There were always worries surrounding Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer since it was revealed, and they’ve only grown as more trailers have been released. Why? Well, Call of Duty’s developed a penchant recently for overpowered guns and perks. What this has done is give advantage to the luckier player, rather than the more skilful. Therefore, as Advanced Warfare’s trailers revealed more powerful and futuristic weaponry, gamers grew worried that AW would see Call of Duty’s most overpowered multiplayer experience yet. Because of this, Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer needed to make a fantastic and mind-blowing impression at gamescom 2014. Did it deliver? Well…
The reveal event was packed as soon as it started. The game’s first multiplayer trailer showcased dynamic map changes, swimming (yes, swimming!), and exo-suit abilities. The reveal event then moved on to explaining what the trailer showed in more detail. For example, the new exo-suit abilities, such as boost jump, allow players to explore verticality for the first time in the franchise’s 11-year history. Speaking of exo-suit abilities, these had their fifteen minutes of fame at the event, and really look like what could make or break the multiplayer experience for most. In other words, if you don’t get to grips with the exo-suit abilities and the new controls, prepare to die… a lot. These abilities include, but are not limited to: side-strafing/boost dodging; exo-slide; boost jump; and an invisibility cloak.
Also, how the abilities are used and how the abilities are limited were discussed. In a similar fashion to how ‘Watch_Dogs’ limits how many times you can hack (i.e. battery life), Advanced Warfare’s exo-suits can only be used a certain amount of times until they need to recharge. Whilst this wasn’t specified during the reveal event, I assume your abilities will automatically return to full charge upon death. Another thing that wasn’t specified was whether you can trade a weapon, perk, killstreak or attachment out for an additional exo ability, similar to the ‘Pick 10’ system in ‘Black Ops 2’.
Speaking of the Pick 10 system, you can add Advanced Warfare to the now two-strong list of Call of Duty games that have been inspired by Black Ops 2’s Pick 10 system, alongside Ghosts. However, Sledgehammer have put their own twist on it by three-upping Treyarch, giving us the “all-new” Pick 13 system. This works the same way as the Pick 10 system, the only difference being the number.
Following the announcement of new features and weapons, the two Sledgehammer Games co-founders, Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield, then introduced us to Advanced Warfare’s ‘Virtual Firing Range’. With “no loading times whatsoever”, it will allow players to experiment with all of the new pieces of technology and weaponry before heading into the online modes with their new gear. This will also allow players to test their loadouts out before facing real enemies, seeing what’s right for them.
They then showed off a new and improved multiplayer lobby, which enables players to look at other players’ customised characters up close and in detail. In turn, this provides more of an incentive for players to spend time customising their soldier so as to make him/her (no word on female soldiers as of yet. However, as one was seen in the story trailer, it’s a definite possibility) look as badass as possible for other gamers to see. This is made possible in the ‘Create-an-Operator’ section, which gifts players new ways of personalising their soldier, from helmets and faces; to armour and emblems.
On the other hand, I caught a glimpse of something at the top of the player list that read, “Recommended Max Players: 18”. I didn’t manage to see what game mode the lobby was set up for but, as it’s not the final build and the most popular game modes are created first, I would assume it was ‘Team Deathmatch’ or ‘Free-for-all’ (having said that, unusually, FFA wasn’t confirmed at the event). If this is the case, these game modes are the ones that have the highest player count (party game modes such as ‘Infected’ and ‘Gun Game’ usually have the lowest player counts), meaning that the maximum number of players in an online lobby is looking to be 18. This is a tad disappointing, considering ‘Battlefield 4’ is able to support 64 players in much larger maps with a lot of vehicles, whilst maintaining the 1080p, 60fps setting.
Next, the stage was given to Advanced Warfare’s lead multiplayer designer, Greg Reisdorf, who revealed that all of AW’s maps were designed to make the most of the new exo abilities and place emphasis on verticality wherever possible. With this announcement, he went on to introduce four of the game’s maps: ‘Biolab’, ‘Riot’, ‘Ascend’, and ‘Defender’.
Firstly, Biolab is set in a laboratory in which lie numerous barrels containing deadly toxins which provide opportunities for environmental kills. Secondly, Riot takes place in a futuristic prison where laser trackers pin-point your location to the opposition and it provides medium-long range firefights outdoors and suspenseful, close-quarters combat indoors amongst the prison cells. Thirdly, Ascend takes place in a futuristic space elevator terminal, and is designed for game modes like ‘Capture the Flag’. In this map, players fight for control of the three lanes and, as the name suggests, it provides opportunities for players to take advantage of the verticality the exo-suit offers. Finally, Defender is set in the famous Bay of San Francisco in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, and features the game’s only confirmed dynamic event: a tsunami that rolls in and changes the layout by washing away certain parts of the map and adding water to lower areas. All of these maps appear to be really well planned out and designed around different people’s playstyles, whilst catering for the new exo-suit and its various abilities.
During the event, Condrey and Schofield also revealed what supply drops meant for the gamer. Supply drops were referred to as what the customer would receive if they bought the special editions of Advanced Warfare, but weren’t discussed or detailed until gamescom. Basically, supply drops are rewards for players who complete certain challenges or play for a certain amount of time. These rewards consist of additional and exclusive weapons, gear, and camos. In a similar way to Ghosts’ field orders, it gives the player an incentive to play a certain way, which is an aspect of Ghosts that I actually quite enjoyed.
Brand new multiplayer modes were also shown off at the event in Cologne, whilst some old favourites were also confirmed to make a return. These included: ‘Team Deathmatch’, which requires no explanation; ‘Uplink’, a new mode in which teams fight for control of a satellite drone in order to deliver it to the opposition’s uplink; and ‘Momentum’, a new mode (although it is based off the ‘War’ game mode from ‘World at War’) in which five capture points exist on the map, but only one is active at any one time. The more kills and captures your team gets, the faster you’re able to capture additional points, boosting your team’s score. Once the enemy team captures against yours, the momentum meter resets, so your team needs to be at its very best for the entirety of the match.
Then, towards the end of 45 minute event, it was announced that Ghosts’ ‘Clan Wars’ would make a return (for some reason), and that those who preorder the game in certain regions will get a ‘Day Zero’ edition of the game that arrives a day early. During this day, Double XP will be active for the whole day and exclusive in-game content. The Day Zero edition is also available through the PS Store and across all platforms. For more details, visit Advanced Warfare’s official site.
Overall, the reveal event has more than whet the appetite for fans around the world, and makes November 3rd seem that little bit further away.