Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: Activision should make Blackout free to play with more updates to compete with the changing industry

Published

on

With the influx of Battle Royale games on the market, many thought Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s Blackout would reign in as one of the most popular games to take that genre over for those looking for an alternative battle royale to play. But almost 3 months into the game’s life cycle, there’s less excitement amongst the community about the mode’s future and sustainability.

With new titles like Apex Legends coming into the market, the competition against Blackout continues to increase.

Blackout was one of the first AAA battle royale games on the market, with Fortnite and PUBG both independently published by smaller companies at the time. Blackout was also one of the first FPS battle royale from a AAA developer available across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. But, Blackout’s $60 fee to start playing, alongside with the slow release of content, has started to limit the excitement for the game. The increased competition has started to overshadow Blackout in the community’s view.

Apex Legends, Respawn’s new battle royale game, marks one of the first AAA-backed battle royale games available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC that delivers, so far, an incredible experience for players. It was announced and released the same day, and thus far, has delivered a polished day 1 experience. It features new twists on the battle royale genre that other games did not adapt, like hero based abilities, 3 player squad, an active ping system, and more.

Apex Legends Screenshot – Respawn

And, most importantly, it’s free to play. Apex Legends has already taken over Twitch being the #1 streamed game across the site for 3 days since its launch. Some may attribute to streamers being promoted to share the game, but many streamers playing have already acknowledged its excitement and their plans to add Apex into their rotation of games shown on their stream.

Being free to play, many players are bound to jump on to try a new experience on Battle Royale. A big question on Apex Legends’ future will be the cadence of content being released post launch, something that has, thus far, limited Blackout’s growth. Respawn has already taken it a step further by providing a road-map of content to expect for the entire first year of the game, something we’ve not seen from Treyarch. Treyarch so far has stuck to the “later this month” or “soon” in regards to updates for Black Ops 4, without providing any direction on what to expect next for the title.

Blackout launched on October 12, 2018. Three months into the game’s cycle, there has only been one update with new changes to Blackout (beyond the balancing updates) back in December. The map still is fall themed, only has had one new location added, and the variety of weapons has remained stale throughout the game’s cycle thus far. Many have been asking what happened to the promise of “delivering more content with more frequency.” Activision’s blog post from June 2018 even said that Treyarch plans to deliver “a more frequent cadence to keep things fresh and deliver new maps and content more regularly throughout the year”. Some community members have pointed out that Sledgehammer Games actually released more content for Call of Duty: WWII at this point then what Treyarch has for Black Ops 4.

Operation Absolute Zero

Treyarch seems to be tying their ability to add more content to new operations only, and with each operation lasting over 60+ days, that’s a long drought of no new meaningful updates that is driving many players to check out other battle royale experiences.

With how much the industry is changing, I think it’s time for Activision to re-evaluate their strategy with Call of Duty and how to approach battle royale with the franchise. The yearly $60 release will probably always be there, but for Blackout or the franchise to sustain long term with increased free to play competition on the market, Activision should start to adapt to the new industry direction before the company gets pushed out. There’s also a lot of uncertainty with Activision overall, as industry analysts have started to wonder what Activision will do to replace the revenue loss from no longer having Destiny.

Even EA, the last company anyone would expect to do what they’ve done this week, has started to adapt with Apex Legends being free to play!

Treyarch created a good foundation for a battle royale with Blackout — the gameplay, mechanics, and features of the core of the mode, like zombies spawns, vehicle integration, and more have been implemented in a good way thus far. There’s obviously some balancing issues with armor and equipment, but the core of the game is still good.

But, for Blackout to be successful in the long run, Activision really show un-bundle it from Black Ops 4 and make it a standalone free to play product across PS4, Xbox One, and PC — and allow it to grow and be updated without being tied to the other modes in Black Ops 4 with new content updates more often compared to large updates that actually don’t bring new in game content (not just Black Market updates).

Apex Legends

Apex Legends Season 13 review: Newcastle saves lackluster update

The Apex Legends Season 12 update boasts a host of content, finally brining a new Legend to the game that makes a meaningful impact.

Published

on

apex legends season 13 saviors review downed beast

Apex Legends’ brand-new character Newcastle has well and truly arrived in Season 13, dominating the limelight among various changes and new content.

Apex Legends Season 13: Saviors has officially arrived, and now that players have had some time to enjoy the new content, it’s clear what stands out in the community.

With major Ranked changes, Storm Point update, and various Legend and weapon buffs and nerfs, Season 13 has no doubt made an impact on the ever-growing battle royale game. However, the brand new Legend Newcastle has definitely stolen the show.

