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OPINION: Special Orders in Black Ops 4 Black Market are a rip-off

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has, arguably, one of the most diverse ways of getting content in terms of the Black Market for a Treyarch game. There’s the Blackjack’s Shop, which allows players to directly purchase cosmetic items that rotate out, the Black Market Tiers to progress through over 200 Tiers per operation for free (or skip with CP), and then there’s Special Orders.

The Blackjack’s Shop is probably one of the best additions to this title, as it allows players to pick and chose the items they want, and since all of the items are currently cosmetic only, there’s no issue with this shop for now. And the Blackjack’s Shop resembles the original way microtransactions were introduced by Activision into Call of Duty — Black Ops 2 and Ghosts let players directly buy whichever cosmetic items they wanted to from the shop. Although some of the cosmetic items in the shop are not that worth it, the items don’t affect gameplay and the cosmetic items are there for those who are interested in it. It gives people direct access to select cosmetic items.

The Black Market Tier system is also an interesting new addition to Call of Duty. It’s seems to have a good intention in design, as players can unlock more tiers as they rank up, but a flaw in it is the amount of time it takes per tier and some of the not-so-good items that are available per tiers. Some of the changes Treyarch should introduce to the tier system are: Treyarch should do what Fortnite does and give players currency (in this case, Call of Duty Points) at certain tier numbers to use then in the Shop; improve the quality of the items in the tiers to make them more attractive and worthy of grinding towards; and increase the tier rank up speed in general. But, the tier system is not a bad idea overall — there just needs to be some improvements to it.

The last way to get items — Special Orders — seem flawed in its design. Treyarch’s intention here seems to be designing special cosmetic items that are to be separate from the main tier system and from the shop. The items have ranged from cosmetic sets to now introducing signature weapons. The biggest issue with the Special Order system is that players can only get these orders with Call of Duty Points. Black Ops 4 lacks any in-game currency that players earn while playing — which was present in Black Ops 3 (cryptokeys), Infinite Warfare (salvage), Modern Warfare Remastered (Depot Credits), and WWII (Armory Credits). If you want a special order, you have to buy it with Call of Duty Points (CP). And not only do you have to buy it with CP, you then have to go through and play more games to level up the tiers of the order in order to unlock all of the content in the order.

Now, that’s a rip-off.

Players are already paying money in order to get the content, but then, players have to progress through another tier system in order to just use the content they just paid for. Why not make the content immediately available if you’re using Call of Duty Points to unlock them? It would be a different story here if Special Orders could be unlocked with some in-game earn-able currency and then having to progress through it. Players are asked to buy an order, followed by playing several games just to get the content they just paid for. Black Ops 4’s lack of in-game earn-able currency hurts the game the most. An in-game currency would solve a lot of the system’s problems, allowing players to be able to get the cosmetic content without having to use CP to get every single item.

And, let’s talk about the signature weapon Special Orders…Treyarch introduced a new Special Order on Black Ops 4 on PS4 called Fall Firestorm, which grants two signature weapons + some cosmetic items for $20. Many people were outraged over the fact that one of the signature weapons was a GameStop pre-order bonus, but for me, that is not the issue here. Activision always has, and will, release many of the pre-order bonuses from retailers in-game for all players at some point. They’ve done it all the time — from the pre-order bonus maps, to even the Nuketown Camo Pack in Black Ops 3. The issue I see here is: $20 for 2 weapon camos + calling cards and emotes is a rip off.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 had cosmetic packs that included camo, reticles, and a calling card for $2. Black Ops 4’s system is asking for too much money for too little.

Special Orders needs a full rework in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to allow more options to unlock the content — without having to only use CP to get the content. Until then, spending money on the Orders is a complete rip-off.

One of the things that appears to be present is that Treyarch’s Call of Duty games have the most microtransactions in them. Black Ops 3 system was full on RNG and only allowed players to unlock new content through Supply Drop system, even locking new weapons behind the drops. Treyarch seems to be avoiding that again in Black Ops 4 as, for the moment, there’s no Supply Drops in Black Ops 4 that players can buy. There are “Reserves” but those are obtainable through the tier system. And, for now, no new weapons have been added to Black Ops 4, but we all know those are coming. It will be very interesting to see how they handle that addition. Hopefully we don’t have a repeat of Black Ops 3.

