As announced by Activision and Treyarch earlier this week, the Free Trial for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Blackout Battle Royale mode is live now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via each platform’s respective stores.
The Free Trial for Blackout is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC from January 17 through January 24 at 10AM PT allowing anyone on those platforms to try Black Ops 4’s Blackout mode. Players can download Blackout to try for free during the trial duration and check out Call of Duty’s first ever Battle Royale mode. The trial is available to download from the PSN Store, Xbox One Store, or Battle.net.
“The community response to Blackout has been incredible, and we love watching how players have really made the mode their own, evolving game play to a new level,” said Dan Bunting, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “We can’t wait to welcome new players to experience the unique Black Ops style of battle royale in Blackout.”
“It’s amazing to see the amount of creativity and fun that our players have from the moment they start playing,” said Mark Gordon, Co-Studio Head, Treyarch. “Particularly as game developers, we’ve always been fascinated watching clips and streams of how fans play, and we can’t wait to see even more people jump into the action.”
The Blackout Free Trial includes:
- ·Access only to the Blackout battle royale mode
- All progression saved and transferred for those who upgrade to the full version of Call of Duty®: Black Ops 4
- Matchmaking with all Blackout players
- All the latest Blackout map updates, including the Hijacked drop zone
An Activision Support article has provided additional details on how the Blackout Free Trial will work. Players that are playing the free trial will be able to team up with players who not only are also playing the trial but also team up with anyone who owns Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
After downloading and installing the Blackout free trial from your platform’s store, you’ll be able to immediately play Blackout as Solo, Duos, or Quads. (Please note: In certain regions, only one game mode will be available at a time.) Since you’ll be playing with the greater Call of Duty community, you’ll not only be able to party up with friends playing the Blackout free trial, you’ll also be able to party up with friends who already own Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
Free Trial players will not be available to access any personalization gear during the trial period, nor purchase Call of Duty Points. Activision says that players will have to purchase the full game to get access to the Paint Shop, or the Emblem Editor. In terms of player progression, free trial players can earn new Echelon levels (there’s no limit beyond the game’s 80 level limit) and rank up in Tiers in the Black Market, but the content from the Black Market cannot be accessed. Activision has confirmed that if you do decide to purchase the full game after the trial, all of your unlocks will be available to use then.
Blackout free trial players will earn Echelon Progression and unlock Tiers and loot through the Black Market, which will be banked but inaccessible within the free trial. However, if you upgrade to the full version of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (all platforms) or the Battle Edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PC only), you’ll immediately gain access to all the progression, loot, and rewards you’ve earned.
All players need to have a Call of Duty account in order to access the free trial. Players will be prompted to create one or sign in once you load up the free trial. For PlayStation 4 players, PlayStation Plus is not required to play the Blackout Free Trial. Xbox One players need Xbox Live Gold in order to play, and PC players need an active Battle.net account.
This is the first free trial for the mode since the game’s launch on October 12. There is no free trial announced for MP or Zombies at this time.
Here’s a trailer for the trial, which was released earlier this week.
Activision has not announced any plans for Blackout to be free permanently, but we’ll update if there’s any news on that front.
Call of Duty dev finally confirms that games have had SBMM all along
A former Call of Duty developer has confirmed that the series has used skill-based matching since 2007’s Modern Warfare.
Skill-based matchmaking has been a hugely controversial issue among Call of Duty fans for years, and former developer Josh Menke has finally confirmed that CoD titles have had SBMM as far back as 2007’s Modern Warfare.
In the early days of online multiplayer gaming, players would have to select a server to join by themselves. As time went on, developers started to automate that process, eventually introducing skill-based matchmaking in an attempt to keep matches competitive.
While this seems logical, it’s been a highly contentious issue among gamers who claim it has ruined games and made them less fun.
Games like Black Ops Cold War and Warzone have been criticized for using skill-based matchmaking too much, with players comparing them to older Call of Duty titles. However, former Activision Senior Systems Designer Josh Menke has revealed that SBMM has been in CoD games since 2007.
