Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Future is Black... Friday Sales [Black Ops II Multiplayer Thoughts]

By Robert Anderson

The date is November 13, 2012. Another year has come and gone. The leaves are turning brown; the air is getting crisp and the temperature lowering. Children frolic in the yards; birds migrate south and gamers everywhere wait in line for hours to get their hands on another installment in the Call of Duty franchise.  What’s Call of Duty you ask? Why my good reader, it is nothing less than the bestselling franchise of the last few years! Hundreds of millions of dollars pour into Activision’s bank account as they clap and laugh their way to vacation.

“We told them Elite would be worth it!”

Call of Duty Black Ops II is the sequel to 2010’s Black Ops; developed by Treyarch. The Call of Duty franchise has been split between multiple studios so Activision can release a yearly iteration of both sides of the company. This is the first game in the series to feature a setting that takes place in the future, more specifically the year 2025.

This article is an ode to multiplayer. Consider Black Ops the Hamlet of my Call of Duty Experience; rising above all others and providing ample entertainment that no other play delivered. Many may consider my words a blasphemous testimony that requires my head on the block but alas my fair common people, I am not a king. For my love of Call of Duty started with Black Ops and will flourish like seed in a field; Treyarch being the farmhand to raise it well.

The multiplayer of the series has been getting a lot of backlash over the years. Unanimously the community agreed that Modern Warfare 3 was nothing but a carbon copy of Modern Warfare 2 with worse maps and less reliable gameplay. The team at Treyarch paid attention over the last two years to the community and listened. Did the team pull off a miracle? Is the community going to be pleased?

Numerous reviews have given high praise to Black Ops II. High scores highlight the campaign as engrossing and action packed, the never ending multiplayer layers that add more depth than ever before to classes and a new and improved zombie mode that over shadows previous version by far. Now you can’t please everyone. 24 hours after release Twitter was ablaze with either hate or praise. Like every big title release the game had server issues the first day. Is this cause for rage? No. Yes they can prepare as much as they want but like everything else in life; shit happens. Treyarch did a good job responding and getting servers up as soon as possible for the millions of players waiting to get online.

My tent is better than yours… [Multiplayer]

Call of Duty multiplayer; what can I say? For years the online community has been up in arms about one specific way of playing; camping. Why is it that when an enemy sits in a corner and kills you time after time it causes players to throw controllers, launch racist/homophobic rants and/or shut down the console instantly? Am I getting old where I don’t let these little things anger me?

“How can you be mad at them?”

If camping is such a big deal, and has been happening since Call of Duty 4, why are players still surprised when it happens? Online, for some god awful reason, a player’s kill to death ratio is the equivalent to their penis length. I have seen this in all games, if a player has a low K/D then they are a “nobody” and don’t deserve to live. I will save these thoughts for another time. If an enemy is camping there are many ways to counter; use a sniper rifle, explosive weapons or even throw grenades. Adapt and overcome gamers. Stop crying about it on Twitter.

I have invested a lot of time into the multiplayer aspect since launch; as of writing this article I am currently at level 35. I have been enjoying it a lot; more so than any of the previous COD games from the last 4 years. Yes, it may be just another COD but I do feel it is smoother than MW3 and provides far better levels! The weapons across the board are improved. I have been using the R870 shotgun, MP7 SMG, and the .50cal bolt action sniper rifle. I love all these weapons greatly.

Speaking of which, the weapons allow far more customization than before. Each class you build allows 10 items. This includes your weapon plus attachments, perks and secondary items. You can build your classes to exactly how you play more than ever before. Are you a support player? Stock up on shock grenades to help your slayers. Are you an objective player? Grab sensors to defend locations as you take them!

“Ocey; offering double D support to anyone who partners.”

Support and objective players get a huge boost in this game as well! Tired of players getting ten plus kills and launching chopper gunners while you are dying trying to take a flag point? Well now Treyarch has given us the best update to the series; score streaks. Gone are the ways of kill streaks! Now your reward packages are based on points so don’t worry if you are not a top tier slayer; go grab some flags and launch UAVs to net base points to build your streak rewards. This benefits everyone around and allows for more close matches.

New to the series is League Play which allows teams to enter into a high competitive field and advance into more prestigious league divisions based on performance. Tired of GameBattles and online ladder play that doesn't benefit you? Treyarch created League Play (which closely resembles StarCraft 2 ladder format, slightly) for those of you who feel the need to flex your competitive arms.  Grab a team of four, hit the play list and prove you are as good as you claim.

Overall I have been satisfied with Black Ops II on a high level. Nothing has caused me to rage like others then again, I am old and therefore wiser than young 20 something gamers. The server issues again are the only flaw but it is not something worth crying about. Will you enjoy Black Ops II? Like all series, you must adapt with what changes occurred and if you don’t, well, go back to COD4.

Once you go black (ops), you never go back (to modern warfare).

“Ain’t that the truth.”

Rob Anderson is a podcast host with The Lag Switch (@theLagSwitch) live every Thursday at 830PM eastern on his live stream channel ( He is known to be a gaming fanatic, film freak, and a comic obsessed madman. For more of his shenanigans you can reach him at:

Twitter: @itsOCELOT
YouTube: Dr Ocelot PhD
Twitch Live Stream: itsOCELOT