Call Of Duty Black Ops 3’s Multiplayer Has An Insoluble Problem At Its Core

There are times when Call of Duty: Black Ops III‘s multiplayer feels like a scratchcard from which you’re scraping the dull metal grey surface of a military shooter to reveal the three matching Quake symbols below. Your prize: a game that’s increasingly difficult to stereotype, which is fast and often fun, which has found solutions to many of its ancient frustrations, but which still has an annoying and possibly insoluble problem at its core.

It has been this way for a while. Call of Duty [official site] traded its modern military setting for the near- or mid-future some time ago, but the popular conception of the game is still one where mean kids control dudes in khakis, kill you repeatedly with impossibly quick reflexes, and call air strikes down upon your head. I’ve been playing Black Ops 3 for a few days however and I haven’t once been machinegunned to unavoidable death by an invisibly circling AC-130, and I’ve barely seen any bad chat behaviour. Even ‘Analking Skywank’ showed good sportsmanship at the end of a losing match:

Much of what made Call of Duty multiplayer sour was washed away long ago, when Killstreaks were replaced by the teamwork-encouraging Scorestreaks, unlocks were balanced or removed to make them more generous to worse players and less all-powerful for the best, and when the future setting gave its developers an excuse (as if an excuse was needed) to build a world of colourful buildings, pink guns, tree-covered levels, and now a character roster which includes (gasp) women.

That future setting – and again, this is stuff which has been true for a few iterations – has also helped clean up the worst of Call of Duty’s level design. Jumpjets let you clamber up to high ledges and windows, meaning there’s no such thing as a defensible sniper position, and the ability to wallrun allows for more diverse shapes to the atriums and killzones that intersect with each map’s twisting corridors. Black Ops 3’s levels are all consistently good, and though I’ve yet to master any of them, it has been rewarding to learn their sight lines and shortcuts.

To summarise, I think Blops 3 is a pretty great version of a multiplayer game that’s been becoming gradually better for years. But the problem that remains, which I still encounter constantly, is the part about being killed repeatedly by people with impossibly quick reflexes. I think it remains a problem because it extends into form rather than only execution.

Blops 3’s multiplayer is about gathering knowledge of levels and executing on precision skills like positioning, aiming and shooting. Your gradual internal progress at those skills, as you memorise distances and increase reflex speeds and learn to compensate for recoil, is hard to measure. The unlock system therefore measures your progress for you: rewarding you with short-term rewards during matches, and providing access to new and sometimes more powerful tools which are persistent to your account.

This is why there’s a problem when one player calls in an airstrike upon the head of another. The target of the airstrike can’t avoid it by using any of the skills that the game teaches, and the airstrike is itself a reward for a player who likely doesn’t need the advantage. In other words, it feels unfair. By changing the systems by which those rewards are gained, and by making the rewards considerably less destructive, Codblops mitigates the frustration but doesn’t do away with it entirely.

That’s partly because, though the advantages and disadvantages have been smoothed, the systems still feel opaque. When you round a corner and come face to face with a player who has unlocked their Specialist ability – a class-specific skill or two which are unlocked as AC-130’s once were – it’s not clear what that player did to earn that access. Even if the Sparrow abillity, which allows the Outrider class to slowly fire arrows in long arcs, is not as deadly as a bomb dropped on your head, it’s hard to respect the skill that player applied to get that ability when you didn’t see it. From your perspective, it still boils down to being one-shot by an enemy who has a special gun that you can’t have.

Worse, this is broadly the problem with the rest of the game, too. It is not clear, when you are killed by a man who shot you with one of the more common machineguns, what they did right and you did wrong. Even the killcam doesn’t make clear the thousands of hours of accrued knowledge your opponent applied in besting you. The instinct is to think that their gun is better – and sometimes it is, though that’s also a symptom of their gathered knowledge – or to think that they’re cheating. And accusations of cheating are one of the most prevalent remaining examples of toxicity in the game’s community.

