In Blackout It Pays To Play Like Solid Snake

The more I play Blackout and find myself getting to the final 15 in solos (often ending up in the top five) the more I see some similarities between my play-style and the general feel of how I played the initial Metal Gear Solid Trilogy.

It gets old dealing with some of the streamers complaining about ‘campers’ in Blackout. Sure, sometimes it can be a pain to deal with it, but it’s not like multiplayer deathmatch where you respawn – it is one life and sometimes you get screwed from your landing point all the way through until the end of the match.

I once won a match where I fell into the game late, landed next to the brick building between Train Station, Hydro Dam, and Asylum. I couldn’t move from my spot and ended up having to seek shelter in a dumpster – no joke. By the time the last three circles started to collapse I had to take a gamble and sneak up the huge mountain outside of Train Station (which also included swimming across the river. The only thing that was missing from this was a cardboard box. I crawled up the mountain and let the opponents take eachother out until I killed the final opponent for my only kill of the match – and the win.

The point of this? I remember seeing a stream of Dr. Disrespect where he raged hard after getting owned in this wonderful way. He went on a rant about how it was probably the person’s only kill of the match, blah blah blah. He was acting as childish as he could at that point. Talking about what ‘real gamers’ do, etc. It left me rolling my eyes and cheering for the person that set him off. Why did I enjoy this so much? Because it reminds me so much of knocking on walls to spook guards and whatnot in MGS.

Blackout is a great mode with its fair share of super frustrating moments for all of us. Level Three Armor on an opponent at the end of a match happens to be my biggest pet peeve at the moment. Seriously, it’s ridiculous that that armor is nearly untouchable with a full clip from most weapons. Yet, I keep coming back for more and most of the time you can find me crouched and moving from cover to cover and picking off people as they clumsily sprint through the world to their demise.

To all those gamers out there in Blackout that get angry when I take them out I only have one thing to say.

Kept you waiting, huh?

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Accessibility – The Game Changer We Should All Want

I was playing Blackout Duos with one of my friends the other day.  We were having a good time going through the map (even without finding any armor WHATSOEVER!!!! ARRRRRGH!!!).  As we were advancing towards the border of the first circle I said I could hear an enemy vehicle coming from the left side of our advance.  I expected him to say that he heard it as well.  Only, he didn’t hear it at all.

I learned at that moment that one of my gaming friends was deaf in his left ear and it didn’t make me think any less of him – but it did change our tactics for the rest of the match and from that point forward.  I didn’t really make a big deal about it, but I did suggest that I could take the left side of our tiny formation at that point.  He agreed that it would be a good idea and we moved on – it was that simple.

I haven’t been able to shake that experience over the last few days.  As a former teacher I had to take into account all sorts of learning disabilities and different general learning styles.  One of the biggest aspects of allowing all students the same opportunities to learn in a classroom is access above all other things (this also goes hand-in-hand with what those in education call full-inclusion).  If you went to public school during the late 1980’s and throughout the 1990’s you might remember a lot of classmates being pulled from class in order to get assistance with their schoolwork in any number of subjects.  They might have had dyslexia or some other issue that simply meant they needed extra help to stay with the class or at least accomplish the same requirements of others.  I never liked the idea of removing students from the classroom when I was a student and I certainly didn’t like it as a teacher.  While there are some aspects that might require occasional departures from the class, most students with disabilities want to be with their classmates.  This is the same case with gaming… except, there isn’t an opportunity for those with disabilities to seek access to games where they aren’t at what we could consider a competitive disadvantage.

That’s where our assumptions still get us in trouble.  The idea that someone needs special treatment in order to succeed in gaming is the complete opposite of what needs to happen.  How you treat your fellow gamer has nothing to do with their mental or physical capabilities.  You treat them like any other friend or family member.  The one aspect you might start demanding is for developers (both hardware and software) to consider making changes and modifications to controllers, sound mixing, and other aspects that move everyone closer to full-inclusion.

Microsoft has a great commercial that focuses on access being something that allows ALL gamers to play the same games and support each other.  

This video pulled at my heartstrings.  Pretty sure that was the idea.

The other reason every gamer should be demanding changes and modifications to games, hardware, and peripherals (controllers, etc.) is because it will not only open the games we love to play to those with disabilities, but it will continue to drive further innovation in ways we might not even consider.  We continue to see so many amazing changes in technology at a pace that is difficult to grasp – it’s only a matter of time before we will be able to play games with our friends that can’t grasp a controller in the first place.  Actually, nevermind… there are already people that are finding a way to wreck on Blackout without actually being able to hold the controller.

Don’t forget the value of opening your mind a little bit.  You might actually like what happens when you come to better understand the needs of others.  

Here are a couple websites for you to check out if you want to dive a bit deeper into helping fellow gamers.