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Opinion

A look at the people behind KARNAGE Clan

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Call of Duty has grown exponentially over the past decade with new content creators, news accounts, groups, and more forming from their passion and love of this extended franchise. 

One of those groups that has stemmed from the Call of Duty franchise is KARNAGE Clan. The group was originally founded in 2011 as a clan on the Call of Duty: ELITE service that existed with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. KARANGE started with competitions in ELITE’s Clan Operations, which put clans head to head in objective battles as part of its premium service. 

From the success of playing and finding friends in Clan Operations, the team created a YouTube channel and picked up many players from the community that were pubstompers in the matches. 

Recently, the team has expanded to bring on new personalities and build communities not just around each of the new team members but also the clan itself. 

The Clan was founded by Landon, who goes by KRNG Apollo online, in 2011. 

“In 2011, I founded KARNAGE with the hopes to meet other passionate Call of Duty fans to game with never guessing what it would evolve into,” said Apollo. “From editing and commentating two videos a day for two years straight back in 2014-2015 to running support for fellow teammates to achieve the craziest of gameplays, I have now taken a more backend approach to operating KARNAGE. Though I still participate in team challenges, coordinate the recording sessions, edit and commentate the majority of the videos I have also taken on other roles in different avenues to make sure the org is growing in a multitude of ways.”

Over the years, KARNAGE has expanded to build relationships with key partners in the gaming industry, including GFUEL Energy, SCUF Gaming, RESPAWN Products, and KontrolFreek. 

And, the team has also expanded to be at events for Call of Duty, including DLC reveal events and new game announcements. 

“KARNAGE has come a long way from where we began and I could not be more proud of the organization we have built together,” said Apollo. “I’ve spent 10 years, half of my life, working on this brand and I could easily see myself doing it for another 10 years. The people I’ve surrounded myself with motivate me each and every day to not only strive to be a better leader, but also a better person. I love the direction we are heading and I am beyond excited for the future.”

Another key member of the organization is DEXB0T

Dex joined KARNAGE Clan in 2017 as Content Creator and Social Media Manager, working to operator KARNAGE’s social channels. 

As the Social Media Manager of KARNAGE he handles day-to-day activities across various social media platforms to reach the target audience of fans and supporters of the KARNAGE brand. From the KARNAGE socials, we provide entertaining content to the KARNAGE community which has a strong presence in the Call of Duty scene. We also use feedback from our followers and viewers, as well as the Call of Duty community provide feedback and tips to the gaming developers, as well. One key thing we try to focus on from the KARNAGE brand is maintaining positivity when delivering content, and providing constructive feedback on topics of discussion.

As a YouTube creator and Twitch streamer, he covers the latest news, events and gameplay in the Call of Duty community. He also collaborates with other members of KARNAGE to bring a unique style of Call of Duty content for the KARNAGE Clan YouTube channel.

KARNAGE has also expanded in 2019 to include Travis, also known as THUMP3R.

He helps drive operations for the overall business of the organization. He serves currently as the Director of Operations for the clan. THUMP3R has been around the Call of Duty scene for a long time. 

“I originally got into the comp scene by playing in tournaments and joining GB teams. Eventually this resulted in me getting heavy into Competitive Call of Duty. I joined IPlayCoD because they had great tournaments and a wonderful community that shared my passion for gaming,” said Travis. I fell in love with the IPC brand and the Call of Duty community. I discovered KARNAGE because of their heavy involvement in the CoD community and recognized they shared the constructive attitude that I believe is incredibly important to the development of the community and helping it impact the future of gaming.  I joined KARNAGE because I truly believe there is no other organization better positioned to make a positive impact in gaming while being profitable for itself, it’s members and its partners.”

As the Director of Operations of KARNAGE he assists with the executive direction, communications and marketing strategies for the team. His day to day duties include partnership, influencer and public relations management.

The clan also includes several high profile content creators in different gaming spaces, including Henry, who goes by ProHenis

ProHenis joined the team in 2015 to be a commentator for the YouTue channel and record gameplay alongside Apollo. 

