CODBloops: Black Ops 2 is DX11 But Shuns XP

*two* guns? Teenagers will be so happy

I do hear mutterings from some of my similarly jaded contemporaries that, actually, Black Ops 2 doesn’t look as hateful as the last COD, Modern Warfare 3. Given I did find CODBLOPS 1’s singleplayer to be comfortably the least obnoxious of the post-COD4 games, I’m inclined to believe them, no matter how sure I am that this is a not a game I’ll ever care about. Good to hear that the PC version appears to be doing the work, though – devs Treyarch have revealed that they’ve update the engine to include DirectX11 support and extra shinies, as well as “more “quality vs performance” options than ever before”. The cost of this is no more Windows XP support, which will be bad news for the approximate 14% of Steam users who doggedly remain with Microsoft’s most deathless OS. Ditching XP support is not at all uncommon for new games these days, but – good or ill – I suppose it should be taken as a sign of the times when essentially the biggest game in the world decides that OS’s time has come and gone.

Claim Treyarch on a PC-specific FAQ, “Performance has been a top priority for Black Ops II PC from day one and we have achieved significant improvements. We’ve improved the way the engine handles multiple threads. Additionally, we moved the engine from DX9 to DX11. The DX11 API is leaner than DX9 and requires less CPU time to do the same amount of work. It is important to point out that this benefits the entire range of supported GPUs, not just DX11 hardware. We have also added more “quality vs performance” options than ever before so you can customize your experience to either run faster or to satisfy your taste in eye candy.” You can’t eat candy with your eyes, silly person!

They do actually say “sorry” about having to drop XP support, claiming it’s an inevitable consequence of the move to the DX11 API. It doesn’t look like anyone’s successfully hacked DX11 into XP yet, but perhaps my Google-fu is malfunctioning.

As for the extra shiny-shiny, specifically it’s this stuff: “enhanced lighting, shadows, antialiasing, bloom, depth of field, ambient occlusion, and other enhanced effects that are still in the works. And the game can run at higher resolutions and higher framerates on the PC.” No framerate cap, apparently, although they have included an optional one for those who want it (like me – anything over 60 is a waste on my monitor).

WHAT ABOUT MOUSE SMOOTHING, says someone somewhere, probably. I’unno. Here are full system requirements if you like, though.

OS: Windows Vista SP2 or Windows 7
CPU: Intel Core2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHz or AMD Phenom X3 8750 2.4 GHz
Memory: 2GB for 32-bit OS or 4GB for 64-bit OS
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8800GT 512 MB or ATI Radeon HD 3870 512 MB


And here’s something about special editions, for people with too much money and shelf-space.


  1. int says:

    Good news. I always love Treyarch’s COD games. Seriously I have liked them since Die by the Sword.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      Yes. BlOps was easily the best-balanced CoD of the new lot, including CoD4, and Treyarch have already confirmed ranked dedis are in.

      This went from “not touching CoD again” a couple of months ago to “probably going to buy it at launch” startlingly fast.

      • kwyjibo says:

        Black Ops was better because it knew it was stupid from the outset.

    • derbefrier says:

      I have always enjoyed them too and always found them to be better than the Modern Warfare games.
      I loved WaW and had a good bit of fun in blops. I plan on getting Blops 2 for my xbox to have something to play with my friends on there. I know here on the internet your not a cool guy unless your bashing CoD but fuck the cool guys. I played Quake and many mindless twitch shooters for years it was fun back then and the same mindless manshooting is still a good time today.

  2. mehteh says:

    Its still a shallow, no-skill-required console shooter no matter how much you upgrade the engine

    • arccos says:

      Who’s scruffy-looking?

      I would agree with most of that, except that it isn’t a skill-less game. It requires twitch reflexes and map awareness.

      You make it sound like the rest wasn’t intentional. A hell of a lot of people want a shallow console shooter with some multiplayer. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a different game than you want.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Tempted to agree on the single-player front, which I ended up abhorring so much I couldn’t make myself keep the game installed any more, and it has since put me off the series.

