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Opinion: What Treyarch Got Right in Blackout for Call of Duty Black Ops 4

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From the Sandbox to the Vehicles, Treyarch got a lot of things right with Blackout.

When Blackout was first announced in May 2018, I’ll admit I was a little skeptical. Call of Duty is not a series known for its large player counts or humongous maps – two things that are synonymous with Battle Royale games. However, with months of play time under my belt, my skepticism has been put to rest and Blackout has become my favorite in the genre.

Yes, Blackout is not perfect and there are other Battle Royale games that do things better than Blackout, but that’s not what I want to talk about here. Rather, I’m going to highlight the four things Treyarch does right in Blackout.

Sandbox

Playing a game of Quads, my three friends and I drop onto Nuketown Island. Naturally, we check the Welcome Sign and to our surprise, we’re the only ones on the island. We then check the first circle and lucky us – we’re in it.

Looting the island we stumble upon a ridiculous amount of Mesh Mines, Barricades, Sensor Darts, and Vehicles. This island is ours.

Since the circle is covering the western part of the map, we figure we’ll be here a while so lets get cozy. We set up our meshes on the two bridges connecting our island to mainland, shoot some sensors there as well (just in case), and hop on top of some buildings for some sweet vantage points. No one is getting in here.

Wait! What’s that sound? Zombies are spawning in. We keep two men on Sniper duty while my friend and I hop on ATV’s and run over every undead walker in sight. Killing them as fast as them spawn, we unlock the Mystery Box for some superfluous loot we already had. After a while, we got bored because no one showed up and left to do the same thing by Diner. It didn’t matter we gave up on Nuketown because we were still having fun.

It’s at this moment I realize what a remarkable playground Treyarch built with Blackout. We made Nuketown our own. A map we’ve spent years of our lives in is now this big open space that we were defending against dozens of other players. Blackout allows us to roleplay in ways I never thought possible in a Battle Royale game. This story isn’t an isolated case either. There are so many stories I have like this one that had me in disbelief at what Treyarch created.

The map is so much more than a collection of houses and loot. It feels like a playground where I can hop from the swing set to the jungle gym depending on my mood. It feels like a Hollywood back lot and I’m writing the story as the game goes on. It’s diverse, complex, and most of all, familiar.

While pulling on players nostalgia cords by including classic areas that most players instantly recognize may seem cheap, Treyarch transcends that notion by expanding on each legacy location. Thus making it fuller and more cohesive than it’s source material.

Vehicles

Call of Duty is not known for its vehicular combat. When you come across a vehicle in the series it’s either for a brief campaign mission, a scorestreak, or a wacky Treyarch MP map. With that said, Treyarch saw it necessary to make land, air, and sea vehicles a core pillar of Blackout and I couldn’t agree more.

There are very few Blackout matches that end without me jumping on a vehicle. Whether as a form of retreat or as an unconventional weapon, ATV’s are my favorite part of the game. Playing in a Duos with a buddy of mine, we both find our own ATV’s, attach Sensors Darts to them like some make shift Police Car, and look for trouble. Riding counter laps around houses we know have enemies inside, honking our horns to scare them puts me in the shoes of some biker gang from The Warriors.

Fun antics aside, the land vehicles in Blackout are very well balanced. I get instant road kills just as often as I get stuck by a grenade or take too much damage bouncing off a rock. While they pack a punch, they are far from indestructible. Same goes for the air and sea vehicles. Surveying the coastline in a boat or patrolling the skies in a helicopter makes me feel both powerful and vulnerable.

When I saw the original Blackout trailer, they showed Cargo Trucks battling Helicopters in these epic 4v4 skirmishes I thought would never happen in game – that it was just marketing hype. In the recent weeks with the new Hot Pursuit limited time mode, I have encountered way more exhilarating moments than what that original trailer showed. Best of all, it felt natural and easy to control.

