Black Ops 4 is my New Favorite Call of Duty

What I’m Used To

The last Call of Duty game I purchased was Modern Warfare 2. This fast-paced FPS was my go-to shooter coming out of college. My fondest memory was going 1-on-1 against one of my friends in a custom match and ending without a single death.

I loved how I could sprint around that map, picking off my enemies and calling in attack choppers. At a time where online multiplayer was starting to pick up, I spent hundreds of hours battling strangers online.

Fast forward about a decade and I haven’t really touched the CoD series since. I had a short stint in 2010 killing zombies in the first Black Ops, but only played when I was visiting people.

Instead, my gaming hours have gone towards titles like The Last of Us, GTA 5, Overwatch and, most recently, Fortnite. I’ve really enjoyed the battle royale experience of Epic’s zombie-fighting-turned-PVP hit and was intrigued by the high praise of Treyarch’s Blackout mode.

As an avid deal searcher, I couldn’t pass up the chance to grab the latest Call of Duty for 35 bucks. After watching a ton of YouTube videos and reading up on best practices, I jumped into the mix. Here’s what I’ve learned in my first month of gameplay and my own set of tips.

Gameplay

Black Ops 4 take a big risk by being an online-only FPS. Call of Duty has typically had a single player campaign mode for when you just want to play alone. Many of the campaigns had compelling stories; others were Call of Duty: Ghost.

While the Blackout mode gained a ton of traction through the beta, the game has several really fun options for when you don’t want to fight 99 other people. Outside of the zombie mode, there are 13 more game modes for you to check out.

My Experience

I’m not gonna lie…I was a little intimidated by COD’s battle royale. I had watched some streams online but had never gone through the PUBG experience. The thought of fighting someone without having the ability to build walls around myself was nerve wracking.

I opted for the comforts of Team Deathmatch, where I could respawn seconds after being gunned down.

Call me a traditionalist, but I really appreciate that there is no wall-running, jetpacks or death by touching bodies of water. I was caught off guard by being able to exit the play area though. Unfortunately, I learned about this the hard way.

Overall, the gameplay has been really fun for me. One of things that separates this from other shooters that I play is the level of customization. Players are rewarded for completing challenges and will eventually unlock better guns and perks.

The gun mechanics are very smooth and have been made more consistent via predictive recoil. The team at Treyarch also added bullet travel to some guns, adding more realism to the hitscan weapons.

As with any new game, things started off a bit rough once I joined the online queues. The first couple hours involved dying every 10-15 seconds, cursing at the screen and rage quitting. After a while, things began to click and I’ve been able to significantly improve my performance.

I’m by no means a pro, but I did aggregate a number of tips that will help anyone looking to git gud at Black Ops 4.

My Tips and Tricks

I’ve played through 10 hours-worth of matches and am nearing my second prestige. I’m sitting at a 55% win rate and working on moving this closer to 60%. Much of my performance can be attributed to learning from people who are much better than I am at the game.

If you are new to the game or are struggling to find your way through team deathmatch, this info should help! In no particular order, here are the things you can do to get better at blops 4.

Learn the Classes

There are 10 classes to choose from, each with their own unique abilities. In Specialist Headquarters, players can test out each class and see what you like best. The tutorials are pretty helpful and I strongly recommend testing out different classes in real game modes to see what suites your play style.

Personally, I like using the Nomad. His mesh wire explosives are usually a guaranteed kill (if you’re lucky, you’ll get two people with one trap) and the trusty dog sidekick is a menace. It doesn’t really make sense that a pup would be able to eat more bullets than a human, but I’m not complaining.

Learn the Maps

The more you play, the more you will understand specific zones on a map. You can climb and jump through most openings so it’s helpful to know how to quickly move from one side to the other.

Pay attention to where you spawn on the map as well. There are only a handful of spawn locations for any map. If you’re like me and frequently find yourself alone, far away from your team, you may see a bunch of tangos pop up near you. More than likely, your death will shortly follow.

“Every Black Ops 4 Map in a Nutshell” from r/Blackops4

Avoid the Center of the Map

At the center of the map are 95% of the players, and 95% of the deaths. If you want to have a longer average life and higher K/D, avoid the center of the map like the plague!

Now I know what you’re thinking…I’ll miss out on all the action! The game will be boring! Shouldn’t I stick with my team?

You’re partially right on all of these, however, the edge of the map is key if you don’t have 100% accuracy and decision-making. You’ll be able to pick off enemies who are engaged in fights with your teammates and usually have more time to line up your shots.

Your goal here should be to build up enough momentum to unlock your scorestreaks. Then, you can be a little more aggressive about fighting in the middle with everyone else.

After a few battles, the spawn locations will flip and the enemy will be coming from the opposite direction. Make sure you are rotating to different edges of the map so you don’t end up in a compromising position.

