Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 – multiplayer tips for the new Specialists
With exo-enhanced agility and nine Specialist classes to master, Call of Duty: Black Ops III has flipped multiplayer combat onto its side, if not quite its head. To its great credit, Black Ops 3 still adheres to the classic COD staples of near-instant kills/deaths and the benefits of patrolling your comfortable route. However, the wall-running combined with Specialist load-outs provide more to think about on attack or defence. So, before heading out to get scalped, here’s how each class can save your bacon.
Know your terrain
Before watching your K/D plummet through the floor, take an hour out of your time to familiarise yourself with the 11 new maps and nine Specialists. You can head into any of the areas alone to take note of the layout, and then populate the game with an increasing number of bots (select Regular difficulty for a bit of resistance) with a maximum of 17 to get an idea of positioning and range. Evac is an especially complex array of broken-down buildings and tightly packed rooms. If you go in blind you’ll come out with a very sore behind.
Weapons beat abilities
Broadly speaking, the Specialist’s Weapons are preferable to their more passive Abilities for early forays into the new PvP. A good example is the Nomad’s H.I.V.E. that releases trap pods containing nano-drones when triggered. You’re far more likely to have time to plant some of these than benefit too much from his Rejack ability that basically respawns you right where you died to exact revenge. In Call of Duty, few players wait around long enough for you to even graze their shoulder after putting you down. Similarly Outrider’s Sparrow bow-and-arrow is handier than a one-off Vision Pulse to reveal an enemy position or two.
Wall running Vs. boots on the ground
You’ll be tempted to wall-run at any available opportunity, but be aware that the route may be much simpler – there might even be a flight of stairs to reach the same floor. So, unless you really are confident that the speedier route is likely to get the drop on a few guys, keep your boots on the ground and move cautiously into areas where your teammates are not. The great thing about wall-running though is that flanking the enemy position can now be achieved by hopping across outlying features such as the floating islands in Infection and purpose-built vertical routes on Redwood.
Run with the pack
This is a general Call of Duty rule that still needs to be driven home to newcomers. Unlike Halo or Destiny, in which one-versus-one situations can last a good few seconds while shields deplete and such, in COD you’re down almost the second you’ve spied the opposition. And down even before that if you don’t see them coming at all. By running with wing-men the chances of you being caught off guard are fewer and you’ll earn medals for saving each other’s lives or avenging unfortunate deaths. In Gears of War this could be classed as “stealing kills”, but in COD the team effort benefits all in the long run. Of course, if you’re communicating with Party you have an even better time.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the nine specialists in detail…
Ruin is an all-rounder
You won’t need to reinvent your basic COD game with this guy, as he’s an overdriven version of a classic all-rounder. Ruin’s Gravity Spikes special weapon is a handy reflex-oriented area of effect attack, on call to get you out of trouble if caught unawares or to pre-preemptively strike at more than one enemy for an easy multi-kill. His special ability, Overdrive, enhances movement speed. On the one hand this is great for confident players to accelerate their usual route, but we’ve found it to be not so helpful for an average player as the last thing you want to do is literally run into more trouble.
Outrider requires finesse
In our view this bow-and-arrow Specialist is the most exciting new addition to the COD playing field. She’s a finesse character, with subtleties of strength on the release of her Sparrow shots – the longer you hold down the trigger, the further an arrow flies and the more powerful it’ll hit. With practice you’ll gauge how much taut is required to simply arch a few shots into where enemies are taking cover, or time the release to land just as your target rounds a corner or ducks out of hiding. Again, as per the general advice above, the Vision Pulse is best for tracking specific opponents; somebody you already spied heading into a series of corridors or that you suspect is above/below your position.
Prophet feels a little bit OP
No offense to the ‘professionals’ using him wisely, but we’ve found that Prophet can boost a newcomer’s game more so than the others. His Glitch teleportation ability immediately wipes an ‘Oh crap!’ moment, where you stumble upon impossible odds – it won’t recover a kill though, so you still need to keep your eyes peeled for danger ahead. The Tempest special weapon is as fun for the user as it is infuriating for those caught in its paralysing tether. If you’re sticking to the ‘no running’ rule that cautious players abide by, there’s a good chance your K/D will improve fast with Prophet.
Battery causes the most chaos
Though it won’t improve your overall game, it is certainly fun to behave kind of carelessly with Battery and her War Machine grenade launcher. The explosives bounce around harmlessly before making contact, but they’re ideal for the objective-based Domination mode where players tend to be bunched together. Also, guys that are tough to flush out from the station platform in Metro will at least be sent scurrying into the open for your team-mates to take down. Yet again, the special ability Kinetic Armor [sic] may seem like a win-button manoeuvre as it deflects indirect enemy fire. But since you’re likely to be going up against head-shot specialists it’s more of an evasion tool.
Seraph is for the aggressive player
Seraph, a masked ninja type, is unlocked at Level 22. She is an entirely aggression-oriented character to enhance the game of players confident in acquiring targets fast. You’ll need to know the maps and have a feel for the flow of the opposition team before unloading with the Annihilator revolver that over penetrates targets. Her Combat Focus ability boosts points awarded toward scorestreaks, so only useful in the hands of somebody practiced at 5+ kill streaks.
Nomad is great for setting traps
Nomad, unlocked at Level 28, can put the pressure on to suit his approach, marking out territory with H.I.V.E. trap pods that release explosive nano-drones, else knowing exactly where he’ll respawn after being killed using Rejack. The latter can catch average players by surprise by returning swiftly from the dead, but wiser players will have checked your profile before the round starts. If you’re downed once, you’ll be downed a second time.
Reaper is a bully
The Reaper robot unlocked at Level 34 is equally overbearing with its Scythe mini-gun, effective from mid range. Its Psychosis decoy clones are best deployed at mid- to close-range for maximum confusion. Nobody falls for it from distance.
Spectre is all about melee kills
The cool Spectre Specialist unlocks at Level 40, and is purpose built for guys that sprint the entire map looking for melee kills. Active Camo gives you the drop on opponents, though as soon as you strike that’s your cover blown. Ripper is a sword that beats standard melee attacks to the kill. It doesn’t last very long though… probably just as well.
Firebreak is for the ballsy player
The last unlock is Firebreak at Level 46, whose Purifier flame-thrower takes balls to use effectively, as you’re hosing foes that come running at you. Definitely don’t activate this until you’re sure of at least a couple of easy kills within short range. Likewise Heat Wave is a special ability that only pays off if the enemy is distracted as a group, or if ‘taking one for the team’ means lots assists and/or destroyed equipment.