The idea behind skill-based matchmaking is to place you in lobbies with players of a similar skill level. While many believe that older Call of Duty titles didn’t do this, Menke states it’s been used as far back as the original Modern Warfare.
“[Call of Duty 4] did have some skill-based match-making, all of them always have,” he told GDC. “It’s just the math and science have gotten better over the years. If you grew up on it back then, your expectations are very different than if you have it now.”
“The same thing happens in Fortnite, even today. When the game first started, I believe they had very little skill-based matchmaking, then over the years they’ve experimented with different levels of SBMM and using bots.”
“You’ll have players who play Call of Duty that will be like, ‘I don’t like skill-based matchmaking,’ but then they go play Valorant and it’s fine.”
One of the biggest complaints about skill-based matchmaking is that while it should be used in ranked modes, public or casual matches have become too difficult because of the system.
Menke does feel that developers are making one major error with current matchmaking systems, saying that when a game can’t find a good match for a player, it just “settles” for a bad one. Instead, he suggests using “real-time stats” on the player base to create the best games possible.
Whether you like SBMM or not, the system isn’t going anywhere. At least the long-running debate over CoD’s historical matchmaking system can finally be put to rest.
For more Call of Duty, check out everything you need to know about Warzone’s new Pacific Caldera map.
Image Credits: Activision
Top 5 hardest Call of Duty campaigns of all time
Call of Duty has produced some of the most memorable campaigns in FPS history, but we’re counting down the top 5 hardest ever.
As well as delivering epic narratives and creating iconic characters, plenty of CoD campaigns have also offered a nice challenge down the years. So we’ve picked out the top 5 hardest CoD campaigns ever, and ranked them.
Whilst it’s Call of Duty’s multiplayer that understandably gets all the plaudits, the franchise has produced some incredibly good single-player experiences too – with Vanguard being the latest one. After all, before online gaming really got going in the mid-late 2000s, campaigns were the main selling point of FPS games.
Many games have since overlooked this aspect in favor of keeping players hooked to live service models. However, barring Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, every major CoD title has had a campaign, and we’ve sifted through them all to rank the top five hardest of all time.
Hardest CoD campaigns ever ranked
We can confirm that we’ve played and beaten all these campaigns on the Veteran difficulty setting – apart from BLOPS III which we did on its debuting Realistic difficulty.
As most players will know, Veteran can turn a simple corridor into a test of patience that can take a long time. This separates the weak from the strong and is a perfect way to differentiate campaigns.
- Read More: How to get Call of Duty: Warzone Role Cards
Recent years have phased out repsawning enemies and grenade spam, and as a result, have been a lot easier. But a trip down memory lane will dig up some of the most frustrating levels and sections in the series.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Definitely not as tough as the later entries on our list, but Infinity Ward’s second installment of the Modern Warfare saga had the odd mean level that will bring out the veins in your head.
The game actually starts out fairly generously for the first few levels, and then dumps a harsh one-two punch of Takedown on you, a nerve-inducing push through the Favela, and the extremely open nature of Wolverines.
You’re allowed your breath back for a bit, and then you’re plunged into the infested depths of the Gulag that has some positively vile checkpoints to clear. Through Whiskey Hotel and Loose Ends you have a ton of enemies to contend with and these are the levels that test your Veteran instincts, especially the survive and escape formula of Loose Ends.
Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t have a defining level or section that stands out, it’s just packed with lots of solid fights that will test your mettle.
4. Call of Duty 2
The early Call of Duty games set the standard for some of the difficulty that was going to be featured down the line.
CoD2 feels a bit more streamlined and thought-out compared to the first game, but it’s still rife with grenades flying in from every angle and Germans that have had their skills honed by the Matrix.
There’s definitely a sense that the levels get harder towards the end, as a natural difficulty curve should do. The German respawn factory never ceases production, even until the very end. The only thing that lessens the difficulty a tad is the fact that Call of Duty 2 introduced regenerating health for the first time, meaning players had time to recover.
3. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
We consider CoD4 to be the best Call of Duty game, and its characters, set-pieces, that nuclear explosion scene, and so much more make this campaign memorable, not least the punishing difficulty.
