Everybody’s jumping into the battle royale bandwagon nowadays and the folks at Treyarch are no different. Earlier today, the creators of the Black Ops brand announced that ‘Blackout’, a battle royale mode is on its way and will pretty much be the replacement for the absent singleplayer mode in Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII (whoever decided to go with ‘IIII’ instead of ‘IV’ needs to be fired immediately). Will they redefine the battle royale genre or have they just jumped the shark? Despite not being yuuuuge fans of the genre, we have a feeling that this move is more of the former than the latter.

Known for their esports pedigree, the Call of Duty franchise is finally tackling the (still) growing genre which has many detractors of late due to its perceived unsuitability as an esports title. However, the fact that folks pretty much at the forefront of FPS esports is delving into the scene alone is proof that the battle royale genre is far from achieving its final form.

Today we are going to discuss about several steps we feel Treyarch would be wise to consider in order to make not only Blackout, but the battle royale genre a thriving esports ecosystem in years to come.

Bring Pick 10/ Pick 13 Into Blackout

It needn’t have to be exactly the same as the typical pick 10 (or 13 in Advanced Warfare) as seen in past CoD games. Just focus on the essentials whereby each player will get to decide which trait to emphasize on from the start; be it appearance (helmet/ kevlar/ camo), abilities (extra sprint stamina/ radar detection etc) as well as passive perks (shield regen / high alert etc)  to ensure added layers of tactical nuance, variety of playstyles and parity even during early stages of  skirmishes.

If Treyarch really want to make ‘Blackout’ viable and THE face for battle royale esports, then they need to reduce the randomness of drops which is currently the biggest undermining factor for the likes of PLUNKBAT and Fortnite from becoming an esports powerhouse they sought to be.

And please – to ensure mechanical skill prevail over lucky drops, allow players to start rounds with a weapon – possibly a sidearm of choice or dual-wield; whichever suit the player’s style. This move will drastically reduce early eliminations simply due to random, bad scrounging luck. Many potential battle royale players (me included) were turned away purely by this fact and if Treyarch manage to solve this issue, we have a feeling that battle royale esports will reach and gain tons of brand new players.

More Firepower and Fully Destructible Structures

While Fortnite is indeed the more enjoyable option compared to PLUNKBAT due to its array of highly combustible arsenal, its overall pool of weapons still left a lot to be desired. None of these riding on RPGs nonsense please.

Also in CODBLOPS4, we should expect access to never-seen-before, futuristic yet believable firepower that will leave the likes of PUBG and Fortnite trailing in the dust. Bring in rail-guns, miniguns … heck plonk in grenade launchers while you are at it. Point is – more explosions and destruction for a more enjoyable battle royale experience. Destructible surroundings will encourage creative solutions in taking down one another leading to much more satisfying wins.

The inclusion of traps such as tripwires, mines, drones, RC bombs and IEDs will bode well for the sneakier players who prefer less-conventional style of confrontations and redefines the meaning of being the lone survivor.

More Vehicles; Less Gimmicks 

One of the core separators between PLUNKBAT and Fortnite were the vehicles. While the decision to ditch vehicles could be Epic Games’ prerogative to differentiate themselves from the self-claimed pioneer of battle royale genres in PLUNKBAT, CODBLOPS4, fortunately, doesn’t have that issue.

Treyarch are free to experiment and implement different types of vehicles into their battle royale game and as mentioned in the trailer, will include flying ones as well. No more limited to land and water, Blackout takes the battle to the skies that opens a different dimension to how battle royale games are played. Some may point out that it removes the level playing field amongst players but with the inclusion of high-powered weapons mentioned earlier, traversing the battlefield with a loud chopper may not be the smartest method to survive long in the game.

We also expect CODBLOPS4 to totally dodge the instant-building mechanics which has come to be known as one of Fortnite’s defining traits – a good move considering this feature was also one of the factors many favored PLUNKBAT.

Esports can be whacky and looney at the same time but underneath all that, need to have that aura of professionalism in it. This area, we feel could be Fortnite’s biggest obstacle which plays to PLUNKBAT and CODBLOPS4’s favor.

The new leader in the genre thanks to their aggressive campaign and constant updates, one of the reasons Fortnite, despite its popularity, still fail to appeal to most hardcore esports players was due to its cartoonish art-style. Thankfully for CODBLOPS4, this will not be an issue thanks to its realism route. Esports athletes want to be taken seriously like their traditional sports counterparts. Doing the ‘Backpack Kid’ dance after winning a round? We may have an uphill battle there.

These points above are just a few of the features we hope to see in Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII’s Blackout mode. Figure you have better ones? As usual the comments section is right down below.


Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is scheduled to be released on October 12, 2018, for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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