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.
5 biggest problems with the PS5 launch in UK
The PlayStation 5 launch in the UK was anything but smooth.
The highly-anticipated Sony PlayStation 5 finally became available at retailers in the US and Japan on November 12. Lockdown kept people from visiting stores but they were able to place their orders online, or simply have the console delivered to them if they pre-ordered.
Earlier this week, Amazon EU informed customers that the console would be available for purchase in limited stock at 12pm UK/1pm CEST on November 19. Now it has finally launched in the UK and throughout Europe but not without a hitch. There are reports of many different issues being faced regarding the availability of the console and delays in delivery.
This has led to gamers throwing blame with a massive online outcry over the many different problems with the console’s European release. Let’s go over each one.
Game delivery delays
Customers placed their pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 at the UK retailer, Game. Now, those dedicated players are facing disappointment as Game has announced delays in delivery of the consoles. They have attributed this to unexpectedly large demand along with the large size of the console. Game sent out the following email to customers:
It can be seen from the message that Game is placing the blame for this delay squarely on the courier firm Yodel. The latter has denied responsibility by stating “Yodel does not work directly with Game. Our client is GFS, a fulfillment business that works in partnership with Game.”
Yodel further clarified by saying “We have been consistently clear on the order volumes we are able to carry for them and it is deeply disappointing that Yodel’s name has been incorrectly used in an email to customers on the status of orders.”
Regardless of who’s to blame, there are rising tensions and Game is now trying to ease customers by letting them know that the “vast majority” of deliveries will be completed successfully and the remaining ones will arrive by tomorrow.
Their site has gone back up for PS5 re-orders since then.
Curry’s launch misfire
Currys PC World’s website had extremely large virtual queues that grew to 150,000 long. The original plan that the company excitedly announced was to start selling at 9 a.m today. However, this became complicated as some people were able to work around this system.
It turns out a large number of early customers were able to place orders much earlier than the announced release time. These customers stated that they were able to get their consoles as early as 5.30 a.m. This has left many of the customers who went by the set schedule without a PlayStation 5.
Curry has now canceled these orders and announced that they will not have any more consoles available for purchase today. Many of the affected are being refunded right away while others have to wait.
One now deleted tweet from Currys’ customer service account stated the following:
“Unfortunately due to an error on our site we were allowing customers to check out the PS5 before they went live at 9 a.m. Due to this, we have had to cancel orders and the funds will be released back to you. Please accept my apologies.”
Many customers will have to wait for their refund before they will be able to search for another place to purchase the PS5 from.
The delivery challenges are not just limited to Game and Currys PC World. Many other retail sites are facing technical issues that are keeping people from being able to order the PS5 through them. Sites like Amazon, Tesco, and John Lewis’s have reportedly not been functioning properly.
Customers have tried logging on to the sites to get their consoles only to find that the pages were failing to load. Some of the sites have been straight-up broken throughout the day when customers tried visiting them. This is unfortunate, as many of these people had placed their pre-orders as far back as September.
Currently the PS5 is out of stock at many of these retailers and it is not yet known when it will become available again.
The biggest outcry from all these issues is obviously coming from the people that have been most closely affected by all these problems. The paying customers who had made their pre-orders months ago have taken to Twitter to express their discontent with the way this day has gone.
Some have immediately focused their frustration at Yodel for the delays. They are also upset because quite a few of them received the message “We’re sorry but your parcel has been reported to us as missing. Please contact your sender for your next steps.”
Customers aren’t happy with the idea that Yodel may have been holding on to their console for a couple of hours only for it to have been possibly stolen by someone else.
It is entirely possible that the consoles may not have been stolen and instead, this is just an error in the reports of available stock. However, at the moment we can’t say anything for sure.
Some of those who had pre-ordered from Game asked why they had paid an extra fee to have a Royal Mail delivery that has now been given to another courier firm. Other tweets complained about the delays from Amazon and others.
Some even took issue with the way Walmart handled the launch. There were reports that they had the console in their cart but were still unable to finish the purchase. Eventually, the retail store ended up canceling today’s PS5 orders due to supposed quantity limits.
Ampere gaming analyst Piers Harding-Rolls has stated:
“Clearly it is disappointing for consumers that have pre-ordered not to receive their console on launch day. The situation is exacerbated as there is no opportunity to buy on launch day at physical retail as in the past.”
“Whether you are impacted or not appears to come down to the retailer you pre-ordered with which indicates that this is a company-specific issue rather than a broader industry problem. The UK is not alone in this respect – some US retailers also had their challenges last week during the launches.”
“Queued for download” bug
Those who were lucky enough to receive their PlayStation 5 in today’s chaos may end up confronting an entirely different problem. There is a bug that is preventing players from downloading digital games due to it getting permanently stuck at “queued for download.”
Many players have reported that when they download a PS5 version of a game, it will show up in the game library but not in any download queue. As a result, any attempts to download the games are proving unsuccessful once this bug has been encountered.
Sony has yet to address this strange problem and the only known way around it is to factory reset the entire console. You will lose any games you already own and then have to go through the process of downloading them again. This will be particularly frustrating when the games are heavy.
Although this is a problem that players in Europe will face today, it is not exclusive to the UK launch of the console. In fact, players have been reporting this since the PS5 first launched in North America and other regions on November 12.
In light of all this, the PlayStation 5 launch in UK and wider Europe has been very troublesome. Many players are left without consoles and wondering where to look next.