      Because of which I find it difficult to agree with Alec’s statement: I did find CODBLOPS 1′s singleplayer to be comfortably the least obnoxious of the post-COD4 games

      It was a relentless barrage of explosions, exposition, CSI-CG-on-acid nonsense. I played three levels worth and found that I was dying and restarting every minute, never challenged to aim at or move towards anything but “forward”, and the endless cascade of noise was causing a migraine.

      I did enjoy the relative quiet, furtive sneaking shenanigans present through most of COD4, but after that the series has descended into Michael Bay bollocks to spoon-feed the tasteless XBox/PS3 lot. Roll on the next Metro / Stalker / Black Mesa etc…

      • d3vilsadvocate says:

        MW3 was the most obnoxious game Ive ever played, and the last COD I’ll ever touch. Those games are so loud, it’s driving me nuts

        Luckily I got the game for free since some key reseller messed up and sent me the wrong key ;)

        • Baines says:

          If you mean loud as in the volume of the sound, well… Maybe Treyarch will be better. Modern Warfare 3 is riddled with bad decisions and a refusal to acknowledge mistakes, and one of those areas is actually the sound volume.

          Players asked for a volume slider for background music, like Black Ops had(?), and the MW3 developers refused for two different reasons. First, the devs felt it would ruin the atmosphere if people could reduce the background music to sane levels where they could actually hear what was going on in the game. (The prime offender is Search and Destroy mode, where you get one life and the music blares up at the “dramatic” final minute.) Second, the devs said it would be unfair to people who wanted to hear the music if they had to play against people who turned the music down.

          After a while, the devs capitulated and agreed to at least remix the bgm at a lower volume. It was mentioned as coming in a future patch a few times, and then was never mentioned again. I think last month, when asked about it yet again, players were finally told that the remixed music (along with the patch to put in the pre-match countdown ticker for the PS3) was abandoned because it caused the game to crash.

          I don’t think the MW3 devs ever even addressed the complaints of the loud fanfare that blasts whenever you level up or achieve something. Or that thanks to all the things you can level up and achieve in MW3 means you can sometimes have the fanfare blasting for 30 seconds straight. (I had I think six fanfares come from firing a single bullet, when you count the weapon rank ups, attachment unlocks from the weapon rank ups, perk achievements, other achievements, and character leveling from all the extra experience gained from all the achievements.)

          Hopefully Treyarch has looked at the mess that Modern Warfare 3 is and learned something.

    • derbefrier says:

      skill in the context of a FPS:

      how to play a FPS
      “point cross hair at bad guy and click left mouse button.

      therefore skill in an FPS is being faster at clicking the mouse button than the bad guy, map awareness and teamwork all of which applies to CoD because its a FPS. you may be referring to the lack of recoil but i dare you to go tell some of the old quake and UT pros they have no skill because guns don’t have recoil :P

      • Vandelay says:

        Your description of how to play an FPS is accurate for a game using hit scan weapons, such as CoD (and most modern FPSs,) but use that principle in a game that has projectiles and you are going to fail. Add the fact that most FPS games have slowed down the movement speed of everyone and those with consoles as a primary focus cut back on vertical level design, the skill ceiling on these games is very low compared to what they used to be.

        • Tinman says:

          ^^^ This. Very much this.

          As much as I absolutely loathe it when people try to distill skill in FPS games down to simply who can aim better, even WITH this point of view modern games like CoD still fall short. Oldskool arena shooters (Quake 3, UT) had maybe 1-2 hitscan weapons with the rest being projectile based, of varying speeds. Leading your target consistently with projectiles depending on the opponent’s speed and vector becomes a skill that few can master. It is a skill you do not see in any modern shooters, mainly because of a complete focus on hitscan weapons (that are not even accurate) and slow movement speeds.

          There is no argument about it. The skill ceiling of modern day shooters is incredibly small, no matter what way you look at it.

