A Pro Gamer's Hopes for Black Ops II

Four-time MLG tournament winner Raymond Lussier lets us know what the pro gaming community wants to see from the next Call of Duty.

'

If there's one point that Treyarch wants to get across about Black Ops II multiplayer, it's that this next Call of Duty title is being designed with competitive gaming firmly in mind. Whereas Infinity Ward all but shrugged off the e-sports scene with Modern Warfare 3, Treyarch believes that pro gaming leagues like Major League Gaming are part of a growing market that they can't afford to ignore. To quote Treyarch game design director David Vonderhaar, "Making the game fun to watch is a big part of our agenda."

One of Treyarch's biggest challenges on the road toward making Call of Duty a more prominent fixture in the world of e-sports is winning the support of the pro gamers themselves. After all, every sport needs its athletes. So what do these pro gamers think about Treyarch's ambitions? In what areas does Black Ops II have to improve upon other recent Call of Duty titles in order to strike e-sports gold? To find the answers to those questions, we recently spoke with Raymond "Rambo" Lussier, a Call of Duty veteran with four MLG tournament wins under his belt.

Raymond Lussier.

Lussier knows that as important as competitive balance is, it shouldn't come at the expense of a spectator's enjoyment of the game. That's why he believes Treyarch needs to start with weapons that make up the heart of the first-person shooter gameplay. "From the very beginning, everyone mostly used two weapons: the FAMAS assault rifle and the AK74U SMG," says Lussier of the original Black Ops. Then, a few months after the game's release, Treyarch reduced the effectiveness of the AK74U in a postrelease patch. "That immediately made the game a full FAMAS battle since there was no other weapon that could compete with its versatility."

This made competitive matches "fairly dull and not very fun to watch," says Lussier. While he believes that there's something to be said for the bare-bones competitive spirit of everyone running around with identical weapons, Lussier knows that the overall entertainment value suffered because of it. That's why he hopes Black Ops II will offer a greater number of competitively viable weapons with more balanced strengths and weaknesses so that the game reflects a greater selection of "player styles and mind-sets."

Next on Lussier's wish list is a broader selection of game modes suitable for competitive matches. "If you look at each game since Call of Duty 4, there's been three to four game types that have been played competitively: Search and Destroy, Sabotage/Demolition, Capture the Flag, and Domination," he says. Some modes, like Sabotage, have since fallen out of favor with pro gamers, while newer modes haven't been used at all. "There are so many more game types that could have been used if they had very slight tweaks to them."

How could a mode like Sabotage (infrequently used in tournaments since COD4) be salvaged? Lussier would like to see Sabotage stripped of the overtime rule that allows for ties--something that often leads to matches going for hours and hours before a winner is crowned. Similar to that is Demolition, which uses an overtime rule that allows players to choose their final side based on kills. This, according to Lussier, is a rule that has led to some questionable tactics. "Sometimes you'd see people suicide to get the side they want for the last round," says Lussier.

"And then you have game types like Team Defender," remarks Lussier of a mode introduced in Modern Warfare 3. "It's a bit like Oddball from Halo, but it doesn't give you any points for controlling the objective--only giving your team double the points for getting kills when you controlled it. This effectively means a team isn't forced to fight one another to win the game."

"Sometimes you'd see people suicide to get the side they want for the last round."

Lussier's logic here is the same as his point about weapons: a greater number of tournament-friendly modes means more room for different player styles and thus an increase in entertainment value. This line of thought extends to the number of tournament-caliber maps, which Lussier believes wasn't as robust as it could have been in the original Black Ops. What sorts of maps work best on a competitive level? "Smaller to medium-size maps without all the random buildings and alleyways that nobody really needs to use to get from point A to point B," says Lussier. "Even though I'm speaking from a competitive mind-set, in the end, do the public match players really want to walk around these random areas that promote camping and delays getting from one fight to another? I don't think so."

Ultimately, Lussier believes that one of the biggest challenges for a game like Call of Duty to become an e-sports juggernaut is the disparity between what fans see when they watch competitive matches and what they experience when they play on their own time. Starcraft II, Lussier says, is a great example of a game that minimizes that gap. "What makes Starcraft II so awesome for fans is that when you get on the game itself and play multiplayer, you are playing the exact same thing the pros are playing. You can immediately relate to them as you are in the same game environment they are when they compete. All of that makes it very easy for a fan to relate to how well a player is doing."

He contrasts that with what it's like when you watch the typically stripped-down competitive Call of Duty matches: "If a casual Call of Duty player watched a stream and saw a professional player competing, they wouldn't see much of what they are accustomed to and would have a really hard time relating to what the professional is doing. In competitive COD, we don't have any kill streaks, or much equipment to use, so the game is pretty much stripped down to the core run-and-gun experience to make the game as competitive as possible."