Opinion: Cold War’s new Scorestreak system needs adjusting
Black Ops Cold War’s new Scorestreak system has some teething problems, so here’s how Treyarch could address the issues.
Black Ops Cold War introduced a new Scorestreak system but it isn’t without teething problems.
In the new Scorestreak system, Scorestreaks no longer reset on death. This means however many points you accumulate towards earning the next Scorestreak carries into the next life. To make earning high-end Scorestreaks more rewarding, points earned accumulate through killstreaks. The higher the streak, the more points you earn for each kill.
As this is a brand new system for Cold War, issues with the system have been making multiplayer lobbies a frustrating experience.
Here are the most prominent problems with the Scorestreak system, and how they could be addressed by Treyarch.
Treyarch adjusted the earn rate of Scorestreaks between the beta and the full launch. Treyarch felt it was too easy to earn certain Scorestreaks and too difficult to earn others.
After these updates, most players earn their Scorestreaks at roughly the same time throughout a match.
There will be a point where the announcer calls ‘multiple enemy Spy Planes above’ as players all unlock the Spy Plane. Then there will be a portion of the game where Artillery and Cruise Missiles are spammed, and finally, in the end-game, several Attack Helicopters are called in.
Scorestreak earn rates need to be adjusted further. To keep games varied and Scorestreaks rewarding, they need to be more difficult to earn. Not being able to leave spawn due to a continuous barrage of Scorestreaks or earning an Attack Helicopter but having to wait in a queue of three to use it aren’t satisfying experiences.
There could also be a larger gap between points needed to earn Scorestreaks. For example, there are only 100 points between earning Artillery and the Cruise Missile. If you earn one, you’re likely to earn the other in the same kill. This leads to more Scorestreak spam.
The current Scorestreak system rewards getting kills much more than it rewards objective play. The points earned for kills drastically outweigh those for capturing flags or holding a hardpoint. Offensive or defensive kills do not increase your score enough to be worthwhile.
Low points earned for objective play is due to the score multipliers applied to killstreaks. As you rack up a high killstreak, the amount of points earned continues to increase. There is currently no such system for objective play.
To make objectives more rewarding, Treyarch could add score multipliers to objectives. The longer you hold a hardpoint for in a single life, the more score you should earn. The same goes for capturing and defending flags. Getting offensive and defensive kills should also add to score multipliers.
This way, earning Scorestreaks is a fair experience across all playstyles.
We know that Treyarch is aware of inconsistencies in the new Scorestreak system because of adjustments made between beta and launch. It’s possible that another overhaul is coming with Season 1 in December.
How Private Matches could change Warzone
Private matches are rumoured to be coming to Warzone; here’s how they’ll change the game.
Private matches are a long-requested feature in Call of Duty: Warzone and have been rumored since the launch of the game.
With several users having spotted the option in their menu, it’s all but confirmed that private Warzone lobbies will be arriving in the future.
Modern Warfare’s custom matches allow players to change almost every aspect of the game, creating their own game modes and rulesets. So far there is no information on the extent of customization options for Warzone private matches.
Here are the additions to Warzone private matches will bring.
A more casual experience
Private matches have existed in Call of Duty since CoD 4: Modern Warfare, and have led to some of the most memorable game modes in Call of Duty such as quick-scoping on Rust in MW2 and playing ‘Mike Myers’ lobbies. They are a casual and creative way to play with friends.
As players get better at Warzone and get moved up to higher tiers of skill-based matchmaking, the game becomes more difficult. With the massive success of The Haunting of Verdansk event which included Zombie Royale, it’s clear the Call of Duty fanbase is open to a more casual Warzone experience.
Smaller, private matches will allow players to play Warzone with whoever they like, in any way that they like.
A testing ground
YouTubers such as TheXclusiveAce, Drift0r, and DefendTheHouse spend a lot of time testing weapons and mechanics in Call of Duty. Much of this is done through private matches. With Warzone, there is nowhere that they can test Warzone specifically. Currently, they must try and load into a match of Plunder or Warzone at the same time so that they are in opposite teams.
With the community having free reign of a testing ground, it’s likely that issues can be addressed before they have the time to widely affect gameplay. On the other hand, Warzone players could also take advantage of exploits found through testing.
A competitive scene
It’s likely that Warzone’s competitive scene will evolve with the addition of private matches.
Currently, competitive Warzone mostly consists of ‘kill races.’ Popularised in Fortnite, players attempt to get more eliminations than their competitors over one or two public games of Warzone. These are extremely popular on Twitch and YouTube, with some competitors reaching 100k viewers. The tournaments take place in public matches so there is no safeguard against ‘stream snipers’ and cheaters.
- Read more: Modern Warfare & Warzone November 3 Update
The Call of Duty League matched professional players against each other in Verdansk. As part of the home series weekends, private matches consisted of around 60 CDL pros, coaches, and others playing competitive matches of Warzone. The rulesets changed as the weeks went on, such as adding placement points and points per elimination.
Streamers and professional players will have the option to host their own private tournaments which are likely to pave the way for a competitive Warzone scene. As seen by the CDL’s Warzone Weekends, gameplay in these competitive matches will be severely slowed down. With every player being a skilled professional and money on the line, players are much more careful and deliberate.
While there’s no final confirmation on when we’ll see Private Lobbies in Warzone, it’s could lead to new changes and experiences for all fans, including casual and competitive experiences.
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