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Has Black Ops Cold War Been A Good Competitive Title?

Images via Activision

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson

Posted 

22nd Jul 2021 21:44

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Call of Duty esports is arguably one of the most unique competitive games in the entire industry, with players having to adapt to a brand-new game featuring all-new weapons, mechanics, and maps prior to the start of the season. For the 2021 Call of Duty League (CDL) season, Black Ops Cold War has been used to showcase the very best players in the world battle it out for millions in prize money. More often than not, Call of Duty titles are built for casual play in mind rather than high-level competition where strategy and co-ordination are the keys to success. Despite this, the competitive scene continues to adapt what’s put in front of them to make the best of a far from ideal situation.

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Treyarch’s fifth instalment of the Black Ops series was met with a mixed reception when it first released back in November 2020 but with several changes made to the game over four seasons of post-launch content, the quality of the game has drastically improved when it comes to competitive play.

With that said, has Black Ops Cold War been a good competitive Call of Duty title?

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An Imbalanced Metagame

In the first weeks of release, Treyarch was quick to implement weapon tuning in order to maintain some kind of balance in casual and competitive play. Soon after, and with a lack of changes being made to several weapons that are deemed to be overpowered, the notorious ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ took hold in a bid to create a version of the game that was suitable for CDL action.

With numerous weapons unofficially restricted due to a lack of developer support, the meta of the AK-74u submachine gun and the Krig 6 assault rifle took hold of the COD esports landscape and continues to feature despite a diverse range of rifles and SMGs to choose from. While the gentlemen’s agreement has nullified any chance of players using an unorthodox weapon in order to gain an advantage, it has bought a great deal of stability to the competitive side of Black Ops Cold War. Seeing the same weapons used over and over again maybe boring to some, but the unofficial intervention by players has drastically improved how the game is played.

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Classic Maps To The Rescue

The original maps that are used for competitive play aren’t exactly the best that have ever featured in a Call of Duty title, and shortly after the game was released, players were quick to make their feelings known on the poor spawn mechanics and unnecessarily large maps full of space that was never touched by the boots of players over the course of a match. Despite efforts to improve particular maps by changing the location of Hardpoint hills, some battlefields quickly fell out of favour with professional players and were removed entirely from the competitive map pool. Thankfully, Treyarch capitalised on bringing back old yet very familiar maps from Black Ops 2 in order to rescue the situation.

The additions of Raid, Standoff and Express to the Black Ops Cold War map pool have been a stroke of genius from the CDL. All three of the maps featured heavily in competitive Black Ops 2 and are widely considered to be some of the very best maps in the history of the entire franchise, giving the league the perfect opportunity to build a map pool with a mixture of classic maps and some of the original designs that didn’t play too badly when two teams of four faced off against each other. Without the addition of the classic maps, Black Ops Cold War could well be considered one of the worst competitive Call of Duty titles in history.

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Strong Game Mode Selection

Competitive Modern Warfare was met with heavy criticism after it was revealed that Domination would be returning as the third game mode for the first time since 2014. Considering the immense success of adding Control as the third game mode in the year prior to the release of Modern Warfare, many were surprised by the decision to return to Domination, a game mode that never really grabbed the attention of viewers or players. The return of Control was a smart move considering its unique nature. Players must capture two zones before the time limit runs out while the defending team attempts to stop them. With only 30 lives for each team, Control matches on Black Ops Cold War often come down to the wire, creating some incredible clutches along with seemingly unwinnable situations that players can turn on their head in a split-second.

Control should never have been removed as the third game mode and after a few interventions from the developer, the mode is hugely popular alongside the staples of Hardpoint and Search & Destroy.

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Has It Been A Good Competitive Title?

Although the weapon variety is stale and some of the maps aren’t optimised for professional play, Black Ops Cold War hasn’t been the worst competitive Call of Duty title, nor has it been the best. The untapped potential of this game will always be unknown due to a surprising lack of developer support from Treyarch, but all things considered, four-versus-four action is fast, frenetic, and involves plenty of strategy and teamwork in order to get the upper hand over the opposition. Having watched countless hours of the world’s best players competing on Black Ops Cold War, there are certain things that could’ve been utilised to encourage even more strategy, such as the return of smoke grenades and sniper rifles.

Nonetheless, I think that Black Ops Cold War could have been a lot worse than it is. The game provides plenty of action from the perspective of a player and a viewer and with the smallest decisions often deciding which of the two teams emerges victorious, there are a lot more in-depth tactics to Black Ops Cold War than meets the eye.

 

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Can The Los Angeles Guerrillas Contend For Titles In 2022?

Call of Duty League

Written by 

Jonno Nicholson

Posted 

10th Sep 2021 19:22

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