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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale mode, Blackout, has barely been out in beta for a day and Treyarch has already decided to up the player count. The mode launched with 80 players on its massive map and, as of the most recent patch, a total of 88 players are now wreaking havoc on the battlefield at a single time. For folks who felt like encounters were too infrequent, those eight extra players should help beef up the mode's firefights.
One of the handful of complaints I've seen leveled against Blackout during the first day of its ongoing beta was that you don't come across other players often enough. I'd argue that's kind of the point of a battle royale mode, but maybe it's taking Call of Duty fans time to adjust from the game's typical lightning-fast pace.
Since the mode launched with 80 players on a given map, Treyarch has pushed the dial forward a bit, allowing even more players to join each shootout. While eight players might not seem like a big jump, that puts Blackout just 12 total players behind the "industry norm" of 100 players on a battle royale map, and hopefully it'll help address what some players feel is too slow of a tempo.
As for why the mode started with 80 players, it was likely due to the fact that Treyarch is still feeling things out when it comes to Blackout. They said from the launch of the beta that it would be a fluid experience, with the team working behind the scenes to see what adjustments need to be made.
There's also likely a technical aspect to consider. Outside of the occasional reported game crash, Blackout has been surprisingly stable for a beta, which is even more surprising when you consider this is the first time this developer has crammed this many people onto such a large map. The game looks great and runs super well, and I'd wager part of the reason Treyarch didn't start out with a higher number of players was to make sure the mode stays stable. If having eight more players on the map doesn't make the whole thing chug, I wouldn't be surprised to see this become the new norm. Heck, they might even up the number again before everything is said and done.
What's really great is that this shows Treyarch is treating the beta, well, like a beta. Many betas these days are basically glorified stress tests for a mode that the developer is ready to ship. While that's clearly part of the focus here, making a change to player count so quickly proves that nothing is set in stone yet. I wouldn't be surprised to see additional tweaks made throughout the rest of the beta and, obviously, well after the game's launch as the mode continues to be built upon.
On top of upping the player count by eight, today's patch also made Duos the featured mode and the quick equip menu now automatically closes if you haven't used it for five seconds. Item pick-ups now happen more quickly and the Sensor Dart's effect has been reduced to two minutes.