't walked back far enough to have the classic COD feel, and the result is that this game is neither a really team-oriented experience, nor a good game for solo tryhards.

Each new feature of BO4 is really designed to reward good teamwork. The long TTK makes it much harder to get multi-kills if you aren't backed up at all by allies, let alone clearing out objective defenders on your own. The EKI + high scorestreaks means it's that much more difficult to even call in a UAV if your team isn't with you.

The same could be said of locking equipment to specialists. Gone are the days of spawning in with a smoke grenade and a pair of trophies to solo-cap B. Somebody else chose Zero? Well, there's no EMP, so too bad about all that barbed wire and those mesh mines. Those equipment timers mean you're that much more reliant on them to use their stuff effectively. If Battery randomly flings the Cluster each time it refreshes, forget clearing out campers. If Seraph drops the Tac Deploy in the spawn, you have almost zero chance of winning at Dom.


The specialist weapons are another huge half-measure, which is I think why everyone hates them. Take Ruin's Grav Slam. On paper, the idea of a specialist whose power is clearing out objectives sounds great! In reality, the typical player gets one weapon use per game, so all that Ruin on your team is really good for is a couple free kills. So he knocked out people capping the flag, what, once, maybe twice? That's hardly a game-changer.

The tutorials make it abundantly clear they intended a much more team-focused game. Who ever uses Nomad's dog to guard an area? The typical player gets the dog once per match, and it just runs around for about 15 seconds and grabs a couple free kills before dying.

On top of that, the traditional COD unlock & award system means you've got plenty of players who just don't care. They're trying to complete a challenge or unlock a camo, not actually win. That's always been an annoyance, but now that the mechanics encourage stronger team play to win, having that one guy trying to complete sniper challenges in Kill Confirmed is 1000x more annoying.

Without any kind of reputation system for team players to get matched with each other, with the traditional COD unlock system, and with the usual fast-paced, short matches, the Overwatch-Lite mechanics they added in just degrade the experience. This is a worse game than it would have been if they'd gone all the way in either direction. I would rather be playing a full-on team-focused game with Rock-Paper-Scissors heroes and long matches, or a just a minor iteration of the Black Ops II formula. What we've got is a lukewarm half-design that isn't really good at either thing.

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