“I joined KARNAGE back in July 2015 as a commentator for the team’s YouTube channel & immediately began working alongside KRNG Apollo (Landon) to record gameplay commentaries on top of each gameplay video. Every commentary had a similar format of introducing the gameplay & the player then transitioning into a topic, usually chosen by the commentator,” said Henry. “I would always try and base my commentary topics around trends related to the gaming world, such as gaming events, new titles, and leaks, but also enjoyed talking about things more related to our target audience like going back to school & holiday excitement. My favorite series of commentaries that I ever recorded was the 25 Nuclears of Christmas series that I did back in late 2015, where KRNG Apollo and I went back and forth recording commentaries over 25 Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 nuclear gameplays for the 25 days leading up to Christmas.”

ProHenis also expanded beyond just Call of Duty to also showcase Fortnite gameplay and more on YouTube, with his own YouTube channel gaining immense popularity over the last year. 

“I gained so much experience during my first few months in KARNAGE about learning to record commentaries efficiently, engaging the viewer’s internet, & over time began to master the format of being a gaming commentator.”

His work has also expanded recently to include being the Director of Content Creator for KARNAGE, where he works to help plan and build content for the KARNAGE channel. 

“In this new role, I continue to work alongside KRNG Apollo to help plan & strategize content for the KARNAGE channel by studying the latest trends in the YouTube & gaming industry; always improving the team’s content creation across all social media.”

ProHenis has an exciting future ahead of himself with lots to come in terms of content creator, as well as what’s to come from the KARNAGE channels. 

“Moving forward, I’m incredibly excited to help the KARNAGE organization grow its brand & outreach by continuing to innovate our content. KARNAGE has always focused on high quality & personality driven content that new & longtime fans feel a strong connection with. Our brand & content will undeniably continue to grow & I’m always inspired by our team & fanbase to uphold our core values while we work to make KARNAGE one of the largest gaming organizations in the world.”

Lastly, another key member of KARNAGE and its success story is Jordan, who goes by Espresso online. 

Jordan was one of the first people to join Apollo on building KARNAGE and getting into content creation for Call of Duty. 

“When I think of my “career” in gaming and content creation, I think it is synonymous with KARNAGE Clan. Early on, Apollo was one of the first people to give the young content creator in myself a chance, bringing me on board to commentate Top 5s, weapon breakdowns and other content alike. In many ways, that was the stepping stone that brought me into the interest of pursuing content,” said Jordan. “The communal aspect of a collective chasing similar dreams, turning a hobby and interest into something more. Since then, I’ve done all I can to make sure that while my own brand grows, I can do what is possible to help progress KARNAGE as well. It’s always been a home and a family to me.” 

Espresso has been part of the Call of Duty community for a while, and has been to numerous Call of Duty capture events over the years. He’s now focused on content creation on his channel, which has over 360,000 subscribers, and focuses exclusively on Call of Duty. 

“Currently, I am working full time as a content creator and looking to get into the streaming space seriously as well. With the recent reveal of Black Ops Cold War’s multiplayer, I saw a renewed excitement for creation as what always comes around with each new year. I am greatly looking forward to seeing what the new year brings, both personally and on a level for KARNAGE.” 

“Personally, I’d love to reach a level of half a million subscribers within the coming year and I’d additionally love to see KARNAGE hit one million. We’ll see where the future takes us but for now, we take it day by day.”

Beyond content creation for his own channel, Espresso also works as the Director of Strategy for KARNAGE Clan, where he designs and identifies ways for the overall clan to grow and expand. 

“I’m labeled as the Director of Strategy in which, while I may be a little more hands off in the day to day operations as opposed to earlier on in the team’s life, I do what I can to formulate strategies and opportunities to grow the brand and all involved in the team.”

“At the end of the day, my main focus is trying to give those chances to the up and coming creators in the creative space just like how KARNAGE first gave me a chance. If there’s anything I want to do, it’s to help elevate creators to a higher potential and allow them to realize their dreams of taking a hobby and making it something more.”

Checkout the KARNAGE Clan YouTube channel here

And see the team’s content house: 

As well as some of the team challenges they’ve done in the past: 

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Activision

What We’re Looking Forward To in 2020

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2019 and the decade is coming to an end here shortly. Charlie Intel started up in the early part of this decade, back in 2011 with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. 8.5 years later, nine Call of Duty games covered, we’re at the end of this decade.

On Friday, we posed a question on Twitter: what was your favorite Call of Duty game of the decade? The question was so popular it trended on Twitter, and the resounding answer was Black Ops 2 – as that trended worldwide following our question.

Now, with the end of the decade almost here, we wanted to put together a post on what we’re looking forward to going into 2020 – from Call of Duty to consoles and more. Due note, some of the stuff we’re speculating are rumors (and will be noted as such!).