Able Gamers –
People with disabilities wants the same thing that all gamers want, to have fun with their friends, and family. There are so many challenges that come with living with a disability, social isolation, is one of them. Video games are unique in that we ALL use them to excape our days, and join our friends, and total strangers in a quest to win. That is where AbleGamers comes in.https://ablegamers.org/

StackUp –
Founded in 2015, Stack Up brings both veterans and civilian supporters together through a shared love of video gaming through our primary programs: The StacksSupply CratesAir Assaults and the Stack Up Overwatch Program [StOP].https://stackup.org/

Is There A Right Way to Play Blackout (or any type of Battle Royale)?

Am I the only one that gets a kick out of hearing an enemy say something in that half-second after killing their character in Call of Duty?  I have a feeling I’m not alone in this joy.  However, I must admit that one verbal reaction makes me smile more than others when it comes to verbal rage and that is when I kill an opponent as they loudly run or sprint in my vicinity – as I lay quietly on the ground, usually in the shadow of a bush or in some thick vegetation.  I will spare you the details of their limited vocabulary, but chances are good that you know some of the words that get shouted.

It did make me think for a moment about my tactics and whether or not they were lacking gamesmanship.  I quickly came to reason that this was not the case at all.  First and foremost, this game is about surviving – not stacking up the most kills.  If that was the goal, you’d see a lot more people aggressively pursuing kills and most likely resulting in a shorter match where the storm circle remains large ever at the end of the game.

This is why I think it is bad practice to camp in Team Deathmatch or any other sort of mode that requires you to pile up kills rather than survive.  It isn’t camping when you are defending in Search and Destroy – it is called tactical advantage.  It is camping when you are spawn killing opponents in Team Deathmatch because the spawning AI is broken.  Some may disagree, and I would love to hear your input in this regard.

What is your take on hiding in Battle Royale?  Is it gutless or is it tactical?


You Are Your Own Best Weapon In Blackout

Keep in mind that there are some weapons of choice in Black Ops 4’s Blackout Mode that are indeed wonderful finds almost no matter what.  That said, the focus of this article is on your own presence in Call of Duty’s first version of Battle Royale.

The best way to get better at this mode is by playing it.  That sounds obvious, but in reality, it is a battle type that changes almost every single time you spawn.  The deployment point changes nearly every match and no weapon or item is typically found in the same spot from match to match.  When you play as a team with the same group of gamers in Quads you might start to notice you have a landing point that serves as a default.  That seems to be a common goal for most as the named areas on the maps certainly serve as great spots to find enough loot for your entire team.  The issue with that is every other team knows that as well!

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Playing solo or even duos is a different beast.  You can generally find any spot on the map near a building that could house enough weapons and items for you (both) if you are fortunate.  The difference I have noticed with Solo compared to the two team-based aspects is that you will immediately find yourself taking one of two strategies – collecting gear in relative safety (if you are lucky) or picking up any gun or weapon you can and trying to mow down the multitudes of other gamers in your vicinity.  I personally have developed a growing enjoyment for jumping into more populated areas because it can be a great way of finding hiding spots as well as getting some relatively easy kills before everyone finds armor and better weapons.

Some of the best things you can do as you start learning Blackout’s intricacies is to start experimenting with your weapon choice on top of your preferred landing zone.  There are some weapons that you might find work well for your aiming ability or play style.  This might actually differ highly from what you use in multiplayer modes like Team Death Match or Domination, so don’t necessarily go into it thinking you will only do well if you find the Swordfish or another weapon you use in the other modes.  That said, you will also become accustomed to getting shot from quite a distance by the Maddox with a 3x scope.  The same can be said when you land in a populated area and get one-shotted by someone with a shotgun of any sort (they won’t keep those in their inventory for long, as shotguns are certainly some of the worst weapons in blackout, by far).

One perk you will want to take a bit more seriously is ‘Brawler’.  It doesn’t only work for bare knuckles as you might initially believe, it also works for melee with weapons and will put an opponent down with one good hit – it’s a great feeling now that they have nerfed melee for everything besides hits from behind.

One last tip for this article and how to make yourself the best weapon is all about Situational Awareness and Tactical Advantages.

You have to be ready for enemies to literally be hiding anywhere on the map.  This includes coming out of the blue storm as they try to take out any stragglers on the edge of the white safe circle.  I fell victim in the worst way this week to an enemy at the top of some stairs in a house because I was looking down at the floor for items rather than seeking out safety and clearing the entire house first.  The same can be said about running through the landscapes of as well.  Look and listen for enemies firing weapons (their tracers can be easy to follow and their steps can be heard if you have good headphones… SIDE NOTE!!!! GET A GOOD PAIR OF HEADPHONES!!!  They make a huge difference in game and are totally necessary for teaming up with other people in Quads and Duos).

One more bonus tip is to avoid making your movements along the top of hills and ridges that make you into silhouettes against the skyline.  This makes you incredibly easy to see and if you’re moving as a team along a ridge in this manner you will be easy targets for anyone.  Instead, try to make your movements occur from elevated positions that are just below the ridge line/skyline.  This doesn’t mean that you will be invisible to opponents, but you will be a lot less easy to spot as you move to new areas.