Bridging that gap is certainly not going to be easy for Treyarch, but Lussier is confident the studio has its heart in the right place when it comes to making Call of Duty a better e-sports experience. "I'm not really worried about Black Ops II's involvement in big tournaments next season," Lussier says. "Treyarch enjoys e-sports and will do anything possible to make their game as fun as possible to play and watch for any level of player."

'

Written By

Want the latest news about Call of Duty: Black Ops II?

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Follow

Discussion

405 comments
Shane_Padget
Shane_Padget

Ok, this has nothing to do with what the actual game is going to be like, or well maybe treyarch will keep in mind some of the ideas that they like, now you fools, I don't know if you can read but this is "A Pro Gamer's Hopes for Black Ops II" pro gamer or not pro gamer, this is just one persons opinion that got published, again, just an opinion and will not actually be used in the game he is just saying what he would like, i'm pretty sure he is not the only one that has commented about what he would like on black ops II... Besides, I think that those are all great ideas for Black ops II.

CyberLips
CyberLips

Pro gamers? What's that? And why do they get paid to play games?

Siege66
Siege66

The cod fanboy in me died after cod 4 the series just keeps getting worse.

Nodashi
Nodashi

I couldn't care less what pro-gamers want. They are professionals, they want the best field to win with their set of skills. They make money winning, that's all they care (and they are not wrong, they are just not the public of those games, they only help with publicity).Me? I want fun. That's why I play games. That's why I like BF3 better, because I love destroying buildings and driving helicopters and all the stuff.I would love a shooter that gave me even more fun, even if it was futuristic, AKA less realistic. Irony is, the only way I see it happening is with BF2142 II, because I want my mechs to RAZE buildings, not stand in front of them powerless. And I want to drive them. 

Samslayer
Samslayer

I was really unsatisfied with MW3 to the point that I have barely even played the game...

 

Black Ops is my favorite COD so far in the celebrated series, and I have some really high-hopes for Treyarch's next challenge!

otto1971
otto1971

I love call of duty haters! but since modern warfare 2 they are always the same!  same comments, same design, same engine! I hope that with the next call of duty there is a new generation of haters! the haters should invest in innovation and not always use the same comments to hate a game! please be innovative so I can back to read yours comment with passion !

smacfe
smacfe

Who gives a rats a$s what a "pro gamer" thinks!  When I care what some pasty-faced, basement-dwelling lifeless imbecile thinks I'll Fedex you my brain.  WAKE UP guys!!!  Those of us who actually PAY for these games  are looking for a different experience than one of your "pro gamer" losers.  We actually have to get up from time to time to take a leak, or go to school, or go to work, and interact with the HUMAN RACE.  No wonder most games coming out these days s%$k out loud, because you are asking the wrong people what should be in them.

Oleg_Huzwog
Oleg_Huzwog

Drop out of school, live in your mom's basement, and survive on Hot Pockets.  Ah yes, the glorious life of a Pro.

dnguyen3
dnguyen3

I can't call "Pro" gaming a career or recommend someone to follow it. A student might as well drop school to play videogames for a living. But what happens when you're done gaming? What can you fall back to when you're done with e-sports? These guys may be young but what are they going to do when they're 40 and older?

clarkydm
clarkydm

 @Kev Tyler B  and @Chris Hickin  this article is more for you keep_it_domestic and masbeu enjoy. I'm lucky not be the fodder when i play cod online lmao. Kind of feel like i wasted my time reading this but I have a few buddies who actually are good.

SJDavis
SJDavis

There were a lot of custom maps for COD4, and one of my clan's favorites was Pool Day, which was a swimming pool, patio and two locker room/ shower rooms on either side.  It was stupid - the people who did the best were those who had the fastest machines and knew the glitch spots.  Most deaths were from LMGs or P90s because of the spray factor, or nade spam.  It was good shotty fun, but really not competitive - just twitch.  I don't understand what this dude is talking about cutting out side paths and random buildings.  Does he just want two open areas and a choke point in the middle?  Like someone below correctly pointed out, the less options there are to get somewhere, the more camping.  Then again, he is a professional COD player, so strategy, intricate and well-designed maps and subtlety are not his strong suit.  

 

This is one more classic example of the COD franchise giving the finger to players and knowing console gamers are too inexperienced and mostly too young to see what they are doing.  I was done with them when they took away the ability to run our own dedicated servers and mod the game in order to make more cash.  I went to Battlefield and never looked back.  In Battlefield 3, just as in BF:BC2, there is no one dominant weapon.  Everyone plays the game differently depending on their skills, favorite kits, and the map and game types.  If a multi-player shooter has one weapon everyone uses, it is broken and needs to be fixed.  Unfortunately, Treyarch is lazy and couldn't give a crap as long as the cash keeps rolling in.  If any of this makes you mad, come on over to the dark side.  The BF3 community is happy to educate you.