To be clear, I do not think that the reflexes on show are “impossible”. I do not think that the people who are being accused of cheating are cheating – most of the time, anyway. I just also don’t think that the people accusing them of cheating are doing so solely because they are bad losers. I think it’s a problem with the game.

I am not sure what Call of Duty should do to fix this, without becoming something it’s not in the process. But these weren’t problems in Quake, where floor-spawning weapons and powerups could be picked up by anyone, creating the impression of – even if no greater a reality of – equal opportunity.

And while I don’t want Call of Duty to become Quake – not entirely, anyway – we consistently applaud roguelikes for the methods they employ to avoid frustration even in the face of permadeath. Mainly, that when you die, you understand the mechanisms of your demise and it feels like your fault. It feels like a learning experience. Death in Call of Duty never feels like a learning experience, not even as much as it does in relatively similar games. It feels like noise on a graph of data points you can’t read. It’s perhaps the last noisy vestiges of a Call of Duty that’s otherwise been replaced with something smarter and better designed, but it seems like the one aspect that’ll be hardest to ever fix.

Call of Duty Black Ops 3 is out now. Adam’s review of the singleplayer component is over here.

53 Comments

Top comments

  1. Jaunty says:

    I can't agree that what has been outlined is a "problem"

    The game is built around it; it's the system around which the multiplayer is constructed. What you learn and improve at when playing this game isn't the actual moment of confrontation (for the most part), it's using the tools you have at hand as well as knowledge of the map, enemy movement flow, and positioning.

    A good deal of the most useful perks, streaks and attachments are centered around this. Silencing your movement, hiding your footprint. Low TTK serves the double-benefit of reinforcing and rewarding this playstyle while at the same time giving people who don't understand the game mechanics easy kills so they can enjoy themselves.

    High TTK games are focused on the engagement, and there are plenty of games out there that cater to that.
  2. sandineyes says:

    This article reminds me of back when I was a teen and used to play Enemy Territory with my friend. I don't play much competitive multiplayer nowadays, but man, that game really was the pinnacle of objective-based team multiplayer in my opinion (although maybe RO2: Rising Storm can stand alongside it).

    Anyway, in ET you had classes, and at the beginning of each round (or rather, a series of rounds), everyone would start off the same level of access to equipment and abilities. But, as you performed actions for your class, you would unlock perks. This was a great reward for doing well and acting out your class duties, but it was a bit annoying that eventually everything would be reset (either when the next series of rounds occurred, or you quit).

    Well, there were also some servers that saved information about your level of unlocks, so even if you quit and came back the next day, you'd keep all your class perks. Once my friend and I discovered this server, we exclusively played on it (and it was quite a popular server). The game did lose something by messing with the balance, but there was something addicting about those unlocks and experience levels. Eventually my friend hit the maximum level of experience, having unlocked everything for every class, and it reset his experience back to 0 (as in he lost all the unlocks). Well, that pretty much sapped all his willingness to play that game anymore, and we never played the game again. Pretty crazy considering that we had been perfectly happy without that feature beforehand!

    I actually had a similar experience to what my friend had in CoD:MW2, when I got put into some weird server that gave me unlimited experience and completely ruined the sense of progression. Sure, I could have prestiged, but the pace of unlocks was so slow in that game I didn't want to start over.

    So, I don't really know what to think about all this. I think that gimmicks like persistent progression and loot completely and irrevocably trump any other features of that game, but there is still something alluring about them.
  1. EhexT says:

    It’s the natural result of having a ton of one-shot kills and generally incredibly low TTK. You got hit and died instantly. Good job, you can’t learn anything from that.

    • scannerbarkly says:

      Combine it with the typical jankiness of connections in COD titles and it’s just two butts pooping on each other.

