On Tuesday, February 19th, Treyarch released patch 1.13 and Operation Grand Heist for Black Ops 4. The new Operation brought with it a slew of new content for all three gamemodes with League Play arriving on Thursday after several months of delays.
Top influencers of the Call of Duty community weighed in with their opinions on the quality of the new patch. The reactions were a mixed bag of excitement and criticism, but the general vibe remained positive as the game has been lacking in content drops.
Kicking things off with eColiEspresso, he pointed out a potential shortcoming of the new Prestige system in Blackout. The new system re-locks the Echelon skins earned as you make your way to Echelon 80. While the system is similar to normal Prestige in Multiplayer (losing items earned for “prestige”), but the act of locking out customization content seems to be unpopular (check replies for more fan reactions).
PrestigeIsKey, along with other players, pointed out the immense time it takes to earn Reserve Cases in Black Ops 4’s new revamped Black Market. The progression seems to be similarly setup at Contraband Tiers ie. only time-played is taken into account. This means players will have to grind 2.5 hours per Case. Playing well or earning more experience than other player does not speed up the process.
In contrast, Black Ops 3’s Cryptokeys took into account experience earned as well as time played. This meant that performance mattered and better players were rewarded for their efforts. This is not the case in Black Ops 4.
Veering away from the negative feedback, Parasite gave some insight in the gun balance meta changes. The game revolved heavily around the Maddox pre-patch due to its power at nearly all ranges. The new meta, according to Parasite, will force teams (applies to public matches as well as competitive) to find better SMG players as the meta shifts towards more concentrated roles.
As a further explanation, the Maddox created a very dominate in-between weapon for all situations. The patch has settled the ARs and SMGs back into more traditional roles with less in-between. This gives players more options in both gun classes to choose from and differentiates the roles, more like traditional Call of Duty games.
Pro player Clayster made an interesting point on the rotation of Call of Duty’s meta and patch cycles. He criticized the changing of the meta every 90 days. The point makes sense in relation to regular sports, but when compared to other eSports, it falls short of the mark.
90 days is a long time for most games to patch major balance issues (Maddox) out of the game. League of Legends, Siege, and others provide patches every 10 to 30 days for major balancing updates to items, champs, and weapons.
However, Clayster makes an interesting case for a single, dedicated Call of Duty experience similar to CS:GO. Counter-Strike does not require many balance patches due to its long connected history over the years. Longer patch intervals could be acceptable in a Call of Duty that was maintained over a decade or more.
The patch got mixed reviews, but overall, it is a good step in continued development for Black Ops 4. Treyarch has promised to provide continuous content over the course of the season and League Play arrives on Thursday. We’ll see on the battlefield.