Familiar Gunplay

Although I was skeptical how Blackout would perform technically at first, I had no doubt the gunplay would be tight. No matter how much someone wants to bag on Call of Duty, they’d be lying if they said the shooting didn’t feel tight. Server issues aside, the moment to moment gameplay in Call of Duty is some of the best in gaming.

After playing so much CoD over the years, I knew I wouldn’t need to refamiliarize myself with the systems. Left trigger to aim, right trigger to shoot, left stick to sprint, etc. While this would be a hard thing for Treyarch to get wrong, I was still surprised how good it felt.

While Equipment and the Quick Menu might throw some Blackout newcomers off, as long as they have a gun in their hand and have played any Call of Duty before, they’ll know what to do.

There are moments where I would be in a tight area like Cargo or Firing Range with half a dozen other players and it would feel like a Multiplayer match straight out of Black Ops 1. When it comes down to player versus player gunfights, Blackout oozes classic Call of Duty. No nonsense, just skill.

Character Missions

The idea of Character Missions are great. Perform feats in-game to earn character skins. While some missions are kind of ridiculous, the ones that work, work really well.

A Character Mission shines when it incorporates something unique about the character in both the item and the requirements. For example, Richtofen’s Character Mission requires you to play as a Zombies character, find a Zombies Character’s mission item, sacrifice that to earn the Blood Vials and then have a top placement in the match.

Breaking this down, Richtofen is sort of the leader in the Zombies Primis crew so it’d make sense that you need to be another Zombies character to start his mission. Then the process of sacrificing their item references the plot of Black Ops 3 Zombies where Richtofen was collecting blood from older Zombies characters. Lastly, placing highly in the match relates to his esteemed nature in the Zombies lore.

Another example is Frank Woods’ mission. The item is his bandanna which can only be found in the area of the map that references an iconic mission from Black Ops 1 in which he played a key part. Then his mission objectives are direct quotes of his that require you to fly in a helicopter and win the game while being alive, both characteristics of Frank Woods.

The system allows players to feel rewarded without getting first place, and encourages play styles that they might not have otherwise tried. I’d prefer if all Character Missions played like the two above, being placed in static locations with requirements that hold deep significance to the character themselves, but the concept is there. While Treyarch got the idea right with Character Missions, I’d still love to see them improved.

Like I mentioned at the top, Blackout isn’t perfect. From annoying ping issues that cause players to miss shots when they’re aiming at their targets, to having less frequent updates than other Battle Royales, there are still problems. However, for all the little things Treyarch got wrong, they got so much right like the moment to moment gunplay and the imaginative sandbox. Hopefully, Treyarch continues to do Blackout right and one day creates a mode that is indeed perfect.

Call of Duty: Warzone

Why Warzone’s QBZ-83 is Season 4’s most underrated weapon

The QBZ-83 is Warzone’s most underrated weapon, so we’ve broken down why you should consider running it in Season 4.

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Warzone QBZ-83 Assault Rifle

The QBZ-83 is one of the best weapons in Warzone Season 4, but hardly anyone uses it. We’ve got the stats and the best loadout to prove why you should give this weapon a try.

Thanks to significant balance tweaks in Warzone Season 4 and its Reloaded update, weapon balance is in a great spot. Warzone now features plenty of viable Assault Rifles, SMGs, and Sniper Rifles from both Modern Warfare and Black Ops Cold War.

However, there’s one weapon that received a significant buff in Season 4 Reloaded and is now one of the best in its class: the QBZ-83. It was unfortunately so bad before Season 4 that it wasn’t even on players’ radar, but here’s why you should give it another chance.

Best Warzone QBZ Loadout

By looking at the stats on WZ Ranked on July 23, we can see that the QBZ-83 has a 0.6% pick ratio in Warzone Season 4, which puts it as the 32nd most used weapon. This puts it behind guns such as the Kilo 141 and AX-50, which are perhaps some of the least effective weapons in their classes.

The likely reason why nobody picks the QBZ-83 is that it was next to useless before Season 4 Reloaded. However, it received some major buffs which appear to have gone under the radar for the majority of players. Not only did it get a buff, but a ton of other weapons got nerfed, which only improved the QBZ further.