Apex Legends Season 13 review

A welcomed Ranked overhaul

ranked reloaded apex legends

Apex Legends Season 13 brought some much-needed changes to the Ranked system. Players had been calling for changes for some time, and finally, the devs delivered in Season 13: Saviors.

This huge Ranked overhaul was dubbed “Ranked Reloaded,” and brought changes to most aspects of the competitive game mode. The most significant of these changes are around the way in which players receive Ranked Points (RP) and Kill Points (KP).

These changes give the mode a much more team-orientated vibe, which is exactly how it should feel. The devs introduced demotions as well, which the community had been calling for.

This will no doubt make the lobbies more competitive and also make the system more accurate at placing players in the Rank that reflects their skill level. This will also encourage players who are “hard stuck” to continue pushing and developing their skills to reach the Rank they are aiming to stay in.

These changes have been greatly welcomed so far, but of course, as they overhauled the system there are some issues and small tweaks that will be needed. If you’d like a more in-depth look at the changes, check out our guide on Ranked Reloaded.

Lackluster content & changes

Storm Point

imc armories in apex legends storm point

Apart from these impactful Ranked changes, the update did bring a slightly underwhelming map update to Storm Point, as well as a lack of meaningful changes to Legends and weapons.

Storm Point was given a brand new POI, the Downed Beast. Despite this POI being great fun and having a well-thought-out design, one new POI for such a massive map definitely feels underwhelming.

Of course, Storm Point also got the new IMC Armories on the map, and these are great for getting high-tier loot. However, again, there isn’t much map change, just a new POI and some of these new IMC Armories that have popped up around the map, which is quite disappointing.

Legends & weapons

apex legends battle pass skins

Season 13 also failed to bring a new weapon to the game, which many had been hoping for. Apart from the massive Kraber and Helmet changes, not much has changed with both the weapons and Legends in the game.

Light weapons are now much weaker than Heavy due to the R-301 going into the Replicator and both the Flatline and Spitfire being placed back in floor loot. The only Legends to receive big changes were Rampart and Valkyrie, leaving the community disappointed to see no changes for Lifeline.

In general, Season 13 has failed to bring significant changes to the Legends and weapons in Apex Legends, which makes the gameplay feel slightly stale.

Newcastle is the Savior

apex legends newcastle

Despite all of this, the brand-new Legend Newcastle is the saving grace for Season 13. Newcastle is a refreshing Legend that stands out as a dominant force, which sets his release aside from the previous Legend introductions that have been deemed unimpressive by the community.

The Mobile Guardian has a very strong kit with abilities that feel impactful and worthwhile. Newcastle can change the tide of a fight with his Ultimate, make a push easier with his Tactical, or even play a supportive role with his Passive shield revive.

His introduction has definitely shaken up the meta in Season 13, competition with the likes of Gibraltar and Lifeline who have both been dominant picks for many seasons. Newcastle is a blast to play, and although he may need a few tweaks as his abilities are definitely strong, he doesn’t feel overpowered.

This new Legend stands out as the most entertaining and impactful introduction within the Apex Legends Season 13 update, saving the season from an otherwise disappointing launch.

Verdict: 6/10


Remember, we will be getting some new content throughout the season which could brighten up the update and bring some great new content. With that in mind, check out the leaked Awakened Collection Event.

Image Credits: Respawn Entertainment

Continue Reading

Call of Duty: Warzone

Warzone’s 2nd Anniversary: The best & worst metas in Warzone history

Warzone’s second anniversary is here, so we’re looking back at all of Call of Duty’s metas and revealing which were the best and worst.

Published

on

best and worst warzone metas

March 10 marks Call of Duty: Warzone’s two-year anniversary, so we’re taking a look at the best and worst Warzone metas throughout its history.

When a gun is considered ‘meta’ in Warzone, that means it’s the most powerful weapon at the time. Keeping Warzone’s meta as balanced as possible has been a constant battle for devs Raven Software, where they release several updates a month that make major changes to the best and worst weapons.

When the meta is balanced, it means that you don’t necessarily have to use the best weapons to succeed. However, some metas are so game-breaking that you’re forced to use a specific weapon to have a hope of competing.

We’ve looked back on every meta across Warzone’s first two years and picked out the best and worst metas the game has seen, plus we’ve discussed what the meta looks like on Warzone’s second anniversary.

Call of Duty: Warzone’s best meta

best warzone kilo loadout

While something can be said for Warzone’s M4A1 and Grau 5.56 metas, we believe the Kilo 141 and MP5 meta was the most balanced the game has ever been. While powerful and easy to use, the Kilo 141 and MP5 never felt like they were the be-all and end-all weapons.

There was plenty of room for experimenting with different loadouts, and no weapon felt too dominant. You could still use the Grau, CR-56 AMAX, or M4A1 if you wanted, or you could try out something whacky like the SCAR.