      • dirtrobot says:

        Once one understands the advantage of having the fastest connection bestows in CoD you would a)never play CoD again b)throw more money at your ISP. This is literally the biggest advantage in the game, according to some CoD devs I have worked with before.

        Otherwise CoD is infinitely less frustrating than Battlefield which I think is completely abusive in how it handles powerups and progression, nevermind the frustration of getting sniped trying to find the fight. At least in CoD the battlefront is always a few seconds away.

    • bit.bat says:

      Yeah I agree with this, it is very rare to get any opportunity to adapt to getting shot and get out of bad situations in these games. Changing this would fundamentally alter the game though,I see it more as a characteristic rather than a problem.

    • EhexT says:

      Also in addition to that, not only one-shots and low TTK, but also hitscan (almost) everything.

      Compare to Quake3 or UT where a well executed rocket launcher kill requires a ton of different skills – and certainly more than “aim crosshair at enemy, spray hitscan bullets – if 2-3 hit you killed your target”.

      • AEWinD says:

        as someone who started his esports career in 2001 placing in the top 5 at quakecon (Q3A) and who eventually became the only Unreal Tournament 3 World Champion -yay me- -laughs- I can say that this CoD is my favorite for the reason that it feels like it has UT3’s movement and thus I feel an advantage over others. Most of the time, sometimes I get sprayed down over and over despite that “Advantage” although usually I go 40+ kills with under 12 deaths; sometimes single digits.

        Quake Live I still play daily – and the rocket launcher 100 damage direct hit but take into account that you spawn with over 100 slightly; theirs armor involvement, so unsually I pop someone up with a rocket for 60-80 damage; and either quick swap to Rail/Shotty or I will just go ham with the rocket launcher which is Pop up the placement and finish by firing exactly where you KNOW the player will land due to time spent with the game.

        my example is my Tier 4+ masters and grandmasters FFA tournament that I came out in first place in the best of 5 sets (7 total best of 5’s which would rotate players in different brackets; was crazy) – the finale had some players late joining but I will post a clip point that displays why Rocket in Quake 3 / Quake Live is so important and a beautiful… beautiful thing.

        link to youtu.be
        toss feedback :D

  2. Sin Vega says:

    Why does the person in the middle have a chemical toilet for a head

  3. Xzi says:

    “but which still has an annoying and possibly insoluble problem at its core.”

    You could have saved a whole lot of typing and just said Activision.

    • OscarWilde1854 says:

      Did you read the article? The “problem at its core” isn’t an Activision specific problem… it isn’t even a CoD specific problem… you took a well written article and whittled it down to some faux-beef that you have with Activision.

      • Xzi says:

        The problem is always Activision. The only “beef” I have with them is that they make bad games with lots of bad DLC.

        • Distec says:

          Except this is a problem with many other shooters, particularly military-focused multiplayer ones. While the article focuses on Blops3, this is something that feels endemic to the genre (including the likes of Battlefield and Battlefront), and I can definitely empathize. There are countless moments in these games where it’s hard to tell what you did wrong leading to your death. Online matches can feel like endless cycles of flanking/bumrushing your opponents and then getting randomly capped by people out of left field, and it often hard to tell if this is due to player skill or just a chaotic nature of the matches.

          I suck at Quake 3, but that was a game where you knew good and well if you were getting stomped on due to an opponent’s mastery of the arena. With modern shooters, that can often feel like bad luck (and it so often can be).

          • Unclepauly says:

            I have to disagree with the battlefield one. As long as it doesn’t involve heli’s and jets.

  4. OscarWilde1854 says:

    In my opinion, it isn’t the game that causes this problem. It’s the mentality of it’s players. As you said, there is an improvement to the overall community and for the most part people aren’t always terrible; but it’s still always someone (or thing) else’s fault.

    Players don’t take responsibility and look inwardly. It isn’t “oh I was killed, what did I do wrong” it’s “oh I was killed, that gun is so cheap!”. That’s the problem, and you mentioned it. I just don’t feel its up to the developer to fix that problem. There needs to be a general change where people worry more about their own actions than those of other people, but that’s a fundamental (and society wide) change that just will not happen.

