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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 January 8 Game Settings Update – What’s Coming in 2019

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The latest Game Settings Update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is live on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Highlights include:

  • Unique Mastery Camos are coming to Zombies and Blackout by the end of January
  • “Gauntlet” and three new elixirs coming to Zombies
  • A Zombies news tease for January 15th.
  • Patch 1.11 coming next week with Blackout looting update
  • League Play by the end of January

The full update reads as follows:

Happy New Year from everyone here at the studio – we hope you’re all rested up and ready for an incredible year of Black Ops 4 content! Today’s update is all about what’s coming soon in 2019.

First up: we’ve updated our post-holiday MP playlists into an all-out Moshpit bonanza on all platforms, including Endurance Chaos Moshpit in this week’s Featured Playlist showcase, along with Mercenary Capture Moshpit, Mercenary Hardcore Moshpit, Deathmatch Moshpit, and Map Pack Moshpit in the Featured category. We’ve also made stability improvements in MP and Zombies in today’s patch as we prepare for what’s in store later this month… see below for details.

With Black Ops 4’s launch window behind us and Operation Absolute Zero in full swing on all platforms, we’re hard at work on upcoming features and new content across all three modes. As we gear up for 2019, we’re kicking off our first community update of the year with details on some of our most anticipated upcoming features:

  • Mastery Camos in Zombies and Blackout
  • Upcoming Features in Zombies
  • Improved Looting in Blackout on consoles
  • League Play in Ranked Multiplayer

Mastery Camos in Zombies and Blackout

Many of you have been asking about bringing Gold, Diamond, and Dark Matter camos over from Multiplayer into Zombies and Blackout, particularly after the recent launch of Weapon Camo support in Blackout. We hear you, and we have a feature incoming that will support equipping these camos in all modes while preserving what those camos represent.

There is a reason these specific types of weapon progression camo are not shared across modes: they are designed to represent that players have completed a mode-specific challenge progression. Gameplay is very different across Multiplayer, Zombies, and Blackout, and we want the bragging rights that go with these camos to mean something in the modes where they’re shown off. As such, we’re building out Mastery Camo progression systems in both Zombies and Blackout that have unique, custom-tailored challenges that will represent that players have completed challenges designed for the modes where they are equipped.

We’re planning to deliver Mastery Camos in both modes in late January as our teams continue to work on the next round of new features, content, and events coming to Black Ops 4 this year. Stay tuned to these community updates to be the first to know more.

Upcoming Zombies Features

With five Zombies experiences now available following Dead of the Night’s release on all platforms, the team is laser-focused on developing new features and challenges for the Zombies community to sink their teeth into in 2019, in addition to more Zombies experiences coming throughout the year for Black Ops Pass holders.

Next week, we’re introducing the first series of this year’s new Zombies features and content with Gauntlets launching first in Voyage of Despair and the addition of three new Elixirs on PS4, plus new balancing changes to existing Elixirs! And as luck would have it, there’s a very Zombies-specificdate coming up next week when we’ll have more details to share about these features and more for Zombies coming in 2019. See you then.

Improved Looting in Blackout on Consoles

After additional testing and iteration, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be rolling out a much-improved interface for looting in Blackout on consoles in next week’s 1.11 update! This includes an easier-to-navigate interface that allows console players to quickly scroll through a multi-row grid, loot the items they want, and get back into the fight even faster. Thanks for all of your feedback on the current Blackout experience, and watch for more details on our updated interface next week.

League Play

As we mentioned back in our Operation Absolute Zero announcement blog, the Black Ops 4 competitive season is a core focus for us heading into 2019. Now that we’ve built the foundation for our competitive feature set with the launches of CWL Custom Games, CODCaster, and Live Event Viewer, we’re dedicated to rolling out continuing World League Hub features over the coming months.

