Black Ops Multiplayer
The online portion of the game is largely the same as Modern Warfare 2ís. You gain experience points as you play and level up to unlock weapons, equipment, perks, killstreaks, customization options, and more. You have a handful of premade classes with different configurations of weapons, equipment, and perks that you use at first, while gaining custom class slots that become available later.
New to Black Ops, however, is an in-game currency called COD Points, which are also earned while playing and are used to purchase just about everything that isnít available when you first start out. This allows you to streamline the acquisition of your preferred load-out by being able to unlock perks, killstreaks, weapon attachments, and the like in the order you want, instead of having to follow a pre-determined course of progression. For example, all perks are unlocked at level 4, and you simply purchase whichever one(s) you want to use right away. Similarly, there is no weapon usage requirement for unlocking attachments; all of them are available for purchase as soon as you buy that particular gun.
There are some other differences between this game and the last one in the series, perhaps the most important being that killstreak rewards donít stack. Meaning, kills you get from them donít count toward your streak. In MW2, one of my favorite killstreak combos was Harrier airstrike, Pave Low helicopter, and AC-130 gunner. Sure it can sometimes take a while before getting to 7 kills, but once youíre there, all three streak rewards can be set off within seconds of each other. Find a hiding spot, use the Harrier to take out at least a couple of people, then activate the Pave Low, which is usually good for another handful of kills, then start the AC-130 barrage which can easily net you another dozenÖ That kind of thing simply cannot happen in Black Ops unless youíre good enough to rack up the required number of enemy casualties the old-fashioned way.
On the topic of killstreaks, some old ones such as spy plane, care package, and attack helicopter make a return, though several new ones are also in the mix. The most widely publicized one is probably the explosive RC car, but the deployable SAM turret and pack of attack dogs are also really cool. Itís also worth noting that there is no more tactical nuke that instantly wins the game for your team.
Similarly, the majority of perks remain the same, even if theyíve been renamed or slightly tweaked. As well, each one can be upgraded to the Pro version by completing challenges while using them. Infamously overpowered MW2 perks Stopping Power and Commando have been removed, much to the chagrin of some players. The only completely new perk is one that protects you from the poisonous gas featured in the single-player story (itís available in a grenade in MP) and reduces the effects of flashbangs and stun grenades.
All of the gameplay modes from Modern Warfare 2 return (TDM, FFA, Domination, S&D, HQ, CTF) and are joined by what are called Wager Matches. These involve a variety of unique challenges such as having only a single bullet in your gun, using random weapons that change every 45 seconds, or having to use every single weapon in sequence after each kill. These game types require each player ante up, or bet some COD points, before the match, and the top three players at the end walk away with the winnings. Unfortunately, the player limit remains capped at 18 for all game modes.
If youíve been following the development of the PC version of this game in any capacity, youíre likely already happy to know that Treyarch built the multiplayer component around dedicated servers, as is Call of Duty tradition. No more fumbling with or being frustrated by asinine matchmaking on a peer-to-peer hosting basis, which was by far the biggest flaw with Modern Warfare 2. Itís true that Black Ops servers are exclusive to a single service provider, but there is no shortage of places to play. In addition, it is possible to lean this time around, even if most people donít bother to use it.