    It applies to the game as a whole as well: people saying ‘gg’ at the end of a match who are thinking ‘man, that team was way better than our team’. Which is essentially ‘my team wasn’t good enough (but I was).’

    Free for all is always a perfect example of this, as the ‘gg’ tends to happen less often, as more people are immediately angry because they don’t have teammates to blame for coming last and SURELY it can’t have been them being bad at the game that made them come last!

    • hotmaildidntwork says:

      I feel like to some extent if a game wants to be “accessible” to a large audience it needs to take into account that it’s going to have beginners and experienced players mixed together, and take some amount of responsibility for closing the gap between those two. How much, what it looks like, and whether it’s already being done I couldn’t say because I’m just too far away from this particular thing but it seems a lot more constructive to demonstrate the mistake a person has made and how they can improve than to just say that it’s an attitude problem and wash your hands of it.

    • Pulstar says:

      I approve of this opinion.

  5. Steven Hutton says:

    Is CoD still a fuck-fest of painfully obvious host advantage?

  6. Tridae says:

    This is exactly why I don’t like most modern multiplayer games. Those unlockables just feel so unfair.

    The last call of duty I truly loved was 2. Basic character classes to pick from that all had their strengths and weaknesses.

    Do modern CODs still have a classic mode with pickups or locked classes? I’d consider playing if that’s the case.

    Pickups have the added benefit of adding a map control element to the game and some movement strategy which is lacking now.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I was thinking that as well. I don’t understand the idea of making the good players even better. All it does is unbalance the whole situation further than needed. Getting killed by a better player is one thing. Getting killed by a better player with Awesomeweapon 9000 quite another.
      In Mario Kart, who gets the blue shell and why? Exactly.

    • nearly says:

      What I liked so much about 2 was that everyone basically had the same weapons and thus could dictate how the game was going. Got sniped? You’re taking a sniper now, and everyone’s going to be sniping for a few minutes. Sick of sniping? Take a submachine gun, throw a smoke, and rush the enemy snipers that are pinned down by your teammates.

  7. Jaunty says:

    I can’t agree that what has been outlined is a “problem”

    The game is built around it; it’s the system around which the multiplayer is constructed. What you learn and improve at when playing this game isn’t the actual moment of confrontation (for the most part), it’s using the tools you have at hand as well as knowledge of the map, enemy movement flow, and positioning.

    A good deal of the most useful perks, streaks and attachments are centered around this. Silencing your movement, hiding your footprint. Low TTK serves the double-benefit of reinforcing and rewarding this playstyle while at the same time giving people who don’t understand the game mechanics easy kills so they can enjoy themselves.

    High TTK games are focused on the engagement, and there are plenty of games out there that cater to that.

  8. gabrielonuris says:

    For me, those problems came with the class based system; in the old times of Quake (and Unreal Tournament) we didn’t have classes, the game was the same for everybody, so it was perfectly balanced. I don’t know which one is better TBH, because there are some class based shooters that are indeed balanced for everyone.

    What I hate in MP shooters in general, is bad net code; I remember the last time I played Planetside 2 and almost punching my screen, because I can’t bear the fact of landing a full magazine on somebody, while dying of just a couple bullets from the same person.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      In CoD games the theory is that you have a huge amount of classes because you can mix and match perks. In practice what ends up happening is that there always winds up being a small batch of combinations that are optimal and everyone uses those. You still have classes, you just have to unlock everything first and then look up what they are online.

  9. sandineyes says:

    This article reminds me of back when I was a teen and used to play Enemy Territory with my friend. I don’t play much competitive multiplayer nowadays, but man, that game really was the pinnacle of objective-based team multiplayer in my opinion (although maybe RO2: Rising Storm can stand alongside it).

