Black Ops 2 Patch 1.12 / 1.13 will go down in history as one of the most controversial patch releases this generation. Not because of what it sets out to achieve, but because of the backlash felt post-haste.
The anger and rage of Call of Duty fans worldwide has been bearing down on David Vonderhaar and the team at Treyarch as perhaps never before.
In sight of that, we’ve decided to assess the patch to see exactly what has been done and what differences have been made.
Multiplayer Game Balancing
We’re deep into the launch of Black Ops 2, so much so that Ghosts can clearly be seen on the horizon. But that hasn’t stopped Treyarch slightly changing the game dynamics in the multiplayer arena.
While the patch also adds stability to Theater mode and makes major changes to Zombies, the tweaking that seems to have everyone upset is the balance readjustment of fan-favourite guns.
Specifically, the Ballista, AN-94 and the DSR 50.
AN-94 (Damage Slightly Reduced)
The damage has been slightly reduced in the AN-94, (its 3HK range reduced from 1300 to 1150). However, i’m just going to come out and say that I don’t think the competency of the AN- 94 has been nerfed enough.
I was barely squeezing the trigger to fire off a round and my opponents were dropping like flies. The idea alone sends shivers down my spine. Just how overpowered was this gun already? If I can kill my opponents so easily now, just how superior is this firepower to every other assault rifle in the game? Or any other gun for that matter.
9 months on, this was in urgent need of balancing a long time ago. But here’s the kicker. Unless you’ve hit rank 54 or higher, you can’t access the gun unless you play against bots, pick it up from a dead body or use it in the campaign. It’s no wonder anyone below that level doesn’t stand a chance and dies without having a chance to react.
My point is, if there has been a damage reduction in the gun’s power, it sounds worse on paper than it actually is. The gun is still ridiculously overwhelming and will mow down a room of troops without much hassle. The recoil doesn’t affect aiming and the gun rewards rapid reflexes. It’s a real piece of work and without question still one of the most effective guns in the game.
If Treyarch have adjusted the balance, then good for them. It needs it and thensome!
Ballista (Rate of Fire slightly reduced)
Many were surprised when Treyarch revealed Quick-Scoping would be possible in Black Ops 2 where it had been excluded or patched out of prior Call of Duty games.
And ironically, while this patch is clamping down on players who play in this way, it’s important to remember that Quick-Scoping is still very achievable post 1.12/1.13.
Where the word ‘slightly’ is used in the patch notes, Treyarch mean exactly that. As in the Ballista’s Rate of fire has been reduced from 51 to 47.
Ballista’s rate of fire is still perfectly servicable in combat and makes for a highly effective weapon to use from a distance and even close-range. If you’ve got an enemy charging you, there’s still time to fire, miss, wait a moment, then fire again and kill them.
The gun isn’t ‘broken’ or ‘unusable’. The difference in rate of fire will only affect a very small portion of gamers. The zoom-in on the weapon is still faster than any other sniper rifle in the game. It still has extra ammunition in the magazine, faster movement speed, and lower sway than any other weapon in your sniper arsenal.
Balancing this was necessary. The minor Rate of Fire changes aren’t as drastic as they might seem. Having tried this myself (and my reactions certainly aren’t the fastest) Quick-Scoping is still very possible with a Ballista (as is hard-scoping and drag-scoping – even YY) and is as dangerous as its ever been.
And hey, if all of that is still too much for you, apparently if you use the laser sight it improves the Ballista’s rate of fire, almost bringing it back to what it already was anyway - if not slightly better. So there are still ways for you to play in your comfort zone.
DSR 50 (Rate of Fire reduced)
By far, the most notable change comes with the DSR 50.
The DSR 50 is unlocked early on in the game and was many people’s introductory sniper for Black Ops 2. In comparison to the Ballista, players can shoot from the waist up and kill an enemy. As a result, the weapon is seen as a more powerful alternative.
However, as a basic weapon, the DSR 50 requires a lot of modification and adding-on in order to get the best use out of it. In the patch, the gun receives a drop of 10 in the Rate of Fire; from 50 to 40. The sprint out time has also been increased from 0.25 to 0.30. The result is a clear difference.
However, it’s still not as drastic as some would have you believe. A good sniper can still make effective use of the weapon if they’re patient and accurate. A sniper was never meant to have fast bursts. Their shots are slow, controlled and powerful and this sniper is still extremely useful on the battlefield, despite all the other weapons unlocked at later stages.
It’s far from crippled and definitely still an effective force. Players will just need to retune their timing.
If the ROT is still bothering you, switch up your weapon and fire with your alternative. Or learn to use another weapon. One thing Black Ops 2 is not short of is guns.
Believe it or not, the patch does other things.
1.12/1.13 also prepares the game for the 6 new personalisation packs that have recently been dropped. There is also improved stability when pressing buttons for a screenshot during Theatre mode, and the screenshots taken will no longer become corrupt.
Buried has also received a massive amount of fixes, most of which are for exploits players were taking advantage of. For instance, players can no longer pass over the Mansion fence using invisible collision. They also can’t stand on invisible collision near the stables and be free of a zombie attack.
Buried has also received plenty of friendly AI fixes that prevent companion players from getting stuck in certain actions.
As a result, the mode plays much more effeciently and is less bug-ridden than before.
The changes to the multiplayer arena are acceptable and it is highly encouraging to see the amount of work Treyarch have put into the Buried mode.
Call of Duty is a franchise many players have exploited over the years. It’s common to see someone taking advantage of a glitch. It’s also unsurprising when you hear about cheaters ruining the experience for others. However, with a new generation of systems on the horizon, COD finds itself in a position where it needs to adapt or die, and you can see Treyarch preparing for a change as we move between Black Ops 2 and Ghosts.
In the final analysis, I see the changes as positive (however slight) and definitely don’t see a reason for the horrendous outrcry. Personal attacks, sexist comments and racial slurs won’t change a thing. The future of Call of Duty hinges on the transition between Black Ops 2 and Ghosts, and the need for balance has never been more essential. People are seeing more and more holes in the Call of Duty experience and when Xbox One and Playstation 4 appear later this year, that’s just not going to cut it anymore.
1.12/1.13 might be a light gesture (there’s plenty more work to be done) but regardless of backlash, it is a step in the right direction.
Patch Competency – 8/10