After getting hands-on with Black Ops Cold War multiplayer, here's everything we know so far about Call of Duty's next entry.
We recently got hands-on with Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War's multiplayer through an online preview event held by Activision. This included an opportunity to experience the new game modes, a few of the maps, and a closer look at all the features that come with the multiplayer component. Here, we're rounding up everything we learned about multiplayer Black Ops Cold War so far.
If you want to check out a more detailed account about the gameplay experience, be sure to read my Black Ops Cold War preview that covers how it compares to Modern Warfare (you can also watch the video below). The single-player campaign is picking up where Black Ops 1 left off and aims to be another mind-bending, conspiracy-based story; you can catch up on what we know about Black Ops Cold War's campaign and what it's doing differently.
During our preview, we used the menu option called Featured Playlist, which offered matchmaking for specific modes on specific maps. There were also options for Custom Games and Theater, but they were locked at the time. The game modes we saw included:
- Combined Arms: 12-on-12 Domination where teams fight to control capture zones. Team scores increase for each zone it holds.
- VIP Escort: 6-on-6 mode where one team tries to extract the VIP (a random member of the team) while the other team tries to hunt down the VIP. Players have one life per round but can be revived when in a knocked-down state. VIPs wear civilian clothes and only have a pistol. Scorestreaks are disabled for everyone except the VIP, who has a Spy Plane. Teams alternate sides, and the first to four round wins takes the match.
- Fireteam: 10 teams of four battle it out in this objective-based mode in large maps with vehicles available. We currently only know about the variant called Dirty Bomb that has you obtaining uranium to fuel bombs at specific locations on the map.
- Hardpoint: Two teams of six fight to control capture locations that move throughout the match. Holding a capture point nets a team points.
- Domination: The standard 6-on-6 mode where teams fight to control several capture points throughout a map. The more a team holds, the more points they accumulate.
- Team Deathmatch: Classic 6-on-6 deathmatch.
- Kill Confirmed: Two teams of six fight deathmatch-style but need to pick up dog tags dropped by enemies killed to make the kill count. You can pick up teammate dog tags to deny the enemy team the point.
- Control: A 6-on-6 round-based mode where one team needs to hold onto two capture points and the other tries to take them over. However, spawns are limited per team. The defending team needs to hold onto at least one point and expend the attackers' spawn count.
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As mentioned above, we saw a handful of maps as well. They varied in size and design, and some were tied to certain game modes. Here are the maps we saw so far:
- Armada: A large map suited for 12-on-12 featuring ships at sea. Players fight between these ships and on the waters. Vehicles like jet skis and patrol boats are available.
- Crossroads: A large snow map also suited for 12-on-12 featuring tanks and snowmobiles across a frozen tundra with open areas and bunkers. It was also used for the 6-on-6 VIP Escort mode.
- Miami: An urban-style map with several buildings and lanes inside and outside of the main central courtyard. It's stylized with neon lights and signs to emphasize the '80s setting.
- Satellite: A slightly bigger desert map with intricate pathways for close-quarters fights and open areas for long-range battles.
- Moscow: A medium city-based map that takes place in and around buildings with a metro station around the center.
Scorestreaks are back and take the place of killstreaks. Scorestreaks encourage objective-based play since they're awarded based on points accumulated in a single life in a match, but they're also subject to a 90-second cooldown timer. These are the ones included in Black Ops Cold War.
- RX-XD (600 points): Remote-controlled car with explosives attached.
- Spy Plane (800 points): Radar ability that reveals enemy locations on the minimap.
- Artillery (1900 points): Mark three locations on the map to target for airstrikes.
- Napalm Strike (2400 points): Targeted carpet bombing.
- Air Patrol (2750 points): Call in jets to take down enemy air-based scorestreaks.
- War Machine (3150 points): Use a high-explosive grenade launcher.
- Attack Helicopter (3750 points): Helicopter gunner that auto-targets enemies.
- Chopper Gunner (6000 points): Player-controller helicopter gunner.
Wildcards And Perks
Wildcards are back and add an X-factor to your loadout that helps you further customize classes for your playstyle. You can only select one of the four available, however. Here are the wildcards we saw so far:
- Danger Close: Equip extra lethal and tactical gear (such as grenades, jammers, etc.) and start with max ammo.
- Law Breaker: Equip two primary weapons and any three perks without category restrictions.
