Black Ops 2 Patch Analysis
Never get too comfortable with Call of Duty multiplayer mechanics. With the first major multiplayer balancing patch for Black Ops 2 now on general release, developers Treyarch have made a wealth of significant changes. From major scorestreaks overhauls to the more minor pistol tweaks, the developers have left no stone unturned in their attempt to further polish and fine tune Black Ops 2’s already superb multiplayer experience. Armed with the official patch notes straight from callofduty.com, Hard Reset is here to weigh in with analysis and predictions on what each of these changes entails for the gargantuan BO2 multiplayer community.
- UAV: cost increased from 350 to 425.
The first balancing adjustment listed by Treyarch is a biggie. An increase of 75 scorestreak points required to earn a UAV, equal to almost an entire extra kill, is a major shakeup of one of CoD’s signature gameplay mechanics. Expect to see fewer being called in during matches, due in part to its increase in cost, but also due to many players opting to forgo what could now may considered an overpriced killstreak (particularly for gamemodes lacking objectives to provide those extra scorestreak boosts) in favour of the more powerful yet only slightly more costly options, such as Care Packages and Counter-UAVs.
- Lightning Strike: added 750ms delay
You can’t really argue with this one. The near instantaneous drop of three devastating bombing runs made the Lightning Strike a firm fan favourite within the first few days of Bo2’s release. A 750 millisecond delay between designation of targets and actual release of payload should now help give those unfortunate ground targets a fighting chance in avoiding what is already an incredibly powerful scorestreak.
- Bouncing Betty: increased the grace period between trigger and activation by 200ms.
There could certainly be a strong claim in naming the Bouncing Betty as BO2’s most prolific lethal equipment. The BO2 Bouncing Betty does things a little bit different when compared to its previous incarnations. For starters, it arms seconds after being placed, allowing it to double up as a sort of placable frag grenade, and its diminutive appearance makes it much more difficult to spot than in previous CoD titles. This increase in time between activation and detonation should allow more players to deftly crouch below its lethal circular spray of shrapnel in time, and consequently stop the Engineer perk from feeling quite so essential.
- Sensor Grenade: increased the range (now 1000 units), frequency (now 800ms between pings), and amount of time (now 6s) that players appear after explosion.
Ah yes, the sensor grenade. An intriguing, powerful piece of equipment almost universally shunned in favour of flashbangs and shock charges. Hopefully this unmitigated buff to an already useful piece of equipment will see it garner more use on the BO2 battlefields, especially now that UAVs will be a much sparser sight.
- Concussion Grenade: decreased movement penalty and turn speed penalty when hit.
Another welcome change. Special grenades seem to be markedly more powerful in BO2 than any other CoD. In previous titles, the special grenades acted as a supplement to your arsenal, equipment that could help you tip the course of battle in your favour. In BO2, special grenades became a mighty force that all but guaranteed victory to the wielder. This change will hopefully ensure that the Concussion grenade reverts to its traditional role of crowd control, as opposed to crowd dominance.
- All: increased hip fire recoil.
- All: increased max hip fire spread from 4.75 to 5.
- All: reduced bullet penetration.
A general nerf to the deadliness of BO2’s SMGs is a smart move by the developers. The general overt effectiveness of this weapon class has also had many outspoken community members claiming Black Ops 2 as too SMG friendly, with this class leaning towards utter dominance in the CQC scene. Its also nice to see Treyarch not hitting a weapon class were it isn’t needed, with the capabilities of the SMGs already weak long range performance emerging from this particular statistical culling unscathed…
- MSMC: increased recoil slightly.
- PDW-57: increased recoil slightly.
…That is, apart from the MSMC and the PDW-57. Again though, you can’t really put forward a credible argument against Treyarch’s decision here. These two weapons sport a lower rate of fire and frankly beautiful recoil patterns, making them seriously powerful contenders even out to medium ranges. A slight reduction in aimed accuracy should wrest some mid-range power back into the hands of the slightly under-loved Assault Rifles.
- All: reduced idle sway for more reliable long-range aiming.
Currently, Assault rifles have been somewhat loosing out to other classes in Black Ops 2. The extreme potency of SMGs means their credibility now relies on being useful in mid to long range fire fights, and an idle sway reduction will aid in improving this class’ potential at such range
- XM8: reduced lethal range of 3-hit kills from 250 to 50 inches.
The XM8 has taken a large blow to its usefulness with this change. Such a reduction can be easily justified though as this gun had swiftly established itself as a powerhouse weapon at almost any range, hardly a welcome attribute for a gun intended to fill the very specific mid range, super-accuracy niche.
- XM8 + Select Fire: increased recoil.
- FAL OSW + Select Fire: increased recoil.
- SWAT-556 + Select Fire: increased recoil.
When Treyarch revealed select fire as a gun attachment, many questions were immediately raised as to how it would perform, particularly when coupled with the burst and single shot weapons. As it turns out, a bit too well. Bizarrely, all of the non-automatic assault rifles have received this nerf, save for the single shot SMR. Given that the SMR actually boasts the highest damage over long ranges of all the assault rifles, it will be interesting to see if more players adopt this rather underused (yet excellent) Assault Rifle in the wake of these nerfs to the fan favourites.
- MTAR: Made auto aim values consistent with all other assault rifles.
Who says you can never have too much of a good thing? Reports from MTAR users indicate that the over sensitive aim-assist this rifle used to sport was actually having a detrimental factor on it’s performance, pulling players’ aim off an intended target if another ran past. Treyrach have done well to push the MTAR’s auto-aim in line with the others of its class.
- All: increased hip fire spread.
- All + Laser Sight: increased hip fire spread.
Look, no one enjoys being the victim of some jammy no scope halfway through what was looking to be a promising steak of kills right? Even though hip fire sniper kills can be frustrating to the point of coming down with a peptic ulcer, their prevalence in Black Ops 2 has been minor compared to other instalments of the series (I’m looking at you, MW2). Still, I suppose anything that can be done to stop players running around with the DSR 50 as a glorified bolt-action shotgun is a good thing.
- XPR-50: increased recoil slightly.
Not exactly the fan-favourite sniper rifle, spotting a player wielding this high damage semi auto has always been a rare sight indeed. This nerf does seem to make the XPR-50 slightly less controllable, especially at more extreme ranges, but such a minor change and the gun’s lax popularity should ensure that such a change won’t ruffle too many fanboy feathers.
- R870: reduced one-hit kill range by 45 inches.
This is somewhat perplexing. A move to dial back one of the most under appreciated guns of BO2 seems like a bit of a fumble on Treyarch’s part. Many have argued that Black Ops 2 had found a near-perfect niche for the shotgun class that other CoDs could only dream of; lethal at extreme close ranges with real skill having to be imparted to get anything even serviceable approaching the mid-range mark. Hopefully the corresponding weakening of Submachine guns will still allow the R870 to remain competitive in hectic close quarters with the more lethal SMGs.
- B23R: reduced headshot multiplier from 1.4 to 1.
- KAP-40: reduced headshot multiplier from 1.4 to 1.
For a while now, the KAP-40 and B23R have been gaining notoriety within the CoD community as side arms that may be veering dangerously into overpowered waters. Players can often experience varying mixtures of incredulity and rage as an opponent is able to cut them to ribbons with ease at mid range with the B23R’s violent 3 round bursts. Any changes that can be implemented to rein in the two powerhouse side arms of the game should be welcomed.