A recent live Treyarch gameplay demo has shed some light on what we can expect from the Black Ops 2 multiplayer mode, which up until now has been something of a mystery. During the demo we saw a Strike Force Operation in Singapore as well as a mission in Los Angeles called Protect P.O.T.U.S. We also got a first look at some of the weapons and gadgets we’ll get to use in multiplayer mode.
According to Mark Lamia, Treyarch studio boss, the entire multiplayer system has been rebalanced from scratch to try and provide for fairer play. “Weapons balance is critical,” said Lamia. “With Black Ops multiplayer, there was a certain balance of gunplay and gameplay that we wanted to strike. We really enjoyed the gunfight that occurs.” Re-balancing will result in some big changes in player arsenals as well as the attachments which guns can be outfitted with.
Two familiar guns which will be making a comeback in the new game will include the Type 95 rifle and the KSG shotgun. The Type 95 rifle is known for its high power and minimal kick. The gun has prompted some degree of controversy among fans. When asked whether he thought the Type 95 would be unpopular in the new game, Lamia responded that the rebalancing of the game would probably change the opinions of fans concerning specific weapons.
Recent rumors lead us to believe that multiplayer killstreaks could lend themselves to additional gun attachments such as an X ray ACOG scope. We saw Mason (the game’s main protagonist) use this scope while shooting from behind cover during the demo. This also allowed him to fire through surfaces directly, which would make the scope one very advantageous gadget.
Another unique capability which we think may be part of the multiplayer mode of the game concerns the ability to hack enemy devices. This is the basis for the game—the antagonist in Black Ops 2, Raul Menendez, has hacked the US military’s unmanned drones and turned them against the population. In the demo for Strike Force Operations we saw soldiers using hacking beacons to remotely capture enemy gadgets and unmanned vehicles and use them against enemy forces.
Other revelations concern the zombies, which will no longer be just a mini-game but a full-blown game mode with multiple game types. The game mode will allow teams of eight players instead of juts four players. Recently some leaked screenshots which may or may not be legit have promised “You will understand everything.” When Treyarch first brought zombies into Call of Duty, they were random and inexplicable, an amusing aside which quickly became a fan favorite. It appears as if they may finally be integrated into the Call of Duty storyline and become a more concrete part of the COD universe.
During the demo we also witnessed Mason using vehicles which weren’t on rails. Previously no Call of Duty games have featured free roam vehicles, but everything we’ve seen about Black Ops 2 indicates a full range of motion, whether in quadrotors, CLAW mechs, jets or treated turrets. What are all of these units? Quadrotors are similar to the recon drone killstreak which is part of Modern Warfare 3, only armed instead with a chaingun. CLAW mechs are mechanical, four-legged robots similar to the assault drones in Modern Warfare 3. They’re bigger though and include more serious weaponry including rocket launchers and miniguns. In another sequence, we saw Mason climb into a jet for aerial combat. Free roaming jets could add a completely new element to COD combat with dogfighting action.
There are rumors that the perks system in Black Ops 2 is going to be completely revised. During the demo there was some indication that Last Stand might be coming back, but we’re still not sure about that. Apparently the new system will allow players to level up to Pro or Elite status with perks. Pro perks are simply extensions while Elite perks are brand new unlocks which can only work if perks are paired together. Let’s say for instance that you used Spy Pro and Pilot Pro together. This could unlock a third Elite perk. With so many possible combinations this could allow for enhanced class customization.
The perks which are rumored to be included in Black Ops 2 are as follows. Audiophile would enable you to see enemies on your mini-map who are using silenced weapons, but only if they are located nearby. With Bladesman you’ll be able to hold two knives, increasing the speed of melee kills. Consciousness will improve your accuracy while prone or upright, and Deep Impact will help your bullets to penetrate surface more effectively. Defuser will allow you to throw your grenades or other equipment further. With Diver you’ll be able to shoot while you are diving (whether this will affect accuracy or not is unclear). Escape Artist would enable you to pretend you are dead while on the ground, but you’ll be unable to shoot. With Focus you’ll be able to shoot while you are sprinting, albeit with reduced accuracy. Pilot will allow your killstreaks while airborne to count toward your overall total. Spy will let you appear as an allied soldier on your enemy’s mini-map, and Technician will let you accumulate ground-based killstreak kills toward your overall total.
Finally, while watching the demo we noticed some troops rappelling from a chopper to hack at control points during the Singapore mission. This seems to echo a rumor about a new game mode called Split Spawn, which had sounded confusing in the past but now may have some foundation. In Split Spawn, each team would have a chopper, and players would rappel down ropes from the choppers to try and control a point on the map or destroy the enemy team. Team members can respawn until the chopper is downed—after which kills are permanent.
So there you go—that’s a lot of news, some of which is still partially based in speculation but all of which has a basis in the demo. Even though some of it may still not be quite on the mark, we’re pretty sure that it’s all more or less on target. Black Ops 2 will be coming out on November 13th—be sure and pre-order your copy so you don’t have to wait in line on the big day.