  3. Shivoa says:

    Just to be clear (because it gets slightly confusing): The game requires hardware that support the DX10 feature level (hence the minimum requirements for the GPU) but is written for the DX11 API (which can target hardware with 3 different DX9 feature levels + DX10/11 levels) and so that’s why it can’t run on Windows XP and is talking about DX11 while giving the minimum requirements as some DX10 hardware GPUs.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      And who owns DirectX? Make no mistake, the game didn’t make XP obsolete. Microsoft did.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        Yeah, because keeping XP around would’ve made it impossible to do DX10/11. The new API depends on WDDM, which didn’t exist back in XP, and backporting WDDM to XP would be nigh impossible.

        Honestly, you should be thankful Microsoft and most game companies supported XP for this long instead of implying that Microsoft is evil for dropping XP support with DX10/11. I can find Microsoft evil for many things, but this isn’t one of them.

        • Kinth says:

          Well actually you can run DX 10 on XP with a modified installer. No one seems to have bothered to do it with 11 though. Not that I would ever advocate doing it. There was a reason to stick with XP and it was called Vista, now we have Windows 7 which is perfectly fine for gaming there is no reason not to upgrade and by the looks of windows 8 we all have a perfectly good reason not to upgrade again.

          • Joshua says:

            Are you entirely sure about that installer? Sure, DXDIAG showed that DirectX was up to 10, but I failed to actually run any DX10 games with it.

          • Baines says:

            I still have one XP machine, but I doubt its stats meet the requirements for Black Ops 2 anyway. It remains an XP machine largely because it isn’t worth the cost to upgrade it to Win7.

          • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

            I had the same experience as Joshua- DXDiag and some programs tell me I’m at 10, but some games still seem to think I’m on DX9, and I never got anything to work in DX10.

          • YourMessageHere says:

            There is a very good reason not to upgrade: Windows 7 costs a lot. Sorry, but I’m poor; better jobs than what I already have are hard to come by round here, and it’s all I can do to pay the rent/the tax/the bills/for food and necessities, plus buy the occasional game when a sale’s on. I can’t afford to upgrade my OS without a really good reason, and ‘because they put some bells and whistles on a modified q3 engine’ isn’t one. If it runs on an xbox, there is literally no reason at all why it won’t run on an XP PC.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          I’m not sure how you got the implication that Microsoft is “evil” out of that. Was it somehow implied that CoD is evil for making XP obsolete?

  4. MattM says:

    It’s possible that part of the 14% are people with multiple computers so they might not be cutting out all of them.

    • battles_atlas says:

      OR that 14% are actually whole communities who share one PC so that they might partake of the delights of CODBLOPS, and so actually constitute well over 80% of the market. And yes, they do all buy their own copy of the game to avoid infringing IP.

      Who knows, could be either.

    • Baines says:

      I’m a multiple. Old desktop with XP. Newer, faster laptop with Win7. Both have Steam installed. Both machines still get used.

  5. MadTinkerer says:

    “I suppose it should be taken as a sign of the times when essentially the biggest game in the world decides that OS’s time has come and gone.”

    Biggest game in the world? So you’re saying Black Ops is a real series that other people have bought? In that case I’ll have to cave to peer pressure and get CODBlOps. Oh hey: Startopia and King of Dragon Pass are on! Snapshot and They Bleed Pixels were just released on Steam! Omigosh, I haven’t checked Impulse or Desura in a while and there’s a bunch of new releases there!

    Oops, I guess now there’s no money left for dumb CoD spinoffs. But I’ve got far too many things to play now anyway.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      Um. What exactly is your point? That you don’t like COD, which is fine. But I fail to see how it is relevant to the point that the author is trying to make, which is that this is a really big sign that XP is on its way out/dx11 support will be considered the norm.

      It just seems that you are willing to turn any semi-related COD statement, no matter how little it has to do with the quality of the game, into a reason to hate on COD.

    • Premium User Badge

      bsplines says:

      Wait, King of Dragon Pass and Startopia are on GOG?!

      And hate it as much as you want, CoD is the biggest gaming franchise right now…

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Oh no, no, no, no. Let me be clear on this: I do not hate Call of Duty. In fact I have CoD4 and MW2 and have played them in the past.