YouTuber JGOD, who’s renowned for breaking down every weapon and its stats in incredible detail, recently discussed the QBZ-83. He compared it to the Krig 6, which is probably its closest rival for a low-recoil Assault Rifle.

JGOD reveals QBZ's recoil pattern

He revealed that with the Task Force barrel on the QBZ, the recoil goes up in a straight line. So, controlling it couldn’t be easier – just pull down slightly on your analog stick or mouse. And as a plus, it even has a faster ADS speed than the Krig.

For accurate players, the QBZ’s time to kill is where it really shines. When hitting the head and chest, it actually kills faster than the Krig 6. So if you can line up those accurate shots and control the recoil, you’ll find the QBZ especially effective.

However, the damage drops off significantly at extremely long range and when hitting the stomach and limbs. JGOD suggests using it alongside a Sniper Rifle to take advantage of its damage sweet spot.

JGOD reveals the QBZ-83's time to kill

Now, the QBZ isn’t the be-all and end-all in Warzone Season 4. You still need to hit your shots, and weapons such as the C58 can outgun it. But, its solid time to kill and low recoil makes it an extremely solid choice, and incredibly underrated.

It’s a shame that the QBZ-83 was so bad before because that’s probably what put players off using it even after it got buffed. Now after the Reloaded update, it deserves to be up there with Season 4’s most popular guns.

If you’re looking to try something different from the FARA 83, Krig, or C58, you should try the QBZ and feel the difference the Reloaded update made.

Best Warzone QBZ-83 loadout

Best Warzone QBZ-83 loadout
  • Muzzle: Agency Suppressor
  • Barrel: 15.5″ Task Force
  • Optic: Axial Arms 3x
  • Grip: Field Agent Grip
  • Magazine: STANAG 60 Rnd Drum

If you’re looking to give the QBZ-83 a try, these are the attachments you should be running. As JGOD explained, the 15.5″ Task Force barrel eliminates any horizontal recoil, while also boosting its effectiveness over range.

To keep you off the minimap and further improve range and recoil control, there’s no better option than the Agency Suppressor. Then, to make sure you’re hitting the head and upper chest shots at range, the Axial Arms 3x is a solid choice.

Then, we go with the Field Agent Grip and 60 Rnd Mags, which are necessary for almost any Cold War Assault Rifle build.

And that’s it! More players need to try out the QBZ-83 in Warzone Season 4, as it’s one of the best, but most underrated, ARs in the game.

Image Credit: JGOD / Activision

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Call of Duty: Warzone

5 things we want to see in Call of Duty: Warzone Season 4

Verdansk ’84 has seen a big change for Warzone in Season 3. But despite new weapons and POIs, here are 5 things we’d like to see in Season 4.

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Warzone Downtown location

Warzone Season 4 is almost here, so we’re counting down the top five things we’d most like to see in the next major update for Call of Duty’s battle royale.

Warzone Season 3 is one of the most successful in the game’s short history. Whereas Season 2 rested on its laurels and became associated with its burst and FFAR meta, Season 3 majorly shook things up.

After the Nuke Event, Warzone took Verdansk back to 1984, added lots of new POIs for players to rotate around, and transformed the game’s meta into arguably the most stable and balanced. All the best Assault Rifle loadouts feature a multitude of weapons from the AMAX to the Kilo 141 to the AS Val to the Cold War AK-47.

But to continue Warzone’s success, here are the top 5 things we want to see in Warzone Season 4 and beyond.

5. Make rocks easier to traverse

Mara vaulting in Warzone

Despite being in 1984 and the rocks being slightly younger, better maintained, and haven’t fallen apart yet, they are still troublesome.

Getting caught next to rocks with the zone on your heels or enemies above you can leave you with little option other than running around until you can find an area you can actually climb.