NightFox313
NightFox313

Get rid of the perks and let players be able to do the killing themselves.

ngboy
ngboy

let's compare the amount of "pro" gamers out there to the amount of casual gamers and it's pretty easy to say that if treyarch panders to the "pro" gamers, they're looking at the wrong demographic. guaranteed the casual gamers out number the pro gamers a few hundred thousand to one... and that's being generous 

ninos7
ninos7

Pro gamers wating for the noob game? Better say noob players waiting for this noob game. The pro players are waiting for other games like me

ThatGerman225
ThatGerman225

It's funny that Gamestop can't formulate opinions of their own, they have to rely on some nerd who's diet consists of Mt. Dew, Sour Patch Kids and Pizza. trololololol

nima_metal90
nima_metal90

A Pro Gamer's Hope For COD: STOP PUBLISHING!!!

malfreds
malfreds

Free for All. That's it.

deathtrooper31
deathtrooper31

I'm getting this game strictly for the SP and ZOMBIES!  Who care about the stinking MP!?

gregdn22
gregdn22

And as far as map design is concerned, I thought that Cod4, WaW, and MW2 all had great map design, which included bigger maps (but not too big, just bigger than the recent Cod titles), multiple routes to objectives, and differences in vertical heights to which players could reach.  In CoD4 I remember several places where you could get on top of roofs of buildings and you could get to the second story of most buildings.  It made the game more strategic and most importantly fun!

 

Cod Black ops lost a lot of this great map design and MW3 lost all of it together, I even remember a specific quote from infinity ward's spokesman (402 or whatever his name was) that said they were purposefully taking the "verticality" out of the map design in order to give the players what they want.   No sir we did not ask you to take the fun out of the game, we do not all enjoy running around in tiny maps like chickens with our heads cut off. 

 

The funny thing is that they should have realized  that they were ruining the game due to their map design because for the past few CoD titles, the only use for sniper rifles now is quickscoping, the maps are designed to support sniping in any way.

gregdn22
gregdn22

This guy doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to the map design for so many reasons.  Why wouldn't he want multiple routes to objectives?  He says it promotes camping, but I think that it promotes camping if there is only one route.  You don't even have to watch your back then.

 

He's right about everyone using the famas in black ops but it is only partially the developer's fault.  It's the developer's fault that the maps are smaller, and not designed in a way to promote other styles of play; however, it is these so called "pro gamers" who are mostly at fault for playing a stripped down version of the game with only certain killstreaks (if at all), certain equipment, and only some or none of the perks.  When you take away possible variety in the game, you really limit yourself on what become viable options for weapons.

monster637
monster637

i had to post twice that he said smaller maps with out nooks and crannies to have to hunt threw and clear buildings.....basically old school killhouse maps .......why not make a map in a bedroom were you spawn and kill instantly over and over......... war games in a crate maybee,

 

Everyone gets c-4 and put in the same box and  blow your self and others in the crate together

monster637
monster637

he lost me at smaller maps....................smaller maps mean bad respwns and being spawned in front of a loaded gun........Esports= fail

endorbr
endorbr

Like I care what a "pro" gamer thinks.

Leefx
Leefx

Im a pro gamer I want the game to be made how I want it, how about fk off, who are you to speak for what I want, I am a casual gamer and I don't want the same as you! Do we casual gamers outnumber these so called pro gamers? Yes we do so why are they being consulted and not the majority, not that it is gonna make the blindest bit of difference what he wants, I hate some of the mw3 maps for how small they are and don't even get me started on nuketown!! My fave mode is S&D which was far better on black ops than mw3 but that aside I want bigger maps for certain game modes like S&D and smaller maps suit the mindless stuff like TDM and FFA etc, but hey that's just my preference I'm sure there's plenty of you with your own....

proyoto
proyoto

Face it everyone here is jealous that pro gamers make money playing these games. To make the game e-sport compatible balance has to be a priority and who knows balance better than the people who play the game the most. In the original Black Ops the only gun players used was the Famas because it was so much better than all the other weapons. Its boring to watch pro gamers all use the same gun in a match.

ste-g
ste-g

id rather give money too some tramp who actually needs my money rather than activision and bobby kotick. we all saw what happened too guitar hero and now its cod's turn. anything with activision involved i avoid. all they do is make halfass'ed games with loads of DLC (content that could probably be on disc but held back just for more £££ or $$$) the gaming world is slipping into some dark times. instead of making games for the players and making the best experience possible its all about trying squeeze every last bit of money from us. 10 years time the gaming industry will be held to randsom by online only purchases and bulls**t weekly DLC not just by activision neither. theres ment to be a recession and if this is the way its gona be im goin back too my master system/ mega drive/ snes/ n64/ ps1/2 and enjoy the good old days of gaming.......