    Anyway, in ET you had classes, and at the beginning of each round (or rather, a series of rounds), everyone would start off the same level of access to equipment and abilities. But, as you performed actions for your class, you would unlock perks. This was a great reward for doing well and acting out your class duties, but it was a bit annoying that eventually everything would be reset (either when the next series of rounds occurred, or you quit).

    Well, there were also some servers that saved information about your level of unlocks, so even if you quit and came back the next day, you’d keep all your class perks. Once my friend and I discovered this server, we exclusively played on it (and it was quite a popular server). The game did lose something by messing with the balance, but there was something addicting about those unlocks and experience levels. Eventually my friend hit the maximum level of experience, having unlocked everything for every class, and it reset his experience back to 0 (as in he lost all the unlocks). Well, that pretty much sapped all his willingness to play that game anymore, and we never played the game again. Pretty crazy considering that we had been perfectly happy without that feature beforehand!

    I actually had a similar experience to what my friend had in CoD:MW2, when I got put into some weird server that gave me unlimited experience and completely ruined the sense of progression. Sure, I could have prestiged, but the pace of unlocks was so slow in that game I didn’t want to start over.

    So, I don’t really know what to think about all this. I think that gimmicks like persistent progression and loot completely and irrevocably trump any other features of that game, but there is still something alluring about them.

    • AlienMind says:

      Good post. I know what to think of all this: persistent unlocks map real life envy to a game and it helps sales and make the casuals who peak in skill and have nothing but their grindpower-time and micropayment-money happy.
      Fuck this, though. /me goes playing some more link to unrealtournament.com

    • Bobtree says:

      I always hated those imbalanced “XP SAVE” mods. They just reward players who stay on one server the longest. If you tire of per-round unlocking, at least change it fairly and unlock everything for everyone.

  10. targaryen26 says:

    i have to say i disagree. cod is one of the games that has the lowest penalty for death i can think of. in most game modes you spawn practically instantly. it’s more of a penalty to your tactical placement than anything else. you’re simply teleported to the “start” of the map. moreover the killcam is actually quite useful in showing you what the other player did to kill you. it tells you exactly where they are and what they did unlike say that retarded camera move thing in battlefield that tells you absolutely nothing about what just happened. as for special guns and unlocks it’s just a matter of time until you unlock everything in the game beside cosmetic things. if you are being killed by a guy with a gun you don’t have or even by that dreaded ac 130 it’s because 1) you haven’t played long enough to have unlocked certain things 2) the other guy is racking up kills/points (meaning they are measurably better at the game than you) and has unlocked their “special” ability or whatever. 2 is obviously a much bigger problem than 1 because it leads to imbalance – rewarding people who are already doing well by giving them overpowered abilites. however i really don’t get this notion that the game doesn’t give you enough information to feel like dying is your fault. granted i haven’t played call of duty since mw3 so i don’t know maybe there’s something i’m not getting about the newer ones that make them different. however i really think games like battlefield, counter strike, red orchestra and yeah even quake have much bigger problems with death and what death feels like (ie your fault or not). these games all have much higher penalties for death therefore the manner of dying is much more important to the player and their sense of having fon or being frustrated.

  11. ribby says:

    Tbf considering that the military has very few women, it’s fair enough for them to need a future setting to have many female characters

    • Distec says:

      Don’t worry. Now that COD has female player models to choose from, this will surely be a positively reinforcing social norm that ensures gender parity in the US military within the next decade.

      /s

    • Premium User Badge

      Graham Smith says:

      Tbf the military do allow women and the game had hundreds of concessions to fantasy even when it had a modern setting. It’s never been Arma.

    • GWOP says:

      I know, right? And sticking to reality, modern soldiers get tired after running for a seconds, heal all their flesh wounds by hiding behind a wall and cleaning the jam in their eyes, and Russia has the capability to simultaneously launch attacks against all of Europe and USA.