Without further ado, let’s get into what we’re looking forward to in 2020.

Next-Generation Consoles

2020 will be another big year for consoles. The new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will both be arriving in Holiday 2020. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both launched in 2013; so seven years later, we’re getting a new generation of consoles – just in time for the start of the new decade.

PlayStation 5

The next PlayStation console will be arriving in Holiday 2020. Sony has thus far announced just a few details on the new console, including first details on the console’s specs and the controller.

If you missed it, here’s quick recap of the console details:

  • Backwards Compatible with PS4 games
  • Still using Physical Media
  • 8 Core AMD Processor
  • Radeon Navi GPU (Supports up to 8K resolution)
  • SSD and More Storage (Spider-Man loads times from 15 seconds to 0.8)
  • Raytracing

And here’s what’s known about the new DUALSHOCK controller for PS5:

  • New PS5 Controller uses USB Type C
  • PS5 Controller has Haptic Feedback
  • Controller has now adaptive triggers
  • New Speaker system on the controller
  • Better Battery Life
  • Heavier than the DUALSHOCK 4, but will be lighter than a Xbox One controller

There’s a lot more information to come in 2020 as PS5 launch approaches. We’ll be closely looking to see how Sony positions the PlayStation 5 for 2020 and the launch price for the console.

Xbox Series X

Microsoft first announced that a new generation of Xbox would be coming during E3 2019, where the company announced that the new generation is “Project Scarlet.” The told fans it would be a top of the line console with advanced specs and more.

The company then surprised everyone by announcing and revealing the look of the console at the 2019 Game Awards in mid-December. The console is called the Xbox Series X, as shown above, and is launching Holiday 2020.

If you missed any details, here’s a high level recap:

From a technical standpoint, this will manifest as world-class visuals in 4K at 60FPS, with possibility of up to 120FPS, including support for Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and 8K capability. Powered by our custom-designed processor leveraging the latest Zen 2 and next generation RDNA architecture from our partners at AMD, Xbox Series X will deliver hardware accelerated ray tracing and a new level of performance never before seen in a console.  Additionally, our patented Variable Rate Shading (VRS) technology will allow developers to get even more out of the Xbox Series X GPU and our next-generation SSD will virtually eliminate load times and bring players into their gaming worlds faster than ever before.

We are minimizing latency by leveraging technology such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and giving developers new functionality like Dynamic Latency Input (DLI) to make Xbox Series X the most responsive console ever.  Xbox Series X is also designed for a future in the cloud, with unique capabilities built into the hardware and software to make it as easy as possible to bring great games to both console and elsewhere. Xbox Series X will deliver a level of fidelity and immersion unlike anything that’s been achieved in previous console generations. 

Call of Duty

Modern Warfare Content

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launched on October 25, 2019 with mixed reaction from the Call of Duty community.

Activision revealed recently that Modern Warfare is the most played Call of Duty game of the last six years, despite a lot of the negativity online about the game. It seems more of the casual players are playing Modern Warfare a lot while some of the long term fans are frustrated with some of the design choices.

2020 is looking strong for the game with more Post Launch content seasons for Modern Warfare with new Battle Passes, maps, and more. With the elimination of the Season Pass in this game, it’s great knowing all players will receive all of the new maps to come for free. We hope to see more Modern Warfare classic makes into this game, like Rust, Terminal, and more.

There’s so many options to pick from – let’s hope Infinity Ward picks the right ones…

Call of Duty: Mobile

Call of Duty: Mobile debuted in 2019 as one of the new ways Activision can bring Call of Duty to more users worldwide. Call of Duty: Mobile has been a hit for Activision, racking in millions in revenue and becoming the most downloaded new mobile game in history.

In 2020, we’re looking forward to seeing how Activision evolves the Call of Duty: Mobile game with more content and new features. They’ve added in the Zombies mode and promised more Zombies maps, new MP maps, and more to come to the game as the year progresses.

We’re also interested to see if they plan to bring any of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s maps and content to the mobile game. The mobile game has brought Call of Duty to a new audience – especially in Asia, where in some regions home consoles are not as popular.

Rumor: Modern Warfare Battle Royale

Another thing we’re also hoping and waiting to see pan out in 2020 is this long rumored Battle Royale mode for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

Activision has not officially confirmed a Battle Royale exists, but there has been so many rumors about its release.

