The future is black

Developer Treyarch has already proven that it’s not afraid to deviate from the established Call of Duty rulebook. The studio made a big splash out of its decision to incorporate branching plot points and sandbox missions into Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s single-player campaign – and it’s making similarly radical changes to the sequel’s multiplayer component too.

Speaking during a special event at German tradeshow GamesCom overnight, the studio announced that it has dropped kill streaks from the upcoming first-person shooter. It’ll be replaced by a new meter called Score Streak, which rewards you for both killing opponents and completing special events. Unsurprisingly, when the meter fills, you’ll be able to perform a unique action, of which there are currently 22 in the game.

The tweak is designed to encourage players to work as a team. Killing flag carriers, defending team-mates, and contributing towards the objective of each game type will help you to earn more Score Streak points than simply going on the offensive. It’s an obvious change, but it sounds like an effective one.

Pew pew

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's multiplayer will ship with 55 levels of progression and 10 levels of prestige. Despite the radical changes to the flow of the game, Treyarch wanted to return to a more simplistic levelling system. However, it’s saving more specific details until closer to launch.

Unlike its predecessor, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 will not feature a currency system. Instead players will unlock tokens which can be used to invest in the game’s weapons, perks and equipment. The content, however, is gated by major rank changes – so, you’ll need to be a certain level before you’re able to purchase a specific item. The only way to unlock all of the items will be to prestige.

Once you’ve unlocked an item, you’ll be able to equip it using the new Create a Class system. Unlike previous Call of Duty titles, you’ll now be able to select any 10 pieces of content from the game, and equip them all at once. The big twist is that you don’t need to select from pre-defined categories, instead you can pick exactly what you want. So, for example, if you never use a secondary weapon during multiplayer matches, you might opt to attach a silencer to your main rifle instead. Or carry an extra set of grenades. Anything’s possible.

Covering fire

Some of the new equipment available includes the assault shield, which lets you plant cover anywhere on the map. There’s also the millimetre scanner, a weapon attachment which allows you to detect enemies by sending out pulses. This lets you see through walls and much more.

Elsewhere, the game promises an increased emphasis on e-sports. A new league system will separate players into different divisions, facilitating much better matchmaking. It’s hoped that the mechanic will make the game much more penetrable to newcomers.

Players will also be able to live stream matches. This is a work in progress feature, but Activision is hoping that the implementation will transform Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 into a much more competitive game. It’s not hard to imagine clan matches and competitions being streamed online.

If all that wasn’t enough, Treyarch also revealed a couple of new modes. Multi-team allows up to six teams to battle against each other on a single map, with any combination of 18 players available. Meanwhile, Hardpoint sees you capturing changing chokepoints in order to succeed.

Brave new world

New maps include Aftermath, Cargo, Turbine and Yemen – all of which take place in the future. The former is set right after a drone attack, and is designed to showcase the advancements in the game's engine.

It’s certainly a lot to digest in one go, but it seems like Treyarch has been listening to its fanbase. Are these changes enough to get you to invest in Call of Duty’s multiplayer again? Let us know in the comments section below.