Amongst the competitive Call of Duty community, it is widely agreed upon that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the best competitive CoD title in the entire franchise and there is a multitude of reasons for this. A solid balance between weapon classes, well designed and structured maps and three unique game modes which involved diverse strategies and offered exciting gameplay to boot.
After CWL Las Vegas and a multitude of incredible comebacks, unbelievable specialist plays and some cases of outright domination, does Black Ops 4 have the credentials to be close to or even surpass the benchmark that Black Ops 2 has set?
There seems to be some balance
The opening tournament of the Black Ops 4 season in Las Vegas saw the online meta of the ICR and Maddox Assault Rifles continue to be the weapons of choice alongside the Saug sub-machine gun for the more aggressive objective players on a roster.
The ICR looked to be the weapon of choice for players looking to anchor spawns or provide some long-range support while their teammates attempted to make a play. The long-range nature of the ICR lends similarities to the M8A1 AR from Black Ops 2. Back then, the M8 players would often be seen anchoring the spawns on Hardpoint or behind a crafty headglitch ready to take out their opponent.
The Maddox is the go-to weapon for any close to mid-range gunfights. Its relatively high rate of fire and the ability to run two Quickdraw attachments allows players to provide support for their Saug players and the ability to assist their ICR players too, making it the perfect weapon for both flex and some objective players.
Just like it did online, the Saug SMG is lethal at very close range but fails to make much of an impact in mid to long-range gunfights. Similar to Black Ops 2 and the MSMC SMG, it was difficult to engage in a long-range fight with an opponent, giving each individual weapon their own advantages and disadvantages in the game.
Control is great
Synonymous for fast-paced action, Treyarch looks to have found early success with the all-new Control mode which has been added in place of Capture the Flag for the Black Ops 4 season. Las Vegas saw multiple comebacks where a team had a minimal amount of lives to clutch and win the game.
Although it is still the early stages of the season, we are already seeing certain strategies from teams. Take Arsenal, for example. If a team is able to capture point A in the middle of the map, the consensus is to back off, preserve the lives and set up for a final defence of point B.
As the season progresses and the teams get to grips with Control, the strategic possibilities that could be achieved will most likely make Control the best mode to watch this season.
Search & Destroy needs work
Search and Destroy has often been the home for new and unorthodox strategy within Call of Duty esports but on Black Ops 4, the classic game mode looks to be more about which team can trade kills more efficiently rather than outright strategy.
The lack of a smoke grenade to block off a lane or a particular line of sight could be the simple addition that slows down the pace of Search and Destroy and provides the strategic element that is currently missing from the mode.
The addition of the new Zero specialist armed with an EMP grenade is a step in the right direction. Is there a chance we see its new specialist in competition? We will have to wait for the next CWL rule update which is expected to be introduced in time for the Pro League Qualifier in January 2019.
There is potential
After a pretty disappointing World War 2 season, Black Ops 4 has put Call of Duty esports back on the map. In its current state, the game seems to be much more enjoyable than World War 2 and from a spectator’s perspective, the game is fantastic to watch.
In my opinion, the only way is up for 2019 and Black Ops 4. Treyarch has the right idea when it comes to weapon balance, changes to maps and adding new specialists or weapons into the CWL ruleset. With every ruleset modification, Black Ops 4 really does have the chance to raise the bar that Black Ops 2 set back in 2013.