        However, I am incredibly indifferent to the state of the franchise after MW2. I’m also a bit bored of the modern military shooter in general. In other words, “Blops” 2 might as well be Battlefield 3, Madden 2014, or a tractor simulator. They’re all boring because they all offer experiences that are simultaneously too realistic and too removed from actual current events. Like a historical fiction film with too many inaccuracies, but it’s about the present day.

        But worse, I have MW2. Therefore why should I buy MW3 or any other CoD spinoffs? There’s not 60+ dollars of new content there, and the Actards in charge decided to charge for maps. I don’t hate this game. I am completely indifferent to this game. Meanwhile I am genuinely excited about Startopia because there was only ever one Startopia for sale and I missed it the first time. But there’s just going to be another Call of Duty next year, so by definition, there is literally nothing special about Call of Duty Black Ops 2.

        EDIT: To be clear: I am somewhat frustrated, because I did think this series was special at one time. I wish it was special now. But it all just comes off as WARFACE. If it were a bit less WARFACE I’d be more interested.

        Like: do the first world war or SOMETHING other than generic modern warfare. Please.

        The truth is, I would like to pay $60 for a game that’s worth $60. But it’s been years now since there’s been a game truly worth $60. Just because thousands of other people think this game is worth $60, that doesn’t make them right.

        Transformers: Rise of the Fallen. People actually bought tickets for it. People actually defended it. That doesn’t make them right.

        • uh20 says:

          what, so you did’nt like pimpin on the tractor simulator, no scope cornshot!

    • Alec Meer says:

      Go and get some fresh air, Mad Tinkerer.

    • Shooop says:

      Since when did “biggest” mean “good”?

  6. jimmydean239 says:

    I’m not knocking them, but I struggle to get my head around why people with pcs powerful enough to play dx11 (or even a lot of dx9) games are still using XP. I could understand it when Vista was around and I even downgraded myself at that point, but W7 is a stable, fast workhorse. I just don’t get it.

    • battles_atlas says:

      I don’t know, I’m always loath to buy a new OS, even though logically its fundamental to your user experience. Something about it just being a means of getting to where you’re going makes it easy to overlook. They are expensive by PC software standards too (unless you’re used to buying photoshop). I have 7 and am hugely grateful not to have to put up with the constant UAC bullshit on Vista, but its still something I put off as long as possible.

    • mouton says:

      Because XP still works pretty well. Of course, upgrading to win7 is only logical, but after years on one OS, people often don’t want all the hassle with migrating all their stuff to a new one. I know, I was resisting for a while too.

    • bwion says:

      For me, it was really just a question of cost, both in money and in time (but mostly money).

      Mind you, I’m actually looking at my first Windows 7 system later this month, if everything falls into place.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Is this really so hard to understand?

      – it costs as much as, if not more than, most major hardware components. Just a quick decco at ebuyer shows the very cheapest version is £75. I’d need Japanese language support in addition, and I remember from all the version comparisons when it was new, that only comes with the pro version, meaning I’d need to stump up at least £115 for it. That’s a lot of money. I can’t justify an investment like that without serious cause, and playing games just isn’t one.

      – cash aside, everything is different in W7, from the basic look and feel of the interface to how the networking functions, the security, the accounts, the paths for installation, ways to tweak the thing and make it work the way I need it to. That’s a hell of a lot of stressful time and energy right there.

      – my wife’s laptop runs vista; even suggesting I do anything on there puts me in a bad mood, such is the willful, uncooperative awkward passive-agressive shitness of that OS. Not just the really terrible stuff like UAC, but even things like the aero UI just piss me off at a fundamental level. I’ve not used 7 much but it seems just like vista in far too many ways to just take on trust all these people saying it’s better. Thus, I am predisposed to detest it, irrespective of the truth of the matter. I’d probably get over that in time, but that by itself is a whole seperate investment of time and emotional energy I don’t know I can afford.

  7. phelix says:

    Considering COD is primarily made for console, which uses hardware from 2006, and DX11 didn’t even come out until 2009…

    They are either making a super-extra-shiny edition for PC (which they certainly won’t, considering those ‘plus points’ mentioned in the article can very well be run on DX9 for that matter) or this is an excuse they put up for some shady deal with Microsoft.

