Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer Offers Theater Mode, Wagering and More

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Activision’s hosting the worldwide reveal of the Call of Duty: Black Ops multiplayer tonight in LA. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been announced and shown so far:

Mark Lamia, studio head of Treyarch, said,  “We’ve never been more fired up than we are about Black Ops. There’s never been a more important game for us at Treyarch.” As announced at this year’s E3, Map packs and other DLC will be hitting Xbox first. Community feedback has affected design and a lot of the new features are the result of trying to keep their hardcore fans happy and expand the player base.

David Vonderhaar, multiplayer director, and designer Dan Bunting say the new watchwords for multiplayer are “Compete | Customize | Create.” Black Ops will feature new weapons, new killstreaks, new perks, new match types. Here are some highlights from the presentation:

Combat Training:

A new mode to help train for multiplayer. It’s populated with advanced AI bots called practice dummies and can be played solo or with friends. It’s a multiplayer mode wrapped up in a solo experience whose aim is to train in people who never play multiplayer. Data from player research shows that about 30%-40% of people who played previous COD titles never played multplayer.

Create-a-Class

Different perks will have distinct visual signatures that change the look and abilities of your avatar. Now, you’ll be able to tell what the opposition can do at a glance.

Equipment:

a new category of assets that you deploy in the world: Video showed off a camera spike for remote viewing, motion sensor to track enemy movement, and a signal jammer to block other team’s communications.

New weapons:

Death Machine is a portable gatling-style turret and the Grim Reaper is a rocket launcher. Sequences in video show player-piloted gunship and a mortar-team bombardment. Not clear is if mortar team is automatic like an airstrike or player-conrolled. Shots of a surface-to-air missile turret launching at a hovering helicopter look tense and bad-ass. RC-XD, which I’m guessing stands for “remote-controlled explosive device”, moves very fast and can climb up stairs. I predict this will be a favorite… Another future favorite will probably be the Tomahawk, which will drain cash in from players you kill with it in certain match types. More on the cash below.

New leveling & economy system:

COD points (CP): in-game economy to unlock stuff. It’s a way to let players craft their own kind of experience without having to grind and level up to earn certain abilities/assets.

New game modes:

Contracts:

Time-limited challenges to that you buy with CP. Finish ‘em and get paid with CP, XP. The harder they are, the more you get paid. Will apparently be player-created and customizable.

Wager Match

Use your COD points to gamble against others in a ranked match. Finish in top three and earn COD points. It’s separate from other ranked match modes. Match types include “One in the Chamber,” where each player only has one bullet. Miss and spend the rest of the match running, hiding and trying to punch your way to victory. To win the “Gun Game” match type, you’ll need to do a kill with every weapon.

“This Is My Gun” and Emblem Editor

All-new customizations include new camo patterns, reticule symbols and swappable parts. The idea is to let other players know exactly who killed them. You’ll also be able to crate unique visual tags with the Emblem Editor. It’ll be pre-loaded with clip art that you can layer on top of each other, change colors and size. It’s like a mini-Photoshop for COD multiplayer.

Theater Mode

The clip editor at the end of the multiplayer trailer gets confirmed. The camera can be switched from any other player in the match and will feature a freefly mode, too. Clips can be shared but it’s unclear as to whether every online match will be stored on servers for editing.

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