Call of Duty: Black Ops II Multiplayer “Nitty-Gritty” Questions Answered

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Black Ops II is fast-approaching, and with Gamescom behind us, the community are asking the important questions that could make or break the series. But it isn’t necessarily just generic questions about details we already know; ‘Pick-10’, Pointstreaks, Livestreaming and StarCraft-like competitive MLG matches have all been fully explained.

But what about those little ‘other’ questions? You know, the really important things like Deathstreaks, how Pointstreaks are calculated, how weapon X performs over Y, and so on and so forth. Over at OneOfSwords‘ (Dan Amrich) – the Activision PR/Social Media Manager – webpage, Treyarch Lead Game Designer David Vonderhaar answered some interesting questions on his weekly podcast. You can listen to the full podcast here.

A little note at this point, the game is in “final development stage” – that is, it’s being pulled together and tinkered before release. Many things could change by the time the game releases on November 13. You can read the full article here.

No Deathstreaks or Final/Last Stand Perk

There’s no Second Chance; there’s no Last Stand, there’s no Final Stand. There’s no combination whatsoever of perk or deathstreak that puts the guy in the “downed” state in multiplayer. It’s not in multiplayer — there is no perk and there are no deathstreaks.

The infamous Perk and Deathstreak has finally been ousted after five Call of Duty games, with Black Ops II making the first ever main series game to not have Last Stand, Second Chance or whatever you want to call it. I repeat, there is no Last Stand, period.

Zombies, and presumably during any campaign story missions, will still use the ability to be downed but not killed with a weapon in hand. The perk/deathstreak, having received so much criticism since its inclusion in Call of Duty 4, has finally been killed off with Vonderhaar tongue-in-cheek referencing to his decision to keep the perk in Black Ops multiplayer and the constant barrage of messages he gets, by saying “please stop yelling at me.”

Deathstreaks have been thrown out the window, again, after being re-introduced in Modern Warfare 3 by Infinity Ward despite not making an appearance in the first Black Ops game.

Pointstreak Awards Loop-Around

Let me tell you where this is right now, and it’s something we are pretty happy with at this point. It does wrap around, but you can’t earn more than one of a type.

Like in Modern Warfare 3, rewards gained by playing the objectives or killing – gaining points for your streak – will not stop after you attain your highest level reward; they will “wrap around” and reset back to 0. In previous games before Modern Warfare 3, streaks would stop after you managed to get your highest killstreak so it wouldn’t ‘reset’ the streak, it would instead just stop counting actions and never reset until you died. David structured an easy example:

Let’s say you took UAV and Counter UAV. If you earned the UAV then earned the Counter UAV, you’re going to start building again for the UAV [all in one life].

But there is a catch. And, again, like in Modern Warfare 3 the streaks do not stack on top of each other. You could have earned that UAV and you’re about to earn another without calling in your first one, but you won’t get two to use. If you earn a second UAV, it still only counts as if you only earned one; you will always only have the single reward no matter come many times you earned it – so if you want multiple things, call them in before earning them again!

55 Levels = 55 Unlock Tokens; “Over 100 Pieces of Unlocks”

When you start at level 1, you will start leveling up and you will get to level 4. You will unlock create-a-class and you will have four unlock tokens, one for each level. You will then have a range of things you can spend those unlock tokens on — but not everything. So along the way, you’ve been deciding how to spend those tokens on content that’s been level-gated [unlocked at certain levels].

The relatively simple system that is unlocking and acquiring weapons and class items. You get an unlock token for every level you surpass. These ‘tokens’ can be used to unlock what you saw in the Gamescom footages, from Wildcards to Perks and Pointstreaks to Weapons – but all still follow the traditional Call of Duty “rank up to unlock” before you are able to use a token to get them.

There is more of an incentive to Prestige, because for completionists out there you will not be able to unlock everything without having to Prestige. But David Vonderhaar also mentions, which is still being tinkered, that you can ‘hold’ onto an unlock through all Prestiges – like the Prestige Token system in MW3. He says they are in the process of “making sure Prestige feels just as good.”

Aggressive/Objective Players Rewarded More; Scoring System Explained

There are definitely events, particularly in objective-based game modes, where you are going to get more score for being on the aggressive side.

Treyarch have emphasised that they want to reward players who play the objective or otherwise are aggressive in game modes more than those who hang back. You will get more points for capping flags in Capture the Flag than killing enemies. Same goes for all other game modes; slayers will still get points per kill, but objective players will get more.