    Either way, my bullshit meter is beeping alarmingly.

    • Gnoupi says:

      “That’s not the DX9 blur, it’s a blur effect from DX11, it’s completely different!”

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        It is a well known fact that DX9 can only support 90% as many pixels-per-megabytes as DX11. Combine that with DX11’s ability to render up to 15 GHz of shading-tesselation, and it is quite clear that XP users are simply holding back the technology.

        • Shooop says:

          There’s only so much you can do with an engine that’s over a decade old by simply bolting DX11 effect on it. It’s like a house that’s built wrong – doesn’t matter what else you do to it if the foundation’s crumbling. You have to tear the whole thing down and start over.

        • uh20 says:

          they also are not spending for expensive windows licenses and are not getting screwed over by microsofts increasingly locked down enviroments, first requirement everyone misses, directx must use microsoft products. gosh

          of course i moved ahead, xp to lubuntu linux no crap in between, might be a bit early as game support is just ariving but i dont regret much, last i recall opengl is at/near dx10 level, which is not too shabby.

        • Hueho says:

          Registered here just to say “WHAT?”.

    • fyro11 says:

      Interesting theory. If there’s baked textures in BLOPS2, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all the same as past CoDs.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The hardware-specific parts of consoles go beyond DX9, I’d imagine. And while it’s possible to handle everything in DX9 only, it’s fairly plausible that it’s easier/more performant to do the same stuff in DX11. The DX9 API is a right fucking mess, at least, I don’t have first-hand experience with DX11.

  8. Marik Bentusi says:

    CoD, the biggest game? Whatever happened to WoW? I know its subscriptions have seen better days, but it’s still a friggin huge game in many senses of the word – and, ironically, is supposed to work even on crappy machines to improve accessibility.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I don’t think that was meant to be purely factual, just to indicate that BLOPS is, like, really big, yo.

    • Jad says:

      More people bought MW3 in the first week of sales then WoW ever had subscribers even at its peak. Obviously the subscribers keep on paying month after month, but when it comes to sheer player numbers, the COD series basically crushes everything out there other than ultra mass-market stuff like Angry Birds or Farmville.

  9. Goodtwist says:

    Hole of Doodie: Modern Bloatware Poo

  10. Milky1985 says:

    They relly are determined to bring that quake 3 engine kicking and screaming with them wherever they go ain’t they.

    Wonder if it still needs seperate exes for multiplayer and single player :p

    • Shivoa says:

      Separate executables are a good thing if they try to prevent some MP cheating by requiring the exe not be modified (obviously not a catch-all solution but it is something some games to try to enforce) and so a unified exe would also prevent game players from modifying the singleplayer content they own as a side-effect of the attempted security on MP gaming.

      • mashakos says:

        I actually prefer the quake 3 method of having multiplayer installed as a separate application, saves a good amount of storage space when I uninstall MP

      • YourMessageHere says:

        Have you noticed how big the CoD singleplayer modding scene is? Neither have I. That seems to be just as locked down as the MP component. It does make sense to have seperate .exes, but modding is not the reason here. It’s probably to streamline the resources etc. the game uses, since not everything appears in both SP and MP.

  11. fish99 says:

    “when essentially the biggest game in the world”

    …on console.

      • fish99 says:

        You do realize that’s less than a quarter the copies minecraft has sold. TBH for a AAA title 1.4M seems pretty low on PC. Witcher 2 sold 1.7M on PC.

        • Joshua says:

          VGH charsts are retail only AFAIK.
          Your data is not.

          • fish99 says:

            TBH if you look at this-

            link to

            I don’t see digital sales making up that difference, clearly the game did most of it’s business on consoles, and clearly the PC sales aren’t going to be anywhere near the numbers of Minecraft or say WOW on PC.

            Also if you want an apples to apples comparison, the same VGCharts rates Skyrim PC sales at 2.4M. Therefore it’s safe to say MW3 is not and never was the biggest PC game.