We don’t necessarily want every single rock to be climbable, but in a big cliffside area, we feel there should be one or two footholds to climb. To compensate for this, a climbing animation could be put in place to penalize players ascending, in the same way, that rappeling leaves players vulnerable for a few seconds.

4. More Killstreak options

cod warzone killstreaks

Warzone’s offering of Killstreaks is so awkward. Again, you either go all-in, or you need to leave Killstreaks out altogether. The current offerings are mainly Precision and Cluster Strikes, neither of which are particularly effective and are practically signposted anyway.

UAVs are useful and not too overpowered as they can easily be counteracted, and drones aren’t used by anyone. There’s no excitement in finding one, which begs the question as to why they’re in the game in the first place.

At the very least, Raven Software should experiment with Sentry Turrets and perhaps Care Packages to give the player a random goodie e.g a loadout, UAV, etc. It’s an area of Warzone that could do with a shake-up.

3. Reduce Dead Silence and Stopping Power

Warzone dead silence

Stopping Power and Dead Silence abuse needs to stop, most importantly the latter. When it’s possible to find between five and ten different Dead Silence pickups per match, it’s time to put your foot down.

Once someone triggers Dead Silence, then it’s just over for anyone that gets in that person’s way as they literally make no sound. It’s completely unfair. The attacking player gains a ridiculous advantage, and they can do this multiple times per match if they search enough.

Stopping Power isn’t as bad, but when you get into a 1v1 with someone and you’re landing consistent headshots and still get downed because your opponent’s bullets were artificially stronger, then it’s frustrating.

2. More events like the 80s Action Hero Event

cod warzone nakatomi plaza

The 80s Action Hero Event was a breath of fresh air for many reasons. The addition of Rambo and John McClane as Operators for Cold War and Warzone was fabulous and a really solid scoop for Activision.

But not only did players get special skins to acquire and equip, but Warzone as a whole got an incredible new POI in the process – the legendary Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard.

It was incredibly exciting and many players would drop there regularly to try and be the first to acquire the building’s sacred treasure tucked away in the Vault. It added a whole other dimension to the game, and even after the Vault was closed, the location still remains popular.

Extra locations and POIs don’t need to all be included at once, drip-feeding them through limited events is another way to keep players invested.

1. Maintain Warzone’s meta and keep on top of it

CoD Warzone FFAR

Season 1 of Warzone eventually succumbed to the Black Ops Cold War DMR after the integration. Every man and his dog was using the DMR, leading to the term “DMRzone” being thrown around.

Then, Season 2 nerfed the DMR, but this led to players moving onto pastures new, and discovering burst weapons and the FFAR in the process. As a result, most loadouts contained either an AUG, M16, or FFAR. Once again, after many complaints, Raven nerfed all burst weapons and the FFAR.

Apart from a bit of the light being cast on the AMAX Assault Rifle, Season 3 of Warzone has been a joy for most players as there isn’t really one or two guns that tower above the rest. It’s meant a greater variety of loadouts, weapon choices, and long may it continue as Warzone enters Season 4.


With these five changes, Warzone Season 4 could be the game’s best season yet, plus we know some ways to make any future live event the best too!

What do you want to see in Warzone Season 4? Be sure to let us know on our CharlieINTEL Facebook Page and CharlieINTEL Twitter Page!

Image Credit: Activision / Raven Software

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Call of Duty: Warzone

How to make Call of Duty: Warzone’s next live event the best yet

Call of Duty: Warzone Season 2’s Nuke Event was spectacular, but we’ve come up with a few ways to make the next one the best ever.

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cod warzone live verdansk

Warzone is certain to have another live event at some point in the future, and whilst the Verdansk Nuke Event was pretty cool, we think there are ways to make CoD: Warzone’s next one the biggest and best one yet.

Warzone’s first go at an interactive live event was a pretty good first attempt. Knowing that Verdansk’s Zombie invasion was to be the beginning of the end, Activision did a great job in planting the seeds throughout Season 2.

