I remember when Christmas used to be about train sets, and plump stockings hung over a roaring fireplace, and eating your own body weight in Turkey. These days it's more about shooting people in the face repeatedly--virtually, of course. Come December, nothing will be more coveted than a copy of Call Of Duty: Black Ops II, and a quiet, forgiving family. But just what's in store for you come that wondrous Christmas morning? Here are the top six things you need to know about Call Of Duty Black Ops II multiplayer.
Score Streaks Not Kill Streaks
Say goodbye to Kill Streaks. Now, instead of awesome rewards like the UAV being linked to how many people you kill, they're linked to points. Points are awarded for different types of action. For example, capturing the flags nets you 100 points. Kill someone while carrying the flag and you gain a mean 150. Take the flag home and you get a plump 200. Points ramp up your Score Streak meter, which lets you earn up to two rewards in a single scoring event. Speaking of which…
(Micro)wave Your Enemies Goodbye
There are a bunch of new streak rewards in CODBLOPS II. The Guardian, for example, is a portable turret that emits a non-lethal dose of microwave radiation, which incapacitates nearby enemies. It's perfect for forming strong walls of defense around flags, or capture points. Another cool streak is the AGR, which is a vicious micro-tank, capable of tearing the opposition in shreds with its minigun. While it's completely autonomous, you can choose to control it and bring the destruction directly. Other streaks include the Hellstorm missile, which you can choose to blow up in midair for a wide spread, or closer to the ground for a more direct blast; and the escort drone, which is an autonomous flying vehicle that relays its position and kills via voice, directly to you.
Pick 10 Equipment
CODBLOPS II has a completely overhauled equipment system, based upon a series of board games developed by Treyarch staff. In essence, it allows players to easily create a completely custom class, which, the developers say, doesn't ever interfere with the balance of the game. Every player is allocated 10 points, which they can spend on various slots. The difference in player levels dictates what equipment they have access to: weapons, attachments, grenades, and different skills etc. And you're not forced to take something from a category--how you equip your character is entirely up to you. Notably, all weapon modifications are made here now; there are no longer any weapon-mod perks. Also notable are Wildcards, which you can equip by using up one of your points, but enable neat tricks like equipping three attachments to your weapon, rather than the default two.
55 Levels and 10 Levels of Prestige Please
That's right, there are 55 Levels and 10 Levels of Prestige in CODBLOPS II, but what's notable is that the system no longer uses COD Points. Instead, you get one unlock token per level, which you can use to get new equipment. That means it's now impossible to unlock everything in a single progression, a move, the developer says, that means you always have something to look forward to. Unless, you know, you don't do anything but play COD. In which case, you've got bigger things to worry about.
No, I'm not making that pun-a-riffic title up. CODCasting gives you the ability to commentate on live matches in spectator mode, and adjust the camera accordingly. You can bring up switch between players, bring up a score chart overlay, switch to map view, get picture-in-picture with scores, and listen into team speak with the push of a button. In a separate feature, you'll be able to live stream games with a single button press--something that will not require a high end PC, although the developer did not confirm if it would be coming to consoles. If you've got a webcam, you can even stream a video of your lovely COD-playing face too.
Of course, live streaming isn't any good without a decent bit of competition to commentate on, and CODBLOPS II features a new, automated tournament mode. The game will keep track of how well you're doing, whether individually or in a team with friends, and match you with other similarly killed individuals. Should you consistently kick ass, the game will automatically move you up to higher division. Matches can also have more than two teams for the first time, with up to six available in each match of up to 18 players. There's even a new "Hard Point" mode to get stuck into with teams too, which is basically King Of The Hill, but, you know, more manly. Grr.'