This all kicks off with the launch of League Play by the end of January, which we know many of you are eagerly anticipating. League Play will operate a little differently this time around. The system is designed to emulate a schedule more like the pros play, where League Play events will be intense and frequent but shorter duration, generally spanning weekends or 3-day periods.

In between those events, Scrims will be run as an unranked playlist using CWL rules so that players and teams can sharpen their skills before a competition. Both League Play events and Scrims will use skill-based matchmaking, where focus has been applied to making sure skill matches are as accurate as possible without resulting in empty lobbies or long wait times. League ladders will be built around 50-player groupings to ensure the most intense competition for these shorter-duration events. We’ll provide more around how the ranking system works along with other details as we approach the launch date.

Our planned schedule is to release the World League Hub and first League Play event by the end of January. That said, we want to make sure that we’ve spent enough time play-testing and incorporating feedback before it launches, so this date is subject to change. We love ranked play as much as you do, and that’s why we’re taking the time required to give League Play the attention it deserves. From there, we’ll continue to release new World League Hub features, including Teams and Clans for our competitive-focused players.

Timing on all of the above features is subject to change based on development, and we’ll keep everyone informed with more precise info as we get closer to launching these new features.

Onto what’s new in the game since our last update:

​SUMMARY

  • Endurance Chaos Moshpit added as Featured Playlist in MP
  • Mercenary Capture Moshpit, Mercenary Hardcore Moshpit, Deathmatch Moshpit, and Map Pack Moshpit added to Featured category in MP
  • Stability improvements in MP
  • Dead of the Night/IX improvements in Zombies
  • 1.11 update arrives next week!

All Platforms

Multiplayer

  • Featured Playlists
    • Added Endurance Chaos Moshpit as Featured Playlist.
      • 6v6 with higher score limits.
      • Team Deathmatch with 150 score limit, 15 minute time limit.
      • Domination with 200 score round limit, 400 score match limit.
      • Hardpoint with 500 score limit, 10 minute time limit.
      • Kill Confirmed with 150 score limit, 15 minute time limit.
    • Added Mercenary Capture Moshpit, Mercenary Hardcore Moshpit, Deathmatch Moshpit, and Map Pack Moshpit to Featured category.
  • Stability
    • Improved stability with Torque’s Barricade and its effects on enemy players.
    • Improved stability with the Mantis Scorestreak, particularly when firing rockets.
    • Improved stability when killing Strike Team members as they rappel out of the helicopter.

Zombies

  • Miscellaneous
    • Dead of the Night
      • Addressed an issue that occasionally prevented a gravestone marker from appearing during the Main Quest.
      • Addressed an issue that could prevent progression of the Stake Knife quest.
      • Addressed an issue where players were able to pick up the Savage Impaler while their Special Weapon was in use.
      • Addressed a rare stability issue involving the clock step in the Pack-A-Punch Quest.
    • IX
      • Addressed an issue that could prevent progression of the bull head portion of the Main Quest.
  • Stability
    • Improved stability when multiple Sentries are active.

-Treyarch

Call of Duty

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.

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Helicopter flying in Call of Duty

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.

vanguard operators in combat in warzone pacific

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.”

A sniper in Modern Warfare Remastered

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

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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.

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world at war's heart of the reich level with CI logo

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

player fighting through Paris in MW3

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.

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

soap looking at gulag in MW2

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

player fighting across bridge in COD2

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

player looking at chernobyl wheel in cod4

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

a squad advancing in world at war mission

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.

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)

player making their way to eder dam in cod 1

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.

If you enjoyed our list and want more original content, then check out the best CoD Zombies maps ranked, every gun in Vanguard ranked, or even the 10 best FPS weapons of all time!

Image Credit: Activision

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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.

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lucas riggs and other characters with activision logo over them

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.

2019 saw the release of IW’s Modern Warfare reboot, 2020 was Treyarch’s Black Ops Cold War, and this year has seen the release of Sledgehammer Games’ Vanguard.

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.

player sniping in modern warfare 2019

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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