  12. Rhodokasaurus says:

    You’re saying the game should be designed so that people who dedicate the most time to learning it should NOT have an advantage? That’s just how life works.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Not really. Some games artificially change that to “the person who spends the most” or “the person who gets the random lottery drop/draw item”.

      They can work at times and in certain ways. There are different ideas and working models of “fair” and very different ones which are obviously not so.

      The article seems to walk the line and ask where it is fair, and where it is not, in an honest question. :)

    • lylebot says:

      I didn’t read the article that way at all. I read it as asking how one is supposed to even learn it to begin with when every death seems so random.

      Imagine you’re taking a college class, and you get every homework assignment back with a bunch of points taken off with no rhyme or reason, seemingly at random. What are you able to learn from that? I think it’d be really frustrating. And then imagine you take the final exam and get an A+. Do you feel good about that grade? In my reading, this article is likening the game to a poor instructor that rewards and punishes its students in such a way as to make them feel like they’re not learning even when they are.

      I haven’t played competitive multiplayer shooters since the original Quake (and I was awesome at it by the way), but I felt the exact same way about DriveClub (PS4) when I played it recently. I could tell when I was getting better, but I rarely understood exactly what I was doing differently that made me better. I was aware of it because most games are not like that for me–when I’m improving, I usually understand why.

  13. Robert Post's Child says:

    Expecting the world to change because you don’t understand or like how it operates isn’t unfairness, it’s insanity. Not being able to learn – to gain actual experience – from those situations is a different problem. Using ‘experience points’ to mask the player’s own lack of earning practical experience with the mechanics doesn’t exactly help, either.

    • Josh W says:

      It’s not insanity, the world has a terrible learning curve. Nurturing by parents, education, careers advice etc. all try to mitigate this.

      If it was reasonable to rely exclusively on “our ability to learn” schools would be a series of tests and the information that somewhere in the town is a library.

      • Robert Post's Child says:

        So what you’re saying is, we should start making educational games be survival-based. Forage for facts. Craft analysis for shelter. Fend off other players trying to plagiarize your work.

  14. Jerkzilla says:

    I think it helps of you stop dwelling on individual deaths and accept the fact that there is always going to be a signifficant luck factor involved when you combine very lethal weapons and random spawn points. Quake didn’t feel fair either when someone shredded you with the shotgun just as you spawned with yor crappy machinegun peashooter thing.

    Maybe think about games with fast respawns more like poker: You can lose individual hands to a lucky beginner, but when the game is over, the better player still leaves with more money.

    • Dewal says:

      You made the comment I was looking for.

      I’ve been playing online FPS for a while now, but started with COD first of the name and never played on the quake/unreal ones. And what I get from it, it’s that it’s not about really thinking about what you did good and what you did wrong, it’s about getting the mastery of the battlefield, the flow of the battle.
      It’s more about sense than strategy.

      Every new FPS I play and every new map, I get lost, I get shot without understanding, I don’t know where are the enemies and don’t know the respawn points. But the more you play, the more you understand where you need to be, where the enemies are going to spawn and how your weapon work (and it will take a few hours of pointless death before getting there). I think one of the most aggressive rampage I ever went on was after watching an action movie and I was in such a mood I flew with the game, always being the fastest, always being in their backs, even after going through 3 different weapons picked on the bodies of my enemies after running through the ammunitions of the previous one. And it wasn’t about tactical thinking, about strategical approach, it was about feeling the game. And yes, sometime you die without understanding, sometime you die from a guy hidden in your back. But you don’t care, you don’t lose anything. What is one death against the 10 or 20 people you killed without dying just before that. And you’ll have the exact same opportunity to try again 10s or 15s later. And you’ll surely have more pointless death after that (or sometime you just find that one enemy that’s actually faster than you in a duel), but in the end you’ll still have a really good ratio and you’ll feel good about the game you had. Because these games are made to be fast, the few death you’ll have by lack of luck won’t mean anything in front of the points you’ll make thanks to your skills. And that’s where I agree with the analogy about poker : the more you play, the less luck has anything to say and the more the game is rewarding.

