Earlier this week, the team at FPS General was invited to Santa Monica, CA to visit the studios at Treyarch and spend some time checking out Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. While there, we were able to learn a wealth of new details concerning Black Ops 2's multiplayer mode, including information on Game Modes, Challenges, Prestige, Player Cards and so much more.
Without further ado, let's jump right into the new details. First, we'll take a look at some of the customization options in multiplayer as well as player challenges.
Customization & Challenges
In the original Call of Duty: Black Ops, players were able to customize their playercard with a user-created emblem, a player card background and a clan tag. The emblem also appeared on your gun, if you chose to do that. In Black Ops 2, the player cards are getting an update. The information now displayed includes matchmaking rank, League Play rank, clan tag and emblem on top of a user-selected background.
The emblem editor is back and much more intuitive than ever before. There are more colors, more layers and extra shapes and designs will become available after completing certain challenges in multiplayer. The editor will also support transparency now, something that could be irksome in the original Black Ops.
As for the aforementioned Challenges, they act much in the same way that the system worked in the original Black Ops. Players are rewarded for hundreds of things in-game, from getting kills with a particular weapon to earning a multi-kill with explosives.
Challenges are are a really good way to speed the ranking process up. If you're looking to jump up a few levels in a short amount of time, you can concentrate your efforts on challenges that offer up high-level XP. In previous Call of Duty games, we've been able to go through and check on our in-progress challenges and see that we're only a few kills away from completing several separate challenges.
Going through those and taking care of them can result in a wealth of XP and some quick rank-ups.
We're not done yet! Keep reading for information on multi-team games as well as more on Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's many game modes, some new and some old.
For the first time in franchise history, Call of Duty players will be able to enjoy multi-team matches. These have been a long favorite in Halo and other multiplayer shooters and offer an unsurpassed level of competition as players strive to defeat not only one team, but several.
Multi-team modes include Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed and Hardpoint - a new game mode, based on King of the Hill style play.
If you played Call of Duty: Black Ops, you'll remember Wager Matches. These were free for all game modes that players could enter, wagering their in-game currency on who would come out on top. Well, the currency system is extinct but Wager Matches live on in the form of Party Games. Sticks & Stones, Gun Game, One in the Chamber and Sharpshooter are all returning in Party Games, where players can team up with friends for some good old-fashioned fun or jump in matchmaking to compete with players online.
Combat Training has been given a much-needed facelift, as well. This mode allows players to fight against AI-controlled bots offline by themselves or online with friends. Previously, Combat Training was pretty barebones but this time around, the bots mode is getting some excellent features.
To start with, there are three game modes within Combat Training; Boot Camp, Objective and Bot Storm.
Boot Camp: In this game mode, players can gain multiplayer experience and rank up to level 10. Teams are composed of both bots and humans. This is a great way to get accustomed to Black Ops 2 multiplayer and is similar to game modes past. Boot Camp consists exclusively of Team Deathmatch.
Objective: In Objective, players compete online once again with teams comprised of both bots and humans. This time around, however, the game modes are objective-based. Players can rank up past level 10 here, but will not be earning full experience. You'll have to make the jump to online play if you want to continue ranking up properly.
Bot Storm: This is a fun mode in which teams of human players are put up against a team of AI-controlled bots. No experience is earned in Bot Storm, as it is designed to simply test your mettle before jumping into online competition. This is a great way to get your feet wet without making a fool of yourself in front of other players online.
For the first time in Call of Duty, bots can be inserted into just about any game mode that is lacking human players. If you need a handful of players to make a full game, they can be pulled in using bots.
This has been available in other games, like Counter-Strike, in the past, but never in Call of Duty until now.
Multiplayer in Black Ops 2 consists of 55 ranks and 10 levels of Prestige. In previous games, the Prestige system was simply starting all over again after spending hundreds of hours ranking your player up. To Treyarch, this didn't make sense, so they changed it up entirely. In Black Ops 2, choosing to Prestige isn't a punishment, but rather a continuation of your multiplayer experience.
When you choose to Prestige, your weapon experience and unlocks are not reset. Progress made towards challenges is also not reset upon Prestiging. When you Prestige, you are automatically given an Unlock Token. This token allows you to unlock any item regardless of level requirements. On top of that, you have three options to choose from in addition to the Unlock Token:
Extra Custom Class Slot - This enables you to increase the amount of custom classes available by one class, up to 5 total.
Stats Reset - This is for Call of Duty purists. Those who want to experience Prestige in Call of Duty as a full reset like it has been for the last several years.
Refund - Once you spend your unlock tokens, they're gone. If you choose to Refund, however, you get all of them back. This means that if you spent a handful of tokens on some shotguns and sniper rifles that you never use, you can opt to Refund and start your unlocks over from scratch.
Last, but not least, we have Theater Mode. This was a revolutionary new mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops, allowing players to view, edit and upload clips straight to YouTube from their exploits in-game. The influx of Tomahawk-to-Groin videos that flooded onto YouTube can be directly attributed to Theater Mode.
Well, Theater is back and has some excellent refinements. More meta information is captured regarding the video, including defends and captures. The community filter has been enhanced to let you sort through video content from the community, based on what you're interested in seeing.
Highlight Reel is a brand new feature to Black Ops 2's Theater Mode, and it's a pretty powerful. With literally the touch of one button, Black Ops 2 will provide a 'Highlight Reel' of your best moments in any given match. Once the Highlight Reel is created, you can customize the tool and continue editing your film. Theater now supports linking up to 20 clips in a single film, rather than the previous limit of 10.
If you've spent some time in Theater Mode, trying in vain to capture that cross-map Semtex toss, you'll know how difficult it can be to capture smoothly - even with Dolly Cam (which does return in Black Ops 2). Well, Treyarch has included an Attach to Object camera that allows players to set the camera to automatically follow a chosen object. For example, with Attach to Object, the camera can be set to track the Tomahawk as it is thrown from your hand, travels 50 yards across the map, banks off the side of a building and plants itself firmly in your targets crotchal region.
Finally, we'd be remiss in our duties if we passed over CODCasting.
This feature will let you practice your shoutcasting on pre-recorded matches or you can simply record some insightful commentary over your videos. For players who have aspired to do commentary over their gameplay, but simply didn't have the means to record, this can be a great solution.
CODCasting can also be a great way for aspiring shoutcasters to get their feet wet without worrying about a slew of viewers taking note of their every mistake and slip.
Spending some hands-on time with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has been an amazing experience. Simply put, Treyarch has once again proven themselves to be bold, talented and innovative developers. Tweaking Call of Duty is no easy task with a community that demands perfection and reliability while simultaneously frothing at the mouth for updates and originality, but Treyarch has risen to the challenge in a big way.
In years past, it was a common feeling in the Call of Duty community that Infinity Ward was the true Call of Duty developer and that Treyarch games were something to loathe.
Those days are long since gone.
With two Modern Warfare titles that are nearly identical in every way, released between two Black Ops games that have both challenged the fundamentals of the franchise and made huge leaps forward, it is clear where the heart of innovation lies in Call of Duty.
We've loved Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and we know you guys will as well! The game hits shelves on November 13th on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It will be followed up shortly after with a Wii U release.