The rumors state that the Battle Royale is expected to be free to play, standalone from the main Modern Warfare game, and release in “early 2020.” Rumors also state that Raven Software is tasked with leading development of this project. The studio was recently hiring a Community Manager for the studio, in a sign that they are becoming lead in some regard for Call of Duty.

Even beyond the rumors, so many details on this potential BR have been found in the game files for Modern Warfare, including a look at the in-development map for the mode.

Here’s that leaked map, in case you missed it:

Fans have even glitched in-game to be above the entire Battle Royale map inside of Modern Warfare.

With all of the rumors, the numerous in-game references, and more, we’re patiently waiting to see if this ever pans out. And if it does, it would be remarkable. Free to play Call of Duty BR? That would be a major hit for Activision.

But for now, it’s just a rumor.

Speculation: Call of Duty 2020

Every year, a new Call of Duty game releases, and 2020 will of course be no different.

But 2020 will be different in regards to the release cycle. Since 2013, Call of Duty devs have been on a 3 year development cycle rotating between Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Sledgehammer Games.

But in May of 2019, Kotaku reported that Activision put Treyarch in charge of 2020 Call of Duty game because of bickering between SHG and Raven. Treyarch even slipped up a bit with a job listing earlier saying they’re working on a “next-gen title for 2020.” This makes Sledgehammer and Raven support studios with Treyarch.

2020 will be the first two-year developed Treyarch title since 2012’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which is now a beloved game. It will be interesting to see the direction Treyarch goes with developing a new game in two years, and with that, a new game for new consoles. This will be Treyarch’s first as the leading dev for a new console launch for Call of Duty. 2013 was Infinity Ward with Call of Duty: Ghosts.

The rumors floating around are that the 2020 game from Treyarch encompasses the Cold War era, including the Vietnam War. There is a campaign expected to be part of the game.

With all of this to look forward too, 2020 is looking to be a busy year! As always, stick with CharlieIntel for the latest on all things Call of Duty and new generation consoles.

We hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

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Opinion

Opinion: Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 takes three steps back with Days of Summer update

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It seems as if Activision and Treyarch almost can’t get any updates right with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

Days of Summer debuted today in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PlayStation 4 and it brought what appeared to be exciting new content update for fans — free MP map, new Blackout updates with updates to the maps, new vehicles, and more, and new Zombies content for players. It had the return of fan favorite weapons, and some cool cosmetic content for the game.

But now, it’s been confirmed that four out of the five new weapons are locked behind Reserves, taking this game and update three steps back as Activision’s outdated business model continues to haunt this game.

Out of the five new weapons, only one can be 100% earned for free with the Tier System in Call of Duty: Black Ops 4: the new Sniper Rifle unlocks at Tier 50. The rest of the new weapons are locked behind Reserves — with the full content already taking up a bunch of space in the Reserves overall, meaning many players will never get to see the new weapons in action, ever.

That last update already shoved a whole bunch of useless content into the Black Market, and now it’s going to stop some folks from ever earning the weapons.

And Activision tried to soften the blow of this by adding a Weapon Bribe to Tier 25 of the new system, but that’s busted, too. It includes the chance of earning either a new weapon OR a MKII variant, which now reduces the chance of actually earning the new weapon from the bribe.

Every single update for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 seems to be haunted by Activision’s continued horrifyingly bad business model for the franchise.

And, the new Call of Duty: WWII update today brought a selection of new weapons to that title…and the new weapons are all locked behind Supply Drops in that game too.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is a $60 game, with a $50 Season Pass and has a microtransaction model that is worse than many of the free to play games available today. It’s almost as if the company does not want to continue forward and attract new players to the franchise, but rather scare everyone of. Call of Duty is not a free to play game, yet Activision’s executives seem to be treating the model as if it were.

Days of Summer update actually looked like a good update to checkout, but with the weapons locked behind Supply Drops and the Bribe not even guaranteeing a new weapon, it almost negates any of the good.

They take one step forward, then three steps back every single time.

And, with Senators in the US starting to take a more proactive look at the loot box aspect of the gaming industry, it seems like it’s only a matter of time for when Call of Duty will be scrutinized for its model.

Let’s hope Activision can actually make a positive change with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare this fall. Removing the Season Pass from the game is great, but the microtransaction model can easily ruin the entire game.

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