The first round of the Multiplayer Beta just ran its course for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 exclusively on the PS4. I sank many hours into this beta over the weekend, and my thoughts and impressions of that experience can be found here.
After a mere day into the Black Ops 4 Multiplayer Beta, Treyarch already began vigorously analyzing results and sharing plans for the game’s future refinement. The studio noted that some folks experienced issues with launching the beta in Europe. Furthermore, there appears to have been buggy aspects of the Gridlock map that need to be smoothed over. I did not experience any instability in my playthrough. But, if you did, Treyarch is on the case.
Additionally, there are a handful of other items that the studio is zoning in on as the beta progressed into the weekend. Treyarch was very transparent about aspects of the game that needed work, and you can find the full breakdown of what was shared here. I’ve provided a recap summarizing the highlights.
Personally, my experience with framerate was pretty solid. The action was as fluid as one would come to expect from a Call of Duty experience. However, the development team has noticed specific instances that cause the game’s framerate to dip. It seems that much of the concern stems from the aforementioned Gridlock map issues.
Treyarch identified an issue with the initial loading time of any given map that would cause an extremely long wait. I did, in fact, experience this on a few occasions. At one point, I waited a few minutes for a match to load, but this wasn’t consistent. Nevertheless, the studio’s QA team is looking into the issue.
Weapons and Specialist Tuning
SMGs were the bane of the competition. It actually took me two days to realize that I was far more effective utilizing an SMG for my primary weapon over anything else. Now I know why. The development team recognized that SMGs weren’t fairly balanced and are working to rectify the issue. Additionally, players have shared feedback about some of the equipment specific to certain specialists feeling overpowered. It’s unclear which specialists are being referred to here, but I have some ideas.
Bunny Hopping and Spawns
Many combatants were spamming the jump action during my playthrough. I died countless times from a hail of bullets angled downward at me as my opponent jumped rapidly to dodge my attack. Of course, this is a valid action as noted by the dev team. It’s not like using this movement is cheating. However, the studio seems to think that the bunny hopping capability in its current state is a bit too effective. Perhaps, they’ll lengthen the time in between succeeding jumps. Even split seconds would make all the difference.
Honestly, what is there to say about spawns? While I didn’t recognize anything amiss up front, most multiplayer games have to refine the process of respawning to some degree.
Free Cursor UI
In the game’s menus for Black Ops 4, a free-range cursor is used to navigate various menus and options. Apparently, some players did not like this new approach. It seems there’s a concern over whether simply selecting options using a d-pad or analog stick is quicker than moving a free cursor from point A to point B. The gripe seems entirely trivial to me as we’re probably talking about fractions of seconds here. However, the point of the beta is to provide feedback on the items most important to players. And, this seems to be one of them. The studio is looking into alternative options.
Now, this is a vastly more problematic issue for the dev team to tackle. When players begin the multiplayer beta for the first time, a stim injector is equipped to allow players to manually replenish health. Eventually, other selections can be made to replace the stim injector including armor. Armor does exactly what you might think it does. It packs an extra fraction of health at the end of each user’s health bar. Facing off against someone with a larger health bar doesn’t exactly seem fair. However, my feeling was that they obviously don’t have the ability to heal, so they carry damage that is taken with them until death. In essence, it evens out in the end. You just might be the unlucky one to up against them with a fresh fully armored health bar.
Treyarch has taken note of the frustration that some players have vocalized concerning armor. Additionally, they found that their statistics show that other gear options have been more effective than armor. Their plight was simply to consider the full scope of the gear options before proceeding with any sort of corrective action. So, we must wait to see what they come up with if anything.
I think this level of transparency from the Black Ops 4 development team is excellent. It shows that studio is listening to its community which bodes well for the future of their game. Obviously, not everything fans want or wish for can be granted. Still, this effort from Treyarch shows that they’re paying attention.