We hope you’ve enjoyed the Blackout Beta as much as we’ve enjoyed playing it along with you. Armed with your incredible feedback, we continued to update the Beta throughout the week and will keep listening as we improve the game in time for launch. That’s what betas are for, after all.
Blackout is our own distinctive Battle Royale, and we knew we had to make this something special for our fans from the start. Our teams have set out to create a uniquely Black Ops experience, featuring time-tested Call of Duty gameplay, signature Treyarch design philosophy, and a celebration of 10 years of Black Ops heritage. We know we have to nail the things that people love about the genre, improve on the elements that we want to take to the next level, and bring plenty of new ideas to the table. Your feedback this week has been encouraging to say the least, and everyone here at the studio can’t wait to show you what’s coming in the future.
With the Beta wrapped up and everyone counting the days to October 12th, we’d like to take this opportunity to look back at the biggest feedback items that came from the community and provide some deeper insights into what we’re doing to improve the game, just as we did following the Multiplayer Beta. Here’s a look at some of the hot topics we’re tracking between now and launch:
Armor’s role in Blackout is inherently unique compared to its role in MP. You only live once in Blackout, and you’re rewarded for scavenging in areas that often put you in perilous positions, especially as the Collapse gets smaller in the late game. For this and other reasons, we’ve been cautious about making sweeping changes to the way Armor works, though we’ve made some tweaks during the Beta and continue to evaluate how Armor will work at launch.
Every Item in the game, from Armor to Weapons to Perks, is constantly re-evaluated to ensure they fit in the correct place in the game’s meta. You can expect Armor to be tuned multiple times as the game, and the gameplay content, evolves over time.
Some changes to Armor since the start of the Beta include:
- Spawn frequency of Level 3 Armor has been reduced by 75% compared to its initial spawn rate in the Beta.
- Level 3 Armor will now most frequently be found in Stashes and Supply Drops, though it may occasionally spawn in the world.
- Level 3 Armor now breaks sooner and passes more damage to the player wearing it, and still offers headshot and other types of damage mitigation. We’ve heard your concerns that Level 3 Armor was still perhaps too powerful by the end of the Beta, and will be evaluating the data to see what other tweaks may be required.
- Level 2 Armor was also minorly adjusted during the Beta and will potentially be tweaked further in time for launch.
- Players will see an indicator of the condition of their own Armor, and those of their teammates, in the HUD. This provides a more granular indicator of the damage that your Armor has taken beyond the Armor icon and will let you know if it’s time to seek out a replacement.
We saw several reports of footsteps sounding louder or quieter than expected, and not always being able to tell the direction enemies were coming from. Others reported an uneven balance of footstep volume between teammates and enemies. We’re on it. Improvements to how audio will work at launch include:
- Sounds will be properly impacted by walls, floors, ceilings, and other objects in the world. This means enemies directly above or below the player should no longer sound louder than expected.
- The volume of the cargo plane, punching, game countdown timers, and everything else you’ve brought to our attention (and many things you have not) will be reviewed in-depth as part of that process. The game has not yet had its final audio mix.
- Teammates’ footsteps will be quieter compared to enemy footsteps.
- The Awareness Perk will further reduce the loudness of the footsteps of your teammates.
- All audio presets will be available at launch in the Options menu. Audio presets can make a big difference, and we offer many choices for those who play with headphones or surround sound.
Inventory & Item Management
On the first day of the Beta, the community almost unanimously asked for faster Item pickups. As a result, we made pickup speed as fast as possible while still protecting players from accidentally picking up an Item when attempting to reload.
Console players have asked for an option in Settings to allow them to tap a button to instantly pick up an Item. We like this idea a lot, and want to be sure we get it right and test it thoroughly.
The Quick Equip menu can be fantastic for making Inventory adjustments quickly, but could also get in the way of picking up Items, opening doors, or entering vehicles. We adjusted the Quick Equip menu so it automatically closes after a few seconds with no interactions. We are also looking into the feasibility of closing the Quick Equip menu if the player performs other actions such as firing a weapon, changing stance, starting a Sprint, etc.
We’ve already improved the proximity and height at which you can interact with Items on the ground so you don’t have to look down at that Item so precisely. It’s being tested now and is very likely to be in when the game comes out.
Last but not least, we are creating designs for other “quality of life” improvements to these very important game systems including, but not limited to:
- Evaluating options to improve the Stash interface when looting enemies and containers on console.
- Adding a new method to allow you to quickly remove all Attachments from a weapon.
- Incorporating a way to swap Attachments between Weapons, if both Weapons support the same attachment.
And finally, we’ve got some fun Beta stats to share. While the (very unofficial) numbers, Mason, are still coming in across all platforms, we’ve poked through the data to find some of our favorites to share:
- Players eradicated 7.5 million Zombies. Don’t worry, there’s plenty more where those came from.
- Squadmates were revived 26 million times. Thanks for being team players.
- 3.3 billion Items were picked up. That’s “billion” with a B.
- Over 64 million Stashes were spawned. That’s a lot of loot.
- The longest Combat Axe kill distance was 213 meters, or about 698 feet. Well done!
- Players managed to eliminate 123 people with a basketball. Is ball still life?
Most kills by an individual player:
- Solos: 25
- Duos: 29
- Quads: 25
Most kills by a team:
- Duos: 32
- Quads: 38
And that’s a wrap. Please keep your feedback coming and give us your detailed thoughts in our official post-Beta survey. Thank you for taking this journey with us so far, and know that we’re committed to listening and communicating with you along the way to make Blackout the best experience it can be. This is just the beginning.