- Gunfighter: Unlock an additional three attachment slots for your primary weapon for a total of eight attachments.
- Perk Greed: Equip three extra perks for a total of six perks.
Perks are a Call of Duty staple, and Black Ops Cold War has some standard ones that we've seen throughout the series. They're split into three categories, and you can only equip one from each category (unless you use the Law Breaker wildcard). Here are the perks that were available for each slot:
- Engineer (Perk 1 slot): See enemy scorestreaks through walls and the minimap. Can reroll care packages.
- Tactical Mask (Perk 1 slot): Increased resistance to flashbangs and stun grenades, and negates gas effects.
- Flak Jacket (Perk 1 slot): Take less damage from enemy explosives and Molotovs.
- Scavenger (Perk 2 slot): Pick up ammo from dead enemies.
- Quartermaster (Perk 2 slot): Grants 25-second equipment recharge.
- Tracker (Perk 2 slot): See imprints of enemy footsteps and aiming at enemies puts them on the team map.
- Cold Blooded (Perk 3 slot): AI-based scorestreaks won't target you and player-controlled ones won't highlight your location. Will not draw a heat signature on thermal.
- Ghost (Perk 3 slot): Enemy Spy Planes won't detect you, period.
- Ninja (Perk 3 slot): Sprint doesn't make as much noise and bypasses enemy Field Mic equipment.
Weapons, Gear, And Gunsmith Attachments
Of course, guns are the most important piece of gear when creating your class. They are split into primary (rifles, machine guns) and secondary slots (pistols, shotguns, launchers), unless you use the Law Breaker wildcard. Here is what was available during the preview event:
- Assault Rifles: XM4, Krig 6, AK-47
- Submachine Guns: MP5, Type 821 Uzi, AK-74u
- Tactical Rifles: M16 (burst-fire), Type 63 (semi-auto)
- Light Machine Guns: RPD, Stoner 63
- Sniper Rifles: LW3 Tundra (bolt-action clip-based), Pelington 703 (bolt-action hand-reloaded)
- Pistols: M1911, Diamatti (burst-fire)
- Shotguns: Hauer 77 (pump-action), Gallo SA12 (semi-auto)
- Launchers: Cigma 2 (lock-on, anti-vehicle)
While picking the right guns is important, decking them out with the best attachments that suit your playstyle is always the key to getting the upper hand in Call of Duty; this is called the Gunsmith system, similar to what's seen in Modern Warfare. By default, you can equip up to five attachments from the eight available slots per gun. As mentioned earlier, using the Gunfighter wildcard opens up all eight slots.
The eight attachment categories consist of optics, muzzle, barrel, underbarrel, body, stock, magazine, and handle. All attachments affect gun stats like ADS speed, recoil, stability, clip size, effective range, and more--these are also measured out in percentages to give you precise information on their effects.
Field Upgrades are the last bit of equipment you'll have to worry about, and can come in clutch in certain situations. The four available were the following:
- Proximity Mine: Explosive mine effective against personnel and vehicles (2:00 minute cooldown).
- SAM Turret: Fires missiles at enemy air-based scorestreaks (3:45 minute cooldown).
- Jammer: Disables enemy field upgrades minimap information in range (2:30 minute cooldown).
- Field Mic: Tracks enemy sounds on the minimap (3:15 minute cooldown).
Content Updates, Warzone Integration, And Beta
What we played during the preview event was just a piece of the overall game, and with future content plans lined up for free in Black Ops Cold War, things are sure to change by launch and afterward. We did not go hands-on with the Fireteam game mode, although we got a peek during the official reveal livestream and it looks to be a wildly different from what we're used to in Call of Duty. The iconic Zombies mode will also return in Black Ops Cold War, but we've yet to see it in action.
Call of Duty: Warzone isn't being left behind, either. You can launch Warzone from the Black Ops Cold War menu, and there will be cross-progression and an integrated battle pass between these multiplayer components. Other parts of Cold War content will also spill into Warzone, so expect to see operators, weapons, equipment, and map changes in reference to this new entry.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War launches on November 13 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and for next-gen systems Xbox Series X/S and PS5 this Holiday season. All multiplayer components of the game will be cross-play and cross-gen compatible, so you can play with the entire playerbase regardless of platform and generation. You can jump into the game's multiplayer when the open beta starts on October 8.