In meant that the hype and excitement were at a fever pitch come the Season’s end, and there was a real sense of wonderment about what people would see. The two-day event had plenty of cool moments for players to enjoy, but its slightly disjointed nature left a lot to be desired.

Here’s how we’d make the next Call of Duty: Warzone event much better.

#4 – Don’t do the next Warzone live event over two days

cod warzone verdansk nuke

The content itself for the live event was fascinating and “The Destruction of Verdansk Part I” was absolutely ‘do not miss.’

Excitement filled your body seeing it as a playlist option. It was new, exciting, and entered uncharted territory for Warzone. The mode itself was a blast too: from the original Zombies music eerily playing over everything to its shocking conclusion of Juggernauts fighting off a sea of undead next to Dam.

It was followed by the iconic nuke cutscene, and the rest is history. If anything, that should’ve been the end of the live event, and then we could’ve been dropped into Verdansk ’84 not knowing what to expect.

Instead, having the Rebirth Island playlist options, and mini Verdansk ’84, soured the event’s special aura. It became a bit too self-indulgent, overstayed its welcome, and the additional modes didn’t offer anything extra. It felt like needless padding.

A unique, one-off event feels a lot more urgent, and offers fans a chance to be part of the crowd who can say, “I was there.” By drawing it over two days, the second day lessened the experience and merely delayed the process of Warzone Season 3 starting.

#3 – Make it a one-time playthrough

cod warzone verdansk dam

Following on from the previous point, one of the reasons Fortnite has built up a reputation for delivering stellar live events is because they make them an occasion to be present at all costs.

The feeling of the unknown is a special feeling in life as it makes you nervous but excited. So when Fortnite players waited to see what Galactus would do, it was a fun surprise to see him tower over Fortnite Island and try and destroy everyone.

Being there in person made players live for the moment as it would be the only time that anyone would be able to witness it in person, ever. Whereas Warzone’s various limited-time modes pretty much stuck around and could be replayed endlessly.

Again, this feels like it detracts from the feeling of a “one-off live event.” At most, players should be allowed a single play. This would allow for any potential server issues (which we’ll get onto) and still remind you to enjoy your only attempt, and soak everything in.

#2 – Let players witness the big moment in real-time

fortnite galactus

Would Galactus’ event have been half as cool if players had to watch it through a CGI cutscene? Absolutely not. Imagine how incredible and surreal it would’ve been to have had the Nuke detonate inside Stadium, with everyone inside, live.

Even the end of Season 1 could’ve been the start of something special by having players converge on the crashed ship. A one-off Solo event witnessing the ship opening, and hundreds of zombies swarming you and overcoming you.

It’s all about interactivity and forming a tangible connection, whereas having a cutscene, especially after having just gone through a tense game mode, causes a serious disconnect between players and the game they’ve become attached to.

Millions of Warzone players have the game ingrained in their system and practically have it coursing through their blood. Exposure to streamers or playing with other people for over a year brings you closer to the game, and any significant changes should be absorbed in person.

#1 – The servers

cod warzone stadium poi

You all knew this point was coming, but it needs to be hammered home until the nail is visible no more – make sure the servers can cope with the outrageous demand.

So many players, our staff included, were not able to get stuck into most of these limited-time modes because of excessive queues. Activision’s servers were simply flooded with millions of gamers desperate to see the end of Verdansk as we know it.

But many people’s excitement and giddiness were swiftly dissolved and replaced with envy and jealousy as other lucky players got to see the action unfold straight away.

Obviously, trying to accommodate so many Warzone players is going to be a tough ask. But given how much money Activision has made and is worth, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask that they have enough server space for a live event.


These are just some of the main issues that, if addressed, we believe could ultimately shape Warzone’s future events, and could drastically improve them to be the best in the business.

Do you disagree with any of our improvements? Or have any of your own you’d like us to hear? Be sure to let us know on our Charlie INTEL Facebook Page and Charlie INTEL Twitter Page!

Image Credit: Activision / Raven Software / Epic Games

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