  15. Pulstar says:

    The “problem” is that it’s boring and too ADHD-friendly.

  16. gabrieldlbien says:

    One quick thing; the Specialist weapons are abilities are timed unlocks. Everyone will get to use them.
    Better players can use them sooner, but everyone gets the option at some point, several times in a match.
    But I don’t think it’s fair to attack the game because other players are better. And that’s not an insult, I’m absolutely terrible at the game, but I accept that in games, the better players are probably going to win.

  17. Stinkfinger75 says:

    The easiest way to level the playing field is the option no one (except me) wants. Force everyone to play with a controller.

  18. Bweahns says:

    This is why I am off the blockbuster first person shooters. I got back into fps gaming with Bad Company 2 and got bored with BF3. I’m now back to playing Counter Strike where you only ever die because you’ve been outplayed, not because someone has dropped a missile or bomb or some other cheap tool that required no skill and that you could do nothing to avoid. I like the endless skill ceiling of such a pure FPS.

  19. dethtoll says:

    The problem here is the same problem Quake has. CoD as a multiplayer franchise has more or less been the same game for close to a decade; there are people who’ve been playing since CoD4 (or even earlier, back when it was rather different) who’ve mastered the game and how it plays. A lot of it is down to feeling, as a comment above pointed out, because even if the maps change, the game is generally the same. Meanwhile, Quake and Quake 3 have had people playing them for going on 2 decades now, and it is essentially impossible to make any headway in a game against them because they more or less know it better than their own bodies. This is a big reason why the Quake Live thing a few weeks ago was such a shitstorm.

    And that’s the one big reason why I don’t play competitive multi anymore. I just don’t care enough to keep playing, constantly, building up my skills. I got other games to play.

  20. ShineDog says:

    I largely think the low TTK doesn’t benefit the game.

    Theres a lot of skill here, as said, a lot of the game relies on map knowledge, and using awareness of where your allies are to intuit where the enemies are. It absolutely relies on aural awareness as much as visual, you really need headphones.

    There’s a lot to learn and like here, my problem is that the TTK ends engagements before they get interesting. If you can get the sights on someone with a moderately appropriate weapon before they get the sight you then you win, pretty much period, and yeah, theres definately a skill to that but it means that there’s very little chance to turn the tables once battle is joined. There’s plenty going on before battle is joined, you might slide or boost jump or whatever in order to throw the enemies expectation of where you are, but the actual battle itself doesn’t have a lot to it.

    • that_guy_strife says:

      It’s how bullets work: once a few hit you, you’re done. The work is making sure you’re the first to hit. High TTK is fine for stuff like Quake, Unreal, Planetside. Not for CoD or Battlefield.

  21. bmfof says:

    The reason why you think everyone and their mom has super human reflexes is because of the (probably intentionally made) terrible netcode of the game.

    link to youtu.be

  22. Bobtree says:

    You are losing to players with superior anticipation and skill, not better reflexes. Gamers and F1 drivers and everyone else have the same inherent limits on reaction time.

  23. that_guy_strife says:

    CoD’s gadgets allow more flexibility over Quake’s pickups, it’s then up to the player to maximize effectiveness. Killcams will often reveal tactics. Let’s not kid ourselves: the unlocking process is a rather short one, by the time you start being familiar with the maps you have everything.

    wtf has happened to RPS that we now get opinion pieces about kids and superhuman reflexes making it impossible to play the game ? This is just a noob getting wrecked.

  24. Fropp says:

    I think you just have to accept that CoD is a different type of game.

    So yes, it is easier to die in CoD but at the same time this is balanced out by instant respawns, regenerating health, and a certain amount of luck involved (in headshots for example).