Aside from the AS VAL and SPR-208 being broken for a little while, Warzone’s meta was in a fantastic place during Modern Warfare Season 6, but that all changed when Black Ops Cold War integrated in December 2020.

Call of Duty: Warzone’s worst meta

Warzone DMR 14

It will come as no surprise that the DMR-14 was Warzone’s worst meta, with the game being infamously nicknamed DMR-zone during Cold War Season 1.

The AUG/M16 and FFAR 1 meta could be considered just as bad, but the biggest issue was how long the DMR was meta for. It hit a pick rate of almost 30% at the height of its popularity, but it felt much higher than that in-game.

With incredible damage, a fast fire rate, low recoil, and almost infinite range, the DMR-14 wasn’t fun to kill people with, and it certainly wasn’t fun to be killed by. The community was crying out for nerfs, but the first round wasn’t enough. Then, the DMR was finally nerfed and the FFAR 1 and the burst rifles took over.

Luckily, Raven Software dropped a ton of nerfs after Verdansk was nuked and Verdansk ’84 arrived, and even though the Krig 6 and FARA 83 became dominant, nothing has come close to the DMR-zone.

How is Warzone’s meta on its second anniversary?

Bren LMG in Warzone Pacific

After some accidental buffs to both Vanguard’s Bren LMG and PPSH-41 were reverted, Warzone Pacific Season 2’s meta is in a pretty good place.

The Bren is still dominant at long-range, but weapons such as Cold War’s AK-47, Vargo 52, Automaton, and Cooper Carbine can all give it a run for its money.

The close-range meta is also fairly balanced, with the MP-40 still remaining a popular choice and many switching over to the Owen Gun. With more weapons set to arrive in each of Vanguard’s upcoming seasons, we’ll likely see plenty of new metas hit the game.


We might not even be playing this version of Warzone for its third anniversary, as Infinity Ward have confirmed that ‘Warzone 2’ is in development and will arrive during Modern Warfare 2‘s lifecycle.

Image Credit: Activision

Continue Reading

Call of Duty: Warzone

Caldera Clash proves Warzone needs more LTMs

The success of Warzone Pacific Season 2’s LTM Caldera Clash is proof that more LTMs could be a great thing for the battle royale.

Published

on

Warzone airfield Operators

The Warzone Pacific Season 2 update introduced Caldera Clash, a limited-time mode that players instantly enjoyed and its success should open the door for more Warzone LTMs.

Warzone LTMs are far from a new concept and players have enjoyed some over the years including Payload, Caldera Clash, and Armored Royale. While not all of these modes were met with acclaim from Warzone players, it’s safe to say there have been few LTMs in Warzone.

Despite the lack of LTMs in Warzone, the same cycle seems to occur when a new one is introduced in which players ask the devs to bring the limited-time mode back. We believe this happens because LTMs work well as a change of pace in Warzone and introducing more would be a fantastic idea.

Caldera Clash menu screen

Caldera Clash may have looked familiar seeing as it draws from the Clash mode on Verdansk ’84 and Warzone Rumble. Even the successful Caldera Clash can’t technically be considered an original concept, which Warzone desperately needs more of.

Caldera Clash is a large-scale TDM-like game mode with two teams that takes place on the Caldera map. To understand why Warzone would benefit from more LTMs we must first take a look at why Warzone players enjoy Caldera Clash.

Warzone Operators in battle on street

For starters, Caldera Clash was a great mode to level up weapons quickly. With how notoriously slow Vanguard weapon levels progress, players loved the notable boost from Caldera Clash gameplay.

The second major factor that made players truly enjoy the LTM was its much more forgiving gameplay when compared to Warzone’s traditional battle royale style. Caldera Clash offered casual players a fun new way to enjoy the game without constantly being put in a blender.

Caldera Clash proved to be an excellent change of pace for players who may have been growing tired of the Vanguard Royale and Battle Royale playlist since Caldera’s December 2021 arrival. Therein lies the true value of LTMs in that they bring a valuable change of pace to a game that we’ve been playing for years.

As the above post on the Warzone subreddit explains, not only was Caldera Clash less punishing for casual players but it has the potential to reinvigorate interest in both the Vanguard Royale and Battle Royale playlists once the LTM disappears.

Offering a variety of game modes for a limited time then tightening the focus on core offerings could be a great strategy if used correctly by the devs.

The fact that players are clamoring for LTMs to return once they disappear is a wonderful thing and it means the mode served its purpose by breaking up the monotony of Warzone.


For more Warzone, check out NICKMERCS & TimTheTatman explain how to make Warzone 2’s map perfect.

Image Credit: Activision

Continue Reading