Heal ASAP

Back in my day, your character healed over time, automatically. Looking back, this didn’t make any sense at all, but it was one less thing for me to have to worry about.

These current-gen games are all about making you manually heal. In Black Ops 4, you do this with a shot of medicine, which also doesn’t make any sense. This is on a cooldown, which can be sped up by equipping the stimpack, and will heal you back to max health of 150.

Knowing that I have unlimited heals, I try to hit L1 (LB on Xbox) any time I take damage. I’ve used it to go from 148 to 150, but this was an extreme case. Enemies will be nearby so you want to make sure your health is topped off to increase your chances of winning fights.

One caveat is that the healing doesn’t start immediately. There’s a short delay between stabbing yourself with the needle and watching your health pool refill. It only takes a second to refill but you’ll want to make sure you have full health before jumping back into another battle.

Test Many Guns

There are so many guns in Black Ops 4! At level 5, you’ll be able to create a custom class. Until then, try a few of the default classes and experiment with what bests fits your play style.

Do you like close-range battles where you’re in the face of the enemy? Grab a shotgun or SMG. Enjoy picking people off from long range? Equip a sniper or tactical rifle. Want something that can be used at all distances? Check out the assault rifles.

Right now, I’m really diggin’ the Swordfish. I’ve maxed it out to include the Penta Burst operator mod and can take down most opponents with one or two bursts.

Some guns start out sub-par, then become awesome when you level them up. Push through the pain in the early goings of your loadout and you’ll be rewarded down the line.

GreenGoblin gives some good insight in his weapons video, below.

Make Sure Your Gun is Reloaded

I know this one is obvious, but you never want to be in a fight where you are reloading at the beginning of it. Most reload animations take 1 to several seconds and leave you defenseless.

What works for me is reloading after every time I get a kill. On a good day, I know I can take out up to 3 enemies with one clip. If I know there is only one enemy around, I’ll reload immediately after I get the kill.

The few exceptions to the rule here are LMGs and sniper rifles. Light machine guns have a big enough clip that you can often go through 3-4 battles and still have ammo to spare. Snipers have a much smaller clip but only require 1 or 2 bullets to take down an enemy. Use your discretion here but you can be a little less aggressive with reloading these weapons.

Sprint Intelligently

If you have squad members in front of you, it’s usually OK to sprint in one direction. When you’re by yourself (or ahead of the pack), it’s wiser to be cautious while navigating the terrain.

9 times outta 10, it’s a bad idea to sprint around a corner. What usually ends up happening is that you catch a bullet to the head from the guy who was aimed in your direction.

Instead, sprint only towards teammates or when you have a UAV. Even then, be careful since the Ghost perk keeps enemies hidden.

When I make the mistake of sprinting into a room, I’ll often jump or slide to avoid getting shot in the head by a pre-aiming opponent. Speaking of which…

Pre-aim

It’s always good to get in the habit of aiming down your scope before turning a corner. If you are pre-aiming at an enemy who is firing from the hip, you are more likely to land your shots. If you’re more likely to land your shorts, there’s a good chance you will win that fight. If you win that fight, you will probably feel pretty good about yourself and not rage quit.

When pre-aiming, move your cursor to head height to take advantage of the additional damage from head shots.

Pre-aim around all corners!

Check the Radar Often

Think of the radar as a rear view mirror combined with a crystal ball. Players will be able to keep track of where their teammates are and determine the general direction of the enemy.

With the acoustic sensor, you will even be notified when the opposing team is making noise in a given direction. This can be a little confusing when you are in an area with multiple levels of play, but it has a lot of OP potential to avoid getting ambushed.

Play with Friends

Do you know how frustrating it is when you get an enemy down to 12 damage, only to find yourself at the wrong end of a kill feed? I do. It’s terrible.

By playing with friends, you can travel together and help make sure this doesn’t happen.

Sure, there’s a chance that you both catch a grenade and die together…or a Ruin hits you with the Grave Slam. More likely, you and your friend(s) will survive longer and get more kills. Go team!

Accept that you will have bad games

Even pro gamers have bad games. Us average gamers tend to have at least a few bad games every gaming session. It’s likely that you will run into someone ridiculous online, like this:

One of my biggest takeways has been that I always play worse when I’m triggered. But when I’m calm, I’ve pulled off a double digit kill-death ratio while feeling like the guy in the video above.

If you have a stretch of really bad matches, take a break for a while and come back to it. When you keep practicing and learning from your deaths, you are bound to improve.

Tying it all Together

At the end of the day, the best way to get better is to keep playing. I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of the game, having played most of my matches in the Team Deathmatch mode.

The couple games of zombie mode that I played were fun too! I’ll give this another chance when all my friends are online. I will probably rotate through the standard playlist, try out Hardcore mode for a little bit and then get into Blackout some time around Christmas.

How are you liking Black Ops 4 so far? What tips do you have for new players? Leave us a comment below!

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