          • Shooop says:

            It may not be the biggest game ever on PC, but it is still bigger than it deserves to be. Its combined sales are what make it the biggest, and some PC gamers are helping it.

  12. Trelow says:

    My oldest and I loved the blops single player; I think he’s been through it 5 or 6 times now.

    It’s fun. Like being in the best parts of an action movie.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      It’s fun. Like being in the best parts of an action movie.

      You seem to have confused “Call of Duty: Black Ops” with the superbly awesome Just Cause 2.

  13. uh20 says:

    oh god trayarch go learn opengl

  14. MythArcana says:

    It will happen all over again with Windows 8, just like it did with the last four operating systems. MS abhors the thought of supporting older products as they want you to buy the new one. The proof is in the DirectX “upgrade” plan, but it didn’t work very well with DX11, thankfully. We now have .NET framework which yields no real excuse for having to change platforms, but good old DX forces us to jump through flaming hoops eventually. And now we have the dreaded MS store to contend with…

    • Hug_dealer says:

      Really…………………………………………………………….. Thats it…………….

      That is the strawman you chose?

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Yeah, Microsoft abhors supporting older platforms so much that they’ve supported Windows XP for more than a decade. Truly, they drop support so fast it’s scandalous!

  15. Shooop says:

    Tech-wise, a good thing I guess. Having something as inexplicably popular as CoD dumping DirectX 9 will mean more DX11 goodness for all of us much quicker.

    Too bad it won’t help an engine as worn and depleted as the Quake 3 engine. Or offer anything interesting gameplay wise.

  16. Cold Steel says:

    Oh look, Military Shooter 57.

  17. Hug_dealer says:

    i would like to see just what improvements they made. If its anything like dragon age 2 Dx11, which was laughable.

    I like how they keep mentioning performance gains. Seriously, the engine has seen its life, time to move on.

    Regardless, i wont be buying the game, and any PC gamer should not either with the way they have treated the PC community.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      You probably won’t see much in terms of graphical improvements, but porting an engine to DX10 or 11 streamlines a lot of the backend code. You can’t compare with games like DA2 because those still supported DX9 as well. The gains are only found when DX9 support is *dropped* entirely, because then you can do things in a true DX10/11 fashion.

  18. D3xter says:

    Giving money to Activision should be considered a cardinal sin by now.

    • HadToLogin says:

      Funny thing, it is. At least, for those weird people saying “games are bad, they make you mad”. Only, it’s not only Activision, and for them we all are going to burn in deepest levels of hell.

      Makes me wonder what are their views on pirating… :)

  19. JoeGuy says:

    So many people express a disinterest in the CoD franchise and say they are fatigued with the conveyor belt style of yearly releases, but the people who say they just like the game and know they are going to like the next one too when they buy it must far outnumber the more disinterested community.

    I mean, I always hear so many more people say they don’t want to ever buy CoD but then it’s always the biggest game of the year? How does that still track? Shouldn’t sales be taking a hit?

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      Because a lot of people just buy the game and have fun.

      Sometimes I really wish I was one of those people.

  20. ssbowers says:

    Who cares if any of yo are bored with anything? Go away. If you want to play a military shooter there is a good chance that CoD will please you. If you don’t want to play a military shooter, don’t. But please, shut the fuck up.

  21. skyturnedred says:

    Luckily, me and my XP could care less about this game.

    In all seriousness though, the only thing keeping me from buying Windows 7 is that I’m poor as hell. And since I can play all the games I want with XP, upgrading to 7 isn’t priority #1.

  22. Mrs Columbo says:

    Alec mentions a hack for DX10 on Windows XP. Has anyone here had any experience of it?

  23. Nikolaos says:

    I’ve seen bits and pieces about BLOPS2 that have sparked my interest (Something about more open level design) but I’m still on the fence.

    That collectors edition looks kinda cool but they’re seemingly not doing a PC version of it.

  24. malkav11 says:

    It’s not really that big a step to leave behind an OS that is over eleven years old now and rapidly approaching the time at which even Microsoft will no longer support it.

  25. Shralla says:

    Oh yeah, DirectX 11 to really polish up that decade-old engine.