These are the values that we change a lot; we’ve changed them about three times since we got out of Gamescom already, and we’re going to keep changing them until we’re satisfied.

The Scoring system is still being hotly debated, related to how one is awarded with X amount of points. They argue that yes you will still be rewarded a certain amount for killing, but how much? Should the score be the same across all game modes or be different to further emphasise that objectives are more important? Vonderhaar explains that “we’re still working through that.”

Custom Emblems Returning and Major Improvements

There’s a lot more granularity and control over the colors. There are a lot more layers you can use. You can cut and copy an image from one layer into any layer in the stream — that helps create those illusion-style images that people like to do.

Custom Emblems are set to make a reappearance for all artistic players out there. He also reveals that Treyarch will announce more details at the end of September.

Other Details

End-of-game Scoreboards will be detailed, like Black Ops I

Showing detailed stats determined on what game mode you played, e.g. domination flag captures, bombs planted/defused, etc.

No Pick-10 combination? Knife-only!

By not choosing any 10 combinations (which includes weapons), you will get a knife by default no matter what. Treyarch experimented with “hands and fists” but looked “very unusual”.

MW3 Killing Enemy “Revenge Voice” Reaction feature returns

Vonderhaar revealed that public games will have this feature – when you kill someone and you can hear their reaction – turned on automatically, toggle on or off in private/competitive matches. David Vonderhaar “loves” this feature.

Covered in Podcast

Perk Balance

On the subject of Perk Balance, a very controversial area of every Call of Duty, David Vonderhaar assures us that every perk can be tuned far more easier than before. The perk ‘Awareness’ helps you hear movement noise (mantling, gear rattling, footsteps on types of ground – which is variable, etc etc) and the perk ‘Dead Silence’ takes the big noises (like footsteps) and reduces it but “doesn’t remove everything.” He further clarifies that it is “not a flat cancel [or, full counter], it’s a partial cancel”. Still a lot of tweaking is required with these two perks, David reassures.

Having Flak Jacket on, not constituting as a full counter, doesn’t mean you won’t die to explosive damage.

Infinite Sprinting

No MW2-style Marathon perk “at the moment” Vonderhaar says, perhaps not completely ruling it out – Extreme Conditioning is not currently infinite sprint, rather like COD4 and MW3 Extreme Conditioning. But he goes onto say that they “probably won’t change it to be honest” and, from a technical view point, found many issues regarding sprinting infinitely like “wrecking havoc” with the spawning system.

Final Killcam System and Improvements

Vonderhaar explains how they are “reviewing an upgrade so that the Final Killcam [Game Ending Killcam] is from the winning team, not necessarily the final kill” and also answers a question about showing the final kill if that someone leaves the game prematurely, which in previous games doesn’t show the Killcam: “certain circumstances it might not show it, but we are looking into any issues.” The Killcam should still show even if the player “ejects his disc.”

High Killstreak? Get a Medal!

If you are on a high kill streak, as in killing a lot of people without dying, you will get ‘Medals’. David doesn’t clarify further how these will affect anything else like XP gained or receiving anything special but presumably you’ll get medals for capturing objectives consistently.

No Selling Back Gear

Treyarch experimented with selling back weapons, attachments and class items in the first Black Ops. It was scrapped before the game released, and Dan Amrich asked a similar question if you bought something with a token in this game, could you sell it back later? While they looked into this, they decided that this “wasn’t necessary” because you have many opportunities in Black Ops II to get to play around with many combinations (league games or custom matches).

CODCasting Camera Support; PS3 uses Eye camera, Xbox LIVE Vision

They are still working out what cameras will be able to support picture-in-picture CODCasting; USB cameras like the Xbox LIVE Vision and PLAYSTATION Eye will work for broadcasting face cam. They discuss the Xbox Kinect and how many people will have one positioned on their TV, but David Vonderhaar doesn’t confirm if Kinect will be supported, citing that it’s a “motion camera” and are not sure if they can make it work for their system.

Livestreaming “working” on 360, PS3; PC system undecided

David Vonderhaar confirms that the Xbox 360 version of Livestreaming/CODCasting is working very well, as is the PS3 version. However, he says that because PC gamers have a vast array of programs that could possibly deliver better livestreaming performance than what they are offering but are “looking into it.”

You can check out all of our coverage and content on Black Ops II, by clicking here.

Lots of juicy questions answered and/or clarified further. Are you guys more excited with the knowledge that certain things have been answered? What questions would you like answered by David Vonderhaar and/or Treyarch?