Black Ops 2: ‘I can nerf perks, and I will, mark my words’ – Vonderhaar gets tough

Monday, 24th September 2012 13:00 GMT By Dave Cook

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 multiplayer head David Vondehaar has revealed that simplifying perks and nerfing them is the only way to create a fair and balanced playing field online. So pay attention perk-dependent players, because you may need to rethink your strategies.

Speaking with CVG, Vonderhaar said, “Perks were pretty important for us to rethink, because they were getting too complex. You had perks, perk pros, perks that influence you, perks that influence your gun, perks that influence team mates.”

“We’ve simplified that so perks only ever affect your character, and more importantly, Black Ops II’s perks aren’t absolutes,” he continued, “In Black Ops our only balancing options were to remove the perk or keep it – now we can tune any perk by increments to nerf it or improve it.”

“I can nerf perks and I will, mark my words,” Vonderhaar stated, “A perk should never be something you need just to compete. A perk is ‘I got a parking spot,’ or ‘the soda machine gave me free soda.’ Your life shouldn’t depend on it. The community helped me understand that, and that’s why our new system has no absolutes. We can try to make it the most balanced CoD ever.”

Black Ops 2′s superb new create-a-class mode also only gives players a perk if they sacrifice something else. It’s a neat system, and we’ve detailed it in full here:

Thanks OXM.



  1. ManuOtaku

    I dont really know if this a good thing or a bad thing, i will know when i play the game, and if i see i got my K/D ratio over 0.68, which is my current one on MW3, not really good, i hope i can improve it in black ops 2, though.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 Good thing definitely Manu, I thought the game played wonderfully. Less bullshit than usual, and that’s coming from a long-time fan.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. ManuOtaku

    #2 Thanks, well i do hope i can increase my K/D ratio because of this, really, COD is the only FPS multiplayer, were i suck, in battlefield, gotham city impostors, halo, etc i have good numbers and iam pretty good, not the greatest, but pretty good, i have a settle to score with COD, really.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    I don’t care for Treyarch, but I’ve always felt like all the talk about scaling back seemed to be based primarily on internet whiners, who can’t keep up, and need an excuse.

    I feel like Zampella and West turned CoD into the monster it is because they were constantly dialling it up. It seems to me like the approach to CoD has become “We’re dialing it back. See guys, we listen to you!”.

    Nobody wants it. Infinity Ward took the exact same approach with MW3, probably based on Robert Bowling, and it is the first CoD to actually take a step back in terms of sales.

    CoD is practically a paraphrase for American pop culture. It needs to be outrageous. It needs to piss off whoever it doesn’t thrill. It needs to be impossible to ignore, instead of worrying about whether or not it’s classy.

    This toothless populist approach to the games kinda serve to convince me that MW2 was as good as it got.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. OrbitMonkey

    @4, You have a definite point. If it’s not perks its guns the dweebs need neutering… “oh the AK74u is OP!” Blah blah blah :-/

    I swear even if ALL the guns were EXACTLY the same, just with different skins, the dweebs would STILL moan about OP weapons :@

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    It’s still outrageous. It gets absolutely chaotic at parts but it’s slightly slower paced and weighted. When he says perks have been nerfed that doesn’t impact the difficulty, you still need a quick-thinking attitude and skills to win.

    Also, Drone swarms really get the blood pumping. They’re fearful :P

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DSB

    I’m not saying they changed the fundamental mechanics, Dave. I’m saying they scaled back the spectacle.

    It’s like Motörhead doing an acoustic album.

    CoD isn’t battlefield. CoD isn’t Counter-Strike. CoD makes things goes boom, and should offer no apology for it. In fact, it should be making more things go boom, not fewer.

    You’re never going to see Motörhead go out there and be like “Oh, this tour we’re scaling back to 50,000 watts. We care about your hearing”.

    Sometimes less is just less.

    It’s still the same fast game it always was, it just isn’t as gratifying.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @7 I hear what you mean man, but I honestly wouldn’t say the game has less to offer as a result. It’s still insane at parts :)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. TheWulf

    This is an incredibly bad thing, because nerfing is just an incredibly lazy-ass quick fix. WoW proved this. And their lazy-ass quick fixing caused so many problems early on that later in the game they just had to reinvent classes. I remember them making a huge deal out of some of the reinventions because they’d nerfed those classes into shit. The Paladin being one of them.

    The other approach is to buff other things up and to balance around that, to basically make it so that you have more variety to choose from, rather than making the most commonly chosen thing weak. This is how Guild Wars 1 did things. It had its fair share of problems, sure, but it was still a better approach for a lot of people.

    Ham-fisted nerfing is just lazy, and creates more problems than it fixes. Buffing up and creating variety is a much harder, longer path, but the payoffs are far greater in creating a more generally enjoyable game.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. OrbitMonkey

    ^ Thats the first shot ;-)

    #10 2 years ago

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