    This has all given the game a bad reputation among so called serious gamers, and was one reason why Blops 3 is the first version I have ever tried.

    I now regret not getting involved with CoD sooner – it’s so much fun to play and this version of the game has so much content i’m gobsmacked. I get 2 campaigns, zombies, a dozen different multiplayer modes, as well as many different types of weapon and specialists, and all sorts of ways of personalising things. Compare this with what you normally get for £40/$60.

    Ergo – “I am not sure what Call of Duty should do to fix this, without becoming something it’s not in the process.” They don’t need to change the game, CoD is what it is. If I want a game at the other end of the spectrum I would play something like Evolve which has its own frustrating points for all sorts of different reasons.

    CoD seems to be like TF2 – just play and have fun. Who cares if some noob kills you with a crit rocket/random headshot, just respawn and kill them back!

    • ChoobKnight says:

      CoD doesnt feel like Tf2 at all. They are both fps’s, what else makes them similar? Nothing lol. The respawns are slower in TF2 and dying often shifts the pace of the game if you were following an objective. Bo3 feels like it rewards people who camp or managed to fully flank a team and snowball killstreaks, furthering frustration when you join a mid game match. I’ve joined a game where the enemy had a wraith and H.A.T.R deployed, do I spawn in TF2 infront of a heavy getting kritzrieged? No lol.

      “This has all given the game a bad reputation among so called serious gamers, and was one reason why Blops 3 is the first version I have ever tried.”

      I think you are a bit ignorant on how the series has developed, if this is the first bo you’ve tried.

  25. Thankmar says:

    I’m not a multiplayer guy and not very good in arena shooters, but I had a ton of fun playing against bots in Q3 ande the UT series. I downloaded Blops3 in the free Steamweekend thing, foolishly thinking the Campaign would be available, which was not, for comprehensible reason. So I dipped into the multiplayer FFA, not wanting to be dead weight for teammates. Of course I got smacked pretty good. Normally I don’t care since I’m able to project my abilities quite right, but also normally I’d have some fun getting smacked. Not here. After some thinking I disliked the fact that it rewarded map awareness more than duking it out, since most deaths were a result of players hiding in certain points. The low TTK (a term I learned in this comment section, together with hitscan) made things worse.
    I think this is hurting the game for me more than the better equipment for better players, which is a little laughable in balancing-terms, but people want some candy for their time, I’m no different in this regard. But I learned that, in spite of being bad at Arena-FPS, I do like High-TTK classics (some time ago here the term would be “Skillshooter”) more than getting killed because I did not look in the right direction after entering a room.

  26. darkus66 says:

    I still don’t know what TTK is! I have enjoyed reading above comments and original story and agree with a lot of what has been said. For me, Black Ops 3 has been the worst multiplayer because I am a perpetual noob (does anyone use that term anymore?) I have been playing online since Resistance on PS3, and FPS since PS1 so am not a noob in years playing, but unfortunately seem to be in skill. Does that mean I should have less of a right to want to enjoy playing FPS’? I think not. I am getting shot in the back loads of times and just don’t seem to be fast enough when there is a face to face. It is very frustrating for me, and I would have thought the better players would prefer honing their skills against similar skilled opposition. Its not just a level thing, I have prestiged on previous COD games but because of length of time of play rather than skill. In my opinion, what the COD franchise (and lots of other FPS’) are desperately missing, is proper matchmaking. It think everyone would be much happier if they played with and against players with similar K/D ratio (mine is .50 at best). Can there not be leagues or divisions like football where players could move up and down as they progress or get worse? What do other people think? I would just like to have fun online.
    PS a personal gripe which many may disagree with is the COD “special” of players being able to shoot and kill with sniper rifles without actually pausing and aiming. I know a an FPS is not supposed to be “real”, but it bugs the hell out of me when I am killed by someone pressing 2 buttons quickly without looking down the sights, and usually they are jumping in the air as well!