The Treyarch and Black Ops III presentation at gamescom 2015 was firmly focused on multiplayer and the competitive portion of the game, so it is really no surprise that the big question on everyone’s minds – or at least the minds of the competitive players – was whether Call of Duty competitive will be jumping to a new console.
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that from Black Ops III, “PlayStation is the new home of Call of Duty eSports.” So competitive players will need to start investing in PlayStation 4s to continue playing Call of Duty eSports (on console at least).
This is obviously not really a surprise, as it was clear for a few months that the timed exclusivity deal Microsoft had with the series had moved over to Sony, but competitive itself had never been confirmed until now. However, that wasn’t all that got mentioned.
You can re-watch the reveal here, or skip a little further down and we’ll do our damnedest to summarise what was shown off for Black Ops III.
- A big addition to the competitive portion of the game is the Ban and Protect system, and a Specialist Draft which will add a very strategic element both pre-game and in-game.
- Ban and Protect sees each player of each team get the chance to take turns to ban or protect certain items for the upcoming round.
- Specialist Draft sees the selection of one of the nine specialist classes. In each team, there can only be one of each specialist type selected.
- The ‘new’ COD Caster mode has an improved look, X-Ray vision for spectators to see the location of all the players and a ‘widget’ which enables the caster to scroll through each player’s class and weapons selected.
All the settings are available to the caster both pre-game (in the lobby) and in-game, with the new Quick Settings menu granting access to the most commonly used caster tools “on the fly”.
Team names can now be changed and a primary colour assigned to a team that most represnts the teams participating in a match.
- The Live Event Viewer is another new addition and will allow spectators to watch games from major Call of Duty eSports events from within the game with the press of a button. How the events available will be determined is not clear as yet.
- League Play will be returning to the game under the name ‘Arena’. It plans to be more accessible to the players with Ranks based on “wins and wins alone”. There are 20 Ranks with the highest being Master Division. Losing two games in a row will see you being demoted in rank, while ranking up sees more wins required for every five ranks achieved.
- Uplink will be staying on for Black Ops III and seems to be a definite part of the eSports season. Search and Destroy, Capture the Flag and Hardpoint are also all present and accounted for.
- A number of weapons and scorestreaks were revealed. The Guardian, Hellstorm, Rolling Thunder, H.A.T.R., Power Core, and the G.I Unit are in the list of scorestreaks, while the weapons sees the P-06 Sniper Rifle, M8A7 Assault Rifle, and the Weevil SMG added to the arsenal. On top of that, there is a new tactical grenade called Black Hat.
In the campaign, there appears to be more freedom as the familiar ‘Follow’ icon is no longer there to boss you around. This should allow for varying tactics on the battlefield (yeah, we know what we did…), especially in co-op.
It does seem that some of the new eSports features and Arena will not be available to players on Xbox 360 and PS3, but in some ways, that was kind of expected as developers start moving away from the previous generation of consoles.
The beta arrives later this month, while the game itself releases on 6 November.