There is more to come, but for now be sure to follow NoobTubeTV on Twitch as the broadcasting will become more regular.  Maybe we can even team up for some Quads or Duos!  Subscribe and Follow on Twitch for a chance to team up with me and some of my friends.

Happy Hunting!

Call of Duty Black Ops 4 – Welcome Back Old Friend

Call of Duty – Black Ops 4 has brought me back to the franchise in a strong way.

I hadn’t planned on buying Black Ops 4 at all.  Not simply because the lack of a story mode (the last three iterations of Call of Duty games had some of the worst campaigns of the entire franchise).  I was holding back because I was skeptical when it came to how they would provide $60 of fun out of the box (or, digitally, in my case).

My first dive into the game was Blackout, the clone of Fortnite and PUBG in terms of open map Battle Royale.  I had played this mode in the beta only a month or so prior and was underwhelmed.  It felt like it was simply a sniper fest and it made me wonder if Treyarch would have the follow-through to support the game in a way that meant balancing some aspects.

They did.

Sniper rifles are still powerful weapons (rightfully so) but, they are also somewhat challenging to come across.  Then you have the task of finding a good scope for the weapon on top of all the other aspects you need to take care of – backpack, armor, ammunition, health packs, etc.  The best part about this is that it is all relatively enjoyable to do once you have played a few games of solo.  The real fun begins when you start to team up with other gamers.

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Blackout is at it’s best when you are playing as a team (both Duo and Quad are enjoyable in different ways).  Teams will live and die by communication and skill.  Develop a strategy before you deploy and execute that strategy once you land.  It seems simple when stated like that, but it can prove to be difficult if you have a team member that decides to go rogue Rambo.  I have played my fair share of matches in both Quads and nothing is more frustrating from the team angle than having someone that either doesn’t communicate on their microphone or simply goes out and tries to shoot at every enemy they see (most of the time, I have found that those that do one of these do both).

The most refreshing aspect of playing in Quad teams and Duos is you suddenly meet all sorts of friendly people that would probably be saying nasty things to you in other modes like Team Deathmatch and Domination.  At first, I was a bit worried about how the interactions would go, but I was more than pleasantly surprised when it came to how often I have had great teammates in terms of being generally easy to get along with – talk about a change from the norm that ends up being a great thing.

While I have had a great time with Blackout and will continue to play the mode it does leave a bit to be desired when it comes to customizing your character with the stock game.  Regular multi-player is a different beat altogether.  You get all of the weapon camo and appearance customization you want (whether you buy some or simply earn it through the natural progression of the game is up to you).  I’m not the type of gamer that lives and dies by getting diamond bling camo on my weapons.  I simply try to live and not die in the game.  I will take skill and victory over decoration any day of the week.  However, it is still a difference worth mentioning when it comes to Blackout vs. Multiplayer.

Multiplayer is still in need of some balancing when it comes to certain weapons.  My experience with assault rifles has been less than enjoyable most of the time.  It seems that the stopping power of assault rifles is on par with side-arms, making them more like longer range pistols than assault weapons.  The opposite can be said in general for pistols (oddly enough).  I have been one-shotted by more pistols from a long range than I care to number in Hardcore TDM.

The other aspect of frustration that seems to always exist is getting spawn camped by teams that know how to take advantage of relatively small or bottlenecked maps.  I have been killed within 2 seconds of spawning quite a few times.  More often than not, it will result in simply quitting out of the game rather than subjecting myself to going 3 and 17… that kind of Kill:Death ratio is quite frustrating to deal with as a noob, as a seasoned player – it’s ridiculous.  The other point of annoyance that seems to be a mainstay for COD is quick scoping.  It is back and annoying as ever.  Just go in to your games knowing that there will most likely be a sniper camping for you with a quick trigger finger ready to deliver rage quits.  My best advice for this is to learn each of the maps, find the sniping spots and learn how to flank or avoid them.  While I have experienced some of the YouTube montage clowns I have been happy to see that most of the snipers are at least using mid to long range attacks for the most part to this point.

The specialist abilities and kill streaks are quite a bit of fun to roll with this year.  I must say you will quickly come to despise Ajax and his shield as well as Prophet and his Roomba from hell.  There are some rather enjoyable experiences from these specialists that I didn’t typically appreciate back in Black Ops 3 as they do seem well balanced for a game that has always tended to breed exploiters that find any way to cheat to gain an edge.

If you were on the fence about buying Black Ops 4 (or if you were totally against it because of the last couple games) you might change your mind this time around.

Just remember that this game is primarily online multiplayer and there is no story mode/campaign.

If you need a new teammate in Blackout on the PS4, feel free to send me and invite at PSN = Outspoknpoet!

 

Happy Hunting!