Nope, time to kill wasn´t changed!

CoD: Black Ops Cold War Beta Review – Bad Netcode Issues

Call of Duty
Black Ops Cold War Beta

The first beta weekend is over. (Image Credit: Activision)

This weekend, PS4 players were able to play the beta of Black Ops Cold War for the first time and as always, there are some problems. In this article we summarize our first impressions from the beta for you.

For all PS4 players, the beta of the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War already started last week and of course, we also jumped into the fray to gather first impressions. Already after the alpha there was a lot of criticism but also some positive things, which we already reported about:

Before the start of the beta, we got a huge patch that was supposed to fix some problems of the alpha and looked really promising, at least on paper. Why do we say on paper? Well, although there were actually some new features and fixes in the beta, some of which were really good, a lot of players were still disappointed with the first beta weekend. So, let's take a look at what went wrong first, before we end on the positive side:

Bad Hit Detection is Causing Frustration

First of all, no, we will not go back to SBMM (Skillbased Matchmaking) here. Sure, many pros hate it, but the vast (and silent) majority has no problem with it, or even needs it, and Treyarch will not remove it, but at best adapt it. So, let's concentrate on the real problems of BOCW.

To start with the largest upset: The beta had a lot of problems with the hit detection and probably also with the netcode. Many players, including the YouTuber TheXclusiveAce, as well as we, often had the feeling of dying too fast and out of nowhere during the beta. And this although BOCW has a much higher time-to-kill than, for example, Modern Warfare. Some players therefore suspected that Treyarch had lowered the TTK for the beta, but this is not the case.

The problem seems to be in the netcode and should be especially known to Battlefield players. Depending on the server and connection, the game does not register all hits or does so too late. This leads to the fact that you need 5-6 hits on an opponent until he bites the dust, but you will go down immediately after what felt like one hit.

If you take a look at the Killcam though, you can see that the opponent has also hit you 5-6 times, but the game doesn´t show the first hits in any way – neither by flinch, nor by hit sounds or hit markers. This obviously leads to frustration, because you feel powerless and often have no possibility to escape firefights.

Another problem mentioned several times is the visibility of opponents. We're not quite sure what the problem is, but enemies are often very difficult to spot and often kind of merge with the background. We have especially noticed, that if we see an enemy and then aim down sight, it is hardly possible to recognize the player at certain distances. This is definitely something that needs to be improved.

Resetting the lobbies does not go down very well either. In Modern Warfare, as long as you did not leave the lobby, you stayed in the same lobby with the same players, which was filled up again and again. So, it was possible to play in a fun lobby with the same people and short waiting times. In the BOCW Beta the lobby was closed after every match and a new one was searched for. On the one hand, this prolongs the matchmaking and on the other hand, you often start in already running games (mostly on the loser side), because running lobbies are filled up. We hope that Treyarch has tried this system only for the beta and will not implement it in the final game.

Let's close the negative with an innovation we are not quite sure about yet, if we like it or not. Leveling the weapons is very slow. Sometimes you can play a whole match without advancing a single weapon level. So, it takes forever to unlock even a handful of attachments. In Modern Warfare on the other hand, with the right playlist and a few tokens you could finish leveling a weapon in 1-2 hours. On the one hand we welcome this change, because it means there is something to do for a longer time, but in our opinion the pace in the beta was just too slow. Maybe Treyarch should go back to this and find a good middle ground.

Here you can see the most important problems in a video from TheXclusiveAce:

Video Credit: TheXclusiveAce via YouTube

Improved Animations and Sounds

But despite all the negative impressions, there are actually some positive changes compared to the alpha.

Remember how we complained after the alpha that the animations just didn't look cool? Somehow the player and weapon animations felt like a huge step backwards compared to Modern Warfare. This is what Treyarch has been working on now. Especially the weapon animations look much better. Recoil and reload animations now look much more natural and not as much as a toy weapon.

The sound design has been improved as well. The weapons now sound much more realistic and have more of a punch. In the Alpha, fully automatic weapons sounded more like a sewing machine than a rifle. Treyarch even announced that you will be able to choose between different presets in the menu that influence the weapon sound. The volume of stepping noises was also adjusted. While in the Alpha you could even hear crouching enemies stomping over the map, it is now possible to reduce the step sounds significantly by crouching or aiming down sight while walking.

What surprised us most is the ping of the UAV indicating the direction in which revealed enemies are located. As soon as a UAV is deployed and uncovers enemies, a ping sound is heard. We didn't think anything of it at first, but we quickly realized that the ping sound actually comes from the direction in which enemies were detected. This way you can locate the direction of the next marked enemy without looking at the minimap.

BOCW Gunsmith

The Gunsmith provides an overwhelming amount of information. (Image Source: Activision)

Another bonus for all the min-maxers: The Gunsmith offers an incredible amount of detailed information – even more than in the Alpha! Already in the Alpha, many players were happy about the fact that the Gunsmith displayed actual values in percent. For example, if you put a new barrel on your weapon, not only does a bar go up, but we get hard facts, such as +14% target speed, +18% fire rate, -50% effective range. So, it is always completely clear which attachment changes what and, above all, how much. With the beta, Treyarch added the option to show extended details for each attachment, which literally shows all the values that were previously only found in the game code. We are looking forward to going through all the values and trying out everything. However, this could also lead to the fact that the objectively best weapon by values is found relatively quickly and nobody wants to play anything else anymore. But well, we will have to wait and see.

Of course, there are other things here and there, both positive and negative, for example that we weren´t the biggest fans of the new map Cartel, but we have covered the most important points here. Already this week, Thursday, the beta finally starts for PC and Xbox as well and we will of course be there for you once again.

For more news about Call of Duty, like how to get into the bunkers in Warzone, make sure to check out EarlyGame.

Lukas Ballat

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