Back in May, rumours became a reality: a new Call of Duty Battle Royale Mode named Blackout was in development. After the big success of Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds (or PUBG) and Fortnite, Treyarch decided to ditch the usual campaign and join the last-man-standing craze in addition to their traditional standard multiplayer and zombie mode. Not much was announced back then, minus the fact that the map was “1500 times bigger than Nuketown,” and that it would contain guns from both the Call of Duty main games and the Call of Duty Zombies franchise.
After an exciting two-weekend traditional multiplayer beta, Blackout finally had its chance to shine with its own week-long run. Initially for the PS4 and then added to the Xbox and PC halfway through, there has been a lot of time for players from both the Battle Royale scene and the Call of Duty scene to dig in and gather their thoughts. Today we have an interview with Will “BigTymer” Johnson to discuss the Blackout beta and ask a few questions.
“As far as the guns go, I felt they were balanced,” BigTymer started off. “It was the armour that wasn’t balanced but [Treyarch] nerfed Level 3 armour within a few days.” Bigtymer continued, “There were four or five ARs that felt interchangeable. SMGs felt great, Snipers were good. I thought the guns were fine, especially with all attachments you could put on them.” However, BigTymer did feel one gun shone above the rest, “The Auger DMR. If there was any overpowered gun, that was the one. Especially if you found it kitted out.”
Leading on from his answer, I asked BigTymer about what Treyarch should do to fix the armour issue. “I think they should just remove Level 3 armour. I thought Level 1 wasn’t bad and Level 2 was fine.” BigTymer continued, “I would litter the Level 1’s on the ground more often and set the Level 2’s where you need to be more aggressive, like the Supply crates.”
“77 players felt too slow. I feel though that they can go even higher [than 100 players],” BigTymer said. “If they added in 120, maybe even 150 as long as people don’t lag around.” BigTymer followed on with pointing out that there “wasn’t an incentive to run out and play aggressive, especially with how loud the footsteps were” and so increasing the player count to similar levels of H1Z1 would combat this.
I wanted to dig deeper into why BigTymer felt the game was so slow and so asked him about the map in general. “I feel the map was a good size but people didn’t know where to go. When the game comes out, there will be more populated areas and people will know rotations but I feel that 120 or 150 players will work. [Treyarch] should keep tinkering with the player count.”
“I thought [Blackout] was going to be more popular than it was, as far as views. For the first day there were more viewers than Fortnite but then I saw the numbers wearing off on streamers and even my own videos,” BigTymer said. “I don’t know if it was because people were playing it themselves but I wasn't too impressed by the numbers. I don’t know if it was because of the slow pace of the game or what but we’ll have to see until the game comes out.”
I put forward the idea of Blackout becoming competitive and maybe even having a league of its own, similar to the CWL. “I’ve never been crazy about a Battle Royale in a competitive format, even before Fortnite when I played H1Z1. I could never think of a good way to make it competitive. I don’t even think the Fortnite Skirmishes work as it’s completely random as to who you run into. I cannot see a league where you might not face the people you are competing against.” He finished up saying, “I don’t even know if [Blackout] needs it, but if [Treyarch] can come up with a new innovative ruleset that works, I’d be for it. But if they stick to the casual format, I’d be okay with that too.”
I didn’t get to finish my question on whether anything else needed to be changed before BigTymer responded firmly with “Footsteps. It was just a terrible idea to run around and play aggressive because you could hear people a mile away. Especially with Awareness, you could hear people across the map.” BigTymer also added, “some other perks also need to change but reduce the sound of footsteps by 50%, add more players to the game and take Level 3 armour out and that’s the game.”
“I didn’t play much of the Black Ops 4 Multiplayer Beta but I played more Blackout in that week than I had CoD in the past five years combined. I fell in love with the movement and mechanics and it felt like a Treyarch game so I’m just as excited to hop into some Search and Destroy tournaments and public matches. I don’t know what I’ll play more, but I hope to play a healthy mix.”
Thanks to BigTymer for his thoughts. Blackout will release with Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on October 12th.