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

@ haters

 

Why do you hate? What good does it do? If you don't like the game, don't buy it. It'll still probably out sell any game you "switch to". I'm not saying this is going to be "the best game ever", in fact I have my own doubts. But most of you know you'll buy the game anyways. If you really want to "hate" don't buy the game and show them your hate by reducing their sells. Else nobody cares what you have to say.

bragart
bragart

"Lussier is confident the studio has its heart in the right place when it comes to making Call of Duty a better e-sports experience."

 

That made me laugh.

 

Thanks .

Faster_Bill
Faster_Bill

After COD:MW2 it's all the same... They only named it differently. Using 'pro' gamer's opinion like it was some sort of truth... Bad move. Games are not made for turnaments? Are they?

Ein001
Ein001

Don't believe this BS from Treyarch/Activision, the competitive gaming scene was the same 2 years ago when they put out the first BO and then mw3.  Treyarch lacks the talent to make anything but bad copies of better games.

a1450358509
a1450358509

You cant call them "pro gamers" when the only thing they're good at is COD. "pro" would imply that they could pick up almost any game and automatically beast at it. Im not sure if anyone else saw the exhibition of starhawk where 2 "pro" gamers got the S*** kicked outta them by the developers, but im pretty sure competing in an MLG event means nothing. As of right now, there is no such thing as "pro"

deliman
deliman

why would you ever admit to being a pro gamer?  can you imagine talking to a woman, and she asks "so what do you do?"

 

"oh, i'm a pro gamer."

 

it doesn't really sound too good, does it?

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

 @otto1971 

THANK YOU!!! I actually want to see some truth to some of these. Maybe something like:

"I went 3-24 on one of their stupid maps so I'm rage quitting!"

Hahaha

otto1971
otto1971

 @dnguyen3 and you can immagine if you dislocate your wrist? career over ! 

monster637
monster637

 @gregdn22 they dont like the randomness that they cant lockdown a certain area and lock down the entry ways , instead of being flanked.........all the mlg guys need to just focus on halo 4 and starcraft and stfu.........Its bad enough when i got mw3 and realized i cant climb on almost anything, no cars no crates........non of the type of things we were atleast used to since mw1

bragart
bragart

 @monster637 hey , you just gave them their first dlc idea for Black Ops 2.

Xodrek
Xodrek

 @monster637 I thought CoD 4 maps were the best. A lot of them were big but not too big. They weren't crazy with stuff.  They had camping areas, routes, and flanks. 

 

I loved those maps. Mw2 maps got complicated but were still nice.

MW3...you can get shot from every little corner you sit in. You can't go anywhere without 6 different ways of being shot at.

smokeless_0225
smokeless_0225

 @ste-g 

Well if you're to cheap to put $$$ into a good game then I wouldn't advise giving your $$$ to a tramp, lol. Go ahead and go back to your master b***ing...I mean system.

Ein001
Ein001

 @a1450358509 So Tiger Woods isn't a pro athlete because he can't play pro football as well as he golfs?  There are plenty of SC2 players who live off the game, either from sponsorships, tournament winnings, or stream revenue.  And wtf is starhawk?

Warfighter_971
Warfighter_971

 @seanbrandowen thts a shame then..........bcz movie stars arent gamers.bt gamers cant be treated lk moviestars.....tht sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

onewithtoenail7
onewithtoenail7

Japan also tries to make robots act in theatre and specializes in cartoons of tentacled child molesters. idolizing pro gamers is one of their lesser crimes against humanity :)

otto1971
otto1971

 @deliman ho , i'm pro gamer, just won 50.000 $ and take other 20.000 from sponsor!

for sure more % to fuk that you say I work in mak donnull.... 

gregdn22
gregdn22

 @monster637 My thoughts exactly.  I went to a midnight release with friends, and when we started playing it that night it wasn't long before we all thought the same thing.  You can't climb on anything in MW3, its horrible,  I'm not sure why climbing obstacles faster is even a pro version of a perk, there is hardly anything to vault yourself up onto.

monster637
monster637

 @gregdn22 except you can pretty much do that in mw3 with the bad map design ,,,,not much flanking usually 2 str8 paths  funneled into small corridors for the running down the lane duck hunt , fish in a barrel gameplay

a1450358509
a1450358509

 @Ein001 no he is not a pro athlete, he is a pro golfer. duh! and im pretty sure any sc2 player cannot LIVE off of the game. sure they'll make enough for several years, but never enough to LIVE off of. And how dare you not know what starhawk is! Its a mix between SC and shooters! One of the best games so far this year!