But it’s a handful of missions and sections that will get you used to the death screen. Charlie Don’t Surf’s push through the Broadcast area is painful, the Hunted is littered with large space and tight areas packed with enemies, and even scaling the hill in Safehouse can take a while.
But it’s some of the game’s final missions where things are turned up to 100. The iconic One Shot, One Kill mission is a supreme test of skill, patience, and luck on Veteran, No Fighting in the War Room is a timed slog through steam, claustrophobic corridors teeming with foes, and of course – Mile High Club.
A one-minute sprint through about 50 enemies in the tightest fighting area yet, going up a floor, demanding absolute precision and excellence on your part. You’ll find that if you check many gamer’s Trophies and Achievements for CoD4, they’ll be missing this one on Veteran.
2. Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: Grenade would’ve been a more apt title for Treyarch’s 2008 World War II shooter and many players to this day still see grenade indicators appearing in their vision.
Every mission is an exercise in patience and bravery thanks to unlimited enemy respawns and the germans owning every grenade in existence.
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The game is a brutal journey for its first 14 missions on Veteran, and then you get to what is probably the most difficult FPS mission ever created – Heart of the Reich. The act of taking down four AA guns can take literally hours as you have little cover, enemies are attacking (infinitely) from all sides, and you’re having to constantly retreat from grenades every two seconds.
World at War is one of the last true tests of outrageous CoD difficulty.
1. Call of Duty 1 (Call of Duty: Classic)
Anyone who thinks World at War or CoD4 are the hardest campaigns only say that because they haven’t the arduous task of completing the first-ever Call of Duty campaign on Veteran.
Why’s it the hardest? It’s very simple. No health regeneration, no health packs, the checkpoints are utterly unforgiving as you need to have a certain amount of health to trigger them, otherwise, you get diddly squat, checkpoints can be awarded as you’re getting shot, enemies can regularly appear behind you, and they have an immaculate aim.
Then when you start to factor in Chateau, POW Camp, Eder Dam, Truck Ride, Battleship Tirpitz, and the absolutely mind-bogglingly difficult Pavlov’s House, then it’s easy to see why Call of Duty 1 has the hardest campaign ever.
Don’t believe us? Go and play it on Veteran, then get back to us.
So that’s our top 5 list of the hardest Call of Duty campaigns of all time. Even if your list has one or two slightly different entries, we can all agree that Call of Duty has done a great job of serving up some fiendishly tough treats.
Image Credit: Activision
Leaker claims Activision is considering changing Call of Duty’s annual release schedule
A leaker has suggested that Activision’s annual CoD release may be coming to an end with extended cycles being considered.
A new Call of Duty title is released every year, with multiple studios taking it in turns to bring out a new game. A new leak however has made the bold claim that Activision may be thinking about changing its release schedule and model.
It’s become a given that a new CoD game will be released in November of each year, with the likes of Treyarch, Sledgehammer Games, and Infinity Ward all taking it in turns to develop a new game.
It’s already rumored that Modern Warfare 2 is in the works for 2022, but depending on Activision’s approach, they may opt to change their release policy, starting with MW2.
Leaks seem to happen left, right, and center these days, with people able to learn a great deal of information about projects and plans, many of which turn out to be true.
The new Call of Duty rumor comes from leaker Ralph, who recently claimed that the reported Modern Warfare 2 Multiplayer remaster has been canceled, and thinks that annual releases are being reconsidered.
A recent Tweet from them quite simply said: “Activision are reportedly in discussion for extending Call of Duty’s annual releases.”
As with any leak, this should be taken with a major pinch of salt. RalphsValve has recently come under scrutiny from fellow leakers regarding the accuracy of his claims.
With the rumored 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 title still potentially a year out, maybe two now, things can always change, and we’d recommend taking these claims with a pinch of salt.
Furthermore, given how much this could change the Call of Duty landscape going forward, we’d also strongly recommend waiting for official confirmation from Activision before assuming this is the direction CoD will be going in the future.
For more Call of Duty news, take a look at when Vanguard and Warzone Season 1 starts.
Image Credit: Activision / Infinity Ward / Sledgehammer Games
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